Career management

Don't Let Being Remote Work Against You

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You can't be in two places at once. A groundbreaking concept I know.

University of California-Santa Barbara researchers study found that office face time leads to greater career advancement due to perceived productivity and commitment. What does this mean for approximately 3.9 million U.S. remote workers?

According to a recent Business Insider article, remote workers prove their commitment by blurring work/life boundaries and work overtime to compensate for their lack of office presence.

Remote workers, how do you counteract this phenomenon without risking burn out? A few ideas:

▶︎ Ditch audio for video. Show your face in meetings. Choose video when available.

▶︎ Responsive e-presence. Whether it is email, Facetime, Slack, etc. Be available to chat for productivity-sake and just plain office banter. Choose the most personal presence for difficult conversations.

▶︎ Be proactive in team processes. Ensure you are well-looped into communication and business processes.

The Match of Self-Talk: How Inner Dialogue Matters for Endurance

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Self-talk is a thing. For better or worse. Your inner dialogue matters.

I was reminded of this when I was on the tennis court for the first time after 13+ year hiatus of match play. Prior to this break, tennis WAS LIFE. In the past on the court, I beat myself up with words when I missed a point or was down.

Coming back last week, I was determined not to fall into those negative mental traps, but just like years before, with the swing of my racquet, I was bullied by my thoughts. I was both physically and mentally out of shape!

But something happened. I needed the focus to move forward. Out of breath and tired, I had to reframe my self-talk for SURVIVAL - I had to talk myself into playing the very next point!

Job seeker, where do you need to talk yourself into taking the next step? Language matters so much that researchers in a 2014 study found talking to yourself in third-person is more effective than referring to yourself as 'me' or "I".

When you need endurance, train yourself with positive thoughts.

Instead of: I can't do this another day.

Say: You can take the very next step, Meg. One foot in front of the other.

Just a Monday morning PSA: Be kind to yourself.

Are you aware of how you talk to yourself? How has it helped or hurt you in your career success?

More words = More Qualified? Wrong. Three Cover Letter Tips for the Modern Job Search.

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I used to jam pack all the words I could on a page to describe why I was the best candidate for the job in my cover letters. More words = more qualified, right?

Wrong.

The verbosity of complex experiences doesn’t mean more readership, it means less. Do you have that person in your life that is constantly talking versus the one who refrains, but when s/he does speak up - it is profoundly worthwhile to listen? Be the latter in your cover letter.

The purpose of a cover letter is to illustrate how you are the perfect (or near perfect!) candidate for the job. Land an interview to tell more! Here’s how:

+ The job posting is your compass. Demonstrate your skills and qualifications for the job by first knowing what experience the company/job are requiring. Customize your letter accordingly.

+ Use bullet points to draw attention to hard and soft skills, education and/or professional experiences relevant to the posting. Let your text breathe with white space. Pack a punch with succinct sentences and powerful accomplishments.

+ Highlight memorable stories. Those applying for the position have a similar skill set. Convey what makes you unique. Illustrate your skills instead of listing them. Share a distinct professional accomplishment or a personal story tying yourself to the company or brand values. Stand out!

Give yourself the advantage by sending a strong cover letter even if not required of the posting.

What are your best cover letter tricks?

My Career Journey: Ready Pause Go Podcast

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I'm having a bit of a vulnerability hangover 😂 BUT today, I fulfill a bucket list item, by being a podcast guest. Check out episode 24 on the Ready Pause Go Podcast.

I spill all about my career journey and motherhood, in addition, to resume and LinkedIn tips if you are blowing the digital dust off your resume during your career pause.

Unemployed? Expert tips on how to handle it on LinkedIn

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How do you handle your unemployment status on your Linkedin profile? Today, The National Resume Writers’ Association round-up of career experts tackle the issue.

From keywords in strategic areas (i.e. headline, summary and job titles) to utilizing volunteer work, board positions and project-based work to fill in the gap are just a couple ways to strategically position yourself for your next opportunity. Check out all the expert answers here.

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Invite People into your Ambition

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Declare your ambition. You don't have to know all the details.

This is Bob Goff's advice in his new podcast, The Dream Big Podcast when chatting with Jason Russell. And I concur!

Being open about your ambition is like throwing a party 🎉. Let people know what you want to do - invite people in! Share your ambition like you are sending out invitations - you don't keep party invitations to yourself! Yes, it may be scary. People may laugh at your proverbial invitation or toss it aside, but maybe, just maybe, they may open the door wider, inviting more people in, connecting you to people that will benefit your new ambition. Friends may even enter the trenches of the behind-the-scenes work and planning, cheering you on!

So let people know. Parties are more fun WITH people and so are ambitions (whatever they may be!) There is power and community in vulnerability.

Now, what kind of party are you throwing?

Does Your Career Still Fit?

I've been buying cheap sandals my whole life- flat, floppy and flimsy, trendy-in-the-moment sort of sandals. And you know what? My feet hurt. Are you feeling the same in your career? What once worked for you no longer does?

This season, I took the time to research and investigate. I went to a store (gasp!) and tried on several brands. I found a pair that fit, where my feet feel supported (I didn't know that was a thing!) and I can walk longer than a block before my feet hurt. Now, I probably wouldn't have worn this pair of sandals years ago - but they are the best fit now.

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Are you in a career that once fit and no longer does? Do you feel the pinches of your ill-fitting role? Worn-out? It's time to do an analysis of YOU!

Take a minute to evaluate your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT).

Strengths + Weaknesses: Look inward and identify your unique value proposition.

Questions to ask:

- What do I do well?

- What can I improve?

- How do I compare to my peers?

-What comes naturally to me that seems to be like work for others?

Opportunities + Threats: Look outward at your current organization and/or where you want to go ( a career pivot to a new industry, another company, new role, etc.)

Questions to ask:

- What positive opportunities face me in my current (or different) organization?

- What obstacles do I face?

- Are the specifications for my job changing? Does it still suit me well?

The more you know, the more well-suited career decisions you'll make. Walk confidently toward a career that fits you now.

Need help unlocking a new job target? We can help with six free, DIY tips. Get them here.

Separate Work from Who are Are: An Introduction Change

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You don't have to be defined by your work. When you introduce yourself to someone new replace what you do with who you are.

Our identity tie to work is strong. I realized this when I decided to quit my job to stay home with my third child. It never occurred to me how I relied on my achievements at work to define who I am. I found there are no performance reviews for a stay-at-home parent.

Does who you are change because of work? Most definitely, but WHO you are is separate from what you DO.

So instead of: Hi! My name is Meg Applegate. I'm a resume writer.

Let's replace the formality with: Hi! I'm Meg. A woman of faith, driven by even the littlest of goals. I'm lit up by connections with people and prone to giggling at the cheesiest of jokes.

It's your turn. Who are you outside of what you do?

Need help discerning what makes you unique? Check out Meg’s DIY branded resume statement mini-workbook to set yourself apart from the crowd.

Work is Stressful: Five ways to combat the Daily Grind

No matter your gender, seniority or generation, stress at work leaves no one untouched. According to LinkedIn, the number one stressor is workload (as it relates to work-life balance) followed by future job security and career direction/purpose.

This report found executive Gen-Xer's are the most stressed followed by Baby Boomers and then Millennials.

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How can you combat work stress to ENJOY your life and work?

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✔︎ Learn to say no. Know and understand your own priorities in both your work and personal life. When you say no to something, you are saying yes to something else.

✔︎ Upskill. Own your own professional development as an eager student to add to your skill set.

✔︎ Own your life (and work) as a journey. There is always time to pivot or recalibrate your career trajectory.

✔︎ Laugh! Find humor in small things.

✔︎ Do something you love. Whether during work or personal time, make time to do what you enjoy. Running? Re-decorating? Reading? Just do it!

What are your keys to less stress?

Don't forget O*NET - A Trusted Career Resource

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Are you looking for reliable career information? Check out this oldie, but goodie online resource:

The Occupational Information Network (O*NET) sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration.

 Locate dependable occupational information and use advanced search functions to:

📌Find what’s hot. Identify growing industries.

📌Reverse look-up job titles. Use keywords to discover a new-to-you or unusual job.

📌Skill-based search. Find a new career based on your unique skill set.

Exchange fear with confidence in your job search. Unlock the door of opportunity and hire Meg for a one-hour job search strategy session.