Archive for the ‘Career Counseling’ Category

  • The Open 24-Hours Diner, the Open Talent Economy, and a Gent Named “Sawbones”

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    I love diners – always have. You can eat whatever you want whenever you want. There’s no, “we stop serving breakfast at ten.” I can pop in for eggs over easy and bacon charred to a crisp (the way I like it) at 3pm or 3am.

    Who knew that these culinary establishments would be trendsetters? I read about today’s “Open Talent Economy,” and think that economy du jour is perfect for those of us aged 50+ who wish to work at what we want when we want.

    Deloitte has a nifty report, explaining the nuts and bolts of an “Open Talent Economy,” and Elaine Pofeldt writes in Forbes, Traditional Jobs Keep Fading, and It’s Time to Adapt.

    This is good news for the legions of 50+ year olds who are out of work, many of whom statistics demonstrate can basically forget about getting hired for a full-time job.

    But the remarkable, true story, “On the Contrary: Taking a Tip From Sawbones’s Career,” shared by Susan Jepson, Director of the National Senior Network, SCSEP, in Lowell, Massachusetts, brings to life just what it means to be multi-talented in today’s economy.

    Susan writes:

    I was rushing through the white-tented terminal at Denver International Airport when my attention was diverted by a storefront massage business.  Checking my wristwatch, I calculated that I had just enough time for a 20-minute massage.

    I settled onto the light gray vinyl chair and placed my face inside the cushioned headrest.  The massage therapist introduced himself.  “I’m Lee,” he said.  “But friends call me Sawbones.”

    He must have seen the cartoon question mark floating above my head in an imaginary white bubble — Sawbones? — for he went on to tell me about himself.

    Digging his thumbs into the back of my neck, Sawbones explained that massage was a new line of work for him.

    “Do you like it?” I asked.

    “Yes ma’am,” he said, revealing a slight rancher’s drawl.  “I get to meet interesting people, especially here at the airport.  A few weeks ago, I massaged Timothy McVeigh’s lawyer, who was on his way to the execution…He was a little tense.”

    Although that demanded a smart-alecky response, I could not think of one fast enough.  Instead. I asked Sawbones if he worked only at the airport.

    “No ma’am,” he said, I also have an office by the Stock Show Complex.  I have another business. “Custom cowboy hats.”

    “ The cartoon question mark made another appearance.” Cowboy hats?”

    “Yes ma’am. I sell them at the Grizzly Rose, the country-western bar on I-25.”

    I inhaled the rosemary scent of the massage oil and debated whether to prod Sawbones for more information.  Since I was unlikely to meet another cowboy-hat-maker masseur in the near future, I asked him if his massage business was growing.

    “Yes ma’am. See, I massage horses, too.”

    “Horses?” I asked, feeling like I was being sucked down a conversational rabbit hole.

    “Yes ma’am. Horses like massage.  They can get testy though.”

    “I’ll bet,” I said, picturing a blond Palomino lying hooves up on a massage table.

    As Sawbones kneaded my upper arms, he asked what I did for a living.

    “I’m a writer,” I said. Actually, I didn’t say that because just then, his fingers pushed my head into the headrest, making my answer sound more like “Imamiffer.”

    Sawbones was unfazed.  “Really?! I’m a writer, too!” he exclaimed, as if we were distant cousins meeting at a genealogy conference. I write scripts!”

    “Scripts?”

    “Yes ma’am. See I also perform in Wild West shows.”

    The rabbit hole was getting deeper by the second. “What kinds of things are in your shows?”

    “Shoot-outs.  Stuff like that. I have a friend who looks like Abraham Lincoln.  He’s gonna be in our show tomorrow night.”

    Now, I’ve never been that great at history, but it seems to me the Lincoln didn’t have that much to do with the Wild West. I was about to ask Sawbones how Abe figured into his act when he pulled my arms behind my back and away from my body like he was dressing a chicken.

    Soon, our 20 minutes was up, and Sawbones handed me his business card: ”Massage,” it read.  “For Horses and Humans.”

    “Just for future reference,” he added, “I also do home massage. It’s only 50 bucks, and I bring my own table, oil, and CD’s.” I accept the card graciously, even though I was fairly certain I’d never pay a man named Sawbones to tote oil and soft music into my house.

    It’s been a week since my encounter with the custom-cowboy-hat-making, Wild West show performing, horse- and – human massage therapist, and I can’t get him out of my mind.;  The more I think about Sawbones, the more I think he is ideally suited to today’s work world.  He’s adaptable, multi-talented, enthusiastic, and independent.  Think about it. They say people in their twenties today can expect to have seven different careers.  Sawbones has all seven at once.

    Now, I know there are people who might find Sawbones a little lowbrow and unfocused.  But to me, Sawbones is wise. He can work indoors or out.  He has built-in job security.  The bottom could fall out of the cowboy-hat market and Sawbones would still make it in the world.

    To check my impressions of him as a poster child for the new economy, I referred to Career Intelligence: The 12 New Rules for Work and Life Success, by Barbara Moses, Ph.D.  Here are a few of them:

    1. Ensure marketability: Sawbones has not one but seven fallback positions.  He has a broad network of contacts.  And, with a slogan that reads “Healing the West one massage at a time,” Sawbones clearly knows what creative marketing is all about.

    2. Be able to communicate:  In the space of 20 minutes, Sawbones managed to sell me on his talent, enthusiasm, business, savvy, and manners.  I haven’t been called ma’am so much since I invited a vacuum cleaner salesman into my house—something you should never do under any circumstances.

    3. Think income streams, not salary:  By calculations, Sawbones has at least six income sources, all in which include the potential for tips.

    In fact, Sawbones has already figured out what many of us spend our entire careers learning: how important it is to always try new things.  “Ma’am,” he said, “I do all these things because I promised myself I would never do the same boring thing all day long.”

    Now, most people I know have said this same thing to themselves at one time or another.  But the difference between Sawbones and most people is that he is not afraid to tackle new challenges.  Think about him the next time you’re confronted with a new opportunity.

     

  • How Celebrity Chef and Cookbook Author, Thomas Keller, Parlayed His Dishwashing Days into a Culinary Empire

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    I had just read another of Maria Popova’s fabulous Brain Pickings blog posts – this one on How To Find Meaningful Work or, as she says,  “The art-science of allowing the various petals of our identity to fully unfold,” when I saw this video of Thomas Keller addressing a packed auditorium of Stanford Business School students about how he attributes the lessons he learned as a dishwasher to his success.

    Keller’s mother managed several restaurants and, as a young boy he spent a lot of hours in those restaurants, beginning as a dishwasher. He says that early experience was formative because, as a dishwasher, he needed to be:

    1. Organized, efficient, attentive to detail. How he loaded the machine counted as much as how he unloaded it: the dishes, glasses and silverware had to be loaded a certain way to get them cleanest and unloaded efficiently. Feedback was instantaneous: things were either clean or not, and he could not afford for them not to be clean on his watch.

    2. Part of a team: everyone relied on him to get their plates, glasses and silverware clean. 

    3. Aware of rituals: loading the washer, emptying it, or sweeping the floor – everything had to be done at a certain time. He equates this today to every aspect of a meal needing to be done at a certain time for the whole to come together.

    4. Purposefully repetitive. He perfected his skills as a dishwasher by doing it over and over again, just as a chef perfects slicing onions by slicing them over and over again.

    Today, Thomas Keller’s culinary empire includes four restaurants and a bakery, cookbooks, wines, a line with Williams Sonoma and now Cup4Cup - a Gluten free flour business.  Keller is the only American-born chef to hold multiple three-star ratings by the Michelin Guide.

    The Thomas Keller Restaurant Group is made up of a family of restaurants that range from the gastronomic experiences of The French Laundry, which actually was a French Steam Laundry dating back to the 1920′s, in Yountville, California and Per Se in New York City to the more relaxed atmosphere of Bouchon Bistro, the family style dishes of Ad Hoc, and the exquisite sweets you’ll discover at Bouchon Bakery.  Each are bound by Keller’s passion to nourish and to provide memorable experiences for every guest that visits.

    To quantify these experiences specifically:

    Gift Cards for French Laundry in Yountville, Ca or Per Se in New York City range from:  Silver at $750-800; Gold at $1550; and Black at $2500 – thankfully each card is for two!

    Ad Hoc, also in Yountville has gift cards from $58 per person.

    Bouchon and Bouchon Bakery, with added locations in Beverly Hills and Las Vegas, from $31 per person per gift.

     

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     I’d say, Keller definitely found what Popov describes as meaningful work by “allowing the petals of his identity to unfold!”

     

     

     

     

     

  • 6 Tips To Take Charge of Your Brand in These Hyper-Connected Times. Don’t Let Yours Suffer the Humiliation of Richard III’s

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    Yes, the former King of England’s skeleton was recently discovered in a shallow, unmarked grave under a modern parking lot. Humiliating as that is, the scariest part of this story may be that the King’s prolonged royal fall was due, in large part, to just one man, William Shakespeare. The great playwright wrote in his history play, Richard III, that Richard personally ordered the killing of two Princes, his 9 and 12-year old nephews, in the Tower of London to clear his way to the throne. Despite the fact that this was never proven, in point the King was never charged, Shakespeare’s villainous label has stuck for more than 500 years.

    Shakespeare said, “All the World’s a Stage,” and he used this platform to celebrate or skewer many brands. This would be impossible for one man to do in today’s totally networked culture. Technology has created a seismic shift in the ways in which information and opinion are conveyed. Social media has created access to vast amounts of information, producing unprecedented transparency. It’s an opportunity for you to think in terms of how best to stage your brand for maximum benefit.

    We call this Brandraising (a term we learned several years ago from one of our favorite blogs, The Duck Call), and the following tips will help you raise your brand:

    1. Establish Your Character, Originality and Authenticity.

    2. Identify and Showcase Your Skills and Talents – the gifts, passions, interests and natural aptitudes you are born with, which are part of your essential make-up, and those you’ve learned through experience.

    3. Let Your Voice Be Heard and Seen. In this multi-media world you need to create a spoken, written, and visual message, which is relevant and consistent. Each and every word and image counts. It’s your story, your brand, your career and your life. No one is better equipped to capture the essential details than you.

    Great learning tools:

    The Spoken Word – This workshop “Shall I compare thee to a newscast spot?” on how to create one minute radio spots by Phyllis Fletcher and Robert Smith from New Public Radio will help you fine tune your storytelling through the spoken word. You will learn about the importance of your voice – the sound, cadence, pauses and inflections – to achieve high impact particularity for all your non-visual communications.

    The Written Word – Read E.B.White and William Strunk, Jr.’s The Elements of Style, a tiny but venerable guide, which is just as valuable today as when it was when first published in 1919.  The guide begins with sixty-three words that could change your world of writing: “Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his [her] sentences short, or that he [she]  avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.”

    Picture It – Pictures, logos, videos and information graphics tell your story – your brand – in much less than a thousand words. There are many free online how-to articles about designing effective logos, choosing your social media photos, and creating videos to engage your audience. YouTube, for example, has some great tutorials for creating digital stories, and a section within YouTube (sponsored by Google and American Express) that allows a small business to create digital stories with professional-quality video, replete with graphics, editing, and sound.

    4. Review, Edit, Rewrite. Always remember that, like a traditional on-the-ground network, your virtual brandraising network needs nurturing and on-going maintenance. Keep it fresh and up-to-date. If you limit your postings to once a year or even once a month, it connotes a certain lack of interest and commitment or, even worse, that you really don’t know what you are doing!

    5. Listen to Your Critics. Once you post what you consider a wise or erudite tidbit, be open to feedback – both positive and negative. That interchange or exchange of information and insights is the real value added – the way we learn.

    6. Stay Ahead of the Message. Know who you are online. If you think you control your online fate by not participating in any Social Media Networking platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc, you must think again. Even better, try popping your name into Google’s search window.

    And, while you’re in a pro-active mode, check out these classic tips in How To Be Remembered from fellow blogger Liza Barone.

     

  • 5 Strategies to Beat those Extended Unemployment Blues and Re-boot Your Career – Indeed Your Life!

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    These strategic steps are designed to help you to use this downtime to invest in yourself. These are not soothing tips to help distract you from your feelings of anxiety. If you’re out of work and don’t want to be, the loss of identity can be overwhelming, but, as the late, John Gardner said, “you have more power in you than you know, so pull up your socks and get on with it.”

    In this case “pulling up your socks” requires more than pluck and optimism. To proactively and purposefully re-boot your career, you need to begin with some hard-core introspection. You need to assess the depth of your experience, to understand how your skill sets relate to and can be applied to what you’d like to do next, to identify what you don’t know that you need to learn, and to have the courage to move forward.

    1. Accept the reality. We’ve all read the stats that, if you’re over 40, it could take a year or more to find new work.

    2. Explore what makes you tick. Do a formal assessment such as: Myers Briggs, The Birkman Method or Clifton Strengths Finder to determine your strengths, values, priorities, motivators and align your goals.

    3. Mine your hidden talents. Someone once said, “The greatest wastes are unused talents and untried ideas.” What ideas do you have quietly percolating on a back burner?  Do you have a hobby that could be a good business venture? Here are 3 ideas to get you started:

    1) Rebuilding the world one toothpick at a time. Stan Munro was out of work, when he began building things with toothpicks. He started with small churches, progressed to cathedrals, and then whole cities made entirely of thousands of toothpicks. He was invited to display his artwork at a museum in Spain and is now exhibiting his toothpick masterpieces in museums all over the world.

    2) Decluttering your speciality? As you clear out stuff, think about selling those treasures on sites like eBay, Craig’s List, Tradesy.com, and Etsy, at yard sales or give away what you don’t need. Perhaps you have a real knack for it and can help others set up systems to declutter their lives. Then, too, you could set up a shop and sell their things online for a commission, if they’d prefer not to get into the online marketplace.

    3) Create a blog. Not only will it sharpen your social media skills, it could turn into other writing assignments, a book or maybe even a movie. The Meryl Streep movie, “Julie and Julia,” began as a blog about a disgruntled office worker blogging about trying every recipe in Julia Childs’ The Art of French Cooking.

    4. Become a Skills’ Learning Magnet.  Do not rest on your laurels. Yes, 25 years of solid accomplishments add gravitas to your resumé, but you could also sink like a stone under the weight of that gravitas if you do not convert past kudos into present-day assets. “Real knowledge,” Confucius said, “is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”

    First, determine what skills you need or need to re-tune. This might seem a daunting task, but good help is available at the O*Net Resource Center. The Occupational Information Network (O*NET) is a free online tool developed under the sponsorship of the US Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA) through a grant to the North Carolina Employment Security Commission. The O*NET program is the nation’s primary source of occupational information. Central to the project is the O*NET database, containing information on hundreds of standardized and occupation-specific descriptors. The database, which is available to the public at no cost, is continually updated by surveying a broad range of workers from each occupation. The database also provides the basis for their Career Exploration Tools, a set of valuable assessment instruments for workers looking to find or change careers.

    5. Put a lid on your shy genes.  As we mentioned in an earlier post, “You have to step out of the batting cage to hit a home run!” Volunteer, but don’t just volunteer to stamp envelopes. Join a committee at your neighborhood school, church or business club. Get involved to connect, learn and use this opportunity to test market your idea or product. For example, if cupcakes or natural snacks are your passion, offer to provide refreshments and listen to your customers’ “feedback.”

    Don’t let your fear of being wrong paralyze you. Thomas Alva Edison did not think of his experiments in terms of success or failure, but rather as learning. In his efforts to create the first storage battery, he conducted 10,000 experiments!

    It takes courage to believe in your self, to start something new. Thinking of “The Wizard of Oz” celebrating its 75th birthday and record of the most watched movie of all time, I remember this quote about the cowardly lion from Mary Anne Radmacher, “Courage does not always roar. Sometimes it is a quiet voice at the end of the day, saying…’I will try again tomorrow.”

  • Buzzed Bees, Boomerangs, and Provocateurs = Indefatigable Boomers

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    Last week, over lunch with a colleague, I heard about a school science project where an enterprising student (her son) sprinkled drops of dark roast coffee over some luxurious blossoms to asses the affect on the normally no slacker worker bees hovering over the garden. Result = ravenous worker bees become super buzzed.

    Later that afternoon, I read these remarkable Stories of Baby Boomerangs in the San Francisco Chronicle. Baby Boomerangs is the handle, authors Sam Whiting, Meredith May, and Bek Phillips, give to “people in their 50s and 60s who walk out the door of one career in order to walk in the door of another.”

    Their “Boomerangs” include a career attorney, who launches a doggie day care business; a US Air Force E-7 master sergeant, who retires his wings and takes to his feet to deliver mail; and a 60-year-old woman with a successful engineering career, who “was on the back of a BMW motorcycle in La Paz, Baja, when her second career idea hit her. She rode directly to the airport and caught a plane to get her to San Francisco in time to grab the last spot in a yearlong certificate program to become a life coach.”

    Then to cap off the week, I read Over 50 and Under No Illusions by Caitlin Kelly in the New York Times. Kelly says, “It’s a baby boomer’s nightmare. One moment you’re 40-ish and moving up, the next you’re 50-plus and suddenly, shockingly, moving out — jobless in a tough economy.”

    Kelly describes five Boomers who have gone through the emotional and financial strains of late-career unemployment and have successfully come out the other end of that dismal tunnel by tuning up their skills, plucking up their determination, and catching a bit of luck.  “Changing jobs or careers turned out to be a good thing,” she says, “despite the many risks involved” for this indefatigable five.

    These Boomerangs – with their extra Buzz and a good dose of their inner provocateur asking what’s next – can inspire us all to embrace the new year as an opportunity for change and reinvention.

     

     

  • Be Like Matisse and Reinvent Your Life as a Work of Art!

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    Throughout his long and productive 84-year career, world-renown French artist, Henri Matisse (1869-1953), continually redirected his creative energies by tackling at least six different styles of painting, sculpture, paper cut-outs, illustrated books, architectural design and stained-glass windows.

    And, all of this happened after Matisse had launched his first career as a lawyer! Yes, a lawyer. When he was eighteen, Matisse’s father encouraged him to study law in Paris. For two years, Matisse did brilliantly even though he found law boring and totally uninspiring, and then he was struck down with appendicitis. To ease his convalescence, his mother brought him a box of art supplies. Matisse said, “From the moment I held the box of colors in my hands, I knew this was my life.” His father was deeply disappointed, but his mother, whose art had been limited to painting designs on porcelain, advised her son not to adhere to the “rules” of art, but rather listen to his own emotions. And that is what Matisse did – over and over again – as he was living his art.

    He began painting still-lives and landscapes in the traditional Flemish style, but quickly transitioned to Impressionism, painting his first masterpiece The Dinner Table in 1897. The French traditionalists denounced it and, discouraged by their response, Matisse briefly turned to sculpture. Though he did not pursue this for long, it continued to influence form in his painting for the rest of his life.

    His next style, Modernism, was influenced by such post-Impressionists as Paul Cézanne and Gauguin. From there, he dabbled in Pointillism and Naturalism. That’s five stylistic reinventions so far in this his second career. His sixth came in 1905, when he was considered the leader of the Fauve painting movement.

    Over the next 36 years, he created hundreds of masterpieces until he was diagnosed with cancer in 1941 and the surgery necessitated he use a wheelchair. Physically diminished, his creativity soared to new heights. He called what was to be his last 14 years, “Une seconde vie,” a second life. He created his vibrant cut paper collages, and described the process as “painting with scissors.” His assistants helped him mount the cut-outs on the walls of his room and he said, “You see, as I am obliged to remain often in bed because of the state of my health, I have made a little garden all around me where I can walk… There are leaves, fruits, a bird.” Then, in 1947 he published Jazz, a brilliant, limited-edition book containing prints of his colorful cut paper collages.

    Lastly, Matisse’s final reinvention was to design in 1951 the interior and the stained-glass windows for the Chapelle du Rosaire in Vence.

    Matisse was a genius at reinvention – an inspiration to all of us to try it at least once. The good news is that there’s lots of help out there. Here are four great places to start:

    Seth Godin, marketing guru, entrepreneur, and best-selling author of fourteen books that have been translated into more than thirty languages, has written, Why We Are All Artists. In his online conversation he describes how we are all “capable of making a difference, of being bold, and of changing more than we are willing to admit. We are capable of making art.”

    The Idea Champions share 50 Ways to Foster Innovation. This blog post is about developing a culture of sustainable innovation in organizations, but the same principles apply to individual lives, as well.

    From the Harvard Business Review Blog, check out,  How to Master a New Skill.

    And don’t miss Kerry Hannon’s terrific new book, Great Jobs for Everyone 50+: Finding Work that Keeps You Healthy and Happy, and Pays the Bills, which was named book-of-the-month in the Washington Post’sColor of Money Book Club“.

    Happy New Year and Happy New You!

     

  • The Power of Knowing How to Ask the Right Questions

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    Author and teacher, Angela Maiers, is a passionate advocate of life-long learning, and this lesson she shared with a group of first graders is just as valuable for us with 50+ more years down the road. Angela and the first graders talked about power of curiosity, and more specifically the power we hold as learners when we know how to ask the right question.

    She says, “Being in charge of the questions we ask matters. Successful thinking and learning require questions to be framed in a wide variety of ways. The ‘framing’ of our questions dramatically influences what we can and are able to understand. Just teaching students to question is not enough. It is critical to explore where different questions take us as learners.”

    We have become skilled at answering questions. Think about the experience you have in test prep. Think about all your interview prep sessions. How many sites do you Google for sample questions before an interview, to minimize any surprise questions? That’s a great way for the interviewer to learn about you, but what have you learned in the process?

    I remember telling my own children, when they were stressing over the questions a college admissions’ officer would ask them, that it was even more important for them to ask questions about the college – courses, professors, culture etc.  Gradually, they understood that they were signing up for four years of living and learning – at an, even then, pretty steep cost – and it would behoove them to ask a few questions. They had a moment of enlightenment as they realized they, too, had something special to offer, and their questions about the institution where they wanted to invest their hearts, minds, time, and money also let the interviewer see and understand the assets they were bringing to the table.

    The same experience applies to you, whether you are interviewing for a job or for a loan to start your own business. Let your interviewer know the assets you bring and ask the questions that will prompt them to sell that job or loan to you.

    Maiers says, “It is important for us to know how the types of questions we ask impact and influence the answers we are capable of getting.”

    Different kinds of questions she describes are:

    ·  Clarifying Questions

    ·  Sorting and Sifting Out Questions

    ·  Strategic Questions

    ·  Planning Questions

    ·  Elaboration Questions

    ·  Comparing Questions

     

    Blogger Jesse Stanchak offers more insights as he writes, “Questions are easily the best tools you have at your disposal for priming the pump of creativity.”

    Specific cues he offers to stimulate questions are:

    • Take a cue from the Jewish Seder. A traditional Passover Seder involves the ritual asking of questions, the most famous of which is, “Why is this night different from all other nights?” That question is at the heart of all story telling…
    • Take a cue from Reddit… Two of their best-loved boards are Ask Me Anything and Explain Like I’m Five
    • Take a cue from the reporter of your dreams… Sit down and interview yourself. Ask yourself all the questions you wish real reporters would take the time to consider…
    • Take a cue from your readers. What are your fans always asking you?…

     

    Once you have some answers, test them by taking a few steps forward. You may have to back-up and try again, but first, ask yourself why these initial steps did or did not work? The answers will put you in an even stronger position to take those next steps.

    Just Start Asking!

  • Your Professional Emoticon

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    Happy Birthday Emoticons!  A picture is worth a thousand words and you’ve been telling stories for 30+ years.

    The father of Emoticons — or emotional icons — was Scott Fahlman, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. In 1982, he proposed that the following character sequence be used as a joke marker:   : – )

    These characters were quickly added to the lexicon.

    The emotional characters spread like wildfire, capturing every conceivable expression with a keystroke or 2 or 3…

    Simple as they are, these pictures convey a lot (maybe not a 1000 words but a lot) about what you’re trying to say in your communiques.  In the same way, your photo on a site like LinkedIn is your professional emoticon, and it behooves you to think with care about what the photo you post conveys.

    First and foremost, “professional” is the key word here. Whether you’re looking for a job or connecting with professional colleagues, you can be sure that your photo will be seen. The question is “how” will it be seen.

    Save the cute puppies, your precocious toddlers, wild dancing, and fashion bling shots for the family album – hopefully tucked safely away in some trunk in the attic. Remember, there is no such thing as privacy online. Your photo is part of your brand, and unfortunately, a goofy picture may turn the people you hope to reach off before they ever get to the brilliant words with which you have crafted your professional acumen.

    For some valuable, practical advice, check out this article, 11 Tips for Choosing Your LinkedIn Photo, by Norine Dagliano at CareerRealism.com.

    1. Don’t use an old photo. There are few things worse than meeting someone for the first time and not recognizing them because the profile photo is from 10 years ago (or longer)!
    2. Use a photo of YOU in your profile — not an object.
    3. Smile! Your face should radiate warmth and approachability.
    4. Photos should be professionally done, if possible (but not glamour shots).
    5. Wear your most complementary color. Bright colors can attract attention, but avoid patterns.
    6. Don’t have other people in your photos (and don’t crop other people out of your shot — there should not be any errant body parts in your online photo!).
    7. Make sure the background in the photo isn’t distracting.
    8. Relax. Look directly at the camera.
    9. Take multiple shots and ask people for their opinion on which one makes you seem most “approachable.”
    10. Tips for Men: Wear a dark blue or black dress shirt. No t-shirts, Hawaiian shirts, or busy/crazy patterns.
    11. Tips for Women: Wear something you feel comfortable in. No t-shirts or big/busy patterns. Soft, dark v-necks look great. Black always works; avoid white.

     

    You don’t need to hire a professional photographer. Find a friend who’s good with a camera, with whom you can relax and smile with confidence. You want to be accessible and engaging so those finding you online will be eager to hear what you have to say.

    Emote yourself!

  • Just Start!

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    One book and two blog posts I read this week – and another classic tome – hold our entrepreneurial, career shifting toes to the fire – as in stop over assessing, evaluating and planning and Just Start!

    The book, Just Start: Take Action, Embrace Uncertainty, Create the Future, by Len Schlesinger, President, Babson College; organizational learning expert Charles Kiefer; and veteran journalist Paul B. Brown is a stirring, practical pronunciamento. Each author shares his own deep and varied experiences and draws from a source where striving amid constant uncertainty actually works: the world of serial entrepreneurship. In this world, people don’t just think differently—they act differently, as well.

    Their dynamic manifesto begins in the epigraph where they invoke Lao-tzu, the Chinese philsopher’s, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” It ends (but is it really an ending if you follow their practicum?) as they capture the essence of the book in 78 pro-active words in the epilogue:

    1. Know what you want.

    2. Take a smart step toward that desire as quickly as you can, that is, act with the means at hand; stay within your acceptable loss and bring others along with you if it makes sense.

    3. Make reality your friend. Accept what is and build off what you find.

    4. Repeat steps two and three until you accomplish your goal or until you decide it is not possible, or you decide you’d rather do something else.

    One of the blog posts I mentioned earlier is The Habit of Starting written by Leo Babauta on his Zen Habits blog. Babauta says, “The biggest reason people fail at creating and sticking to new habits is that they don’t keep doing it. That seems obvious: if you don’t keep doing a habit, it won’t really become a habit. So what’s the solution to this obvious problem? Find a way to keep doing it.

    When you look at it this way, the key to forming a habit is not how much you do of the habit each day (exercise for 30 minutes, write 1,000 words, etc.), but whether you do it at all. So the key is just getting started.”

    The second great blog post is Tim Berry’s What Business to Start? Look in the Mirror.  Berry writes, “So you want to start a business, but don’t know what kind? Sure, you can get a list of franchises or ask the experts what are good businesses to start. That works for some people. Lists of businesses to start are easy to find. My advice, however, is don’t look for a list of good businesses. Don’t ask what the big opportunities are. Get a clue. Go look in the mirror.”

    Last but not least, the “classic tome” is  The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything by Guy Kawasaki. Aimed at entrepreneurs of any age, it is one of the most enlightening and inspiring books I have read on this subject.

  • How to Avoid the “Over-Qualified” Rejection Blues!

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    Courtesy, Artfulrabbit.com

    You spend your life trying to get experience – then suddenly have too much!

    Employers don’t care about past experience. CEOs care about business outcomes and profitability; they want to know what you can do for them now.

    You need to translate or reframe your experience to demonstrate how you can solve today’s business problems. And be passionate – it is key to your being hired over someone who has the skills or experience but could not care less.

    These are just a few of the points David DeLong discusses in this outstanding video produced by an equally outstanding project called Over50AndOutofWork. David DeLong is a research fellow at the MIT AgeLab, founder of David DeLong & Associates, author of Lost Knowledge:  Confronting the Threat of an Aging Workforce and co-author of the study Buddy, Can You Spare a Job?. DeLong provides very specific recommendations and strategies for older jobseekers to maximize the success of their job search – and the good news is that he is optimistic about the future for older workers.

    This is a 30-minute video – don’t miss a minute of DeLong’s valuable tips!

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