Crisis: It Will Shred You, or Shape You into a Warrior

Less than 24 hours ago I shared, very publicly and for the first time (on Facebook's Pantsuit Nation), a story that, 5, 10, 15 years ago, I never, ever imagined I'd share. 

It is the story of crisis. My crisis. An event that gave me staggering pain, shame and fear for a very long time. 

Pinned to a cold, hardwood floor, by a stranger whose friends were also gathered round to take it all in, I didn't know if I'd make it out of that room alive, no less live on to become a mother, wife, teacher, coach and business owner.

But here I am. 

What I share here today is not a political post, at least it does not intend to be.

It's not designed to solicit pity or discomfort.

It's a post that is designed to show you that, no matter your crisis -- whether that's in your personal life or your career, whether you caused it, or it was imposed on you without warning or fairness -- you pretty much have two choices:

Let it shred you, or use it as fuel to shape you into a warrior.

With the help of this election season, an amazing counselor, and the overwhelming goodness and support of 40,000 strangers on Facebook yesterday, I choose the latter.

Today, I fill out my application to serve on the Speakers Bureau for RAINN, the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization. If accepted, I will continue to use my voice to help others heal, rise up and then announce very loudly, "This will not be the end of my story, folks. Not by a long shot."

If you're in the midst of any kind of crisis right now, I am so sorry. I want you to know you are loved, you are supported, and that you matter.

If you're in the midst of crisis, I beg you not to let it shred you.

Because, now more than ever, the world needs more warriors.


Is the Decision Hard? Let Your Core Values Light the Way

Life is filled with moments in which you need to make big decisions. Career decisions, relationship decisions, family decisions ... and on days like today, political decisions.

And the pressure to make the right decision may feel significant.

Complicating matters is the chatter. The pressure. The input from every angle that seems to always jump into your space at the exact moments when you just need calm. Time to think. Room to ponder.

Your spouse or significant other may have a strong opinion on what you should do.

Your friends will be more than glad to try and help you "see the light."

Your colleagues will weigh in, whether you welcome it or not.

You will find endless input -- online, at family gatherings, at church, over coffee, at the office, on the sidelines of your kids' soccer games -- on what you ought to do, for any big decision.

And it will be very tempting to take their word as gospel, especially if you've come to believe that you're not strong enough, smart enough or capable enough make the right decision on your own behalf.

You are all of those things. 

You are an incredible being, with capacity to do so much. You can and, if you let yourself, will pull of amazing things in your life. You'll make good choices, take interesting paths (and detours), grow as a human. You'll also make big mistakes that will teach you plenty and mold you into something even stronger, greater and more invincible than the you of today.

So before you hand the keys to your future, to your decisions, to your life over to someone else -- someone who may be completely unqualified or not entitled to have those keys -- I beg you to get quiet.

If you're facing an enormous decision -- like, something that could change the trajectory of your life, or your family's future --  and you're feeling overwhelmed, confused or stuck, don't just throw away your power by giving someone else your vote, your voice, or your choice.

Instead, get really quiet for a bit and let your core values be your guiding light.

Sometimes, eliminating the noise that's everywhere around you is the ONLY way to do this on your own behalf.

It may take an hour. It may take a week. It may take months.

But no matter the time it takes, give yourself the gift of silence and space.

Ask yourself, "What am I here to contribute?", "Does this align with who I am, and what I stand for?", "Will I regret it if I don't go in this direction (or that)?", and "What have I got to lose?"

And then as the haze begins to clear, go out and kindly thank all who have so graciously contributed an opinion on what you ought to do.

And then do it your way. 

You got this. You deserve this. And the world deserves to have the absolute best version of you.

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons (Alan Eng)




4 Times a One-Page Resume Can Actually Hurt You

Aaah, if I had a dollar for all the times I've had to convince someone that, not only have they earned the right to extend their resume beyond a single page, but that it's nearly imperative that they do so.

I'd be loaded, that's for darned sure.

Come, come.

Let us gather round and talk about the incredibly common belief that the world will come to a screeching halt and no organization worth its salt will ever (and I mean, not ever) consider you as a serious candidate if you dare bust out a resume that extends to a second (or, gasp, third) page.

I'm not sure where we all learned this. College textbooks? Well-meaning parents or mentors? Co-workers who talk so authoritatively that you don't dare question the validity of anything that comes out of their ever-flapping mouths?

Wherever the myth of the one-page resume is coming from, it's coming hard and heavy. To the point that many job seekers just take it as a known fact that a resume M-U-S-T be one page long, period.

This, by the way, is baloney.

Now, do not get me wrong. I'm not a proponent of long resumes that blabber on unnecessarily. Not ever. In fact, I'm a big believer that every word on your resume needs to earn its spot on the page, and that showcasing your capabilities in a succinct and compelling manner should be your number one goal with your resume. (This is a marketing document, not your autobiography, people.)

But here's the rub. A one-page resume could actually hurt your job search sometimes. Did you hear that? It could hurt you. And that is not what you want to have happen when you're working to land your next great gig.

Here are four times that one-pager may work against you:

1. You've been in your career for more than a couple of years

When you're a new professional, or have been in one (and only one) job for several years, it may be perfectly doable to craft a killer one-page resume. However, as you roll forward in your career -- and, presumably, land new jobs, earn promotions and take on new challenges -- you're going to have more to showcase. 

Many professionals, as their careers progress, start hacking and tweaking and abbreviating so that they can keep the darned resume to one page forever and ever. They'll bump down the font size and squish things in to the point of ridiculousness before they will consider graduating to a second page. They'll also cut stuff out that they don't really want to cut out.

And this is where problems can arise. If you err on the side of brevity in the name of preserving a one-page format, the reviewer (both the resume scanning software and the human reviewer) won't be able to quickly understand how and why you make sense for the role you're pursuing.

And if they cannot easily connect those dots, guess what? You're done-zo. 

2. You've held several jobs that are relevant and need to be highlighted

Regardless if you're a relatively early-career professional or not, if you've held numerous relevant jobs, you're for sure going to want to highlight them, and make them a part of the compelling story of you.

You also want to (as much as humanly possible) avoid having gaps in your resume. And so, rather than hacking out jobs or saying almost nothing about them (in the name of maintaining a one-page format), give yourself permission to head on over to a second page if need be.

Again, craft your content wisely and succinctly, but rest assured that no one is going to fall over and die if you showcase your talents across a page-and-a-half.

3. You work on big projects and need to showcase them individually

This is a common challenge among consultants and project managers (especially IT project managers), who are often placed on big, finite assignments or major implementations that, alone, can read like a standalone job. Often, there's some amazing "meat" within each of these assignments -- meat that should be illustrated so that your next employer can figure out how and why you'd be a great addition to their team. 

Rather than completely glossing over major projects like this (just so you can stay within that magical one-page format), consider creating a subsection (called something like "Select Client Engagements" or "Major Projects") within roles involving big projects, and then succinctly highlight two or three that you feel are important to showcase individually.

4. You've got several substantial volunteer roles or relevant side projects to mention

If you're a do-gooder, high achiever or super active community member, you most certainly should not be penalized for your contributions, or feel pressured to chop them out of your resume. For those of you actively involved in volunteer roles, side jobs / projects or other community endeavors, consider evaluating these extracurriculars and showcasing the ones you think are most impressive and / or most relevant to your target audience.

Certainly, you don't need to list out every stinking thing (if there are a lot of them), but don't feel stressed about highlighting the "best of" activities, even if that takes you beyond one page.

Now, be clear, please, that I'm not advocating for multiple page resumes for the sake of it. Your resume should truly be a concise, compelling marketing document that (immediately) entices your target audience. But the widespread paranoia over the one-page resume just needs to stop. In 12+ years of recruiting, I've not had a single corporate hiring manager look me in the eye and say, "Jenny, this candidate looks interesting. Unfortunately, she has a two-page resume, so we're going to have to pass."

Not one time.

So say what you need to say. Make it grab my attention. Make the words earn their spot on the page. And stop freaking out about keeping it to one page at all costs.

And if you need help figuring it all out, head on over to our Weekend Resume Makeover course (save $40 with promo code: RUSH40), Ridiculously Awesome Resume Kit, or check out our one-on-one resume services.


Photo: Flickr Creative Commons (Anonymous Account)


How to Kill it on a Video Job Interview

This is a post written senior copywriter Karen Friesen

Job seekers, step right up and meet your new career search compadre, more widely known as…

(drum roll, please)

...your webcam.

If you've not encountered the video interview yet, buckle up. You very well may as you roll forward through your current or next career transition. Just as it has with every other industry on Earth, technology is shaking up job search.

More specifically, it’s changing the process many companies follow in searching for and hiring new talent. Welcome to video interviewing, a recruiting tool that allows employers to efficiently screen job contenders, sort out the most qualified candidates and introduce them to hiring managers, all without having an applicant so much as brush their teeth or get out of their pajama pants.

It’s an appealing (if not necessary) option for many employers, particularly larger companies who typically have hundreds or thousands of positions to fill each year, and and exponentially more applicants. But for those among us who are not proud owners of a selfie stick and still don’t have a YouTube channel, getting front and center with a video camera and pressing “record” can be more than a bit intimidating.  

Now might be a good time to limber up and get comfortable with your video self, however. This technology appears to not only be here to stay, but becoming prevalent in companies of all sizes, not just the whopper corporations.

To get the scoop on this growing force in the hiring world, we talked with Montage, a provider of “voice and video interviewing technology” services to companies. Serving up a full-scale interviewing platform, Montage helps companies move contenders from initial application through the hiring process while offering the flexibility to customize each step.

We chatted with the company's marketing team recently to discuss the benefits of video interviewing, along with the best ways job seekers can prepare for the process. 

Here's what they had to say:

Q. How are companies currently using video interviewing technology?
A. Companies like software that helps them show off their brand and communicate fully with job seekers. You might see videos from the hiring company or hiring manager. Some companies ask a variety of questions within an on-demand interview or have hiring managers appear on video to ask questions. This allows candidates to see and meet them early in the process, learn more about the company and make an informed decision about working there. 

Questions asked of candidates might require video or audio responses, answers to multiple choice questions or a short essay response. Companies can custom-build questions specific to each job.

Q. What are the most important things for applicants to know in preparing for video interviewing? 
A.  Embrace it! This is an opportunity to really shine through. If it’s a live interview, we highly recommend getting onto the technology early and getting comfortable with it, before the actual interview. Practice with a friend if you can, so when the time comes, you can focus on the interview and not the technology.

If it’s an on-demand or pre-recorded interview, get yourself situated in a quiet, well-lit place and tackle the questions one by one. Get to the point quickly. Look at the camera and smile. It will help show the recruiter that you’re both tech savvy and confident.

Q. For job seekers, what are the advantages to video interviewing vs. following a traditional interviewing process?
A. This format offers the perfect opportunity to bring life to your resume and express your enthusiasm for the company and the role. You have a chance to showcase your communication skills, clearly articulate your ideas or share an anecdote. We’ve also learned from our analysis that companies tend to speed up their decision making when this technology is in place. That’s a huge advantage in the sense that the job seeker often knows the conclusion – positive or not – quicker.
Q. Is this technology the future of job search and hiring?
The trends point toward more and more employers adding technology into the hiring process, and video interviewing is certainly an important aspect of this. Technology that just focuses on efficiency is not enough, however. That’s not what employers want or need. But technology that focuses on efficiency while also giving candidates a great experience will win because it caters to both simultaneously. 

Q. How can applicants put their best foot (and face) forward in a video interview?
A. The best advice is to embrace the technology and yet ignore it. What that means is: talk to the camera (not your computer screen) as if the person is sitting three feet away from you. If this is a “live” encounter, the experience is not much different than sitting across a table from one another. But if it’s an on-demand interview, remember that the recruiter will be reviewing your responses alongside dozens (sometimes hundreds) of others. So get to the point quickly and come alive during the interview. Show that you’re confident and comfortable with both your answers and the technology. That’s what employers are looking for. 

Photo: Creative Commons (David Burillo)

How Finding Freedom Can Revive Your Life (& Job Search)

The first time I went, I worried about my yoga mat. Was it the right kind? Will I look like a newbie with this particular mat? (Do people even pay the hell attention to other people's mats?)

The second time I went, I worried about my technique. Was I breathing the right way? Did I have my hands in the right spot? Was this an actual downward dog, or a weird sort of teepee move that I was making up?

The third time I went to yoga, I made a genuine commitment to simply giving myself over to the whole deal. I went into the now, rather than allowing the worries of my day, week and year (holy heck, 2016 has been a doozy) -- or my insecurities over how I looked -- barge their way into this sacred time and space.

And for the first time (perhaps in my life, and that is no joke), I fell into a calm, meditative state. And it was really, really amazing. Peaceful. Soothing. And admittedly, a little bit surreal.

In one hour, I went from, "Uhhh...I'm not at all sure yoga is my thing (and seriously, can someone tell me with authority if this mat is the right one?)" to "Can we bottle this feeling? Can I access it on command? Will this happen to me every time if I keep coming??"

This was three months ago. I've returned to yoga about 40 times since then. And not only am I becoming one strong mo-fo (I'm forever making my kids feel my muscles nowadays), I'm gaining something far, far more valuable than biceps.

I'm gaining freedom.

Freedom from the negative internal dialogue so many of us replay over and over and over in our minds every day. Freedom from the tension and stress that goes part and parcel with running a business and a household  (and also comes with working in a demanding corporate job, or being unemployed). Freedom that strips away the clutter and enables me to fully embrace my flaws, celebrate and appreciate my power, and acknowledge and feel proud of how much I have to offer.

This journey into yoga has been so surprisingly rewarding, in just a short period of time.

So I got to thinking -- Why not take this further?

That's when I began reading up on the benefits of meditation, and how exactly to go about it. And this is where my pal and fellow Portlander Meg Worden comes into the story.

I am a neophyte when it comes to full-on self-care. Yes, of course. I've always tried to eat right, sleep enough and exercise at least a couple of times a week. But until I started yoga, these efforts were always pretty much on auto-pilot. And the stress was always still there. And my body always felt like it was in a state of semi-exhaustion.

And the clutter was still in my head, sapping energy that would have come right in handy for my business.

So when I was ready to look at the meditation stuff, I turned to Meg. She's a brilliant health and wellness coach who has this self-care business on lock. And as luck would have it, my timing was perfect. She had just launched a seven-session audio course, Embodiment 101,  that helps people who struggle with stress, anxiety, adversarial relationships with their bodies or the inability to "get out of their heads".

(Hello, is that not all of us, at least from time to time?)

Embodiment 101 teaches people how to make long, deep breaths a habit (something I have historically stunk at), how to tune into (and honor) your body's needs, and how to gain comfort and confidence with your situation or insecurities ... so that you can go out and serve the world like a rock star. 

It's a wonderful resource for, well, anyone, but it's particularly wonderful for anyone feeling debilitated by the stress of a job search, the anxiety created by a job you don't like,  and / or fears tied to economic uncertainty.

The modules are easy to get through, instantly calming and are fast becoming a part of my next chapter of "Jenny Foss 2.0." (I WILL ROCK MY '40s!)

Best news of all...

Meg has generously offered all readers a special 25% off deal on Embodiment 101, a deal that lasts all week if you're interested.

That'll score you the entire course for $74 (reg. $99) if you download it by end of day Friday, 9/30.

To access this deal, simply click on the link below. No promo code necessary.

And whether you take advantage of this opportunity or no, please (pretty please) vow right here and now to do everything in your power to honor your bodies and put your health, sanity and peace of mind at the very top of your list -- through job search and through your entire lives.

And for heaven's sake, don't worry about the damned yoga mat. 

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