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image_thumbThe “traditional” 2013 employment market will be much more challenging than you might anticipate. Many companies are doing more with less. They can afford to be highly selective because they always receive a large number of qualified applicants for one job vacancy. So what can you do to increase your chances of attaining a new job this year?

What many job seekers aren’t privy to is: statistics surprisingly illustrate that approximately 80% of vacancies within companies are never publicly advertised—nope—instead, they are filled through employee referrals! This saves companies both time and money. These opportunities are hidden from the public eye and careerist never find out about them as they enthusiastically go from job board to job board in search of their dream job.

So How can you begin to effectively tap into the Hidden Job Market?

Revamp your resume! Is it well-formatted and well-presented? Is your resume cohesively written and pleasing to the eye? Does it effectively tell your story? Be honest with yourself, because to every single company you send your resume to–your resume IS you!

Narrow down your dream job in the ideal company. If you were to start a job search today, where would you apply? What would you do? Think about who might be able to help you. Planning is key in launching a successful job search campaign. Read the rest of this article.

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Photo by TikTik via Flickr

Photo by TikTik via Flickr

Companies hire skill sets, not job titles. Skills are transferable, but it is up to the job seeker to define their skills in relation to hiring company needs, not the confines of past job titles. Take a step back from what you were called and take a look at what you did.

You can read about how one client and I boosted his confidence in entering a new career path by projecting his skills into his desired position here.


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Bathroom: Before

Job search (and life) lessons come from the most unusual sources. Dawn shares how a bathroom remodel demonstrated the dread of what you don’t know usually far outweighs the reality of the task at hand. Partnering with an expert, or at least seeking some level of expertise makes a project much more manageable. The rest of the story (and the “after” picture) is here.

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I have a friend who I refer to as ‘my oldest and dearest friend’. We grew up together, got in trouble together, were in each other’s weddings, and is the one I can call for anything. Over the years however, we have grown apart in terms of our locations and visits. Life gets us tied up with activities, work, family and other things that sometimes steal our time.


We keep in touch often using texting and emails, but we haven’t seen each other in a few months. Every time we email or talk we say, “Let’s get together soon”, but we never seem to have or make the time.


So, last week I was thinking of her and decided to send her a quick email. But instead of the usual catch-up and asking what’s new with her, I sent a note like I do with my clients which was something like: “…and so I’d like to schedule a meeting next week with you. I’m currently available Monday morning, Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday from 11-3pm…; let me know which day and time works best for you…”


And it worked! She called me that day and laughed that I was ‘getting down to business’, and we worked out a time we could meet that week, for an early (but long) lunch.


I realized I needed to make our time together a priority if we were ever going to see each other. Scheduling helped to put our thoughts and words into action. The note on my calendar was a goal that was achieved through thought, planning, and action.


When working with career transition clients, we often discuss goals and develop plans to achieve them. The goals vary greatly; sometimes it is a promotion, more money, greater joy or less stress, more time with family, a new job in the same industry or taking a leap and wanting to start a new career in either the same or different industry.


Whatever the goal my clients come to me because they haven’t been able to achieve these goals on their own and are looking for outside assistance and accountability to make their dreams a reality. Either they don’t know how, don’t have the confidence or don’t think they have the time to make the change. Our first step is to determine what the goal is and what achieving that goal will mean to them.


In my case, it meant spending two hours laughing over old times, our kids, and changes coming up in in our lives, and it is being able to reconnect with one of my favorite people. After our lunch I realized again, how important our friendship is to me and that I need to treat it as such and make it a goal to see each other more than three or four times a year.


Those things that we put importance on and focus on are what we end up achieving. In your professional life right now, what is in need of change? What would make your life better and more fulfilling? And what would that mean to you and your family? Changes don’t have to be big and scary, you can start small.


What can you do now?

  • Start small by volunteering to be part of more special projects or committees, or commit to doing your job so well that it catches the attention of your boss and other decision makers.
  • Connect with a few people that you see as being where you’d like to be in one, two, or five years, on one of the many social media groups, to understand more clearly what that life will look like for you.
  • If you need more schooling, start by signing up for one evening online class.
  • If you are looking to advance your career, where do you want to end up? Find those around you that are in the position you feel would be a good goal and fit for you, and then do some research and questioning to find out what those people did and are doing to be where you want to be.
  • And if the goal is to move into a new career, do your homework to find out to see what exactly will be expected of you and required and to find those that you can talk with that have taken the steps you are looking to take.

Most importantly, make a list of the career goals you have for yourself, even if they seem impossible. If you’ve had the idea in your head for a while, it might be worth it to see what it would take to make that dream a reality. Start today and do something small to bring you one step closer to your dream job. If you need motivation, write down a list of benefits from achieving your goal and keep it where you can see it and read it often.


Shine on Job Seekers!


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“Whatever Clock” from uncommongoods.com

Time passes, regardless what we do with it. For job seekers, uttering, “I don’t have time” frequently nets a stagnant career, a longer than usual job search, or plain “ole” frustration and feelings of helplessness. Evaluating how we spend time often uncovers the time we didn’t think we had. Determine what’s important and dedicate the time needed to accomplish goals. Time can’t be “found” and it can’t be “made.” It’s a finite resource, requiring careful allocation.

Dawn Bugni expounds on the topic here.


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By Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter

Effective job search shares many characteristics of weight loss. For one, both require patience, sacrifice, time and rigorous, focused effort. Naturally, we resist taking the needed steps to start–and persist in–the strategic action steps to complete the marathon.

I hope to debunk some excuses that may be holding you back in my latest post, inspired by my current health and fitness journey. In it, I provide ideas that may encourage and spur you to pick up the weights and muscle up your career and job search initiatives to take your career to a new level!

Please follow this link for the full post: Climbing That Career Mountain.


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Photo by Koshyk via Flickr

After searching almost six months on his own, Dawn introduces a recent graduate to the power of focus in a job search. Armed with a new and compelling presentation of the value he brings to an organization, “Tom” landed a career-launching position a month after abandoning his “I’ll take anything” approach and re-starting his search with laser-sharp focus on a specific career goal. You can read more about Tom’s transition and job search success here.

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Discover value in what makes you unique; embrace and extol it. (Photo of a poster at husband's work. If you know the source, I'll gladly give attribution.)

In part two, of this two-part series, Dawn Bugni dissects the feedback a client received in response to her resume (a career marketing document). Sadly, the dated, destructive, and depressing guidance came from a source that “should” know better – her university career center.

Differentiation is key in this market. Cookie-cutter doesn’t cut it anymore. Want to know more? Follow this link to get the rest of the story.

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Photo by mcdittx via Flickr

Bad job search advice is almost worse than no advice at all. Be careful of people who “should know better” spouting forth last century job search information. Unfortunately, some understaffed, financially stretched college career centers fall into that category.

Click on this link to read part one of Dawn Bugni’s two-part story …

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Photo by Martina Rathgens via Flickr

In today’s job market, it’s not uncommon for job seekers to pursue multiple types of positions. However, if not managed carefully, searching for multiple positions, and sometimes in multiple industries, can end in frustration for the job seeker. Without clear focus on position and, in turn, employer needs, the job seeker’s message quickly becomes, “I’ll take anything. Look at all I’ve done.” In today’s highly competitive job market, the onus of responsibility for defining and conveying relevant value and skills falls squarely on the shoulder of the job seeker. Dawn Bugni shares how a narrower focus nets better results, here.

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