Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sometimes you just have to start at the beginning...

The official book launch party for Words for the Journey - thoughts and affirmation for women returning to work is in 16 days!! I am thrilled to be giving away copies and talking with area women about careers and reinvention.

It's funny. When I decided to write a book, I intended to write an action plan - a step by step process for women planning their returns to paid employment. It's something I should have been able to write in  my sleep.  I've coached clients on it. I've spoken about it. I've written blog posts about it. But every time I sat down to write the darn book, it just wouldn't flow.

I tried to force it.

I worked to ram right through the blockage.

I procrastinated.

I made excuses.

I let weeks and months crawl by with nary a sentence or two that was worth anything.

Then I cleared the deck, took an entire weekend, and gave up what I thought I was supposed to write about and just started writing. That's when a totally different book started to be written;  that's the one we'll be launching at the lovely shindig on the 11th - Words for the Journey: thoughts and affirmations for women returning to work.

You see, no matter how hard we push, sometimes it comes down to letting go and starting at the beginning. In my head, I had it all sorted (or so I thought). But it wasn't until I was ready to open up, let go of my expectations, and consider possibilities that things fell into place.

In support of your success,


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Networking With Grace and Ease - Part 2

In part 1 of Networking With Grace and Ease, I shared some networking questions that can be door openers and relationship starters.  Since networking boils down to relationships, how can job seekers move from an initial meeting to developing a collegial dynamic?

First, it's important to nurture your relationship with members of your network.  Remember, it’s incumbent upon you (not them) to do this. This is the chance to also be of service (see first three examples below). Track your contacts, striving to reach out every few weeks or so.  Here are some ideas for connecting in a positive and professional way:

  • Send an email with an interesting article about something of interest to your contact.
  • Send an update about a professional association he/she has mentioned.
  •  Follow up on something you said you would do (ex:  As promised, here is the contact information to the publishing consultant I mentioned.  I’ve contacted him and he’s happy to answer those technical questions you had. He suggested that you mention my name when you call.  Best wishes!).
  •  Send an email about what you’ve been doing (ex:  I wanted to reach out and let you know that I did research on the conference you mentioned and am going to attend. Are you planning on participating?).
  •  Make a phone call. No worries about reaching an answering machine. In fact, with people being so busy, the answering machine can be your friend --  leave a quick message. “Hi Sally.  It’s Cathy Jones.  I thought I might catch you…I’m just calling to touch base and find out how things are going.  Last time we spoke/emailed, you mentioned you were presenting at a conference and I was interested in hearing about it.  I’ll touch base with you in a few weeks again, so no worries about calling back.  Hope all is well!  Bye!."
  •  React to news (press release, LinkedIn update, industry news) via email:  Kathy, Congratulations on your new position.  How wonderful it was to read about it in ______. Best wishes for continued success!  All the best, Patti.
  •  Reach out via phone or email re: meeting for coffee or lunch.  “I’m going to be in your area on ____ and wondered if you’re available for coffee or lunch.  It would be nice to catch up and hear how things are going for you.  Let me know…. Best, Janice."

As you develop relationships and build your network, you may receive requests...and you can also make requests such as “Would you consider giving me feedback on my resume?  I value your judgment and would be most appreciative on any suggestions you might have.”  OR  “I’m applying for jobs in the _______ field at ______ and ________ companies.  If you hear of any openings, I’d be so appreciative if you’d pass my name along.” 

This is quite different from sending out your resume to all of your contacts and asking for a job, nor is it putting someone on the spot – neither of which are effective strategies.  Rather, this is a thoughtful and considered strategy that when used appropriately (and sparingly) can be quite effective.


As you network and apply your job search strategy consistently and mindfully, remember that it all boils down to a few principles:

Be genuine. 

Be authentic. 

Be of service.   

Be thoughtful. 


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Networking with Grace and Ease - Part 1

At its core, networking is about developing relationships. It’s also as much about giving as it is getting.  For job seekers, networking can sometimes {incorrectly} be a synonym for asking for work.  It sure takes a lot of pressure off – AND makes networking less intimidating, if job seekers approach networking with the dual purpose of (1) establishing new connections/relationships and (2) keeping an eye out for opportunities to assist/give.

What kinds of questions do I ask other than ‘Do you have a job for me?!?’ you might be thinking.  Below is a list of relationship-building and insight-gathering questions that can inform your job search, support new connections and move you forward towards your goal.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?
What’s been one of the most challenging aspects of this week for you?
What brought you to this career path/field?
What do you love about your work?

What are the top 3 bits of advice you have for someone getting into your field?
What makes someone successful in your field?
What’s the best professional/business book you’ve read lately?

What professional associations do you recommend joining?

What’s the first thing you do each day?

What’s the last thing you do before you leave your office each day?

Tell me your best timesaving/organizational tip.
What changes do you see on the horizon that could have major impact on your work/field?
What are the key skills/traits needed for success?
What publications are ‘must reads’ for you?
What kind of clients/customers are your target?  (This one is also an opportunity for you to make introductions)

What key traits do you look for when you’re adding to your staff?

What tips do you have for job seekers in this competitive market?
As you can see, these are big picture kinds of questions. And the answers are competitive intelligence for the job search...handed
to you on a silver platter!  In fact, these answers provide you with all kinds of action steps that can increase your marketability in your target field and provide you with great interview discussion points.

It’s important to note that you’ll probably only have a chance to ask one or two of these in a networking setting.  However, you can leverage this initial meeting by following up and scheduling coffee or lunch.  At this time – conversationally over coffee or lunch – you can ask additional questions to gather more information for your search and future path.

Below is an example of how this might be done:

You:  It’s been so nice speaking with you.  Do you have a business card?

Contact:  Sure, here’s one…

You:  Great!  May I give you one of my cards?  (Yes, jobseekers…business cards are the currency of networking and very worthwhile to obtain by either printing at home using high quality business card stock OR online at a source like

Contact:  Ok.

You:  I’d like to learn more about your work/career/business/etc.  Would you be open to meeting for a coffee or lunch near your office within the next few weeks?  If so, I’ll send you an email with some possible times.

Contact:  Yes, that’s fine.  I’ll look for your email.

In Part 2, I'll share ideas for reaching out to members of your network in a way that is not intimidating and can help to position you as a reliable, relevant and valuable contact for others.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Curling and Your Job Search - Similarities and Lessons

Yesterday, I had an incredible opportunity to join a bunch of friends as we gingerly stepped onto a curling rink -- most of us for the first time ever.  After watching a short demonstration of technique and learning some game basics and strategy pointers, we were divided into teams and began to compete.

The afternoon was filled with laughter, learning, some stumbling, and wonderful camaraderie as we cheered one another on, fully realizing we were experiencing just the tip of the iceberg of this medieval-borne sport. As I think about yesterday and what I learned, I'm struck by how the sport of curling might offer insight and encouragement to job seekers.  Here are 6 Tips For Job Seekers From the World of Curling:

1.  Strategy is key: Curling is not about simply 'throwing rocks' (pushing the granite stones down the course).
Strategy and precision are essential to scoring. Similarly, an effective job search isn't a matter of simply emailing resume after resume and applying to online posting after online posting.  Just as curlers take many factors into account - opponent's strengths, condition of the ice, the position of the stones already thrown, spin and more, so, too, must job seekers. Corporate culture, job descriptions, market conditions, and value proposition are just a few examples of factors that savvy job seekers take into account as they develop their strategic job search plan.

2.  Lingo adds to understanding and insight:  Our wonderful trainer provided us with key curling terms such as skip, first, hammer, house and end to broaden our knowledge and to add value to our experience. Job seekers would do well to learn the lingo within their target careers and companies to establish rapport and showcase understanding.

3.  It's about having a good team:  While only one person at a time actually 'throws the rock' in curling, each of the 4 team members has an active role to play.  The skip is providing direction for the thrower and the sweepers, who are at the ready to impact the direction and speed of the stone.  For job seekers, the team is one's personal and professional network.  Just as the skip provides the direction to the team, job seekers need to let their network know how they can help.

4.  Sweeping maximizes the throw: Sweeping can transform a pretty good team into a great one in curling. Sweeping adds speed and direction to the rock as it goes down the lane. It reminds me of the follow up job seekers do (or don't do).  Making phone calls, tending to one's network, and sending post-interview thank you notes support your job search initiatives in the same way that sweepers support the throwers in curling.

5.  Balance and Core Strength are essential: I didn't know this until I actually tried curling: it takes solid core strength and balance.  Looking for a job also takes core strength and balance, albeit in a slightly different way. For job seekers, core strength relates to the essential need to keep on keeping on, reaching into a well of strength and executing the job search consistently.  The balance piece relates to the importance of using a multi-pronged job search approach, not relying on one strategy...but striking on an effective balance by using 3 or 4 strategies.

6.  When you fall, you just get back in the game: No surprise here - ice is slippery and players can fall.  As we all played, I noticed people taking near and actual tumbles. When that happened, they laughed, dusted themselves off, and got back to the task at hand.  Job seekers may find themselves on slippery ground at times.  In all likelihood, there will be stumbles and tumbles.  When that happens, simply dust off, stand up, and continue on! 

Whether you're about to launch a job search, are in the middle of a job search, or could use some general career encouragement, I hope this post is helpful!

In support of your success,


Monday, October 21, 2013

In Spite Of

by Carol Camerino
I wrote this at a gathering of some AMAZING writer-friends (Janet Cargill, Kathy Kane, Julie Genovese and Denise Williams). As the self-proclaimed non-creative writer in the group (non-fiction/journalistic style is more my game), I admit to feeling intimidated as I put pen to paper once our writing prompt was shared.  No one was more surprised than I to discover I had written a poem

I thought I'd share it here as the message of hope, redemption and the promise of tomorrow relate to all areas of life - including job search and careers.
In spite of…

In spite of…

It’s dark.

The path is unclear; you’re unsure of where to start.

No matter that this day wasn’t what you had hoped it would be.

The stars will shine tonight.
Their light in the velvet night sky like the
spray of soap bubbles, ready to clear the remnants away and
leave a fresh new canvas awaiting what's next.

What a gift these stars are, reminders that their
glimmer means you get to start anew.

Yes, tomorrow IS a new day.

“Hello stars!” you  might say tonight. “Work your magic and usher in my next chance, my new opportunity, my tomorrow.”

When you wake, the stars will be gone.
Their sparkle, magic and power now dissolved into the new
blank slate that is today.

In spite of…

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Three Reasons To Go To Conferences and Conventions – Even on Your Own Dime


I’m a complete and total conference geek. Name tag proudly worn, attendance at every event/session/coffee break; yep, that’s me!

As a solopreneur (read: money for attending these comes out of my pocket – literally!), I look forward to conferences and conventions as opportunities to connect with colleagues, learn about emerging trends and expand my skill set.
I understand not all share this enthusiasm. In fact, while at the National Resume Writers' Association conference this past week, I hopped onto the elevator with my attendee tag looped proudly around my neck like a necklace from Tiffany’s. A gentleman in the elevator spied the name tag, rolled his eyes and asked amidst a groan/sigh,  “At a conference?” (cue co-conspiring expression of exasperation from said gentleman who was then clearly awaiting my equally annoyed “You don’t have to tell me, brother!” eye roll).
“Yes!” I cheerfully replied.  “I LOVE conferences, don’t you?”

He looked about as perplexed and confused as if I had entered the elevator holding hands with ET.  "NO!!!" he guffawed, as I watched fear creep into his face. Before I could respond, we had arrived at his floor where he made a hasty retreat before I was able to share more maniacal rantings such as "I love to learn!" and "I really love my work".

As I continued on the elevator, I laughed to myself...but then got to thinking that this might be how some job seekers feel when I mention conferences, trainings and conventions as possible job search components. While I could list a dozen reasons why I love these events and why I encourage job seekers to consider them, I'll list just 3 here for your consideration.  
1.    You can significantly boost your professional competencies. Continually expanding one’s skill set and keeping on top of emerging trends, challenges and opportunities helps to position job seekers for success. Considering the cost of formal training programs, these opportunities can be wildly cost effective. The enhancement of your skill set and career marketability will be priceless.
2.    You get to share with and learn from colleagues. How do others in your field handle various situations? What are the pros and cons of these options? What do others think of your ideas? Gathering this information on your own might be time-consuming and intimidating. These programs, though, are like the proverbial office water cooler, only better! Most of the time, colleagues are happy to generously share their strategies, thoughts and insights while also learning from you. You’ll walk away with new ideas that can add value to your job search campaign in the form of connections, interview material, tips and possibly even job leads!

3.     Your motivation and enthusiasm get a solid boost.  May I share a story for this one? At this recent event, the keynote speakers included Susan Whitcomb, Dr. Richard Feller, Kirsten Vernon and Heather Wieshlow. Each one of these high-profile and extremely accomplished professionals presented compelling and thought-provoking information that made me even more proud of and excited for the work I do. Work sessions presented by generous colleagues rounded out the 3-day conference. I'm now back to work feeling enthused and recharged.  For job seekers, this added boost of enthusiasm can be a differentiator as you're compared to other candidates. 
And here’s one more bonus reason:
4.      Your network will expand exponentially.  If ‘working the room’ is just about your least favorite thing to do, you should know that these programs are a kinder, gentler way to begin to meet people.  At each session, you can start with just introducing yourself to the person you’re sitting next to.  Some conversation starters might be “What’s your greatest takeaway from this program up to now?”, “Do you have a favorite speaker?” or “Tell me about your work/company/client base…”.  Note: you’re not asking for a job.  This is about relationship building – the best way to network. 

In this setting, you get access to pros at all levels in your industry as you chat over coffee during breaks, exchange business cards to follow up with later, and even make some great first impressions!

In the past, I’ve received consulting work and client referrals from networking connections at events like these. And I’ve gladly made introductions and shared resources, contacts and opportunities (networking is a two way street – it’s most effective when when both giving and receiving).  At this week’s conference, for example, I met new colleagues whom are among the best and brightest in my field that I’ll be sure to keep in touch with, discussed a possible collaboration with another writer/coach, and made an accountability pact with yet another to support our common goal achievement.  Pretty fantastic, don’t you think?!?

As you fine tune your strategic job search and career plan, consider these events. Even though you may be investing time and resources in attending, you can leverage these opportunities to maximize your ROI (return on investment) in support of your goals.

In support of your success,

Carol Camerino, CCMC, CTTCC

Job Search Strategist and Resume Writer

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Reality TV Wisdom For Your Career

Reality TV is ubiquitous. It seems there is nothing that can't serve as a reality series premise, doesn't it?

Regardless of whether you watch reality shows or not, you're probably questioning my posit that there is wisdom to be mined. First, a caveat - I don't watch a ton of reality shows, so can't speak to all. However, I've stumbled upon a couple that I've been watching when I get the chance.  Guess what??  I really did find some tips for career and job search success from 3 of my favorites that I'd like to share.  Read on to find out how ABC's Shark Tank, Bravo's Tabatha Takes Over and NBC's The Apprentice can make you more effective at work:

Shark Tank: 
I don't know about you, but I am fascinated by the entrepreneurial mind. On Shark Tank, a panel of 5 sharks (investors) assess pitches by entrepreneurs and decide to invest...or not. Watching the pitches and observing the sharks' reactions is like sitting in on a mini MBA course on business valuations, marketing, presentation skills and finance. And earning a shark's support can send an entrepreneur soaring into the success-o-sphere. On a recent episode, shark (and technology innovator) Robert Herjavec decided to invest 300K with Guitar Buddy creator Travis Perry. Within hours, the demand for the product crashed the site. Travis has since hired additional staff and is on his way to $ucce$$!

Shark Tank Lesson: No matter whether an idea truly is the next best thing since sliced bread or not, the sharks always zero in on numbers and data. Their enthusiasm for an idea takes the back seat to prior sales figures and demonstrated success. As a jobseeker or someone looking for career advancement, can you provide objective data to support your abilities? You've got to be ready to share quantifiable evidence of your success and strengths to make your case as to why YOU are an organization's SOLUTION!

Tabatha Takes Over:
If salon owner and biz coach Tabatha Coffey comes into your workplace, get ready!  She whips small businesses into shape with a no-nonsense, lean-on-the-warm-and-fuzzies approach.  As a successful business woman, she has a knack for lasering in on organizational dysfunction as well as incompetence, and isn't afraid to talk about it!

Tabatha's Lesson: Constructive criticism can transform your skills...if you're able to accept it.  Show after show, Tabatha shares her considerable expertise with newer stylists. Some are wide open to it, asking additional questions, implementing her suggestions and, consequently, improving their skills. Others immediately move to the defensive, sadly squandering an opportunity to learn best-in-class techniques from a master stylist.  Whether you're a jobseeker or not, continually leverage opportunities to learn from those who are further along the learning curve! Check the ego and open the mind.

Celebrity Apprentice and The Apprentice: 
Both iterations of the show feature Donald Trump as the boss who must fire someone at the end of each episode. Celebrity or civilian, the final boardroom meeting (where someone is always let go) is often an exercise in incredulity. It usually goes something like this: Team member A is shocked and dismayed to be named one of the least contributing members for that week's project. He/she purports to have worked diligently and contributed significantly to the project.  It's not too soon after that Mr. Trump decrees 'You're Fired' and we cut to the tearful contestant in a taxi, heading to the airport.

Apprentice's Lesson:  Working hard is important.  But it's also important to be sure your boss understands what you're doing and how you're contributing to departmental goals.  It's the work version of one of the great philosophical questions... 'if a tree falls in a forest...'

One More Lesson...
I remember another reality series that aired on PBS several years ago - Frontier House.  Modern day families lived as if they had gone back in time to other eras - mid/late 1800s, for example.  From this I learned that I would not have made a very good frontier wife or mother. I'm not sure how that tidbit will impact my life or career, but it's tucked away for future reference!

All the best,


Saturday, January 7, 2012

More on Music and Your Job Search

I knew it!! 

Your playlist CAN change your life... 

and it's the premise of a new book by brain-computer systems expert Don DuRousseau and Drs. Galina Midlin and Joseph Cardillo called  Your Playlist Can Change Your Life (Sourcebooks, 2012).  The trio has collaborated to share their expertise on brain research and performance and how music impacts how we think, feel and act.

Recently, I wrote about music to inspire job seekers (  My recommendations included tunes that I find inspiring and uplifting, either because of lyrics, melody or both.  It turns out there is actually a physiological connection between music and our brains and bodies that has to do with the song's beats per minute, brainwaves and even lyrics. And according to the authors of Your Playlist Can Change Your Life, there are ways to harness the power of music to increase its impact and boost your performance on various tasks.

The authors' website has lots of great suggestions for playlists for organizing, feeling better and even increasing your alertness.  My own ipod has playlists for creating (mostly instrumentals), writing (heavy on Joni Mitchell - her phrasing and imagery clear the pathway from my brain to the paper like no other), and walking (high energy tunes to keep me moving fast).  I plan to incorporate some of the strategies from the book to build even better playlists!

How about making your very own job search playlists?  Consider creating 3:  one for when you're working at your computer, one for listening to when you're on your way to interviews, meetings and networking events, and another soundtrack of sorts to play while you're visualizing your career success.

Happy listening!!

All the best,
twitter: @OnRampJobCoach

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

7 Ideas to Consider For Job Search Success in '12

Alas...the season of resolutions is upon us!

The dawn of the new year is a great time to take stock...and to check in and re-calibrate your job search.  Below are 7 ideas for  you to consider as you begin to look for a job or work to move your search to the next level:

1.  Step away from the computer.  It's very easy to get caught in a cycle of applying to online job postings as your sole job search strategy.  Is it possible to find a job this way?  Yes.  BUT - you significantly increase your chance of job search success by developing a comprehensive strategy that includes other techniques, too.  Screen time is not a substitute for face time.  Add in appointments and networking events along with a few other techniques and see how your search heats up.

2.  Zero in on your personal brand. Personal branding is a very hot topic - for good reason. Determining who you are, what you bring to the table and what sets you apart from other job seekers is well worth your time and effort.  Your resume will be stronger, your interviews more focused and polished and your brand will carry over into career success.

3.  Leverage social media.  Are you using LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to their full job searching potential?  The statistics are very clear - social media can help you in your job search.  On the flip side, it can also have a negative impact.  Be sure your profiles are polished and professional and that any questionable photos and posts are DELETED!!

4.  Join professional organizations and associations.  There is networking gold out there just waiting for you!!  Since you won't be spending so much time in front of your computer (remember #1??), you'll have time to attend local networking events, alumni gatherings and professional association seminars.  Have a supply of business cards and be ready to share your brand through a powerful 'elevator pitch.'

5.  Ask for help.  Resume writing, interviewing, job search strategy development...they are not what they used to be.  If you're using the same techniques from years ago, time's a wastin'...and time IS money.  Get help.  Hire a career coach and/or resume writer who will help you by creating a powerful resume loaded with keywords that will market your skills and successes.  He or she can also help you to develop a super job search strategy as well as prepare you to ace interviews.  For details on working with a career coach/resume writer, email me

6.  Go the extra mile whenever you can.  Follow up after networking events, send thank you notes, make phone calls, prepare for interviews, ask questions...there are so many opportunities to distinguish yourself as a job seeker.  It's surprising, though, how many candidates don't take advantage of these.  You, however, will be sure to do so from now on!

7.  Remember that you are someone's solution.  Yes, it's true.  There is a recruiter, HR staffer, manager or coordinator who needs you on his/her team.  Your job is to make yourself easy to find.  By incorporating some of the ideas listed above, you will be on your way!

All the best,

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Degree May Not Be Enough...5 Reasons Why College Students Should Complete An Internship

Guest post by Lauren Towle, Class of 2012

You’re about to earn your degree, so finding a job should be easy right? Well...maybe not.  Many employers prefer potential employees with some experience. 

Is there a way for students to acquire much-needed career experience during college?'s actually rather simple: get an internship.

Not convinced as to why internships are important? Here are five reasons to help you make your decision:

1. Gain Real World Experience.

With internships becoming more common, employers are starting to expect at least one completed during college.  They not only give an added boost to your resume, but they give you experience to apply to your actual career as well as a healthy dose of personal confidence. Having an internship can help eliminate the common fears students have about the “real world.”

2. Test Drive Your Career Choice.

Internships show an employer that you have an idea of what is expected of you once you're hired. Also, you'll get an inside glimpse of what you will be doing after you graduate. This allows you to test drive your career and can help you decide whether you're on the right path...or whether you need a course correction.  

3. Internships Can Turn Into Jobs.

Not only do internships provide you with professional experience, they may lead to an job offer upon graduation. Many companies use them as a gateway to hiring employees. If you work hard and impress the right people, you may garner a job offer! And if not an actual job offer, you'll have some great professional references and an increased professional network.

4. Earn College Credit.

Many colleges grant 3-6 credits for internships - the equivalent to one or two classes.  These internships can be completed during semesters or the summer. Colleges work with many companies to help students find experience opportunities and they offer many resources.

5. Make Some Extra Money,

There are many different kinds of internships, including paid ones. If you can make money while learning how to work in your career of choice AND get college credit, then I’d say you've got it made! While unpaid internships also offer amazing opportunities to enhance what you're learning in class, making money can certainly help to lessen financial stress a bit.

The bottom line is this:  with the workforce becoming more and more competitive among graduates, it is imperative to gain experience that will make you a stand out candidate.  The more experience you have, the better you'll look against the 100s of other potential job applicants.

There is no way around an internship! Visit your college career planning or experiential learning office for information on how to get started. Additional sources of internship information to follow in another post.  Stay tuned!

About Lauren Towle: 
Lauren Towle, Class of 2012, is a college senior majoring in public relations with a minor in marketing. She is two-time intern who has supplemented her in-class learning with real-world, practical experience and is looking forward to job searching, interviewing and beginning her next chapter.