Midwest Professional Woman's Group Blog

Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group

Posts Tagged ‘Career advice’

Dress for Success Worldwide CEO Joi Gordon answers your questions and provides career tips.

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on December 3, 2010

Question #1

Some jobseekers have a very clear vision of their ideal job. What do they need to do to turn that idea into a reality?

Response #1

I have learned that in some cases a job seeker’s “ideal job” might be different than the “right job.” The only way to know the difference is through research and tapping into the networks of the industry you are interested in. By joining like-minded associations, clubs and attending industry related events, one gets a genuine feel for what the culture and expectations in that industry really are. Consistent and targeted networking lands people jobs—make sure you have this kind of network.

Question #2

There are jobseekers who lost their dream jobs because of cutbacks. How can these jobseekers take what they loved about their old jobs and apply it to new positions?

Response #2

My guess is that these particular jobseekers always brought their best self to work – day in and day out. This should never get old, regardless of the position you’re in. Loving what you do is one thing, but when you bring your best self to work, it’s a recipe that allows you to do everything better. As you get acquainted in your new position, think about how you are accustomed to bringing your best self to work and continue to do so. And you never know—the “dream job” you had could very well turn into a hobby or something to be passionate about outside of work. Keeping a balance of work and other outside interests is key—your glass should be full!

Question #3

The job market is extremely competitive for recent grads. What can recent grads do to make themselves stand out?

Response #3

Presentation is key. It’s all about how you walk into that room—and how you’re dressed does matter. I always tell women that come to Dress for Success—on that interview, look like you have the job. Recent grads can erase the interviewer’s concern that you don’t have the experience necessary to be successful in the position by looking polished and professional. Enable the interviewer to easily visualize you working for that company.

Question #4

Do you have your dream job? How have your ideas about your dream job changed as you progressed through your career?

Response #4

My work at Dress for Success has never been a job—it’s been something I wake up every morning excited to do. If my journey didn’t include Dress for Success, I would still be making a difference because that is what I am committed to doing as a person and a professional. Why do we have to dream? Start doing it! Your moment to shine is right now. Identify the path, take the steps and prepare for incoming opportunities right now. I promise you’ll love what it is you’ve decided to do. And don’t forget to keep us at Trop50 and Dress for Success posted on your success.

Question #5

How can people get more involved with Dress for Success?

Response #5

You can easily help Dress for Success right now by sharing a fabulous free online gift with the Trop50 Facebook application. For every online gift shared through December 31st, 2010, Trop50 will donate $5 to Dress for Success (up to $25,000). Logon to Facebook today and help give goodness! Thanks all!

For more Trop50 career tips from Joi and E! News host Giuliana Rancic visit Trop50.com.

Interview provided by Tropicana


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Job Search Strategies & Online Resources

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on October 22, 2010

In the beginning, there were two major online job search engines: Monster and Careerbuilder. Over time, many other job search engines were created. Jobseekers can be overwhelmed by the number and variety of online job search sites available. Another frustration often experienced is finding quality job postings. Some sites include very little information with their job postings. Often, applicants submit resumes only to find the job posting was no longer open or valid.

Here are a few tips to improve online job searches:

1. Research first. Narrow your search to those jobs or categories based on your skill set. Research companies and determine which type of company best meets your needs. What benefits matter to you? Are you looking for companies that provide flexible scheduling, onsite childcare, travel opportunities, etc? Once you know what you are looking for – you are ready to start an online search.

2. Online Resume Websites. Utilize online sites like Koda, Monster and VirtualCV to showcase your skills and conduct job searches. These sites are convenient because they let you post your resume and conduct job searches from one website.

3. Leverage Professional Social Networks. LinkedIn and Plaxo are two of the largest online professional networking sites and should be used in your job search. LinkedIn has a robust job search engine. Once you find a job that interests you, LinkedIn shows who in your professional network is employed at or connected to that particular company. You can contact your LinkedIn connections for additional information about the job and/or the company. Plaxo is very similar to LinkedIn. It has a job search feature within its site. Again, you can leverage professional connections to get information on a particular job opening or company.

4. Industry Specific Job Search Engines. Sites like Dice.com (information technology jobs) or HigherEdjobs.com (education jobs) provide job postings specific to one industry. Other sites like Indeed.com and Linkup.com allow you to conduct searches in a particular field or industry. Linkup.com is accessible by visiting the website directly or linking it to your current Facebook account. Indeed.com takes job searching a step further by allowing you to save searches and have updates e-mailed to you.

Take the time to research and create a good job search strategy. These simple tips will save time and reduce frustration.

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Go with the Flow How to Deal with Changes on the Job

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on October 14, 2010

One thing you can count on in life and at work is that things will change. Just when you get used to something, you have to learn something new. Depending on how you look at change, it can give you a headache or it can be a terrific opportunity to grow and learn new skills and develop new competence. Here are some pointers for dealing successfully, and beneficially, with changes in your job:

· Recognize flexibility as a basic job skill. Being flexible in times of change is smart strategy.  Remember the old story about the two trees in the storm: The sapling bent in the wind and survived.  The stiff old tree snapped.

· Give change a chance.  Don’t dig in your heels or bad mouth changes.  Give them time to take effect.  After they get used to changes, people usually come to value the benefits of a change (time savings, less effort, etc.) and wonder why they ever resisted it in the first place.

· Remember that nobody expects you to be an expert right away. Don’t expect to be able to navigate through these new waters like a pro right away. It takes a little time to learn new procedures, equipment, systems, etc.  You’ll be up to speed soon enough. Make the effort to learn the new information and skills.

Ask for help-and offer to help others. Ask a lot of questions-even if you have to ask the same question several times before the answer makes sense. The other side of this coin is that one excellent way to adjust to change is to help co-workers adjust.  So do what you can to help others accept and realize the benefits from changes.


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Building a Positive Employer, Employee Relationship

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on October 6, 2010

Other than your immediate family, the people that you interact with most frequently are your co-workers. If you are a supervisor, it is your obligation as an employer to maintain positive and supportive relationships in the workplace.

Some ways to continually build on your employer employee relationships include:

* Keeping the lines of communication open and make your expectations clear. Provide feedback on how your employees are doing.

* Always be open to suggestions and employee feedback; regardless of whether the feedback is positive or negative. Asking your employees for their opinion will make them feel involved and valued. As an added bonus, your employees’ feedback may help to revitalize your business by uncovering ideas that will increase efficiency, customer service, or save money. You’ll also uncover issues that likely would never have been brought to your attention until the issue mushroomed into a bigger problem.

* Avoid favoritism. Be consistent with how you manage your employees.

* Lead by example. With few exceptions, the rules in place for your employees should apply to you; particularly when it comes to company or departmental policies. Avoid creating a double standard in the workplace.

* Be respectful to your employees. Supervisory status is not a license to treat your employees unfairly.

* Don’t make decisions that either negatively or positively impacts your employee’s status at work solely on the basis of gender, age, race, or other arbitrary reasons. This is especially true when it comes to promoting or terminating an employee.

* Don’t tolerate mistakes on the job. Feedback and communication is key. Deal with issues in the workplace before those issues get out of hand.

* Acknowledge your strong performers. Share your concerns with poor performers in private and hold them accountable for improving their performance while providing support and guidance.

Dianne Shaddock is the Founder of Easy Small Business HR.com, a
website which provides “Employee Hiring and Managing Tips” for
supervisors or anyone interested in learning more about managing and
hiring.  Go to EasySmallBusinessHR.com for more tips on how to hire
and manage your staff more effectively.

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The Planning Stage: Creative Resume Writing

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on October 4, 2010

Your resume is a document with a single goal: to win you an interview with a prospective employer. In order to accomplish this goal, it is critical to do some prewriting, some creative anticipation.

Before you actually start building a resume, you must have clarity on what attracts you to the work you’re applying for, what your prospective employer is looking for and what you have in your personal and professional repertoire that makes you the best candidate for the job.

We like to call this process “creative resume writing,” since you’re about to envision the end result of your resume writing process. By the end of this three-step process, you’ll have in your head (and on the screen in front of you), a clear sense of what your winning resume will contain.

Step 1: How you fit the position

Imagine yourself located in the kind of work environment you’re applying to join. What is it about this place that makes you want to work here? What are the people like? Open your word processor and write it out. Add details such as what the place looks like, whether it’s got an attractive smell, what sounds (or lack thereof) can be heard, etc. Your becoming aware of these details will give you confidence and energy as you communicate to your prospective employer that you would fit in well on the job.

Step 2: What your employer wants

Employers are seeking a person who represents a “match” for the position they are hiring for. So instead of thinking about getting the job, think about how you are the best match for this particular job.

To start doing so, put yourself into the prospective employer’s shoes, and anticipate the qualities this employer would seek for this particular position. They are certainly looking for someone who is dedicated, reliable and competent. What specific qualities do you think this employer needs in an employee? What specific skills and abilities would this job require? Write it out.

Step 3: What you have to offer

Ultimately, your resume should convey clearly and cheerfully that you are the best match for this position. Chances are that a human-resources professional will be looking at your resume among hundreds of others, spilling coffee over them as they fight to stay awake. Sell yourself well. Here’s how.

Let the prospective employer know, first of all, that you have outstanding personal and professional qualities to contribute to the company and work environment. Let them know you’ve got the skills it takes to do the job well. List all of these qualities, credentials, skills, and abilities in your word processor.

Step 4: What you’ve done

Once you’ve wowed the employer with these qualities, prove you’ve got them by writing a professional experience piece. List what you’ve done in your professional career that would be of interest to this employer. For each job, write down first the title of the position and the name of the company you worked for. Then, write what you did at each position: what your responsibilities were/are, what you contributed. Keep the language active (more on that on our resume writing format development page), demonstrating the power you had/have in that position. Write your list in your word processor.


By now you should have clarity on what will go into your actual resume document. Soon you’ll be arranging the information you’ve written in your word processor into a coherent, positive-sounding, winning resume. Your creative anticipation here has paid off as you’ve explored the power of creative resume writing. Now, it’s time to develop the resume’s actual format on our resume writing format development page.

If you’d like some prodding to help you gain clarity or get help on any part of the creation of your resume, you may wish to take advantage of our resume consulting services, offered by Israel’s best resume writers. Please peruse their profiles to find someone with whom you would like to work.


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Using Power Words

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on September 22, 2010

I worked with a really talented guy who I thought would never leave the company we worked for … not because he didn’t want to leave … he did. I thought he would never leave because he sold himself so short in his resume, no one would hire him.

He didn’t want to overstate his qualifications, so instead he painted a picture to prospective employers that he wasn’t as good as he really was.

I encouraged him to use power words in his resume and to take ownership of his many successes.

Instead of writing in his resume, “I helped edit magazine articles.” I encouraged him to write something like, “Managed the award-winning editorial content of Blank magazine, the flagship publication of XYZ Company, the largest widget company in the world.” Both statements were true, but the revised version captured the essence of his important contributions.

It’s also important to include quantifiable statements about the contributions you have made at various companies. Such statements could involve how your efforts:
• increased sales or donations by XX dollars or percent.
• brought about significant cost savings due to improved processes.
• trained XX number of employees in a new program, which resulted in a XX% increase in customer satisfaction, etc.

How can power words and quantifiable statements about your contributions at former companies improve your job-application messaging?

Career Overview provides an excellent list of resume power words on its site.
http://www.professional-resume-example.com features examples for how to write strong quantifiable statements in your resume.

Sell yourself well … after all … it can help you Get a Job!

The Get a Job! Tips blog is authored by Kathy Bernard, a corporate communications leader based in St. Louis, Missouri. She is also a blogger, career coach and workshop leader in support of job seekers. She wants to help you … Get a Job! Connect with Kathy on LinkedIn — http://www.linkedin.com/in/kathybernardcommunicator, follow her on Twitter — http://twitter.com/kathybernardmkt, or e-mail her at kathybernard.mktg@yahoo.com. Subscribe to the Get a Job! Tips blog at http://getajob-tips-for-getting-hired.blogspot.com.

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Questions you might be asked in an Interview

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on September 15, 2010

Why are you looking for a new position?

Before you go for a job interview it is important to understand why you are putting your name forward for a new position. Career growth, short or long term goals, personal aspiration? The company is going to want to know what you have to offer their organisation, it is suggested it be in line with your own personal goals.

Do not view the interview as an interrogation session; use the interview as an opportunity for you to demonstrate to the employer why you could be the best candidate for the position. If you have not already covered the below in your CV, there is a potential these questions might come up as discussion points.

Gaps in CVs

Don’t have gaps in time periods on your CV, even if you worked in a temporary position, point it out.

Reasons for leaving

Be positive about why you left a position. People move on for a better opportunity, if it was involuntary, state the reasons, keep it brief and be honest.

What is the employer looking for?

To put it simply, the employer wants to know the following
1) If you have the required skills and knowledge for the position
2) If you fit the organisational culture of the business
3) If your compensation is fair compared to the task at hand
4) Your career path is in line with the short and long term goals of the company

What is required of you?

You need to want this position, chasing something that is not in line with your own goals is going to land you in the same position of looking for a job sooner rather than later.

Demonstrate to the employer that you are right for the job. Have the answers to the following questions.

  • Do you know your strengths and weaknesses?
  • When you start a project will you be able to see it through till completion.
  • How do you handle pressure?
  • Are you easy to work with?
  • Why do you want to work for this organization?
  • Are you enthusiastic and easy to work with?
  • Can you manage your time effectively?
  • What type of structure do you require to perform at your peak for an organization?
  • Are you able to be solution orientated with challenges that arise?

They say luck favors the prepared! Good luck for the job interview.

Lianne du Toit

TalentFusion is a partnership fused together by the desire to develop a platform for businesses to find top talent and candidates to cement their career paths.

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Resume tips

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on September 10, 2010

I spoke with three job seekers this past week who were all well qualified, but all three had the same lament: Nobody was calling them for job interviews. I looked at their resumes and was impressed with their educational background and experience. I also figured out why they weren’t getting calls.

Here is what I learned and how you can use the knowledge to make sure your resume stands out above the rest.

I realized they weren’t getting calls because their resumes didn’t portray them as the most qualified candidates. Could your resume be letting you down? Carefully study and improve your resume with these thoughts in mind:

1. Does your resume reflect how uniquely qualified you are for each job opening? Don’t be lazy or complacent! Diligently modify your cover letter and resume to convince each hiring company you are the best person for the job.

2. Does it include power words and quantifiable results? Don’t just state what you did, show why it mattered.

3. Does it use keywords that were mentioned in the job description? Remember, many recruiters run resumes through a keyword search program, so if you don’t have the right words on your resume, you will automatically be rejected.

4. Is it clearly written and easy to read? If it is filled with jargon or acronyms only people in your past company or industry use, revise the information to be meaningful and impressive for a more general audience.

5. Is it interesting and succinct? Recruiters wade through hundreds of resumes. If you bore or confuse them, they will simply move on to the next one.

6. Does it show that you are qualified for the open position? If your job history has not adequately prepared you for the job, prove you have the abilities through other means, such as by emphasizing your educational background, showing relevant volunteer or freelance experience, or by including examples to prove your expertise.

7. Does it list your qualifications in order of importance and relevance to the job you seek? This sounds like a no-brainer, but if you are an administrative assistant wanting to be a communicator, put your communications experience on top and minimize your admin experience.

8. Is it attractive? A well designed resume makes ample use of white space particularly around the margins and in between sections. Feature no more than two, easy-to-read, typefaces. Make sure type is not too large or too small. Use bullet points to cleanly organize information. Use boldface and italics to draw attention to important elements, but don’t use either excessively.

9. Is it error free? Is your past job history information up to date and correct? Use spell check to check your spelling and grammar, but also review it carefully to make sure spell check didn’t incorrectly “fix” a word. The funniest spell check “miss-fix” I’ve seen was when Microsoft Word fixed the word “position” on a resume to be “prostitution!” Don’t let such a mistake happen to you. Check your job application messages before you hit “send.”

In the coming weeks, I will talk about other ways that you can stand out above other applicants … in your cover letter, in your networking efforts, and in your online presence. In the meantime, radically improve your resume … after all, it can help you Get a Job!

The Get a Job! Tips blog is authored by Kathy Bernard, a corporate communications leader based in St. Louis, Missouri. She is also a blogger, career coach and workshop leader in support of job seekers. She wants to help you … Get a Job! Connect with Kathy on LinkedIn — http://www.linkedin.com/in/kathybernardcommunicator, follow her on Twitter — http://twitter.com/kathybernardmkt, or e-mail her at kathybernard.mktg@yahoo.com. Subscribe to the Get a Job! Tips blog at http://getajob-tips-for-getting-hired.blogspot.com.

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Sparkman’s Job Talk Radio

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on September 9, 2010

According to Fired Up, “this year Missouri’s unemployment rate is the highest it’s been in 25 years”, because of this fact Sparkman Christian Classified Publication started The Sparkman Job Talk Radio Show nearly a year ago. Each broadcast is hosted by Marilyn Parker Sparkman’s editor and publisher . Every the show features guest that share information about job opening or job readiness programs. Minister Charles Roach of Trinity Mt. Carmel church gives the inspirational thought for the day where he takes about biblical principles that can help job seekers refine adaptive skills for the workplace.

Parker states that the Sparkman Christian Classified Publication started with an emphasis on employment classified ads. She states,” we started sponsoring job fairs for the community about 8 years ago”. According to Parker employment ministry is a tool for evangelism, it gives us an opportunity to bring people in who can share resources, information about jobs and the good news about Jesus. Sparkman Christian Classifieds is focused on employment ministry, that is the reason they have a career guide in each issue of the publication. Sparkman publication started a lecture series, “How to Succeed on your job according to Biblical principles” about five years ago. At first different area pastors wrote a column each month eventually Pastor Charles Roach of Trinity Mt. Carmel Baptist Church became the featured columnist. Roach will also be featured on the Sparkman Job Talk Radio Show.

Roach explained, “Employment ministry is essential because having a relationship with God helps us to deal with difficulties on the job and having a spiritual foundation assist employees with skills to provide better interaction between, managers, co-workers and everyone in the work place”. Roach states that are two books in the bible that contain stories that provide answers for people dealing with work place issues. Those stories are Joseph in the thirteen chapter of Genesis and the book of Daniel. Roach states Joseph faced a lot of difficult work place situations but he handled them with integrity.

Parker states, “On the radio show we deal with topics for the diverse group of unemployed people that make up the workforce. She states , ” We have guest on the show that help ex-offenders re-entry into workplace to agency that assist the disabled with job training. Parker said, “We are trying to answer questions about all the concerns people have with employment issues including transportation”.

For assistance with employment check out the career guide in Sparkman Christian Classified publication or tune in to KXEN 1010am on Tuesday from 3:30-4:00 for The Sparkman Job talk radio show.

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Overcoming Potential Obstacles in the Interview

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on September 8, 2010

Do you think there are any potential obstacles that could stand between you and your next position? Here are some suggestions for handling some common obstacles:


Obviously you can’t change your age, but you can overcome a perception that you may not be up to the job. You can project yourself as energetic with a lot to give. I suggest that job candidates give some thought ahead of time to stories that illustrate that they are able to handle the stresses and strains of the job. They should also convey subtly in the interview that they plan to be in the workforce for a while.

For example, an interviewee can mention in the beginning of the interview what type of physical activity he or she did over the weekend. The interviewee can work this in during the ice breaking period which comes before the interviewer gets into the tough questions.


Job candidates need to determine beforehand what their bottom line is in terms of the compensation package. This should of course factor in current economic conditions. They should be armed with information about what they are worth and negotiate accordingly. But they should also show the interviewer that they are worth more than their salaries. In other words, they should demonstrate to the potential employer that the employer will get a return on investment that more than compensates for what they will be paying out in salary and benefits. Stories about past accomplishments can make the business case for appropriate salaries.


If you look fit, that will go a long way towards dispelling any thoughts that the interviewer may have that you will be costly (in terms of health benefits) to the company if you are hired. If you’re not fit, it’s something you should start working on since this is a part of that first good impression that you want to make.

Personality Mismatches

You should do your due diligence prior to the interview to find out what the company’s mission/values statement is and what the culture of the company is to determine if this is a good match for both parties. If it is, you need to allay any fears that the interviewer may have that you might not be a good fit by connecting the dots for the employer. Speak convincingly about the alignment you see between your values and the company’s. Talk about what you know about the company’s culture and how you see yourself fitting in.

Cheryl Palmer, M.Ed. is a career coach and a certified professional resume writer. She is the founder of Call to Career, a career coaching firm that assists people in finding their niche or calling in life.

Combining her professional status as a career coach with her love of writing, Ms. Palmer has written articles such as “Thank God It’s Monday! which was published in Message magazine and “Finding a Job That Fits You Like a Glove” which was published in Community Jobs. Both articles were well received and have given her additional visibility in her field.

Cheryl Palmer has also been a guest on a radio show entitled Insight on Coaching hosted by Tom Floyd where she discussed the needs of Generation X in the workplace and how managers from other generations can get the best out of this segment of the workforce.

In an article on HotJobs website entitled The Art of Being Assertive, Ms. Palmer was quoted as a subject matter expert on how assertiveness can help a person advance in his or her career.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Cheryl_Palmer

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