Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tune into CNN (Wed Jan 28th) at 2:30pm eastern and Learn What Every Job Seeker Needs to Know Now

As the number of those joining the laid-off ranks increases, it can feel as if opportunities are drying up. Tune in for my appearance on CNN Newsroom with Kyra Phillips at 2:30pm eastern (Wednesday, Jan 28th) for tips and advice that every job seeker needs to know now. You'll gain new perspective and start to see the opportunities that exist for you!

I know what job seekers are going through. Just this week I volunteered to coach in a free program sponsored by Vault.com and the New York Public Library. There were many coaches and even more coachees from various levels, backgrounds, and industries. All impacted by the downturn.

There is good news however. I was excited to help with ideas and solutions that the job seekers hadn't thought of. Here are highlights of the advice I shared and will expand on tomorrow on CNN:

--Separate your short and long-term strategy. You may need a job now to pay the bills but to provide yourself with lasting job security, you need a career. Too often I see people throwing themselves into the next hot industry or job without thought to what they'll do after the bubble bursts. Don't jump on the bandwagon. Rather focus on a career path that will keep you happy and satisfied for more than the next year or two.
--Make the transition easy on yourself. Identify the top one or two skills you already possess that an employer would find valuable even in a downturn. Are you good at bringing people together to execute on a project? Do you have great analytical skills to be able to solve problems? Forbes just announced the top companies to work for. Many are are taking advantage of the downturn to snap up top talent. You are top talent in the areas you excel in - so go after the jobs!
--Prepare your pitch. To get your foot in the door, you'll need a compelling pitch that communicates your value as a potential hire quickly and clearly. Invest the time and energy to work with a coach on your customized elevator pitch and visit sites like 15secondpitch.com. You can not only develop your pitch online but also see examples from others in your industry.
--Exude and exhibit confidence. If you don't believe you're a worthwhile hire, no one else will. Now more than ever it's essential that you maintain your self worth. Desperation will not land you a job but confidence and poise will. Testimonials are a great help as well. Ask colleagues and former bosses to recommend you on sites like LinkedIn.com. Employers use sites like these to research candidates so make sure you are putting your best image forward.

What do you need to know as a job seeker to land your next opportunity? What advice has worked for you in getting a new job during challenging times? I welcome your comments and ideas.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Work Life Fit - How to find yours in 2009!

Yesterday I had the pleasure of interviewing work life fit expert Cali Williams Yost on my radio show. In case you missed it, tune in to SIRIUS 112 and XM 157 for a replay this Saturday at 6am eastern. Also here are highlights of the tips Cali shared:

First, change the way you think about work and life…

1) Manage your work+life fit day-to-day, not just during big life events. You can no longer afford to have your work and life just “happen,”. If you don’t spend at least some time thinking about and organizing the things you have to do, and the things you want to do, you will get even less done.

2) Understand that there is no “balance,” or right answer for how work should fit into your life. Your fit will not look like anyone else’s. The answer is what works for you and your job—it needs to be a win-win.

Now that you have the right mindset, here are some action steps to take in 2009:

3) Keep a work+life fit calendar with all of your work and personal appointments/goals/responsibilities in one place. I've tried every process and tool to help manage my work+life fit and what I keep coming back to is my calendar to effectively manage the way everything fits into my ever-changing work+life fit as a mother, wife and business-owner.

How do you begin?

• Figure out what type of calendar works for you. I like Outlook for entering “to dos” electronically. But, because I am more comfortable working off a paper copy, I print it out and carry it around.

• Enter in as many personal appointments and plans as you can think of for the next six months (a year is even better but could be too overwhelming), from doctors appointments to dates with your partner.

• Finish by entering work related appointments including “quiet time” and vacation days. (Tip: for vacation more than a week, block off two days before you depart and two days after you return on your calendar. That will remind you not to over-schedule yourself so that you don’t start vacation completely fried, and return immediately overwhelmed.)

• If there are periods when you business is busier than other times, note that on your calendar. For example, accountants are busier certain times of year than others.

Then, start actively managing your work+life fit calendar. When a new work project or personal responsibility appears, go to the calendar and ask yourself:

• Can I do it given what else is on my plate today, this week, this month?
• What do I need to shift or let go of in order to manage my work+life fit?
• Am I leaving time for activities that keep me healthy and functioning at my best (e.g. going to the gym, shopping for healthy food, sleep)?

4) Finally, set time aside—daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually—to check in and answer the question, “what do I want?” Check in and ask yourself what you want your work+life fit to look like and compare it to the work+life fit you see in your calendar and life.

Yes, times are challenging, but now more than ever it’s imperative that you take control of the way work fits into your life. Use these tips to make 2009 the year you start managing your work+life fit in a way that allows you to bring the best of yourself to work and to the rest of your life!

More information about managing your work+life fit can be found in Cali’s book, Work+Life: Finding the Fit That’s Right for You (2005 Riverhead), and in her Work+Life Fit and Fast Company blogs, at worklifefit.com/blog

What's your work life fit strategy for 2009? What approach works for you in finding time for your most important priority?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Guest Post: Important Reminder About Your Resume

Given that many of us are updating our resumes to keep up in this dynamic economy, what a fitting time for a reminder on resume ethics. This one comes compliments of TJ Hanson, Associate Editor of the Digital Student Blog on GoCollege.com ...

When it comes to your resume, think twice about embellishing your past experiences.

One of the key elements in the job search process is to put together a well-polished resume. But no matter how attractive it may appear, a student’s experiences and accomplishments are the critical factors that set the stage for a potential interview and the possibility of a job offer.

Because of this fact, job seekers cannot afford to be too modest. They must sell themselves in the most positive manner possible, finding ways to make those experiences and accomplishments jump off the page.

However, the need to stand out has led many a candidate to stretch the truth and in some cases downright fabricate their list of achievements. These individuals reconcile their actions based upon a definitive belief that employers cannot possibly check the factual content of each resume.

That belief is one all potential job seekers should set aside. The public humiliation of college football coach George O’Leary is proof positive that such actions can come back to haunt an applicant at the worst possible moment.

Have you ever felt tempted to embellish your resume? Do you think it matters if you stretch the truth just a little? Have you ever caught a candidate with a lie on his/her resume?

Friday, January 09, 2009

7.2% unemployment: How You Can Still Find a Job (Tune into CNN today from 1-3pm est)

The Labor Department released a lower than expected jobs report today which is relatively good news. The challenge is that the national unemployment rate rose to 7.2%, affecting a majority of states, metropolitan areas and most major industry sectors.

Yet all is not lost. You can still find a job in slowing economy and my clients are proving it. Here's how:

--Target your search. Most people's reaction in a bad economy is to flood the market with resumes for any and all remotely-related jobs. Employers don't want just anyone. They want people who can solve their problems. Research your employer to find out what challenges they are having that you can solve.
--Revise your resume to clearly demonstrate results. Your resume should not just be a list of tasks and activities. Rather include how your efforts saved the company money, or got results faster. It will show you add value to the bottom line with your work.
--Don't be afraid to go after what you want. The statitics look bad and they are. However, my clients who are taking the steps above are finding and landing jobs even in industries where there are challenges. Industries are changing and jobs are changing yes but that doesn't mean opportunities don't exist. I realize it's a challenge to do this on your own. If you're looking for support in targeting your job search efforts, sign up for one of my upcoming teleclasses on taking action or finding your ideal career. You'll get positive, pragmatic steps to move your career forward despite the tough economy.

Tune in today for my segments on CNN Newsroom with Kyra Phillips from 1-3pm eastern and submit your specific career questions via email. I'll be responding to viewer emails throughout the show.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Facing Career Change in 2009? Tune in For Positive, Practical Advice Wed (Jan 7)

2009 has already been a year of change. I've heard from many people who have come back to work from the holidays only to find a pink slip. Some felt shock. Others anger and still others relief. All were left with many questions as to what to do next.

To help, I'm focusing my radio appearances this week on Martha Stewart Living Radio on SIRIUS 112 and XM 157 on positive and practical steps you can take if you're dealing with an unexpected layoff or want to shift careers this year. All segments are live and listener questions are welcome at 1-866-675-6675. For a free 3-day trial of SIRIUS visit www.maggiemistal.com/radio.

Tune in this Wednesday Jan 7th to SIRIUS 112 or XM 157:
--7:30am eastern, I'll share advice on the key steps to take if you've been laid-off, what to say to family and friends and how to get support if you haven't planned for a pink slip.
--2pm eastern, I'll be talking about where the jobs are in 2009.
--4pm eastern, a full hour of "Making a Living with Maggie." I'll be joined by author and fellow career expert Marci Alboher to talk about how you can shift careers in 2009!

Also check out my new 2009 line-up of teleclasses, webinars and group coaching and get the help you need with your career this year.

Are you dealing with an unexpected layoff? Is it time you shifted careers to something new in 2009? What career goals and ideas would you like to see come to fruition in 2009?

Friday, January 02, 2009

Making Time For What's Most Important

As I write this, I'm creating my plan for 2009. I'm tearing out each month of the calendar and posting them on the wall by my desk. It's amazing to see all the days of the year and all the possibilities.

My goal is to make sure I make time for the most important activities in my life and career. Key areas I'm planning for include:
--Commitments I've made for radio, workshops and speaking
--New teleclasses and webinars I'll be delivering in 2009 and
--Inspirational cabaret shows I'll be putting on throughout the year.

Of course I'm also planning time off to rest and recharge! I used to feel stifled when planning my schedule in advance. I thought that if everything was set up, I couldn't be spontaneous. Over the years, I've realized the opposite is true.

By making sure the most important items are in my schedule, I have freedom to say yes or no to other interesting things that come along. I've actually left room for them as well. In the past, I felt compelled to say yes to everything only to end up worn out. This year will be different.

If you need to make time for what's important check out Cheryl Richardson's book Take Time for Your Life and click here for other helpful resources I recommend.

What are the most important items for your calendar in 2009? What experiences, goals, events, do you want to make sure you have time for in this New Year?