Pivoting Your Career for Reinventing Yourself

Is it time for a career change? Are you considering transforming yourself to a new job?

What do you do when you can’t, or don’t want to, do what you used to do? Pivot, of course, to make an intentional shift in a new direction. How, you ask?

First, determine why you need to make a change. Need a raise? Promotion? Disengaged? Furloughed? Downsized? Re-org’d? Fired? Dread your job? Hate your boss? Lack of energy or enthusiasm to do the work? Need to care for family members?

Next, determine where you are at. Do a SWOT analysis of yourself. What are your strengths? Weaknesses? Opportunities? Threats? Conduct a professional and personal audit on yourself and analyze your transferable skills and what you like and hate to do. 

What are your passions? What sets your hair on fire every morning that gets you out of bed, excited to start the day?

What if you really genuinely don’t know what your next plan is? Maybe you need to do an assessment? Perhaps you need a career coach. Perhaps you need a life coach. 

Maybe you know what you want to do but have some gaps of knowledge or some missing skills. You can explore what is necessary to pursue another career at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Maybe you want to explore entrepreneurship.

If you need coursework or certification, explore how you can get that completed through an online course, or at a local university, or other workshops or seminars. 

If you have time to decide about your career pivot, consider all the criteria that affect various parts of your life. Write them down. 

If you have found yourself in a place of change because of unprecedented times, you still need to write things down and make some S.M.A.R.T. goals for yourself.

Engaging in career management of your career documents is much better when you are proactive rather than reactive. Do you need to update your resume? LinkedIn profile? Elevator pitch? Job and networking tracking sheet? Cover letter? Accomplishment stories? Positioning statement? Departure statement? Value proposition, and so on? If not, start getting your ducks in a row. 

It’s time to start building your brand and marketing yourself in your future forward position. 

AUTHOR BIO

Lynne Williams is the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group, a 501(c)3 nonprofit with almost 6300 members and alumni providing career education and networking. Lynne also writes for vista.today, montco.today, and delco.today. Connect with Lynne on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/lynnewilliams

Tips for Avoiding the Pitfalls of the Applicant Tracking System

Links for upcoming workshops on 7/31/20 & 8/24/20 can be found here: http://bit.ly/ATSBlackHole

Nearly 75% of resumes are never seen by human eyes when submitted through applicant tracking systems for online job applications. Why? Formatting and more. 

The Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is an automated resume screener and there are over 200 ATS systems available today. Resumes go through a parser and are read by a bot before a human. The bot assigns a mathematical score to your resume against the job description as it reads entire phrases and not just keywords. The terminology for the technology that reads phrases in your resume with the words before and after the keywords is called contextualization.

Your score is then validated and is moved on to be viewed by human eyes — or it goes into the black hole because it did not match at a high enough percentage. This is extremely frustrating for those who are qualified for positions but can’t get past the bots. 

You must have a base resume and then customize the keywords to match each and every job application. If you don’t know how to do this, there are workshops available this week that will teach you how. 

Here are some other tips for the ATS “deconstructed resume”, which is different than your “pretty” resume that you snail mail, email, or hand to someone.

Tip #1: Customize your “future-forward” resume with key titles and keywords for the position you are applying to

Tip #2: Remove all images, graphics, logos, or pictures, as they may not be readable by the ATS

Tip #3: Use a font no less than 11 point and Arial is recommended for the ATS resume

Tip #4: Don’t hide keywords in white text and try to cheat the system, as they come out black on the other end

Tip #5: Remove irrelevant positions from your resume

Tip #6: Beware of special characters – no arrows or checkmarks; solid black bullets seem to work for most ATS systems

Tip #7: Avoid any kind of shading, tables, lines that cross the entire page, fancy borders, and section breaks on the ATS resume

Tip #8: Check for spelling errors—the ATS may miss keywords if they are misspelled

Tip #9: Place your contact information at the top and not in the header and make sure you have included your customized LinkedIn URL.

Tip #10: Add the dates of your employment after your employer, city, state at the far right of the page

Tip #11: Send your resume from a Word document, unless requested otherwise. PDFs can be readable or non-readable images. Uploading a resume is preferred to copying and pasting your resume into text boxes.

Tip #12: Do not upload your resume multiple times. This may hurt, rather than help and raise red flags. 

Tip #13: Mirror the language in the job description on your ATS resume to showcase your expertise; use the niche terminology

Tip #14: Only type typical resume sections and use the sections of LinkedIn as your guideline

Tip #15: Quantify your accomplishments and achievements in bullet points in your work experience rather than stating your responsibilities

Tip # 16: Use jargon and buzzwords from your industry so the applicant tracking system tools that index and crawl submissions pick up these key phrases and terms 

Tip #17: Use keyword and text analyzers with your job description so you have a helping hand with technology for data-driven decision making 

Tip #18: Develop two resumes: pretty formatted and deconstructed for ATS  

Tip #19: Include your social media handles on your resume to show you are current and relevant with your technology skills

AUTHOR BIO

Lynne M. Williams, Ed.D. Candidate is the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group, an all-volunteer 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides career education and networking connections for: 1) jobseekers in career transition, including veterans and 2) employed and self-employed for career management. In addition, Lynne is also the owner of Around the Clock Executive Helper, a writer of resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Lynne presents unique research-based workshops on LinkedIn, resumes, the Applicant Tracking System, the Art of Networking In Person & Online, and other career-related, social media, and technology topics. She is currently working on writing her doctoral dissertation and is a contributing author to Find Your Fit: A Practical Guide to Landing the Job You Love along with the late Dick Bolles, the author of What Color is Your Parachute?. In addition, she writes a weekly career column in Vista.Today Montco.Today and Delco.Today and other publications with LinkedIn tips and more. Connect with her on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/lynnewilliams with a personalized message and visit the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group website and read our SCORE Success Story!

Try a Value Proposition Letter as a Job Search Strategy

Value proposition letters are only 100-150 words that succinctly explains what your unique qualities, skills, and accomplishments are.

It states how you will add value. Using persuasion, value proposition letters explain how you can solve a problem or fix a pain point better than anyone else thanks to your expertise and unique offerings.

If you are a job seeker, you can use it to focus on the actions you will take if hired. It can be used for most positions where you can offer some technical expertise or specialty knowledge. 

This letter sets you apart from the competition and can also highlight your transferable skills. The Value Proposition Letter is certainly not meant for an entry-level position because you need to be able to highlight your quantifiable achievements. However, it might be a key tool for a high-level executive.

Entrepreneurs can also use the same concept and send out letters to prospective clients. 

There is a particular format to follow, and you can find the instructions by clicking on http://bit.ly/ValuePropLetter.

AUTHOR BIO

Lynne Williams is the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group, a 501(c)3 nonprofit with almost 6300 members and alumni providing career education and networking. Lynne also writes for vista.today, montco.today, and delco.today. Connect with Lynne on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/lynnewilliams

QR Codes for LinkedIn, Presentations, Articles, Business Cards & More

You can drive people to your LinkedIn profile with your QR code. QR codes are also helpful for people to access a presentation, an article, and more. Add them to your business cards too.

If you have never tried QRCode-Monkey, you will find it very easy to use and you can even customize it with your logo. 

Technology upgrades on current mobile devices now save you from downloading a scanning app on your phone. A camera on an iPhone will read the QR code and bring the file up so you can tap and open it up. 

To get your unique LinkedIn QR code on your phone, follow these steps using the LinkedIn app:

  • Click on the four gray boxes in the search bar
  • Click on “My Code” 
  • Save or the code only or code with photo

Remember our taglines – Your Career Our Mission and Members Helping Members 

Yes, we have two taglines now that we have officially merged with the Business Executive Networking Group (BENG). We are now in eight states with 36 chapters and about 6300 members. Read the press release on our website.

AUTHOR BIO

Lynne Williams is the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group, a 501(c)3 nonprofit with almost 6300 members and alumni providing career education and networking. Lynne also writes for vista.today, montco.today, and delco.today. Connect with Lynne on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/lynnewilliams

BUSINESS EXECUTIVES NETWORKING GROUP JOINS PHILADELPHIA AREA GREAT CAREERS GROUP

Effective May 1, 2020 [King of Prussia, PA]: The Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group (PAGCG) and the Business Executive Networking Group (BENG) have joined forces to better serve the growing number of individuals facing career transitions impacted by COVID-19.  The merged organizations combine abundant networking chapters with robust, educational programming. Together BENG and PAGCG are strengthening their pay-it-forward philosophies, Members Helping Members and Your Career Our Mission. This affiliation combines PAGCG’s 20 premier career management…