Liar, Liar (no integrity)

Why lie?
This question baffles me. I really cannot for the life of me understand why someone would invest five or more hours of their time to leave their office, go to an interview and jeopardize their current position, just to lose the opportunity by lying. It never ceases to amaze me the extent to which people will lie in order to attempt to get a position. I use the word “attempt” because 99% of the time it comes out that the person was lying and they then becomes blacklisted industry wide. A wise person once said “without integrity nothing work.” Whether you are an attorney making a case in court or a job seeker making a case for why someone should hire you, it is expected that you are operating with integrity and that why you tell people is the truth.
What are the payoffs to lying?
A 1% chance that you will get a away with it?
Making yourself look better by pretending you have a degree that you don’t have?
Making yourself look better by lying about what jobs you worked at and/or how long you were there?
What are the costs of lying on your resume, lying on your application or lying in an interview?
A high likelihood that you will be caught and get blacklisted.
An additionally high likelihood that you might get hired and the truth could come out afterwards and you will be terminated.
Tarnishing your reputation permanently. Yes permanently! Agencies and companies do keep records that can go back ten or twenty years if not longer.
So I ask you this? Why take the risk? It is not worth the risk of ruining your reputation and losing a job just for one little white lie.
A few words of wisdom for the next time you go to apply for a position:
  1. NEVER list a degree, certificate or other verifiable education related document on your resume unless you can provide an authentic copy.
  2. TRIPLE check your dates, your title and your work history on your resume and on any application you might fill out.
  3. DO NOT say or do anything that you cannot support with actions later. If you say you “know” how to do an Excel pivot table, you better be able to produce results the first time you are asked, otherwise, you are asking to be fired.
Good luck, and keep in mind, it is never too late to start telling the truth and to stop tarnishing your reputation.

The Top 5 Ways to Transition Your Career

I have been asked to speak on several television shows lately about how one should find a new job when they are looking to transition their careers. I have come up with a list a of the Top 5 things that you need to do if you are looking to make a career change:

1) Figure out WHAT you want to do next by meeting with a Career Coach, taking career assessments/personality tests and/or doing your own research online. 
2) Next REVISE your resume to reflect any transferrable skills that you have from your previous field that can apply to the field that you are looking to transition into (functional format resumes can be very helpful for accomplishing this task).
3) REINVENT yourself by taking whatever classes, certifications, tutorials and/or training that may be required or necessary in the chosen field that you want to get into.
4) NETWORK your way into your next position. Join different associations and groups that are in your new desired field and get out there and network. Don’t forget to connect with people using social media at networking events as well!
5) CREATE a “statement of intent” and a “daily declaration.” Your statement of intent will include “by when” you will find your new ideal job, “what” that new job will look like (this includes salary and title) and other specifics related to your new career. You will then declare that statement (which should be 2-5 sentences long), out loud every day at least once, ideally twice, with vim and vigor. This is what will retrain your brain to believe that you can accomplish what you are intending in your statement. Some people even keep their statement of intent on their phone or next to their bed so that they can look at it if they are feeling down or like they cannot accomplish what they have committed to.
If you do these five things, you will be on your way to transitioning into your ideal career.

The Adaptability Factor

There is an interesting chasm that we are noticing in the market right now. It is something that almost every law firm and corporation we work with has noticed as well. That chasm exists between the millennials and the baby boomers. The millennials have amazing technical skills and can complete a project, but often lack the work ethic, ability to be proactive and advanced skills that more seasoned workers possess. We often hear complaints from our clients about how the millenials are unable to take initiative and have a sense of entitlement regarding the work they do. On the flip side, the experienced workers/baby boomers, have tremendous skills and an amazing work ethic, but are unable to adapt to the changes in the market place. It is this fact, “The Adaptability Factor,”that is inhibiting a lot of the more seasoned applicants from being able to get hired and then stay employed once they are hired.

What do I mean by this? I mean that one’s ability to adapt in this market place, directly correlates to how effective or ineffective one is at getting hired and staying employed in this market. I hear a lot of job seekers over the age of 50 who scream “Ageism!” as to why they are not being hired in this market, however, I have found that adaptability has a lot more to do with hire-ability than age does. 

A perfect example of this is that my staffing firm has personally placed numerous people who are over the age of 50, 60 and sometimes even 70, however, many of these more experienced workers who do get hired are then getting fired because they are unable to adapt to the new skills that are required of them due to the changing expectations that employers have.

A few weeks ago, there was an article in the Wall Street journal about how legal secretary jobs are becoming obsolete. I disagree. I believe that legal secretary jobs are just as prevalent as ever, however, the role of the legal secretary has shifted tremendously. Years ago, it used to be one secretary to one attorney, where the secretary was interfacing with clients and acting as more of a personal assistant, in addition to filing documents.

In today’s market, it is not unheard of for a legal secretary to support, five, six or even seven attorneys. This is because the more junior associates are extremely self sufficient and the attorneys who are using legal secretaries rely on them more for technical skills and knowledge. Legal secretaries are now doing the role of word processing, paralegal work, as well as administrative work. Therefore, if you as a legal secretary cannot adapt to these new demands and expectations, your position will be eliminated. Employers everywhere are looking to cut costs and create more “hybrid” type roles where several positions are combined into one.

So how do you become more adaptable in this market if you are a more experienced worker who wants to get hired?

You shift your perspective. It will not do you any good to go around complaining about how old you are and how unfair it is that there are no jobs out there and how hard things have become. Instead, look at how fortunate you are to have 20+ years in a changing market place and how if you can use your experience to your advantage by being willing to adapt to the new climate and marketplace, you WILL be the most desirable applicant. The next time your are in a temporary role or an interview, instead of explaining why you CANNOT do something, discuss what you CAN do and how willing you are to adapt to whatever is required of you. I truly believe that legal secretaries with many years of experience still have an important place in the current market if only they are willing to adapt and figure out HOW to make it work, rather than all the reasons it can’t work.

Why Lie?

Why do people lie on their resumes? As a recruiter, it makes no sense to me. More and more we are noticing people who “inflate” their skills, add a fake degree and/or increase their length of time at their last employer on their resume. The sad thing is, for the most part, they don’t have to go to such extreme lengths to get hired. Many times, these job seekers would be hired based on their real skill set or resume, if only they wouldn’t lie.

On two separate occasions in the past week, we have caught job seekers clearly lying on their resumes. In both cases, they then proceeded to lie to us about why they lied on their resume. We are in the business of getting people jobs, not blocking them from getting hired. When someone blatantly lies on their resume and then lies to us about why they lied on their resume, we can no longer represent those people and often times, they become blacklisted industry wide. If I were to catch someone in a lie on their resume and they were honest about why they did it (ie. admitting they were desperate because they needed a job and showed remorse), I might be willing to give them a second chance.
The reason I am writing this article is to implore the unemployed and employed job seekers NOT to lie on their resumes. If someone is worried that their resume might not represent them effectively, they should not resort to lying! Instead, that person should work with a recruiter, career coach or resume writer to see how they can represent their background in a better light. There are many folks who we have represented who have been out of work for two or more years or have been lighter on certain skills and yet, we are still able to find them jobs by teaching them to be honest and coaching them on how to represent their backgrounds more effectively.
That said, the next time you want to fudge your dates, add a degree or throw on some additional skills that you don’t have, think about the ramifications of your actions and how one lie could cost you your career.

What you say IS what you get

Have you ever listened to what people say? I mean, really listened? Over the last few years I have begun to pay attention to the language that people use in their job hunt and how it directly correlates to their effectiveness or lack of effectiveness in finding a job.

What I have begun to notice is that people who consistently use disempowering and passive language such as “I hope,””I’ll try,””I might,” “Maybe,” “One Day,” tend to be less effective in attaining the jobs they want than those who use more affirmative and empowering language such as “I will,” “I can,” “I intend,” “I am creating,” etc…
Though I am not a neuro-psychologist, I love the study of the brain and understanding how and why we do what we do. What if the language that we use had a direct relationship to our ability to attain our goals? I have personally played with this theory over the past ten years and have found it to be consistent that using empowering and affirmative language does have a direct correlation on my effectiveness, as well as on the effectiveness of those who I have taught these principles to.
One of the first things that I teach job seekers who come into my office is how to use affirmative and empowering language in their job search. Essentially, I tell them to start noticing the words they use to describe their job search and to omit the words that are disempowering.
This is also true of negatively discussing your job search with others. The most common phrase I hear amongst unemployed job seekers is “It’s hard.” It’s hard, meaning their job search. When you begin replacing “It’s hard” with things like “I am getting out there,” and/or “I am making progress,” you will start to notice that different results will begin to appear. Often times these results are getting you closer to the job you really want. 
In a class I lead called “Making Yourself Indispensable in the Workplace,” I coach job seekers to keep a note pad with them and to write down every time that they complain during one full day. From there, I teach them to notice the impact that their complaints have on those around them. What I have found is that many of us don’t even realize how often we complain and how our complaints begin to create our reality. When we replace our complaints with proactive or positive language about what is working, rather than what is not working, our perspective begins to change as well. Once your perspective begins to alter, your attitude, beliefs and actions will slowly alter as well to be in line with your new perspective on what you are committed to.
One of the best quotes that I have heard is “If you want to know what you are committed to, look at what you have.”
This statement can be biting for some people, because they don’t want to take responsibility for the circumstances in their lives. When you begin to take responsibility for both the good and the bad things that happen in your life, you are no longer the victim of your life, you are the cause of it and you will begin to have power over the direction your life goes.

The Power of Perspective

A few months back, right before the holidays, I had received a call from a job seeker who was referred to me. She was rather distraught that she had just been laid off right before Thanksgiving. She had a great resume with good stability and I told her not to worry, that I would do whatever I could to help her. 

The next day, we met for coffee in at a Starbucks in downtown. She proceeded to explain that she had never been laid off before and didn’t know how to handle it. She went on to tell me that she was the breadwinner in her family, and expressed that this was extra difficult, with it being around the holidays and having two children to take care of.

Does this story sound familiar? It is a story that many a
job seeker I have met with has faced. I see it all too often where an
intelligent, capable employee is laid off or let go for some reason or another
and it proceeds to break their bank and their spirit. When someone is laid off
around the holidays, it can occur as even more challenging for that job seeker.

So how is this story any different than all the others out
there about unemployed job seekers who are despondent and do not see any access
to having their old career or any career back? This story is about perspective.
It is about how one’s perspective can shift the way a circumstance occurs and
in turn, shift the outcome of that person’s future.

That day, I sat there and listed empathetically to the story
I had heard all too many times before, but on this very special day, I decided
to offer some coaching that I don’t always offer. I asked her how that
perspective was working out for.

She replied “What perspective?”

I responded “The perspective that your circumstances are
outside of your control and that your holidays are going to be miserable, you
are bad and/or wrong for having been laid off and that you will never find
another job or at least not as good or well paying of a job.”

She laughed nervously, and then took a moment to think
about. “I guess it kind of sucks.”

“Yes,” I concurred, “It does, doesn’t it?” I continued on,
“Are you open to looking at this situation from a different perspective that
could give you access to having one of the best holidays of your life.”

She looked at me incredulously but answered with a slight
enthusiasm, “Absolutely!”

I went on to discuss with her how her thoughts and her words
were going to create exactly what she feared most: no job and no money for her
family. The only thing we have in life is our thoughts and what we say about
them. In her case, she was saying what many unemployed people say: “It’s hard,”
“I won’t find a job,” “I cannot find a job,” “I am not as young as I used to
be…,” etc…

What happens when we use this language and think these
disempowering thoughts, I explained, is that we begin to create that
disempowering reality as the truth. Most people sit around hoping for a miracle
or some even go out and aggressively look for a job “hoping” that something good
will turn out for them, but the language they use and the thoughts they think
are counter productive to their intended outcome: getting a job.

“So what do I do?” she asked. Well that is the question,
isn’t it? What can you do to alter the way you think, act and speak so that
your thoughts and words align with your intention?

“What would it be like,” I asked “If you shifted your
perspective and saw this as an opportunity rather than an obstacle?”

“I am not sure I understand,” she replied confused.

“When was the last time you had a month or more off around
the holidays with your husband and children where you got to enjoy every moment
with them?”

“I cannot remember,” she responded.

“What if…you were to look at this lay off as a gift. A
chance to spend a month off with your family and to cherish every moment you
have with them and know without a shadow of a doubt that you will have an even
better job come the new year?”

“That would be a miracle!” She exclaimed. “How would I
possibly do that?”

We sat down and went through how to put together an
intentional action plan, including a statement of intent and a daily
declaration. That day, we created a statement of intent and a daily
declaration for Jane. By the time we completed our interview, she had access to a new perspective on
her job search and a new action plan on how to be effective in achieving her

 A few weeks later, I received a call on Christmas Eve. It
was Jane. She was in tears. At first, I was worried that something had happened,
but through her tears she managed to get out “Jennifer, I want you to know,
that these are not tears of sadness, rather, they are tears of joy. Thanks to
your coaching and feedback I have had the most amazing last few weeks
celebrating the holidays with my family and that wouldn’t have been possible if
you had not helped me shift my perspective. I also want you to know that I have
not found a job yet, but it does not event concern me. I have been doing my
daily declaration and focusing on my statement of intent every day and there is
not a question in my mind that I will have a job come the New Year. Thank you
for what you taught me.”

Less than two weeks later, I got a call a few days after the
New Year and it was Jane, “Jennifer, I want you to know that I got a job, and
not only that, it is closer to home and pays me more money. Thank you for what
you taught me. I will always remember you.”

This story is an example of what you can get if you are willing to shift your perspective and is the opening story of my upcoming book “Stop Hoping…Start Hunting!” Stay tuned, as the book should be widely available by the end of this year.


Top 5 Reasons to Temp while you Job Hunt

I was recently speaking with an unemployed legal secretary who said that she was unaware of the benefits of temping while she was unemployed. She asked me what the major benefits of temping were and I told her I would post a list on my blog for her. 

Below are my top 5 reasons to temp while you are unemployed:

  1. Income (temping typically pays significantly more unemployment)
  2. It keeps your skills fresh
  3. It gives you a chance to meet potential new connections who might help your job search down the road
  4. You could be hired full time
  5. It also allows you to tighten up the gap on your resume and show what you have been doing 

Committed but not Attached

I just got out of a two day meditation retreat where the focus of the retreat was letting go and not being attached to circumstances or outcomes. How often in our lives do we let time slip past us because we are waiting for whatever outcome is next? When we get to work, we are waiting until 5pm when we can leave. Then, when we leave we are waiting until we have to go back again the next morning. We are constantly in this cyclical waiting game. 

The most common form of waiting I see is that of temporary employees who are hoping to possibly be hired by the company who they are temping for. If you ever have been a temp on a job, I am sure that you know what I am referring to.
As a recruiter, there is very little that you can say to comfort someone who is hoping to be hired when they have been temping long-term. There is a certain sense of defeat and frustration that I often see in the temps who I work with. So what can you do when you have been temping long-term to no avail?
Change your perspective! There is a big difference between being attached to an outcome versus committed to an outcome. When you are attached to an outcome, you are setting yourself up for upset if your expectations are not fulfilled. When you are committed to an outcome, you are free from upset because you are not waiting for something to happen. You are committed that the result you desire, being hired, will happen, but you are not constrained by it.
I know that this is a very subtle, but complicated concept, though if you apply it, you can have more freedom in your job search.
Imagine the next time you go to temp on an assignment…if you are not attached to being hired you will be more free to perform effectively because you will be less burdened by the need for a certain outcome. The job seekers who I have seen employ this tactic are often the ones who are hired because the employers appreciate their attitude and notice the difference in the employee’s personality and performance.

Defensiveness + Unaccountability = UNEMPLOYMENT

A big complaint that I have heard repeatedly from clients regarding both temporary and full time employees is that employees are being defensive and/or not taking responsibility for their actions. I often hear clients say that someone is “combative” and does not respond well to criticism or feedback. The other thing I have been hearing is that employees are full of excuses as to why it won’t or cannot work or why they cannot do it.

This sort of “negative nancy” attitude where employees are constantly refusing to do work, questioning the work they are asked to do, and/or complaining about the work they are given is setting them up for failure and/or termination.

So how do you prevent from becoming one of the people who an employer is considering letting go or terminating? 
A few things that you can work on to avoid being let go because of a bad attitude include:
-Look at any potential insecurities you might have in a particular area and figure out a way to enhance that area. Example, you don’t have strong Word skills, go out and get training to enhance your skills.
-Don’t give excuses when asked why something was not done. Just apologize and figure out a way to DO IT.
-If you have a question or something you don’t understand, be in communication immediately about any questions you may have regarding a particular task or duty.
-When being given criticism or feedback regarding your performance, be accountable. Take responsibility for your actions without complaining, deflecting or being defensive. 

It is never too late…

Last night I went out to dinner with an old friend who I had not seen in over a year. I was shocked and amazed when I walked in the door to the restaurant and saw that my friend had lost close to 100 pounds! She was literally half the woman she used to be and was simply glowing. Over dinner, I was so inspired by her new look that I asked her to share her story with me about how she did it and what had sparked such a big change in her.

She said that she had been over 200 pounds for most of her adult life. She explained that she would avoid a few doctor’s appointments because she knew that when she went in to see the doctor he would give her a hard time about her obesity and make her feel humiliated. 
Finally, one day late in 2011, she was walking past a mirror in her bedroom and was awestruck by how much she actually weighed. The cost and impact of her obesity finally hit her like a ton of bricks. That night she made a conscious decision to create being disciplined and to start eating more healthy foods. She began by researching healthy recipes on the internet. She did not go for a quick fix like the lap band or the latest diet pill like so many of us that are looking for immediate gratification. Instead, over the course of many months, she began cooking unique healthy recipes and even bringing them in for others in her office. The first time she went to her doctor’s office after she started eating healthier foods her doctor was amazed that she had lost 20 pounds! He said he was impressed, but not to get her hopes up because most people often gain the weight back within a short time.
Her whole life she had told herself, it is too late…I am too old…I am never going to lose this weight. It just took one honest look at herself in the mirror to see that she needed to make a change. Now, fourteen months later and 96 pounds lighter, she is a bright new human being with a new lease on life. After years of having been put down by her doctors throughout her life, she recalled with tears in her eyes the first time her doctor told her how proud he was of her and that not only had she lost 96 pounds, but she had added at least 10 or more years to her life. Additionally, she had been on numerous medications for her health and is now off of every single one.
She says there are still hard days where she does crave sugar and will allow herself a cupcake when she wants one (we passed on dessert last night), but she no longer beats herself up when she has a little sugar. She has realized that everything in moderation is just right and she now appreciates everything she eats! 
So why am I sharing this story with you on my blog about having your dream job? My friend’s story is not just about losing weight, it is about overcoming obstacles and naysayers and negativity in your life and realizing that it is never too late to start living the life you have always wanted.
This is especially true when it comes to your career. I have seen too many people come to my office and complain about how they are too old or too fat or too this or too that to get the job of their dreams. I think that my friend’s story is an inspiring one that should be shared and used to motivate others to do what they have been putting off doing for most of their lives.
If my friend can look at herself in the mirror and realize that she doesn’t like what she sees and begin to make small changes that lead to a big difference in her life, then so can you.
There is no time for any more excuses about why you are going to put off having the life you have dreamed of. The time is now and the choice is yours to start living the life that you have been dreaming of!