Monday, May 24, 2010

College Graduation

My godchild Kelly graduated from Marist College on Saturday. We sat on the lawn overlooking the Hudson River, a beautiful setting for learning and preparing for the future. At the end of the commencement, Kelly’s future became her present as she and thousands of other college grads across the country crossed that invisible line from student to adult. As so begins the career journeys that they spent the past four years preparing for.

I wrote her resume, and I am convinced that she will be among the very best Special Education teachers any school has turned out. I attribute that not only to the excellent academic standards of Marist College but also, and perhaps more importantly, to her parents, Tom and Cindy, who were her first teachers.

So what advice could I give as her godmother who happens to also be a career specialist? What profound message can I share that she will remember? Kelly graduated summa cum laude, with distinction, and a 3.97 GPA. She worked hard, applied herself, and made the sacrifices that accompany success. She already knows the success formula. What wisdom can I share that's different from the standard “follow your dreams” thing?

Here's what I learned from the mentors who crossed my path along the way:

To make a difference you have to be different.
Opportunity knocks; it doesn’t bang your door down.
Be kind.
Always be on time.
Never step on anyone as you climb the ladder of success.
Praise in public; reprimand in private.
Play the hand you’re dealt.

And finally, some words from Edith Wharton:
There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”

Shine on, Kelly!
Love, Aunt Cheryl

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Long Island Career Fair

Sending a shout-out to those readers whom I met at yesterday’s Long Island Career Fair at the Melville Marriott. Thank you for emailing to let me know you appreciated the resume reviews and learned new and valuable things about resume writing, job search, and the importance of positioning yourself for the job you want next.

A few follow-up thoughts about resumes:

Write to the future: Your work history is just that – history. It tells your reader where you’ve worked, for whom you worked, and in what capacity. Potential employers like to see where you got your experience and how long you’ve spent learning your craft. Those are the basics. Now take that history and tell your story by writing accomplishment driven bullets that tell the reader what talents you brought to the task and how your skills distinguish you from everyone else out there doing the same kind of work.

Tell your story. Show the results you achieved. This is your opportunity to show your stuff; the stuff that makes you an attractive candidate to future employers. My blog post entitled Branding - Why It's Important (June 2009) shows this concept in action.

Here’s a bullet from the original resume a client sent me:
• Managed Portfolio of High Net Worth Clients.

One bullet with seven words that don’t tell the reader a whole lot about you. We don’t know how large the portfolio is, is it -- $100K, $500K, $5M? We don't know what products the portfolio contains, so we can’t know the scope of this person’s knowledge or skill. After interviewing the client and asking lots of questions to get to the information I needed, here’s what I wrote:

• Grew client portfolio from $50 million to $110 million selling deposit, credit, and investment products to the affluent market. Received award for building strong partnerships with clients and colleagues and for performing in the top 20% of the region.

So, what’s your story? Can your reader “see” who you are and what talents you bring with you?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Words for 2010

Words are powerful!
I earn my living with words and absolutlely love them!

Came across these "P" words in an article, a website, or in an email -- can't remember where exactly, but they struck a chord with me. I figure there must be a reason they keep surfacing in my mind. I've decided to adopt them as my mantra for 2010:
Pray -- for guidance and direction
Prepare -- tenaciously and purposefully
Proceed -- with confidence

What are your three words for 2010?