Thursday, January 26, 2012

More Information For Parents of College-Bound High School Students

On November 28, 2010, I posted blog entry, "Blogs and Websites for College Applicants - The Ivy-Bound,"

Today a "Harvard Mom" commented on the post.  Grace Sullivan has worked as teacher and tutor in "some of the best private schools in the nation," and her daughter attends Harvard.  Ms. Sullivan wrote a book, "Advice from a Harvard Mom," and she is promoting it on her website:

I think it is worth taking some time to review the website and her blog. 

Randi Lewis

Sunday, January 01, 2012

There is No Such Thing As LUCK in Landing a New Job

By Randi S. Lewis
Founder, Resume Boutique LLC

"Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity."  Ancient Roman Stoic philosopher, Lucius Annaeus Seneca.  Successful job seekers own the process.
In 2011, we worked with many people who were laid off or otherwise terminated from their positions.  The most successful of them took full ownership of the process, maximized their resources, and never gave up.  Each of them landed positions they wanted. 

Some successful job seekers will tell you it was just luck.  But landing a job happens only when you work hard to achieve your goal.  Here is one example of preparation + opportunity:

From Account Executive to Business Manager

This twenty-something professional (Dave) began searching for new employment in February 2011.  He was gainfully employed at the time but believed he needed to make a move to advance and began making inquiries of his mentors and contacts in the industry. 

One of those contacts referred him to Resume Boutique for a resume, cover letter, and job pursuit/interview/post-interview strategy.  We drafted the resume and several cover letters immediately.  In May, after learning about a position he coveted, Dave went into full gear.  The position was a stretch for someone with his experience.  But that didn't deter Dave.  He leveraged every connection to put in a good word with this prospective employer.  Dave also began utilizing our consulting services to help him navigate this position.  He had great instincts, including the knowledge that he should run his thoughts by those of us who were more experienced.  He regularly relied on a coterie of mentors during what turned out to be a 2 - 3 month process that culminated in a job offer and acceptance. 

We quickly recognized that Dave knew his strengths and understood how to compensate for his weaknesses.  His strengths were many, including:
  1. Client Relationships - established rapport with clients; temerity and raw ability to ask connections for assistance (remarkably, he was able to secure a personal letter of recommendation from a high level executive of one of his major accounts - also a major account of the potential employer)
  2. Industry Knowledge - keen knowledge of his industry
  3. Emotional Intelligence - high level of emotional intelligence and ability to read people
  4. Strong Personal Qualities - kind, genuine, outgoing personality, great sense of humor
  5. Goal-oriented - tenacity in pursuing his goal with the understanding it was his responsiblity to manage the process 

Dave didn't have many weaknesses but writing wasn't his strong suit.  He knew it and made no apologies about it.  So, we drafted and revised all communications during the two-month interview process.  We also worked Dave to refine his "elevator speech."  Dave was mature for his age but, understandably, was not experienced in the employment process, particularly at the middle management level.  He consulted with us on communication strategies for each interview and follow up, including salary negotiations.   Dave prepared for every interview and every communication.  We worked as a team with Dave and used the advice of his mentors in the industry to refine our discussions. 

Dave always owned the process while leveraging his assets.  Congratulations to Dave and all of you who took control of your lives to land great positions in 2011.  

For those of you who are beginning your job search, we urge you to think about what is reasonably achievable, how you might begin your search, and how you can take control of your success. 
There is no such thing as luck in the employment process.  You have to use all available resources, including limitless patience, to achieve your goal.