Why I Don’t Work for Free – Real Talk!

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Working for free leaves you broke.This is my six year anniversary of resume writing, and I just completed my first year as doing it as a job and side gig. I make occasional posts on social media of my victories, which prompts family and friends to ask me to help with their resumes. At first, I helped for free with no issue but then…

Life got in the way!

I almost wore myself out! I had to begin to charge a fee for the service, even to my family and friends—sometimes actually having to decline to provide my services due to the amount of people that would request help. True colors came out and I got hate-mail for charging a fee. So I will explain in great detail why there is a cost for service.

1. I can’t give you quality service for free!

Resume writing and career coaching takes time, effort, and a lot of work on my end. Look at all the stuff that goes into providing a quality resume and job search coaching session:

1. I interview clients on what they want in a position, whether it is a new position, a promotion in a current industry, or if the client is using transferable skills to switch industries.

2. I edit resumes & cover letters, check for grammar, spelling, subject/verb agreement errors (and you would be surprised what “Spell-Check” does not pick up. 🙂 ).

3. I teach how to find positions without the use of internet job openings (keep in mind that over 70% of open positions are NOT posted online).

4. I speak with people daily on how important interview attire is; I discuss the importance of confidence, questions that the interviewer will ask and questions to ask the interviewer.

5. I teach follow-up tips: thank you letters, how to contact employers and how to record the job search to document all progress.

working_for_free

To give people, for free, the complete package so that they don’t come back running every time they need a new job for free is a disservice to myself, as there is so much energy that goes into getting you the results you want. It’s not just about making a resume pretty (although, I do that too, for a nominal fee).

I work a full time job doing all those things listed, plus I do career coaching on the side. It sometimes takes up to 19 hours of my day. So, time = money!

2. I do not want you to have sub-par quality work or to not have the work done at all.

For example: Sally wants me to do resume, However, I have 4 resumes to edit at work, 3 resumes with my side gig (and they are actually paying me), plus personal things to do (yes, in the midst of saving the world, I do have a personal life). Guess what gets put on the backburner? Yep, Sally’s resume.

3. Resume writing and career coaching takes time, effort and a lot of work on YOUR end.

Looking for a job or trying to switch careers is a full-time job! Not only do job seekers have to scour the internet for job postings, but since 70-80% of all open positions are not even posted online, much of the leg-work involves searching for companies in certain industries. I would say that more than 90% of job seekers that I meet do not even do this step due to not knowing that they can apply for unlisted positions or opt out of this step just out of laziness.

Resume writing and editing takes a lot of work!

Since it’s important to have a different resume for each job you apply for, making them takes a lot of time! Someone who strategically applies for positions by changing their resume to meet the needs of the employer has a better shot at a job than someone who aimlessly applies for 60 positions online by using the same resume with no cover letter. You have to put in work and

your time = money too.

4. A job search in itself is an investment!

Look at all the stuff you have to buy to have an effective, successful job search:

– Resume paper

– Interview attire (outfits, shoes)

– Faxing fees

– Postal mail fees (stamps, envelopes)

– Transportation fees (gas, public transportation fees, taxicab fare)

– A portfolio to hold all your documents

– Books and publications that teach how to search for positions successfully.

If you are a job seeker not making an investment to purchase the bare minimum to have a great job search you won’t get the job of your dreams!

5. You won’t put in effort when you don’t put value to it!

Do people read free books? Most of the time, NO. It sits on the shelf, especially if it is a book in which they are not interested.

At one time, I did request to view resumes for free… What would happen? Sometimes I wouldn’t get the resume at all when I asked for them. It would almost be like pulling teeth for the person to send back the resume corrections or to let me know if they made their list of 35-50 companies to research and make attempts to contact them.

It’s so much easier to teach people how to find jobs on their own than to have them come to me every time they want a new job. It’s like the “teach a man to fish” proverb. 🙂

So there you have it!  Quality work = quality time = quality money. If you read this post carefully, you’d know how to save money by reading my tips and great books on how to find jobs (actually reading this post teaches exactly how to revamp a successful job search plan).

Habakkuk 2:2- “And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.”

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Salary Negotiation Series – Part 2 – How to Get a Raise at Your Current Job? Dress the Part!

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Click here to read Part 1 of the Salary Negotiation Series– How to Negotiate Salary After a Job Offer is Given  

I will never forget a guest speaker at a Management Honor Society Meeting I attended during college. She started off as a lowly receptionist that eventually became a manager and made more money because of one thing:

She changed her dress!

Things started changing when I started getting my clothes dry-cleaned. There was one specific professional blouse that I liked to wear when I knew upper management would have their meetings. Eventually I was asked to sit in those meetings. I really don’t think they would have let me take part in these meetings if I didn’t dress the part. Soon, I was asked to not only take a part in them, but to start running the meetings, then I became a boss!”

Are you at your job, making the same amount of money you were making last year? The reason may be because you’re dressing the same way you were dressing when you were first hired! Let’s face it, the coined phrase “appearance is reality” will not go away, regardless if you are the best person for the promotion or salary increase! So before you create your performance appraisal you want to make sure you are dressing as if you already have the raise! Let’s get started!

Scenario #1: The Telemarketing/Customer Service Employee

You’re on the phone all day with little physical contact with customers so there is a chance that your company may allow you to wear anything you want. You will see your co-workers coming to work with their pajamas, piercings, jeans, unpressed clothes and unkept hair. But if you want that promotion, you want to dress like you are the boss… Business casual! Why? Because:

1. You will have better posture when you are wearing nice clothes – I feel proud, professional, and in charge when I wear my business casual attire while the drones are wearing t-shirts and baggy jeans. I sit up with my chest out, shoulders back, and a smile!

2. Upper management will pay attention to you – your manager will notice that you are dressing like a manager and they will want to monitor you more often to find out if you meet the requirements for a promotion.

3. You will be invited to more decision-making meetings – or if you are in group meetings, you will look like the ace-beaucoup, next in line to be the boss.

4. At a group meeting, your ensemble is not complete unless you have a notebook – that includes bringing a notebook and being engaged in the meeting, regardless of how boring or short is. You will look so nice that they may ask you to be in upper-level management meetings instead of meetings with the other drones.

5. Your co-workers will begin to talk to you differently – Instead of your colleagues saying to you, “gimme some paper,” they will ask you, “Could I have some paper, please?”

Side note: If you are a woman: Wear make-up, if you’re not wearing any now. It’s been proven that make-up shows that you mean business! You don’t need to look like you are on the cover of Vanity Fair, but arching your eyebrows, wearing eye make-up paired with your favorite lip color MAKES THE DIFFERENCE!

Scenario #2- The fast food/retail employee – or Anybody Wearing a Uniform

Yes, even people at McDonald’s can get a raise! Dressing the part is a key in getting that raise and having people treat you more seriously at work! But how in the world can you set yourself apart if you have to wear a uniform like everybody else?

– Wear clothes that fit properly – Wearing clothes that fit properly give the illusion that you have either lost weight or not afraid to bend over backwards to help. Plus, it’s just more comfortable to wear clothes that fit!

– Press your clothes! – Even if you wear scrubs—even if you wear permanent press clothes, always look put-together. If that means waking up 30 minutes earlier, do it! The compliments that you get will build your confidence. Even if you work at a fast food restaurant, press everything! Have a crease in your pants, wear a belt, shine your shoes and try not to wear sneakers. If you wear black pants, wear black socks. Side note: Black Pants  ≠ White socks. Just…say… no! 😀

– If you wear a polo-style shirt – Tuck in your shirt and wear a belt. Again, this helps with posture and creating a gives that “appearance vs. reality” look!

– Wear leather shoes or good walking shoes instead of sneakers. If you must wear sneakers, be sure they are professional-looking as possible. The cow is dead anyway– you might as well wear it. 😀

Watch how differently customers will treat you when you look like the manager. They’ll talk to you better, they’ll think you are the boss. Your boss will see your posture and immediately say “Hey, that looks like my next assistant manager, or team lead!”

Giving the appearance that you deserve that raise sets you up for appraisal meetings resulting in a higher salary. Invest in yourself and watch your pockets get bigger! Part 3 of the Salary Negotiation Series will give personal examples of how I negotiated salary or earned a salary increase at previous positions. Good luck, and make that money!

Grabbing Those Job Interviews!

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Aceey with her "Work" gameface on.

After gaining countless interviews in the past 5 years and improving my resume skills training in several career fields, I’d thought it would be helpful to post some tips on how to get more interviews from online job postings so that my friends can get in on it too. These skills could turn your $8.00/hr job into a job that can get you out of debt in a year! Even if you have a job, it’s always good to stay marketable in the game. It does not matter what kind of economy we’re in, you can still get job interviews! (If you want a federal job, I will post tips on that too, in the future).

Step 1 – Search for positions in your area.
If you’re not the best at networking, go to http://www.indeed.com and click “Advanced Search.”

  • Choose option “Show Jobs of Type – Full Time” or pick whatever type you’d like.
  • Choose the option “Show Jobs From – Employer Sites Only.”
  • Choose option – “Exclude Staffing Agencies.” Staffing Agencies are great! However, you want to skip the middleman because eventually you WILL be hired and you WILL ask to negotiate salary. (I have faith in you).
  • Choose your location. For me, location is everything because I don’t like long commutes or sitting in traffic. Example: I would choose a radius within 5 miles from a zip code. The zip code doesn’t have to be your own. If I wanted to work in the financial district I would search for the area on a zip code map and search only in that specific zip code. And yes, I have had job interviews in my own zip code before!
  • AGE: Choose “Jobs Published Since Yesterday.” You want to get the most recent jobs posted in your face. If not enough jobs pop up in this option, choose “Within the past three days.” You don’t want to choose “Anytime” because the list would overwhelm you. Make sure you display 50 jobs at a time sorted by date. You want to grab the jobs that are the newest! Be the first person that the interviewer sees and try to make them see that you are the best candidate so they don’t have to waste time to interview more people.
  • Save the jobs you see that are relevant to your job experience and qualifications. Don’t apply for them just yet!

Step 2- Make a different resume for every job you apply for.
Sounds tedious, unnecessary, and boring right? I know, but it’s very important to tailor your resume to fit the job description and qualifications. WHY? Because 95% of resumes that are submitted online are read by a computer program that only reads keywords. After the computer program deletes the resumes that do not have the keywords needed, a human comes into play.

For instance, I saw a job posting the other day. Here’s a snippet:

Job Posting: Associate Career Services Advisor – Atlanta, GATracking Code 11611-1343

Required Skills

  • Ability to respond to common inquiries or complaints from students, regulatory agencies, or members of the community
  • Ability to write speeches and articles that conform to prescribed style and format
  • Knowledge of Word Processing software; Spreadsheet software, Database Software and Contact Management systems

Required Experience

  • Associate’s Degree required, Bachelor’s Degree preferred
  • Minimum 1 year work experience in relatable field or equivalent combination of education and experience

Wow! Basically, anyone with a degree can apply for this position. Doesn’t even matter what degree it is! And if you don’t have a degree, if you have experience doing stuff on a computer (hey, if you found my blog, you know how to use one) you can apply for this position! If you want the interview for this position, add all those keywords in your resume, provided that you meet the minimum requirements. Example:

 OBJECTIVE

Associate Career Services Advisor Tracking Code: 11611-1343

SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS

  • Previous Work Experience In Secondary Education Administration– Ability to respond to common inquiries or complaints from students, regulatory agencies, and members of the community. Familiar with job searching techniques and interviewing skills.
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing– Emphasis on Business Communication, Marketing Research, and Personal Selling.
  • Proficient Computer Skills– Knowledge of Word Processing and Spreadsheet software, Database Software and Contact Management systems; average typing speed: over 65 words per minute. Detail oriented with solid data entry and analytical skills.
  • Excellent Verbal and Written Communication and Grammatical Skills– Ability to write speeches and articles that conform to prescribed style and format. Experience in answering high traffic telephone lines; skilled in communicating with clients in a fast-paced environment.

*Items are bolded, italicized and colored, to emphasize I’ve taken it verbatim from the job description.

-Adding the job name and the tracking number/job ID not only proves that you read the job description and took time to make a resume for the position, but it will also automatically go in the “IN” resumes that would be eventually read by a human being. Do what you can to make it easy for the HR person to choose you so they don’t have to waste their time reading other resumes.

-Of course have your functional/chronological resume section handy and be sure to use action verbs. Add volunteer experience if it’s relevant. For instance, for the job posted, if I assisted refugees in finding a job or shadowing them on their first day at work, I would most certainly add that in my resume.

-If you are unemployed, find something to make the days go by! Volunteer at a nearby non-profit, volunteer at your kid’s school (trust me, teachers need a ton of help, and the PTA does too), gain more skills. When I was unemployed, one of the first things I did was take an online course for a software database for college campuses. I also purchased a Pharmacy Technician Trainee License (you can do this too, depending on the state) and started studying for the Pharmacy Technician License while looking for work. Adding that on my resume proved that I did not let grass grow under my feet while I needed a job. While unemployed, I began working out—it built up my confidence and gave me a better incentive to purchase more business suits!

Step 3- Start Applying… one opening at a time.

-Be honest in your job history. However, if your last job didn’t last more than 6 months, I don’t recommend you adding it to the application.

-If there is a cover letter section, fill it out! Check online for cover letter tips.

Be sure to save a resume that is specific to each job that you apply for. Don’t count the applications, MAKE THEM COUNT! It’s better for you to apply for 3 jobs in one day that you know you’re going to nail the interview for than applying for 27 jobs a day just for the heck of it. I think of the Apostle Paul when he mentioned “I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air (1 Cor 9:26).” Be specific in your approach and don’t shadowbox your way in your job search. And even if you don’t get the job, getting a call for an interview is a confidence booster!

You can do this! By the way, I applied for the above job posting in my state and immediately received a call for a phone interview … then nailed the phone interview… then received a call for a face-to-face job interview and knocked the job interview out the box. You got this! God bless!