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.”

How to Make the Job Interviewer Love You! Preparing For Your Job Interviews

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After sending in those awesome resumes that you learned how to make by visiting my first blog post on getting the job interview, it’s time to start preparing for your interviews, regardless if you have an interview scheduled or not. Before they call you for your interview (and they will call, because you are fabulous), I wanted to provide some tips that are often overlooked by most job-hunting assistance websites. These are honest, straight-forward tips to put you in the point-of-view of the interviewer.

When an interviewer calls to set up and interview with you there are a couple of assertive things that you should do so that you are not being set up for failure.

Appointment Time and Date

Refrain from appointment dates on Mondays and Fridays and afternoon appointment times . Why? Because, on Monday, interviewers are groggy and swamped with work that accumulated over the past week. They were probably having a blast on Saturday and Sunday, and probably aren’t thinking coherently (think about how you are on a Monday, BAM). They want the interview to be done– over with—so that they can actually do whatever it is that they do when they are not interviewing you. Also, I don’t recommend setting an appointment on a Friday. On Fridays, we all have that nonchalant “Whateverrr” attitude. On a Friday, the interviewer is not listening to you—they are thinking what they have to do after they leave from interviewing you—like going to the ATM and picking up the kids from school. They just got paid and want to go shopping!

The best appointment days are Tuesdays through Thursdays. The interviewer is most focused on those days. That way they can pay more attention to you so that you can make your awesome impression on the company. 😀

The time chosen for your interview is equally important. I strongly suggest agreeing to a morning interview. Why?  Because of something we call “The Itis!”

Dave Chappelle's diagram of what "The Itis" does to the body. “The Itis (pronounced “eye-tiss“) is something that is rarely talked about in the business world and I am unsure why, because it affects everything that we do after lunchtime. What’s “The Itis?” It’s that feeling you get after eating a meal filled with refined carbs, fried foods, and rich pastries. You feel full, sluggish, lethargic, sleepy. They can’t think well enough to actually take you seriously if they have “The Itis” so be wary of accepting an interview time after 12:00 p.m. (Youtube Link: Dave Chappelle actually gave the world a wonderful explanation of “The Itis” on his television show).

After negotiating appointment times, make sure that you ask them for more information about the location of the interview. Here are some of the questions I like to ask so that I can be prepared:

– What color is the building that I should be looking for? Are there any landmarks that can help me find the building quickly?

– What floor should I go to?

– Is there anything I need to know about parking?

– Who should I contact if I have any other questions or if I get lost?

It’s also a good idea go to your interview site the day before to be aware of any construction, delays, parking fees, etc.

Attire and Appearance

Note: This is for interviewees who will be in an office type setting. Dress like you already have the job. Dress as if you were doing the interview.

Macy's Kasper Suit, Notched Collar Three Piece Pencil Skirt Suit

Retail price of this suit is about $280.00-- I paid $7.99 for a brand new, similar suit at Goodwill.

The suit: The business suit is an investment. I do what I can to be sure I have quality business suits for interviewing. I’ve noticed that a lot of clothing stores don’t even have business suits, let alone business casual wear! Because of this, I’ve seen a lot of interviewees come to their interviews wearing just about anything (i.e., low-cut blouses with tight low-rise rayon pants).

If you have the funds, go to your nearest department store and invest in a business suit. Some stores like Burlington Coat Factory will even provide alterations for your suit for a nominal fee! If you don’t have a lot of money to purchase one retail, be of good cheer: I have found the best business suits at thrift stores—sometimes brand new, with the original price tags still on. I recently purchased a brand new business suit at Goodwill with a retail value of $178.00 for only $7.99! After purchasing my bargains, all I have to do is dry clean them and I am in “hiring mode!”

Ladies, please be sure to not have a high skirt—when in doubt, wear slacks. Gentlemen, a three-piece suit is not necessary but a tie is. The internet is awesome because they have websites available such as “How to tie a tie for your job interview.”

The "blazer" trick worked for Marge!

The "blazer" trick worked for Marge!

Wear a blazer. The blazer invokes authority… walk in it by always having your blazer on. This is a trick that I learned from the real estate industry and a guest speaker at a management honors fraternity meeting.  (Side note, notice that a lot of guys are wearing blazers with their tee-shirts and jeans at clubs, outings, music videos? They’re trying to boost themselves and look “authoritative.” lol).

Ladies: I totally recommend wearing makeup if you already wear it! I have read so many business news articles reporting that women that wear make-up end up making more money than the ladies that do not. I do not recommend the over-the-top items like shimmer lip gloss or full-false eyelashes. If you have long hair, put it in a ponytail or half-ponytail because you don’t want your hair to distract. Pantyhose or airbrush hose is a must, especially if you are wearing a skirt. Nails should not be long, and not be in outrageous colors or designs. I recommend wear closed toe heels/pumps for your footwear.

Always shine your shoes the night before, being sure that the heels are not worn and not in need of repair.

Everybody: wear no pierced jewelry other than ones in the ear, ladies (sorry, Gentlemen, no earrings please). Discreetly cover your tattoos. It is requested that perfume not be worn to the interview. We interviewers have sensitive noses. Chances are, we are going to be in a small room with you, closed off, and we need all the fresh air we can get because we’re nervous (see below). Don’t forget to use dental floss before going to the interview. It makes such a difference for your breath when you floss daily. If you smoke, try not to smoke before your interview.

Clean your car before your interview. This is especially important for someone interviewing for a position that requires travel. Put yourselves in the interviewer’s shoes again: “Why would I want to hire someone for a traveling job if they don’t have their personal items and lives in order in their own vehicle?” Get your car washed, clean it out, and put in a new air freshener the day before your interview. Little things like this boost up your confidence and have you walking to the interviewer’s door with the assertive demeanor guaranteed to get you the position.

Make the Interviewer’s Job Easier!

"The Scream" by Edward Munch

Interviewers are terrified at the thought of interviewing!

Interviewers are afraid of you! They’re scared—they don’t know what to expect. They don’t know what the acronym of their company name stands for. They don’t know who’s getting the next promotion. Interviewers are nervous too! So do your interviewer a favor by coming to the interview prepared. Search for website titles “Questions to ask during a job interview” and be sure to do your homework about the company, including a search for recent news articles about the company. Then tie all that in to how you can make the company even better (that’s what you’re going to be there for, right? 😉  ) You’ll be so comfortable and assertive that your interviewer will remember you. You just won’t be another resume on the desk. Congratulations, you’ve made your interviewer’s job easier by giving them what they want.

What to bring with you to the interview so that you can make your scared interviewer feel at ease:

MEAD CAMBRIDGE CITY TRIFOLD PADFOLIO, BLACK

Retail value this portfolio is $18.99. I purchased a similar portfolio for about $7.00 at my nearest Big Lots!

– Professional-looking portfolio to carry your documents 

– Pen & paper to take notes during the interview

– Hard copies of previous successes (certificates, transcripts, statistics of goals accomplished, etc)

– A list of references

Southworth Business Paper

Ask your local printing service to use "Resume Paper" or "Business Paper" to print out your resumes so that it can stand out from other resumes on your interviewer's desk.

– …and a few copies of your resume printed on heavy resume paper. Be sure to have one for yourself and least three additional copies (sometimes during the interview, they fail to mention that a panel will meet with you). This is how you can have your resume stand out from everyone else. Most of the time we interviewers see a dot matrix or non-formatted copy of your resume because it usually screened online first. Printing out your resume in a readable format, on heavier paper helps us know that you are taking the interview seriously! This is especially important for  federal job interviews. Make sure your resume has been proofread and revised to meet the objectives of the job.

Last, be sure to get a good night’s sleep before your interview. We can tell if you didn’t by looking at your bloodshot eyes, lol. Again, be confident, be assertive, and know pretend that you have the job before you have the job. You got this! God bless!

Phil 4:6-7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

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!