7 Reasons You're Not Hearing Back After Applying

Does it ever feel like your application has taken a non-stop flight straight down a black hole? You spend hours searching for jobs and applying just to end up hearing nothing.

In my career change program, I work extensively with clients on how to tailor their resume for the types of positions that appeal to them. Below are the most common mistakes I see before hitting the submit button:

1. Making it about you

The first natural reaction to finding a job you’re really interested in is to describe why you want that job. Maybe it’s because it’s a step up on the corporate ladder or because you’d be working with musicians and you’ve always loved live music. It’s great that you’re identifying why you’re interested in the position, but you need to take it a step further. 

Employers hire people for self-serving reasons. If you only talk about how this job will help you, your application will no doubt end up in the rejection pile. Instead, focus on what’s in it for the employer

If you really enjoy social media, don’t just talk about why you are interested in this area. In your resume expand on all of the accomplishments you have made relevant to social media and in your cover letter expand your description to why this is valuable in the role they are recruiting for.

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2. Including all of your experience

Part of the reason the job search process takes so long is because an effective application is a customized application. That’s why most people use the same resume for multiple positions. 

It can feel scary to leave out some of your experience - “But what if it looks like I was doing nothing during that gap?” Unfortunately when you include all, or even most, of what you’ve done in your career your story appears scattered. You can’t be known for anything if you’re trying to be known for everything.

If you feel insecure about leaving off positions that aren’t necessarily relevant to the position you’re applying for, just move them to an “Other Experience” section. 

3. Lack of keywords

One of the hardest things to do is see our impact in terms of the bigger picture, not just our day-today duties. When you’re applying for a new job, one of the MOST important things you should do is promote your transferable skills. 

Say you’ve been responsible for planning editorial calendars and writing copy for a product-based business and this is how you list your experience on your resume. Well if a company is describing this work as “content marketing” and you don’t frame your experience this way, a hiring manager isn’t guaranteed to notice it.

Applicant tracking systems are used a LOT now. If you don’t include the keywords listed on a job description on your resume and cover letter, you risk your application being rejected before ever reaching a human being.

4. Interest is there, relevant experience is not

Part of the reason most of us make a career change is because we want to be doing something we’re more interested in. But interest alone doesn’t make you qualified.

When you’re reviewing a job description it’s important to make a list of why you’re drawn to a position. This will help you get really clear about what it is that is attracting you to that specific position and will help you articulate it later.

Then it’s vital to make a separate list of how specifically your experience supports what they’re looking for in a candidate. If most of what makes you qualified are things you did a long time ago or as a hobby, you might realize this opportunity is appealing as an interest and not necessarily a career path (at this point in time).

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5. No cover letter

Some people think a cover letter is an unnecessary time. Granted it takes the most amount of time and creativity. But it’s your ONE chance to directly connect the dots between your experience and the position posting.

Your cover letter is the opportunity to explain why you’re making a career change, talk about your soft skills, and expand on your resume to give specific examples of how you’ve already succeeded in the areas they’re looking for.

Why would you willingly give up this opportunity? 

6. Disregarded application instructions

Similar to the last point, if you don’t follow the explicit instructions given on the posting, your application likely won’t be reviewed. I know one hiring manager who won’t look at any resume that is submitted without a cover letter, no matter how qualified the applicant appears.

A few common instructions are: including salary requirements, including your cover letter and resume in one single file, attaching writing samples, or keeping your resume to one page. 

7. Posting is old

Employers start to narrow down serious contenders within 1-2 weeks of the job being posted. If you’re applying for something more than 30 days old, chances are they’re already in the thick of contacting applicants and maybe even interviewing.

Searching a few times a week or setting job alerts is the best way to get your eyes on newly posted positions and get your resume to the top of the stack.

Why You Should Never Feel Ashamed to Have Multiple Streams of Income

Maybe you’ve heard the word multi-passionate before.

This term explains the feeling of being pulled in many directions that you care deeply about. It encapsulates the struggle of focusing on just one thing in your career when you’re interested in, and capable of, so many different things.

I remember back to a conversation I had when deciding if I should enroll in grad school. It was the first time I realized that you could actually be highly educated and still NEED multiple jobs to make ends meet.

This conversation was with the head of volunteers for an organization I was involved with. She had her master’s in social work and public health – a path I was considering at the time. In addition to the taxing social service work she did, she also taught at a nearby college. When I heard this, the first thing I thought was – That sounds exhausting. Why would I go back to school only to work harder?

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Blame it on being 23 and a bit green, but the idea that holding multiple jobs was completely foreign to me. I saw it as a failure rather than an opportunity to pursue different passions.

My First Side-Hustle

Fast-forward five years to my first side hustle: a wedding planning business. At the time I was employed full-time at an international development agency coordinating projects in Africa. I was looking for a way to flex my creative muscles and be closer to the product I was spending my time coordinating. 

Looking back, the one thing that held from meeting my potential as a wedding planner was my fear of being “found out.” I kept my business secret from my full-time job and I tried my hardest not to let my clients know that I had another job. Note to self: it’s hard to grow a business while keeping a low profile. 

My fear was that if clients found out I had another job, I’d appear illegitimate…a fraud. 

Also running through my mind was the thought that if I wasn’t doing it full-time, I was less valuable than a planner who was. 

Feeling this way led me to charge less than others in the industry, overcompensate to prove my worth, and constantly worry about being found out. 

The funny thing is, when I did actually come clean with my clients about also having another job, not only were they surprised, they didn’t actually care at all!

Who Doesn't Have More Than Interest?

What I’ve learned is that balancing multiple streams of income is not only admirable, but also normal in today’s professional landscape. Most people hiring you just care about whether you can get the job done on time and deliver on the value you promised.  

This is where your professional discretion comes in. There are all sorts of things you need to figure out when balancing multiple streams of income like:

  • Are you working on the clock for someone else?
  • Will you disclose your side hustle to your employer?
  • Are you bound by a non-compete clause?
  • When do you know it’s time to quit one position in order to excel in another?

I’m addressing all of these questions in my upcoming e-course, Nights & Weekends: transforming your ideas into a side hustle.

Deciding to Narrow In

When I quit my full-time job to launch Pattern of Purpose, I stayed on part-time with a non-profit consulting organization not only to keep a steady stream of income, but also to continue practicing those skills I learned in graduate school. I wasn’t ready to leave the field altogether even though my career goals had changed. 

I was open and honest with my manager about my intentions to grow my coaching practice and to this day I keep a schedule that clearly differentiates my business time from my consulting time. 

But recently it’s been made clear I need more time to focus on my clients and growing business more than I need the paycheck I get working for someone else. Even though this is a normal part of career progression – getting better at what you’re best at – it’s still tough for me to give up one area of work to focus on another. 

Whether you’re starting something new or pursuing multiple passions, remember that you’re in the driver’s seat. Sometimes you might feel like you had a bit of split personality, but that’s what keep the weeks flying by, exciting as they are challenging. 

How have you successfully balanced multiple streams of income? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below! 

8 Simple Ways to Become a Leader at Any Level

Leadership is such a buzz word. When hear the title "leader" it’s easy to immediately think it means manager, though these words are definitely not synonymous.

Tell me you don't know a manager whose leadership skills are below par?

And I'm sure you could also think of a leader who isn't necessarily supervising people.

The thing with leadership is that it's more about action than title. You can be a leader at any level, from entry-level to the C-suite.

Below are 8 ways you can cultivate your leadership skills to become commended by your peers and noticed by the higher-ups.

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1. Lift others up

Praising others is sometimes hard for us to do if we don’t have a personal connection with someone. We’re so used to hearing “constructive criticism” as our feedback loop, that we become scared and jaded when we hear someone call out areas that we’re excelling in.

Remember that calling out someone’s successes does not at all discount your own. If you can help others see where they excel, they’ll be more willing to trust you and help out when you need an extra hand. This is all teambuilding at its finest.

2. Quiet your voice so that others can be heard

Even if you know the answer, it’s important to hear someone else’s perspective from time to time. Wait to jump in to a conversation - even if that means counting to ten in your head - to see if someone else has something to say.

This is especially relevant for the problem-solvers out there who love contributing to a solution. And when it is time to chime in, first take the time to ask yourself, “Will what I’m about to say add something of value to the conversation?” Speaking just to speak doesn’t add bonus points in the boardroom.

 3. Reach out to those you admire 

When I first launched my business, it was easy to fall into the comparison trap. I felt like I’d never be as good as so-and-so. I was envious of the amazing Instagram accounts of other coaches. But then one day I decided to cut the crap and actually email one coach in particular whose approach I really admired. And surprise of the century – she wrote back immediately with the kindest, most personal reply ever.

Rather than defaulting to jealousy, what if you could default to admiration?

Just recently after I launched my new website an email came in from another entrepreneur. She commented on how much she enjoyed my content and said – “I just wanted to say hi and let you know that another entrepreneur out there thinks you are killing it.”

Do you know how much that email meant to me? Since then we’ve met up in person and have totally connected on a personal and professional level. Be that person for someone else. 

4. Really listen; don’t just wait to respond

As a culture we’ve become so accustomed to preparing our responses in a conversation that we don’t really listen and react to what someone’s saying. I’ll admit it, often I have to actively stop myself from interrupting and saying what’s on my mind before someone’s finished talking.

Effective leaders listen much more than they speak.

Rather than composing what a rebuttal in your head, tune in to what someone’s saying. Don’t worry, you’ll still get a chance to reply, but you’ll maintain a connection much easier than the ping-pong effect that comes with rushing to get your word in.

 5. Be open to learning

Whether you know it or not, you can learn something from everyone at work – including those above and below you in the org chart.

Some of the best advice I received at a previous job was from an administrative assistant who had worked in the office for 25 years. Had I written her off because of she wasn’t a senior executive, I would have missed the chance to gain perspective on long-term career growth, the battles worth fighting, and those that aren’t worth the energy.

Ask questions and involve those who typically don’t have a voice. It will be so worth it.

6. Ask questions rather than always providing solutions  

It’s human nature to want to fix things. That’s why we’re quick to provide an answer when posed with a challenge, rather than taking the time to fully understand the situation.

 By asking questions, you can approach opportunities with the information you need to set out a plan. In the process you’ll involve your team, identify who can fill each role, and define what success looks like in the end. This leads to more responsible and inclusive decision making, which in the end will naturally position you as a leader rather than a dictator.

7. Expect the best rather than assuming the worst

Do you find yourself anticipating the worst-case scenario? Have you found yourself anxious to open an email because you think you know what’s inside? Do yourself a favor and assume you’re going to get good news rather than bad.

This is especially important with email communication. It’s incredibly difficult to read emotion through emails, so stop trying to assign it. One way to do this is to re-read an email multiple times before replying. Your first reaction may not be on point because of what you’re anticipating. Always give the benefit of the doubt until you’re told otherwise.

8. Stand behind your team rather than pointing fingers when things go wrong  

Who ever stood behind a leader that said, “It wasn’t me!”?

It’s so not worth it to preserve your reputation if it means placing the blame on your team. Doing this doesn’t prove much other than communicating that you don’t want to be part of the solution. Rather than preserving your reputation, focus on what can be done to remedy the solution. Band together with your colleagues, because one of the best ways to team build is to overcome a tough situation with dignity and grace.


Leadership doesn't always means taking charge. Sometimes it means stepping back and encouraging others to step up. Who’s a leader you admire that possesses these traits?

The Best Way to Set Yourself Up for a Successful Week

Mondays are tough. Not only are you mourning the freedom that the weekend provides, but your schedule is full, baby! There’s so much to think about at the beginning of the week that it’s no wonder Monday dread spreads through the office like a winter cold.

What if I told you there was an easier way to start the week than the way you’ve been operating?

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The best Mondays are the ones when you leave the office feeling like you accomplished something important. That sense of accomplishment will boost your mood and catapult your motivation for the rest of the week.

Here’s how you’ll do that:

Don’t schedule meetings

Make Monday your get-shit-done day. If you have regularly scheduled meetings on Mondays, see if you can reschedule them. When you’re asked for your availability for a call, don’t offer up Monday if you have other options. 

The fewer interruptions you have, the more opportunity you’ll have to work your way through your to-do list.

Face up to what you’ve been avoiding

We all have those things that we get comfortable putting off and adding to the next week’s to-do list. It’s easy to convince yourself, “If I waited this long, why does it matter if I do it now?”

It matters because these are the things that weigh on our mind. They fill us with dread and keep us procrastinating, feeling like we can never get it all done.

Take a good hard look at your to-do list (that hopefully you created before zipping out last Friday) and pinpoint what’s been making the list week after week - it will be obvious! That’s what you need to do first. 

Turn off the distractions

Maybe it’s me, but I give into distractions wayyyyy too easily. Shut off your email and silence your phone for an hour. 

When you give your full attention to the task at hand, it will be easier to get in the groove, make progress, and complete it all in one sitting. 

Oh and a little caffeine never hurt anyone!

It’s tough to get started but once these to-do stragglers are done I can promise a huge weight will be lifted and you’ll be even more excited to start the things you want to be doing. 

Tell me: what’s on your list that you’re ready to cross off?

How to Say No Without Feeling Like a B*tch

If I asked you to name a "yes" man or woman you know, who would be the first person that comes to mind? You know who I'm talking about. The person who always says yes when they're asked to do something. The one who you can tell doesn't really want to take on another project but feels like they don't have the option to say no.

Would this person maybe even be you?

 
how to say no
how to say no
 

Trying to Please Everyone

I'm fairly certain no one that knows me would label me as shy. But what might surprise them is I'm a recovering people pleaser.

I'm the person who has always negotiated terribly for myself because I don't want to offend someone else with my asks.

I'm the bleeding heart who believed if I didn't concede to every ask I would be letting the team down; I wouldn't be doing my job.

But what I started to realize is the more I said 'yes' the more resentful I started to feel.

I don't know how I got to be this way, but when someone asks me for a favor I often find myself saying yes before really considering whether a) I have the bandwidth to carry out their request or b) whether I really want to be doing it.

How to Say No

I recently listened to the Women, Work and Worth podcast featuring joy junkie, Amy Smith. She's the voice I've always wanted in my head telling me all the ways to decline invitations, requests, and demands in a cordial way that won't leave the other person pissed off.

You need to spend an hour with this podcast episode.

And because I think her message is so necessary, I'm also going to link to her website so you can sign up to receive her free e-book on standing up for yourself just because I think the message and practical application is soooo good.

A Reminder

I would be remiss not to address the elephant in the room. That being how unfair it is that when a man says no he's standing up for himself, yet when a woman says no she's 'being difficult.' I have no grand scheme about how to alter this cultural contradiction. I'm simply here to remind you - you're allowed to say no and still feel good about!

When was the last time you said no and felt completely relieved afterward? 

Your Dream Job Should be Fun!! (and other career myths)

I don't believe in dream jobs. Just gotta put that out there front and center. You know why I don't believe in dream jobs? Because I changed paths early in my career, went back to school for nearly 3 years and landed what I considered to be my dream job. Woohoo - go me! But who would have thought that I would be miserable in that line of work just a few months in?

If you really look around - past the fluff and marketers trying to sell you a dream job in 30 days - you'll find that most people happened upon a job that they love. They didn't plan it.

As a career coach and strategist, I'm totally in love with what I get to do most days. This role fits in with my lifestyle, builds on my skills, and allows me to show up as the best version of me most days. But would I categorize my job as fun?

Many days, no, my job isn't fun.

how to find a job that's fun
how to find a job that's fun

The glorification of entrepreneurship

There's also this myth out there that you'll be happy if you just 'screw the 9-5.' I'm just going to say this as straight as possible - entrepreneurship is not a quick fix for career dissatisfaction.

Entrepreneurship is glamorized these days. I bet you can't go one day without hearing someone talk about how they get to work from anywhere (I hear Bali a LOT) and set their own hours. I see Instagram photos with business owners sipping their cocktails at 2pm with their computers in the background all like, "Look how fabulous your life could be if you just take the risk to quit your job and follow your dream like me!"

You know what I bet you don't see a lot of? I bet you don't see these same people being up front about how isolating it is to work from home, often alone. I bet you don't see these people stressed over having to learn one more thing (coding, anyone?) because they're a one-woman shop. I bet you don't see these people sharing the fact that they have to take on work that they don't love in order to pay their bills.

I can tell you that I've considered going back to a 9-5 just to be able to work less. All this isn't to encourage you NOT to pursue your goal of starting your own business. It's simply here to serve as a reminder that working for yourself isn't better than working for someone else. You need to find the role that fits you the best. That's where you'll find purpose. 

The Fable of the Perfect Job

Every interest isn't supposed to lead to a career. That should feel like a sigh of relief. I know you've felt like unless you're living out your passion you aren't in the right career.

Lest we forget that there's a place for work and hobbies and the two don't necessarily have to intersect. Hobbies are so important to have! They allow us to do something without the pressure of earning income, just for the enjoyment of participating.

Fun vs. Fulfilling

So how do you make the distinction between jobs that are fun and those that are fulfilling? And why does this even matter?

Fun is fleeting. Fulfilling gets to your deeper purpose. It connects your interests and skills. A fulfilling job gives you the opportunity to show up every day with the opportunity to make an impact with your inherent and learned strengths. 

The best way to build a fulfilling career is to begin by asking yourself a few questions:

  • I've heard people say they can count on me to:
  • One of my proudest accomplishments from work over the past year was when...
  • If I had one work day to pursue any project or idea I wanted, here's what I would be doing...

Look for themes in your responses. Then tie that to career possibilities. As yourself what type of job could incorporate most, if not all, of these elements.

Remember, your ideal career is likely totally different than anyone else's. That's because you bring unique strengths and experiences to the table in a way no one else can.

What was a time in your career where you felt completely fulfilled by the work you were doing? Tell me about it in the comments section below.

Financial Planning Advice for Your 20s and 30s

When Anne McCabe Triana came into my life I had some serious money questions. I always knew I should be planning for the future but when cash-strapped in my early 20s and starting a business in my 30s, there wasn't ever a whole lot of extra money lying around to invest. Earlier this year she gave the hubby and me some solid advice on when, how, and where to invest and save so that our future is protected for ourselves and our kiddo.

And she was ever so grateful to agree for me to return to her office and ask some questions for YOU!

So if you've ever felt funny about money, found yourself thinking about - but not taking action on - planning for the future, or even wonder what it's like to run a successful small business as a female in a male-oriented field, take 5 minutes to watch!

Key Takeaways

  • Financial planning is like a navigation system: it’s taking a snapshot of where you are holistically, doing goal setting, and building a roadmap to get you from point A to point B. We put a plan in place – life and markets happen – and financial planners help to redirect you.
  • Success didn't happen over night. Over the course of the first 3 years Anne wanted to quit many times. She didn’t really know what she was doing and had to build my business from scratch, which was intimidating!
  • At first she tried to fit in with the good old boys. Anne shared that she picked up golf when she first got into the business because that’s what everybody did. She didn’t embrace the things she actually liked such as fashion or femininity.
  • Starting early allows you to save less at a time for a higher return in the long run. If you look at numbers, and you start saving at 20 or 25 vs. 30 or 35, you can easily at the end of the day end up saving hundreds of thousands of extra dollars when you go to retire. And this doesn’t require investing a thousand dollars a month. The earlier you start, the smaller you can start and the more powerful it is over the long run.
  • Take advantage of free money! 401K plans with a match is free money. Start there. If you don’t take advantage of this you’re leaving free money on the table.
  • Simple yet powerful negotiation tip: pretend like you are negotiating on behalf of someone you love. Think of what you could do for this person with the additional money. Manifest the negotiation like you wanted to do something for this person.
  • Some of the best advice Anne's received: Stop spending all of your day reading and trying to learn everything about the business. Spend your day going out and bringing in clients. As you bring in clients you’ll learn different aspects of the business. If you don't get out there, you won't learn and you probably won't be employed for very long.

Waiting for the Right Time Will Keep You Waiting Forever

When should we start trying for a baby?

The first place my mind raced when my husband and I first broached this topic three years ago was: 

Is this the right time at work to get pregnant? 

The thing is, at the time, I wasn’t happy at work. I was actively job searching.

Should I go hard at the job search and then wait a year until trying,” I asked myself.

Should I try now at least while I didn’t feel guilty about my personal life distracting me from work?

is it the right time to have a baby
is it the right time to have a baby

We figured we’d give it a go and “see what happened.” Several weeks later I was in Nigeria on a business trip and got the positive test result.

I had it all planned out from that moment - I would coast through the pregnancy, taking off for doctor’s appointments whenever I needed. My boss was super supportive of family obligations, so I had that going for me. Then when the baby came I could decide whether I would stay or look elsewhere.

Job searching while pregnant

I should have known that I wouldn’t have the patience to wait 9 months for things to get better.

I really considered searching while pregnant. But on top of changing jobs, I didn’t know if I’d feel comfortable telling hiring managers that I was expecting. Legally they can’t ask or base a hiring decision on this, but I didn’t want to start a working relationship on the wrong foot.

So I stuck it out.

After I had my daughter I ended up making massive shifts in my career that lead me to where I am today: owning my own business and consulting part-time. While my daughter goes to daycare, I’m the one who does the pick-up, dinner, and bedtime routine most nights too.

She’s 2.5 and everyone is asking when we’ll have a second...

The truth is, I’ve been shrugging it off.

The Questions Women Grapple With

As women we have so much more we have to consider than just diapers and sleep deprivation when thinking about bringing a child into the world. I’m not saying these are the only two things men think about, but the reality is women are the ones who are consumed with thoughts like:

  • What if it takes longer to get pregnant than I expect?
  • Will I have morning sickness that will interrupt my work obligations or schedule?
  • When do I tell people? Do I tell people at all? If so, will they worry about my ability to work to my full capacity?
  • Is it better to wait until I advance more in my career or should I take advantage of having less responsibility now?
  • Am I a bad mom if I choose daycare over staying at home?
  • Am I 'giving up' if I decide to opt-out of the workforce for a while to stay at home with my kid?
  • If I decide to breastfeed, will I be able to continue when/if I return to work?

My husband - who for the record is a hugely supportive partner and dad - is really only concerned about one thing as we decide to have another: will we be able to afford it comfortably?

When his co-workers find out his wife is having a baby, they’ll give him a handshake coupled with a, “Congrats, brother.” Maybe he’ll need to take a few days off afterwards, but otherwise it’s business as usual.

Replacing fear with excitement

Within the last year I left the 9-5, launched a new business, and moved. My husband finished grad school and has since changed jobs twice. We’ve been through sleep regression and the terrible twos.

But things are starting to look up. And I’m scared throwing a baby into it will mean I’m sacrificing everything I’ve built. I’m scared we won’t be able to get the help we need. I’m scared I won’t be able to work with as many clients as I want. I’m scared of being irrelevant.

There’s a lot of fear in there isn’t there? Recently I started wondering what would happen if I replaced the word “scared” with “excited.” What if I led with all the things I’m excited for? Here's what I would say if I listed the things I'm excited for when thinking about having another...

I’m excited to loosen the grip on my future and be surprised by life again.

I’m excited for my baby girl to be a big sister.

I’m excited for my business to grow as I grow.

I’m excited at the anticipation of finding out whether we’re having a boy or girl.

I’m excited to stop putting things off because of fear.

MY ADVICE FOR YOU

I brought this topic to a Facebook group full of creative entrepreneurs. I laid out my soul and my fears and I was surprised to hear so many women chime in. I was amazed to hear of women with 5 kids under 10 who are still making their business work. Others telling me that having two has made them learn how to prioritize and recognize time wasters. Still others who don't want kids and are clear with how their other life goals fit in with their work goals.

The bigger picture seems to be this:

Approach big decisions with fear and you'll never do those things your gut is telling you that you want to do. Approach them with anticipation, gratitude, and excitement, and you'll quickly realize you've got all you need to thrive.

  • You can’t plan the future, as hard as you might try. Take it from someone who has always tried to plan life out three years in advance.
  • The financial aspect is important, though most people who are planning to have a family find the means to work it out.
  • Don’t let anyone shame you for not returning to work in order to be a stay-at-home mom or returning to work after a few weeks and leaving your baby in good hands.
  • There is no normal, so just do what feels right for you.
  • Your priorities may very well shift; you may actually be turning into that person you said you’d never be and that’s okay.
  • As easy as it is to get wrapped up in being a mama, don’t forget to nourish yourself as an individual.
  • Work-life balance is BS. Work-life integration…now that’s more like it.

So tell me, what's one big, life altering decision that you've been putting off? What are the things that are exciting about making this move once and for all?

Am I Too Old for a Career Change?

I know you've asked yourself this question before. Maybe it sounded a little different; more like:

"Have I missed my chance?"

"Do I have to give up everything to do something I enjoy?"

Or, "I have real responsibilities now. People count on me and my steady job, while it may not be my dream job, provides a paycheck."

is it too late for a career change
is it too late for a career change

I'm a career coach who specializes in career changes. You know I'm going to tell you that you're not too old for a change. I don't believe that's true. But I also realize that just by saying that isn't convincing enough for you to put in your two weeks and open the next chapter of your career.

So let's look at the proof around us.

These Women Didn't Find Success Early

Vera Wang - first a figure skater and then a fashion editor, she was 40 before she commissioned her first wedding dress - her own!

JK Rowling - she first worked for Amnesty International then moving on to teach English in Portugal and eventually training other teachers before ever publishing the first of the Harry Potter series in her 40s.

Joy Behar - this funny woman was a high school teacher until blossoming into a comedian at age 40.

If You're in Your Twenties

Find me a twentysomething that hasn't changed course at least once and I'd be surprised. This is the decade when you're kind of expected to be testing the waters. What I'm not saying is to job hop simply because you get bored a few months in.

If you're thinking about a career change in your twenties, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I want to change careers or am I simply unhappy in my current job?
  • Am I simply curious about another field, industry, or position or am I confident I want to shift my work focus completely?
  • What are some ways I can try this new idea on for fit without making a long-term commitment?

Whatever you do, don't lose sight of the skills you're gaining along the way. Even if your current job isn't your forever job, you can be learning and growing towards your next goal while planning out your next move.

If You're in Your Thirties

The month I turned 30, I felt different. Honestly, something about it made me turn my focus inward on what mattered to me and my family much more than worrying about what others thought about me. This may not be a coincidence since I was changing careers myself around 30, but I definitely think it took that decade of constantly worrying about meeting others' expectations to realize that I was the only person in charge of my happiness.

In your 30s, typically you've been established in life and at work. It no longer feels like you constantly have to prove yourself; you've got some years of walking the walk to back up your value.

But let's be honest - you've also got more responsibilities now than before. These can often make us feel shackled to the safe areas of our work life since so many changes are happening on the personal front.

Changing careers in your 30s is all about your risk tolerance. As yourself these questions:

  • How does my current work line up with my purpose? 
  • What role do I want work to play in my life right now?
  • Do I want to make a slow transition - starting a side hustle or working part-time - or am I comfortable making the leap?

If You're in Your Forties

By the time you've reached your forties, you've probably developed a speciality or niche and have earned a seat at the management table. You're making more than you ever have but maybe something isn't sitting right.

You're good at your job but you can't get that one idea out of your head.

Think about the following questions:

  • What's my most audacious dream?
  • If I've been keeping myself from chasing that dream, what is it that I'm afraid of?
  • At this point in my career, what's more important to me: security or fulfillment?

A lot of women that I come across who are in their 40s but are unhappy at work are weighed down by the "shoulds."

"I should know what I want to do by now."

"I should have figured it out a long time ago."

"Now that I'm finally going after my dream I shouldn't expect to make more than an entry-level worker even though I have a lot of experience."

It's time to let go of the shoulds and follow your must. If I haven't done a good enough job convincing you, just check out my favorite infographic, Too Late to Start?that's been spread far and wide across the internet.

What to Do When You've Lost Motivation at Work

Today's post comes on the tails of a question posed in my private Facebook group for women, Passion with a Paycheck. A member asked, "What do you do when you've lost focus, organization, and interest in your job?" I think all of us can relate to this, no?

Whether we're bored or frustrated with our environment, it's easy to stop caring. Work turns into a means to an end - a paycheck that keeps you living for the weekend.

Staying engaged takes much more work. Just how do you do that when you feel like your job doesn't matter anymore?

you've lost motivation at work

Remember what used to light you up

The first thing to do when you start feeling this way is to identify what you used to enjoy in your job. If you can remember to when you first saw your position posted, what excited you about it? What or who encouraged you to apply?

In your first days and weeks, what were you excited to tackle? What were the pieces of your job that made you feel like you were contributing to your fullest potential?

Write them down.

No matter how discouraged you are or how much things have changed at work since you started, getting connected to these things will allow you to see if they are the things you're still looking for out of work. If so, you can focus on getting incorporating more of those moments and opportunities into your day. If they aren't so relevant anymore...well that information is just as good as you start thinking about what could light you up moving forward.

Email someone you admire

If you're bored or annoyed with your work life, chances are pretty high that you're looking at what others are doing. Rather than being envious, reach out to people whose work you admire. This could be on LinkedIn or through an email.

Start the conversation by telling them what you admire about them and ask them for a nugget of advice.

When I was stuck in a rut at work I was lusting over the jobs that human rights photojournalists got to do. I found one multimedia storyteller and developed a total girl crush. So I reached out and asked her if she had any advice for someone who would like to learn about digital storytelling.

To my total surprise she was totally happy to write back and give me some tangible pieces of advice. After that email I was inspired to take action and figure out ways to learn that skill set while in my current job. Did it help me as a professional? Sure. Did it also help my employer? You betcha.

Ask yourself - if I could be doing something different right now, what would that be? Reach out, ask for some words of wisdom, and find ways to incorporate that into your current role.

Tune out the noise

It's really hard to feel positive when you're surrounded by negative people. Sure, it feels nice to know you're not alone, but negativity breeds negativity.

If your lunch bunch always talks about how much they hate their job but aren't doing anything about it, that should be a clue that they aren't invested in changing their circumstance. If you want things to get better (which I'm sure you do because you've already noticed your situation isn't ideal), take some time away from your work buddies and see if you have a new perspective on things.

Challenge yourself to not complain for one week and see if you notice a difference. It's not easy - I know this personally - but it can make a huge difference in your outlook and attitude.

Start creating

Distraction can sometimes be the best medication. If you're feeling in a rut, find a project that you can throw yourself into. If there isn't something to get involved with at the moment, think about a professional development or training opportunity you can take advantage of.

Whatever it is, make sure you can find something that has deadlines and keeps you engaged. Projects that require an output like designing a report, creating a presentation, or producing a market research brief are great because they result in a tangible deliverable.

Challenge yourself! This is a great time to develop a new skill and surprise your team with the breadth of your capabilities. And don't surprised along the way if new opportunities come a knockin!

Read This Over the Long Weekend

If you're anything like me, you're charging up for the kick-off to summer, Memorial Day. Whether you're cooking out or jetting to the beach, I want to urge you to take 16 minutes away from the party just for yourself. I know work might be getting you down. I understand that you just want to relax. But I promise you that spending just 16 minutes on what I'm going to share will not only be worth your time, it will also blow your mind.

This week my friend shared with me the article, "The Crossroads of Should and Must" by Elle Luna (I wonder if that's her real name??).

what should i do with my life
what should i do with my life

I guess I've been living under a rock because this was published back in 2014 on Medium. Since then millions have shared the article and it's been turned into a book (which of course you know I already bought because I'm a self help junkie).

Without giving too much away, the article is all about how often we chase the "shoulds" in life - what others want us to do. True happiness, career success, and fulfillment comes from following the "musts" - those things we care about, crave, and believe in.

As soon as you're finished let me know what your initial reaction is. I'm so excited to hear all about it!

This is How Long You Should Stay in Your Job

Did you know 41% of Baby Boomers think workers should stay with an employer for at least five years before looking for a new job. I haven't met many millennials who are planning to stay with any employer for that long...even in their dream jobs. In fact, according to research, only 13% of Gen Y are staying put this long. If we aren't being compensated appropriating, feeling challenged in our position, or see opportunities for advancement, our attention is already redirected on what's next.

So then what is a realistic amount of time to stay in one job? And how long should you stay if you're not happy?

when should i quit my job
when should i quit my job

The Argument for Staying

Early on in your career it's certainly important to "try things on for fit," but serial job hopping can actually hurt your career. If you're jumping from company to company, you risk not appearing dedicated and scattered in your experience.

There's no globally accepted rule for how long is an appropriate tenure, but make sure you're staying put long enough to gain mastery of a skill. Whether it's seeing a project through its full life-cycle or becoming the go-to person for a specific task, this is how you develop your professional niche. No matter how you slice it, you can't refine your specialty if you're constantly on the move.

Give it a Year

Practically speaking, it takes about 6 months to learn a new role and 6 months to prove yourself. Blame it on being overqualified for the job from the get-go or wanting a new challenge, the one year mark is when a lot of millennials start itching for change.

For better or worse, from a recruiter's perspective, you should stay at least one year in your position. 2-4 years is the sweet spot for professional tenure. As long as you're growing, it's worth it to stay.

If you've hit your limit, been passed over for a much deserved promotion, or your company is headed in a new direction that you don't agree with, make sure you can clearly articulate why you're job searching and what you're looking for out of a position. Shorter tenures are going to be questioned more by hiring managers, but in many cases are completely justifiable.

The Exceptions

Sometimes we get the gut feeling early on that we made the wrong decision. Maybe you missed something in the interview or have uncovered an environment that is vastly different from what you expected. You can certainly wait it out, but you need to be honest with yourself whether the situation is likely to improve or worsen with time.

If you don't see any future with your employer and you've been there less than a few months, you don't owe them to stick it out. It's better for you and the company to come clean early on and chalk it up to a bad fit.

However, if you're in a position that's making your miserable - you're not sleeping, you have an emotionally abusive co-worker or supervisors, or your personal life is suffering because of your work - regardless of how long you've been there, it's time to move on. No job is worth sacrificing your well-being.

When You Decide to Leave

When it's time to search for something new, take the time to define exactly what's motivating your decision to seek alternative employment. Use this information to guide your search and to decide what type of position and employer will satisfy your needs.

And finally, regardless of how unhappy you are, make sure you don't jump to the next thing just to get out of your current job. Jumping haphazardly most of the time results in a new environment with the same unhappiness culprits. Follow your intuition and enter the job search knowing that finding the right fit is worth the time it takes.

Why Updating Your Resume Won't Land You the Job

There are a lot of people out there saying that if you have a perfectly crafted resume you'll land the job you're dreaming of. As a career coach, this is a tough one for me to hear, because it's such a widespread misconception. Truly it doesn't matter what type of resume format you use if you aren't clear on what areas you want to highlight...or what you're looking for...or how your past work relates to the very jobs you're applying for.

Watch today's video, below, as I walk you through this common fallacy:

Important Points:

  • If you're applying for dozens of jobs but not hearing back, investigate whether you're connecting your experiences to what employers are looking for, down to the keywords listed in the job description.
  • If you're interviewing but not getting offers, ask yourself if you're applying for the same type of job you have now but expecting a different experience.
  • When approaching a career change ask yourself why you're unhappy. What do you want to be doing more of? What do you want to be doing less of?
  • The more narrow you can make your career goal, the more effectively you can communicate how your experience positions you as a qualified candidate.
  • Your career story should tie together your experience and strengths with the employer's needs.
  • An effective resume is more than a list of responsibilities; it's the impact you've had and the accomplishments you've made during your tenure.

 

How to Ace a Video Interview

As if you didn't already know it, a lot of people are applying for the same jobs as you. As competition becomes stiff and more companies are embracing technology, video interviews are taking the place of many first round in-person interviews. Recent studies show that between 50 and 70 percent of employers now conduct video interviews as some phase during the hiring process. While it may be second nature to you to use video communication software like Skype or Facetime, it's a different ballgame when you're using it to land a job. Read on for a few tips on how you should approach your next (or first!) video interview...

Mistakes People Make When Being Interviewed via Video

  • They don't finish their look. Even though it might seem silly to dress up to talk to a computer, you need to dress the same you would if you were interviewing in person.
  • They take the call in a distracting environment. We've all been on conference calls where someone is obviously sitting at the dog park or coffee shop. Don't risk your chances by taking the call in a room with poor lighting or distracting noise.
  • They interview at work. Yes, technically you can take a video call from anywhere, but be smart about it. If you're at work constantly worried about someone hearing you or knocking on your door, it will probably negatively impact your presence.
video interview
video interview

How You Should Prepare for a Video Interview

Even though it's a virtual interview, you need to present yourself how you would in person, down to the shoes you're wearing. This will have an incredible impact on your confidence and demeanor. Fifteen minutes prior to the call, shut down all other internet browsers and silence or turn off your cell phone to prepare for the video call. Test your camera to make sure you're properly framed in the screen. And finally, be prepared to take the call at a clean desk or table with a notepad readily available to take notes - just as you would in person.

Rocking the Interview

  • Choose a location where your background is neutral and won't be distracting.
  • Take the call on a computer, not your cell phone.
  • Make sure you are maintaining as much eye contact as possible with your interviewer by looking into your webcam. (This may mean propping up your computer with books to achieve the proper angle or moving your desktop closer to you so that you are the focus of the call, not your entire room.)
  • Remember that your body language does as much of the talking as your words, so if possible use the screen-in-screen function so that you can check in every so often on how you appear.

What was your experience like interviewing via video? Do you prefer it to in-person interviews?

Yes, You're Qualified Enough to Apply for That Job

One of biggest unknowns when applying for a job is whether you should apply when you don't meet all of the qualifications. You don't want to waste the employer's time and honestly you don't want to waste your own when you feel it's a long shot that your resume will even get noticed.

Gender Differences

It's not a coincidence that you're feeling this way. Gender plays a major role in job search and application behaviors. On average, men who are less than 50% qualified for a job will apply. Because hey, why not?

On the other hand, women who are 95% qualified will hold themselves back because of the 5% of the requirements they don't feel that they meet.

Of course I'm not saying this happens across the board, but please tell these numbers don't resonate with you!

should i apply for this job
should i apply for this job

Is it Fear Talking?

So what's the real reason you might be holding yourself back from an opportunity? So often we say we're unqualified when we're really just too scared to try it.

Are you worried about someone's reaction when they review your resume?

Are you nervous that you won't like the position because it's different from what you've done in the past?

Or are you really worried that you won't be able to do the job?

Consider this: if you don't even get to the interview stage, where you can talk to another human being about the position at hand, how can you make an informed decision about whether it would be a good fit or not?

You don't have to accept a job if it's offered, but you certainly can't accept one if you don't apply.

Don't take yourself out of the running

Let's not discount the importance of growing into a job.

I've applied to jobs where I felt 100% qualified and honestly I got bored at work really quickly. I outgrew that job within the first few months. Then I sat around not challenged and ready for a change before the one-year mark.

Don't forget they're also looking for the right fit. Someone who checks off all the boxes on paper might be a disastrous fit personality-wise.

When you find a position that interests you, requires skills that you possess, and provides an opportunity to grow, do your best to tailor your experiences to what they're looking for and hit the apply button. Don't disqualify yourself by holding back on the what-if's.

Tell me about a time where you didn't think you were qualified on paper but ended up getting the job done like a boss!

3 Essential Job Search Apps

LinkedIn Jobs

You've been scouring the internet looking for the best job search site with no luck. You've even tried the job search tool on the LinkedIn website. It's time to check out the LinkedIn Jobs app. It's so robust; you can search by keyword, title, and location.

The best part - it saves all of your searches for you. That means you don't have to recreate a search every time you open the app. You can also set job alerts for your search criteria and save job postings right there in the app.

The job postings themselves also include the date that they were added. It's always better to apply within the first few weeks of a job being posted, and this gives you that often hard to find, critical piece of information. You'll also be notified when a posting is set to expire (in other words, stop accepting applications).

For many of the jobs listed you can apply directly through your LinkedIn account. No more formatting your resume and uploading through your phone. Easy as pie!

job search apps
job search apps

Glassdoor

You've found a job you love. Great! But now you're worried about the salary range. Maybe you're also worried about what the company's employees actually think about working there. Enter Glassdoor.

This app lists reviews, salaries, benefits, and interview information from current employees of thousands of companies.

By researching a particular job title or organization, you'll have the details necessary to make an informed decision about whether or not to apply and how to start negotiating your salary.

Evernote

While not necessarily a job search app, Evernote can be a game changer for keeping your job search organized.

The free version allows you to keep to-do-lists, save webpages (i.e., job postings), and make notes all in personalized folders. It's a great place to keep all of your notes on your search and information you gather through the interview process.

Say goodbye to your paper trail, streamline your job search, and make the process less complicated by using this app.

6 Alternative Job Boards You Need to Check Out

Giant job boards have their place. You know the ones I'm talking about (...monster, career builder...) They can also be incredibly overwhelming with the amount of digging it takes to find the type of job you're looking for. I've rounded up 6 job boards that you probably haven't heard of but need to know. Some are female-focused. Some are location dependent. Most are niche.

The one common factor is that they're all far better suited to young professionals, women especially, building their careers.

alternative job sites for job seekers
alternative job sites for job seekers

The Muse

This is the largest site on my list with about 5,000 jobs posted. But, don't run away! The Muse lists their jobs and companies in the most visual, graphically appealing way possible. You can get a sneak peek inside the walls of companies with videos, images, and employee quotes. Jobs are also categorized by "Muse team picks" and "fast-growing companies."

Aprés

Women who want to get back to their careers after having children are often underemployed if they chose to stay home rather than return to work, even if just for a few years. Aprés focuses on supporting women who have chosen to "opt-out" through its marketplace of full- and part-time positions, consulting gigs, maternity fill-in positions, and pro-bono opportunities.

Career Contessa

CC has just started their board and doesn't have nearly the number of postings as others, but the ones that are there fit the CC audience to a T - intelligent, driven women in their 20s and 30s who are looking for meaningful jobs that blend their interests in work and life. Check back often as this board expands.

The Everygirl

Is you're into feminine, artistic, creative industries, this is where you should start. There aren't hundreds of recent posts, those that are there scream out "dream job." While you're on this site try as you might, you're guaranteed to get distracted by their drool worthy lifestyle and travel articles.

DesignLoveFest

Lifestyle blogger, Bri Emery has 690,000 Instagram followers. I think it's fair to say she's a creative goddess. On her website, she has a curated collection of job postings that started to highlight jobs that friends of hers have open. A lot are on the west coast, but hey I'd consider relocating for some of these opportunities!

FlexJobs

Telecommuting and freelance work. Not the prettiest site design, but it gets the job done. Their team hand screens every job and company wishing to post a position on the site. With 55 career categories, they promise to help applicants find "a job that fits their life, not a life that fits their job."

What are some other sites that you consider to be uncovered gems for job hunters?

Why Your Career Story Might be Falling Flat and How to Fix It

Storytelling is such a buzzword right now. From virtual reality to major motion pictures, stories capture our attention and draw us in. They’re much more memorable than ads and more relatable than facts alone.

As someone who helps people on the daily navigate their career transitions, I’m a huge proponent of crafting a sincere career story. Let’s just say connecting the dots between where you’ve been and where you’re going is my sweet spot.

It wasn’t until recently that I realized I kind of suck at telling my own story.

your career story
your career story

A NEW JOB MARKET

When it came to career advice, the most common I received as a young professional was two-fold:

  1. Cut down your resume to one page
  2. Only include positions that are relevant to the job for which you are applying.

That’s great and all but this advice alone leaves out a huge piece of the puzzle.

Just as we crave a good story in our personal lives, so do hiring managers as they search for the perfect candidate.

This is why social media is now part of the job search and why LinkedIn has added a visual component to the profile. People no longer care just about where you worked and what you did. They want to know what that looks, sounds, and feels like.

THE MESSY MIDDLE

What I do, who I am, and how I help are all pieces I’ve had on my website since day one. The problem is, I never quite felt like I was telling my whole story.

Sure, there were snippets here and there – how I fell into my first job, when found a volunteering role, and how I discovered my “dream job.” But the connection between that point and where I am now got really blurry.

It was easy to focus on the struggle. Those moments are imprinted on my memory like a tattoo. What was much harder was talking about the struggle.

I’ve always had a real fear of failure. When you’re as focused on succeeding as I am, you tend to leave out the messy middle.

EVERYONE LOVES THE UNDERDOG

Recently I submitted my about page for feedback in my mastermind group and was surprised when it was returned with pages of comments.

One of my peers said, “It feels like you’re building up and then – BOOM – you quit your job and become a coach. What was the transition from one to the other?

She continued, “I was going to say it’s missing the second act. The one where you had to face your fears about choosing the wrong thing. Where you had to get vulnerable and change it up. The one where things gets messy and you had to stretch yourself.

How ironic for someone who specializes in career transitions, that I had trouble owning up to my own non-linear path!

{BTW: you can read my updated story here.}

WRITING YOUR OWN “ABOUT ME” PAGE

Maybe you’ve been thinking about changing careers for a while. For one reason or another you haven’t taken the necessary steps to change course. It might be because you don’t know what it is you want to be doing next. It could also very well be because you think you don’t have the background to make the leap.

When approaching a career change, we often think we have to hide what we’ve been doing before this point. In actuality this is what makes us a strong candidate.

This means being up front about who you are and how you got here. All those twists and turns make for a compelling story. And by owning that story and telling it over and over again, you begin to believe it. You must believe your story before you try to convince others.

Even if you don’t have your own website, imagine what you would say on your about page. Who are you talking to? Imagine this person. Are they an employer? What questions might they have about your experience? What do they want to know about each step that got you to today?

Write it all out. Don’t worry about length or cleaning it up.

This is how you start.

You can worry later about summarizing it and tailoring it to a specific position. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, getting started is the hardest part.

What to Know When Applying for a Job in Another City

One of the best things I did as a twentysomething was move to a new city where I knew not a soul. It was a point in my life where I wasn't tied down to any person or any place. I could go anywhere. It's an amazing opportunity to be able to pick a new city and hit refresh. But it can also feel like an uphill battle explaining your out-of-state address to hiring managers.

Recruiters always prefer local candidates. It makes sense. There's less risk involved in the hire. The company doesn't have to worry about relocation costs, moving plans falling through, or the other logistics involved in getting acquainted to a new city.

But now more than ever, your home base is less important than where you're willing to go for work. Technology and globalization means that most teams are working across time zones anyway. You just need to know how to sell yourself convincingly. Here's how to do so...

relocating for work
relocating for work

1. Focus Your Search

When you're open to anything, anywhere, it can quickly start to feel overwhelming. It's important to narrow your focus before you begin your search. I recommend focusing on one or two potential cities or one specific type of job.

The key here is that you need some sort of parameters for your search. With a lot of moving parts, you risk your application coming across as random and broad.

If you're set on a city but not an industry or type of position, set your job alerts only on that city. Then take the time to tailor each application to your skill set and relevant experiences.

If it's more important that you land a position in your field, tighten up your presentation of your most relevant accomplishments to date.

When I moved from Virginia to Boston for a job transition, I was working in admissions and could directly tie my responsibilities to what higher ed employers were looking for in an assistant director of admissions. It was a pretty easy sell because my location mattered much less than my skill set.

2. Make a Personal Connection

We all know how frustrating it can be to submit your application to the black hole and never hear back again. If you're applying from out-of-state, it's even more important to connect with a human being.

Recently in a Facebook group I came across someone who was visiting a new city and planned on showing up unannounced and dropping off her resume to a few HR departments. My suggestion was that rather than showing up without an appointment and risking her resume being filed away, reach out and set up an appointment beforehand.

Set your sights on someone at the level you're interested in, not the head of the department or firm. Directors, managers, and executives are likely to be much too busy to accommodate such a meeting request.

For instance, if you're interested in a marketing coordinator position, research employees on LinkedIn with a similar title. Send them an email offering to take them out to coffee or requesting 20 minutes to chat over the phone about their role with the company.

Once you make that personal connection, you have an "in." That person can vouch for you when/if there's an open position or keep an eye out for openings should one become available.

3. Listing Your Current Location

It's no longer necessary to list your address on your resume. Instead, make sure your email address, phone number, LinkedIn profile URL, and any other personal portfolio sites are highlighted at the top.

If you are required to list your address on the online application form itself, then go ahead and do so. Some people list a friend or family member's address, though I'm not a fan of fabricating anything on application materials. There's always the chance this could come up in the interview process.

Rather, if this is something you think your prospective employer will question, bring it up in your cover letter. State your intentions to relocate and give a specific date by which you plan to do so. This will encourage hiring managers that you plan to relocate regardless of whether you get a job with their company.

4. The Interview Process

Don't expect any company to fly you out for an interview or pay for relocation costs. Sure, it's a great perk if they offer to do so, but if you really want that job it's on you to show up for it.

You've got to be flexible.

When I was in my last semester of grad school in Michigan and applying for jobs back on the east coast, I had to be ready to book a plan ticket on less than a week's notice. Yes, it was a sacrifice at the time, but I only did so for the job I knew I really wanted. And hey, I got it!

Your flexibility and willingness to accommodate their schedule shows a lot about how serious you are about working for such company.

5. Be Ready for a Quick Change

Lastly, you've got to give the hiring manager the signal that you'll be as available to them as the candidate down the street. Don't let your long-distance courting serve as a barrier in any way.

That means being clear (and realistic) about when you can start a new gig. Maybe you'll have to bunk up with someone temporarily before finding your own digs. And maybe it means you'll have to break your lease in your old city. Regardless, if you're serious about a job you need to have a plan in place before you receive an offer. 

Tell me about a time when you've relocated for work. Was it a smooth transition? What were some things that surprised you about the process?

why My Guilty Pleasure is Stressing Me Out

I have a confession to make. I'm addicted to ordering self-help books. Whether it’s a book chronicling an amazing woman’s path or seven tips to succeed faster, you can bet I’m all over it. That it itself wouldn’t be bad. But I counted yesterday and the number of these unread (or half read) books I have scattered around my house is…18!

DIAGNOSING THE PROBLEM.

Downloading e-books, signing up for newsletters, and joining mailing lists isn’t much different. It gives us shiny object syndrome. You know you see it and you’re all, “Ooh I have to have that because it could change my perspective and maybe even my life!”

We start to feel as if we need this information to be successful. This is FOMO at it’s finest.

I know many people with folders of downloads on their computers that they’re waiting to read. The truth is they probably won’t ever feel as inspired to read through these documents as they did when they subscribed to them.

But getting rid of them would feel like defeat.

stack of books
stack of books

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?

You know what this information consumption actually does to us? It makes us feel overwhelmed. We end up feeling bad that we can’t keep up. We keep lists of internet resources we want to re-visit and send articles to Evernote to print out later.

Then the guilt creeps in.

At this point we’re not only stuck with the problem or question we had in the first place - whether that’s how to get organized, how to write a compelling cover letter, or how to reach out to in a networking setting - we’re also feeling pretty crappy for not taking advantage of those things at our fingertips.

How ironic that this is exactly the opposite of how the authors of these resources intend for us to feel?

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?

The truth is, there’s just a lot of stuff out there. People are putting out great content, but a lot of it is general and rooted in opinion.

Here are four simple steps to pull yourself out from the mountain of content and start making action toward your goals:

  1. Work through what you have. Put a moratorium on buying any more books or listening to any more podcasts until you’ve decided to ditch or indulge in what you already own. That might mean unsubscribing to newsletters or unfollowing businesses on Facebook for a while. Whatever it is that you call your guilty pleasure, put it on pause.
  2. Ask yourself what you really want to accomplish right now. This will clarify why you’re seeking advice in the first place. Is it self doubt or are you searching for the answer to something you really don’t already know?
  3. Then ask yourself if a book, article, or webinar will provide specific, actionable solutions to your challenges. Sometimes the advice we hear from other people can sound sexy and appealing when it’s really rooted in theory rather than action. If you’re looking to change something in your life, you don’t need to just understand why you should change it (or hear the pitch to hire someone), you need tailored information on how you can make strides on your own.
  4. If you aren’t getting what you need, find someone who can talk through your unique situation. Often this isn’t friends or spouses. They’re a little to close to whatever is going on in our lives. To get an objective perspective, seek out an online community or meet up group or even expert in that particular field.

PAPER VS PERSON.

For me, hiring a business coach was the best decision I ever made in my business. Yes, it was an investment but she has helped me work through some of my toughest challenges. She’s also pushed me to get out of my own way.

Sometimes it takes another person calling you out on your crappy excuses to ignite change.

Just remember, what’s helpful to someone else might not work for you. And what you need right now could change in the next year. All I’m saying is try to avoid the temptation to overconsume information. There’s the very real change it can bury your goals and your apartment floor in the process.

You got this!