Let’s face it, the job search requires resiliency.  As a career advisor, one of the first things I ask my clients is how resilient they think they are.  This self-awareness is important to assess what resiliency reserves you have already and what you might need to build.

Having a resiliency reservoir for your job search allows you to bounce back in the face of setbacks, changes and challenges, to keep forging ahead and to succeed.  This bring to mind the quote by Charles Darwin: 

“It’s not the strongest of the species that survives nor the most intelligent that survives; it’s the one that’s most adaptable to change.” 

There is an area in Ireland called the Burren, from the Irish word “Boíreann” meaning a rocky place. Although the area is exposed limestone with very little soil cover, it is known for its spectacular and abundant herb and floral species blown in by winds as far away as the Mediterranean and the Arctic.  The plants settle there in the Burren because beneath this seemingly rocky wasteland is a layer of nutrient rich soil.  The resilient plants dig their roots deep enough to reach this soil layer and no matter how strong the sun or fierce the winds, those plants remain strong and vibrant.  

The concept of having a resiliency reservoir is about digging your well before you're thirsty.  Don't wait until you need that resiliency, develop it now. 

So, what's the most important element in building resiliency?

 Having a strong support system  is the #1 component to building resiliency for your job search.  Strong supportive relationships instill a sense of belonging and well-being, confidence and self-worth as well as a coping method to deal with the challenges inherent in a thorough job search.  Going through a demanding job search without a support system is possible, but difficult, and can lead to feelings of isolation and other more serious issues like depression and anxiety. 

Psychology experts say there is a delicate balance between how much stress we are exposed to and the depth of our coping resources.  Resilient people have strong support networks and other resources and skills to cope with stress.  They are more flexible and able to adapt to new challenges, learn from experiences, remain positive and seek help when needed.

Hiring a career coach is one way resilient people seek help in their job search and build their support network.   Studies show that another important way to build resiliency is by keeping physically fit.  Physical fitness leads to improved mental health and increased resiliency. 

Here are some other ways to build resiliency during the job search:
  • Make friends and nurture existing friendships, join support groups, go to networking meetings, design a personal Board of Directors to advise you
  • Focus on positive outcomes, control negative thoughts and avoid negative people/situations
  • Focus on what is in your control 
  • Remember successes you have had in the past 
  • Set smaller goals that are easy to attain and will allow you to see success.  Progress has a way of building upon itself.
  • Be prepared for setbacks by having back up plans in place.  What will I do if this happens?
  • Be kind to yourself by giving yourself free time to relax and do the things that bring you joy
  • Stay organized and develop schedules and to do lists.  Celebrate when you accomplish something!

The job search is one of the biggest challenges in your life.  Fortify yourself for the search by increasing your resiliency reservoir.  As Charles Darwin noted, the key to survival is being adaptable to change and that can make all the difference in your job search.

The holidays were fun and you brought in the new year in style.  

A new year tends to make us think about change and improvement and possibilities.  January is the time when most of us make resolutions, resolve to do better.  Now that you have your 2015 calendar, you can start to fill it with ways to launch your career in a strong and positive direction.  Breaking old habits and starting new ones to improve your fitness, get that promotion or new job, acquire new skills, or increase your network takes focus and mindfulness that can steer your career in a strong and positive direction.  

But, how do you break old, non-optimal habits and create new and positive ones?  

Begin by being mindful of your current rituals and habits and how they impact your life.  Understanding how your current habits got formed and work is important to developing good, strong habits this new year.  Once you establish those rewarding habits, commit yourself to using them to further your career.

 I am reading a fascinating book about habits by Charles Duhigg called The Power of Habit.  Duhigg's premise is that the key to being what you want to be is understanding how habits work.  Why do you have a certain habit?  What are you hoping to achieve with this habit? What is its reward?  What is the trigger for your behavior?  By analyzing your current habits, you gain the knowledge and the power to change them so that they are more productive.   Duhigg says that habits aren't our destiny.  Once we understand them, we can control and change to benefit us.  That concept is very empowering!   I am applying the book's concepts on controlling habits to career management.  Many of us have habits that are not producing the career results we want.  

What career habits do you have?  Are they enabling you to be successful?  Are there any that you should change?


“Even if you’re on the right track 
you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”   
-Will Rogers

Go get 'em! 

by Sara Pacelle

You’ve made your list of target companies and relevant contacts and now you’re ready to reach out to them to start your networking.  

Only one problem, you don’t know their email address.  You’ve checked their company website.  Not an email to be found. Not even on the Press Inquiries page.


The good news is that most companies use one of a few of these standard email protocols:

·         Firstname.Lastname@Company.com

·         FirstinitialLastname@Company.com

·         Firstname@Company.com

·         FirstnameLastInitial@Company.com

Try these one at a time and see which bounce back. The one that doesn't bounce back is probably the right address.

OK, great but what if you are having a hard time locating the right person to contact at a company?

Go to LinkedIn and check out the company profile and employees. Once you locate the most relevant person, check their profile.  Most likely you will only be able to see their first name, last initial and their title. LinkedIn does this as part of their privacy settings and to encourage you to upgrade your account.  My secret is to go over to Google.  Google doesn’t have these same privacy settings because they are all about SEO.  Once you are at Google, do a search with “First name Last initial Title Company LinkedIn”. Google will serve you up the link to the person’s full profile.

Pretty cool, huh?

You have the job offer in hand.  Now it’s time to negotiate.

Here are a few salary negotiation principles:

  • Consider the entire compensation package
  • Know your value to the company and the current market salaries
  • Most hiring managers expect negotiations
  • Ask for what you want as long as it is realistic
Next steps:

Say thank you and show your enthusiasm for the job.  Ask clarifying questions about the entire compensation package (i.e., vacation, benefits, title, start date, work from home, etc.).  Write everything down.  Ask for a brief time to discuss this with your family and ask to be able to call if you have any questions.  Again, say thank you.

Before you go back to the hiring manager with your request, consider the following:

Keep objective.  Your request should be based on objective criteria.  Know your market. See list of resources below.
Keep flexible and have options.  Remember, most hiring managers expect some negotiating and a good negotiation is a dynamic conversation.  Anticipate objections with reasoned data.  Have alternate compensation enhancements ready to propose if your initial request is not accepted.
Be prepared with your bottom line.  Establish your requirements and your absolute minimum figure that you must have and be ready to walk away if you don't get it.
Be prepared to explain your salary history.
Be prepared with real market rate salaries for your profession in your location to justify your realistic compensation request.
Be prepared to justify your value and cost effectiveness to the company.  Have a strong story of your past contributions and future contributions that defend how valuable an employee you will be.
Keep confident.  Stay positive and gracious.  Manage each response from the hiring manager with data and appreciation
Always leave the door open for future conversations.

Effectively negotiating your compensation package is your first success in your new job.

Below are some resources for researching comparative market rate salaries:

by Sara Pacelle

"Judge a man by his questions, not by his answers."


The questions you ask in interviews are just as important as the answers you give, so in preparing for your interview, make sure you ask strategic questions that always enhance and sell your personal brand. Your questions will say alot about you and choosing them wisely is an opportunity to control the conversation and craft your personal branding. The entire interview is about selling yourself to the hiring manager.  You will have plenty of time to ask your real questions once an offer is extended.

Here are my thoughts on questions to ask.  You can ask about recent projects or deals that the company or the interviewer’s group has completed.  It demonstrates that you are knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the company.  This requires company research, online or through personal or industry networking.  Of course, hold off on any salary questions until after you are given an offer.   In fact, if you are asked that question, try to fend it off as you would like to wait until you have more complete information and are able to consider the entire package, role, compensation and benefits. 

Other questions to ask might be about general industry trend questions and how the company is affected by them.  Be careful here, especially if you suspect that that may be the company’s Achilles heel.  On that line, avoid questions about the financial health of the company.  You can do your own research about company financials in the public domain, particularly if they are a public company.  However, and this is important if the company is a start-up, you would want to ask about their financials because you have that added risk.  Asking these financial questions reflects that you are savvy about the company and its opportunities and risks.

You can also get more personal with the interviewer by inquiring why they joined the company, what projects they have most enjoyed and about their own career path.  This shows interest in the interviewer as a person and is relationship building.

In selling yourself, you never want to ask questions whose answers you can find online or are self-serving.  Your own personal career advancement is not of interest to the hiring manager, so don’t put a lot of focus on that.  You will be hired to do the current job and stressing “what’s the next step for me?” doesn’t show enthusiasm in the present role.  You might ask where the company would see you in say, five years, because that reflects that you see the long-term opportunity of the position, are forward-thinking and a commitment to the company.

by Sara Pacelle

If you find yourself needing to enhance your resume with new or improved skills, you may want to consider taking an online course. 
I have found one website, lynda.com to be one of the best online learning sites to gain new skills and build on existing ones. Founded in 1995, lynda.com has an extensive library of video tutorials taught by some pretty impressive teachers  .lynda.com has particular strengths in online learning, particularly in the areas of graphic design, web development, software development and professional development.
According to their website,lynda.com is an online learning company that helps anyone learn software, design, and business skills to achieve their personal and professional goals. With a lynda.com subscription, members receive unlimited access to a vast library of high quality, current, and engaging video tutorials. New courses and topics are added every week at no extra cost. We carefully select the world’s top experts who are the best in their field, passionate about their subject matter, and know how to teach. Members tell us that a lynda.com subscription instills self-confidence and unlocks a sense of accomplishment that they have not found anywhere else.

You do have to pay for the coursework, but at $25/month, you can take as many courses as you would like and at times and location most convenient for you.

Do you recommend any other online learning sites?

Worth checking out.
by Thomas Friedman, New York Times
This article originally appeared in the New York Times in February 2014.  Interesting to note that Google prefers using structured behavioral interviews to predict job candidate's future success.

 - Sara

LAST June, in an interview with Adam Bryant of The Times, Laszlo Bock, the senior vice president of people operations for Google — i.e., the guy in charge of hiring for one of the world’s most successful companies — noted that Google had determined that “G.P.A.’s are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless. ... We found that they don’t predict anything.” He also noted that the “proportion of people without any college education at Google has increased over time” — now as high as 14 percent on some teams. At a time when many people are asking, “How’s my kid gonna get a job?” I thought it would be useful to visit Google and hear how Bock would answer.

Don’t get him wrong, Bock begins, “Good grades certainly don’t hurt.” Many jobs at Google require math, computing and coding skills, so if your good grades truly reflect skills in those areas that you can apply, it would be an advantage. But Google has its eyes on much more.

“There are five hiring attributes we have across the company,” explained Bock. “If it’s a technical role, we assess your coding ability, and half the roles in the company are technical roles. For every job, though, the No. 1 thing we look for is general cognitive ability, and it’s not I.Q. It’s learning ability. It’s the ability to process on the fly. It’s the ability to pull together disparate bits of information. We assess that using structured behavioral interviews that we validate to make sure they’re predictive.”

by Sara Pacelle

My family and I were glued to the television watching the recent 2014 Winter Olympics.  We couldn’t get enough of it.  When the camera spanned to the athletes’ faces just before their events, the sense of immediacy, stress and determination was palpable and exciting.  That was the very moment they had been preparing for their entire lives.  We were continuously amazed at the endurance and resilience of those talented athletes, particularly those who unfortunately would trip or fall during their event.  How did those athletes muster the courage to pick themselves up and finish their event with such grace and confidence?  Incredible.  Elite athletes are trained to know that the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat are temporary conditions.  Both victory and defeat can develop  their endurance and strengthen their focus on their end goals.

In many ways, today’s job seeker and the Olympic athlete have much in common.  Both spend long hours in preparation, developing their skills and personal brand and refining their delivery.  Their experiences, both positive and negative, are cumulative and give them depth and definition.  Grit, endurance and resiliency are well-known personal traits for the successful athlete and these same words are becoming absorbed into the mindset of today’s job seeker.  After all, today’s job search is more like a marathon, than a sprint, requiring hard work, focus and mainly, grit.

Psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth in her thought provoking TED talk The Key to Success? Grit discusses this concept within the context of her research.  Her findings suggest that one’s grit is the most significant predictor of success, even more so than one’s IQ.  Grit, she says, is what differentiates the winner from the pack.

So, what is grit? According to Duckworth, grit is passion and perseverance toward long term goals.  It is having the stamina day in and day out to endure setbacks and stresses and loneliness, to continue your work to make your dreams a reality. You might call it staying power or endurance or keeping your eye on the prize.  Whatever you call it, grit is critical in today’s marathon job search.  It allows you to keep your stress at bay and your confidence and motivation strong.

So, how do you get grit for today’s stressful job search?  Is it a trait you must be born with or can you develop it?  And how can today’s job seeker in their marathon search acquire it to keep in the game and reach their goal?