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.

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

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

As one of the many job seekers out there, you work hard every day on your search. You do your online searches, have your lists, write your cover letters, send in your applications and then…, you play the waiting game. You don’t hear from anyone, so you do the same thing the next day, and the next and the next. Each time you apply to a job opening, you expend some of your precious job search energy and when it is not recharged with feedback, you can begin to feel depleted and frustrated. I envision this kind of job seeker sitting in the Waiting Place, vividly described in the Dr. Seuss book, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

“You can get so confused that you'll start in to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.  The Waiting Place...”

This description of the Waiting Place depicts where many of today’s job seekers are, those whose strategy is to focus only on the open job market. The open job market contains jobs publicly posted on job boards, and company websites and listed with staffing and recruitment companies. These available advertised positions are open for all to see. Since there are many eyes looking at and applying to these same finite roles, the competition is stiff and full of other applicants who may also end up in the Waiting Place.

The other type of job seeker dwells in this open job market, but only 20% of their time. The majority of their time they spend proactively and energetically in the hidden job market. The hidden job market has jobs that are not open to the public and which may not yet even exist. These jobs are about to be generated by company growth, outplacements, terminations retirements, and future openings. They are also jobs that are specifically created for individuals who have emerged with certain skillsets or experience.

To find out about these potential jobs, you need a plan and a good pair of walking shoes. First, research and target companies where you would like to work. Next, set up Google Alerts and Follow those companies on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Join industry associations and other networking groups to build your contacts and get closer to your targeted companies. Connect with people who already work at those companies. Network your way into informational interviews to learn as much as you can about the companies and their needs. Do this strategy with each of your target companies. Chances are over time and through these meetings, you will encounter a hiring manager or decision maker who could use your skills and experience on their team, now or in the future. Hiring managers are always on the lookout for potential talent, especially ones whom they have already met. Employees welcome talking with interested prospects since companies are increasingly using Employee Referral Programs that compensate their employees who bring in successful hires.

So, how do you get out of the Waiting Place? Focus most of your job search energy on the hidden job market. It’s proactive, energizing and results-driven, where you, the job seeker, are in control. Oh, the places you will go!

By Sara Pacelle

Even though you may be a uniquely qualified job candidate, there are lots of reasons why you may not be getting the interview calls.  Some, frankly, are not within your control, but many are and can be addressed.  If you feel that you are perfect for the job and have done your research, avoiding some common mistakes can help get you in the door.

If you remember one thing from this article, please let it be this......if you don’t get the interview, it’s important in all cases, never to take it personally.   As the old adage goes, it may be all for the best.  The company may not be the best fit.  So don’t linger over feeling rejected, get right back in the game and focus your attention on new opportunities.

Let’s discuss some of those reasons you’re not getting the interview that are out of your control and therefore, not worth worrying about.  Most organizations will never admit to some of these, but they do happen.

1.     Tight Job Market:  This is blaringly obvious, but must be mentioned. Hiring managers receive tons of resumes from well-qualified candidates with industry experience.
2.     Company History: Hiring managers evaluate the companies where you worked and these companies may not meet their criteria. 
3.     Internal Candidate:  There may be an internal candidate the organization intends to place in the advertised position.  The organization’s rules may require that all positions be externally posted.  Even if you were Albert Einstein or Steve Jobs, there is little chance you would be considered for the position.  The posting is a mere formality.  Unfortunately this happens.

4.     Recruiter burnout:  You sent your application In right away, but the recruiter is being inundated with resumes and decides to limit the number s/he will review.  Yours doesn’t even get looked at.  
5.     You’re not the Purple Cow:  Remember the humorous verse:
I never saw a Purple Cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I'd rather see than be one.

The organization may be looking for that perfect candidate (who may not even exist) or they may be trying to round out their group with a certain type of person.  You may not fit that type.   Period.  Move on.

Now, as for the reasons within your control, here are some to consider:
1.     Your resume doesn’t show excellence and enthusiasm.  It’s important that your resume is results-driven to capture the recruiter’s attention.  Don’t simply list your job responsibilities.  Show your quantifiable accomplishments and let them know that you can do the same for their organization.  Your resume is like a movie trailer.  Make them want to see you.
2.     You don’t include keywords.  Most of the time, scanning software will be used to screen your resume.  If it doesn’t have certain keywords from the job posting, it will be tossed.  Make sure your resume addresses the job description and requirements.
3.       You have employment gaps or look like a job hopper:  If you have a lot of short term roles, try to bundle them in a way that shows more consistency and focuses on skills.
4.     You don’t follow the explicit directions.  Carefully study the job application directions.  This is not the time to cut corners or be lazy.  Proofread and eliminate any typos or grammatical errors.  Answer all the questions that are asked.  Any missing information can be hazardous.
5.     Your coverletter shows no passion for the job.  Your coverletter is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate how much you want the job and how qualified you are by giving more description of your unique accomplishments and how they tie to the job description.
6.     To Whom It May Concern:
This coverletter salutation can be seen as too general.  It may be difficult, but try to get the name of the hiring manager by calling the company.  Hiring managers say that although this is not essential, it does help to garner their attention when they see applications addressed personally to them. You might also address it to the Manager of the Department (eg., “Hiring Manager, Accounting Department”).
7.     You haven’t networked into the Company:  If you are able to be referred by someone within the company or known to the hiring manager, mention the contact within the coverletter.  Ask any in-house referrals to also hand deliver your resume to the hiring manager and/or send an email endorsing you and your application for the job.
8.     You don’t follow up:  You should call or email the hiring manager within two weeks of submitting your application and make sure you send thank you emails after each contact you have with the company or with references.
9.        Your timing is off:   Perhaps you applied too late  Try to apply as soon as a job posting is listed. 

In the end, if you’re a great match for a job, have put your best foot forward and you still don’t get the interview, move on.  There are lots of new job postings every day and pursuing those in an excellent manner and looking ahead is the best way to expend your energy.  Getting a job is not just about being the best candidate who meets all the job requirements.  It’s also about motivation and drive and self-confidence.   Perseverance is critical in the job search.  It’s only a matter of time when you will get those phone calls for interviews.

This article was written by Lindsey Pollak from LinkedIn and appeared on the LinkedIn blog on
June 28, 2013

Happy 4th of July!!

No matter how long you’ve been out of school, June calls up memories of the first glorious days of summer vacation. For me, that meant lazing in the sun reading a great book.

As I’ve grown older, summer still feels like the season of reading. And that doesn’t necessarily mean a straw bag full of “beach reads,” like suspense novels and fashion magazines (although there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a few of those). Summer can be a great time to fill your brain with business, particularly if you’re involved in a job hunt.

Reading can help your job hunt and career in numerous ways:

  • Reading books, articles and news related to your industry will keep your skills and knowledge sharp, and help you to feel and sound “in the know” at networking events and during other professional interactions. As Harry Truman once said, “leaders are readers.”
  • Reading insights from successful people and business experts may spark new thinking or a jolt of inspiration about your career planning or job hunting tactics.
  • Reading helps you discover great content to share with people in your LinkedIn network. This builds your relationships with the connections who see your updates and provides opportunities for people to keep you in mind when they hear about jobs in your field. (p.s. If you post an article that would really resonate with one person in particular, LinkedIn now offers the ability to “mention” a LinkedIn connection in any post you share by typing in that person’s name. For example, “Check out what Bill Gates said he has learned from Warren Buffett — you will particularly enjoy this, Jane Smith!”)
To help you achieve these outcomes and others, here is your unofficial LinkedIn summer reading list, including four books, two blog posts and an ongoing daily assignment:

Summer Reading List for Job Seekers from LinkedIn

Recommended Books:

Linchpin by Seth Godin

This book by marketing guru Seth Godin gives unique advice on how to view your career in today’s constantly changing world. According to Godin, a linchpin is “somebody in an organization who is indispensable, who cannot be replaced—her role is just far too unique and valuable.” Read this book to discover how to position yourself as a “linchpin” to potential employers.

The Start-up of You by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha

LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha, both successful start-up entrepreneurs, advise individuals to treat their careers like start-up businesses. This means investing in yourself, taking risks and doing quite a bit of hustling. Read this book to rethink your overall career strategy and learn how to build a professional network that will help you make things happen.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

According to “introvert spokesperson” Susan Cain, there are far more introverts in the world than you might think. You may be one yourself and, no matter what field you work in, you will certainly have introverts in your network and as colleagues in your next job. In fact, you’re probably interacting with introverted recruiters and interviewers as we speak. In this book you’ll learn what makes introverts tick, and most important, how to communicate better across personality types.

Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi

Never Eat Alone, written almost a decade ago, is still my most recommended book on professional networking. Ferrazzi gives specific, actionable tips based on his own relationship building success.  If you don’t quite “get” how to network or you never know exactly what to say when you want to reach out to someone, then this is the book for you.

Recommended Blog Posts:

Deepak Chopra’s 2013 Commencement Speech

No matter what year you graduated, Chopra’s “seven skills of self-awareness” will inspire you to be true to yourself and forge a career that has meaning to you. Beyond feeling inspired, why not post a quote from this or another notable commencement address to your LinkedIn profile as a way to engage your connections? It’s a simple and positive way to stay on people’s radar screens (Keith Ferrazzi calls it “pinging”) without directly mentioning your job search.

My Best Mistake: Writing the Un-cover Letter by J.T. O’Donnell

When it comes to job hunting, sometimes you have to trust your gut and take a chance. That’s why I love this post from LinkedIn Influencer J.T. O’Donnell, about how she broke the rules of cover letter writing — her “big mistake” — and landed her dream job. Scan through other posts in LinkedIn’s “My Best Career Mistake” channel as well, not only because they share helpful advice, but also because they will remind you to take risks and welcome failure. Risk and failure can often lead to the greatest moves of your career.

Ongoing Reading Assignment:

My final reading recommendation is to continually expose yourself to professional information and ideas that have absolutely nothing to do with your career or industry. Why? Because it will make you different. Because an article about healthcare could spark a truly unique idea in your mind about your field of architecture. Because exposing yourself to a range of topics gives you a different perspective from other job seekers and a much wider world of opportunity. A quick and easy way to do this is by subscribing to LinkedIn’s Editor’s Picks, which includes smart content on a variety of subjects.

Bonus Tip

When it comes to any blog posts you read on LinkedIn or elsewhere, be sure to check out the comments beneath them as well. While viewing the comments of other readers, you may come across someone you want to reach out to, perhaps a recruiter or another professional in your industry. As a LinkedIn Job Seeker Premium subscriber, you can do this through an InMail message.

When you reach out, be sure to relate your message to the article where you found the person’s comment. This will help establish rapport and lessen the potential awkwardness of reaching out to a stranger. Check out the person’s full LinkedIn profile as well to see if you have anything else in common. And then write something like this:


I really enjoyed the comment you posted on the article, “9 Business Books that Will Change Your Life.” I completely agree that some magazine articles and blog posts have changed my career more than books. Your comment led me to your profile and I discovered that we are both former IBM-ers. Would you be willing to connect here on LinkedIn and perhaps chat by phone sometime about the mobile tech market? I am in the midst of a job search and would value your career advice as someone with such a successful path and similar background.

Thanks for considering my request,


It’s also, of course, a wise move to comment on LinkedIn Today articles yourself. You never know when a recruiter or contact might reach out because he or she was impressed by a smart observation or suggestion you shared. Leaders are readers… and they are writers, too!

by Sara Pacelle

Interviewing for jobs in the nonprofit sector has certain nuances, according to Sue Dahling Sullivan, Chief of Staff of the Citi Performing Arts Center in Boston.  I recently heard Sue speak at an assembly for career counselors and I welcomed her pragmatic approach to interviewing.  Although her talk was geared toward nonprofit interviewing, her advice can be taken for any interview. She stressed the importance of respectful interview attire, showing enthusiasm and passion in the role and the organization, and being thoughtful and prepared when answering and asking questions.

Many thanks to Sue for sharing her six simple tips for shining in a nonprofit interview.

1.     Connect the dots:  Your resume should contain experience that is relevant to the posted nonprofit position.  Even if you don’t have the actual work experience that is listed in the nonprofit job description, reference volunteer work, board experience and civic engagement to show strong nonprofit connections and your mission-driven capabilities.

2.     Do your homework:  Search the organization’s website and any online news to fully understand its mission, culture and goals.  Demonstrate this familiarity and knowledge in correspondence and in your interview.  You may not get that job, but you will get the employer’s attention by being perceived as a valuable candidate who “gets it” for consideration in future positions.