Six Key Job Search Strategies When You’re Unemployed

shaking hands 2Finding yourself involuntarily unemployed can bring stress and sometimes a big bruise to your ego.  In a few cases, people exhale a temporary sigh of relief when they receive a small severance and feel they have a bit of time to re-energize. I certainly see the merit in why many choose to pause in their job search as opposed to dusting themselves off the next day and jumping right back up onto that horse named “Job.”  A few of the common reasons:

  • I need some rest and a chance to get my bearings before going at it again.
  • This is a good time to spend more time with my kids and family. I won’t get this opportunity again.
  • It makes sense to spend some time exploring a career or job that I’m more passionate before I accept the same type of position.

Many job seekers are fortunate to make a successful job transition at the timing they choose. However, others are not as lucky. What you do in the few days after your work release will likely affect your mindset and motivation toward action. In these cases, job seekers may start to experience one or more of the following:

  • lose confidence in their ability to find a job
  • fall into a daily routine not productive to job hunting
  • lose touch with their network of people
  • become more isolated from the habits of the working world
  • evolve into a daily pattern without intentional purpose

Any of these factors erode the chances of securing a job that excites you as part of your career journey. Job seekers should be aware and intentional in their job strategies and decision-making.  Below are a few habits that effective job seekers should consider to improve their chances of landing that next great gig.

  1. Create a powerful resume and LinkedIn profile. Make sure both are engaging and tell a story about who you are, what you’re looking for, what you’ve accomplished, and what you have to offer. Consider hiring a career/job coach if you need help. You can’t afford not to invest in these calling cards. Don’t let either become outdated once you’ve put in the hard work and expense.
  2. Treat your job search as a full-time position. If you don’t have a home office already, create a space in your home where you can work full-time. When you are in that space, it will be easier to focus your attention on activities that advance your search.
  3. Get out and network. With the internet and abundance of social media platforms, it is easy to apply for jobs online that you’re qualified for and to expect hiring managers and recruiters to call. Eighty-five percent of jobs are filled through networking. Schedule meetings, calls, and lunches with networking groups, friends, and colleagues that may be able to help.  Alumni groups, professional and trade associations, and former coworkers are excellent sources of support, information, and referrals.
  4. Create a one-minute elevator pitch. When someone asks you what you do, be able to confidentially and succinctly articulate it and the impact you can have.  Be specific, passionate, and memorable.  Consider having more than one elevator pitch depending on your audience.
  5. Join a job search support group. Although job search groups provide opportunities for networking by design, they usually have free resources that can also be useful in your search.  Resume writing, LinkedIn strategies, and interviewing classes can provide support while learning of open jobs.
  6. Continue to invest in your skills and knowledge. While working full-time in your job search, there will likely be gaps in your schedule. Consider offering your services for temporary work, volunteer for a non-profit using your skills, and take classes/webinars that would keep you current.

Certainly, take the time you need to care for yourself and family, but understand that falling out of a daily structure after a job loss can influence your ability and motivation to re-engage.  Although some people seem to have luck in landing a job when they want it, others need a more strategic approach. I recommend creating your own luck by adopting these job search strategies.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in leadership, business development, and sales.  She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops.  She has a passion to help organizations engage all their colleagues.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com.

Does Your Financial “Type” Help You Achieve Your Goals?

MoneyMoney can be a difficult subject to discuss because of how it influences relationships and incurs judgment by others on how it should be saved, spent, and distributed. Since most people find it difficult to discuss personal finances even with their partner, many are not fully aware of how their relationship with money influences themselves, others, and outcomes.  How would you describe your relationship with money? Brown (2017) identified 7 money types: (1) hospitality, (2) discipline, (3) beauty, (4) connection, (5) endurance, (6) humility, and (7) leadership.  These money types manifest in certain attitudes and behaviors involving money.  What is your motivation behind spending or saving?

Although each money type provides numerous positive influences, each also has a darker side in terms of how it can affect others and the ability to achieve life goals. For example, money can provide an incredible blessing to others when used to facilitate hospitality such as gift giving and hosting others. However, people who drive on hospitality to an extreme may find (1) recipients feel guilty for not being able to reciprocate, (2) they experience hospitality fatigue, or (3) they jeopardize their own ability to provide for their families.  People should be aware of their money types and intentional in understanding their power and using them as strengths.

I would encourage everyone to take the money type survey and ask the following questions:

  • What are my money strengths?
  • How can I use my strengths for greater benefit?
  • Where am I operating on the dark side of my money types?
  • What money habits can I change that would help me meet my goals?

Reference

Brown, T. (2017). The Seven Money Types: Discover How God Wired You to Handle Money, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in leadership, business development, and sales.  She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops.  She has a passion to help organizations engage all their colleagues.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com.

Design Your LinkedIn Profile to Reflect the Best Version of You

linkedin1Are you happy with your resume or LinkedIn profile?  Does it reflect who you are, what you can do, and what you’ve accomplished?  More importantly, is it an effective tool to leverage your professional goals such as a new job, more customers, or a larger network?  Many people miss the purpose of the resume (to get the interview as opposed to the job) and fail to create a LinkedIn profile with a focused purpose.

With 2018 just a few weeks away, this may be the perfect time to invest in a one-hour coaching session to learn the latest trends and useful tips on how to write an impactful resume and LinkedIn profile that align with your goals. Your best investment next year may not be Bitcoin but in yourself. Reach out for a conversation if you’d like to learn more.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in leadership, business development, and sales.  She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops.  She has a passion to help organizations engage all their colleagues.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com.

Should Conversation with a Cup of Coffee Be on Your Gift List?

Conversation CoffeeDecember is typically a month of go-go-go, and if you celebrate Christmas, a month with an additional ho-ho-ho.  Calendars are typically filled with attending parties and holiday shows, decorating the house, cooking, and shopping for gifts to give family, friends, and colleagues.

Regardless of the traditions you celebrate, each holiday season brings to a close another year, and hopefully, also the time to reflect on what you’re most grateful by remembering those people who had the most influence on your life.  I would imagine these people are on your gift-giving list.  If so, the perfect gift might not be wrapped, but instead may be your time in meaningful conversation over a cup of coffee, where you share how important they are to you and why.

I’m part of a generation that grew up writing thank-you letters by hand. As Christmas approaches, I write at least three letters to those who had the most impact on my life that year. They may have done a great kindness, influenced my life for the positive, or changed my thinking/perspective for the better.  Many who’ve received my handwritten letters shared how much they cherished them.

I realize that some people struggle in selecting the right words to express themselves on paper. Although writing may not be a strength for everyone, gratitude is easy to come by.  By whatever means you decide to share your gratitude, your recipient will welcome your words. If writing is not your style, pick up the phone and invite your family, friend, or colleague to share a cup of coffee.  Tell them you have something important to share with them as you celebrate the holidays.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in leadership and business development.  She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops.  She has a passion to help organizations engage all their colleagues.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com.

Make a Measurable Change in 2018

give gift coachingWith the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays fast approaching, the new year will soon be knocking at our doorsteps.  What I love about a New Year’s Eve Toast is that it represents a new beginning—a fresh start to new possibilities.  Whether a formal declaration is made in the form of a New Year’s resolution or not, I believe the ball drop in New York Times Square causes each of us to reflect on some change we want to make in the coming year that would improve our lives.

Other pressing priorities, diminished willpower, and “good” excuses typically result in us not following through with our good intentions.  The lack of a detailed plan, poor definition of measurable milestones, and no accountability partner reduce the chance that you will meet your stated goals.  Most people benefit from a coach—a partner—someone who helps you develop a plan and set milestone targets, who challenges you, and who holds you accountable. Coaches also help you strategize on ways to overcome obstacles that are standing in the way of achieving your goal.

You may be suffering in your job, struggling to have influence at work and in personal relationships, or needing an overhaul with your personal finances.  Making measurable changes in behavior is a doable yet difficult task.  You may be successful in making these changes through your own education and determination; however, I’d suggest you might improve your success by choosing to engage a coach as your partner.

Is 2018 the year you’ll commit to make a positive permanent change in your life? If so, I’d like to suggest you consider hiring a coach. If you’d like to give the gift of coaching to yourself or a friend, you can take me up on a special offer I would love to discuss with you.  Reach out for a conversation so we can understand what you want to achieve. You have nothing to lose.  The conversation is free!

You can reach me at 281.793.3741 or sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in leadership, business development, and personal growth.  She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops.  She has a passion to help organizations engage all their employees.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com.

Self-Leadership: Behaviors That Make a Difference

SELF-LEADERSHIP-THROUGH-CHANGEAre you completely satisfied with the condition or performance of your job, marriage, relationships, or personal finances?  If you are like most people, you might agree that one of these areas or another could use more focus or strengthening. Once someone has decided to move down the path of change, the next step may leave a big question mark on how to start.

I propose that sustainable change is rooted in adopting new behaviors, that if practiced long enough, will typically turn into new lifelong habits.  Covey (2004) has studied human behavior and identified seven key habits that differentiate those who are holistically more effective in accomplishing what others do not.   When these habits are applied to various life areas, they can result in impactful change.  In action, Covey (2004) describes these behaviors as:

  1. Takes initiative: decides to be proactive versus reactive
  2. Sets vision: begins with the end in mind
  3. Prioritizes: puts first things first and second things second
  4. Thinks positively: looks for the win-win and not the win-lose
  5. Listens more than speaks: hears versus tells
  6. Solves problems: looks for synergy and compromise
  7. Invests in self-improvement: understands the importance of learning and growing

Each of these seven core behaviors can make a difference in how you perform and how others perceive you.  Should you decide to challenge yourself to improve at one of these habits, I would suggest first rating yourself on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 highest) on how well you embrace that personal habit.  Next, determine one or two that would be most meaningful to improve.  Then, think of one or two behaviors you could adopt that would increase your self-rating in that area.  Think of it as a SMART challenge, with SMART defined as (S) specific, (M) measurable, (A) achievable, (R) relevant and realistic, and (T) time sensitive.

When I review the list, habit #5 stands out for me.  I am highly extroverted, which means I tend to talk more than others.  My SMART challenge is to ensure that there is a pause (silence) in the conversation before I share my next thought.  This will force me to talk less, not interrupt, and listen more. I encourage you to think about your personal habits, determine which one you want to improve upon for greater effectiveness, and create a SMART challenge by which you could measure your progress.

Reference

Covey, S.R. (2004). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in leadership and business development.  She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops.  She has a passion to help organizations engage all its employees.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com.

Will You Live Your Legend?

liveyourlegendAs Hurricane Harvey cleanup continues, Houstonians are left with the task of restoring their lives.  Many survivors are asking themselves, “What does my life look like post-Harvey?”  With a potential paradigm shift, I hope people are asking the important question: “What is the purpose of my life?” Is the answer pre-hurricane status or something different?

Harvey challenged people to exercise their survival muscle and care for the needs of their friends and community.  Whether or not directly impacted by rising floodwaters, I bet most would agree Harvey had a blessing—a catalyst for change to strengthen spiritually, build greater confidence, and live out purpose as well as to restore community during times when the country has been in civil and political divide.  During Harvey’s punch, people were blinded to any labels of religion, race, and politics as people helped people.  Harvey enabled everyone to focus on what was important—people.

The aftermath of Harvey can also provide the opportunity for a new life versus one of the past—perhaps a life richer in purpose, work, community, and relationships.  Some may question how can they rebuild a life without following the old blueprint.  I would start by exploring and identifying the core values which reflect the essence of oneself.  Values reflect what one is willing to struggle for and the pain one is willing to endure to achieve an outcome.  A reconstructed life may also reflect answers to the following questions:

  1. What do I want more of in my life?
  2. What do I want less of in my life?
  3. What will I regret if I don’t try or do it?
  4. What one thing can I change that would have a positive impact my life?

Everyone is the author of his/her life.  What will you choose to do with your one life?  If you are a parent, are you allowing your children to live in their purpose, or are your fears and desires manifesting themselves in how you design their lives?

When you find your purpose, your energy will continue to feed that passion.  Be encouraged through adversity, because anything worth achieving requires struggle.  Do not give up hope, but be hopeful.  In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey some people are finally questioning their purpose and taking steps that will allow them to Live Their Legend.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in leadership and business development.  She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops.  She has a passion to help organizations engage all its employees.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com.

The Gift of Personal Coaching

believeI hold a strong belief that there is always a blessing within a tragedy.  At times one needs to look hard and beyond the grief.  By all standards, Hurricane Harvey has been an unprecedented tragedy for those living near the Texas Gulf Coast.  Despite the loss, I have seen the blessing of people helping people and have heard the personal testimonies of those who’ve had a paradigm shift in their thinking and an awakening of purpose.

I am excited for those who want to explore new goals or make changes in certain areas of their lives.  Encouraged and passionate to partner with people to make their personal dreams come to fruition, I am offering a special life and leadership coaching package.  I have a desire for people to take advantage of their new found thinking, as they work through this tragedy, to create a vision/mission or make a commitment to improve some aspect of their lives.  While my time allows, I am offering new clients 4 coaching sessions for a deeply discounted rate of $250 with 20% of the proceeds donated to local charities. If you or someone you know would like to learn more, I welcome the opportunity to discuss whether coaching would be of benefit and how I might help. You can email me at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com, call me at 281.793.374, or visit my website at www.shinecrossings.com.

You Know Your Purpose, But Do You Have the Discipline?

Self_Discipline1Someone says, “I know my purpose,“ and then follows it with the question, “What steps can I take to ensure I live out that purpose?”  Good question!  People often question how they will keep going when the road is long.  Passion is a key ingredient, but it may not be enough to get to the finish.  What else can help?  Certain tools and disciplines can set one up for success which include:

  1. Flexing the “no” muscle. Many people are either excited to be involved in everything or feel guilty in saying no when asked to help.  Great leaders are comfortable saying no, because saying yes would dilute their valuable resources of time and money.  They honor themselves by saying no to anything that distracts them from achieving their purpose.  Take inventory and decide whether there are any “yes” items that need to move to the “no” list.
  2. Creating the space for re-energizing activities. When thinking about a schedule, one should plan for recreational activities.  Leaders need time to relax to recharge their batteries.  Some need a big dose of quiet time with a good read, others need time to socialize with friends, and still others need gym time.
  3. Planning and practicing time management. Once the “yes” list is honed and prioritized, one should create a calendar with sufficient time mapped for those activities that re-energize and achieve purpose.  If a schedule cannot accommodate all “yes” activities, the forced rank list should help one decide which items need to move to the “no” list.  This iterative calendar exercise provides objective clarity so one does not over-schedule and dilute focus.
  4. Surrounding oneself with positive influences. Attitudes and words are powerful in how they can either uplift or drain energy.  Driving on purpose requires high levels of sustained energy; therefore, leaders invite positive and encouraging people into their circle of influence.
  5. Choosing a coaching partner. Professional coaches help clients stay accountable to their goals.  When life continues to put pressure to say “yes,” when calendars get too full, when recreational activities are squeezed, and when one needs encouragement, a coach is there for support.

Anything worth doing has never been easy.  Easy comes through self-discipline and leaning on external resources that align with purpose.  Self-discipline is a muscle to be flexed, and it strengthens through continued exercise. 


HE21118Davis_07-medAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in leadership and business development.  She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops.  She has a passion to help organizations engage all its employees.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com.

The Best of Global Leadership Summit

GLS-BannerFor those who were not able to soak in the messages of the 13 outstanding speakers presenting at Global Leadership Summit (GLS), I share a few key messages from each leader. My hope is that one or more of these points spark an idea, ignite an interest, or passionately resonate with you and that you will pause long enough to explore how to expand on its impact in both your personal and professional life.


Bill Hybels

  • Humility allows leaders the ability to continue learning.
  • Leaders set the tone by showing everyone respect even in the midst of any lack of civility.
  • Leaders get behind a grander vision above delivering on the bottom line. How else can you make an impact?
  • Leaders plant leadership seeds in young people where they see leadership potential.
  • Ask yourself whether you are leading as well on the home front as in the workplace.

Sheryl Sandberg

  • Resiliency is learned through failure and a muscle you can build. Instead of thinking of failure as post traumatic disorder, think of it as post traumatic growth.
  • Hire people with bigger skills: (1) people you need for the future, and (2) people who will get you were you want to go. Employers make the mistake of hiring for what they need now and not for what they need to grow.
  • How come there is not a reference section in the bookstore called HELPING OTHERS? We need to show up for each other more.

Mark Lemonis

  • Business grows through connection which is built by understanding people’s backstory (personal history)?
  • Creating a connection is accomplished through vulnerability and transparency because they unlock the heart to trust.
  • People love it when you walk a day in their shoes even though you will never be in their shoes.

Fredrick Haren

  • 98% of polled workers state it is important to be creative in their jobs; 45% say they are creative, and only 2% say their company is helping them be creative.
  • An idea is just knowledge and information combined in a new way.
  • People need to make the time to allow themselves to be creative.

Bryan Stevenson

  • Effective leaders need to get close to what they need to achieve because answers come in proximity.
  • Leaders need to do uncomfortable things.
  • A change in narrative can liberate fear.

Andy Stanley

  • If you choose to study failure, you may never understand success. You need to perform an autopsy on success to understand success.  Ask, “What did your organization do to grow so fast?”
  • Business growth usually comes from having a “uniquely better” product. Uniquely better is on the frontier of your ignorance.
  • Uniquely better is rarely created within a company, but leaders need to develop a culture where it can be recognized versus resisted. Many top tier companies have taken a financial hit, because they failed to acknowledge “uniquely better” offered by their competition.
  • Be a student, not a critic; when you criticize you stop learning. Replace HOW questions (implied idea killers) with WOW: TELL ME MORE statements (implied idea developers).

Laslo Bock

  • In work, match joy with duty. Pursue passion and purpose.
  • Ask people what is motivating them.
  • Make work better for everyone: (1) give work meaning, (2) have and communicate a goal, (3) trust your people with information and the freedom to achieve the goal, and (4) hire people who are better than you in some way.

Juliet Funt

  • When people don’t have the time to think, business suffers.
  • The pause, otherwise known as “whitespace”, is where innovation and creativity grow, and yet, it is being squeezed out of our schedules.
  • When busyness overtakes whitespace, drive turns to overdrive, excellence turns to perfection, information turns to overload, and activity turns to frenzy.
  • Create whitespace by acting on your answers to the following questions: (1) What can I let go of? (2) When is enough good enough? (3) What do I truly need to know? and (4) What deserves my attention?

Marcus Buckingham

  • The opposite of failure is not success; it is non-failure. If you want to be successful, study success.  Leaders figure out what is happening on the best teams, so they can build on it.
  • The two most important questions a leader ensures his team affirms are: (1) At work, I clearly understand what is expected of me, and (2) I have a chance to use my strengths every day.
  • Leaders should be asking their team, “What are your priorities, and how can I help?”
  • No one really likes unsolicited feedback, but everyone wants coaching attention.

Sam Adeyemi

  • In leadership, you don’t attract what you want but rather who you are.
  • Leaders help people change how they see themselves, helping to break self-limiting beliefs.
  • Transformation starts in the heart. Leaders help people see and hear messages differently  on a consistent basis, so new beliefs can take root in the heart.

Immaculee Ilibagiza

  • Fear is your worst enemy.

Angela Duckworth

  • Grit = Passion + Perseverance over the long-term
  • People can increase their grit through deliberate practice.
  • Talent x Effort = Skill; Skill x Effort = Achievement; notice how effort counts twice
  • Don’t quit on a bad day. If you want to quit, quit on a good day.

Greg Haugen

  • Leadership begins with a dream, and fear is the ultimate dream destroyer.
  • Keep dreams alive by relentlessly and rigorously inventorying your fears.
  • Lead without fear; switch from playing defensive to offensive.

GLS provided meaningful leadership messages for the current times.  Reflecting on my two days invested in GLS, I propose we need to overcome our fears that tells us we “can’t” or “shouldn’t”.  We need to create whitespace to be creative and bring our dreams to life.  As leaders, we need to build teams with clear purpose and allow people to drive on their strengths. We need to trust our teams with information, so they can solve problems, do the right thing, and create value.  Sound simple enough?  Simple is not necessarily easy.  Leading others well can be frustrating and difficult, because at times it requires us to change our engrained attitudes, beliefs, and views as well as to release the fears that have us playing defensive and not offensive.

What message resonated with me the most?  None of the speakers did a deep dive into the impact of fear and leadership, yet the concept was weaved through some of the presentations.  In my opinion, fear is a powerful motivator in people’s decision-making. Fear paralyzes purpose, passion, and perseverance.  Fear undermines people from choosing to do the right thing.  Fear undermines great leadership. I believe leaders need to take an honest inventory of fears that are holding them back in growing in their leadership capacity and develop constructive mitigation strategies to overcome them.



HE21118Davis_07-medAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in leadership and business development.  She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops.  She has a passion to help organizations engage all its employees.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com.