ed muses upon


Staying Focused: Are Your Accomplishments Legendary?

In Greek mythology, Hercules[1] was the son of the Greek god and chronic philanderer Zeus and Alcmene, a mortal woman. More than mildly miffed by this dalliance, the goddess Hera sent serpents to kill Hercules when he was only an infant. Even from his earliest days, Hercules clearly demonstrated that he was destined for great things.

Hercules is best known to modern audiences for his epic Labors, a series of tasks he was assigned as penance for a terrible crime—and again, thanks in part Hera. They have come down to us through legend from slaying the Nemean lion to capturing Cerberus, the three-headed guardian to the underworld. Hercules went on to join the Argonauts, the Greek mythology version of an All-Star game and finished by being elevated to godhood.

It may sometimes be tempting to view oneself as a latter-day Hercules, heroically striving against the mighty challenges an antagonistic figure sets in our way. But the real applicability is in his Labors—specifically, as relates to your résumé.

Imagine what a résumé for Hercules might resemble. What might his professional experience look like?


Hero at Large

Righter of wrongs whose boundless energy brings justice, thrills and spills across Greece. Author of heroic feats of strength poets will recount for millennia. Creator of effective solutions for proverbially thorny issues.

  • Overcame Nemean lion through deployment of legendary strength in service to intelligent tactics, ending the lion’s threat to 500+ local residents.
  • Defeated the Lernaean hydra and its many, re-growing heads with the surgical application of medical best practices, resulting in acquiring a unique tactical asset.
  • Won passage to and from the underworld to capture and subdue the three-headed dog Cerberus, the underworld’s guardian, producing the return of Athenian hero and king Theseus.

Examine the accomplishments, each drawn from one of the legendary Labors of Hercules. Although no metrics are included for any but the first, note that the form of each is in the PAR (Problem, Action, Result) behavioral interview question form. In each case, the chief challenge or problem for each task is listed at the beginning followed by the specific action undertaken and closes with the result. And the result is that Hercules looks heroic

Do the accomplishments on your résumé do the same for you? Shouldn’t they?

At the end of the day, making your accomplishments the stuff of legend will yield a more powerful résumé that will help you stay focused on the big picture: landing your next opportunity.



[1]Although I use the familiar form “Hercules” throughout, it should technically be “Heracles” as the reference is to Greek, rather than Roman legend.


What a Jobseeker Should Know About Career Coaches

Filed under: Uncategorized — edmusesupon @ 2:08 pm

Some weeks ago, I had the opportunity to talk with Susan Guarneri, a career coach who’s so devoted to her craft that she took about an hour to talk about this subject on her birthday. Susan is the holder of a host of coaching certifications, including the National Certified Counselor and National Certified Career Counselor certifications; is co-author of Job Search Bloopers: Every Mistake You Can Make on the Road to Career Suicide…and How to Avoid Them with Laura DeCarlo; and is the mind behind the Career Goddess blog.

In a wide-ranging conversation, we touched on the subject of career coaches and what a job seeker ought to know about career coaches. It was a very informative conversation and hope you see something of value here, too. So without further ado, let me present Susan Guarneri, the Career Assessment Goddess!


Q: What should a job seeker expect when working with a career coach?

A: There’s a widespread misconception that coaches fix problems. It’s about collaboration. It’s about two minds coming together. A good coach invites interactivity with the client. And it’s important to talk with a person and find chemistry. It’s about being able to establish trust.


Q: Can you enlarge upon “accountability plan?”

A: An accountability plan moves you closer to your goal in the coaching process. Homework from a counselor is part of an accountability plan. Each person’s needs are different and counseling must be responsive to unfolding developments.


Q: What should a job seeker know about career coaches?

A: Be sure you are dealing with a professional who does have training and certifications. Several programs are accredited by the International Coach Federation, the largest global association for coaches. Caution may be warranted for those billing themselves as coaches who lack the appropriate credentials. Susan Whitcomb, author of eight books about job search and career management, is President of Career Coach Academy, which also offers well regarded programs for career coaches.


Q: What questions should a job seeker not ask of a coach?

A: Prospects often ask, what is your success rate? Coaches are not recruiters; they do not find interviews for you or “place” you in a job.  Coaches guide clients through a collaborative process that often includes client insight and deeper awareness, relevant research strategies and tools, and action steps to reach the client’s stated goals.


Q: In your experience as a career counselor, what else should job seekers do that many don’t know to do?

A: Uncover and express their personal brand to capture the prospective employer’s attention in an extremely competitive job market. Microsoft released a survey in December 2009 that found 79% of hiring managers and recruiters in the U.S. conduct online searches of prospective candidates and 70% of those employers and recruiters have ruled out candidates based on what they found online. One immediate way to take charge of your personal brand is to buy your domain name. For less than one dollar a month, you can have your own domain name.

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