ed muses upon


2012 in review

Filed under: Uncategorized — edmusesupon @ 9:50 pm

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,800 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


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.


Staying Focused: Best Practices & Your Elevator Speech

I participate in many conversations about elevator speeches in various networking groups. A question often raised in these conversations is how to convey our key information succinctly and memorably. The elevator speech needs to achieve both of those objectives, but the optimal verbiage to accomplish both can be elusive. So I want to share a summary of the best practices I have encountered thus far about crafting the elevator speech.

It’s a Commercial:

The elevator speech needs to be brief, between 30 and 60 seconds according to most sources. These time constraints underscore the aptness of the other name for an elevator speech: the 30 second commercial. And just as a commercial’s purpose is to make you pick up a product in a store several days later, yours should intrigue the reader or listener enough to ask follow-up questions.


Many sources about elevator speeches stress that it must sound natural, an honest reflection of your passion for the work and the way you speak. This is important for one very simple reason. If you pique someone’s interest and they ask follow-up questions, an abrupt shift from the highly polished 30 second commercial to a something much less polished may harm your credibility with the listener. While your elevator speech may be so finely crafted that it resembles the work of William Shakespeare, if you don’t usually speak in Elizabethan English using iambic pentameter, using it is probably not the best idea.


We each possess a unique set of skills, aptitudes, work experience, and qualifications which make us great candidates. From that rich background should flow the success stories of your work history. Perhaps an idea you had saved your employer millions of dollars. Maybe you landed a significant client—or retained a major client that was considering moving on. Or did you streamline a process so that it required 25% less time, thereby freeing colleagues to spend time addressing other pressing matters? In like fashion, your success stories should underscore the unique combination of talents you represent. While you likely will have time for only one success story when you give your elevator speech, it’s important to have several on hand, because the conversation may lend itself to including a different success story in one circumstance than another.


Your elevator speech, no matter how polished, natural, or engaging, is never really “done”. As you encounter new situations or new advice that resonates with you, it will continue evolving, a mirror reflecting those experiences and that advice. You would be very unlikely to deliver your elevator speech in a networking group the same way you would in an interview.

And this is a good thing! This need for constant change serves as a valuable reminder that, as with any other best practices, relentless commitment to excellence is the single most important part of the equation.

And at the end of the day, best practices in crafting your elevator speech helps you stay focused on the big picture: landing your next job.

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