Thursday, August 3, 2017

It's So Much More Than A Résumé...working with a professional résumé writer

It just happened again!

I sat down to call a client; reviewing her resume draft was on the agenda. She remarked at how she had really lost touch with her professional accomplishments and seeing herself now on paper, especially through my eyes, infused great energy and enthusiasm into her future job search.
So often, really understanding one's own unique value proposition (or what it is that makes someone a solid candidate) can be elusive. We get caught in the weeds, focusing only on job tasks and responsibilities and not on the results and how we impacted our departments, coworkers, bosses, and/or clients.

But a great résumé writer, one who conducts an in-depth interview to FULLY understand your career path to date AND where you're headed, provides a fresh perspective that is incredibly valuable. This new perspective will impact your interviews, networking, and more, and provide new and fantastic ways to describe your experience and accomplishments.

When someone reaches out to me about my writing their résumé, I explain that while they will be very happy with what I create for them, the new insight into their career, strengths, and accomplishments is like getting two things for the price of one. 

When I get to hear how thrilled they are - and how their confidence has increased, I feel so lucky to get to do this work!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Another 'What Not To Wear At Your Age' Article!

Recently, I've had a couple of calls that share the same theme.

"I know my age is working against me, and that's why I'm not getting any offers," is the gist of these conversations. Full disclosure: I do not live under the illusion that there is no such thing as age discrimination. I know it exists, sometimes subconsciously, and I work with clients to make their career documents and job search strategies more 'perennial'.

While I have lots of strategies and tips up my sleeve regarding ways to project vibrancy and relevance, there is a basic question that candidates must consider.

What is MY truth about my age and stage of life? 

In other words, what do you really, REALLY think about where you are and where you're headed?

Are you up to date on your field's technology and emerging trends? Or are defying hiring decision makers to extend an offer, telegraphing that learning new things isn't, ahem, on your radar?

Are you referring to yourself as not being as energetic as you used to be...even if it's just in jest?

I've actually heard these kinds of things with my own two ears. And they make me feel like this...

Huh?!? What?!?

I suggest that these mindsets are not all that different from walking into an interview wearing a sandwich board that says "I'm tired, rigid, and just want a paycheck. Hire me!"

It's important to add that I've also worked with plenty of candidates - many older than me - who are continual learners, infuse optimism into their search, and understand that they're being assessed by their potential to contribute, solve a business challenge, and become a trusted and connected member of a team. And there are lots of us - me included, God willing  - who plan to work for quite a long time!

So I challenge mature job seekers to objectively assess the message they're sending in their job search. Are you metaphorically wearing the sandwich board I mentioned earlier? Or are you transmitting your unique value proposition - including your energy, enthusiasm for learning, and optimism?

Of course, there are changes that come with age, and I'm not downplaying them. For example, I try not to burn the candle at both ends two days in a row or I feel sluggish, low energy, and unfocused. I also sometimes have to take an extra deep breath to summon additional patience and 'good cheer' during interactions that even a few years ago would have been 'all in the course of a day.' Be aware of what you need to do to feel on top of your game and proceed accordingly.

If you've been wearing the prior-mentioned metaphorical sandwich board while working on your job search, it's time for a makeover. Break up the sandwich board toss it in the trash; it is most definitely on our what NOT to wear list! Start doing the work to build your resilience, increase energy and vibrancy, and develop the skills your target market considers to be in demand.

In wild support of your success,


*If you have a disability that impacts employment, please visit for helpful information.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Talent acquisition a la 2017...

Employers, take notice!

You may be missing out on a game-changing talent pool...and you can thank me later for bringing this to your attention.

Allow me to share a recent experience.

Upon moving to a new area, I had the incredible good fortune to be seated next to a dynamic and engaging septuagenarian at a social event. As we chatted, she told me about an organization that she's been part of for many years.

As she described how the organization supports women, I realized its mission was closely aligned with my work. I wondered aloud to my new friend Liz whether there might be an opportunity for me to volunteer my career services insights to the group's clients.

Liz's enthusiasm was contagious, and she said she'd be happy to make the connection for me. Imagine my surprise and delight upon receiving an email from a staff member of the organization the very next day, inviting me to stop in for a meeting to discuss my potential involvement.

As I mentioned, Liz is engaging and dynamic...and before I knew it, I was not only a member of the organization, but also a co-chair of one of the group's major fundraiser events that brought in a great deal of money every year through its live auction, silent auction, raffle tickets, dinner, music, and more. I witnessed, first-hand, the flawless execution and attention to detail that has made this event a spring staple in the area's social calendar!

So what does this have to do with talent and hiring?

Well, it is with not even a teensy stretch of the imagination that I share that this was one of the finest teams I've had the privilege of working with!

These women marketed, procured, convinced, communicated, leveraged, organized, networked, set up, broke down, planned, detailed, motivated, managed, recruited, and data-based like they were newly minted MBA from the finest business schools.


Did I mention that I was one of the youngest 50-something?


The group of mostly retired women delivered an incredibly successful and lucrative event not in spite of their age, but BECAUSE of their age, acumen, and life experiences.

I witnessed exemplary teamwork, meticulous planning, grace under pressure, high-stakes decision making, best-in-class time and project management, effective budgeting, and sales and marketing skills that were second to none.

If they had a product to pitch on Shark Tank, I wouldn't be surprised if all of the sharks wanted in...they know talent and a sure bet when they see it!

So now I pose a question for your consideration, employers:

How might your organization be shortchanging itself by making assumptions about older workers, second-acters, on-rampers (women and men returning to paid employment after some time away), and other non-traditional candidates?

Thursday, April 21, 2016

A Poem for Your Pocket...on National Poem In Your Pocket Day

I volunteer for an organization that raises funds for a very worthwhile local nonprofit...and one of my roles is to handle social media, curating and creating content to share with our growing audience.

With today being National Poem In Your Pocket Day, I posted Mary Oliver's Morning Poem. Her words always speak to me and stay with me like great music lyrics. I discovered Morning Poem just this morning as I was looking for the perfect poem to post on our group Facebook page.

I've been thinking about this poem all morning...about how it speaks to the power of a new morning and all its possibilities and promises; the feelings of optimism and resilience the dawn of a new day brings.

This got me thinking about my own poetry writing experience. A few years ago, I was enjoying a day of writing with some fellow writer friends. To get us in the writing groove, one of the women in the group, Kathy Kane, led us in a short exercise. She gave us a writing prompt, the phrase 'In Spite Of', and set a timer...we each put pen to paper and began writing for just a few minutes.

When the timer went off, we took turns sharing what we had written. I wasn't sure about my kind of just flew out of my pen and wasn't a story like the other writers' had created. However, I read my work to the group when it was my turn, albeit a bit You can imagine my shock and surprise when one of them exclaimed that I had written a poem!! In celebration of National Poem In Your Pocket Day, I humbly share my piece with you:

In spite of…

It’s dark.

The path is unclear; you’re unsure
of where to start.

No matter that this day wasn’t what
you had hoped it would be.

The stars will shine tonight, their light in
the velvet night sky like a spray of
soap bubbles, ready to clear the remnants
away and leave a fresh new canvas.

What a gift these stars are, reminders that
their glimmer means you get to start anew.

Yes, tomorrow IS a new day.

“Hello stars!” you  might say tonight.
 “Work your magic and usher in my
next chance, my new opportunity.”

When you wake, the stars will be gone.
Their sparkle, magic and power now
dissolved into the new blank slate that is

In spite of…

Like Morning Poem, my piece is also about optimism and resilience - two of my favorite concepts. Both are especially important for job seekers as they navigate the inevitable detours and bumps in the road that travelers on this journey often encounter. Each day is a new start, a chance to consider possibilities, to re-group, to re-strategize, to re-connect. It is indeed a powerful and beautiful thing...

If you think these words may be of help to someone struggling, please feel free to share. 

In support of your success,


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sometimes you just have to start at the beginning...

The official book launch party for Words for the Journey - thoughts and affirmation for women returning to work is in 16 days!! I am thrilled to be giving away copies and talking with area women about careers and reinvention.

It's funny. When I decided to write a book, I intended to write an action plan - a step by step process for women planning their returns to paid employment. It's something I should have been able to write in  my sleep.  I've coached clients on it. I've spoken about it. I've written blog posts about it. But every time I sat down to write the darn book, it just wouldn't flow.

I tried to force it.

I worked to ram right through the blockage.

I procrastinated.

I made excuses.

I let weeks and months crawl by with nary a sentence or two that was worth anything.

Then I cleared the deck, took an entire weekend, and gave up what I thought I was supposed to write about and just started writing. That's when a totally different book started to be written;  that's the one we'll be launching at the lovely shindig on the 11th - Words for the Journey: thoughts and affirmations for women returning to work.

You see, no matter how hard we push, sometimes it comes down to letting go and starting at the beginning. In my head, I had it all sorted (or so I thought). But it wasn't until I was ready to open up, let go of my expectations, and consider possibilities that things fell into place.

In support of your success,


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Networking With Grace and Ease - Part 2

In part 1 of Networking With Grace and Ease, I shared some networking questions that can be door openers and relationship starters.  Since networking boils down to relationships, how can job seekers move from an initial meeting to developing a collegial dynamic?

First, it's important to nurture your relationship with members of your network.  Remember, it’s incumbent upon you (not them) to do this. This is the chance to also be of service (see first three examples below). Track your contacts, striving to reach out every few weeks or so.  Here are some ideas for connecting in a positive and professional way:

  • Send an email with an interesting article about something of interest to your contact.
  • Send an update about a professional association he/she has mentioned.
  •  Follow up on something you said you would do (ex:  As promised, here is the contact information to the publishing consultant I mentioned.  I’ve contacted him and he’s happy to answer those technical questions you had. He suggested that you mention my name when you call.  Best wishes!).
  •  Send an email about what you’ve been doing (ex:  I wanted to reach out and let you know that I did research on the conference you mentioned and am going to attend. Are you planning on participating?).
  •  Make a phone call. No worries about reaching an answering machine. In fact, with people being so busy, the answering machine can be your friend --  leave a quick message. “Hi Sally.  It’s Cathy Jones.  I thought I might catch you…I’m just calling to touch base and find out how things are going.  Last time we spoke/emailed, you mentioned you were presenting at a conference and I was interested in hearing about it.  I’ll touch base with you in a few weeks again, so no worries about calling back.  Hope all is well!  Bye!."
  •  React to news (press release, LinkedIn update, industry news) via email:  Kathy, Congratulations on your new position.  How wonderful it was to read about it in ______. Best wishes for continued success!  All the best, Patti.
  •  Reach out via phone or email re: meeting for coffee or lunch.  “I’m going to be in your area on ____ and wondered if you’re available for coffee or lunch.  It would be nice to catch up and hear how things are going for you.  Let me know…. Best, Janice."

As you develop relationships and build your network, you may receive requests...and you can also make requests such as “Would you consider giving me feedback on my resume?  I value your judgment and would be most appreciative on any suggestions you might have.”  OR  “I’m applying for jobs in the _______ field at ______ and ________ companies.  If you hear of any openings, I’d be so appreciative if you’d pass my name along.” 

This is quite different from sending out your resume to all of your contacts and asking for a job, nor is it putting someone on the spot – neither of which are effective strategies.  Rather, this is a thoughtful and considered strategy that when used appropriately (and sparingly) can be quite effective.


As you network and apply your job search strategy consistently and mindfully, remember that it all boils down to a few principles:

Be genuine. 

Be authentic. 

Be of service.   

Be thoughtful. 


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Networking with Grace and Ease - Part 1

At its core, networking is about developing relationships. It’s also as much about giving as it is getting.  For job seekers, networking can sometimes {incorrectly} be a synonym for asking for work.  It sure takes a lot of pressure off – AND makes networking less intimidating, if job seekers approach networking with the dual purpose of (1) establishing new connections/relationships and (2) keeping an eye out for opportunities to assist/give.

What kinds of questions do I ask other than ‘Do you have a job for me?!?’ you might be thinking.  Below is a list of relationship-building and insight-gathering questions that can inform your job search, support new connections and move you forward towards your goal.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?
What’s been one of the most challenging aspects of this week for you?
What brought you to this career path/field?
What do you love about your work?

What are the top 3 bits of advice you have for someone getting into your field?
What makes someone successful in your field?
What’s the best professional/business book you’ve read lately?

What professional associations do you recommend joining?

What’s the first thing you do each day?

What’s the last thing you do before you leave your office each day?

Tell me your best timesaving/organizational tip.
What changes do you see on the horizon that could have major impact on your work/field?
What are the key skills/traits needed for success?
What publications are ‘must reads’ for you?
What kind of clients/customers are your target?  (This one is also an opportunity for you to make introductions)

What key traits do you look for when you’re adding to your staff?

What tips do you have for job seekers in this competitive market?
As you can see, these are big picture kinds of questions. And the answers are competitive intelligence for the job search...handed
to you on a silver platter!  In fact, these answers provide you with all kinds of action steps that can increase your marketability in your target field and provide you with great interview discussion points.

It’s important to note that you’ll probably only have a chance to ask one or two of these in a networking setting.  However, you can leverage this initial meeting by following up and scheduling coffee or lunch.  At this time – conversationally over coffee or lunch – you can ask additional questions to gather more information for your search and future path.

Below is an example of how this might be done:

You:  It’s been so nice speaking with you.  Do you have a business card?

Contact:  Sure, here’s one…

You:  Great!  May I give you one of my cards?  (Yes, jobseekers…business cards are the currency of networking and very worthwhile to obtain by either printing at home using high quality business card stock OR online at a source like

Contact:  Ok.

You:  I’d like to learn more about your work/career/business/etc.  Would you be open to meeting for a coffee or lunch near your office within the next few weeks?  If so, I’ll send you an email with some possible times.

Contact:  Yes, that’s fine.  I’ll look for your email.

In Part 2, I'll share ideas for reaching out to members of your network in a way that is not intimidating and can help to position you as a reliable, relevant and valuable contact for others.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Curling and Your Job Search - Similarities and Lessons

Yesterday, I had an incredible opportunity to join a bunch of friends as we gingerly stepped onto a curling rink -- most of us for the first time ever. After watching a short demonstration of technique and learning some game basics and strategy pointers, we were divided into teams and began to compete.

The afternoon was filled with laughter, learning, some stumbling, and wonderful camaraderie as we cheered one another on, fully realizing we were experiencing just the tip of the iceberg of this medieval-borne sport. As I think about yesterday and what I learned, I'm struck by how the sport of curling might offer insight and encouragement to job seekers. Here are 6 Tips For Job Seekers From the World of Curling:

1.  Strategy is key: Curling is not about simply 'throwing rocks' (pushing the granite stones down the course).Strategy and precision are essential to scoring. Similarly, an effective job search isn't a matter of simply emailing resume after resume and applying to online posting after online posting. Just as curlers take many factors into account - opponent's strengths, condition of the ice, the position of the stones already thrown, spin and more, so, too, must job seekers. Corporate culture, job descriptions, market conditions, and value proposition are just a few examples of factors that savvy job seekers take into account as they develop their strategic job search plan.

2.  Lingo adds to understanding and insight:  Our wonderful trainer provided us with key curling terms such as skip, first, hammer, house and end to broaden our knowledge and to add value to our experience. Job seekers would do well to learn the lingo within their target careers and companies to establish rapport and showcase understanding.

3.  It's about having a good team:  While only one person at a time actually 'throws the rock' in curling, each of the 4 team members has an active role to play. The skip is providing direction for the thrower and the sweepers, who are at the ready to impact the direction and speed of the stone. For job seekers, the team is one's personal and professional network. Just as the skip provides the direction to the team, job seekers need to let their network know how they can help.

4.  Sweeping maximizes the throw: Sweeping can transform a pretty good team into a great one in curling.Sweeping adds speed and direction to the rock as it goes down the lane. It reminds me of the follow up job seekers do (or don't do). Making phone calls, tending to one's network, and sending post-interview thank you notes support your job search initiatives in the same way that sweepers support the throwers in curling.

5.  Balance and Core Strength are essential: I didn't know this until I actually tried curling: it takes solid core strength and balance. Looking for a job also takes core strength and balance, albeit in a slightly different way. For job seekers, core strength relates to the essential need to keep on keeping on, reaching into a well of strength and executing the job search consistently. The balance piece relates to the importance of using a multi-pronged job search approach, not relying on one strategy...but striking on an effective balance by using 3 or 4 strategies.

6.  When you fall, you just get back in the game: No surprise here - ice is slippery and players can fall.  As we all played, I noticed people taking near and actual tumbles.When that happened, they laughed, dusted themselves off, and got back to the task at hand. Job seekers may find themselves on slippery ground at times. In all likelihood, there will be stumbles and tumbles. When that happens, simply dust off, stand up, and continue on! 

Whether you're about to launch a job search, are in the middle of a job search, or could use some general career encouragement, I hope this post is helpful!

In support of your success,


Monday, October 21, 2013

In Spite Of

by Carol Camerino
I wrote this at a gathering of some AMAZING writer-friends (Janet Cargill, Kathy Kane, Julie Genovese and Denise Williams). As the self-proclaimed non-creative writer in the group (non-fiction/journalistic style is more my game), I admit to feeling intimidated as I put pen to paper once our writing prompt was shared.  No one was more surprised than I to discover I had written a poem

I thought I'd share it here as the message of hope, redemption and the promise of tomorrow relate to all areas of life - including job search and careers.
In spite of…

In spite of…

It’s dark.

The path is unclear; you’re unsure of where to start.

No matter that this day wasn’t what you had hoped it would be.

The stars will shine tonight.
Their light in the velvet night sky like the
spray of soap bubbles, ready to clear the remnants away and
leave a fresh new canvas awaiting what's next.

What a gift these stars are, reminders that their
glimmer means you get to start anew.

Yes, tomorrow IS a new day.

“Hello stars!” you  might say tonight. “Work your magic and usher in my next chance, my new opportunity, my tomorrow.”

When you wake, the stars will be gone.
Their sparkle, magic and power now dissolved into the new
blank slate that is today.

In spite of…

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Three Reasons To Attend Conferences - Even On Your Own Dime

I’m a complete and total conference geek. Name tag proudly worn, attendance at every event/session/coffee break; yep, that’s me!

As a solopreneur (read: money for attending these comes out of my pocket – literally!), I look forward to conferences and conventions as opportunities to connect with colleagues, learn about emerging trends, and expand my skill set.

I understand not all share this enthusiasm. 

In fact, while at the National Resume Writers' Association  conference this past week, I hopped onto the elevator with my attendee tag looped proudly around my neck like it was a sparkly necklace straight from Tiffany’s. 

A gentleman in the elevator spied the name tag, rolled his eyes and asked in a blended groan/sigh,  “At a conference?” (Cue co-conspiring expression of exasperation from said gentleman who was then clearly awaiting my equally annoyed “You don’t have to tell me, brother!” eye roll).

“Yes!” I cheerfully replied.  “I LOVE conferences, don’t you?”

He looked about as perplexed and confused as if I had entered the elevator holding hands with ET.  

"NO!!!" he guffawed, as I watched fear and distrust creep into his face. Before I could respond, we arrived at his floor where he made a hasty retreat before I was able to share more maniacal rantings such as "I love to learn!" and "I really love my work".

As I continued on the elevator, I laughed to myself...but then got to thinking that this might be how some job seekers feel when I mention conferences, trainings, and conventions as important job search components. 

While I could list a dozen reasons why I love these events and why I encourage job seekers to consider them, I'll share just 3 here for your consideration.  

1. You can significantly boost your professional competencies. Continually expanding one’s skill set and keeping on top of emerging trends, challenges, and opportunities helps to position job seekers for success. Considering the cost of formal training programs, these opportunities can be wildly cost effective. The enhancement of your skill set and career marketability will be priceless.

2. You get to share with and learn from colleagues. How do others in your field handle various situations? What are the pros and cons of these options? What do others think of your ideas? Gathering this information on your own might be time-consuming and intimidating. These programs, though, are like the proverbial office water cooler, only better! Most of the time, colleagues are happy to generously share their strategies, thoughts and insights while also learning from you. You’ll walk away with new ideas that can add value to your job search campaign in the form of connections, interview material, tips, and possibly even job leads!

3. Your motivation and enthusiasm get a solid boost.  May I share a story for this one? At this recent event, the keynote speakers included Susan Whitcomb, Dr. Richard Feller, Kirsten Vernon and Heather Wieshlow. Each one of these high-profile and extremely accomplished professionals presented compelling and thought-provoking information that made me even more proud of and excited about the work I do. Work sessions presented by generous colleagues rounded out the 3-day conference. I'm now back to work feeling enthused and recharged.  For job seekers, this added boost of enthusiasm can be a differentiator as you're compared to other candidates. 

And here’s one more bonus reason:
4. Your network will expand exponentially.  If ‘working the room’ is just about your least favorite thing to do, you should know that these programs are a kinder, gentler way to begin to meet people.  At each session, you can start with just introducing yourself to the person you’re sitting next to.  Some conversation starters might be “What’s your greatest takeaway from this program up to now?”, “Do you have a favorite speaker?” or “Tell me about your work/company/client base…”.  Note: you’re not asking for a job.  This is about relationship building – the best way to network. 

In this setting, you get access to pros at all levels in your industry as you chat over coffee during breaks, exchange business cards to follow up with later, and even make some great first impressions!

In the past, I’ve received consulting work and client referrals from networking connections at events like these. And I’ve gladly made introductions and shared resources, contacts, and opportunities (networking is a two-way street – it’s most effective when when both giving and receiving).  At this week’s conference, for example, I met new colleagues whom are among the best and brightest in my field that I’ll be sure to keep in touch with, discussed a possible collaboration with another writer/coach, and made an accountability pact with yet another to support our common goal achievement.  Pretty fantastic, don’t you think?!?

As you fine tune your strategic job search and career plan, consider these events. Even though you may be investing time and resources in attending, you can leverage these opportunities to maximize your ROI (return on investment) in support of your goals.

In support of your success,

Carol Camerino, CCMC, CTTCC

Job Search Strategist and Resume Writer