If you're a fan of The Walking Dead, this blog on connecting career seeking lessons to the show will get you as excited as Rick's reunion with his baby Judith.  

I know...how can a show about the zombie apocalypse possibly have ANY lessons for career seekers?  Well, I've got three nuggets for you:  

"But I need your help. 'Cause I can't do it by myself. And even if I catch up to Bob, we can't do it alone."  Maggie Greene knew that even in times of survival, she couldn't find Glenn without help.  Finding your next career move is the same thing - you can't do it alone, so NETWORK!  Who are the top three to five people you can count on in your network?  Talk to them immediately to help you reflect on your strengths, growth areas, and how other people perceive you.  Don't wait for a zombie to come up behind you to let you know.  :)

"Get one thing straight. You're staying? This isn't a democracy anymore."  Rick Grimes knew that in times of crisis, waiting to get consensus when zombies are attacking you at all hours isn't the way to keep the group alive.  Leadership is contextual.  As a leader, what kind of work culture are you looking for?  Then based on your strengths and growth areas, are you the kind of leader to match what that culture needs to move forward?

"Sanctuary for all. Community for all. Those who arrive, survive."  This was the broadcast from Terminus, the supposed sanctuary for The Walking Dead group.  They were welcomed with open arms, but once inside, they soon learned that the Terminus group didn't have their best interests at heart.  Do your research.  When researching organizations, ask around to people who currently work there, and have worked there recently.  It's important to not just hear the good...but the not so good.  Come up with a list of questions to ask each person.  

I'd love to hear if you've gathered leadership lessons from any other shows!  As you watch your next show on DVR, think about what leadership do's and don'ts you're viewing!

AuthorRon Rapatalo

Have you ever applied to a position that you thought was a perfect match for your skills and interests only to be disappointed by receiving a rejection letter based on your written submission? 

When this happens it's important to first of all revisit the job description.  In most cases, required qualifications are just that: required.  If you don't meet them, you will likely be passed over at this initial stage.  For further reading I suggest Alicia's post, which divulges even more industry secrets for job seekers.

If you still can't figure out why you didn't get an interview, check over your submission for errors. We have already compiled a list of application tips, but let's delve further into the importance of proofreading your work.

You may be a fantastic educator or very successful manager, but if you submit materials with spelling, grammar or punctuation errors (OR an application that was meant for another job-yikes!), you are demonstrating one of two things:

1) You didn't care enough about the position to actually spend time composing an excellent application.  RED FLAG!  Please consult Eliana's post to find out why Passion Matters.

2) You are not meticulous or resourceful.  BAD SIGN!  Small details are important, and if you know they're not your strength, find someone in your trusted network to double-check your work.  Once you think it's perfect and ready to send, I strongly suggest waiting a few hours and then reading the entire thing out loud.  You'll be surprised at the edits you discover!

If you're inspired by an exciting job opening, make the effort to represent yourself in the best possible light.  More often than not, advancement to the next stage depends solely upon your written materials.  You may be perfectly koalified and boast ample relevant experience, however by submitting a flawed application you jeopardize your chances of landing an interview.  

Bear in mind that hiring managers have to consider a wide variety of factors when choosing applicants to interview, but by making sure your materials are top-notch you tip the scales in your favor!  Check out Venus' post for more in-depth recommendations around effectively crafting your application. 

AuthorClair Tannenbaum

You can hear the sweet band of trumpets and percussions in the background playing your favorite song. You marvel at the intricate footwork gracing the shiny hardwood floor. Your heart pounds with anticipation, seemingly in sync with every bouncing beat... For all the bracketologists and devout college basketball fans out there, you know that there's only one "Dance" and everyone wants a shot at getting invited.

Sorry to disappoint, I’m not actually going to talk basketball or predictions for your office pools. I just thought it would be fun to look at the job selection process in a different way, and with March Madness soon upon us, I thought it was fitting to use it as an analogy.

To my fellow sports fans, I know you will follow, but for those who thought the Big Dance was about Dancing with the Stars, please indulge me if you will… :)


I am simply suggesting that the selection process for a job shares many of the same elements as the selection process for March Madness. The teams not entered automatically by winning their conference have to be chosen; this selection process is competitive, serious, and intense.  Teams are prudently reviewed by a Committee, and what is most carefully scrutinized and assessed is their track record, their quality and rigor of play, and the way they finish off a season. Those whose records stand out get invited to the “Big Dance.”

Similarly, proven track record, quality and rigor of work, and end results are key factors employers consider in prospective employees.  “Proven track record,”  “demonstrated ability,” “results driven” – sound familiar?  - all common language used in job posts to describe the type of employee an organization is looking to hire.  When an employer asks or looks at your resume to learn about your experience, she/he is not just looking to see what you’ve done, she/he is looking to see how successful you’ve been at what you’ve done and at the context of your work (did the team have a flawless record over easy teams or a strong record playing against top seeds/did you help maintain an already high performing school, or did you turn around a failing school).  While experience is important of course, it’s quality over quantity. More than just years of experience, employers are looking for people who took on and overcame a challenge in the organization, used an innovative approach to solving a long standing problem for the organization, guided an idea from concept through implementation, created a program that had huge impact the organization’s bottom line, or raised achievement or profit levels. It’s not enough to successfully complete tasks to carry out a job.  It’s about outcomes and results!


With that said, the place to start is your resume.  Your resume is the instrument that will often determine (potentially along with a Google search, which is becoming more standard) whether you get called for the interview, and get your foot in the door. In a competitive market, where there are large numbers of resumes pouring in for one position, your resume has to stand out. Task oriented resumes are helpful to the extent that they help build understanding around the kinds of skills and experience you bring, but results or outcome based resumes provide the opportunity to distinguish yourself from other candidates with the same or even more years of experience.  Instead of just sharing that you’ve been a teacher for 10 years, take the opportunity to highlight some of your successes in student achievement in your 10 years to separate yourself out from the others. A hiring manager will take notice because you will show that you have skills, know-how, and successful strategies that are proven and are working.  Hiring managers may ask for candidates with a minimum number of years of experience (feeling that a person has to have had a certain amount of exposure to the job and the work to be well prepared), but there is no longer the assumption that someone who has more years of experience is automatically a stronger candidate than someone with less. Hiring Managers dig deeper, and not only look at where you’ve worked and for how long, but at the quality and rigor of your work, and the contributions you made and goals you achieved.

Once you land the interview and your foot is in the door, then you’ll have your chance to share more deeply the quality of your experience and the significance of the work you’ve done to that point, and how that all translates to success in the role for which you are applying. It is then that you will have your shot of being invited to the “Big Dance!”  


So when you use your resume to guide a potential employer through your professional journey, make sure to point out your successes and all the contributions you have made along the way!   

Applying this strategy will be the difference between you wishing or swishing. (sorry, couldn’t resist :))

AuthorVenus Velez

Keep it Simple Stupid!


The unofficial season of kissing is upon us with Valentine’s Day arriving on February 14th. If you’re thinking about starting a career search, it’s time to take your KISS to the next level. No, I’m not suggesting you take on any untoward strategies to get the job of your dreams. Rather, seal your next job application with the kind of KISS that matters – Keep It Simple Stupid!

The Resume – Size does matter. There are all sorts of opinions about optimal resume length but all that really matters is that you keep it relevant, succinct and to the point. If you’re over 30 and applying for a job, no one really cares about your college work study job. Make sure your resume doesn’t just look like you’re open to any job someone wants to give you. Be sure that it highlights those positions that are most relevant to the job you want to achieve. If the reader has to hunt to find where you’ve worked, what your key job responsibilities have been, or how long you worked at each job, your resume needs some tweaking. Resumes aren’t meant to be puzzles for the reader to piece together, but rather a road map detailing stops along a path.

The Cover Letter – Sure, you want to grab the reader’s attention with a cover letter that stands out. However, be sure it stands out for all the right reasons. Grammatical or typographical errors, at the very least, leave room to question attention to detail or solid command of the English language. Multiple errors make it clear that its writer belongs in the rejection pile. Remember, also, that the cover letter is not a graduate thesis. It is your chance to highlight key attributes and skills that make you a highly qualified candidate for the job.

The Application – I hope you’re sitting down for this because I’m about to share some secrets from the recruitment and selection world that are guaranteed to get you an interview. To be honest, none of this is rocket science and it definitely shouldn’t be kept a secret. Once you figure this out, please share it with everyone you know.

Secret #1: Answer all of the application questions.

Secret #2: If your application answers are not aligned with the job description, save yourself a future rejection by not even bothering to apply. Your application will be screened for how closely your answers match the criteria outlined in the job description. So, if it says you need at least 5 years experience doing underwater basket weaving but your only experience is 6 months of needlepoint, you’re just setting yourself up for rejection by applying. My advice: just keep it moving; there’s nothing to see here!


What candidate screener doesn’t love a good KISS!?

Why Hiring and Dating Are More Similar Than You May Think

First of all, in the interest of full disclosure I should say that it is possible some might not think me qualified to write a blog piece that talks about the world of dating.  I met my husband more than 15 years ago and have not dated anyone since, which means my last dating experiences came not only before the days of social media, “meet-ups,” and online dating services, they were also before regular people had cell phones.  If we wanted to meet up with one another, we left messages on each other’s home machines, called the other person during our work day and tried to talk quietly so our co-workers in the next cubicle wouldn’t snicker too much, or (shocking, I know!) made firm plans a day or more in advance.  I doubt many 20-somethings today would even recognize the dating rituals in which we participated. 

So why, you may ask (given my substantial disclaimer upfront) would I presume to speak about how dating and hiring are more similar than one might think?  It is because, although it’s been a while since I have been out on the market for both things, I remember clearly the feelings and thoughts I experienced when I was – and they are almost identical.  “Does he like me?” “Did I make a good impression?”  “I wonder if they will call me this week?”  “How long should I wait before I call them?” “Am I really that interested?  How will I know?”  One of the most important – and most difficult – characteristics of success in either scenario is a clear understanding of your own needs and value proposition and how they match up with the qualities and interests of the other party.

As hiring managers (or in my case, search consultants), it is easy to become seduced by someone’s credentials and qualifications – their Ivy League degrees, deep and relevant experiences, referrals and high recommendations from trusted sources – and forget that the candidate selection process should be a give and take on both sides.  We need to make sure they are passionate about and committed to us as much if not more than we are passionate about and committed to them.  Otherwise, we are like the guy in the movie chasing the ideal catch and losing sight of the really great girl next door who loves us for who we are.  If a potential hire is haggling aggressively about money, taking forever to respond about an offer, or easily swayed to consider another opportunity, it’s probably a good sign that he or she is just not that into you and your time will be better spent finding someone passionate about your mission and committed to working with you for the long term.

Similarly, it is important for organizations to not only put their best foot forward, confident in the value they are offering to employees, but also to be realistic and honest about the challenges new hires will face when and if they come on board.  Deception during the courting phase doesn’t do anyone any favors and can lead both parties down a path of regret, frustration, or hurt.  If a lasting match is to be made, it will be because both sides have been open and honest about their strengths and weaknesses and have decided together that they can work through their differences and form a strong, enduring partnership.  Regardless of how people find one another, it is these kinds of relationships that lead to great things in terms of high levels of loyalty and job satisfaction and – most importantly – long-lasting sector impact. 

AuthorChristina Greenberg
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