WearinessEver reached burnout to the point of paralyses? Most of you reached that point in college.  Am I right?  I certainly did.  Many of you learned from that college burnout experience and slowed down enough to achieve balance once you started your first career position.  Right?

Wrong.

According to Gallup.com, 40% of Americans get less than the recommended amount of sleep per night.   Medical studies have related a lack of sleep to health problems and cognitive impairment.  Not good.  I’m assuming here that lack of sleep is an indication of overwork and burnout.  Also, I have my vast experience, of working with all levels of professionals for over 30 years as a recruiter, to draw on.  Too many times I got phone calls from overworked candidates who begged me to find them another position, ASAP.

Perhaps you know someone who’s suffering with a mid-life crisis, which can be caused by burnout (among other things)?

There’s hope of a better life.

As one who has displayed Type A personality traits throughout my life, I can appreciate your struggles with burnout. A few of my milestones, or should I say setbacks, include experiencing a nervous breakdown in my early 20’s during my second year of working in a national CPA firm; running a two-office personnel firm with my husband for 15 years cumulating in divorce and business closure; hitting the wall in the marathon four times (oh it’s as bad as being in labor).  Yep, I’ve pretty much pushed myself to the extreme my entire life, making the same mistakes over and over, until I learned, finally, how to avoid burnout and achieve real success.  Success isn’t really worthwhile if you don’t enjoy it—if you’re always looking to the future.  Another way to describe it would be peaceful success—the type of success that you can sit back and savor.  And it comes to you without the stress of constant pushing and burnout.

Here are the three key mistakes to avoid burnout and achieve success without stress.

  1.  Ignoring your body’s signals.

As I write this post, I’m in week 16 of a 24 week marathon training program. As such, I’ve got burnout on the brain.  This will be marathon number 18, so I’ve had some prior experience with this training stuff. As I mentioned above, I’ve hit the wall a few times during a marathon, which means I went out too fast at the beginning and pushed too hard becoming completely and utterly exhausted.  This can happen anywhere from the mid-point at 13.1 miles.  When it comes right down to it, running the actual marathon is not nearly as stressful as the long and cumbersome training.  For instance, last week I ran 48 miles, including a 9 mile speed work run and an 18 mile long run.  The week before I ran 47 miles.  Sticking to the program will train my body and my mind to complete the 26.2 mile distance.  In my past, I’d ignore my body’s signals and push and push and push.  Invariably, I’d get sick and/or injured, forcing me to rest.  Burnout.

Now I’m older (and hopefully wiser). I cut back on miles every three weeks to recover and I sleep—a lot.  If my body is giving me the signal to rest, I listen.  Listen to what your body is telling you.  That tension in your shoulders, the stiff neck, the headache, are all signals.  Listen.

  1. Living in the future.

According to the international best seller, The Power Of Now, becoming more aware of your body (and it’s signals) happens in the present moment.  If you’re worried about something, your thoughts are on the future—you’re in your head.  Flow your attention down into your body and pay attention to what is happening right now.  Constant worrying about the future causes what you’re thinking about to happen.  It’s amazing how much better the mind works when you don’t have a constant barrage of thoughts about what might or might not happen in the future.  I recommend the book for ways to avoid burnout by focusing on your body signals in the here and now and to become more present.       

  1. Focusing on what you don’t have.

We are thinkers. As much as I practice quieting the mind, it’s really hard to do.  If you’re going to constantly think, it might as well be positive.  Avoid burnout by practicing positive affirmations that are in the present moment.  I am safe. I have a wonderful position and I am appreciated and compensated well.  I am willing to make this the best day of my life.  A great person to read about is Louise Hay, who advocates positive affirmations.  She cured herself of terminal stage 4 cervical cancer.  Louise, by the way, is still going strong at 90 years old.

I love saying affirmations now. When I started this current marathon training program, I started to experience pain in my left hip, the same pain that hindered me when I ran the 2015 Boston Marathon (from, yes, overtraining and burnout).  My first thoughts were, “Oh no, this is bad.  It didn’t heal.  I won’t be able to train for the marathon.”  I made a conscious decision to change my thoughts.  When I started to feel the hip pain on my next training run, I started a new mantra.  I said it over and over and over during my run.  “My left hip is strong and I am strong.  My left hip is strong and I am strong.”  Sure, it was discouraging at first because I didn’t notice a difference immediately.  But I kept at it.  If the pain wasn’t there, I didn’t think to say the mantra.  About a month later I realized I wasn’t saying the mantra at all.  The pain had disappeared.  My left hip is now strong.  It takes determination and a willingness to pay attention to your thoughts.  Acknowledge a negative thought, dismiss it and replace it with something positive—even if you don’t believe it.  Just keep at it and your reality will change.   Now, as the training is getting really tough my new mantra is “I can do this.  I am incredibly strong.”

In summary, avoid these three mistakes to avoid burnout and achieve peaceful success.

Now it’s your turn. Have you or are you experiencing burnout?  How are you coping?  Email me lara@doloreslara.com, or comment on my blog.

Let’s break barriers together!

Dolores, The Running Recruiter

Email me at lara@doloreslara.com to get a FREE copy of my new E-report, What Goes On In The Mind Of A Recruiter . . . When Deciding On Which Resumes To Read; Sending Candidates On Interviews; Negotiating The Best Salary Offer.  Wouldn’t you like to know???

Looking for tools to find your dream job?  Check this out.

Dreams really do come true!  Read about my upcoming book Breaking Barriers Middle age is not the transition to old age, but the transition to mastery—the mastery of a life of learning and experience.  It’s our time to shine. 

Wichita Marathon 1983Maybe running a marathon isn’t at the top of your “to do” list. Maybe it isn’t even on your list.  Maybe fitness is something that you don’t have the time for—but it’s something you know would benefit you.

How much does being fit benefit your career?

Right now I am in the process of training for my 18th marathon.  Yes, number 18.  I’m training for the Steamtown Marathon in Pennsylvania this coming October.  I am a career-oriented person that puts fitness at the top of my “to do” list.  It wasn’t always that way.  I never considered fitness as important in my teenage years.  I was way too busy.  While I was in college, I did a really smart thing—I got married to another college student.  Go figure.  I gave up living at home and getting fed to depending on our two part-time jobs while carrying a full college course load and traveling frequently with the debate and forensics team.  I cared deeply about getting good grades and winning trophies on the speech circuit.  I also cared deeply about eating, so I needed to work.  Top all this off with a tumultuous marriage to a man that was verbally abusive, and—you guessed it.

I was a mess—a total mess.

I suffered from constant anxiety attacks, insomnia, frequent bladder and sinus infections, and constant self-doubt. Despite all of this, I was young—I looked good and interviewed well.  I got an offer from, what was then called, Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co. (now KPMG).  Yes!  I was on my way.  NOT.

The pressure of the long hours and disruptive home life look its toll. It took a nervous breakdown and a couple of months off of work to finally slow down and re-think my life.  I took lots of advice from my phycologist, like practicing self-hypnosis to control my anxiety and learn how to relax.  He also said, “Dolores, you need to start exercising.  It’s a great way to relieve stress and detox the body.”

I dumped the abusive husband, changed jobs, and decided to get fit. I started running in my early twenties and I’ve never looked back.  Running changed my life on many different levels.  The health benefits were tremendous.  Just do a simple google search and check out my previous blog post (6th article down).  I started running with a group and became friends with healthy, upbeat people.  I started to eat in a way that supported my running.  I LOVED running in road races, both 5K and 10K races.  And talk about looking good—I got lean and mean.

Then I ran my first marathon when I was 29 years old. Why?  It’s the ultimate goal of any long-distance runner.  Being able to complete a 26.2 mile course seemed like an impossible goal when I made the brave decision to do it and signed up for a marathon training clinic.  The clinic supported us through a six-month marathon training plan.  Yep, six months.  Not for pansies.  The trainers told us over and over throughout the training.  If you follow the plan and complete the training—you will finish the marathon.  Period.  “Your body will be in shape, but more importantly, your mind will believe you can do it.”

Running a marathon is more of a mind game.

That’s the key. That’s why running a marathon is so key to career success.  Anyone who trains for and completes a marathon is someone who has proven to the world that they can stick to a plan, preserve, and follow-through—all key elements in a successful career.  As an Executive Recruiter, if I see marathon running listed under Extra-curricular Activities on a resume, I not only see a healthy, fit person in my mind, I also know this person has certain good habits that any employer wants.

Standing on the starting line of that first marathon (The Wichita Marathon in 1983) was one of the most intimidating things I have ever done.   The training was exhausting.  I didn’t think I would make it, but I just kept training.  Finally, it was over and there I stood on the starting line of the marathon—shaking in fear.  What if I couldn’t do it?  What if it hurt too much?  I kept thinking, “Remember, my body is trained.   Don’t think about it.  Just do it.  I can do this.  I can do this.”

Getting started is the hardest part.

The gun went off and I began the marathon—self-doubt and all.  Once I got going the fear started to dissipate and the perseverance and determination kicked in.  I just kept going and going and going—until I crossed over the finish line and collapsed.  Ah, the sweet taste of victory.  Despite the painful cramps and exhaustion, the euphoria swelled over me.  It was like nothing I had ever felt before.

Would I have been able to run a successful recruiting business with my then husband for 15 years without my marathon habit? No.  My running kept me sane.  Having challenging running goals gave me something positive to look forward to.  It made me mentally (and physically) strong.  I’m still relying on my marathon habit to fully experience life.  Every time I train for one, I vow to never do it again, but then I experience the high of the finish and the satisfaction of the goal completed.  Okay, maybe I’ll run just one more. . .

Put fitness on your “To do” List.

Make it a priority.  You will live longer and be healthier.  Exercise three days a week–30 minutes a day.  That will work wonders.  If you run, I recommend running one marathon. I know several people who have run just one.  No one has ever been sorry they did it.  If you don’t run, then I urge you to find a challenging physical goal and train for it.  Maybe it’s competing in ball room dancing, climbing Mount Whitney, or completing a Bikram Yoga 30 day challenge.  Do something that gets you excited and motivated.  The good habits you learn will carry over to your career success.

Now it’s your turn. Has running or exercise been a major part of your life?  How has it helped you?  Email me lara@doloreslara.com, or comment on my blog.

Let’s break barriers together!

Dolores, The Running Recruiter

Email me at lara@doloreslara.com to get a FREE copy of my new E-book, What Goes On In The Mind Of A Recruiter . . . When Deciding On Which Resumes To Read; Sending Candidates On Interviews; Negotiating The Best Salary Offer.

Looking for tools to find your dream job?  Check this out.

Dreams really do come true!  Read about my upcoming book Breaking Barriers Middle age is not the transition to old age, but the transition to mastery—the mastery of a life of learning and experience.  It’s our time to shine. 

 

Jobs on computerImagine this scenario. You’ve been thinking about starting a job search, but not quite sure if it’s the right time.  It’s not that you’re unhappy, you just feel like your career isn’t moving as fast as you think it should.  You like the people you work with, but the job isn’t challenging like it used to be.  You’d like to add more value and beef up the resume, but your boss isn’t receptive to change.  Yet, you’re comfortable.  You work 40-hour weeks and love the life-balance.

When is it a good time to leave?

As a veteran recruiter, I’ve been asked that question many times. The answer isn’t simple because it really depends on what you want.  The short answer is to figure out what your top priorities are—like the top three.  If your current position meets your top three priorities, then you’ve got a good thing going and it might be best to stay put.

But then again . . . maybe not.

I thought about that question and came up with five important reasons to leave based on real life situations in my experience as a recruiter.

Here they are:

  1. You are not using your three greatest strengths.

Not the same as priorities. For instance, you may be in a position that provides life balance, is close to home, and is stable.  But your greatest strength is your people skills and you’re on a computer all day analyzing numbers, and you’re miserable.  That’s not good, is it?  If you’re not using your top three strengths, you will not be happy.  Start looking.

  1. You’re passed up for promotion by someone less qualified.

A CPA in a regional CPA firm confided in me and told me that even though she had the highest chargeable hours on the staff, handles the biggest book of clients, and received the best evaluations, she was passed up for promotion to Sr. Manager by a younger man. She couldn’t get a clear answer from the (all male) Partners as to why.   She said she wants to make Partner, but thinks she is being discriminated against.  Not only is she a woman, but an older woman.  She took several years off to raise her children.

I advised her to start a search. There are lots of firms out there including ones that will not hold her back, especially with her talents, from getting the promotions she deserves.  The largest companies are not the best place to be if you are older or have a unique background.  They tend to follow a more rigid promotion track.  If you get passed up for promotion and aren’t given a good reason, then you’re not in the right place for you.

  1. Your colleague gets paid more, even though you sell more and/or get equal evaluations.  

This is my personal story. In my beginning years as a recruiter I worked quite closely with a guy.  Our production was pretty much equal, except the third year I zoomed past him.  Then I found out what he was making.  I’m not talking a difference of couple of thousand dollars here.  The difference was a whopping $15K.  That was significant, considering at that time, I made $35K and my colleague made $50K base.  Yes, part of it was my fault for not researching the market and not knowing what I was worth AND then not asking for it.  But the idea of the difference being so big left me cold.  When I left they offered me a HUGE counter-offer.  That’s another story.  Never, never accept a counter-offer.  My leaving was the best thing that I could have done for myself.  If you’re in this situation, I’m guessing you will benefit as well by high-tailing out of there.

  1. You are no longer learning and developing.

We live in a changing world. If you’re a professional and you’re not continuing to develop, you’re stagnating.  What happens if you should get laid off?  The level of your skill set will determine how much in demand you’ll be.  I couldn’t believe it.  Once a got a call from a CPA who did all of his work manually.  Yes, this was 15 years ago, but I couldn’t place someone whose skills were so outdated.  That’s an extreme example, but I’m sure you get the picture.

  1. Your mentor leaves and offers you a better position.

I’ve seen this several times in my career. A high level executive leaves and then takes their favorite staff with them.  If you get asked to follow along, I’d seriously consider it.  You know your boss and that they’ll look out for you.  That’s a good situation to be in.

Each situation is different and needs to be considered based on your strengths, skills, and priorities. If you’re unhappy and unfulfilled, and you’re stuck because of fear, then get over it.  You deserve to be happy and no one grows without facing fear.

Now it’s your turn. Do you have a story to share?  Did you face your fears and are now in a much better place?  Email me lara@doloreslara.com, or comment on my blog.

Let’s break barriers together!

Dolores, The Running Recruiter

Email me at lara@doloreslara.com to get a FREE copy of my new E-book, What Goes On In The Mind Of A Recruiter . . . When Deciding On Which Resumes To Read; Sending Candidates On Interviews; Negotiating The Best Salary Offer.

Looking for tools to find your dream job?  Check this out.

Dreams really do come true!  Read about my upcoming book Breaking Barriers Middle age is not the transition to old age, but the transition to mastery—the mastery of a life of learning and experience.  It’s our time to shine. 

Photo courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

Executive meetingYou got the interview! Of course you knew you would.  You read the job description, your experience fits perfectly.  You know your skill set is in demand.  You get calls from recruiters all the time pitching similar jobs.  You think you’re ready to make a change, but you’re not sure.  Okay, you’ll go into the interview and see if the company’s a good fit for you.

That was Scenario A. Here’s scenario B.

You got the interview! A part of you doesn’t believe it.  You read the job description and you’re not a perfect fit.  You know you’re on the light side of what the company wants.  You’re excited but terrified!  Time to prepare.  If nothing else, you’ll show the hiring manager that you can do the job.

Who’s more likely to blow the interview? Candidate A or B?

The objective of an interview

As a veteran executive recruiter, I’ve set-up over 4,000 interviews in my career. Sure, if Candidate B goes into the interview begging, that won’t work.  In my experience, however, Candidate A is the most likely to blow the interview.  Why?  Candidate A doesn’t understand the objective of the interview.  What is the objective of the interview?  No, it’s not for you, as the candidate, to discover if you may or may not be ready to make a change.  No, it’s not a fact finding mission.  It’s to get the offer.

Interviewing is a game

Pure and simple. Play the game to your advantage.  All too often I’ve seen star candidates who think they’re God’s gift to the working world, blow their chances of getting offers.  They walk into an interview unprepared, thinking that the hiring manager needs to sell the opportunity to them.  The hiring manager walks away from the interview questioning Candidate A’s desire to work for him or the company.  The candidate comes with a high price tag.  The hiring manager questions the candidate’s real reason for looking.  Is it money?  Who wants that?  The job’s tough enough without hiring someone who isn’t really into it.

Then Candidate B goes into the interview. She’s well-prepared, having done her research on the hiring manager and the company.  She’s practiced her answers to common interview questions.  She’s prepared to give specific examples of how she provided value in her current and previous positions.  She acts like she wants the job.  The hiring manager walks away from the interview convinced that Candidate B will work hard and she comes with a lower salary requirement.  He can afford to take a chance and offers her the job.

The secret to getting offers

That’s the secret. Act like you want the job!  Of course the big mistake is not acting like you want the job.  Hiring managers want to hire people who want the job.

Once you’ve sold yourself to the hiring manager, then everything changes. The hiring manager will then be much more interested in selling the opportunity to you.

What’s the silver lining of playing the interviewing game? You don’t have to take the offer.  But you can’t take an offer you don’t get.  Oh yes, I’ve had situations where candidates interviewed with the wrong attitude and later, after they thought about it, they decided they wanted the job.  But too late, the company lost interest or hired someone else.  First impressions are very hard to reverse.

The moral of this story is to play the interviewing game to your advantage and get the offer. A good attitude wins over qualifications every time.

Now it’s your turn. Do you have a question on interviewing?  Do you have a good or bad interviewing experience we can learn from?  Email me lara@doloreslara.com, or comment on my blog.

Let’s break barriers together!

Dolores, The Running Recruiter

Email me at lara@doloreslara.com to get a FREE copy of my new E-book, What Goes On In The Mind Of A Recruiter . . . When Deciding On Which Resumes To Read; Sending Candidates On Interviews; Negotiating The Best Salary Offer.

Looking for tools to find your dream job?  Check this out.

Dreams really do come true!  Read about my upcoming book Breaking Barriers Middle age is not the transition to old age, but the transition to mastery—the mastery of a life of learning and experience.  It’s our time to shine. 

Photo courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

Typing on laptopYou’re about to email your resume to someone. Before you hit the enter key, you wonder if you should include a cover letter.  You did write a short email so the recipient knows why you’re sending your resume.  Is including a cover letter really necessary?

If so, what’s the most important information to include in a cover letter?

I’ve seen on-line resume services charge for writing a cover letter. Is it worth paying for?

As a long-time Executive Recruiter who’s read thousands of resumes, I don’t have a clue why anyone would write a cover letter—let alone pay for one.

I rarely read cover letters.

I know they used to be a big deal back in the days when you sent your resume via snail mail. Now, email is the preferred delivery method.  Writing an email message is important.  Including a cover letter is a waste of energy.  I don’t even include them in my resume data base.  Believe me.  If a hiring manager or recruiter is looking through a big stack of resumes, they are not anxious to read something else.  If you have something important to say about your experience, put it in the resume.

Following are some blunders I’ve seen on email messages and cover letters. Read these and don’t repeat!

Blunder #1—Including a relocated address on the cover letter, not the resume.

A candidate was relocating to California from somewhere else. She dutifully reported that information in her cover letter, however, her resume showed her old address.  She was surprised to find out, when she followed up, that most of the people she sent her resume to filed her away as living out of state.

The lesson here is that if you are relocating, show an address where you are relocating to on your resume (even if it is only a city and state), and even if it’s only a temporary address like the address of a friend or relative. Don’t get filed away because the person who is screening resumes thinks you live out of state.

Blunder #2—Writing a cover book or email book, not letter.

I’ve seen long emails and cover letters with big paragraphs. Sure, I’ll scan an email to see why I’m getting a resume.  The longer the email, the less likely I’ll catch important information.  I won’t read the cover letter.

Keep your emails short. It’s more likely it will get read.

Blunder #3—Updating the most current position on the cover letter or email, but not the resume.

Why would someone do this? I often wondered.  Is it easier to write your most current experience in a cover letter or email?  Always send an updated resume.  Remember, most cover letters don’t get read, nor do they get included in resume data bases. If an email is included in resume data base, they’re buried in the comments section—likely to never get read again.

Blunder #4—Including accomplishments on email messages and cover letters, but not on the resume.

Accomplishments are key to selling your value proposition. Considering, again, that most cover letters don’t get read or included in resume data bases, doesn’t it make sense to include your accomplishments on your resume?

Yes, I’m a big fan of including a targeted accomplishment (or two) in your email message. That’s a great way to get the email recipient to open your resume and read it.  It’s totally fine to repeat an accomplishment you already have on your resume.

 Blunder #5—Not writing appropriate information in the email message.

Here’s what needs to go in your email message.

  • Why you are sending your resume (who referred you, or your interest in the company, or in response to an open position).
  • Why should the recipient be interested in hiring you? Do you have specific experience or skills that the company wants?
  • Include one or two short accomplishments where you saved a prior employer (or client) time or money, or made money. This is how you sell yourself.
  • If you anticipate that the hiring manager will have a concern, provide an explanation (like a long gap in your resume, or frequent job changes.)
  • Include your contact information on the email. Remember bullet points get read more often than paragraphs.
  • If you are relocating, when will you be in town available to interview.
  • I’m a big fan of including what your current compensation is or what it was at your last position. State that you are looking for a fair offer and that you are negotiable. Keep the door open.

There you have it. Don’t bother with a cover letter.  Instead, write an email when you send your resume—an email that will help to get your resume read.

Now it’s your turn. What do you think?  Do you have a question on cover letters or resumes?  Email me lara@doloreslara.com, or comment on my blog.

Let’s break barriers together!

Dolores, The Running Recruiter

Email me at lara@doloreslara.com to get a FREE copy of my new E-book, What Goes On In The Mind Of A Recruiter . . . When Deciding On Which Resumes To Read; Sending Candidates On Interviews; Negotiating The Best Salary Offer.

Looking for tools to find your dream job?  Check this out.

Dreams really do come true!  Read about my upcoming book Breaking Barriers Middle age is not the transition to old age, but the transition to mastery—the mastery of a life of learning and experience.  It’s our time to shine. 

Photo courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

New Life1Are you divorced? The statistics say that 50 percent of marriages fail.  In fact, the more times you’re married, the higher the chance you’ll get divorced again.  Forty-one percent of first marriages end in divorce, 60 percent of second marriages end in divorce, and 73 percent of third marriages end in divorce.  Apparently once you’ve been through it, it’s easier to just start over again.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been divorced twice. The first time after 9 ½ years of marriage.  We got married in college and who in the world knows what they’re doing at that age.  The second time I took the plunge, it lasted 18 years.  That seems like a long time, but the truth is, we had a business together and a child, otherwise it would have ended sooner.  After two “failures”, I decided not to marry my third serious boyfriend.  Someone should have told me it’s wise not to make investments together like you are married.  As a result, that break-up was the most complicated “divorce” I’ve endured thus far.

Now I’m in my fourth serious relationship and guess what? It’s not any easier.  We’ve made it to five years and I’m questioning if we’ll make it to six.  I wonder what the statistics are for fourth relationships?

Obviously I’m doing something wrong and I’ve finally figured out the problem.

It’s not them, it’s me. I’m the one that needs to change.  Bitter pill to swallow.  I’m happy to say, even though it took me a long, long time, that I’ve become a better person, once I took responsibility.

Following is what I learned from my failed relationships:

  1. Everyone in your life is a mirror reflection of who you are.

This is according to Louise Hay, one of my favorite authors. If you’ve attracted an angry man (or woman) into your life, that person is reflecting what your thoughts and feelings are.  This applies to any relationship, not just romantic. Once you release that anger, then your relationship will change.  Yes, I know.  Easier said than done.  One way to start the process is to repeat a constant affirmation to yourself.  When you start to feel the familiar frustration, or irritation, allow the feeling to be—without buying into it.  Then start repeating this phrase over and over again, “I approve of myself.  I approve of myself.  I approve of myself.”  After a while, the anger will fade.  Your present thoughts will not allow it to stay.

  1. Leaving your partner will not solve your problem—in the long run.

From someone who’s broken up three times now and thinking about number four, yes, it’s easier to think the grass is greener on the other side. Problem is, until you solve the issue that caused you to create the troubled relationship you’re leaving, you will re-create it again.  Relationships give you the opportunity to grow—as unpleasant as it may seem at the time.  As long as you’re blaming the other person for your unhappiness, then you’ve given your power away to change.  Take responsibility for your own feelings and that’s the path to true peace.

  1. You must love yourself first.

Back when I was in troubled relationship number three, I sought help from a therapist. Lucky for me, I found someone I connected with immediately.  She had a way of lifting me out of the dark holes I constantly fell into.  My third relationship was verbally abusive (towards me by the way).  She helped me to realize that I had re-created my first verbally abusive marriage.  She made a statement once that I didn’t understand for a long time.  She said, “Dolores, you must love yourself first, before anyone else will love you.”

What? I loved myself.  What was she talking about?  The therapist pointed out that some part of me believed all of the names I was being called.  Otherwise, I’d just shrug it off.  For instance, if someone said, “You’re a purple pig.”  Chances are you’d laugh in their face.  Yes, sounds like the same stuff that Louise Hay is saying.  Time for the mantra, “I approve of myself.”  Louise says that 200 or 300 times a day is not nearly enough.

  1. Stop the negative self-talk.

I made the comment to someone the other day. “Love sucks.”  After I said it I realized that I had just had a negative thought.  The more I think in that way, the more I perpetuate the same reality.  Instead, try a different thought.  “Love frees.”  It’s a totally different feeling.  Much better.

I admire people like my parents who have been married for over 50 years. They made the commitment and they stuck with it through the ups and downs of life.  At times, when I was growing up, I thought they might kill each other.  Now, in their later years, I can see the depth of their love.  It’s beautiful.

Despite my current turbulent relationship status, I can look back and see how I’ve evolved, in a good way that is. We argue, as most couples do, but it doesn’t digress to verbal abuse—ever.  I look at that and I see that I’ve come a long way.  Yes, happy endings are possible.  Maybe I’ll keep trying on relationship number four.  Fourth time’s a charm . . . right?  Now it’s your turn.  Do you have a relationship success you’d like to share?  I’d love to hear about it. Email me lara@doloreslara.com, or comment on my blog.

Let’s break barriers together!

Dolores, The Running Recruiter

Email me at lara@doloreslara.com to get a FREE copy of my new E-book, What Goes On In The Mind Of A Recruiter . . . When Deciding On Which Resumes To Read; Sending Candidates On Interviews; Negotiating The Best Salary Offer.

Looking for tools to find your dream job?  Check this out.

Dreams really do come true!  Read about my upcoming book Breaking Barriers Middle age is not the transition to old age, but the transition to mastery—the mastery of a life of learning and experience.  It’s our time to shine. 

Photo courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

TruthOver 50% of US workers are thinking about making a job change in 2016. If you’re one of them, it’s imperative you understand your most important role in your upcoming job search.  If you perform this role well, you will have more success in finding your new job.

Are you ready for this truth?

You are in sales.

Oh yes. Put your sales hat on.  You are selling yourself.  It starts the minute you sit down to revise your resume—the first critical step in searching for a job.  If your resume is powerful and properly sells your skills and experience, you will get interviews.  The great thing about a powerful resume, besides getting interviews, is that it sets up a strong interview—one that gives you the opportunity to sell yourself and get an offer.  I’ve written much in the past about what constitutes a strong resume and interview (email me at lara@doloreslara.com to get a FREE copy of my new E-book, What Goes On In The Mind Of A Recruiter, to get more info or check out my blog at https://www.breakingbarriersblog.com/).  Instead, I’m focusing this article on the process of selling.

As an experienced recruiter, of mostly Accounting and Finance professionals, I understand how difficult it is to think in terms of sales. Unless you happen to be in sales as a career, you may feel uncomfortable bragging about what you can do for a potential employer in an interview.  But that’s exactly what you need to do.  Following are some sales tips to help you as you embark on this new path.

  1. Be prepared to tout your accomplishments.

What’s the most important thing you have to sell? It’s your value proposition.  If you have a track record of providing value, you will always have a job.  Think carefully how you have saved money, saved time, or made money for an employer or for a client.  Every employer is willing to invest in an employee that gives back more in return.  Make sure your resume is packed full of accomplishments and that you are prepared to talk about at least two of your accomplishments in an interview.  What a great way to sell yourself.

  1. Listen before you speak.

Your first priority in any sales situation is to determine how your product (you) meets the needs of your customer (the hiring manager). Yes, you will probably have seen a position description prior to an interview, and that’s a good start.  At the very minimum, you need to be prepared to talk about how your experience relates to the position description.  However, on a deeper level, every hiring manager has had their own unique problems and is looking for specific skills that may not be on the position description.  One of the best questions to ask in an interview is why the incumbent left?  What did that person do right and where did they need to improve?  Once you have this information you can speak to how your skillset will fill that gap.

No, you are not there to just start rattling off how good you are. Listen and learn what the hiring manager wants to hear.

  1. Sales is a numbers game.

When I was working a full-time desk as a recruiter, I had an interview to placement ratio of four. That means I had to set up four interviews to make one placement.  Realize an important fact here.  Three out of four times I failed.  Either the client didn’t make an offer, or the candidate didn’t accept an offer.  If I focused on my perceived failures, I’d be depressed most of the time.  However, as in any sales situation, you will face rejection.  That’s part of the process.  I knew that each time I set up an interview and didn’t make a placement, that I was one step closer to making one.

When I managed a group of recruiters, we had an average office interview to placement ratio of seven. So if a recruiter wanted to place two candidates a month, they needed to average 14 send outs a month.  As a job seeker, count on eight interviews to get an offer that you will accept.  I added one for good measure since interviewing is probably not something you do often.  Then each time you get rejected, you know you’re one step closer to landing the job.

  1. Close at the end of your interview.

Effective sales people always close. Maybe at the end of the interview you’re not sure if you want the job or not.  It doesn’t matter.  I’ve seen people change their minds after they’ve thought about it.  Remember, you can always turn down an offer.  Always go for the offer.

A great closing technique is to express your interest in the position and hand over a list of references. “I’m very interested in this opportunity.  Here is a list of references.  Please fill free to call them and they will vouch for my qualifications.”   Hiring managers love to hire people who want the job.  Always follow-up with a thank you note.

There you have it. If you are one of the 50% of US workers who will look for a job this year, remember to put on your sales hat and sell yourself.  With effective sales techniques, it’s quite possible it won’t take eight interviews for you to get an offer.  Now it’s your turn?  Do you have any questions about selling?  Do you have a good interview story to tell?  Please share it!  Email me lara@doloreslara.com, or comment on my blog.

Let’s break barriers together!

Dolores, The Running Recruiter

Email me at lara@doloreslara.com to get a FREE copy of my new E-book, What Goes On In The Mind Of A Recruiter . . . When Deciding On Which Resumes To Read; Sending Candidates On Interviews; Negotiating The Best Salary Offer.

Looking for tools to find your dream job?  Check this out.

Dreams really do come true!  Read about my upcoming book Breaking Barriers Middle age is not the transition to old age, but the transition to mastery—the mastery of a life of learning and experience.  It’s our time to shine. 

Bike ridersHave you ever felt those aches and pains first thing in the morning? As the years creep forward, are you finding it harder to maintain the same level of physical activity?  Do you have a nagging injury that won’t go away?

Maybe you had an active weekend and Monday morning your body felt like it had been run through a meat grinder. It’s easy to reach for the Advil, but you stop yourself thinking about what is happening to your liver.

As an exercise fanatic, I’m used to constant aches and pains, however, I moved last week. Wow.  I didn’t know I had those muscles.  Talk about feeling like my body had been run through a meat grinder.  After day one of carrying boxes and stuff up and down the stairs, my upper body throbbed and a dull pain shot through my lower back every time I bent over.  Guess I pulled a muscle.  Day two of the move arrived and I felt mentally and physically exhausted.

I needed to stay on schedule and started criticizing myself for lying in bed and procrastinating. Then I thought about a lesson I learned from my dad that sticks with me, and will help me to remain as active as I wish to be as the years roll by.

Dad’s story

Dad got diagnosed with kidney cancer at the age of 81. Four weeks after surgery to remove one of his kidneys, he did yard work—pulling weeds from the garden and mowing the lawn, which happens to be quite large.  I’m not talking about a riding lawn mower either.  I found that incredible and worried that he was pushing himself too hard.  I asked, “Doesn’t it hurt when you move?”

Dad breathed deep. “I haven’t taken a pain pill for a week now.   I don’t like the way they make me feel.  It’s not so bad.  I figure the pain will lessen the more I move around.  I accept that it’s there and then do what I can.  Yes, I could lie in bed and tell myself I need to just be still and heal.  But, that’s not smart.  I’d get used to just lying there day after day.  That’s how you die.  So I get up—every morning.”

Dad’s been active his entire life. Yes, he’s quite fit and healthy for an 81 year-old man.  But still.  Four weeks after major surgery?

Lesson learned

I continued to worry about Dad as the weeks passed. I didn’t need to worry.  He kept getting up every day and every day his pain lessened.  Two months after surgery he was as good as new.

The lesson, get up or die, stuck with me.

Sure there are lots of things you can do to ease your aches and pains, cure a nagging injury, and even heal from major surgery. The first step, however, is the lesson that I learned from Dad.  Without taking the first step, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.  Set your intention.  It all starts with how you think.  His thought to get up every day paved the way for his life to take a certain path toward staying active, instead of the path toward inactivity.

What you resist persists

A key thought my dad had was to accept his pain and allow it to be. By acknowledging the pain, he took away its power and its ability to stay with him.  Anytime you worry and fret about something you’re creating the condition and allowing it to persist.  Letting go is the key to healing all sorts of negative conditions in your life.  Yes, easier said than done, but worth the effort.

My action

The best thing I did on day two of the move was to get up and get moving. I set my intention to have a great and productive day.  I acknowledged the pain and viewed it as a signal from my body that I needed to switch up my exercise routine.  I survived the move and I’m now mostly moved out of boxes.  After a couple of good nights’ sleep, I felt fine.  Hey, the back pain went away too.

Especially as we age, it becomes even more important to keep moving. By keeping the heart pumping, the brain benefits as well.  There are all sorts of studies that tout the benefits of consistent exercise.  Set your intention and pave the way to live an active and healthy life for years to come.

Now it’s your turn. Do you have a story to share about overcoming a barrier in your life?  Please share it!  Email me lara@doloreslara.com, or comment on my blog.

Let’s break barriers together!

Dolores, The Running Recruiter

Do you want FREE Interview/Resume Tips or Inspirational Quotes from a seasoned recruiter who’s placed over 1,000 people?  Sign up here.

Looking for tools to find your dream job?  Check this out.

Dreams really do come true!  Read about my upcoming book Breaking Barriers Middle age is not the transition to old age, but the transition to mastery—the mastery of a life of learning and experience.  It’s our time to shine. 

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