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. 

Surf City Half 1-15 croppedCan you relate to these exercise motivation barriers?

I had a full day planned and decided to get an early morning run in. I hit the snooze button on my alarm, but after three tries, I turned it off and went back to sleep.  Sometimes I’ll go out for a run, then half-way through I decide I’m tired and cut it down a mile or two.   Or I’m about to head to the gym but my mind is buzzing with how to meet a looming deadline.  Somehow I just didn’t make it out the door and rationalize that I’ll make up for it tomorrow.  Sometimes at night, when I feel anxious with pent up energy, I regret not exercising.

If you’ve ever rationalized a missed workout, you’re not alone. Problem is, if you miss too many workouts, you’re blowing your chances at developing a consistent exercise habit.  Consistency is what makes the difference for you mentally and physically.  Exercise is a lifestyle and it can make a huge difference in the quality of your life.  Check out this article on some of the advantages of exercise.  It impacts your health, longevity, mood, and energy.  There are so many reasons to exercise.

Did you know that, as of June 2015, 55.5% of Americans were exercising consistently each week. That’s more than any month since Gallup and Healthways began tracking this metric in January 2008.  That’s a good sign that more people are realizing the benefits of exercise.

I’ll admit it, I’m an exercise fanatic, I love to get out and move. Even so, I still battle barriers, and through the years have realized what is needed to keep motivated and consistent.  Here’s what I recommend doing to keep motivated and consistent.

  1. Have a goal.

This seems so basic, yet it’s at the top of my list. If I’m training for a marathon, it’s amazing how structured and consistent I am with my exercise and running program.  I won’t change my mind in the middle of a run because I feel lazy that day.  I do the training because that’s the only way to complete a marathon, especially if you want to run it fast.

Set a goal. The more challenging the better and then work toward achieving that goal.  It’s a great motivator.

  1. Eliminate negative self talk.

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t realize how many negative thoughts coursed through my brain until I tried an experiment.  On my runs, I started to repeat over and over, like a mantra, I am strong and my left hip is strong.  Yes, I was having trouble with my left hip hurting.  At first it was really hard.  I realized I was thinking, Oh, I feel a twinge in my hipI’m tired. I can’t wait to get done.  It didn’t feel true to say something opposite to what I was feeling at the moment.  But I just said it over and over.

Then, about two weeks later, I started to  catch myself at the beginning of those thoughts and it didn’t “feel” like a lie anymore when I said my mantra. Hey, it’s starting to work.  My hip doesn’t hurt nearly as much and I FEEL STRONG.  Yes, I’m a true believe that our thoughts become a reality.

Try this mantra for a month and see what happens.  Say it over and over and over whenever you can remember and especially when you feel a negative thought creeping in.  A month is a long time.  Stick with it.  The mantra?  “I approve of myself.  I approve of myself.”

  1. It’s important to have fun.

Any form of exercise takes some effort. But if you really don’t like what you’ve chosen to do, then you won’t do it consistently.  My exercise of choice is running.  Yes, it can feel like drudgery sometimes.  Most of the time, however, it’s fun.  I love it.  Sometimes, I go into the zone and I feel like I’m flying and time stands still.  If I’m running on the trails, I feel like a part of nature and revel in its beauty.   Running with friends is a great way to develop those friendships.  Running in road races is FUN, especially the beer garden at the end.  I heard someone at a race saying how he couldn’t believe how fun runners are.  They run hard then they drink—all before 10am.

Maybe your exercise of choice is Crossfit, or dancing, or tennis, or yoga, or horseback riding. You get the picture.  You have lots of options.  Choose one or two or three and do them consistently.

  1. Make exercise non-negotiable.

I mentioned that sometimes going out for a run or getting to the gym for that exercise class is hard. I’m tired or just not motivated.  That’s when I remind myself that it’s not negotiable.  You know what?  I’ve never, ever regretted making myself run.  I always feel better afterward.  Who wouldn’t like an extra shot of endorphins to cheer them up?  Plus my brain really kicks in after a workout.  It’s nice.  Focus on the positive feeling at the end of the workout.  It’s your prize.

There you have it.  Four ways to overcome exercise motivation barriers.  Remember, it takes at least 21 days to change a habit.  Recruit a friend to join you on your exercise journey and watch how your life gets better and better.

Now it’s your turn.  How do you stay motivated to exercise?  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. 

High heelsThe spasms quivered in my calves as I dropped off to sleep. At that point it was more of an annoyance, and a feeling I’ve become accostomed to as a long-distance runner.  Sleep didn’t last long.  A sharp, piercing cramp jolted me awake at 1am, I almost screamed.  My calf was clenched so tight I thought it might explode.  Have you felt it before?  I tried breathing like I learned in Lamaze classes but that didn’t work—after all, I learned that over 20 years ago.  After three minutes of excruciating pain, my calf finally released.  I fell back on the bed breathing deep sigh of relief.  I had survived.

The peace didn’t last. I was jolted awake again during the night to another bout of piercing pain as my calf clenched hard.  Again, I stifled a scream until it finally released.  As I rubbed my tender calf I started to question why this was happening.  I normally didn’t suffer from severe cramping unless I was in the final stages of marathon training—like running an eighteen mile run and then not taking in enough potassium.

Then I figured out the reason for the cramping and I rolled my eyes. In two words:  high heels.

The day before, I had stood for six hours in high heels. I’m not talking really high heels here.  They’re about one and a half inches high.  Since I started working from home, I don’t dress up as often and I’m not accustomed to standing for long periods of time in high heels.  After the event, I laced up my running shoes and did a seven-mile run.

High heels had to be the reason. Sure, I’ve heard about the hazards of high heels, but I didn’t realize how destructive they actually are until I did some research.  If you wear high heels on a regular basis, over three times a week, and you stand for more than three hours in them, then you will find my research valuable.

Here are the perils of wearing high heels.

  1. Your body mechanics completely change when walking and standing.

When you wear high heels, you force your body to work opposite from your normal mechanics in an effort to keep you balanced and to compensate for the lack of mobility at the ankle and foot. This causes a ripple effect throughout your body.  Normally when you walk, your knee is straight when your heel makes contact with the ground.  In heels, the heel of the foot is higher than the ball of the foot and you must keep a bent knee when walking forward, and this also helps to bring your center of mass back so you don’t topple forward.  Your hips then become fixed in a constant flexed position and don’t go through their full range of motion.  That leads to the overuse and shortening of your hip flexors.

It doesn’t stop there. Your lower back is flexed forward and your pelvis rotates forward causing the upper back and neck to compensate by extending back to keep balanced.

Going back to the calf muscles, they remain in a shortened position for extended periods of time.

What does all this mean?

  1. You will feel back and foot pain.

Considering the changes in your body mechanics, this point is obvious.

  1. Continuous use will shorten your calf muscles.

Continuous and extensive use of high heels will shorten the fibers in the calf muscle. The Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscle to the bone, will stiffen and become thicker.  Overtime, the range of motion in your calf changes and becomes shorter.  When you try to stand flat footed for an extended period of time or try to walk flat footed, you’ll feel pain.

  1. Your chances of injury increase.

Since I don’t wear high heels often, I notice it takes a while to get used to walking in them again. Walking down steps is more challenging for me.  It’s no surprise that wearing high heels causes more falling and sprained ankles.  This is in addition to many other possible injuries like joint damage, muscle imbalances, pinched nerves, stress on the discs and joints of your spine, corns, and bunions.  Of course I can’t leave out agonizing and painful muscle spasms.

Especially if you are an athlete, the chances of injury increase when going from heels to vigorous exercise.

The obvious solution is to quit wearing high heels. How realistic is that?  Not.  Look, I love the way my legs look in high heels.  Instead, wear them in moderation.  Regularly stretch the Achilles tendon and invest in some stylish flats to help keep the calf muscles stretched.  I will heed my own advice and will wear lower heels or flats if I expect to be standing for an extended period of time.  That’s not too much to ask.

There you have it—the dangers of wearing high heels. Now it’s your turn.  What do you think?  Are you willing to cut down on style to save your body?  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. 

Photo courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

 

Women's neck hurtingStarting to feel a little more stiffness in the morning when you get out of bed? Remember those days when you could do a deep knee bend on the dance floor?  How about those awful burpees?  If you’ve ever done them you know what I mean.  Yep, there’s a reason there’s a burpeessuck.com website.  Burpees used to be easier, now I can barely touch the floor.

It’s easy to blame increasing stiffness on age.  Is there any cure to stiffness?

First of all, yes.  Increased aging equals increased stiffness.  Second, yes again.  There is a cure.  Read on.

Aging and stiffness

Notice how children move around quickly, running, dancing.  They can mold into any position it seems.  As the body ages, it starts to hurt more and stiffens.  This makes you more inflexible and decreases your range of motion.  This is compounded if you do certain types of exercise like running and cycling.  The tighter the muscle, the less flexible you are and the more it hurts.  As a runner, I can absolutely say, without any question, that running has made me as stiff as a really, really stiff board.

However, there is a solution and it’s probably not what you think.

As we start to grow up, we take on emotional baggage over the years. Our thoughts both conscious and unconscious trigger feelings like love, excitement, anger, fear, and anxiety.  Often we shove the negative feelings deep down and they manifest in physical symptoms—like a rash, sore throat, or stiffness.  Unless we release the baggage, overtime those symptoms develop into more serious conditions like heart attack or cancer.

The cure for stiffness

The key to reducing stiffness or any health issue is to change your thoughts.

I can see some of you rolling your eyes about now. Let me explain further.  I am a big fan of Louise Hay, author of the bestselling book, You Can Heal Your Life.  She is a pioneer in promoting this concept.  She cured herself of stage four, terminal, cervical cancer and is a living example of what she preaches. Along with scientist Bruce Lipton, they wrote that physical symptoms are merely tangible evidence of what is going on unconsciously.

According to research by cellular biologist Candace Pert, it was discovered that every thought we have triggers the release of tiny chemical proteins called neuropeptides (NP’s). Your cells produce hundreds of different NP’s, each with its own unique function and its own frequency.  As you experience emotion, its frequency activates photons within your cells and neural pathways, thereby releasing NP’s.  For instance, love releases endorphins and oxytocin, while stress releases cortisol and adrenalin.  Over time, the former is good for your body, while the latter will damage your body.  Yes, there’s a scientific explanation to the connection between thoughts and body reaction.

Examples of symptoms and the thought patterns that caused them

For instance, let’s look at the knees. According to Louise Hay, the knee represents pride and ego.  If you have knee problems (I have extremely stiff knees), the probable cause is A stubborn ego and pride. Inability to bend.  Fear.  Inflexibility.  Won’t give in.  The New Thought Pattern she says to start affirming is Forgiveness. Understanding. Compassion.  I bend and flow with ease, and all is well.  I must admit that stubbornness has been an issue with me my entire life.

Another example is the neck (cervical spine), which represents flexibility. The ability to see what’s back there.  If you have neck problems, the probable cause is Refusing to see other sides of a question. Stubbornness, inflexibility.  Refer to her book, You Can Heal Your Life, for more information and her story.  For a shorter, more concise list click here.

A practical solution to releasing negative thoughts

Changing your thoughts, especially unconscious ones, is easier said than done. Louise Hay is big on affirmations, which work if you keep at it.  Another way to free your body from stress is stretching.  I find yoga to be instrumental in this area.  I am a major fan of Bikram Yoga and practice every five days or so.  The progress has been slow but steady and I’m finding that even as I continue to age (which is going to happen no matter what), that my flexibility is increasing.  That’s amazing to me.

How does this affect your mind? Consider this famous quote from Guruji, or Sri K Pattabhi Jois, the founder of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga: Body not stiff, Mind stiff.  Yoga Sutras tell us that yogas citta vritti nirodha, or ‘Yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind’. Specifically emotions.  The more you can release negative thoughts, the accompanying feelings are released as well.  You not only experience physical relaxation, but also mind relaxation.  I found it hard when I started taking yoga classes to lay still for two minutes and try to empty my mind.  I still can’t do it completely, but I notice that now I’m able to let my body go limp.  Before, I still had tension in my shoulders and couldn’t release it.  The instructors say that now my mind is starting to release and I’m letting go of control.

I read once, and I wish I could remember who said it. The flexibility of your body is the true measure of your age.

According to curejoy.com, one of the single most important stretches to do daily for the neck and head is turning the head to the left and then to the right. If you’re on a computer all day, for example, you may be able to move your neck up and down, but try left to right. Chances are you’re stiff in that direction.  A person should be able to get 70-80 degrees of a turn and be able to look over their shoulder.  Try it.  If you suffer from a stiff neck, think about it.  Do you have a tendency to be mentally inflexible and stubborn?

Maybe yoga isn’t your thing.  Here’s a short video on some daily stretches to get you started.

There you have it. The best thing you can do for the stiffness (and health) is to work on your mind.  Sure, stretching hurts.  Getting sick hurts worse.  It’s a choice and releasing the mind is a process.  Meanwhile I’ll enjoy my increasing flexibility of the body and mind and continue to run well into my eighties and nineties.  Life is good.

Now it’s your turn. What do you think?  Do you agree or disagree?  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. 

Photo courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

Restart clockAre you thinking about going back to work after an extended time off?  Maybe you took time off to raise a family, or to help with the small family business. Maybe you cared for an ailing relative.

You had a great career going when you left.  Your track record of providing value was impressive.  Maybe your computer skills are woefully out of date and you need get to get up to speed on current developments, however some skills never leave, like analysis and writing skills.

Yet, how do you go about looking for a job after 10 years? Do you submit resumes on line?  Call recruiters?

Maybe you feel overwhelmed and confused.

I can certainly appreciate those feelings after 30 years of working with candidates searching for their next career move. Most of the time, I saw Hiring Managers go through great lengths to hire the most qualified candidates on the market—which means the candidates had current, relevant experience in the same industry.  That was totally understandable when hiring through a recruiter, who charged fees.

However, if a recruiter wasn’t involved, the game changed.

I saw Hiring Managers hire candidates who didn’t really fit the positions, when there were other more qualified candidates available. Why?   Well, it certainly didn’t happen through recruiters or on-line submittals.

What’s the secret?

The candidates were pro-active and took charge of their own destiny. Set your intention now to find a great position and get excited.  Hiring Managers like positive attitudes and will hire attitudes over qualifications all the time.

Follow these tips to energize your search and get a great job.

  1. Start networking now.

Referrals are the number one way to get a job and the best way to build a referral network is by networking. Join at least one organization where you can meet other professionals who can refer you or hire you.  Don’t just join.  You must go to meetings and you must get involved.  Someone is more likely to take a chance on you because they know you or were referred to you.  Be open on the type of position you would accept.  You can always work your way back up.

Call your previous employer and co-workers and tell them you’re looking. If you were a great employee before, they just might take you right back.

  1. Research current positions.

Take stock of what your current skillset is. Let’s say, for the sake of an example, that you were a programmer in the past.  Yes, your programming skills are out of date, but take a look at other skills you might have developed, for instance, communication and analysis skills.   Go to http://www.indeed.com/ and/or http://www.simplyhired.com/, which are job search aggregators, and try various key words, like “analyst, software” and “communication, software” and see what comes up. Play around with this.  You’ll start to get a sense of what types of jobs are currently available using certain keywords, and what companies are hiring.  You may see something that you’re qualified for.  Save the job description.  If you see companies you’re interested in, keep a list.  These are companies you will want to send a resume to.

If you see positions you like, but your skills are outdated, make a plan to update your skills by taking on-line or college courses. Check out https://www.udemy.com/ for a wide variety of courses on almost everything imaginable, and at very reasonable prices.

  1. Prepare a list of your accomplishments.

This is very important. Go through your resume and recall, as much as you can, what your accomplishments were.  How did you save your employer time?  Did you make money for your employer?  Did you save money?  What did you do that was over and above your job description?  This is your value proposition.  If you provided value before, it’s highly likely you will do it again.  Believe me, hiring managers will sit up and take notice.

  1. Evaluate your extra-curricular activities.

Now, about that 10 year gap. Try to find a creative way to fill the gap.  Evaluate how you spent your time during your time off.  Did you belong to any clubs or organizations?  Did you hold leadership roles?  Did you volunteer?  Did you do some part-time work?

Let’s say you joined Toastmasters and had been involved the last three years. You even took a leadership position.  That’s great because you will have been working on important communication and leadership skills.  In that particular case, I would list Toastmasters as your most recent “job” in your job history.  Include your accomplishments under Toastmasters and emphasize any relevant skills that current employers would look for.  Visually, this works to your advantage because a current date will be at the top of your resume.

  1. Prepare a killer resume and LinkedIn profile.

The most effective resumes that get interviews are the ones that demonstrate a track record of providing value. Make sure your resume clearly bullets quantifiable accomplishments.  Make sure your resume emphasizes as many of the qualifications of the job description(s) (per your previous research) you want to apply for.  Want some great advice on preparing your resume?  Check out my audio CD which takes you through a proven process of creating resumes that get interviewsClick here.

Want a simple, but effective resume template to follow? Click here.  Want a proven process to market yourself to get a job? Click here.

Mirror your resume on your LinkedIn profile. Join relevant groups where you can “meet” people who can hire you or refer you.  The best way to get discovered in a group is to make comments on other people’s conversations and to start your own on a regular basis.  Plan to spend some time every week on LinkedIn.

There you have it. It’s a process.  If you take consistent action, maintain an energetic, positive attitude, you will successfully re-enter the workforce faster than you may think.

Now it’s your turn.  Have you re-entered the workforce after an extended time off?  How did you do it?  Do you have a specific question on your job search?  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. 

Photo courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

 

 

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