During Barbara Sher’s scanner retreat in Puycelsi, France, we spent a lot of time figuring out what our “Wish” was. As Barbara put it: making your wish a reality is the easy part. Finding your wish is the hard part.

And she was right.

Did I find my wish?

You bet. And I’ll let you in on it in due time…  ;  )

For now, some major take-aways from a lady who is refreshingly different, down-to-earth,  funny, and wise.

  • Forget self-improvement

Basically, you don’t need to spend years or – god forbid – decades trying to better yourself before you can go after your dream(s). Most of us are already “better” than we think we are. (Unless you are some arrogant jack*** but most of us scanners aren’t!)

To realize your dreams and goals, you need a support team, a network, and a plan. You don’t need some sort of fearless super personality.

  • You really don’t know what’s possible. You think you do, but you don’t.

Barbara proved this point to us over and over again when someone would come up with some “crazy, out there” wish. For each one of them, she personally knew someone who had realized the same – or a very similar – dream. After a few days, you start to get how limiting your beliefs really are. And how much you limit yourself in dreaming. Most of us limit ourselves with practical objections. But it’s important to first dream big. The “how” of your wish is next.
Then, join an idea party to brainstorm and you’ll get the ideas and contacts you need to turn your wish into reality.

  • You know you found a real, big dream when it makes you scared to pursue it.

Resistance is bound to come up around real, deep wishes. This is normal. Sometimes it’s a warning sign you need to pay attention to, but most often it’s something from the past you just have to deal with. Or not. Acknowledge it, create strategies, and move on regardless. Just realize that it will surface so it won’t catch you off-guard. And don’t let it stop you.

  • Ask yourself what the 1 thing is about your dream you can’t do without.

This part of your wish is always attainable. You just may have to keep it as a hobby or make money off it later on. If you can lighten up about those aspects, you really can fulfill any wish!

What do you think?


Anniversary Specials

May 12, 2011

The latest specials are in! You let your voices be heard, and here’s the outcome!

A few weeks ago, I asked you for your input, letting you create your own special. I received all kinds of great reactions. One of the funnier suggestions involved dinner and a show in New York or London, followed by champagne and caviar in a prestigious night club. If I were running a dating site, that would be my top pick!

Some other suggestions were great, but not specific enough, or they were for offers that already exist.

A few others contained wonderful ideas, yet had to be fine-tuned a bit.

Today, I’m revealing the outcome of your ideas – some mixed with mine!

Also, I believe I also got back to everyone who emailed me privately as well as on the blog. If by some chance I missed you, please let me know and I still will.

So here are the new specials you helped me create:

Renaissance Resource Special – Free copy of Barbara Sher’s “Refuse to Choose”

Even though Renaissance Personalities/scanners share many of the same challenges, their situations and preferences are always unique. You guys need individual attention.

That’s why I decided not to create a one-size-fits-all special for this special bunch. Of course, there’s already the Renaissance Strategy Session special that is now available for $175 vs. $247. In addition, I am gifting everyone that signs up for one of my renaissance services – whether it’s resume development or coaching – Barbara Sher’s book “Refuse to Choose” that is dedicated entirely to “scanners.” (If you already own it, we’ll get you another title that shouldn’t be missing from your shelves.)

The-Fun-Starts-At-50-Special – Free 50-minute group coaching session, 5 people max.

(Also for those who are trying to get off welfare or off disability or getting back into the workforce after a long hiatus. Join the club!)

Ok. I totally get that for many of you, the 50+ landscape isn’t looking all that funny. That’s why you all wrote to me about a special for this special bunch. 50+ and effected by job cuts.

However, eternal optimist that I am, I firmly believe you can always start over, or make something of a challenging situation. That’s based on the experiences of many 50+ clients of mine.

The key to their success? Networking!

So here’s the deal: I’ll hold a maximum of 2 free, 50-minute sessions per month for the rest of the year. Dates and times will be announced on FaceBook and twitter and directly to those who indicate their interest. So if you qualify and are interested; email Julie ASAP (assistant@CareerBranches.com) to secure your spot!

Each group will have a maximum of 5 people, and you each get 50 seconds to ask me your most burning question. I will answer you AND leave room for everyone in the group to brainstorm and network. It’s the power of collective ideas and connections!

The Customer Loyalty Anniversary Special – 15% off

Even though I already offer great savings on packages vs. a la carte services, I want to honor Mary’s request who asked for a customer loyalty special. However, 50% off resume-writing services will jeopardize my mortgage payments. So here’s what I came up with…

If you engage CareerBranches’ services and come back within one year for more, you receive 15% off any service you purchase, whether it’s a la carte or a package.

Mary then asked: “Also, if we refer additional people during the year who opt to purchase either the Renaissance Strategy, Resume writing or Career Strategy services then possibly offer 15% off another service?”

Mary: wish granted…you got it! And everyone else who refers a new client.

The Expat Special – 10% off any service …a la carte or packaged

If you want to work abroad as an expat or if you are currently an expat looking to repatriate, this one is for you!

That’s all. Inspired by a client who is looking to move back to his home country and make a career change going after his dream job. When I hear those words, how can I resist?

Here are existing specials that are still good:

Family Anniversary Special – 10% off for each partner

If you and your partner sign up for CB services at the same time, you both receive 10% off your total investment. It doesn’t matter whether one of you wants a resume and coaching package and the other just a new LinkedIn profile.

I’m simply rewarding going it together with your significant other, and lightening the financial investment at the same time.

Burnt-By-Another-Resume-Writing-Firm-Special – 20% off

For all of you who have recently paid – and been burnt by – another resume-writing firm, take 20% off your total project investment so you can still get it done right…the second time around!

My normal fee range for from-scratch-resumes including cover letters is $995 – $1,595+.

(Note: I am a firm believer in resolving issues and misunderstandings with the original writer, so please try that route first. And no; I will not mediate between the two of you.  :  )

The Renaissance Strategy Session and the Career Strategy Session are also still part of our specials! The deal is: $175 instead of $247.

–Text from Career Thought Leaders Consortium “Findings of 2010 Global Career Brainstorming Day: Trends for the Now, the New & the Next in Careers.”

QUESTION: What do we see right around the corner that will begin to impact careers, employment, job search, and how we work within the next one to two years?

Resumes, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Profiles & Other Career Marketing Communications

New resumes look different, read different, and are different. Most, although certainly not all, career professionals believe there will always be a role for the “traditional” resume. However, most also believe that we need to keep moving forward with new ways to communicate our clients’ qualifications. Some of the newest documents already hitting the market are white papers and press release resumes. White papers establish a job seeker’s expertise and credibility around a specific topic, product, technology, or the like. Press release resumes are just that … resumes written in a press release format. Resume writers are already using these documents, so we anticipate they will increase in greater popularity over the next year.

Headlines continue to lead the way. As with resumes in 2011, headlines are expected to be a critical resume element for the foreseeable future. Headlines communicate – in an instant – “who” the job seeker is. They provide instant clarity, and that’s a huge value-add.

Resumes are written and designed to read on a smart phone. With each passing day, more and more people are reading resumes, cover letters, and other career communications on their smart phones. Within a year or two, it will be commonplace. As such, career documents must be written and formatted in small digestible chunks that can be quickly perused and absorbed. Lengthy paragraphs, long lists of bullets, and other text-heavy formats are becoming a thing of the past as we continue to move quickly to new technology platforms.

Resume branding transitions from reputation to value as key differentiator. Reputation will always be important. However, value is shifting to the forefront of personal branding as a more effective strategy to differentiate one qualified candidate from another. By integrating the “who, how, what, and why” into the resume, job seekers communicate the “who” they are, the “how” they do it, the “what” they do, and, most importantly, the “why” an employer should care.

Resumes move to #2 position. We see it happening already and anticipate it will be relatively common within two years. Connections are now being made online through all of the various social media channels, in tandem with traditional face-to-face and phone networking. The result is that relationships are built first and resumes move from the lead to a supporting role.

Street addresses become passé on resumes. Snail mail is becoming a thing of the past and, within the next two years, it will be atypical to see an address on a resume. Stick with your email address and one phone number and that’s all the contact information you need to include on any of your career marketing communications.

T-letters are coming back into vogue. Everyone has seen T-letters – Company’s Hiring Requirements on the left and Your Qualifications on the right. They used to be a staple in job search. They’re now experiencing a resurgence because they’re “simple” and communicate a candidate’s qualifications succinctly… just like we’re communicating with many of our social media tools.

Job proposals are on the rise. An increasing number of executives are already using “job proposals” as part of the interviewing process – during the interview or as a leave-behind or a follow-up. Focused on that company’s challenges and how the executive would define the milestones, solve the problems, and deliver the desired results, these presentations communicate an instant message that the job seeker is already engaged with the company, the people, the products, and – most importantly – the solutions and strategies to take the company into the future.

New entry points are created to make new connections. Each job seeker’s portfolio of career marketing communications is expanding and will continue to do so over the upcoming years. Because of the new ways in which we virtually communicate, there is a growing need for bold and brief entry- point messages as part of each job seeker’s larger messaging suite that will include print, audio, video, online, slideshares, and more. This need opens a wealth of opportunity for career professionals to lead the way in creating and advancing these new communication tools.

–Text from Career Thought Leaders Consortium “Findings of 2010 Global Career Brainstorming Day: Trends for the Now, the New & the Next in Careers.”

At CareerBranches, we’re doing a professional version of “Build-a-Bear.”

But instead of creating your own snuggly plush creature, you get to come up with your personalized special for one – or several – of my services!

Meaning $ savings for you… now, if THAT doesn’t make you feel fuzzy…

But hurry – this round of collecting input for specials will close in 10 days – next Friday, April 22!

As you may know, we are celebrating CareerBranches’ 10-year anniversary this year and I’ve already created several specials for you!

The thing is: I like my specials to be inspired by real people and real situations.

For example; not infrequently, I receive inquiries from people who got burnt by another resume writer or resume-writing firm. One particular person really caught my attention and I decided to offer her a special deal as the first to receive my new “burnt by other writers” anniversary special. What you get is 20% off my resume-writing fees!! (for more details, email assistant@CareerBranches.com)

Now tell me – what kind of special deal do you wish I’d offer? This is your chance!

The only thing I ask is that you come up with a twist, or a story, or something interesting. Of course, we all want everything we need for half off…no wait…why stop there…for free! Right?  ;  )

Ok, so be a little creative, and you’ll get my attention!

If your idea is selected, not only will YOU enjoy the special, but it will be instituted for anyone else – that is, anyone who meets the criteria you set forth.

And..I will get back to each and every one of you if you email me your idea. Promise!

So  what are you waiting for…do yourself a favor – as well as your friends, family, colleagues…and let me know what kind of anniversary special you think I should offer!

Remember: there is room for more specials, so you’re not necessarily competing with everyone else’s ideas!

Do it now – next Friday will be here before you know it – I don’t want you to miss the boat on this one!

Leave a comment here on my blog or email me at Ilona@CareerBranches.com with your idea, ok?

I can’t wait to offer you your own special deal!

In excited anticipation…

P.S.: Remember: we have 3 active specials right now…email my assistant assistant@CareerBranches.com for the details and to secure your spot!

P.P.S.: To refresh your memory, here’s a current overview of my services:

    • Resume writing (as well as creation of cover letters, thank-you letters, follow-up letters, resume addenda)
    • Resume distribution
    • Company research (for use in your job search)
    • Bios
    • LinkedIn profiles
    • Social media strategies for career management
    • Online identity management
    • Renaissance Strategy Sessions (part of the current special! Now $175 instead of $247!)
    • Renaissance career coaching
    • Career Strategy Sessions (part of the current special! Now $175 instead of $247!)
    • Career Update Sessions
    • Career transition coaching
    • Job search coaching
    • Networking coaching
    • Interview coaching
    • Salary negotiation coaching

–Text from Career Thought Leaders Consortium “Findings of 2010 Global Career Brainstorming Day: Trends for the Now, the New & the Next in Careers.”

  • CareerXRoads 2010 survey pinpoints sources of hire. Gerry Crispin and Mark Mehler from CareerXRoads publish an annual Sources of Hire survey of Fortune 500 companies. Their 2010 study showed that, of all external hires, 26.7% came from referrals, 22.3% from employer career sites, 13.2% from job boards, and the remainder from other sources. As in years past, the largest number of new hires came from referrals. These are today’s results and what we anticipate for tomorrow.
  • Other statistics reveal interesting hiring trends. Following are statistics that were shared during various Brainstorming Day sessions in both the US and Canada. Not all of these stats are verifiable nor attributed to a particular individual or organization, so read them with that in mind.
  • At least 65% of all new hires come as a result of networking.
  • Up to 80% of all new hires come as a result of networking.
  • Recent Wall Street Journal survey showed 95% of positions were found through networking and leads through people the job seekers knew.
  • 90% of all corporations upload resumes and do keyword searches to identify qualified candidates.
  • 80% of recruiters are using social media to recruit candidates.
  • Contract, temporary, and interim opportunities are soaring. Never before in the history of our industrialized world has there been such a demand for 1099 workers (so-called because corporations report payments to these workers via IRS Form 1099). Quite often, these workers are individuals with a unique expertise (e.g., telecommunications product design and commercialization, Asian market development, biomedical instrumentation). In years past, contract and interim opportunities were almost looked down on as though someone couldn’t get a “real job.” Today, these positions are the future where individuals control their own careers and are directly responsible for generating their own paychecks. Companies are just as eager to jump on the bandwagon because it reduces their corporate benefit and tax expenses while creating long-term flexibility because permanent employees are not added to the payroll.
  • Vocational and skilled trades jobs are in demand. There is a huge market today for plumbers, electricians, welders, and other skilled trades people yet, unfortunately, there still exists a stigma that those types of careers are not “enough.” As we continue to move through this economic recession, we hope that the perception of these careers will change to more accurately reflect the high pay scales, great benefits, and other perks of these professions. College isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay.
  • LinkedIn is THE online place to be seen. The consensus of career coaches, career counselors, resume writers, recruiters, outplacement consultants, and others who participated in Global Brainstorming Day is that LinkedIn is now the #1 online networking platform for job seekers, both active and passive. Some concern was expressed that job seekers are not currently devoting the amount of time necessary to write the well-branded and comprehensive LinkedIn profiles that are essential because LinkedIn is used daily by recruiters and hiring managers to find quality candidates. The only group of career professionals not quite as focused on LinkedIn were college and university career center directors, 9 who see a great deal of online employment action on Facebook and Twitter for their traditional young graduating students.
  • A minimum number of LinkedIn recommendations is important. One participant recommended that everyone on LinkedIn should strive to have a minimum number of recommendations equal to 10% of the number of their contacts. That indicates that many of us need to get to work asking for our own recommendations!
  • Online identities are more important than ever before. Your online identity used to be something that you could worry about later. Not now. The time to be concerned about your online identity is today as the vast majority of recruiters and companies will Google potential candidates or look them up on LinkedIn before initiating contact. Every single person – job seeker, happily employed worker, entrepreneur, CEO, consultant – must be dedicated to building a strong online presence that ties directly with their brand and/or their business.
  • It’s important to monitor online identity. If you want to know what others are finding out about you, Google yourself routinely – for job seekers, at least once a week. An easy and efficient way to keep an eye on this all-important online identity is to set up a Google alert to be notified whenever their name appears online. If they find digital dirt (negative things) about themselves, they should work very hard to move those Google results to page 3, at least. People can write blog posts, participate on LinkedIn and other social media sites, join online groups, and otherwise increase their digital footprint to populate their Google searches with favorable information.
  • Jim Johnson meet Jim Johnson meet Jim Johnson. How many Jim Johnsons do you think there are in the US? In the world? This fact complicates the entire online identity management process. Fortunately, today offers a solution with Search-Me Google technology developed by Vizibility.com. This new tool allows a person to pre-set the top five results that appear on Google when someone clicks on the Search-Me button that they can add to an email signature line, online resume, LinkedIn profile, and other career communications. This technology is great for everyone, not just people with common names. Think of the power you have to control what people see first about you, your business, your college or university, your transition program, your workforce development center, or your outplacement company, not to mention all of your clients.
  • Participating in social media is a must. Having an account with LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms is not enough today. To “be,” you must be seen, and that means posting frequently, commenting on others’ posts, joining groups, and otherwise actively engaging in online communities. If you think you don’t have time to do this – or if your clients think they don’t – consider some of the shortcuts. For example, update your LinkedIn status and you can set it to also appear on Facebook and Twitter. Use Tweetdeck to schedule tweets ahead of time.

–Text from Career Thought Leaders Consortium “Findings of 2010 Global Career Brainstorming Day: Trends for the Now, the New & the Next in Careers.”

“I only wish I figured out I’m a Renaissance Personality a long time ago…”

If there’s one thing I consistently hear newly-found-out Renaissance Personalities say, it is that.

Often, parents are the ones who are then being brought into the mix. How they didn’t understand you. How they pushed you in the wrong directions…

Cue video by Barbara Sher (the Grande Dame of scanners aka RPs) that I recently watched on YouTube. You can see it here: http://bit.ly/hZEsQx

She talks about how no parent is able to truly understand who you are. “There’s no way of knowing who your children are because they’re not a copy of you,” Barbara says.

When I first saw this video, it gave me a sense of relief, even though I never blamed my parents for not understanding my personality type.

But there’s something reassuring to know that you didn’t – somehow – miss the boat because YOUR PARENTS (for crying out loud…those parents again…don’t they screw us up anyway?) didn’t figure you out when you were young. There could have been no other way.

So I figured that if this video made me feel better, it might definitely help those of you who are walking around with parent issues.

I personally know a few RPs who grew up with RP parents – or at least 1 RP parent. These folks were fortunate not only that their parents are also RPs but that they chose careers that were off the beaten path. Therefore, these people had examples of what life can be like when you make “different” choices.

For the rest of us, it was just plain tough. Right?

We had to figure it all out for ourselves.

That’s also what Barbara is talking about in the video.

What say you?

The video is less than 4 minutes…go watch it! (Barbara’s little doggie’s hooded outfit alone is worth watching the video for!)

Question for you: Are you confident?

About yourself? About your competencies? About your professional status? About your career in general? About switching careers? About your ability to make changes when needed and do what you truly love?

I watched a video by Marie Forleo last week about this topic. (She focuses on women business owners so you may not know her. But the same principle applies to career professionals.)

Marie said that confidence is overrated, and I agree.


Because, if you let it get in the way of moving forward, you’ll never get anywhere.

It’s nice to be confident and build your confidence up when you feel insecure, and this is something that usually happens when I work one-on-one with my clients – but it’s true…if you’re waiting until you’re 100% confident to take that next move to take that next move, you won’t go anywhere.

Confidence is a great good in America; it’s often seen as a must-have to succeed at anything. Of course, how you project yourself influences how others see you, so there is definitely a psychological component there.

However, it’s better to take a shot at something with the possibility of succeeding, than just day dreaming about it because you’re not 100% sure of the outcome.

Guess what – you never will be! And even confidence will not guarantee success.

I think that especially for us, Renaissance Personalities, it is important to realize that we’ll most likely feel some apprehension whenever we embark on something new. We spend a great deal of our lives outside our comfort zone. Not because we want to, but because staying put in something boring or something we don’t enjoy is just not an option.

So please realize that it’s ok and normal to feel hesitant and insecure about your next endeavor, or about aspects of your job or a new project.

I do.

It’s about keeping it moving.

So, as much as I like to help my clients boost their confidence and make them feel better – which is still very valuable – I agree that a warning is in place: don’t confuse not feeling 100% confident about your next step with some sort of “sign” that you shouldn’t move forward with your plans or projects.

In fact; usually, it’s the other way around. You push yourself out of your comfort zone and watch your confidence grow as you take steps toward your goal. Often succeeding, don’t you?

My tips for taking the next step anyway, even when you don’t feel 100% confident:

  • Get some real perspective; what is the absolute worst that could happen? Could you die? (If yes – forego the above advice.  ;  )
  • What is the “cost” of not doing what you want to do? Is it …  staying stuck in a field you hate, forever wondering what could have been, taking up mental space by obsessing how you’ll do it once….?
  • Ask yourself what you want to look back on – 5 years from now…10 years from now. Truth is – what may seem so awkward or scary now, you tend to forget the second these feelings vanish. Looking back, you typically remember the things you did, the things you tried, and the things you wanted to do but never did. Especially those. So try to keep that list as short as possible.
  • Talk to people who have gone before you, and ask them what it was like. Was it what they expected? Were they confident about their move beforehand?

Do you have additional tips to get past that “lack of confidence block?” Post them as a comment and we’ll compare notes!