by Robin mcgraw
Happy Wednesday, Secret Squad!!
I absolutely LOVVVED the time I spent with this week’s guest, Lauren McGoodwin, founder and CEO of Career Contessa, the only career-building site designed exclusively for women!! She is incredibly talented and so amazingly insightful! We had such fun together and we could’ve talked for hours!! Lauren and her team at Career Contessa are helping women develop successful careers through expert advice, online skills-based courses, and valuable resources. Lauren founded Career Contessa in 2013 after discovering a shortage of career development resources for women.
Together, Lauren and I discussed how to build a stellar resume, tips for acing an interview, navigating a career/job change at any stage of life, strategies for asking for a raise, and more! Lauren offered the perfect perspective as she broke down what women should focus on while looking for a job!
Consider your strengths! What are you fantastic at? When you know what makes you an asset as an employee, you can use those skills to your advantage and apply with employers who are specifically seeking out exactly what you provide. Finding a job where your strengths are valued, will ultimately come back to benefit you! You will be more engaged at work, more fulfilled, and more successful overall.
Interview your past/present co-workers about your job performance. Take note of what they perceive your most marketable strengths to be.
If you need a job ASAP, companies are hiring! Take the in-demand jobs. It may not be exactly what you envisioned doing for the rest of your life, but it should be encouraging to know that there is a variety of opportunity out there right now.
So where do you start? Building a stellar resume is essential! Your resume should be a succinct snapshot of your experience that is most relevant to the job you’re applying for. Lauren says to always make sure your resume is easy to navigate! A one-page resume is ideal; two pages MAXIMUM. Your resume font size should be 10 or 11-point (no smaller, and no bigger) and formatted in an easy-to-read script, like Arial. Triple check for spelling and punctuation errors! Lauren’s resume secret: Pull 5-6 other job descriptions for the same job title you’re applying for, then highlight the keywords that are common in each job description. Use those keywords in your cover letter and skills/experience sections. Using these keywords will not only show the hiring manager at first glance that you are a good fit, but it will also benefit you if the employer is using applicant filtering software.
Be sure to avoid these common resume pitfalls:
Long, wordy resumes will often not even get a first look.
Don’t include a photo of yourself with your resume. Lauren says, “This is a
It bears repeating, don’t forget to tailor your resume specifically for the job description you’re applying for! General resumes land right in the trash!
Next, are you great on paper but always get flustered during interviews? The trick, especially when you’re trying to break into a new career field, is to remember the interview starts long before you walk in the company door. Make this your mantra: Network, network, NETWORK! If the idea of networking is overwhelming and uncomfortable for you, start slow. Ask for short informational phone conversations/Zooms with, what Lauren calls, “warm connections” (such as, a friend of a friend. A cold connection would be someone you’ve never met and do not know through any common colleagues). Have your learning goal in mind, and don’t lose focus. Research people! Discover who is excelling in your field of interest and learn how they got where they are. And then, when you land an interview, have clear and unique questions in mind. Always go in prepared! Blend your explorative knowledge into your questions, for example saying something like “While I was doing some background research on the company, I saw that you’ve been married for 40+ years, how have you balanced a successful marriage while building your business?” Present yourself as someone who is curious, enthusiastic and passionate…someone who is willing to take risks.
Looking to make a career shift during the pandemic? Lauren says now is a great time to reflect and pivot. More companies than ever before are becoming open to hiring employees who work remotely, from home or even out of state…and the public emergency itself has actually created a wide range of new roles that need to be filled! Lauren says to use the resources and the time given to you right now to your benefit! Have you ever caught yourself thinking it’s too late in your life to make a career shift? Think again! It’s NEVER too late. Start networking in the field you want to shift to. Set up informational interviews with people currently working in your field of interest to gain more insight and knowledge. You may not have direct experience in your preferred field, but you have plenty of experience in other areas that could impact a new employer in a fresh way.
Asking for and negotiating a promotion or a raise are invaluable skills! Phillip always says, “The most you’ll ever get out of life is what you ask for.” Consider asking yourself this, before having the conversation with your employer: “How big of an impact do I think I’ve made at this company so far? What contributions have I made?” Lauren says to keep a work journal to document the ways in which you’ve been a benefit to the company so that when it comes time for the promotion conversation, you’re prepared. Sell your boss on your accomplishments and your future goals. Suggest new responsibilities you’re willing to undertake as you move forward. Don’t forget to research your job title and find out competitive salary ranges so you know what to ask for and you don’t go in blindly. Remember, you are your own best advocate!
I have made it a mission in my life to remain committed to empowering and inspiring women to live their best lives. I truly believe “There is no force more powerful than a woman determined to rise!” Lauren and I had so much fun and we absolutely connected on the idea that supporting professional development for women is more important now than ever. All of the guidance Career Contessa offers comes straight from the best kind of experts, “…real women who've been there and successfully done that.” For more information on how you can kickstart your wildest career dreams, or rise through the ranks in your current field, be sure to check out Lauren’s website and find her on Instagram