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Friday, April 18, 2014

Sell your deployment skills to employers, BRAG

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If  have you have been in the military for at least seven years, chances are that you may  have had a  deployment overseas. Is that true in your case? 

It can be tricky to communicate to employers the "value" of your  deployment to civilian employers. In the grand scheme of things, deployment can turn into an asset if you're competing against job-hungry candidates in the civilian workforce. Apart from the military or those who in a career devoted to social service, the majority of the population would resist the feat of being sent to a foreign country and facing potential combat action? (Here's where you could use a deployment experience as a strong response to a conflict management question in an interview!)   I have a simple acronym to help you, known as BRAG.

B stands for "barriers you overcame."
While in theatre (the centre of action), you likely overcame seemingly endless barriers such as the opposing faction, lack of resources (physical and human), danger, communication in a foreign country, fatigue affecting the ability to problem solve and make decisions, etc.

All of the above barriers can be highlighted in an interview to set you apart.

R  refers to "results you generated."
In your military career, think about how you made an impact. Examples may include how you provided leadership in deeply troubling circumstances, under highly stressful conditions or how you improved communications and relations with the local population.

A signifies achievements.
Take the time to think about your career milestones over the last few years. Would roles did you take? Were you promoted to a higher rank? Invest some time in figuring out what precise achievements led to your promotion.

G refers to groups you directed or supported.
Teamwork is the hallmark of military service. Platoons, companies and units all convey the notion of getting the job done via a teamwork framework. Currently, many civilian positions involve some level of teamwork that supports a company's mission statement and strategic planning.

The takeaway? Whether you are still active in the military or about to transition to the civilian workforce, use the BRAG acronym to your advantage.

Need a professional to provide you with interview coaching?  You can email me at or head to

Melissa Martin
bilingual career/military to civilian transition coach
T: @ravingredhead and @melissacmartin

Monday, March 31, 2014

Study: Job seekers fooled about position during interview

Hello job seekers,
Here is a guest post from Robert Half : 

Tomorrow is April Fool’s Day which means many of us will be on high alert to not fall for the pranks played by friends, family and even coworkers!  According to a new survey by Robert Half, job seekers should also be on guard when it comes to believing what a hiring manager says about a position during an interview. Forty-three per cent of workers surveyed said the role they accepted at a company was different than what had been outlined to them during the interview process. 

There may be a difference of opinion between millennials and their more tenured colleagues – 55% of workers aged 18-34 said they’ve had a job that was not what they expected, while only 34% of workers aged 55-64 felt they’ve been led astray by a new position.

Of those who were fooled, job duties (74%*) topped the list, which also included corporate culture (44%*) and job hours (32%*) as reasons why they felt the joke was on them! (*multiple answers were allowed)

A local expert from Robert Half can discuss how job expectations differ across the generations and offer some of the following tips to job seekers who don’t want to take any chances at accepting a job and then finding out it is not what they expected:

·         Research the company in advance of the interview.  Knowledge is power.
·         Ask questions to reveal the story behind why the role is being filled – is it because someone left the company or got promoted?
·         If the opportunity presents itself, take time to talk to your future coworkers.  They will have the inside scoop.

Need one-to-one interview coaching? Contact me at or on my site,

Melissa Martin
Bilingual career/military to civilian transition specialist

T: @ravingredhead and @melissacmartin (bilingual)

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Monday, February 24, 2014

How to create a military to civilian employment timeline

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In my previous seminars at two military bases, the general, collective wisdom is to embark on a P& P (planning and preparation), roughly 18 months before your departure from military service.
Take the time to compile a checklist, to expedite your transition strategically from military service to “civvie street.” The 18 month timeline allows for identifying any barriers to employment, or uncovers gaps in your educational background (it’s possible that you may have to upgrade your education before your transition date).
18 months prior to your departure date
Start to gain clarity about what you want to do (NOT what you can do) in your upcoming civilian career. It’s important to choose 3 skills that you want to use.
Do some career self-assessments with the help of a career professional. The essential points are:
Your interests
Your passions
Your work style and personality
Your transferable skills
Your motivators
Your intuition (one of the best indicators of career success). What is your intuition telling you to do? Similar job that you did in the military (it is highly unlikely that it will be the same). Different job? Similar industry, field or occupation?
Unless you devote ample time to knowing yourself through self-assessments, you will likely be unsuccessful in career planning. Self-awareness is the first step; don’t overlook it.
Take a personal inventory
Record your milestones and accomplishments in the military. Refer back to performance evaluations (PER’s in Canada) and look for any patterns in key words that led to your successes.
• Start career goal setting and action planning
• Subscribe to career and job search blogs. The nature of the 21st century has changed exponentially, especially in the last decade with the proliferation of social media and a shaky economy impacting the growth of jobs. My blog is http://
The current civilian workforce is the most competitive ever! Soak up all the information you can about the current civilian workforce. 
6 – 4 months prior to your departure date from military service

• Seek out recruiters, headhunters and employment counsellors to help your planning and goal setting, on and off line. You can find recruiters, headhunters and hiring managers on Twitter and Linkedin. Start to follow a number of these individuals. As for employment counsellors, they generally work at MFRC’s (military family centres in Canada) and Fleet and Family Support Centers, Army ACAP, and Airman & Family Readiness Centers in the U.S.
In the U.S., reputable recruiters include Lucas Group, Orion International and Bradley-Morris.
Equally helpful is to get a mentor, who has already made a successful transition into the private or government sector. Mentors offer the unique advantage of imparting invaluable information, such as familiarizing with “civilian/corporate culture.” The difference between civilian work culture is vastly different from the military equivalent. As a transitioning military member, it is in your best interest to become familiar with the “new” culture you are entering (more on that later, especially in relation to civilian job interviews).
4 months prior to your separation date
Seek out a certified career coach to act as an accountability partner and help you achieve your short-term and long-term goals. Research has proven that hiring a career coach for a set period of time will result in landing a satisfying job or career faster, than the usual route of “going it alone” in a job search
With the rise of accessibility to social media sites, look for webinars and teleseminars which you can view in the comfort of your home.
In the same vein, invest in professional development by taking classes and courses online. Some are free, low cost and are university courses. I recommend online courses on or The course subjects are limitless, and can only benefit you by showing potential employers that you understand the current trends, expectations and issues that affect the civilian workforce. There is also MOOC, which stands for “ massive open online course.”
As we speak, I am taking a brilliant coaching course on, delivered by a highly successful coach in the U.S.
3 months before departure date
Start removing your military uniform “mentally.”
By this I mean, come to terms with the fact that you are either making a choice to enter the civilian workforce or you are releasing from the military for medical reasons. Leaving the military is likely to affect you from psychologically, from the standpoint that it has been your identity for 20-30 years. In North America, identity is closely aligned to one’s occupation, so creating a “new” professional identity needs to be considered.
Attend workshops to “demilitarize” your military resume. Don’t shoot the messenger here! While working at 2 military bases, I developed a “how to de-militarize your resume workshop.” Nothing exited before I spent months preparing resources to develop such a workshop, which led to dozens of military members requesting individual appointments to create an appealing and powerful civilian resume.
It is imperative that you create a resume that a civilian employer can understand. All too frequently, civilian employers do not understand buzzwords, acronyms or abbreviations that are specific to the military. In the worst case scenario, well qualified military applicants are passed over because their military resume contains y jargon that  is too complex for civilian employers to understand.
Attend a workshop and work with a career professional one-on-one to highlight your unique selling points (USP, speaking of acronyms!). Consider at least two resume formats for attracting civilian employers.
If you are unclear about what job titles represent what would did in the military, check out (US) or to find equivalent job titles.
• Likewise, attend as many career transition workshops as you can, while you are still on base. The most popular ones I delivered were:
 Emotional intelligence
 How to use social media in your job search
 SurvivAbility (TM): career strategies for the world of work
 Interview preparation
Start preparing for civilian interviews
Clearly, the 20-30 minute military interview is diametrically opposed to the format that civilian employers use. Be prepared for the “behavioural interviewing” format, whereby employers ask questions related to the past that may help them decide what your present or future performance may be. Practise your answers with a career coach or career professional at your local military centre and inquire about interviewing strategies that will set you apart from your competition.
Research potential employers by checking Google News, setting up Google alerts about desirable companies and using Linkedin to network and get introduced to current AND past company employees. Find out what the competing company does (known as “competitive intelligence”) and glean that valuable information during your civilian interview.
Melissa C. Martin is a bilingual career/military to civilian career coach and military spouse.
For almost 10 years, I worked as an employment counsellor and seminar leader at 2 military bases. In the last 4 years, I have specialized in mental health as a vocational rehabilitation counsellor. Recently, I started my own business,
Presently, I offer on-on-one career coaching. (Coming soon, group coaching and webinars!)

Check out my blog at
Follow me on Twitter @ravingredhead and @melissacmartin
Need a certified career professional to help you achieve your career goals?
Email me at

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

What is the best advice to share with someone on a first job interview

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Recently, I had a conversation with a job seeker, Susan, via Klout.

If you're not familiar with Klout, take a look at my profile.

It's another way to promote your brand, be recognizable and be seen as an SME (subject matter expert).

I helped Susan with suggesting interview technniques.

1.  Q A Q   interview technique

Instead of the usual "Spanish inquisition" method of attending an interview and responding to questions and then answering, I suggest the Q A Q method. What are the benefits:
-it helps build a CONVERSATION
-puts you back in control while interviewing
-demonstrates confidence to the interviewer that you can build a dialogue in the stressful situation where you must "think on your feet." See more below.

  • What is the best advice can share with someone on a first job interview?

  • Thank you Melissa Cynthia for your succinct reply and GREAT advice. I've never heard of the Q answer Q technique and though I think I know what you mean, I will go look that up later tonight! Again, amazingly good points that you raised and I had forgotten about STAR as a way of dealing with behavioral interview approaches which is where I feel a certain weakness or rather insecurity. How'd you know that? Someone else reminded me of the fact that I'm going to interview to gather information as well so I am going in fully armed on Friday. ��Gratefully leaving you with much appreciation in my ❤️now , signed --Susan 

  • Soo glad to help you and instead of wishing you "good luck," I will use what my military husband says,"Go in and win!" on Friday! If you cannot think of a STAR, there is also PULL, which stands for personal experience, unpaid and paid experience (volunteering), life experience and learning.
  • 0/14/2014 at 6:35pm
    Please let me how your interview turns out.

  • I promise to do so. Thanks for PULL tip. I have volunteered quite a bit in the past and it could help me in my responses. You're an especially nice lady. Thank you for being a mil spouse and please say thank you to your significant other for his service to our country. Blessings!
  • 0/24/2014 at 10:46am
    I made the short list and have another interview Tuesday 1/28. May need to make some kind of presentation. Sort of nerve wracking but I've taken public speaking courses in the past and recently joined Toastmasters so I'm hoping this will give me an edge over the other two candidates. Thanks again for your initial advice. It helped to alleviate my anxieties.
  • 0/24/2014 at 7:15pm
    Sooo glad Susan that you have gone to the second round.  I would love to help you beforehand-perhaps via SKYPE. Please consider my offer! If not, here's what I recommend:
  •  prepare your slides with the them, 30/60/90. In other words, present what you would do in the first 30 days, 60 days and 90 days (with suppositional language that you will be hired!) Hope this helps Susan! Cheers, Melissa PS May I post your kind words (essentially your testimonial in your last email ) on my web site?
  • ."
  • 0/26/2014 at 9:09am
    Yes you may post my thanks and good luck with the new business venture, I'm sure you will be very successful because it's obvious to me that you are passionate about career and other types of coaching. 

  • 0/27/2014 at 8:28pm
    Good evening Melissa, I found out today that the first part of tomorrow's interview involves some kind of test but wasn't given further details so I spent the day reviewing PowerPoint and Excel. I truly appreciate your support. Thank you so very much. Susan

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What to do if you've had two rounds or interviews and no call

A job seeker sent me the following question: 

"Twice now, I’ve gotten through 2 rounds of interviews (with 2 separate companies) and was never called back. No e-mail, no phone call, not even a ‘thanks but no thanks’ form letter. 

I know that standard policy these days is no contact unless you score an interview (which I think is bogus but that’s another story), but is not hearing back after 2 interviews just as rude as I think it is? I’ve felt each time the interviews went well but I guess I am wrong. It’s hard enough to get an interview, then get called back just to be ignored.

Company 1, re-posted the job and wouldn’t return my calls/e-mail. Company 2, took 2 weeks to hire someone else and I found out from my temp agency manager. I end up with a bad taste in my mouth from these experiences which is problematic because I live in a small city where options are slim.

Rude companies? Or am I naive? "

My response:

Dear job seeker,

You are not naive. This question reminds me of a previous conversation with a client.

It's what I call the "grim reality" of interviewing. Lack of feedback or tardy feedback, represents one of those vagaries of the job search and getting hired. You don't need another rejection, while you are job searching.

Sometimes, employers also do not practise "emotional intelligence" in hiring all the time. EI is used extensively by big employers, such as the military to "measure up" candidates, so employers ought to set an example). In addition, employers do forget etiquette at times! And admittedly, there are overwhelmed with the number of applicants, given the fierce competition and fragile economy.

Take heart. Here are some common reasons for not receiving a callback, within the parameters of hiring:

1. National statistics show that the average time period to hire is eight weeks. That includes the time when the vacancy became available;  the decision to advertise a job ad internally or externally (25% toward being hired); setting up interviews; getting called for an interview (50% mark); possible second or third interviews; checking references (75%) and then the written job offer (which can be nullified in the eleventh hour).

The exception to the eight weeks, typically is government hiring, contract hiring (more on that shortly) and temporary hiring (depending on a company's temporary, immediate needs). But bank on eight weeks.

2. As I told my client yesterday," We don't know what lurks beyond closed doors," when it comes to the hiring manager (s). Hiring needs can change in a New York minute, particularly recruiters' needs (just ask prominent recruiter David Perry, co-founder of Put America back to work).

3. Funding to hire can evaporate for a number of reasons. New companies, manufacturers and non-profits are particularly vulnerable in this area. I can bear witness to the fact that the hiring manager had the intention to hire, but h/h intention was thwarted.

4. Sometimes companies decide to hire from within to protect/increase their bottom line. It's a fact-businesses are in business to improve their bottom line.

5. Hiring is costly. Typically in North America, to hire a f/t employee can cost from $7,000-14,000 in one year, as well as calculating benefits, training, etc.

6. The hiring manager's decision may be upstaged by the "big boss." Having worked for two non-profits, a board of directors may intervene and favor a particular candidate over the other. I have also seen a candidate "parachuted" into positions in the blink of an eye.

7. Some sectors deliberately have a series of interviews. (For example, in my area, Goodyear Tires has at least seven, to the best of my knowledge). Why? They want to protect their ROI (return on investment).

Though these are harsh realities, job seekers need to insulate themselves from further rejection, that in the final analysis, some uncontrollables (called "threats, if you are familiar with the SWOT strategy of decision making) inevitably exist in the hiring process.

Press on and progress with your job search, no matter what the outcome.

In closing, in the last Olympics, Canada's  team had a neat 2 word slogan for their athletes' media campaign: " I believe." Believe in yourself, and you will reap the rewards of being hired!

Focus on what you can control within your reach:

-sending up a "follow-up| letter" or call  to the potential employer if you haven't received a response (yes! It has worked! And it worked for me years ago when I was interviewed as a teacher!)
committing to on and offline networking activities
- promoting your brand on social media sites
- polishing your interviewing skills and developing your mini-stories or STAR (situation, task, action, result, action) techniques for behavioural interviewing
 -developing your 2 minute elevator pitch (resist others career experts' feedback to start chronologically; instead, find a theme or pattern and embed it into your pitch)
-hire a career coach to keep you motivated and accountable with your job search activities

I am available to meet your coaching needs.
"Fortune favours the bold" the ancient Romans said.

Best wishes,

Melissa C. Martin 
bilingual career/military to civilian employment coach
Approved expert on
Twitter: @ravingredhead and @melissacmartin

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The OTHER side of professional burnout: What is your UV index?   wrote an excellent post recently on careerealism, “ where I serve as an approved career expert entitled, "Overworked? Five ways to avoid job burnout.”

I’d like to address another kind of burnout, which typically, is not discussed online, at least to the best of my knowledge!  Being UV (undervalued) Professional burnout can  happen when you are emotionally and physically exhausted, because you no longer feel  valued or appreciated at work;  to put it simply, when your skills set, talents and experience are not or barely being used at your current employer.  Some signs include:

-total exhaustion (see above) at the end of the workday

-increased moodiness

-difficulties in making decisions, concentration , focus and (intrnisic) motivation

-inordinate sleep patterns (usually broken, erratic or minimal)

-more work-related dreams versus joyous dreams

-visible decrease in intrinsic motivation to keep your job

-increased absenteeism (calling in sick, to put it bluntly)

-caring less about performance and focusing more on an exit from the immediate circumstances

In North America, the numbers bear out that employees,  are generally dissatisfied with their jobs, as opposed to their careers-what a shame! However, as a certified solution-focused career counsellor, the answers and resources lie within ourselves.  That said, here are some suggestions to consider,  before “abandoning the ship.” Remember that this is the most competitive workforce ever, so don’t be tempted to given into  emotional thought (“informed decisions, as we say in mental health), as opposed to rational thought.  And stay tuned for my “knock it out of the park” (A hockey-crazed Canadian I am, but I choose to use an American analogy about baseball!) strategy…….!

1.       Seek out a confidante immediately. If  you  believe no one is trustworthy, then consider another resource, which is…

2.       Consult an EAP (employment assistance or employment wellness counsellor ) at your workplace. Many employers offer this as a free, confidential service.  Keep in mind that because your employer is paying for this that your EAP sessions will be limited. (Tiime=money).

3.       At the end of the workday, fill your time with something pleasurable to keep up your spirits, such as a hobby, pastime, etc.

4.       Think about what main skills, talents or experience you are NOT using on the job, and figure out a way to retain them.  Volunteering , blogging or Tweeting could be an immediate way to showcase your USP (unique selling points).

5.       Market yourself on your USP on your social platforms, but being mindful that your current employer make be on the same SM sites! Vala Afshar, CEO of Boston-based Enterasys recently commented:" The web is your CV and social networks are your references." SO true!

6.       Start making plans now.

Ex: Set up 15 informational interviews or coffee chats within 2 months;  make a deadline of 6 months to change jobs (realistically speaking, because the average job search is now 33 weeks in the U.S., and about 27 in Canada).

7.       Set up employment targets. Keep track of your entries regularly, refresh and revise, if necessary.

8.       Send proposals to your employment targets , offering to ease their business woes with you as potential, fresh talent!

9.       If you “can’t be ‘em, join ‘em!”  I read a post today from a career expert on college graduates who suggested the purchase of a failing of fledging web site that could be resurrected  and then marketed as a “self –starter owner.” There are sites on which you can purchase an “entry level” web site and build it up to your liking.

And NOW, the kicker strategy provided to me from an EAP counsellor:   Write down “I SURRENDER” on sticky notes. Put them all through your home. “I surrender” means that you will NOT surrender to negative or unhelpful behaviours, such as emotional eating, drinking, or  tossing and turning  at night for twenty minutes, without getting up and physically leaving your bedroom  (BOY do I know that one intimately!)

What are your “I surrender”  ideas when faced with a professional burnout? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Melissa C. Martin, B.A., B.Ed.,  is a certified counsellor  and educator with 15 years’ experience in employment services.  She has counselled "burned out" professionals in the military, business and healthcare fields, using solution-focused counselling and motivational interviewing training techniques.

She was rated among the “top 100 inspiring, excellent career coaches on Twitter” in 2011 by

T: @ravingredhead and @melissacmartin
Site (in progress):


Sunday, January 5, 2014

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January 5, 2014

Enlightenment: your 7 day programme to positive thinking

It's 2014 and time to be renewed and refreshed, as we embrace the new year.
With the onset of a new year, I want to encourage you, dear readers, a more encouraging path toward  your job search or career.

Let's start with a challenge. Do you have a bright idea hidden somewhere in the back of your mind that you have been meaning to test?  What has been holding you back, say in 2013, to move forward?  Time to reprogramme your mind (in mental health, we call it "reframing"). 

It's always best to set up a personal goal where you can accomplish the most in record time. What ideas come to mind> Maybe making five new contacts on Linkedin or Twitter.  I like what Linkedin trainer Greig Wells of says about goals: "Goals must be things that you can control 100 percent." So true. Unless your goals are realistic and achievable, nothing else matters.

Here are some tips to make it through your upcoming week, especially if you are still biding your time and can't get motivated. Having a bit of positive thinking can help you realize things that are never thought possible. Thinking big is indeed the North American way and that's what makes us rich and prosperous.

1. Take passionate action towards living your life by design. Talk is cheap. Action = deposits in the bank of a passionately authentic future. Without the activity of creating an authentic future,  passion is void. Dreams are often made when  you start by tinkering with your mind, then with your hands. And if the idea weakens, you can always go back to it later until you finish it.

2. Commit to yourself, as well as those you love, to create powerful life you can love. Instead of reacting, commit to creating from your heart and soul, out of love rather than fear. Dramas will always be there, but a dream will still be a dream without motion. Be amazed as the transformation begins.

3. Recognize and embrace the thought that each moment is perfect regardless of its outcome. Every time you hit on something that may appear too extreme, why not give it a shot and see if it will work. You will be surprised to see of there are other ways to get the task done in time. If you are not pleased with the outcome, decide to use that moment to learn from and make the appropriate shift.

4. Dwell completely in a place of gratitude. Learn to utilize what you have in your hands and make use of it in the most constructive way. Slipping into neediness will become less of a habit when you repeatedly shift towards gratitude, away from poverty consciousness.

5. Use a Passion Formula of Recognize/Reevaluate/Restore in place of the Shoulda/Woulda/Coulda whirlwind. The former is based on increased knowledge and abundance;  the latter focuses on scarcity. While you face people or tasks that may seem harder than scaling the summit of the Himalayas, allow yourself to realize that the task is of prime importance.

6. Keep humour at the forefront of thought- laugh at and with yourself when possible. You may find yourself quite entertaining when you loosen up! I have yet to see a comedian ever go hungry even though his jokes are outdated.  Life has so much to offer to allow you to mope around in self-pity. Humur is very attractive, very passionate and life-giving.

7. Believe that you are the architect of your destiny. No one can take your passionate future from you except  you! Create your life authentically. As long as there's still breath in your body, there is no end to how much you can accomplish in a lifetime. The concept of thinking big is all about enjoying your work, which would lead to celebrate a discovery that is born within your hands. Watch everything flow into place with perfect, passionate precision.

The moral in this lesson?  Instead of wallowing in negativity, choose your path of developing a positive attitude. If you are a job seeker, keep in mind that unemployment is temporary.

Need some englightenment in your job search? Tweet me!

Melissa C. Martin

Please follow me on Twitter:
@ravingredhead and @melissacmartin (bilingual)

approved expert on

Monday, December 30, 2013

Moving forward with your job search in 2014

In the mental health field, encouraging clients to move forward with employment is no easy feat. The obstacles are plentiful, no matter what.  Then the new year dawns and another obstacle presents itself.

The negative self-talk is unleashed:  " I can't get motivated."
" No one will hire me...I've been out of the workforce for sooo long!"
" I don't have the confidence to face an interview in the new year."

And my military clients have lamented:" Civilian employers don't understand what I why bother getting ready for civvie street?"
And the clincher: "I can't get motivated when it's freezing cold outside..."

What's really going on here? 
No goals.
No motivation.
No plan.

Returning to work, whether after an injury (in the case of a military member, for example, or a lengthy absence from the workforce IS tough, but NOT insurmountable.  So what's stopping people?
A commitment to change.

Any major change means hard work. Knowing you should change something (returning to work) and actually desiring to change are two separate issues. As I read in the book, Feel the fear and do it anyway,  the "antidote" to fear requires action. And action begins with setting goals.

But wait a minute. Without making the commitment to change and without the commitment to do some hard work won't reap people the rewards.

How many times have you heard of people making New Year's resolutions, only to falter (notice I do not use the "F" word fail)  30 days later. (I see this every year at my local military gym; the "keeners" sign up in early January and dwindle quickly by Valentine's day!)

Let's replace a resolution to have a job with adjustment-something that can be done gradually, according to the job seeker's own rules.

How can you move forward?

1. Identify one change or adjustment that you'd like to make in 2014.
Updating your resume?
Seeking the advice of a career coach to set your goals?
Practising interview strategies to make the cut?

2. Once you identify one change or adjustment, create a mantra.

The mantra will be your a short, daily statement in your mind's eye. Repeat the mantra daily at least three times, upon rising and upon retiring for the day. Infuse the mantra into your subsconcious.

"I will get a job in 90 days."
" I will gain confidence to attend an interview."

3. Identify small action steps to help you reach your goal.
Continue to practise your mantra in the meantime. Then identify small steps to get there.

4. Figure out what will be one small sign that you are making progress.
"By mid-February, I will have taken action in my job search by attending two seminars in my community."  Progress is purely subjective, you define progress in your own terms.

5. Because job searching is fraught with disappointments and rejection, focus on recent or past successes.
Make sure you record those successes, especially when your level of motivation is sinking like the Titanic. To achieve the end goal of attaining a job involves a flurry of ups and downs. By recording your successes in written form AND in your mind, you are essentially "reframing" the negativity of job searching (as in constant rejection or no responses).

In this context, Tom Hopkins' quotation is powerful:" I am not judged by the number of times I fail, but by the number of times I succeed."

Keep on moving forward!

6. Get support.
Hire a career coach, seek an employment counsellor or find a confidante or mentor during your job search.
Check progress regularly. Diagnose what's not working and brainstorm alternative solutions.

7. Reward yourself for every success.

Congratulate yourself along the way and practise some "self-care." Whether it's a walk in the woods to connect with nature, a movie or a rare treat of some kind, you've earned the right to acknowledge that change is necessary before moving forward.

What's your adjustment or change going to look like in 2014? Drop me a line at

Melissa Martin
bilingual career/social media/military to civilian specialist
T: @ravingredhead and @melissacmartin

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Guest post: Online Identity Expert on How NOT to Ruin that Job Prospect This Holiday Season

When looking for a job, you know all the right things to do. You have double checked your resume and researched organizations. However, in today's competitive job market market there is a lot that could come back to haunt you. 92 percent of employers run criminal background and credit checks on potential employees. Much like running a check through the three credit bureaus, not all background checks are created equal and some become quite costly. 

Employers are quick to forgive past criminal history. Now, employers don't have to worry about spending time checking Facebook, LinkedIn, along with gathering different credit reports which can be a real cumbersome process. In a matter of seconds, one site promises to be that quick repository of information and can collect 'dirt' on your potential new hire.

"Employers are looking you up, and what they find can often lose you the job," said Erik Knight, founder of, an online background search site that fields . "This is really worrisome, because oftentimes background checks pull out-of date or incorrect information. A great way to ensure your record is clean is by doing a basic free search and finding anything that a potential employer might find and some figures say a national criminal record database has a 41 percent error rate." 

Erik Knight, entrepreneur and owner of (, comments on the current state of the job market and what employees do wrong or what employers can do better when screening job candidates for the first of the year. Knight gives the following suggestions for not making a mistake when making that new hire: 
·      Do your due diligence: Run a background check on yourself. Sites like uses an algorithm to pull all the places your name shows up on the internet for free. 
·      Talk to all your references. You need to make sure all your references are on the same page. You don't want an employer to call a reference only to find out your reference doesn't remember you. 
·      Customize. Customize. Customize. Instead of doing 200 job applications. Do 10 applications. Research the company, and make sure every resume is custom and unique. Have bullet points to customize what that employer is looking for. 
·      Curate your social media -- Remove more sensitive photos or comments but do post pictures of your artwork, charitable work that you are doing -- things that give the employer a sense of your personality. 
·      Get a postal address in the particular state/province you are applying for a job if you think the employer would be sensitive to the location. 
·      Reflect on and if necessary change your email address. Do not use or
·      Avoid checking in at bars and strip clubs at social media and by all means don't check in at the ball park on a Tuesday when you are looking for a job and if you do, take advantage of the filters.
·      Get recommendations from colleagues and past employers on LinkedIn. 
·      Research before the interview. Come in with a binder and highlight questions and find everything you can possibly find on the organization. 

Kelly Walsh, president 1 Smart Life and human resource expert,  "The last thing you want to do is invisible on the internet. You want an employer to be able to find you on LinkedIn." 

Erik Knight is an online identity expert, has been quoted in top tier sources and is available for immediate interviews to discuss 'how not to blow that job prospect' this holiday season. Please let me know if you want to interview Erik. We also have a career expert that can comment on what employers are seeking from the HR perspective. 

Happy holidays!
Melissa Martin
bilingual career/social media coach
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