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Director, Certified Professional Career Coach Program diane@cpcc-careercoach.com

 

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Top tags: career coaching  COVID-19  Looking Ahead 

Career or Bust

Posted By Administration, Monday, July 20, 2020
 

Statistics vary. The New York Times reported U.S. jobless claims at greater than 40 million people. CNN states 30 million people are unemployed. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment is about 13.3% of 158 million workers in the USA.

These are unfortunate numbers.

As a career coach, I started to crunch numbers:

If there are 40,000,000 unemployed people and each person sends out 25 résumés (probably a conservative number) then there will be 1,000,000,000 résumés hitting the job boards and career portals across the USA. I think the ATS systems might crash.

Last week I judged debate for the National Speech and Debate Association’s National Competition. A thousand or so people signed on to the site at the same time for the opening session – and the system crashed. Imagine one billion résumés circulating at the same time.

The Waiting Game

Unfortunately, many of those on the unemployment rolls are waiting until the benefits are discontinued before they begin their job search. I have been told by a number of job seekers, “I make more on unemployment, so I am not looking for a job until after the unemployment benefits stop.” The problem is, if they wait—their résumés will be circulating with the other billion résumés.

Now is the time to be proactive in career management – not later.

Career Reset

Job seekers need to consider a myriad of options during this tenuous employment market. We shifted from a job seeker’s market to an employer’s market. Employers will able to be even more precise in

their selections of candidates. This resembles the job market from 2008 to 2014ish.

Those job seekers that were laid off, and are not accustomed to maintaining an updated résumé – will find themselves in really tough competition in this job market. All of our clients will need stellar résumés and strong career coaching on how to navigate the employment market and in preparing a career management plan. Résumés will need to highlight top skills and top accomplishment stories.

The résumé post-Covid will need to drip of value- laden accomplishment stories. The résumé will need to be well-focused, tight, and specific to each target position – to ensure smooth travel through any ATS systems and when networking. There will be no use for “Generic” résumés. Recruiters, HR / employment professionals, and hiring managers will be even more inundated with résumés than normal.

They want to read résumés that provide instant value and showcase results and deliverables.

The résumé reset needs to include an updated and clear document – that can be maintained and updated into the future.

As a career coach to clients (job seekers), I am working with them on career resets. For those unemployed, this is an excellent time to explore other career options. After intelligence collection interviews, and determining career direction, many of my clients are revealing that they have been stuck in jobs they hated for years.

We are working on identifying careers and industries of interest; looking at up-and-coming careers / fields;and sharpeningskillsetsincludingcertifications,credentials, apprenticeships, journeyman opportunities, and new degrees.

I am using assessments more often than not to coach clients to make decisions and explore other careers and industry options. Many are not aware of different industries and career fields.

I am motivating my clients to hone-in on professions of interest, passion, and joy. They should not be accepting jobs that do not bring some sense of satisfaction.

Some of my clients live in small job markets, geographically. I am asking the question: “Are you willing to move for a job that you love and pays well?” Interestingly – some are willing to move, which is a good thing for their career futures. They are willing to move to areas where more jobs are available – or more remote areas that need workers.

I am working a client who is a wedding planner. She was laid off due to Covid. She wants to use her transferable skill sets in finance, administrative support, and event coordination to find a job with the federal government or local governments. However, the federal government and local government do not typically post positions for wedding planners. Thus, I will work with her to identify all of her valuable transferable skill sets and focus her résumé and LinkedIn profile on strong accomplishment stories that non-wedding planners will understand. I want hiring managers in other industries to recognize the value she has to offer.

LinkedIn and Social Media

All of my clients are encouraged to strengthen their social media profiles and learn to network.

One of the mistakes I see job seekers make is using LinkedIn as a ‘personal classified ad’ to seek employment. When they use LinkedIn as a billboard for “I am unemployed / seeking new employment / immediately available” these job seekers are losing valuable real estate on LinkedIn or other social media sites that could be used for keywords, key terms, and key phrases that will be coded-in, used, and picked up by recruiters.

One of the first things I do with my clients – is look at their LinkedIn profiles to see how they are leveraging their LinkedIn headlines. I want all of my clients to learn to effectively leverage their social media profiles and proclaim the value they offer a potential employer, rather than look like desperate job seekers. Interestingly, many do not realize that they should not use the LI profile to advertise their unemployed status.

 

Handling Questions About Gaps

Into the future, it should be very easy to “blame” Covid-19 on any employment gaps. Job seekers can simply state on a résumé or in an interview:

“Let-go due to Covid. Accepted position outside of normal career progression to remain employed. Transferable skill sets include:___ .”

Or

“During Covid, pursued new career path and completed credential in .... . Transferable skill sets include:___.”

One client was recently demoted from a senior manager to a mid-level manager due to Covid. That move prevented her from being laid off. Her goal before Covid was to move to the C-suite level. Now, she is backpedaling a bit. She asked me, “Should I accept and keep the lower level position, or quit?” She did not want a lower level position stated on her résumé. However, showing that she is employed during a time when she could have been on unemployment—is positive in the eyes of potential employers. It shows fortitude and work ethic.

She will be able to explain in an interview—that to retain employment and a salary, she accepted a lower level position during Covid, and fully expects to regain her higher level position / status with either her current company or a new company post-Covid.

Summary

During this difficult time of high unemployment and uncertain times for livelihoods, jobs, lives, and families, our clients need the utmost encouragement and motivation to think positive. Rather than doom and gloom, which is how many feel due to the fog I spoke about last month, we need to coach our clients to navigate well the job search.

I am working with my clients to help them learn about all the tools available for career management and leverage each and every tool (strong résumé, confident interviewing, excellent Zoom / video platform skills, gaining new skill sets or credentials, networking and LinkedIn, and so much more).

I am coaching them to make decisions and explore new opportunities and options for employment. We are researching new industries and considering new opportunities in new geographical locations.

Tags:  career coaching  COVID-19  Looking Ahead 

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Musings

Posted By Administration, Friday, June 5, 2020


The past couple months have been most interesting, to say the least. I felt somewhat like a zombie walking slowly, with my arms stretched out in front of me, through a meadow of low fog. Nearly everything has changed: my daughter was to graduate high school (she qualified for national and state debate and speech {state was cancelled, national will now be held via Zoom in June – but she lost the opportunity for her black badge}; she was admitted to John Cabot University in Rome Italy {consider the irony}; her International Baccalaureate exams were cancelled; her prom was cancelled, then rescheduled with another high school for later in June {thankful!} – yet, all contingent. As this situation began, while we were still allowed to have more than 250 people at a location, I held a cancelled debate party for the debate team – pizza and sodas. My daughter made certificates that said “2020 non-debate tournament–duetoCovid”.Thekidsweresoappreciative to be together – they thanked me profusely.

My wedding was moved from June to August, and my honeymoon trip was cancelled. I have other friends whose weddings and honeymoon trips were cancelled. All of my workshops scheduled for March, April, and May were cancelled – indefinitely. I was to go home to check on my elderly parents twice in the past two months – and that did not happen. I could keep going...

My dad called me a month back to ask when I was visiting again. I told him I was not sure – maybe May or June. He said, “I will be out of coffee by then.” So, I went online and ordered him 100 coffee pods, and, a small coffee maker and two containers of coffee grounds, as a back-up. I wished him a ‘Happy early Father’s Day’.

When this situation began, I spoke to my mother about toilet paper. She asked me why we were not rationing, like they did during the War. Wise words.

Video Platforms

In the midst of these upheavals, work has continued in some segments. I coach individual clients via the phone and Skype. Evidently many of my clients have twins – who knew. I hear moms yelling at their kids to be quiet for the coaching calls; dads telling their wives they will be available in an hour to help with the kids, and even one potential client asked me to call her, and her email said, “You may hear children in the background.”

How are they working full-time and taking care of and home schooling toddlers or school-aged children? I am amazed.

I am also working with clients who do not have a designated office space – so they are conducing Zoom and phone calls next to the TV where the kids are playing on the floor.

And, well, it finally happened. With all the Zoom / video platform meetings happening in mass in the past two months, one of my clients, got caught in a 20-person Zoom meeting with his “muscle” tank shirt on. He told me that he got up, turned on the computer, got a cup of coffee, combed his hair, and when the Zoom meeting started, one of the female team members asked, “Hey – are you in a “muscle” t-shirt?” He quickly left the meeting to go to his room to put on a polo shirt. He gets razzed at every meeting now. He put tape over his computer camera to ensure it does not happen again.

It is very possible that when this is over and we emerge from our homes, that employees’ idea of work clothes may change drastically.

 

Men’s and women’s hair is getting long and shaggy (maybe we should just have a hippie rebirth). Even when hairdressers and barbers open up – reservations will be required – and it may take weeks to get scheduled. I actually operated a hair / beard trimmer during this pandemic (brave soul).

for telework; those that do not have those provisions, the managers need to listen and coach their employees to be able to work from home effectively – it is a learned discipline. The entire experience is a learning curve for employees and managers right now.

Grief Cycle

Grief comes from loss and change. Loss can be death, divorce, loss of job, loss of money, loss of wedding, loss of graduation, or loss of a possession. Change can be Christmas, children living at home or leaving for college, summer vacation, money difficulties, outstanding achievements, business readjustment, and the list goes on.

Too many losses or changes at one time can cause one to enter into the grief cycle. Denial and isolation / shock; Anger; Bargaining; Depression; Acceptance. People who are grieving do not necessarily go through the stages in the same order or experience all of them. We may be experiencing one or more of these grief symptoms during this time. If you feel like you are walking through a meadow of fog, you are normal. But, most definitely talk to someone about it. Have a virtual happy hour or coffee time with friends.

One of my clients held our Skype meeting in his bedroom – the family was taking over the rest of the house. So, I am now coaching job seekers how to set up Zoom/Skype calls in a bedroom, TV room, and kitchen, all with family members potentially in the background. One lady hired a nanny to come to her house, as both her and her husband were sent home to work.

I also interacted with a manager, who said some of his employees were not being productive and he was thinking of letting them go. I explained, that before he let staff go for performance, he might need / want to speak to the employee to find out the family dynamics. If an employee that is expected to be on a computer and making phone calls all day long – who is normally operating from an office – is suddenly at home with two or three young children and a spouse—with no designated office space —they may actually be so overwhelmed that they are not able to be productive. Some companies have provisions

 

Gratefulness

I am grateful for my CPCC coaches, the PARW/CC association, my colleagues, my family, and friends. I am certain, that the fog will rise and the sun will shine.

We will need to be even more sharp for our clients – ready to coach them to prepare strong career management plans. My clients are digging into networking and connecting on LI, already in preparation for when jobs open. And, many jobs are available and companies and the federal government are hiring.

Don’t forget – Diane’s Challenge: Contact one person from your LinkedIn connections, reach out, and make a phone call, and then post your accomplishment in the PARW/ CC forum.

So, despite these setbacks, a couple weeks ago, we prepared a full thanksgiving dinner – turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, corn, cranberry sauce, sweet potato bake, and pumpkin crunch cake with whipped cream (let me know if you want the recipe). We sat around the table and expressed our gratefulness for health, a home, food, and love.

Gratitude turns what we have into enough.

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Discount or Not Discount? That is the question.

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Value

One of the most important things I want to impress on this community of professional career coaches and résumé writers – is you provide value to your clients. You are most likely trained and credentialed in career coaching and résumé writing, perhaps you completed the Certified Professional Coach (CPCC) program or hold one of the other credentials offered by PARW/CC; or you may have a degree in social work, human resources, business, or even something specific (nursing, engineering, accounting, law). You may have résumés published in books, been quoted by national or local news outlets, been interviewed for a media piece, radio, or TV, or, speak and deliver workshops to your client population. This makes you credible – and it is valuable to your clients.

You provide the tools, products, and services your clients need to navigate the employment market. You may write résumés, LinkedIn profiles, conduct employment research, provide interview preparation training and coaching, prepare career management plans, and guide your clients via the career management campaign.

No matter the client population – they are all seeking new employment; perhaps a first job after university; a

promotion within a company or laterally at a different company with more opportunities; or a step up into a management or executive position. Perhaps they are seeking a new career path or an entrepreneurial activity/ business. Perhaps they are returning to work after taking time off to be a stay-at-home-mom, or to care for elderly parents. Perhaps they are making the transition from the military to corporate (these people may have never owned a résumé or engaged in an interview). But, what all of these potential clients have in common, is they are all seeking new employment at some stage / level.

When a job seeker is laid off, fired, or making a job shift, it often causes anxiety and stress. As a career coach, you will also provide the confidence and positivity that your clients need to move forward.

You provide value in tangible (e.g., résumés, cover letters, ATS navigation, LI profiles, development of a career management plan, interview preparation, research, retirement planning, budgeting, and more) and intangible (e.g., building confidence, a shoulder to vent on, a note or phone call of encouragement, a cheerleader throughout) career management requirements.

MAY 2020 | PAGE 14

You can easily say to a client: If you make $1000 a month, and you are unemployed for six months, you lose $6000. If, you work with a career coach and regain employment in three months instead of six months, you only lost $3,000. But it is so much more than that. That lost $6000 is exponential over time – it includes lost 401K deposits and matching, lost medical benefits, and lost raises. It could be untold lost thousands of dollars over the life of a career.

The Discount Discussion

In normal times, do you offer a discount? Do you lower your fees when a client says:

• “I think your fees are way too high. Will you do the project for $300 less?”

• “Do you offer a military discount?”
• “Do you o
ffer a discount for non-profits?” • “Do you offer discounts for colleges

or college students?”
• “Do you o
ffer a group discount to write résumés

for 50 people at a homeless shelter?

Our budget is $500 total.”
• “Do you provide free services, because I live in

a country where the income is negligible?”

I get these types of requests all the time.

I have a referral process, whereby I refer potential clients to colleagues who charge less than me (they may be new to the industry, or are not comfortable charging more money yet), if the client wants a lower fee. Additionally, I refer potential clients to colleagues who specialize in certain functional areas, when my schedule is overwhelmed: IT, attorneys, executives. I find that having these referrals available is an excellent marketing opportunity. I took care of the client’s need in a polite and courteous way. And, many will refer others to me at a later date, for accommodating them.

I explain to potential clients that the fee is set – and it is based on the project scope – a résumé, LinkedIn Profile, interview coaching, research, xx number of phone calls, a DISC assessment, development of a career management plan, and coaching for salary negotiations when offers come through. Working together is an investment in their

professional development; I am not a recruiter and there are no guarantees of employment. There is an expectation of homework on the client’s part.
If they insist that the fee is too high, my intuition usually tells me that they are either not serious, or they are seeking a way to get very cheap or free services. They do not understand the value of working with a career coach. In my 30 years of owning my business, I have fully refunded four clients – and each time I accepted their work, I had that ‘gut feeling’ that it was a bad idea to work with that person. I would much rather send their money back, than get sued or be overly frustrated working with the client.

When my intuition says “red flag” – I know that I will be much better off not working with that client – as they will constantly ask me to discount the process. They nitpick the résumé, as “they know best,” and they do not follow through on homework. This is pretty typical. So, follow your intuition.

 

During Covid-19

If you decide to offer / provide a discount during Covid-19, you may want to ensure that you provide clear guidance on how it will be done.

There is a big difference between saying:

“Covid-19 discount, get your résumé for $100 off.” (Without a specific end date, people can easily complain that they want a Covid-19 discount even in Summer or Fall 2020 and beyond).

And saying:

“We are providing a Covid-19 discount of $100 off per résumé, through May 15/30 when the State/Government reopens (or select a date – maybe for three months or end of August).”

With this language – you can report to those seeking the discount past your end date that the discount is over.

However, by doing either, you may want to document the discounts in your ledger as a Covid-19 discount – for use with taxes and loss of income.

You can also break your package apart for the time being. If you normally provide a full package, you can offer an á la carte selection:

• Résumé: $XX
• LinkedIn Profile: $XX
• Interview Preparation: $XX
• Career Management Plan: $XX • Salary Negotiation: $XX

This will help job seekers better manage their budgets during this trying time.

Volunteering / Pro Bono / Bonus

Another way to give back to your clients and the community is to offer a “free bonus” during this time. Instead of offering a discount, you might consider offering a two- to five-page Tip Sheet or PDF booklet that you can provide to your clients for free during this challenging

time, to segment the services they purchase from you.

If you write your client’s résumé, then the Tip Sheet might provide tips on how to leverage the résumé and include an explanation of ATS. The document will also provide an opportunity for you to market your other services, including interview preparation, LinkedIn profile writing, and cover letters. Your Tip Sheet might ask: “What will do with your résumé?” Or, “Are you prepared to interview?”

If you are so inclined, you could offer a free cover letter to accompany the résumé; or a 30 minute-laser coaching session for interview preparation. (But, you will also want to record these sessions/freebees, as it adds up as time used, with no pay for you.)

Remember, if you provide a discount to one client – and he tells a friend or colleague – that person will call asking for the same break. (“Susan said you gave her a $100 discount on her résumé and you also wrote her cover letter for free...”)

You might consider providing pro bono services, at your discretion. You can provide a free webinar to specific populations; you can work with organizations like Wounded Warriors or Hire Heroes, your local homeless shelter, or others to work with and coach one individual – or train a group. It can be a one-time offering or ongoing based on your schedule.

Summary

You provide value. Educate your clients on this value – whether they purchase your services now or later. Stand strong in that value you provide your clients. This will be a challenging time for all of us, but our industry will explode in the coming months, as businesses reopen; we will be an industry sought after by job seekers. Polish your skills now – finish the CPCC training and obtain the test and credential, study the industry, listen to webinars and podcasts, read the Labor of Statistics website, communicate on the PARW/CC chat lists, update your LinkedIn profile, and / or seek a personal mentor.

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Top Two Job Search / Career Management Mistakes, according to Diane, anyway

Posted By Administration, Thursday, April 2, 2020
Updated: Monday, March 30, 2020
There seems to be a trending pattern with job seekers and two mistakes that seem to trip them up over and over: Assumptions and Not Being Prepared.
I recently read an article on the Top 22 Mistakes you can make on a resume – wow – 22 mistakes on one resume. That was significant. Some items were basic like avoiding typographical and spelling errors, others were a bit old fashioned, like, only one-page resumes are accepted by recruiters. 
However, there seems to be underlying career management mistakes that permeate and upend the entire career management campaign.  
Assumptions
Recently, a potential client called me to inquire of my services. He was interested in a Senior Executive Service (SES) portfolio: 10 executive leadership stories (essays) on 10 pages, a five-page SES resume with the leadership stories integrated into the body of the resume, and a one-page Technical Qualification statement (essay). He said to me, “I am the acting director right now, and most of the leadership team knows me, so I am a shoe-in.” He said he wanted a good package completed, but, he knew that his colleagues and leadership would expedite his package. He said, “We can just quickly prepare a decent resume, it will be fine.”
Diane’s thoughts: “No, it will not be fine. This is competition. This is a first impression; this is the first gate in many gates in the employment process.”
Well, he is assuming that because people know him, he is going to get the job. He is assuming that because the leadership team knows him, he does not have to include much information on his resume, as they already know what he does and the programs he manages. He is assuming that because they know him, he does not have to put his best foot forward – he is assuming that a really strong first impression is not warranted.  They prepare his performance evaluations, so he is assuming that they already know about his major accomplishments. 
His assumptions could lose him the job, because he is forgetting some very important other factors:
  • His resume and leadership essays will be read and scored by a Human Resources (HR) office before it ever gets to the leadership team. If the HR office does not score his resume high enough / if they believe his resume package does not meet the minimum qualifications, his resume may never get forwarded to the next level. 
  • The HR office may be in a completely different location than the leadership / hiring panel, meaning, the HR specialists may not know who he is, or that he is in the acting role for the office / location for which he is applying. Since HR hires for varied functional positions (accounting, Information Technology, engineering, legal, and more) on a daily basis, they will not necessarily understand that he is currently fulfilling the acting leadership role for the position for which he is applying. 
  • Unless HR has been notified by the hiring panel to forward his resume for the interview process, there are myriad reasons why HR may not forward his resume – including, in some cases an overwhelming number of resumes that have to be reviewed. There are cases where HR improperly scores a resume and does not forward a resume to the hiring panel. In this case, an applicant has to request an audit of his resume, if he believes he is qualified and should have been selected for an interview.   
  • If his resume does get scored high enough by HR and is moved up to the hiring panel for the next level of consideration, sometimes that panel includes members who work in other offices / organizations to maintain partiality. Again, some of these members may not know the applicant.
So, this applicant made an assumption that may have upended his application at the outset. 
 
Not Being Prepared
Another client found her dream job posted on an online job board. The job positing closed in four days. 
She had not applied for a job in years, so she did not have an updated resume. Her last resume was post college – one page, dates listed down the left margin, name and contact information embedded in the header, and font at 8 point to cram all the data onto the page. The entries were short duties descriptions. Her most recent two positions in the previous five years were not on the resume.  
She asked me, “Can you just update my resume, so I can submit it before the deadline? I will stick to the one-page version, because that is what my professor told me to do when I graduated college. I interview great, so if I can just the resume into the system and get the interview, I will be fine. I just need you to add the duties from my most recent two positions to the resume.”
Well, she made assumptions and she was ill-prepared. She assumed that her old resume format would work fine five years later. She assumed that cramming more information onto her already full one-page resume would be acceptable.  
  • She did not prepare in advance with a new fresh resume. She did not properly research the job posting and target company; rather she just reacted to the opportunity to apply to her dream job. 
  • She did not research Applicant Tracking Systems or learn that her resume would most likely be reviewed by a computer scanner before it ever made it to the eyes of a human. 
  • She was bound to the one-page resume rule, not realizing that a computer would read the document for keywords, key terms and key phrases, before it was considered for format. 
  • She had not done her homework. The job posting was open for 30 days, and she was waiting until nearly the last day to apply, which means there could have been potentially hundreds of applicants in the cue line ahead of her. 
  • Her zip code was 2,000 miles away from the target job’s location. She did not read the requirements of the announcement that stated they were looking for candidates within a 50 mile radius. 
By being unprepared, she most likely lost out on her dream job opportunity. If she had prepared early in the process, her resume would have been updated and expanded to two pages. The resume would have included accomplishments rather than duties. 
She needed to pare down the older jobs on her resume from college that were non-relevant and focus on her more relevant post-college positions, with strong accomplishments, projects, and awards. 
She should have researched the company and the announcement earlier in the process, so she could explain that she was willing to relocate to the target location at her own expense. 
She could have connected with the company / organization via a LinkedIn group or connected with people from the company via LinkedIn. 
Since, she was unprepared, with such a short deadline, her resume ended up being prepared haphazardly by herself, over a weekend. Because there was inadequate time, she did not follow any career coaching guidance, and added her two jobs to the one-page resume by expanding the margins. Subsequently, she never heard back from the company concerning her dream job.
She called me a few months later, showed me her “updated” resume, and asked to secure my services to prepare a proper resume to apply for future dream positions.
Assumptions & Not Being Prepared
Well, making assumptions in career management, resume writing, and job search and not being well prepared, cause people to lose out on potential positions. 
By reversing assumptions to the positive: “I will assume that I need to develop the best possible resume, making a targeted first impression” will lead to a much stronger application.
By being prepared by performing research, having an up-to-date resume, and knowing the requirements for an application will position an applicant for a potentially positive outcome in job search and career management.  

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January 2020 Spotlight

Posted By Doug Phares, Thursday, March 26, 2020

Oftentimes people prepare for the New Year by deciding on and declaring New Year’s Resolutions.

New Year's resolutions are a tradition, most common in the Western Hemisphere but also found in the Eastern Hemisphere, in which a person resolves to change an undesired trait or behavior, and / or to accomplish a personal goal or otherwise improve their life, according to Wikipedia. Forty percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions.

A New Year’s Resolution is defined as a firm decision made on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day to do or refrain from doing something over the course of the coming year, according to Oxford dictionaries. Many people decide to lose weight, join a gym to get fit, start walking, swimming or biking every day, quit drinking alcohol, quit eating fast food, change a habit, and so forth. People’s Yew Year’s resolutions may include:

• Get in shape
• Become more active
• Start eating healthier food / or less food overall
• Start writing a journal / book
• Reduce stress
• Earn more money
• Save money
• Get out of debt
• Give up cigarettes or vaping
• Learn to cook
• Improve concentration and mental skills
• Watch less TV
• Learn to be happier with life
• Meet new people
• Spend more time with the people that matter
• Find a new career
• Take a class / get a degree / get a certification
• Learn confidence and take chances
• Learn to control emotions
• Face fears and insecurities
• Stop procrastinating

• Become more polite / kind
• Learn to let go of grudges and prevent moping & blaming
• Get over an ex / former relationship
• Get more quality sleep
• Read more
• Find a significant other
• Become tidier / more organized
• Declutter
• Start drinking in moderation or quit drinking altogether
• Learn a new language
• Volunteer
• Give to charity
• Pick up useful skills or fun hobbies
• Adopt a pet
• Travel
• See a doctor / dentist regularly
• Reinvent yourself
• Stop being late
• Learn how to be more self-reliant
• Turn your hobby into a career
• Start being more responsible
• Learn more about art, music, culture etc.
• Spend less time on social media / turn off the cell phone
• Learn how to defend yourself
• Become more romantic
• Start remembering important dates
• Become more social
• Other: A goal that is not listed here

New Year’s goals are usually extreme makeovers. They can be lofty or unattainable goals without an action plan to back up the goals. These goals are not typically written down or prioritized, rather, they are pronounced.


So, we might want to encourage our clients who have made lofty goals, to take the goals to pen and paper (or computer desktop) in bite size segments.


Rather than saying, “I am going to the gym in 2020,” write a goal that says, “I will attend a dance class for 30 minutes twice a week.”


Or rather than saying, “I am going to lose weight in 2020,” write a goal that says, “I will stop eating fast food and sugary sodas.” “Next, I will begin to walk 10 minutes three times a week.”

The small baby steps make reaching the goals more attainable.

Business Resolutions / Goals
For those of us in business, instead of saying, “I am going to make more money in 2020” consider taking this approach:

Review your services, products, and income (and losses from 2019). Readjust your business budget and ensure there is enough money in your savings account each month / quarter to pay quarterly taxes, if you are a business owner. Ask your accountant to determine your annual tax rate and save that amount each month to ensure taxes are covered.

Don’t forget to build your budget to include annual fees, e.g., business insurance, umbrella insurances, web site (godaddy.com type fees), hosting fees, Microsoft 365, and other.

Look at your marketing dollars; how and where they were spent; and how much was spent on each activity. Is paying for click-throughs or Facebook ads more profitable than attending conferences and hosting an exhibit booth? Or vice versa? What marketing activities produced the most revenue?

Chart the ups and down to determine if marketing dollars were spent judiciously or not – and make adjustments for 2020.

Make a list of all possible marketing activities, and determine viable expenditures, man-power, and time.

Determine your best / most profitable social media outlet; do your products and services gain more traction on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or other site? If you notice that one site provides more interest than others, and if you are short on time, think about investing your efforts into only one social media platform – and work it well.

If you introduced a new product or service – and it excelled, you might consider increasing the fee for that product or service. If hat product or service did not gain traction and cost you marketing dollars, you will need to decide of you want to continue for another year, or drop that product or service and marketing campaign; and rather, put the marketing dollars into the product or service that excelled.

Prepare a business action plan for 2020 and chart the changes from 2019 – and indicate completion dates for new activities, e.g., complete the CPCC program by June 30, 2020, to be able to use the new certification and logo on the website and LinkedIn profile; Commit to writing two blogs a week for LinkedIn and/or the website; Commit to attending four community networking events during the next half year; plan to exhibit at one industry conference in 2020. These types of activities elevate credibility and visibility.

Decide if you need to select and complete a new certification in 2020. Save the money and determine a schedule to complete the course.

If you completed a certification in career coaching or resume writing or attended a professional industry conference in 2019, you may consider increasing your prices. The value that you provide clients became elevated.

Business Building
Building a business and managing a business is work. As a professional career coach, I am very good at coaching job seekers. I am very good at writing professional resumes and telling my client’s stories. I am a skilled interviewer; and I prepare my clients for interviews. I write articles and books. I speak at conferences, and I train clients at government agencies, military bases, and companies across the nation, Puerto Rico, and in Europe, Japan, and Korea. However, I was not prepared to manage a business. I jumped into the deep end of the swimming pool without a written plan in the beginning.

After realizing that I needed to write a plan, write my goals, and reevaluate the
plan year after year, my business became solidified and grew


Happy New Year

Take the time needed to write your personal and business goals, on paper. Turn pronounced New Year’s Resolutions into practical, doable, action plans for 2020. Stick to a plan, readjust as needed, and decide and plan to excel as a business owner.

Look at the action plan in March, July, September, and November. Identify and remove or adjust those New Year’s Resolutions that are not viable, and move forward with attaining goals that are working and are viable. Take baby steps in the process.

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