2019 Goal Setting Series: Career.

Man, oh man. Thinking about my career and what’s next has become a hobby obsession of mine. When I think of “work” it’s my 9-5 job, the thing I do that brings in the money so that we can live our lives. I’ve decided I need to redefine what I consider my work.

I am a writer. I am a trainer. I am a manager. I am a strategist. I am a Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP). I am working towards being Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP). I am a leader. I am a consultant. I am a creative. I am an event planner. I am a coach. I am an advocate. These are the things that make up my career. Some support me financially, some support me spiritually, and some are just fun.

When I went through my PowerSheets process this year, I, for the first time, spent time focusing on my 9-5. It’s a big part of my life, but as I’ve become anxious to grow I’ve also become find something new. Instead of feeding my anxiety, I’ve decided to embrace the time that I have left in my current role, no matter if that’s two weeks, two months, or two years. I have gifts and I will use them to grow.

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The big picture goal: I will use my gifts to be productive in my work, both in my 9-5 and in my personal career.

This matters, because:ย Quite frankly, it matters because I am getting paid to work, I must hold up my end of the bargain. It also matters because there is always room to grow and I can’t grow unless I do the work. It’s satisfying to work hard and do well (or learn the lesson).

Some action steps: outlining my CPLP training plan | talk to K about her experience | setting performance metrics for the year | developing my training + consulting page on EJBlog | continue to apply only for jobs that stretch my skills | reformat my resume + linkedin | brainstorm new team management strategies | create a list of motivators for when I’m feeling stagnant | maintain weekly posting goals for EJBlog | Take on new Resume formatting clients | spend 6 hours a week prepping for CPLP exam

Growth is hard, it includes struggles, stretching, and letting go. Growth is also necessary. I have spent the last 18 months feeling like I am a victim of circumstances, and in reality, I have control of how I perceive my circumstances. Would I like to do something new after being in the same role for the last 8 years? Absolutely. Is there still room for me to grow while the Universe figures out what that next role is? Definitely. There is always something to learn, so let’s go learn it!

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10 Tips for First Time Trainers

The talent development industry used to call me an “accidental trainer” – I just happened upon the field on accident. Sometimes, I agree, and other times, I feel as though the universe was just pointing me in the right direction so that I could utilize gifts I didn’t know I had. I love facilitating groups and presenting trainings, but talking in front of groups is the number one fear for people for a reason. It’s not easy. Here are my 10 tips for first time trainers looking to add to their toolbox:

Be Prepared. Designing a training is a whole other blog post, but the morale of the story is to be prepared. Know where you’re going, what your objectives are, and how much time you’ll need to get through your outline. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT read a script. Talk to your participants and feed off of them, but be prepared on how you’re going to accomplish your objectives.

Know Your Room. One of the worst experiences I’ve had as a training participant is when I was at a national conference and the presenter started talking poorly about Detroit, the people there, and made up statistics about education in the area. While, I couldn’t expect her to realize that I was from Detroit, I could expect her to know her room well enough to know that she could be alienating people who are looking to learn from her. Know your room. Know the spectrum of education, experience, and attitudes of those sitting with you. You don’t have to take a survey, but do an icebreaker, ask people to raise their hand, or just be mindful of nonverbal queues.

Talk S L O W L Y. I can guarantee that if you are a relatively new trainer, you’re talking WAY. TOO. FAST. This is one of the hardest skills to develop, because when you’re talking at an appropriate pace as a trainer you feel like a complete idiot. Keep in mind that people have to hear you, comprehend your words, process them, and put them into context – if you’re already two slides down the road you’ve lost them.

Be Confident. Confident, not cocky. It’s important that you balance the line between relatable and confident well as a trainer. People in your room will already be apprehensive about spending time “in training” so part of your role is to bond with them and build trust. Be confident in your skills, your expertise, and the time you’ve spent preparing. You will not know everything, and that’s okay. Be confident enough to say “You know, I’m not sure. What does the rest of the room think?”

Be Flexible. People like to talk. People like to stare off into space while you talk. People like to share their stories that may or may not relate to your content. You have to be flexible in your methods of getting the content to your participants. Know your information well enough that you can prepare for what you will take some additional time to grasp and have some comprehension activities prepared for when you blow through your content in 15 minutes.

Remember, No One Knows but You. You prepared, you have an outline, you know your stuff, but somehow you still managed to skip an entire chunk of content. It’s OKAY, no one knows but you. Circle back around and make sure you cover what is needed. Messed up a word? No one knows (or cares). This goes back to confidence. Be confident in your facilitation skills and willing to laugh at yourself when necessary, because it will be necessary.

Make Content Connections. If you’re lucky, you’ve got 20ish minutes where people are actually listening to you. The key to make connections between your content. We’re talking about X because it relates to Y, which we talked about earlier. X and Y are important because :: insert how the content relates to their real world here ::

Confirm Understanding. Just because you know what you’re talking about doesn’t mean that the people in the room are following you. Check in – ask if what you’re saying makes sense. Ask if they see examples of this in their work, or my favorite when presenting information “why do you think that is?”. It keeps people engaged as you go through information by confirming that we’re all on the same page.

Don’t be Lazy. Ugh. This one is just straight forward. Don’t sit on your ass slumped in a chair the whole time you’re facilitating a training. Get up, move around, use your hands and your arms (not too much), walk around when participants are working in groups. Be a trainer is WORK, DO. YOUR. WORK.

Be Yourself. Last, but certainly not least, be yourself. There’s no fake-it-til-you-make-it mentality. People know when you’re BS’ing them, so don’t. It’s okay to laugh, be quirky, and talk about your experience. You are a human, you will be respected much more when you act like one.

5 Things Hiring Managers Look for in a Resume

Dreading resume writing is a universal past time.

We all dread trying to make our years worth of work and accomplishments into an impressive list that screams “HIRE ME!” – even as someone who writes resumes for other people, I dread when mine needs an update. Dear Hiring Manager, can’t you just trust that I’m awesome?!

Nope.

As a hiring manager, I know the power of a well written, focused, and (dare I say) skim-able resume when selecting candidates for an interview. In my experience, here are the top five things I am looking for when you send in your resume.

1. A Cover Letter. I know…it’s not technically part of your resume, and let’s face it, the cover letter is the hardest part of resume writing, but a cover letter is imperative. A cover letter is your opportunity to highlight the aspects of your experience that align with the job description. The cover letter is how you tell me your experience selling t-shirts at American Eagle translates to the job of Marketing Manager.

2. Accomplishments, Not Responsibilities. You resume is not an opportunity to condense your current job description into fewer bullet points. Don’t tell me what you were responsible for doing, tell me what you actually did – highlight your accomplishments.

Who would you hire?

Person 1: “Managed the sales team.” OR

Person 2: “Increased sales by 25% through the implementation of individual goals for the sales team.”?

3. Be specific about your skills. Most hiring managers give resumes a quick skim before they decide to move forward with a candidate. Make their job as easy as possible by highlighting your skills all together in one spot. What are the things you’re really good at? Examples: Team Leadership, Training Facilitation, Program Development, Program Evaluation, Social Media Management, Sales, Customer Service.

4. Save and send as a PDF. Unless otherwise directed, always send your resume as a PDF. With all of the different versions of word processing programs, templates, and printers out there, a PDF ensures that the formatting you worked so hard on will translate through any method of application submission. If I receive a resume that I can’t read because of the formatting, it’s going in the “no” pile without a second thought.

5. Keep it UNDER two pages. My rule of thumb is to highlight at least your last 10 years worth of work experience, or your last three jobs. If you have enough of professional experience that is relevant to the job you’re applying for, keep the details of other jobs that are not relevant to a minimum. If you absolutely cannot keep it to one page it’s okay to go over onto a second, beyond that you’ve got consolidate or reformat.

BONUS TIP: Ask for someone to proof read for you for formatting and content errors, but double check the details yourself. Make sure your email address and phone number are accurate and easily found at a quick glance. Make it easy for them to get into contact with you.

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