Good ideas for standing out in the job search from Chris Brogan

As many of you know already, I am a big fan of Chris Brogan.  He offers a plain talking perspective on adding value by way of your social media presence, and talks about marketing as part of a daily, ongoing relationship with those around us.  I use some of his ideas on my own marketing approach, including the use of social media and adding value first and building relationships first.  I even use his ideas when coaching young professionals in the job search and helping clients improve their online dating profiles. 

From Chris Brogan blog, August 30, 2012

Today's blog post from Brogan introduces his new book, The Impact Equation, and talks about the personal marketing approach as it applies to the job search.  He has a couple really interesting ideas about how to pitch yourself to potential employers - creating a web page for the eyes of one person, the person reviewing your resume or application or creating a video of yourself pitching your qualifications directly to the person reviewing your materials, with links to additional materials you want the person to review.

I recommend you start following his blog and getting familiar with his materials. His ideas can benefit you in a lot of ways.

4 Questions To Be Ready To Answer In An Interview

Here is good post from the blog "bNet", published by CBS Interactive ten months ago, Jeff Haden discusses his 4 essential job interview questions.  He says that interviewers should cut past the canned questions and the prepared answers and get to the real meat of you, the interviewer by engaging in a conversation around fact based questions, with lots of follow up.  His message is directed at small businesses and at interviewers.

You are going to be faced with this kind of interview in the future, especially with law firms and especially with a move towards more detailed examinations of candidates by the larger firms.  We are now in a very selective hiring environment.  Being prepared for this kind of approach will help you to stand out. 

How to prepare for this?  Focus on your work experience in advance, and think of specific examples for each that you can discuss in detail.  Sometimes just having thought about it in advance helps you to be prepared.  Even if you don't get asked these questions, you should be able to engage in your own discussion with the interviewer where this kind of detail will be valuable.

Here are the four questions he suggests an employer ask candidates - I have included the analysis for the first question, and you can go to the link to see the analysis for the remaining questions. 

1.  “Tell me about the last time a customer or coworker got mad at you.”

Intent: Evaluate the candidate’s interpersonal skills and ability to deal with conflict.

Remember, make sure you find out why the customer or coworker was mad, what the interviewee did in response, and how the situation turned out both in the short- and long-term.

  • Red flag: The interviewee pushes all the blame — and responsibility for rectifying the situation — on the other person.
  • Good: The interviewee focuses on how they addressed and fixed the problem, not on who was to blame.
  • Great: The interviewee admits they caused the other person to be upset, took responsibility, and worked to make a bad situation better.  That’s the trifecta of answers:  You are willing to admit when you are wrong, you take responsibility for fixing your mistakes, and you learn from experience.  (Remember, every mistake is just training in disguise as long as the same mistake isn’t repeated over and over again, of course.)

2.  “Tell me about the toughest decision you had to make in the last six months.”

Intent: Evaluate the candidate’s ability to reason, problem solving skills, judgment, and sometimes even willingness to take intelligent risks.

3.  “Tell me about a time you knew you were right… but you still had to follow directions or guidelines.”

Intent: Evaluate the candidate’s ability to follow… and possibly to lead.

4.  “Tell me about the last time your workday ended before you were able to get everything done.”

Intent: Evaluate commitment, ability to prioritize, ability to communicate effectively.

Intro Video for The Confidence Academy

Here is our introductory video, talking about the concepts and programs we are getting ready to launch.  It's raw, unfiltered, and shot by me.  And you can tell.  But it is a good introduction for the kinds of training we are going to be bringing to you.  Hope you enjoy!


This Guy Is Confident - President Obama's State Of The Union Speech

Can you get up in front of a hostile crowd and give a confident, organized presentation?

Here is the YouTube video, enhanced version, posted by the White House, showing the State of the Union Speech by President Barack Obama from earlier this year.  I am using this speech in my Confidence Academy presentations.  There are a lot of things to learn from his presentation.  I hope you will join me as I go through them in the coming days.


Overcoming Fear - I own that concept

I tell audiences and classes that I own the concept of overcoming fear.  They believe me.  Really, they do.

I don't whip out papers showing title or deeds.  I tell stories.  There can be no doubt after one of my stories that I own the concept.

The great thing about the concept is that my ownership is not exclusive.  Anyone can own it.  I am surprised by the number of people I meet who don't know that.  So I talk.  I talk a lot.  Sharing my stories.  Giving advice, tips, tools.  I have found that is one of the things I do best.

Now with the Confidence Academy, I am sharing those ideas on stages at workshops, in front of church groups, and in one on one coaching. 

Know a group that would benefit from an hour presentation?  Or a two day workshop.  Give me a call.

Microphone WEB

My Favorite Song - Ryan Montbleau Band - Fix Your Wings - Off Topic

Thanks to Erika Napoletano (@RedheadWriting and RedheadWriting) for this tip from earlier this year.  This is one of my favorite songs.  My new favorite song.  This guy has a great voice, and each video in this set is a treat.

From the YouTube link -

Live video #8 of 14 from the album Heavy on the Vine. The band has performed all 14 songs in different live settings and created a video for each. This is "Fix Your Wings" from a hilltop in the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts.


Why So Few Women Lawyers In Leadership?

On the blog Professional Development Perspectives, Dr. Cindy Pladziewicz posted a profile of "a field guide for women leaders" written by Anne Doyle.  In the book, Powering Up, Doyle interviewed 125 women leaders in business to get input on how they achieved their positions.  The key findings are valuable advice for young women lawyers to begin to practice.

How do women achievers become leaders?  Doyle's research suggests seven components:

  1. Discover your purpose.  Know who you are, whom and what you care about deeply and lead from that awareness.
  2. Raise your voice. Get past your fears, especially of criticism from others, polish up your communications skills and share your vision.
  3. Break the rules.  Doyle says that women leaders break the rules, but they do that with skill and knowledge.  
  4. Claim power.  Don't wait for someone to give you power.  You have to claim it.
  5. Drink at dangerous waters. Travel, spend time with diverse people, interact with your rivals and take risks.  According to Doyle, it is in these "dangerous waters" that leadership is forged.
  6. Get back in the saddle.  Welcome and learn from setbacks and keep moving.
  7. Embrace the strength of your "womaninity."  To fully understand this concept, you need to read the book.  But here's the gist:  Effective women leaders don't try to be one of the guys. Rather they "relax into their own skin" and bring to the leadership table their unique skills and strengths. They often approach things differently than the guys would, but are equally or more effective. 

Law School Grads - Do You Need Help Looking For A Law Firm Job?

We are now offering one on one coaching for law school graduates and young associate attorneys looking for work in the law firm job market. I guarantee you will be pleased with the improvement in your job search.

Over the last few months I have had many conversations with young attorneys and soon to be graduates worried over employment prospects.  They had a common complaint - law school placement offices were not providing them with the nuts and bolts skills they needed to find a job.  I found that in a few phone calls or meetings in my office, my candidates learned how to find opportunities where there didn't appear to be any.

I can do this for anyone.  I guarantee you will be satisfied with the progress you make in your job search.  Program includes an initial evaluation of your current approach, resume, and profiles, and guidance to improve each area, followed up with monitoring and review.  And you have access by email or phone for any questions or issues that arise.  If you don't find work in six months using the strategies and systems we will develop together, I will give you your money back.  If I find you a job and get paid a commission on your placement, I will refund your coaching fee.  No worries.  No questions.

Coaching is in person if you are in metro Chicago, over the phone if  you are anywhere else, and by email anytime you need it.  I monitor your online profiles, I review your resume and cover letters, and I help with whatever issues you come up with.  I even help prepare you for interviews if you need it.

Call me or email - 312-283-4399 or 

Is There A Solution To The Glass Ceiling? For Mothers?

Alex Brandon/Associated Press (from New York Times website)

Here is a thoughtful article from August 2010 in the New York Times discussing the competitive disadvantages faced by working mothers.  A Labor Market Punishing To Mothers.  The author uses the recent nominees to the United States Supreme Court as the subject of comparison.  The last three women vs. the last three men.  All well educated, professionally successful.  On paper, little distinguishes each from the other, male or female.  But just past the surface detail, there is a striking difference.  The male nominees were fathers.  The female nominees were not mothers. 

Here is an excerpt of the discussion:

Yet once you look beyond the tidy comparisons of supposedly identical men and women, the picture is much less sunny. There are still only 15 Fortune 500 companies with a female chief executive. Men dominate the next rungs of management in most fields, too. Over all, full-time female workers make a whopping 23 percent less on average than full-time male workers.

What’s going on? Men and women are not identical, of course. Many more women take time off from work. Many more women work part time at some point in their careers. Many more women can’t get to work early or stay late.

And our economy exacts a terribly steep price for any time away from work — in both pay and promotions. People often cannot just pick up where they have left off. Entire career paths are closed off. The hit to earnings is permanent.

In order to rise to an equal position with their male counterparts, each recent female nominee sidestepped motherhood.  Is that the solution to breaking the glass ceiling?  Is there any other way to break it? 

Emails To Young Associate Attorney Who Asked For Help With Job Search - part two

Here is a second excerpt from emails I exchanged with a young associate attorney who was looking for some help with his job search.

In response to my original email suggesting that he reach out to experienced attorneys in the specific practice areas he was familiar with to introduce himself and get feedback, he complained that he already tried that and it didn't seem to work for him.  And that may be true for him.  But what are the alternatives? 

Then you should do the resume and cover letter approach, seeking lunches and connections.  Send out at least 50 a week.  Target small firms and solo practitioners.  Do it on a regular systematic basis.  Keep track of who you send to.  

Find your target audience in or the magazine, or on Martindale Hubbell.  ILSL11 Search by practice area and size of firm.  There are many attorneys, maybe as many as several thousand, in this pool in metro Chicago.  Build a database by cutting and pasting from online resources.  Track who you reached out to, who responded.  And follow up with those who responded as appropriate.

It is almost a guarantee that you will get responses, and invites to lunch, or other suggestions.  We like it when younger folks reach out and ask us for advice.  It’s just human nature. 

Worst case is you meet people and learn about different practices. Best case is somebody likes you and introduces you to a firm or a company that could use your services.  

You might also think about building your own practice as a solo - that is the route most of the folks in your position end up taking.  Pick a niche, learn it, meet the people in it, and start telling people you are doing it.  Seriously, there are thousands of associates in your shoes in this region, looking for the same positions.  Make yourself different by being different.

Have You Used Infographics In A Resume?

Here is a post from two years ago that I was reminded of last night on LinkedIn.  Wouldn't it be interesting if we could start laying our experience out in information graphics instead of Word documents?  Not really a practical solution for lawyers or other professionals, yet.  But, what if? 

Here are a couple examples from Fast Company Magazine - Infographic of the Day and Patrick Debois - Building a Visual Resume :




Emails To Young Associate Attorney Who Asked For Help With Job Search - part one

The next couple posts will contain excerpts from a couple emails I recently exchanged with a young associate attorney in Chicago who was looking for help with his job search.  Since there are probably tens of thousands of attorneys in his position across the country, I thought it might be helpful to post these here.

First, revise your resume to eliminate all references to job related things that are not practicing law.  In particular, edit down the experience parts to eliminate all passive and non-lawyer sounding actions - like administering or or conducting or preparing.  Make those active and strong - like maybe just delete that first word from most lines and see what you think.  You should think it is active and strong.  If you don't, no one else will. 

Maybe make the experience just a list of the things, not the actions.  Consider paring down the bullet points to fewer in number.  Consider eliminating one or more of your positions, especially if they are near in time or short in duration.  Maybe use year to year instead of specific date to date if you eliminate jobs.  That way there won't be gaps in time in your jobs.

The resume should be a highlight reel that captures a firm's interest.  A lot of associates include everything to paint a broad and deep experience picture.  Instead it ends up looking unfocused and fuzzy.  You can sharpen your presentation a lot by deletion.  Try it and see what you think.

Then I would add to your college and law school.  What did you do then that made you different?  Chorus?  Soccer?  ROTC?  Habitat for Humanity?  Church organization?  Leadership roles?  Volunteer experience?  Again, think highlight reel.

It's Never Too Late To Do What You Want To Do

Grandpa facebook march 15Grandpa tweets march 15My son's grandfather, Dan Pater, just launched a new business.  He is in his 60s.  After one career as an officer in the air force, and a second career selling for and then managing a residential real estate office for Russell & Jeffcoat in Columbia, SC. 

His new business is Midlands Estate Sales.  Website is under construction.  Facebook page is up.  He and his partner have been in real estate for many years, and have connections all over the Columbia area.  That business is going to kick butt.

Why Asking For A Job Is A Terrible Idea


I keep up with news and industry information by and large through my twitter and facebook feeds, and by the blog posts that arrive in my email each day.  I follow a lot of writers and columnists, and they frequently point me to events and issues that are getting talked about.  One of the industry groups I follow is PR.

Today I came across the blog of Buchanan Public Relations.  What caught my attention was the group of posts relating to recruiting and hiring.

Here is a good one on the best way to look for a new job - Why asking for a job is the worst.  The March 10 post - "Why you will never get hired at our PR firm" is pretty good too.  

The writers of this blog have a fresh way of looking at hiring, one that resonates across industries.  It is worth sharing these ideas with those in your world who are looking for work.

4 Things Female Associates Need To Know Up Front

From the June 9, 2010 Texas Lawyer magazine, here is a really nice article by Kathleen J. Wu on things every new female law school grad needs to know.  [go to article here]  Wu's points are as valuable for most young female associates as they are for new grads.  The most important one in my experience - Own your future.  Seriously.  If you don't own it, who does?

Wu's 4 points:

1.  Be grateful for this bad economy - it will make you more nimble and will make you appreciate the good times.

2.  Get real about balance.  It's a great concept, but not the easiest thing to implement.

3.  Own your future.

4.  Advocate for yourself - don't sell yourself short.

How Passionate Are You About What You Are Doing? - from Seth's Blog

As you may know by now, I am a big fan of passion in one's work.  I try to bring that to my own world and share that with anyone who will listen. 

I saw this article (Manifesto In Defense Of Raising Money  by Sasha Dichter) today in a blog post by Seth Godin, where he was introducing his new book Poke The Box.  I was drawn to the article by the suggestion that Dichter had written a provocative manifesto for non-profits.

Wow!  That is almost an understatement.  Dichter's article is a passionate embrace of raising money.  Why he does it.  Why it matters.  Seriously, this is a good read.  Read it to feel the guy's passion for what he does.  Read it to justify your pitch for fundraising when you are on the committee in charge of it.  Read it to understand the call from the non-profit representative who wants your donation.  [Download Manifesto In Defense Of Raising MoneyDichter's blog is a pretty good read too, if you are interested.]

But even more, read it to spend a moment with a guy who really loves what he is doing. 

Here is his view on the huge fundraising success behind the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation:

Breast cancer has an unbelievable level of awareness in the United States, definitely ahead of all other cancers. Yet breast cancer is actually the 5th leading cause of cancer death in the United States, behind lung, stomach, liver and colon cancer.  So why does it get the most attention and the most funding?

It’s because of Nancy Brinker.  Nancy’s older sister Susan Komen died of breast cancer in 1980, at the age of 36, three years after being diagnosed with breast cancer. In her sister’s memory, Nancy Brinker created the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, which has since raised $1 billion for breast cancer research, education and health services – and promised to raise another $2 billion in the next decade. Breast cancer research is the best‐funded of all cancers, and that is because of Nancy Brinker’s leadership. Nancy decided that fighting breast cancer was worth fighting for. Because of her efforts, drastically more resources (public and private) are in play to find a cure.

This is not about competition for resources, this is about increasing the size of the pie.

We’ve seen an unprecedented growth in global wealth in the last two decades: there are currently 95,000 ultra‐high net worth individuals in the world – people with $30 million or more of investable assets.4 On top of that, there are more than $60 trillion worth of investment assets in the market today, with an increasing amount of this money thinking more long‐term about the big problems facing the world: energy and water scarcity, greenhouse gases, global commodity shortages, healthcare and education delivery, poverty alleviation…you name it.

The allocation of these resources matters.

What do you do when an opportunity you were counting on falls through? After waiting for it for 4 months? After waiting three months for a start date from when the opportunity was originally offered?

Move on to plan B. Next! Recalibrate. Re-educate. Prepare for the next opportunity. And go find it.

Even if your still disappointed. Move on.