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The Power of Punctuation

Your words are an incredibly powerful business tool that you use each and every day. This is especially true during your job search. Not surprisingly, the punctuation around those words can be just as important as the words themselves.

You may have heard me preach before about the space that appears after a period at the end of a sentence. Did you know that it’s now unacceptable to include two spaces after a period? The new standard is one space after the period. If you’re like me, your teachers engrained double spacing in you as if your entire future depended on it. You can’t imagine a world with one space after a period.

To make matters worse, when the standard changed to one space, no memo was sent around. Unfortunately, those who were taught to use one space judge the double spacers. It’s assumed that a lack of intelligence must be to blame. This feeling is confirmed in an article I recently read titled, “For the Love of God, Stop Putting Two Spaces After a Period.” Now, that’s passion. Don’t you think?

I learned this single spacing lesson the hard way, from the kind editors who review my column each week. The editor of my book had also shared the feedback with me, but I was so certain about the double space that I ignored this advice until I heard it multiple times. It still surprises me how much these small details influence the reader’s interpretation of the overall message.

On top of spaces, there are other punctuation marks that should be used carefully. The most important is the exclamation point! If you use an exclamation point at all in business emails, try to keep them to a maximum of one to two per email. It’s possible to show excitement through your writing without an overuse of this mark. Using too many will make you appear overly eager, immature, or as if you’re yelling.

Keep smiley faces and other emoji-like characters out of work emails completely if possible. These are best used between friends. Using them at work can make you appear unprofessional at best.

So, which punctuation marks should you use? The most used punctuation mark is the period. Other marks that can be mixed in are the question mark, the comma, the colon, and the semicolon. These marks will help you to express your thoughts in an even, business-like way.

Writing an effective business email is truly an art. It takes time and practice to come across clearly and concisely on a computer screen. Using punctuation to your advantage is the very first step to getting there. In fact, the better your communication is at work, the more likely you are to move your ideas forward. And, the more you’re able to champion your own ideas, the more you’ll find that the doors to your career open. Although punctuation can seem like a silly detail, it’s something that’s relatively easy to improve and that will leave a lasting impact.

Angela Copeland is a Career Coach and Founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

148 | Boomer Career Reinvention – John Tarnoff, Reinvention Group

Episode 148 is live! This week, we talk to John Tarnoff in Los Angeles, CA.

John is a reinvention career coach who works with baby boomer and late career professionals looking to defy ageism, ignore retirement, and pivot to a new job or new business as a second-act or encore career. He is the author of “Boomer Reinvention: How to Create Your Dream Career Over 50.” John also gave a TEDx Talk titled, “The Kids Are Still Alright.”

On today’s episode, John shares:

  • What’s happened that’s impacting baby boomers negatively in the job market, and why it’s so difficult
  • The first step we should take when we’re trying to reinvent ourselves
  • How to reframe a firing and move past it
  • What we should be doing differently when we’re looking for a job
  • What to do if we’re receiving feedback we’re over qualified
  • How to overcome ageism
  • The biggest mistake Baby Boomers are making when job searching, and what they can do to fix it

Listen and learn more! You can play the podcast here, or download it on iTunes or Stitcher.

To learn more about John, check out his website at http://johntarnoff.com/. You can also find John on social media here:

  • facebook.com/boomerreinvention
  • twitter.com/johntarnoff
  • linkedin.com/in/johntarnoff

Thanks to everyone for listening! And, thank you to those who sent me questions. You can send your questions to Angela@CopelandCoaching.com. You can also send me questions via Twitter. I’m @CopelandCoach. And, on Facebook, I am Copeland Coaching.

Don’t forget to help me out. Subscribe on iTunes and leave me a review!

You’re not the boss of me!


Happy National Boss’ Day!

In celebration of this *special* day, I have an important question. Who’s the boss of you?

I hope your answer is YOU. You’re the person who decides which risks to take. You’re the one who decides how far up the corporate ladder you want to climb.

In today’s era of ever changing careers, your own impact cannot be overstated. So, on this National Boss’ Day, I hope you’ll take a little time to think about what you want to do to better manage your own career.

Do you hope to take a continuing education class?

Do you want to volunteer to work on a new project?

Do you want to be more disciplined at work?

Do you want to take more time to network?

Do you want to update your resume and your LinkedIn profile?

Whatever your goals, don’t sit back and wait for someone else to tap you on the shoulder.

I recently interviewed Dr. Shirley Raines, the former President of the University of Memphis. Dr. Raines shared with me her own personal transformation. She went from waiting for someone to tell her she should try a new job — to asking for jobs she wanted. Although this change feels difficult, it can also be very straight-forward. To hear my entire interview with Dr. Raines, check out my interview with her on iTunes or on my website.

Shifting your mindset just a little on this issue is a game changer.

Now, this doesn’t discount the importance of your supervisor at work. They are the person who hires and fires. They will provide your future recommendation for your next job.

So, when you are searching for a new job, don’t just search for work. Look for leadership. A lack of leadership can change your career in a direction you may have never imagined.

But again, nothing substitutes for taking ownership over your own experience —   your own future — your destiny.

I hope on this National Boss’ Day, you will decide that you’re the boss of you — whether you are self-employed, or whether a corporation cuts your paycheck.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

LinkedIn’s Latest HR Tool: Talent Insights

The hiring landscape is continuously being reshaped by the internet and the increasing data available to employers. On October 4th in Nashville, Tennessee, LinkedIn.com unveiled their latest human resources product offering: LinkedIn Talent Insights. It will most likely impact how you, the job seeker, experiences the hiring process.

Talent Insights is a technology that will be used by the human resources department (and potentially the hiring manager) to better understand employment trends. It allows the human resources manager to pull data on demand, in real-time – in a format that’s easy to digest and is sharable. One goal is to increase collaboration between the hiring manager and company executives, so they may create more effective hiring strategies.

Eric Owski, Head of Product at LinkedIn, explained that LinkedIn developed the Talent Insights product using data from its over 530M members, representing 18K companies, 29K schools, and 50K skills.

LinkedIn will offer two reports. One shares data around the available talent pool, and one shares company data.

Here’s a window into how the talent pool portion of the product might work. If a hiring manager wants to hire a new electrical engineer, they will most likely reach out to human resources for assistance. The hiring manager will have many questions about the competition, and how likely it is that they will find the perfect engineer for the job. The new tool will enable the human resources manager to answer a number of questions for the hiring manager, including:

  • The number of electrical engineers located nearby
  • The number of electrical engineers who changed jobs recently
  • The number of job openings for electrical engineers nearby
  • How challenging it is to hire for electrical engineers

The company report within Talent Insights will provide the ability to benchmark a company’s competitors. It will allow the human resources team to research information including how many people are coming and going from a particular company. It will also provide a look into the skills the employees at a company have, and from which universities competitors’ recruit talent.

This type of data will have positive impacts on the hiring manager, human resources department, and the company overall. It will help employers to locate top talent outside of their local area. These insights may even encourage companies to adopt more flexible work environments (in order to recruit the best and brightest).

As a job seeker, these changes will likely create a ripple effect that will impact you. It may be easier for a company to find you – even when you’re not looking for a job. When you’re applying, the company may be more likely to see your resume. Companies may even choose to selectively show you job postings that they don’t show other people.

Although the full impact of these changes is yet to be seen, one thing’s for sure. The internet plays a critical role in today’s job search. Ensure you are using sites like LinkedIn, so you can win at the job search game!

Angela Copeland is a Career Coach and Founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

Are you married, do you have children, and do you plan to have children anytime soon?

What’s the most unusual question you’ve been asked in an interview? In theory, the answer to this question should be a challenging question about your work. But, theory and reality don’t always line up.

What would you say if I told you I was once asked, “Are you married?” What if I told you I was also asked, “Do you have children?” And, what would you say if I told you I was also asked, “Do you plan to have children anytime soon?”

The first thing you may be thinking is…. “Angela, is this a joke? Surely nobody asked you these questions. They’re obviously ILLEGAL and INAPPROPRIATE! Nobody would ask these questions.

Well, if you guessed that, you would be wrong. Not only was I asked all three of these questions, but I was asked all three of these questions in ONE job interview.

You might assume that the person who asked me the questions was junior in their career. I mean, these are the kinds of things HR is supposed to brief hiring managers on, right? Wrong. The hiring manager who asked me these questions was a C-level executive at a very well known company. If I were to name the company, you’d know it. You’ve probably spent money with them before.

So, what can you about this sort of thing? Well, the first is, don’t be part of the problem. It’s obvious, but when you’re hiring, be sure to brush up on which questions you can and can’t ask candidates. To be honest, some are less obvious than you might think.

If you’re interviewing for a job and you’re asked these questions, it’s really up to you. You can answer the questions in a straight forward way, you can be direct and tell the hiring manager that the questions are illegal, or you can sidestep the questions completely.

Nobody would blame you for any reaction. You wouldn’t have blamed me if I had gotten up and left the interview, would you?

What I did may surprise you…

I answered the questions directly. Then, I made a mental note that I would not want to work for someone who was so disrespectful — and who so openly was willing to break the law by asking these questions.

If you’re asked illegal questions, just be prepared for how you might want to answer them. Remember that there’s no right way. It’s whatever you feel most comfortable with.

If you’re looking for more information on sticky legal situations that can arise during your job search, check out my podcast with employment law attorney Chip Cavagnaro.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

Freedom at Work

One of the worst feelings you can feel at work is trapped with no way out. I meet professionals every day who feel chained to their job. They are very often in unhealthy situations that make them miserable each and every day. Some have an abusive boss. Others work for a company they no longer believe in. But, because they rely on the income, they’re stuck. It feels like a dead end road with no way out. It can be stressful and emotional.

I empathize so much with this experience. Feeling trapped at work can feel demoralizing. It gives you a sense of helplessness and hopelessness. It increases your stress and decreases the quality of your work. But, there are steps you can take to begin to regain your independence and your sanity.

It may sound counterintuitive, but the very first step to freedom is to avoid quitting your current job if possible. Of course, this doesn’t apply if you are in a truly abusive environment. But, if your office is tolerable, try to stick with it until you have another job. The old adage that “it’s easier to find a job when you have a job” is true. And, if you’re out of work and struggling financially because you quit, you’re more likely to accept another dysfunctional job to replace the income. You already have one job you hate. You don’t need two.

Second, take the time to set up a budget for yourself. Make a point to try to live below your means. Revisit it each month to track your progress. This isn’t always possible, but if you are able to keep your expenses low, you will be less dependent on your current income. Then, if you do lose your job unexpectedly or do need to quit, you will have more time to find another job– and more flexibility in your job choice. Because you won’t be tied to a high level of income, you’ll have more choices in future jobs.

Make every attempt at creating an emergency fund for yourself. This goal can be tricky, but even a small amount of money added each month can add up. Emergencies are an unavoidable part of life. If you’re ready for them, you are much less reliant on your day-to-day paycheck.

Although these suggestions may seem small, it’s amazing how much mental and emotional freedom they can give you. Knowing that you are in control of your future makes a bad job feel less like a chore. Knowing you would be okay if your company went out of business gives you just a little extra breathing room.

So, while you are taking care of things at work, be sure to also take care of them at home. You will be amazed at how much better you’ll feel knowing you have a backup plan. In the end, giving yourself the mental peace of mind and freedom that comes with it is worth so much more than any fancy lifestyle.

Angela Copeland is a Career Coach and Founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

September Recap: It’s been an exciting month! Be sure you don’t miss a minute.

I hope your October is off to a fantastic start! This September was the most exciting one on record. It’s been an honor to be involved in so many things that help job seekers! In case you missed it, here are the highlights from September. I hope you enjoy them!

Will your job be taken over by robots?

According to a new study by the University of Oxford, your job may be impacted by automation. In fact, the study shows that 47% of U.S. jobs are likely to be impacted! I recently visited Live @ 9 on WREG News Channel 3 to discuss the findings. To watch the interview, and to learn whether or not your job is at risk, check it out here.

 


15 Perks That Benefit Both Employees And Your Company

Company perks and benefits can make all the difference for employees, especially creative or particularly valuable ones. The opportunity to continue education, do volunteer work, get local discounts or even participate in a forum to share personal interests is a powerful draw. It helps your company’s community and creates a broader sense of who’s sitting around you, or in other departments, rather than just a half-remembered name and a face. Check out this article on Forbes to find out which perks I think every company should offer.


Your Working Life Podcast

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Caroline Dowd-Higgins on her podcast “Your Working Life.” We discussed tips for networking, LinkedIn, and career reinvention. We also talked about my book, Breaking The Rules & Getting The Job. You can listen to the entire episode here on iTunes.



7 Tricks to Transform Your Personal Brand After Unemployment

If you’re unemployed, your number one focus is probably on finding a job. Why, you might think, should you even bother thinking about your “personal brand” at a time like this? Well, “when it comes to job searching, personal brand is everything!” says Career Coach Angela Copeland. If you’re going to find a job, you want to project your best self, which is what your personal brand is all about. Read more tips on transforming your personal brand after unemployment here.



Episode 144 | Social Media Career – Austin Graff, The Washington Post

In Episode 144 of the Copeland Coaching Podcast, we talk with Austin Graff in Washington, DC. Austin is the Talent Marketing and Branding Specialist for The Washington Post. Austin shares his tips for starting a career in social media, and how to find a company that aligns to your personal values. Austin also shares his thoughts on being on the other side of the hiring table, as he manages The Post’s talent branding and messaging strategy. Check out the entire episode with Austin here.



What can you offer us that someone else cannot?

I recently had the opportunity to write my first piece for LiveCareer. Here’s a preview! When an interviewer asks you what you have to offer that no one else does, don’t panic. It’s not a test. This is a common interview question. A very common interview question. And since it’s so common, it’s one you can prepare an answer for way in advance. Check out my entire article to get tips on how to best answer this common question.



Episode 147 | Dr. Shirley Raines, University of Memphis

On Episode 147 of the Copeland Coaching Podcast, we talk with Dr. Shirley Raines in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Dr. Raines was the first woman President of the University of Memphis, and successfully served for 12 years. We discuss how to succeed in your job search when you’re different than the competition, how to reinvent yourself, and how parents can help adult children with their job search. Dr. Raines also answers your listener questions! Click here to listen to the entire episode with Dr. Raines.


I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

Always take the first interview

Have you ever received a call from a headhunter or recruiter out of the blue? Sometimes, they’ll call your work phone and leave a voicemail you weren’t expecting. They’re recruiting for a new position. It’s one you haven’t heard about, but they want to speak to you. You don’t even know how they got your name, or your phone number. The recruiter says, “I have a new position I’m trying to fill. I wanted to reach out to see if you know anyone who might be interested.”

It’s always a strange call to receive because it’s such a surprise. If you’re like many people, you may start to run through the list of your friends ‘might be interested.’ But, here’s the thing. When the headhunter asks if you know someone who might be interested, they’re really asking if you might be interested. It’s a polite way of asking if you would want to be interviewed for the job. They only want to know if you have a friend if you aren’t interested.

Once you realize the real question, you’ll probably try to decide which response you want to give. You may initially want to say you aren’t interested. You aren’t looking for a job right now. Things are just fine at work. Or, if you are looking, you may want to say no because you don’t have enough information. You haven’t seen a job description. You don’t know how much the job pays or where it’s located. You don’t know much about the company.

But, when you aren’t looking for a job can often be the perfect time to find one. It means that things at your current job are probably going pretty well. And, if that’s the case, you’ll have more leverage if you do land a job offer. You won’t feel pressured to take something that’s not the right fit if you have a job that’s going just fine.

Still not sure if the job is for you? The best way to find out is to have the interview. When the recruiter asks if you know anyone, let them know that you would like to learn more. You would be interested to speak with the hiring manager. Then, before you interview, ask for the job description and research the company. During the interview, ask questions to learn more.

Very often, job seekers tell me that they don’t want to waste the company’s time. If the job didn’t end up being the right fit, they would feel guilty. But, why? The company will interview many candidates who won’t end up being the right fit. But, they wouldn’t know who to hire if they didn’t interview them. How is going to an interview any different? And, how will you know whether or not a job is for you if you don’t learn more?

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever heard is this: “Always take the first interview.” You really never know where it might lead you.

Angela Copeland is a Career Coach and Founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

147 | Career Reinvention – Dr. Shirley Raines, University of Memphis

Episode 147 is live! This week, we talk with Dr. Shirley Raines in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Dr. Raines is a speaker, author, and consultant. She was the first woman President of the University of Memphis, and successfully served for 12 years. Dr. Raines began her career as a preschool teacher before becoming a Head Start Director, a founder of a community child center, a teacher educator, a department chair, a dean, a vice-chancellor and then The University of Memphis President. Dr. Raines is the author of 17 books on children’s literature, literacy, creativity and curriculum development.

On today’s episode, Dr. Raines shares:

  • How to succeed at our job search when we’re different than the competition
  • How to make major career change, and reinvent yourself
  • How to take on a job that covers skills outside of your area of expertise
  • How parents can best help their adult children job search
  • And, Dr. Raines answers your listener questions!

Listen and learn more! You can play the podcast here, or download it on iTunes or Stitcher.

To learn more about Dr. Raines, check out her website at https://www.shirleyraines.com/. You can also find her on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/shirley-raines-42929699.

Thanks to everyone for listening! And, thank you to those who sent me questions. You can send your questions to Angela@CopelandCoaching.com. You can also send me questions via Twitter. I’m @CopelandCoach. And, on Facebook, I am Copeland Coaching.

Don’t forget to help me out. Subscribe on iTunes and leave me a review!

Network when you don’t need it

Have you ever had a friend who disappeared a few years ago? The one you never hear from, until they pop up and they need something. I’ll admit it. I’ve been this person before, and it’s a reminder of something not to do.

If you’re like me, the type of person you want to devote your time to helping is the same person you feel appreciates you. They’re someone who takes the time to check on you. They ask about your family and your life. It’s someone you feel like you know well. They know you well. They care about you, and you care about them.

When a friend pops in out of the blue and asks for a favor – they begin to feel like a sales person. You wonder where they’ve been and what their real motive is. You wonder if they’re your real friend, or if your friendship is contingent upon something else.

It leaves a bad taste in your mouth, right? And, chances are good that you aren’t as helpful to that friend as someone who genuinely takes the time to stay in touch with you.

It’s a great reminder to network when you don’t need it. Stay in touch even when you’re not looking for a job. Offer help when you don’t need anything in return.

Someone recently shared the way they’re doing this with me. Each day, they go through their cell phone and pick someone to call at random. On the first day, they pick an A name such as Amanda. On the second day, they pick a B name such as Bob. They call at least one person each day, and they say hello with no motive. If the person isn’t there, they leave a friendly voice message for the person. They rotate through the entire alphabet and start over the next month.

I haven’t tried this method yet, but it sounds like a great way to get started. I know what you’re thinking though. It can be weird to call someone with no appointment – no text message – no email. You’re right – it can be weird. It can also be really normal. The more you reach out to friends for connection, the less surprising it will be when you do.

And, when you do need something, your friends will be more likely to step up. They’ll know that you really need help, and that you’re truly invested in your friendship with them.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

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