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Prioritizing Your Search

March 22, 2017 | Posted in Advice, Career Corner Column, Job Search, Media | By

When you’re truly unhappy in your current job, a new one can’t get here fast enough. Having to drag yourself to the office each day can be the worst. When you’re caught up in the emotion of it all, you begin to wonder why you don’t have a new job yet. Is it a problem with your resume, your cover letter, or your LinkedIn? Panic and frustration begins to set in as each day goes by.

But, sometimes it’s none of those things at all. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of time. What I mean by this is, it’s easy to get swept up in our everyday responsibilities. Whether it’s a current job, children, a side project, or social commitments, there’s always something pressing to do. The job search gets pushed to the side, like a treadmill bought with the best intensions that’s gathering dust in the corner.

The problem is, just like physical health, your dream job will rarely find you without some real work. It’s possible that a so-so job that pays almost enough will fall into your lap. But, with that job, there’s no guarantee that it will actually be better than the one you have now. That high paying promotion you’ve been dreaming of will not be found easily. Those jobs are harder to find and to get. They require treating the process of getting a job like its own job.

Believe me, I wish there was an easier way. But, for the most part, elbow grease is the only answer. Making your job search the most important thing you’re doing will move it forward faster.

Don’t get me wrong, I strongly believe that preexisting commitments, such as family, should take top billing. It’s the right decision and one that I truly respect. But, the higher you can prioritize your search and the more time you’re able to pour into it, the faster things will come together.

Start by deciding how many hours each week you’d like to work on your search. Then, picture when would be the best time to put in those hours. Are mornings easier for you? Is right after work the best? Or, is Sunday afternoon ideal? Whatever time you select, hold yourself to it. Let your family know that you’re going to need a little extra time to focus on your search. Consider tracking your progress in a spreadsheet or on a calendar.

As I write this, I’m reminded that prioritizing your search is in reality a lot like prioritizing yourself, and your own happiness. It’s making time for your future goals. It’s making time for your future self. It’s a way of saying that you will not wait until your current job is so miserable that you can’t stand it anymore. You won’t wait for another tiny raise or a nonexistent promotion. You’re ready to take your search into your own hands because it’s a priority for you. Only then will you find what you’ve been hoping and searching for.

Angela Copeland is CEO and founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

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Waiting for permission isn’t working

March 15, 2017 | Posted in Advice, Career Corner Column, Media | By

Today’s job market is tough. If you’re trying to find a new job, or to get a promotion at your current job, you can probably relate. One of the most frustrating things, if not the most frustrating, is when your current boss is overlooking you.

Perhaps the boss has created a new role that would be perfect for you. You’ve been with the organization for five years and this job is a step up from what you’re doing today. You’re committed to the company, and plan to be there for a while – maybe even until retirement. The new role is an obvious progression to anyone but your boss. The boss is too busy trying to scour the earth for the perfect candidate, when the best person is right under their nose. Even after you’ve pitched your idea, they aren’t interested.

I’ve got to be honest. I don’t have much patience for this waiting game. If you’re good at what you do, and you’re doing your best, it’s time to consider moving on if your boss is unwilling or unable to recognize you. The exact reason why this is happening isn’t the most important thing. Your boss may be judging you on something unrelated to your job, they may not picture you as an ambitious person, or there may be some other reason unrelated to you.

Rather than try to fix a broken situation, why not refocus your energy? If this boss doesn’t appreciate you, there’s most likely someone else out there who will. Why not try to find them?

The truth is, many companies don’t value their existing employees as much as we all wish they would. The high turnover companies experience could contribute to this. And, the competitive environment we’re in doesn’t help either. The companies aren’t all to blame, but it doesn’t really help you as an individual either way. Why not try to find a company and a boss that values their employees?

I know it can be hard, especially if you were planning to stay at a company for the long haul. Switching companies can feel like failure. It can feel like a loss – a big one. I’m with you.

But, think of how you might feel if you did find a better situation, a better boss, and a better company. I’ve never met someone who’s made a positive switch and then said, “Man, if only I’d stuck around a little longer to see if I could have gotten my boss to like me.” Instead, each person says, “I’m so glad I made that change” or “Wow! I wish I’d had the courage to change jobs sooner. I don’t know why I waited so long.”

I get it. Changing companies wasn’t on your plan. But, neither was waiting to be told you’re good enough. Let me put it this way: If switching companies also meant more money and a better title, would you give it a shot? You will never know until you try.

Angela Copeland is CEO and founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

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Where are you getting stuck

March 8, 2017 | Posted in Advice, Career Corner Column, Networking, Resume Writing | By

Whenever I meet with a new job seeker, I always ask the same question. “Where are you getting stuck in your search?” It sounds like a simple question, but it can shed quite a bit of light into what’s going on.

One of the top struggles is having a resume that isn’t well put together. Very often, the job seeker wonders what about their resume the hiring manager didn’t like. They spend hours combing over the details, refining each word, trying to craft the perfect resume.

The way the job seeker presents themselves to a hiring manager on their resume does have a big impact on their results. First impressions really are important. For example, a typo in a resume can cause a hiring manager to automatically throw out a resume. The resume is a valid concern that really can impact job search results.

Although I believe this wholeheartedly, I reflect back on a friend. No kidding – he has a six-page resume. Have you ever heard of that being a good idea? On a number of occasions, I’ve volunteered to help him rewrite his resume.

But, can you guess what happens? Yep. Every time I start to reconstruct his resume, he lands a new job. And, not just any old job – he lands a great job, at a great company. It’s happened so many times that I finally gave up on the long resume.

So, why is it that someone with a six-page resume isn’t getting stuck in their job search? It’s a great question, and it isn’t as straightforward as it may seem. First, my friend has developed a specialized skillset. He’s focused on being the best at one particular thing. So, when a hiring manager is in need of this particular skill, he’s someone they think of.

But, what he’s also done that’s just as important, if not more so – he’s always working to build and grow his personal professional network.

He takes the time to get to know the people he works with. In fact, I first met him at work, many years ago.
He spends time with colleagues. He meets their families. And, he flies around the world when they get married, just because he cares about them. On top of doing a good job at work, he does a great job outside of work, and people remember that.

Most of all, he doesn’t rely on the internet to find his next job. He’s built up his contacts over the years. If he wants to find something new, he will reach out to the people he knows in the industry. They know him. They trust him. And, they want him to work for them.

What’s he’s doing is that he’s playing a different game than everyone else. He’s taken his job search offline. It’s a people game, rather than an internet game. Instead of optimizing his resume, he’s optimizing his professional network. And, it’s working!

Now, if only I could get my hands on that resume…

Angela Copeland is CEO and founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

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The Golden Rule

March 1, 2017 | Posted in Advice, Career Corner Column, E-mail, Media, Respect | By

Have you ever gotten an email from someone that you just want to ignore? Perhaps it’s from a vendor you work with that wants to tell you about a new product they’re selling. The email provides no immediate value for you. There’s nothing you can do about it right now, and frankly, you’re busy. You’re so far up to your eyeballs in reports that you can barely breathe. We’ve all been there. I can definitely relate. The easiest thing to do is often to ignore the email.

Now, think back to how you landed your last job, or maybe the one before. Chances are good that you found it not by applying online, but through a professional contact. There’s a good chance that you previously worked with that person, either directly or indirectly.

It’s extremely common to be recruited by an outside company you do business with – either your customer, or your supplier. After working with you, a company has a chance to see you up close. They know just how professional you are, and how devoted you are to your craft.

But, this will only happen if you treat those around you with a certain level of respect. Taking a moment to let someone know you’ve received their email can mean the world, even if you’re not able to fulfill their request. I’m not suggesting that you say yes to everyone. And, I’m certainly not suggesting you respond to things that are clearly spam. You don’t have time for that.

But, do take the time to value those around you – even on the days when they’re asking for something rather than offering something. For example, if someone is asking for a meeting that you would normally be open to, but are just too busy to take, send an email letting them know you’ve received their message and would like to meet, but are swamped for the next few weeks. Most everyone understands the concept of being busy at work. Or, if a person is asking for your help with something that you really can’t do right now due to existing commitments, be honest and up front.

The most difficult scenario is when you don’t respond at all. When you ignore an email, it doesn’t just tell the person that you’re busy. It tells them that they’re not important. It says that you’ll only respond if you’re getting something out of the deal. And, it says that you may not be as professional as they thought.

When you’ve been with one company for a number of years, this can begin to seem normal. You want to be efficient and use your time in the best way. But, sometimes something unexpected can happen. Your company may lay off an entire division. If you’ve focused all of your attention on internal folks, while not nurturing outside relationships, you may struggle more to find something new.

It goes back to the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Angela Copeland is CEO and founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

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Unreasonable Interview Expectations

February 22, 2017 | Posted in Advice, Career Corner Column, Interviewing, Media | By

Sometimes, interviews can be the worst. I mean, truly. Doesn’t the hiring manager realize that you have a job, life, spouse, children, and existing commitments?

You spend months and months trying to get your foot in the door for a job interview. You spend all your time filling out applications and updating your resume. You call your references, and update your LinkedIn and Facebook accounts.

Then you wait, and wait, and wait.

Until one afternoon, a recruiter calls you. They came across your resume and they have a few questions that they’d like to ask you – today. Suddenly, you’re in a whirlwind of interviews. It’s like interview hell.

Not only do you already have plans, but now you have to cancel those plans and secretly make new plans to sneak out of work. You have to figure out how to wear a suit to your job, without anyone noticing that you’re dressed up.

The hiring manager often wants to speak with you on the phone first – almost immediately. And, then they want you to come in person a few days later, for hours. They’re in a hurry after all.

So, what can you do? Well, honestly, you can push out the interview a few days. Heck, they will probably even meet with you next week. It would certainly be more convenient if you could keep your current commitments and interview a few days later.

Unfortunately, this strategy can cause you problems in the long run you may not have considered. The thing is, even though the hiring manager’s expectations are unreasonable, they’re the decision maker. And, they will often pick the first good person – rather than wait around for the very best person. Plus, even if you are the best – if you aren’t excited about the role – they will assume you aren’t really interested.

I once had a job interview that included building an entire website to showcase my programming skills. At the same time, I was scheduled to be an extra in a movie. So, I politely asked the hiring manager if the website could be turned in just a few days later, to allow me to do both. He was completely understanding.

Seems reasonable, right? Well, I built the website and turned it in on time. I worked hard on it, and was very proud of my accomplishment. The hiring manager responded to me with something along the lines of, “Thanks! This is really great. It’s even better than the website made by the person we gave the job offer to.”

Holy cow! Can you believe it? After agreeing to let me finish building a website from scratch just a few days later, the hiring manager hired someone – who wasn’t me!

I could go on about this, and how unreasonable hiring managers are. But, the truth is, they’re like your customer. And, the customer’s always right – even when they’re not. You’ve just got to decide what’s more important to you – getting the job, or keeping your plans.

Angela Copeland is CEO and founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

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