3 Game-Changing Tactics to Networking Like a Champ in 2015

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Networking (Net-werk-ing) noun: “A yuppie euphemism for kissing ass in order to get a job or obtain a raise or promotion.”

Regardless of your skills, intelligence, or education, if you are not good at networking you will always earn minimum wage and live in a trailer park.

Or so says Urban Dictionary, anyway.

Sorry, Urban-D, BUT I think you’re sorely mistaken; especially in 2015.

Regardless of how you look at it, networking has developed a bad rap over the years, and most people (especially job-seekers) HATE networking – with a passion.

Why?

For starters, many people who network have NO idea what they’re doing, and it can be painfully awkward in many cases, leaving you with a bad taste in your mouth and the want to run straight out of there. Strike one.

Then, you go to an event with the intent to meet people to try and get some leads that will get you what you want, but you actually only end up meeting this guy, Bob, who so rudely took up all of your time and nearly sucked the life out of you with his outlandish sob stories. But you couldn’t walk away because you felt guilty because Bob probably doesn’t have any other friends, and if you leave he will be sad and want to go home and cry himself to sleep. And you just couldn’t live with that. Strike two.

And lastly, you go to networking events to “network”, but you don’t really have any idea what that actually means nor do you have any idea what you really want to get out of it so you leave with essentially “nothing” and think to yourself, Ugh what a waste. Strike three.

After all the networking yuck-fests you’ve been to, maybe you’re jaded. Maybe you’ve given up on networking all together because it’s not working for you. Or maybe you’ve decided that you’re just awful at networking in person so you’ve decided to do it all on the interwebs. I’ve got news for you, Bub: they’ve got to meet you in person sometime!

SO – how can we save networking and get more out of it in 2015? Listen up!

Be purposeful about it, yo.

If you’re going to spend an hour or two or three at a networking event, take the time to think about how you can best use that time to make things happen. What is your goal in attending the event? Do you want to meet three people with whom you can meet with one on one later and create a partnership with? Or do you just want to go and have a good time for the good-time’s sake?

I don’t care what you want out of it, but at least define it for yourself BEFORE you get there, and be strategic and purposeful in making sure you’re going to meet that goal. If you don’t plan, you plan to fail, folks! The last thing you want to do is leave and wonder why the hell you went in the first place. FAIL.

Go into it with a “giver’s gain” mindset.

Maybe you’ve heard this term, maybe you haven’t, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to get the gist. Go into networking events with the thought of, what can I do to help people while I’m here? What can I offer that will help someone else reach their goals?Not only does giving feel crazy-good, but people like people who want to genuinely help and expect nothing in return.

If you leave that networking event helping even just ONE person get what they want (offering a tip, suggestion, or a connection to one of your colleagues who may be able to help), you can rest assured that the universe will bring it back to you tenfold.

Ask better questions.

This one’s my absolute FAV networking tip. Why? Because what IS networking but asking questions and talking about the answers, right? I mean, our conversations would be SO much more fun and useful if we just asked better questions and got down to the nitty gritty of who people are and what they really want. One of my all-time favorite questions to ask people is, “what’s one passion-project you’re working on right now, and why is that important to you?”

Like, seriously, what better way to get to know who people really are than by asking about a passion project!? (As you can tell, I get excited about this stuff).

We always spend our time asking “So, what do you do?”, (not that that’s a bad question, but I think we can do better than that, ya know?) and many times we don’t get past that question with people. I’ve found, in most cases, what we do as a job/career isn’t really what we love or are passionate about (kind of sad to say, but it’s true). If no one ever asks us, how will we ever get to share the real stuff about ourselves? The stuff that truly matters?

My challenge for you is to ask the better questions. Ask the REAL, important questions and aim to truly learn about the people you meet. Learn what they like. Learn what they need. Learn how you can help. You’ll see that it completely changes how you network and the outcomes you receive from it.

BONUS Tip: Follow up like your mother’s life depended on it. Seriously.

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For the rest of 2015, when it comes to networking, your job is to be purposeful, to give-give-give, and to ask better questions. Oh, and follow up!

Shouldn’t be too hard, should it?

If you’re in need of some serious networking help, you can bet your buns that I’m your gal. I’ve been networking my face off since 2010 (after moving to a brand new city knowing zero people), and I’ve learned a thing or two along the way. Drop me a line, and let me know what your biggest struggles are with networking. OH! And, I share lots of career goodies with my VIP list, so feel free to pop on over towww.daynamariecoaching.com to sign up!

Cheers to you 2015 networking success!

Dayna Mathews, Career & Personal Branding Coach for women at Dayna Marie Coaching, has helped more than 500 people since 2009 on their path to creating a successful career. Not only does Dayna create powerfully branded resumes and coach on interview skills and job-search strategies, but she also helps women figure out what they really want. She gets down deep to help bring forth your true self so you can better personally brand yourself and stand out in the crowd. Dayna is a die-hard LinkedIn junkie, creating profiles that attract the right attention and providing hands-on training to help you get what you want. Dayna is a hockey-obsessed, northern Minnesota native with a love for writing and inspiring women to play the lead role in creating the lives they’ve always wanted.

Find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest too!

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5 Mindsets Only the Most Successful Job-Seekers Have

Back in 2010, I moved to Phoenix from small-town northern Minnesota without a job and without ANY contacts in ANY industries. Smart move? Probably not, but I did it anyway because I wanted to experience life in a new place.

I didn’t really know what I was looking for in a job either. Triple trouble! About a week after moving here, I got a call from a financial company in Scottsdale and figured I’d give it a shot. What I ended up signing up for was a MILLION times less than ideal, but hey, it was something to put on my resume and give me some additional work experience. I had to start somewhere, right?

For 2 months straight, I drove over 40 miles one way and spent 3+ hours in traffic every day to a job that paid me ZERO dollars per hour.

Yep, you read that right.

I just needed to get my first three clients and then I would get paid an hourly wage – a feat I foolishly felt would be easy for me. In order to do that, I attended 4+ networking events, walked into 20+ stores and made 50+ cold calls per week. ALL of which came up with nothing – ZIP, ZILCH, NADA.

Though I would leave work every day exhausted, drained, and feeling like a failure, I still had a smile on my face and retained the utmost faith that everything would work itself out. I believe it was that ONE mindset that got me successfully through that hard time until I found what it was I was meant to find; my first high-paying hourly, benefits-paying job as a Career Advisor at a local non-profit called Arizona Call-A-Teen Youth Resources (ACYR) here in Phoenix.

It’s because of that job that I sit where I sit today, but if I wouldn’t have had that crappy, character-building job (if you would even call it that), there’s no way I would have been introduced to the job at ACYR. In reflecting on my experiences in the job search here in Phoenix, and the experiences of my most successful clients, I’ve found that it’s been mindset that’s gotten me and them through to the successful places we ended up.

So, what are these mindsets, you ask? Welp, here you go!

1. “I will find the job that’s right for me.”

If you don’t believe finding the right job is in your future, it’s WAYYYY less likely for that to come true for you. Seriously, belief in getting what you want makes a world of difference. Just ask anyone who’s read The Secret. If you haven’t read the book and want a taste of what it’s all about, you can watch this video. You won’t regret it.

2. “Everything will work out as it’s supposed to.”

When you choose to see the world in this way, everything that happens in your life just becomes part of the ride; the ride that will lead you to your ultimate destination. With a mindset like this, you can handle anything and get through it successfully, even a job that pays you zero dollars an hour 🙂

3. “I am the solution to a company’s problems.”

Whether you believe it yet or not, YOU are a solution. The skills, experience, knowledge, and education you have equates to solutions for the companies you’re hoping to work for. When you start seeing yourself this way, you feel more empowered. You feel like YOU are in the drivers’ seat being proactive in finding the problem to which you’re the answer.

4. “I am 100% responsible for my success in the job search.”

No, it’s not the economy. No, it’s not that there aren’t any jobs out there. And no, it’s not that you got the wrong degree. You may not be happy with me for saying this, but your success in this life and in the job search is 100% in YOUR hands and no one else’s. If you’ve placed blame on anything other than yourself while job-searching, that’s a mistake, and it isn’t helping. Take a step back and look at how you could be improving. Could you take a class to improve your skills? Could you be more active on LinkedIn? Could you be getting out of the house and meeting people more? Take responsibility for everything in your life, and watch things change for you.

5. “With a positive attitude, I can make any experience a better one.”

If you don’t consider yourself a positive person, I’m not saying that you can’t be successful. There are plenty of successful pessimists out there, I’m sure. BUT I would bet you all the money in the world that if you went around and asked 100 recruiters what kind of person they want to work with, one of those words would be “positive”. There’s a reason for that, folks. Positive people are more fun to be around, more enjoyable to be around, and overall, they just tend to be more successful because of their ability to turn any situation, even the most negative ones, into a more positive, successful one.

Though I’ve had many an opportunity in my life (as I’m sure have you) to have a negative mindset or not see hope in my future, I’ve chosen to keep mindsets that serve me in the highest ways possible. It’s these mindsets that have changed my life and the lives of thousands of others I’ve seen.

Your mindset is powerful. Thoughts turn into actions. Actions turn into habits. Habits turn into life-long behaviors, many of which can be negative if the wrong mindsets are chosen at the start.

Choose wisely, my friends, and you WILL be successful in the end.

Best of luck to you in all you do.

Oh, and Happy Holidays!

~Dayna

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Ps. What other mindsets have worked well for YOU in the job search? I’d love to hear them!

5 Reasons Your Job Sucks (& 5 Ways to Make It Less Sucky)

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(Previously written and posted on my LinkedIn page)

It’s 6am and the alarm goes off.

BEEEP BEEEP BEEEP BEEEEEEEEEEEEP!!!

Ughhhh eff you, alarm. I don’t wanna get uuuuuuup!

If anything even remotely close to the above resembled your thought process this morning, chances are that you’re one of the millions of Americans who hate their job. And it JUST. PLAIN. SUCKS.

I get it.

I’ve been there too, trust me. Any other Sandwich Artists in the house? If you know what a Sandwich Artist is then you know exactly what I’m talking about. Totally not doggin’ on Subway (veggie lovers with avocado sub anyone?), but the job’s not exactly glorious, especially when you leave work, go to the store and realize you wreak of tuna and mayo. But hey, you know what — I had a job and I could pay for stuff, and at 16 that’s really all that mattered.

Alrighty, back to biz. SO — you hate your job, huh?

I believe there are 5 very specific reasons why, and they all involve YOU.

Here are the reasons as well as what you can do improve the situation:

  1. You go to work every day thinking, saying, and posting on social media “my job sucks!”

Well, no crap it sucks, ya Negative Nancy! Your job is what you say it is. If you say your job sucks then it will inevitably continue to suck day in and day out. This isn’t helping your sucky-job status and you can rest assured that your friends are tired of hearing it.

Golden Tip #1: Choose to get up in the morning and say “My job isn’t so bad.” or “I’m lucky to have a job.” or “My job is amazing!” It may seem a little woo woo and unicorn-y at first, but try it and see how it changes how you’re feeling. Make a list of all of the things you DO like about your job, no matter how small, and then focus on those. For those who REALLY want to improve their outlook, make a list of all of the things you wouldn’t be able to have and do if you lost your job tomorrow.

  1. You didn’t do your homework on the company.

A lot of times when you dislike your job, it has more to do with the company itself rather than your actual job. What the company stands for, what industry it’s in, what its mission and values are, what its culture is like…these are all things you may have overlooked when deciding whether or not to take the job.

Golden Tip #2: Assess what it is about your company you dislike. The culture? Your cubey space? The employees? The rules? Whatever it is, answer the question and then ask yourself if there’s anything you can do to improve that. For example: if you really dislike your co-workers and that’s why your job sucks, think of ways you can improve your relationship with your co-workers OR look at options for moving away from them to do you work. If you look for the answers, there are usually strategies to improve the sitch.

  1. It’s not in line with your long-term career goals.

Well, why’d ya take it then?! Jk, I know — we all need to pay bills. This reason is SUUUUPER common among those who hate their jobs, and I understand why. We want to feel like we’re making progress, not taking a step backwards. Just remember, nothing is permanent, and we’re all working toward something bigger than where we’re at now.

Golden Tip #3: Instead of looking at your current job as the Devil, get up tomorrow and think about areas of your company where you could utilize your skills in ways that align with your future job goals. Ask to meet with your supervisor and/or manager to ask if you can switch up or add to your job duties a bit to enhance skills related to your ideal future career. Choose to see potential opportunities in your job and company rather than see only the setbacks.

  1. You don’t get to work on things you actually enjoy.

There will ALWAYS be things we don’t wanna do on the job, so that’s something to be sucked up, BUT if you’re constantly doing things you really dislike doing, it totally sucks. It’s not just about working on projects you like, but getting to use your best skills. When we don’t get to exercise our most natural abilities it’s like slowly starving someone to death. We almost feel like parts of us are…dying. No one’s dying on my watch!

Golden Tip #4: Look at what your daily job duties are and think about potential ways to make doing them more fun. For instance, I’m not a huge fan of pumping out content, but when I do I put in my earbuds and crank my Lil Jon Pandora station cuz’ it makes me feel like a baller (and it gives me an excuse to chair dance). There’s tons of research out there that suggests listening to your fav’ music can make even the most daunting of tasks more enjoyable. Cleaning anyone? Also — look at projects others are doing that you would enjoy, and ask your boss if you can get in on some of that action. It’s all about the ask, people!

  1. You’re working a job you feel is “beneath you”.

Jumping on my soapbox for a minute, here –> That “it’s beneath me” stuff is a load of crap. I hear it ALL THE TIME. Jobs that people won’t take because “I’m way better than that” or “That job can’t afford me.” Seriously, that kind of attitude kind of makes my stomach churn. You’re not above ANY job — I don’t care what level of experience or education you have. A job is a job, and if you have one you should be thankful for the opportunity to learn and grow. Now — on the other side of the coin, I DO understand this mindset, and I’m a firm believer that we deserve to be in jobs that pay us what we’re worth. BUT, you have to realize that these opportunities will come when we’re ready for them; when we’ve put in the (wo)man hours, the work and the sweat to be completely ready and on the mark.

Golden Tip #5: Choose to see your job differently. Don’t look at it as if you’re better than. Accept the job you have for what it’s worth and choose to be proactive in working your a$$ off there, impressing people left and right, leaving the best possible impressions upon your managers, your co-workers, and your customers. If you can do that while working for the job you really want, things will positively shift for you, I promise. It’s all in how you look at it, peeps.

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Just because your job sucks now, doesn’t mean you have to go out and get a new one. Maybe it just means you need to change your perspective and be proactive in changing it. If that’s not the case and your job really does suck and you want to get out as quickly as possible, then do it. Make a plan, stick to it, and make it happen!

Now that you’ve figured the reasons behind why your jobs sucks and gotten to see some crazy-good ways to improve it, I want you to go and make it better for yourself. Getting a better job isn’t rocket science, but keeping the one you have and trying to make it the best it can be is WAY easier if you don’t have the wherewithal to go out and get a new one right now.

BUT If you ARE completely ready to leap out of the job/career you have now and into a career you love, feel free to set up a free consultation with me to chat about your situation and see how I can help. 🙂

And if you’d like to get continuous inspiration and tips, you can head on over to my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages too. I’d love to see you there!

Wishing you a very happy holiday season, my friends!

~Dayna

www.daynamariecoaching.com

How to Land a Job You Love By the End of 2014

So, you’re in a “meh”-level kind of job right now, huh? No worries, I’ve been there, and I know it’s not the most fun thing in the world, but least you’ve got one right?

No, Dayna, I don’t like it, and I want a new one!

I hear you, and that’s why I’m here; to tell you how YOU, yes you, can land a job you love by the end of this year. I know what you’re thinking…That’s only TWO months from now! BUT yes, it can happen, and it can happen for you IF you approach it right. Your approach, especially in this market, is everything, and it can make or break you.

My approach, something I call the “Take the Bull By the Horns & Make It Happen” action plan will “make you” if you use it – starting today. Let’s get to it!

1. Ask yourself what you want & why you want it.

To make sure you don’t take a leap just to end up hating your job again, this is 100% imperative to your long-term success. Asking yourself “what do I really want and why?” is the MOST IMPORTANT step in landing a job you love, hence why it’s #1. Doing this will also help you narrow your search, ensuring that you’re not all over the place.

“All over the place” don’t get jobs they love, so get your act together.

TIP–> In addition to that, be sure you’re keenly aware of the value you bring to potential employers. Make a list of your skills and related accomplishments, and use them as you’re deciding what you want. Bonus: this will also help bolster your confidence level before you dive in to the hunt. Yay!

2. Create a game plan for the job(s) you want & stick to it.

Why do you think football coaches plan out which plays they’ll use BEFORE a game? So they WIN, of course! A game plan will help keep you on track, organized, and headed in the right direction during your hunt.

Here’s what I suggest your game plan look like (modify the order as you see fit):

  • Make a list of 10 or so target companies you’re interested in pursuing based on the answers you come up with in #1. (This one is NOT optional in my book. Seriously.)
  • Optimize your LinkedIn profile to reflect the very best of you. Be sure to include a stellar summary, most relevant jobs, accomplishment statements throughout, media attachments, projects, skills & expertise, recommendations (at least 3 per job), volunteer experiences, awards, published articles and anything else you may have missed while not paying attention to your profile’s greatness. 94% of recruiters (probably even more now) use this tool, so it better look good!
  • Update your resume using relevant keywords, skills, and accomplishment statements and results you’ve produced in your work experiences (current and past) so you’re ready to rock should someone ask for it. You don’t want to leave people hanging when they ask for things, trust me.
  • Make a “Who-Do-I-Know?” list relevant to your companies/ideal jobs list (use LinkedIn for this too!) and keep adding to it as you find more people.
  • Use your resources to FIND people who can connect you if you don’t know anyone offhand (think LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Google); I KNOW you’re smart enough to find them.
  • Reach out to these people to reconnect and ask for advice (AFTER you’ve built a little rapport, of course) on how to best stealthily mosey your way in to these companies. People know stuff, but they can only share it if you ask. Oh, and ask nicely and appropriately, please.) Don’t stop doing this – stay in activity as often as possible and continue to use your mad brainstorming skills to strategically reach out.
  • Find and attend networking events using a targeted, strategic approach (look up attendees beforehand to see who will be there, & do your research), and be sure you have your pitch ready for the important people you “accidentally” bump into on your way to the appetizer table.
  • Keep track of the info you gather – people, companies, tips & tricks, business cards – and continuously synthesize and organize it so you can keep moving forward as strategically as possible during this process.
  • Follow up is EVERYTHING. If you don’t follow up with the people you reconnect with & meet or the jobs and companies you’re prospecting and applying to, you’re gonna miss the boat.

3. Execute your game plan like a champ.

This one’s pretty simple. Do what you say you’re going to. Commit to making this happen for yourself no matter what, no excuses. If you REALLY want a job you love then you’ll do everything you can to make it happen. If not, then you’ll make excuses. It’s really as simple as that. Get up earlier, use your time more wisely, schedule in blocks of time EVERY DAY on your calendar to do this stuff. Promise yourself that you’ll make this happen no matter what.

If you do that and the rest of what I mentioned (perhaps even more than all of that), you’ll have a job you love by the end of 2014, I promise.

Remember: I’m here for you if you have ANY questions – OR if you want guidance and coaching along the way. After all, that IS what I do best.

Cheers to a VERY successful end of 2014 for you!

Live Bold. Play Smart. Get What You Want.

~Dayna

For more fun, feel free to connect with me here on LinkedIn as well as via myFacebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest pages. Gotta love social media, right?

PS. What other tips & tricks do YOU have to share that will help others land a job they love by the end of 2014? I’d LOVE to hear from you in the comments below!

The Insanely Useful Formula for Creating Accomplishment Statements on Your Resume

I can’t even tell you how many times a day I hear “UGHHHH I haaaaate writing resumes! It’s too hard to know what to write!” and “How the heck do I make it sound good?”

And…I get it, I do. It’s tough to know exactly what you should write, what employers and recruiters are looking for and how to write it in a way that actually sounds good; in a way that makes sense.

Lucky for you, I’m kiiiiind of a wordsmith, and am here to save the day!

When it comes to resumes, it’s not just about the tasks you did at your job everyday; it’s about what you accomplished while you were there. For each job you list on your resume, I recommend having at least 2-3 statements illustrating specific examples of what you were able to accomplish in your current and past role(s).

They’re not the easiest buggers to create, but this formula will help!

The formula for creating better accomplishment statements on your resumeis

TA DAAAA! —-> Action verb + skill and/or task(s) = result(s)

I’m really hoping you didn’t just ask yourself what an action verb is, buuuut in case you need a little reminder, here’s what Mr. Dictionary has to say about it:

“Action verbs are verbs that specifically describe what the subject of the sentence is doing. These types of verbs carry a great deal of information in a sentence and can convey emotion and a sense of purpose that extends beyond the literal meanings of the words.”

In other words, these verbs are SUPER important to the overall feel and impact of a sentence. And you want the sentences on your resume to create impact, yes? Yes.

Here are a few of my personal accomplishment statements as examples:

—>Improved (action verb) the resumes of 425+ students, staff, and community members (task) resulting in increased successful employment outcomes for those who chose to self-report (result).

—>Initiated and lead (action verbs) marketing outreach and communication efforts to 5 community college departments (task) leading to a 25% increase in weekly student traffic in the career center (result).

—>Spearheaded (action verb) the creation and implementation of 5 new, career & job-search success-related workshops on campus and in the community (task) resulting in outreach and education of 500+ students and community members (result).

—>Suggested (action verb) a slight change in the appointment-setting communication strategy of work-study staff in the career center (task), leading to a 50% decrease in no-call, no-show appointments (result).

Seeeeee how much better those sound than the typical, boring resume task details?

Hopefully after seeing it put into action, it doesn’t seem too difficult.

If it does, that may mean you haven’t looked back and assessed your experience(s) to illustrate what your true impact was and has been. I STRONGLY recommend taking a chunk of time to just sit, think, and reflect. Think back and dig for the tasks you completed to make your workplace awesome. Remind yourself of the ideas for improvement you suggested and how, exactly, those benefited your employer(s).

If you need help remembering what you did or accomplished, think about times that others gave you kudos and compliments. Think about awards you’ve won and the warm-fuzzy feelings you’ve had at the end of a workday. Also, you could ask your past/current supervisor or co-workers; sometimes they see and remember things we don’t!

Pointer —-> It’s VERY important that you add quantitative information as much as possible, too. By this I mean…WE WANT NUMBERS, PEOPLE! Numbers are eye-catching and they show tangible — and hopefully factual — experiences and results that YOU created!

Tip: instead of writing out numbers in full wording, just use the number itself as I did in my examples above – they stand out better!

Note: DO NOT LIE ON YOUR RESUME. They might not figure it out right away if you do, but trust me when I say, Karma is a b%&*h, and she’ll come for you if you’re not careful.

Well, there you have it; your new secret weapon in helping you create more impactful, stand-out accomplishment statements on your resume. If you need additional help with those, let me know, and I’m happy to give you some pointers! I’d also LOVE the opportunity to work with you.

Feel free to connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest to learn more. I share some pretty awesome stuff, and it’s all for YOU!

Now it’s YOUR turn. What have YOU found useful in helping to write better accomplishment statements? Leave a comment below!

Keep on keepin’ on my friends!

Dayna

PS: To work with me, visit daynamariecoaching.com, connect with me on LinkedIn (my personal email is careersuccessbydayna@gmail.com) and let me know what I can help you with. Can’t wait to meet you!

Feeling “The Itch” to Leave Your Current Job? Start Here.

So, you’ve come to a point where you realize you’re about done with your current job and are wanting something more. More of a challenge? Perhaps. More work-life balance? Maybe. Just simply a change of pace? Could be. It could be all of the above and more, but only YOU can nail down the details. Many people I’ve spoken to over the past few years aren’t sure why they want to make a move; they just know that something doesn’t feel right anymore.

While I’m confident there’s a reason for that feeling, my recommendation is not to take your feeling as gold right away. Even if you feel extremely ready to move on and want to take the leap — like tomorrow — don’t do it until you’ve examined the why behind it all.

Wait, what? Why do I have to examine? Why can’t I just move on already?

I have logic, I promise!

What I find is that when we don’t take the time to examine the why behind our feelings and desired actions, we have a tendency to feel those same feelings over and over again regardless of where we end up.

Here’s my story to “prove” it:

When I got done with college back in 2010, I had NO idea what I wanted to do with myself. I knew that I wanted to help people and I wanted to make money doing it (just like everyone else on the planet), so I let that guide me in my selection for jobs. First on the list was a position at an insurance and annuties firm in Scottsdale. The VP convinced me that I’d make amazing money AND get to help people succeed with their finances. CHA-CHING!!

I think you can guess how well that went…

Next, I worked as a Career Advisor for a non-profit institution helping at-risk, inner-city Phoenix youth succeed and build a life toward self-sufficiency. Once again, CHA-CHING! About 6 months in, I was loving helping and working with the young adults, but I still felt like there was something missing, so I went hunting again. All I knew was that I wanted something more, so I went after it.

I was offered a position (for $5 bucks more per hour!) as an Employment Specialist/Career Counselor at a private company in Tempe working with adults with disabilities partnered with the ability to have a flexible schedule. Again, I thought CHA-CHING, and was even more excited for the new challenge. It was an amazing job with a ton of flexibility, but after about a year and a half, again, I was ready for more. More of what? I wasn’t even sure, I just knew I wanted more; something different.

A few months after I decided to move on, I began working as a Career Advisor at a community college in Glendale; what I felt was my dream job. I got to help students and community members decide their life paths, create amazing resumes and cover letters, and go into the classrooms and train students and staff how to use social media and prepare for career success. Seriously, I felt this was IT for me. And it was, for a long time. It was a job that taught me SO many things and filled my heart with gratitude every single day. BUT yet again, there came what I call “The Itch”. The itch to do something more, to do something bigger. I knew I had more in me. And I did…

Here I am doing that something bigger in the form of running my own business and pursuing my goals of becoming a wildly successful entrepreneur. It’s the BEST feeling in the world.

But you know what? I could have figured out that this is the lifestyle for me and gotten started earlier had I just asked WHY whenever I felt uneasy and ready to make a move. Whenever I felt I wanted more. Whenever I felt “The Itch”. I never stopped to really assess and reflect until about 6 months ago. When I did, it hit me right square in the face. YOU SHOULD BE AN ENTREPRENEUR, I heard. Loud and clear.

Now, I’m NOT saying everyone has The Itch because they want to be an entrepreneur. It isn’t for everyone, trust me. What I AM saying is that you’re having those “itchy”, uncomfortable feelings for very specific reasons. Reasons that are waiting for you to uncover them. Without taking the time to reflect and identify the source and meaning of those feelings, they WILL come back. Six months from now, a year from now, five years from now, they will come back and bite you again.

I can promise you that.

Here are 5 questions to ask yourself when you start feeling The Itch:

1. What happened today/lately that’s made me feel negative toward my current job?

2. What can’t I do in my current job that I want to do more of?

3. If I could change anything about my current job, what would it be and why?

4. Has anyone said anything recently that makes me doubt myself? What was it?

5. What is it that scares me most about my current job?

There are plenty of other questions to ask, but these 5 will get your engines running.

Sit down with yourself and write out your answers (don’t just think about them), preferably in a quiet place by yourself with no distractions. This will give you space to be with yourself and just think. This is the kind of time when revelations hit, and they can be BIG, so be ready for them.

After you’ve written them out, assess and reflect. Look for trends and areas of similarity and differences so you can begin to identify your pain points, ensuring that you watch out for those same pain points when hunting for your next gig. Also, during this time, you may find that you have the ability to remedy your current pain points just by asking your boss or making small changes in your responsibilities/routine. You can’t remedy them if you don’t really know what they are, though, so do this!

The whole point of this exercise is to make sure you don’t end up with the same itch time and time again because you didn’t take the time to figure out its root cause.

If you value yourself and your time, you will do this exercise. Make the time.

If you know someone struggling with “The Itch”, share this with them; it might just help and then you can say that you’re a life-saver. 😉

Have you ever done an exercise like this on your own? What kind of questions did you ask yourself? I’d love to hear from you!

Keep on keepin’ on my friends!

Dayna

yourkickasscareer.com

3 Surefire Reasons You’re Not Getting What You Want From LinkedIn

LinkedIn frustration

Ughh, why won’t people write back to meeee?!

These recruiters are just plain rude, and they don’t really care. I’m just a number. 

I’ve reached out to people, but they ignore me. What’s the deal?

How could they NOT have written back? 

You name it, I’ve heard it; job-seekers, colleagues, and even business professionals complaining about not getting what they want from LinkedIn. Not getting the results they’re after.

Recruiters aren’t writing back. Business prospects are ignoring you. Colleagues are silent.

What’s the friggin’ deal, here?

Everything I’ve learned about LinkedIn (and getting results) has been through experience — trial and error, essentially. During my 5 years of learning, navigating, and attempting to dominate this beast (yes, YOU, LinkedIn), I’ve figured out a few golden nuggets of wisdom along the way.

But first, a story: 

You’re at your desk navigating through one of the, like, three hundred and eighty-seven things you have on your plate today. Gah, could this day get any crazier! 

After about an hour you decide to take a quick breather and check your LinkedIn to see what’s happenin’ in your world. THREE messages.

Oooh! I hope one of ’em is that dude I reached out to for coffee yesterday. That’d be nice.

You open up your message box to scan through, and you notice two of them are from unfamiliar names. You never know who they might be, so sure, you’ll at least open them up.

You open the first one from, let’s call her, Penelope, (albeit reluctantly) with the subject reading “WE NEED YOUR HELP!”

This should be interesting…

You then proceed to see an unwieldy-looking block of text that’s gonna take FAR too long to read through, and even though she/they might need your help (or your money, for that matter) “ain’t nobody got time ‘fo ‘dat”. Oh, and she didn’t use your name either.

The next subject line reads, “Hello”. Well, that’s amazingly unoriginal. And you open it up to find this guy, let’s call him, Leopold, wrote you a shorter, easier to read message.

Thank you, Leopold!

Leopold says, “Hello! It looks like yuo worked at a company I’d like to work at. I’d like to see how you might be able to help me get my foot in the door. Thanx.”

REALLY, GUY?! You just think I’m gonna help you get your foot in the door? I don’t even know you and you’re already asking me for favors? Maybe if you had used spell-check.

You decide to check out his profile to see what he’s all about. Hmmm…not much goin’ on here, Leopold. Better luck next time. I’d better get back to my to-do list.

You exit LinkedIn, not having written back to either of those two (maybe tomorrow?). And you don’t feel the least bit bad about it because…I’ve got my reasons.

Any of that ring a bell for you? Or maybe some of you are thinking about a time you wrote a message like these two. (I’ve done it before, no worries. You live and learn, right?)

While I may not be able to answer the “what’s the deal?” question in complete totality for everyone reading this, I’m 100% certain I’ve got a few solid reasons why things aren’t happening for you (or others you know) and how you can begin to remedy (or help others to remedy) them, TODAY.

Ready? Here goes:

1. Your profile is lame.

I really do mean this in the nicest way possible. Sometimes, especially when you’re a LinkedIn newbie, your profile just isn’t up to par with what it could be – and that can REALLY hurt you. Your profile should include the very best of you. The pieces of you that mean the most – your strengths, your accomplishments, your skills, expertise and experiences, and the amazing things you’ve helped other companies do to become successful. It should include recommendations from your peers, supervisors, co-workers, teachers, and anyone else who knows how bombdotcom (yes, that’s a word. MY word) you are.

Last thing: your profile photo should NOT include any of the following: your spouse, your fat cat, your children, your parrot (I’ve seen it all, guys), your car, your cleavage (ladies, that’s for you) or your new Ray Bans. AND please try your hardest not to use a selfie. Selfie’s are meant for Facebook & Instagram, folks. If you want people to trust and take you seriously, get a professional photo, pronto.

Note: If you don’t have the means to get a professional photo done, recruit one of your friends with a nice camera to take you out into the desert and take some pics. (That’s what I did.) And hey, it turned out pretty good! Get creative with it.

2. Your approach is ALL wrong.

The examples I shared above are included in this category. The reason you didn’t write back in those cases is because of Penelope and Leopold’s AWFUL approaches, am I right? My recommendation here is to think about how YOU would like to be approached for the very reason you’re thinking about approaching someone. Ask yourself, “What would I want to hear? What kind of language would I like to see from someone I don’t yet know?” Better yet – think about the kind of messages you wriggle in your skin thinking about receiving from people. What approaches make you cringe? Make you mad? Make you wanna scream? Think about these things before you begin writing AND after. Read what you wrote out loud multiple times. Reading my messages out loud to myself (including important emails) helps me immensely in making sure I’m keeping in line with my brand, with my intended approach, and sets me up to receive the outcome I’m hoping for, which ever that may be.

Tips for your next approach:

  1. Use what I call, the K.I.S.S.D Principle – Keep It Simple, Strategic, & Direct
  2. Make sure they know WHY you’re reaching out and WHY they should care.
  3. Be positive, kind, and appreciative – EVERY SINGLE TIME.
  4. Don’t make people feel like they’re just another number.
  5. SPELL-CHECK. GRAMMAR CHECK. ALL. THE. TIME

3. You haven’t yet built mutually beneficial relationships.

I know what some of you are thinking.

What does that even mean? I don’t have that kind of time, Dayna!

A mutually beneficial relationship doesn’t mean you’ve bent over backwards or spent hours and hours or months building a “bestie” type of relationship. It just means that you’ve done what you can to build initial rapport, trust, and understanding of how you can benefit one another in big or small ways. A simple way you can start building this is by taking every opportunity possible to help your connections. That could be as simple as sharing a status update of theirs to spread their message. It could be replying to the question your connection posted in a Group you’re both in, giving advice or connection to a person who can help them. LOTS of ways to do this.

What goes around comes around, people! I’m a BIG believer in Karma, and you should be too. She’ll get’cha if you’re not careful.

The Law of Reciprocity comes in to play here. You help others, they’ll help you. Now, you should NEVER help someone JUST to make sure they’ll help you. Learn to help others (whether you want/need something from them or not) every chance you get without knowing if/what you’ll get in return, and positive things will happen for you as well. It’s just how it works!

Well, there you have it. Hopefully, you’ve got a solid understanding of why you (or whoever you know that’s been complaining about it) may not be getting what you want out of LinkedIn and will use the tips I’ve shared with you to get more of what you’re going after. My intention is not to offend anyone with what I’ve shared, but instead to empower you to change your methods, change your thinking, and change what you’ll do from now on during your interactions with others.

If you found this information valuable, surely others will too – share away! I’d LOVE that.

To make sure you don’t miss anything I share, head on up to the top, and press Follow

(’cause why not?) 🙂

Wishing you all of the success you’re dreaming of out there. You deserve it!

Now – I want to hear from YOU!

What other methods have YOU found that work in making LinkedIn work for you?

Let’s help each other out, here! Hope to hear from you soon.

Keep Kickin’ Ass My Friends,

Dayna

www.yourkickasscareer.com

 

10 Things Growing Up in Northern Minnesota Taught Me About Life

(That’s me and 2 of my best friends from back home in Minnesota enjoying the hell out of a snowy, winter day in our college town, Duluth, Minnesota. That day was a blast.)

I grew up in a small town by the name of Taconite (like the round pellets you’ve seen or heard of on the train tracks) with a popluation of just over 300. Nope, I didn’t miss a zero on that one, you read it correctly. Within about 20 square miles, you can find an additional spread of smaller towns and one larger one (Grand Rapids, home of Judy Garland a.k.a Dorothy in the Wizard of OZ) comprised of about 15,000 close-knit, albeit sometimes closed-minded, and primarily happy people.

The Range, as we call it, is a place like no other on this planet. It’s a place where people say “hi!” and “how ya’ doin’?” just for heck of it. A place where, when you call customer service or visit the local WalMart, you actually feel like they wanted you to call or be there; like they were waiting for you. A place where you always feel like a member of the family. And finally, a place where you actually know, love, and respect your neighbors, no matter who they are.

In an area like this one, everyone knows everyone and they know nearly everything there is to know about EVERYONE, and there’s no getting around it — just about, anyway.

When I tell people the details of where I’m from, they typically react with a “WOW! How’d you live in such cold?!” or “I can’t even imagine what living in that small of a town was like!”

While I’m very much in love with my new-ish home in Phoenix, Arizona, I’ll be forever grateful to have had the privlege of growing up in small-town northern Minnesota.

That way of life has brought me more success than I could have ever imagined, and I want to share some of those lessons with you today.

Here’s what I learned:

1. You don’t need a lot of money to be happy. My family and I didn’t have much, but I had my friends, family, and the outdoors to fulfill me, and that was always enough. I’m still nowhere near rich, but I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life, and I’m confident money wouldn’t change that too much.

2. Nice guys (and girls) don’t finish last. People in northern Minnesota are just…nice. They genuinely care about other people. In fact, it’s because of my “Minnesota nice” that I’ve been able to create a network of 1000+ here in Phoenix in less than 3 years.

3. It’s not who you know, it’s who who you know knows and what they know about you. Your closest circles can only offer you so much information, but who they know can be a springboard for finding what you’re looking for IF you have a solid reputation.

4. When you treat people like family, you win (only if yours is the loving kind of family). Why treat people any other way? We’re all here to do the same basic things in life, so let’s just respect that, get past our differences, and show some love! Regardless of who comes into my life, I treat them all with the same respect, dignity, and friendliness as I do my family and best friends. It’s paid dividends in my life and career here in Phoenix.

5. When your dad tells you to mow the lawn and you don’t, you get your butt kicked (figuratively speaking, of course.) Let’s just say my dad didn’t put up with laziness, and boy am I glad he didn’t! Needless to say, I always follow directions (unless they’re awful). When someone of importance asks you to get something done, just friggin’ do it and don’t make excuses.

6. Hard work and a great attitude ALWAYS pays off. My dad (single dad of 4) is the hardest working person I’ve ever met, and I owe much of my personal success to him. Even if your job (like mine was at 15) is picking strawberries at 5am on the weekends for $2 a bucket, give your work 110% of your effort and 150% of your best attitude, and people will notice, trust me.

7. When you fall off your horse, dust yourself off, and get back on. When I was 7 my horse, Mischief (oh, so fitting of a name!) bolted for the woods, and I ended up putting my arms up, catching a broken tree trunk, and flipping around it twice before landing on my rear. OUCH. But guess what? I got back on, and I’m still here, ready and rarin’ to go.

8. Small talk leads to BIG talk. Even been to the airport in Minnesota? It’s BUZZING with chitter chatter of strangers, and it’s amazing. Think small talk is a waste of time? Think again. It’s because of small talk that I’ve cultivated long-term, meaningful relationships with some of the greatest friends and colleagues a girl could ask for. DO MORE OF IT.

9. Integrity means everything. In a small town (and a huge one too), not doing what you say you’re doing to do is always a big no-no. Someone is always watching you (and talking about you), whether you know or like it or not. People remember when you don’t come through on your promises. Don’t ever forget that.

10. BIG set-backs happen unexpectedly; be ready to do what needs to be done. On my 17th birthday, my dad’s now ex-wife left him, and I assumed the role of “mom” for 3 kids. I did what I had to do to make sure my family got through tough times, and we did. Plan for the best, but always be prepared for the worst. And I’m not talking doomsday stuff here, just real life. Come to expect that set-backs will happen, and when they do, strive to be physically and emotionally prepared to deal with them so you can overcome. Inevitably, you always come out stronger.

BONUS:

11. Don’t take yourself so seriously. It’s just life. And life should be fun. Regardless of what was happening — a blizzard, getting eaten alive by mosquitos, or losing the hockey game — my friends and I were always having a great time. No matter your situation, you can ALWAYS find something to smile, laugh, and be silly about. Life’s too short. Don’t look back on your life and wish you would have had more fun. Have it NOW.

 

Growing up in small-town northern Minnesota was the greatest thing to have ever happened to me. It’s because of my values that I am where I am today, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Where did YOU grow up and what did it teach you?

I’d love to hear from you!

Keep Kickin’ Ass my friends,

Dayna

 

 

 

3 Awesomely Useful Tips for Defining YOUR Kick-Ass Career

I hate this job

What the hell am I gonna do with my life?

How can I make a switch?

What is it that God (or whoever you do or don’t believe in) made me for?

What would be a good fit for me?

There’s so many friggin’ options out there — where do I even start?!

SOMEONE, PLEASE TELL ME WHAT TO DO WITH MY LIIIIIFE!

Sound like something you’ve said (or screamed) before?

YUP, sure does.

Awesome. You’re not alone. In fact, you’re just like the rest of us, my dear.

You’re officially part of the I’veGotNoClueHowToDoThisKickAssCareerThing Club!

I’ve got some tips for you to get your sweet ass OUT of that club. You with me? Good.

(In no particular order…)

Get to know yourself better. 

Trust me, you’ve got NO clue what’s locked inside that big ole’ head and heart of yours. In order for you to figure out what career(s) will work for you, you’ve gotta figure it out, and USE IT!

Take some assessments! They’re fun. And Buzzfeed seems to be wildly successful with them. You can too, my friend. A few of my favorites just for you:

StrengthsQuest – This one’ll cost ya 10 bucks. I know you have 10 bucks to spare for my fav.

Tony Robbins DISC Assessment – This one’s FREEEEE. Yippee!

Keirsey Temperament Sorter – FREEEE as a bird, too.

Myers Briggs (Jung Typology Test) – FREE fallin’ now I’m free fallin’….(Any Tom Petty fans?)

After you take each of them, think about and analyze your results. Write stuff down. REFLECT.

Define and write down your priorities in order of most important to least.

What’s most important to you in this life? Money, family time, recognition, changing the world…

If you’ve got a spouse, you may want to think about including them in this little sesh. They’ll appreciate it, trust me.

Visualize your ideal and happiest life for a second. What does it look like?

The answer should help you start to define careers that fit (and don’t fit) your priorities.

Do your research.

You can’t make a sound decision if you’ve got no solid background information on career fields you’re thinkin’ about pursuing.

Is this career field growing or dying?

Does the market even exist where you’re currently living?

Do you have any connections in that field? (Yes, LinkedIn counts.)

Will you require further credentials or would transferable skills suffice?

What do other people in this field have to say about it? (Ahem, informational interviews, ahem).

A few sites to help you out with all that:

O*Net Online

Bureau of Labor Statistics

LinkedIn

Career One Stop

Doing research will ensure that you’re heading in the right direction. Talking to people who have already done what you’re trying to do is my personal favorite form of research. It just works!

The final, most important question to jump-start this process:

Imagine this: you’ve won the lottery and money is no longer a primary motivation for you. Your family is completely taken care of and you now have notoriety (people know you).

What would you do next?

Now, get to gettin’ shit done! Give yourself time today to do at least ONE of the above mentioned tips, and I can promise you, you’ll be MUCH closer to your kick-ass career than you were yesterday.

If all of the above seems like too much work for ya, you can always hire me to help you out with it. After 4 years of this stuff, I happen to be pretty good at it. 😉

There’s A LOT more to this process than is listed, but starting with these 3 will make it a little easier on you to get started.

If you’ve got questions, lemme know — I’m here for you every step of the way.

Keep kickin’ ass, my friends!

~Dayna

 

 

Not Sure What’s Next? That’s Perfectly Okay.

People often ask me, as I’m sure they ask you — “So, what’s next?” — or something of the sort. Maybe it’s just me, but I tend to get a little uncomfortable answering that and related questions.

Because I usually don’t know the answer.

And people expect answers. Of some kind at least, right?

I mean, you can’t just say, “I got nothin” and leave it at that.

They wanna know!

But sometimes I don’t even know. And that question becomes a constant reminder that I don’t have it all figured out just yet. Ever feel that way?

I’m completely aware that my questioners are really just trying to keep the conversation going, and naturally, that’s just what we ask, but I really wish it wasn’t sometimes.

The pressure of answering in a way that sounds cool or impressive doesn’t go away. Sometimes my answers are cool and impressive (when I’ve got cool and impressive things lined up), but sometimes they’re not. When they’re not, I feel a little bit like I’m failing or that I need to go and line up something cool and impressive just to feel good about myself, and I’m not a fan of that.

For any of my friends who may be reading this, I don’t want you to stop asking me what’s next, because I know that you just want to keep updated with my life, and I appreciate that.

But if I answer with an “I got nothin”, I hope you’ll smile and say something along the lines of

“Awesome. Another margarita?”

The point I’m trying to make here is that we don’t always have things figured out and lined up for ourselves, but that’s okay. Sometimes I think we’re so focused on what’s next that we forget to enjoy what’s right in front of us – our friends, significant others’, our babies’ smile, the hummingbird buzzing around lookin’ all cute. I know I do.

I don’t want the pressure of “what’s next” to stop me from enjoying the now, and I don’t want that for you either. If you’ve “got nothin” next, don’t worry too much about it, it’ll come if you keep moving forward with a positive attitude and the will to do what you gotta do.

Until next time, my friends.

Keep Kickin’ Ass,

Dayna