Job SearchTool Kit

Build Your Job Search Tool Kit

Prepare To Find Your Dream Job

Luck is where preparation meets opportunity and preparation for any job search needs to include a basic job search tool kit.

For some, a dream job is an opportunity to ascend the corporate ladder while others want to build a business large or small.  Some seasoned professionals desire to leave the corporate world to start their own business to gain the flexibility to enjoy more time for friends and family.

The concept of a dream job is any opportunity that uses our passions, skills and experience to support our ideal.  Any effective career change includes the same basic strategy of preparation and planning, networking and selling yourself.  You may also be selling products if you are an entrepreneur.  Your job search tool kit will be the foundation of your preparation and the cornerstone of your dream job strategy.

Mental Preparation

If you are going to aggressively go after your goal with an intense passion, mental preparation should be part of your efforts.  At the beginning of any career search, you may need to assess the challenges you’ll face.  A large percentage of new small businesses fail not because of a poor product, but because of improper planning for the financial pressures that come with starting a business.  The pressures are the same in a career search if you are unemployed and looking for your next opportunity. Be prepared by evaluating your personal financial situation.

 Dedicated Work Space

Starting a new business or a job search campaign are serious ventures and you will benefit from having a dedicated work space somewhere in your home.  The area doesn’t have to be big and could even be a small desk or table in the corner of a bedroom.  You just need a place where you can focus on your goals each day without distraction.  Setting up a work space can be a fast and simple way to kick off your efforts.

Tell Great Stories

Your job search tool kit needs to include some stories that you can tell in a variety of situations that will make people take notice and make you or your product memorable.  You’ll need to prepare Three “C” stories to relay your experience and value that you or your new business provide.

Elevator stories are another essential tool in your job search tool kit.  You should have a few basic versions depending on your audience and the time you have to grab the attention of your audience.

Networking Lists

The most essential as an entrepreneur and of a job search campaign is networking.  Expanding and connecting with your network is so vital, that you need a dedicated strategy just for this part of the job search tool kit.

Plan to build to research and compile a target list of companies.  You will also create a separate list of connections and you will need a plan to manage your network.

LinkedIn and your LinkedIn profile is also an important part of your tool box because the networking site will help you manage your network, make new contacts and give you a platform to publish your ideas and expand your influence.

Plan to Win

Start preparing with your job search tool kit and be ready to meet every opportunity clarity and focus.  Your excellent preparation will bring great luck with every new opportunity because luck is where preparation and opportunity meet.

Your Job Search Tool Kit

LinkedIn Job Search Profile Tips

LinkedIn Job Search Profile Tips

LinkedIn Job Search Profile Tips

Networking is the most effective way to find a job.  You can get a jump start online with a few LinkedIn job search profile tips.  LinkedIn is the online site where professionals go to search for candidates.  Employers also use LinkedIn to research candidates sourced by other methods.  If possible, you should setup your LinkedIn account before beginning your job search.  If you are starting your job search unexpectedly, follow these LinkedIn Job search profile tips and setup your profile right away.  Perfect your profile later, the point is to get started so employers can find you.

Make Online Connections

The power of LinkedIn is the potential to gain visibility of those with whom you are connected and making new connections.  Use your offline networking list to connect with people already in your network.  Ask for recommendations from some close professional relationships.  Be sure to send a thank you note for the recommendation outside of LinkedIn.  This is a perfect opportunity to mention your job search.

The Power of Groups

LinkedIn is an excellent way build the illusion of ubiquity.  Members can establish themselves as experts in their field and begin to communicate with industry leaders.  Joining and participating in LinkedIn groups enables you to improve your visibility by contributing ideas and offering solutions to questions and challenges posted by other users.  Be strategic when joining groups.  If there are people you’d like to meet in your industry, view their profile and find out which groups they belong to.  Hang out online where the leaders in your industry will take notice.

Post Regularly

Speaking of building your online visibility, this list of LinkedIn job search profile tips would be incomplete without advising you to spend a few minutes each day reading news stories, posts and articles from inside and outside your network.  Add thoughtful comments to existing posts and create your own posts and articles or repurpose your previous work as a sample of your experience.  Just be sure that your work samples are appropriate for sharing and don’t contain confidential information or content that may be sensitive to a previous employer.

Professional Photo

Think of your profile as on online sales brochure.  Include an up-to-date, professional profile.  Your photo doesn’t have to be… and probably shouldn’t be a “glamour shots” type photo.  Keep in mind the image you want to convey to potential employers.  The photo you use for LinkedIn should be a different photo than what you use on Facebook and definitely don’t use the photo from your online dating profile!

Use these LinkedIn job search profile tips to start building your online presence right away.  Your profile is a powerful part of your job search strategy that you will add to and polish over time.

How To Make A Resume

How To Make A Resume

How To Make A Resume

A young woman asked me to review her husband’s resume and requested that I consider him as a candidate for any job opening I might have of hear about.  I was surprised to receive a six-page resume and stopped reading after the first page.  He did not know how to write a resume.

Accepted resume tactics change over time and some remain.  When asked about How To Make A Resume, the best resume advice I offer is be clear, concise and keep it to two pages max!

Most employers will lose interest after the first page, so grab their attention quickly.  Here are 14 tips on how to write a resume that catch an employer’s attention and position you for an interview.

14 Resume Tips

  1. Always be truthful – This should be a given
  2. Have someone or even a few people proof-read your resume
  3. Use hyperlinks and include your email address and LinkedIn accounts
  4. Keep your resume to 2 pages maximum. If you are a recent graduate with limited job experience, stick with a single page
  5. The Objective Statement is optional, but does tell an employer what you want to do. You can also summarize your experience with a Summary Statement.  Either way, be clear and concise.  The purpose is state who you are, what you do and the value you provide.
  6. Use bold text to highlight the areas of your resume that you wish to stand out
  7. Include keywords – Employers today scrub resumes by scanning them into OCR engines (Optical Character Recognition) that flag resumes which include keywords related to the job and the skills for which they are searching. Your resume needs to include as many keywords from the job description possible.
  8. It is not a history report – Think about how to make a resume that will stand out. Your resume should be more than a history report stating what you did for your previous employers.  Instead, write about your success and how your skills provided value.  You don’t need to include a separate section of your resume for “Skills”.  Instead, write about the skills you used in your achievements.
  9. Quantify your results whenever possible
  10. Tell the story with data – How did you make or save a company money. If you created efficiency and saved time, translate the results into a monetary figure.
  11. Use the space on the page well. Include action words and bullet points to outline your past success.  Use words that enable you to explain your career highlights in a rich, but concise manner.
  12. List your previous roles and employers in reverse chronological order. Most hiring managers will want to understand your work history, so make it easy for them.
  13. Create a section for “Volunteer Experience”. A 2016 Deloitte Impact Survey found that including volunteer experience on your resume may make a candidate “significantly more attractive to employers”.
  14. Consider making space for “Points of Interest” you could include volunteer service here, but you could also include other things that make you unique like service on boards of directors, youth coaching, etc.  If you were an accomplished college athlete, you may want to include it here.  If you were a scholarship collegiate athlete regardless of your achievements, including that experience in your resume can reveal your work ethic to employers.
Write An Elevator Story

Write An Elevator Story For These Opportunities

Luck is where preparation and opportunity meet.  You can create your own luck when you write an elevator story for these opportunities:  The elevator meeting, the handshake and the lightning round.

Author Donna Griffit recommends writing an elevator story for multiple situations because you may not always have time to deliver your full elevator story.  Griffit explains how she would pitch business ideas when you often have 30 seconds or less to make a memorable impression.  The same approach is valuable preparation during your job search.

These situational stories are 1.  The Full Elevator Story, 2.  The Handshake Elevator Story and 3.  The Lightning Round Elevator Story.

Write an elevator story with the PEEKSA formula

An elevator story outline will help you create multiple versions that you will remember when opportunity and preparation meet.  Writing your Full Elevator story outline with the PEEKSA formula includes key elements represented in the letters of PEEKSA.

Your Full Elevator Story will include your Passion, Experience, Education, Knowledge and Skills.  The last step is Ask for help.  Your full story should be 30-60 seconds at the most.  Ideally, tell your story in 30 seconds and allow 30 seconds for questions or conversation.

Here is an example:

“I am Passionate about creating efficiency and eliminating manual redundant tasks.  Educated as an engineer, I am Experienced working with robotic process automation and am Knowledgeable in Six Sigma best practices.  My most valuable Skill is the ability to save organizations time and money by streamlining processes and eliminating those manual tasks.  I’m looking for work in process improvement and automation, do you know anyone who might be interested in talking with me about opportunities in their organization?”.

Write An Elevator Story For The Handshake Opportunity

Be prepared to make the most out of a brief introduction when working the room at a networking event.  The Handshake Elevator Story is a shorter version of your Full story.  After writing the full version, you will already have written the points to use in the brief introduction.  There is no need to be redundant in your efforts.

Take a few of the points from the full version that will be most memorable.  The Handshake version might be, “Hi my name is Jim Ryan, I am a consultant and my specialty is improving margins for my clients through process automation.  Tell me about yourself.”

Our friend Jim Ryan quickly explains what he does and then asks about the other person.  This tactic opens the opportunity for more conversation in which Jim will use the last step of PEEKSA by asking for referrals.

Write An Elevator Story For The Lightning Round

The point is that this story needs to have quick impact.

I had placed a recent college graduate in a job with one of my consulting clients when one of my client’s senior executives asked the young man “How are you making a difference?”

Lightning Round responses prepare you chance meetings with executives when you arrive for a job interview.  Be prepared with multiple lightning round elevator stories that give bottom line results like this, “I’ve improved sales by $200 million per year for my last employer and I’d like to do the same for you.”

Be Prepared

Create your own luck by writing an elevator story for each of these circumstances.  Write stories of different lengths for varied audiences and practice by reading them aloud.  Plan ahead when networking and be ready with elevator stories for every opportunity.





Easy Elevator Story Outline

Elevator Story OutlineElevator Story Outline

An effective elevator story outline help you quickly write multiple versions of your elevator story.  The same outline can help you remember what you want to say when faced with an unexpected networking opportunity during your job search.

Write An Elevator Story Outline With PEEKSA.

Make your elevator story memorable by using an outline based on the acronym “PEEKSA”.  The elements of your elevator story are Passion, Experience, Education, Knowledge, Skills and Ask. Using the PEEKSA elevator story outline, you can tell a story like this:

“I am Passionate about creating efficiency and eliminating manual redundant tasks.  Educated as an engineer, I have Experience working with robotic process automation and I am Knowledgeable in Six Sigma best practices.  My most valuable Skill is the ability to save organizations time and money.  I specialize in streamlining processes and eliminating manual tasks.  I’m looking for a job in process improvement and automation, do you know anyone who might be interested in talking with me about opportunities in their organization?”

The last sentence in that story is a question and it is the “A” or “Ask” in the PEEKSA outline.  The reason for telling your elevator story is to find opportunities, but you must ask for the opportunity.

This example only takes about 30 seconds to say aloud.

Write and Rehearse Your Elevator Story

Preparing for your job search campaign is demanding work, but it will pay dividends.  Being prepared with an outline using the acronym PEEKSA will give you the tools to turn a brief meeting into an opportunity to find your dream job or a new client.

Use the PEEKSA outline to write stories of various lengths.  Practice reading them aloud and begin saying your stories from memory.  Rehearsal is critical because you won’t be able to pull out your note cards when you are face to face with opportunity.  Practice being conversational and engaging.  Most importantly – Ask for the help in finding your dream job.



Elevator Story Basics

Elevator Story Basics

Elevator Story Basics

There are a few elevator story basics to keep in mind during your job search.  The goal is to write an elevator story short enough that you could tell the story while travelling between a few floors in an elevator.  The maximum length for an elevator story should be no more than two minutes.  There will be opportunities for you to tell your story when you may have more than two minutes and there will be moments when you have only 30 seconds.  Having multiple versions of your elevator story and being able to adapt and state your main points in several ways depending upon your audience and circumstance are crucial.

Your elevator story should tell who you are, what you do and what you want to do. A few elevator story basics to include will answer questions like, “Tell me about yourself”, “What do you do?”.  Your response will give you an opportunity to explain who you are, highlight your success, explain what you want to do.

Tell a story that conveys something about yourself and what you are passionate about.  Include special skills or knowledge that make you a unique candidate.  Weaving your experience and skills into a unique story will make your discussion memorable.

Ask For Help

As you conclude your elevator story, be sure to ask for help.  The elevator story is a valuable part of networking, but you have to be sure to ask the other person to help you.  This can be as simple as saying something like “Do you know of anyone in the area that might need my help?”

Use your own words and ask for what you are looking for, but it is important that you phrase this question properly.  Instead of asking the person with whom you are speaking if she needs your help, ask for a referral.  If you are talking with someone and ask for their help specifically, they may not need your help and fail to think about others in your network who may be looking for someone exactly like you.

What to say in an elevator story

Here is an example using these elevator story basics.  “Hi, my name is Joe Smith and I am Passionate about creating efficiency and eliminating manual redundant tasks.  I am an engineer and have experience working with robotic process automation. I am also knowledgeable in Six Sigma best practices and strive to save companies time and money by streamlining processes and eliminating manual tasks.  I’m looking for a job in process improvement and automation, do you know anyone who I might be able to help?

Using these elevator story basics, This example and only takes about 30 seconds to say aloud.

Elevator Story Basics:  Write and Rehearse Your Elevator Story

Preparing for your job search campaign is demanding work, but it will pay dividends.  Don’t just wing it when it comes to your elevator story.  Take the time to write your elevator story.  Write stories of various lengths from a few seconds up to two minutes in length and take the time to practice reading them aloud.  As you gain confidence and comfort, start practicing saying your stories from memory.  This is critical because when you meet your next opportunity face to face, you won’t want to pull out your note cards.

Interview Storytelling Ideas

Interview Storytelling Ideas

You are preparing for your job search or an interview and you have read about telling great interview stories, but how do you write and prepare your interview stories?  If you have read Telling Great Interview Stories, then you are ready for more detailed interview storytelling ideas.

Good Interview Stories Technique

A good interview storytelling technique is the 3C model.  Be sure to include the 3C’s in each story.  Start by describing the Circumstance and then explain your Conduct and that actions that you took.  Wrap up your story with a strong conclusion explaining the results of your actions.  Quantify the results as much as possible.  Create at least 15 interview stories to have available at any time.  Now that you have the basic guidelines, you are ready to begin brainstorming interview storytelling ideas.

Interview Storytelling Ideas

The goal is to create 15 stories that you can use during job interviews.  The following list of interview storytelling ideas is divided into three categories to help you organize your thoughts. Choose 4-5 concepts from each category and write an interview story for each one.  Be creative this list is only to help you get started.  There are an endless number of topics that you might develop into an interview story.


  • When you solved a problem
  • When you made a mistake
  • When you improved a process
  • When you overcame challenge
  • When you learned from a mistake
  • A story about working independently without direction

Worked As A Team

  • When you collaborated as part of a teamTeamwork
  • A story about when you helped a co-worker
  • A story about when you solved a complicated problem
  • A time when you volunteered
  • When you demonstrated Leadership
  • A time you learned something about yourself

Dealt With Conflict

  • When you dealt with conflict with a co-worker
  • When you had a disagreement with a client
  • A story about working with a difficult person
  • A story about working through sudden change
  • A story about compromise
  • How you demonstrated creativity to solve a problem

Prepare For Your Interview

After writing your 15 stories from the interview storytelling ideas above, you will be better prepared than most job candidates, but don’t stop there.  Review and rehears your interview stories daily during your job search campaign.  Rehearse each story by reading it aloud so that you are comfortable telling each story.  Begin by reading each story from what you have written.  Since the stories come from your experience, you will learn each one very quickly.  Another learning technique for remembering your job interview stories is to record yourself telling each story and listen to the recording.  To further stamp each story into your memory, listen to the recording in your own voice while you are reading the story aloud.  If you do this exercise 6 times for each story, you will quickly memorize each story and the points you want to make during your interview.


Telling Interview Stories

Telling Great Interview Stories

Telling interview stories is one of the best ways to answer interview questions and stand out as a memorable job candidate.  Telling stories make us seem more human.  When people can relate to you, they will also come to trust you.  You have probably heard that for someone to do business with you they need to know you, like you and trust you.  Telling good interview stories is an excellent way to accomplish all three and build a relationship with the interviewer and hiring manager.

Don’t rely on your intuition and ability to think quickly during the interview when you may be nervous. Prepare to win the interview by writing your stories in advance and rehearse in advance.

Good Interview Stories Are Focused

Telling interview stories is a winning tactic and the best interview stories are focused and can be used to answer a variety of interview questions.  Career consultants, R.L. Stevens & Associates, called interview stories, “3C Stories” Advising candidates to frame these stories with Circumstance, Conduct and Conclusion.

Write stories that describe a circumstance to set the stage and provide context.  Focus the story on your conduct.  What did you think and feel?  What actions did you take?

The conclusion of your 3’C Story should speak to the results.  Were you successful or not?  Did you achieve our objectives and what were the results of your actions?  Not all 3C stories need to end happily.  If you made a mistake or failed, explain how you learned from the situation and what you would do when faced with a comparable situation in the future.

Stories that demonstrate how you deal with demanding situations build trust and show that you are human and make mistakes like the rest of us.

Creating Interview Stories

Prepare for your job search and interviews by creating at least fifteen 3C Stories.  This type of preparation is challenging work but will increase your confidence in your experience and your interview skills.  Each interview story should be two minutes or less.

Write your 15 interview stories as quickly as possible.  You can refine them later, but draft your stories in the initial stages of your job search.  If you are currently employed, consider writing these stories before you begin your job search.

Rehearsing Your Interview Stories

Writing fifteen job interview stories is valuable, but the value is multiplied when you rehearse these stories regularly.  Rehearse your interview stories by reading them out loud and timing yourself.  Each story should take 2 minutes or less for you to tell.  Follow the 3C method and make your point concisely to capture and hold the attention of your interviewer.Interview Stories

Stand Out With Interview Stories

The more interview stories you write the better prepared you will be to answer interview questions in a way that will make you a memorable candidate and develop a relationship with the interviewer.  Follow the 3C method and complete 15 good stories as soon as possible.  Don’t spend time making the story perfect because you want eno
ugh flexibility to use each story in response to a variety of questions.  Polish your stories by rehearsing and make sure that they are a maximum of 2 minutes in length.

Here is another article you might enjoy about interview stories:

The Interview Technique You Should Be Using

Manage Your Network

Manage Your Network

How Do You Manage Your Network?

Most people do not have an organized approach to stay connected, but networking is the single most important part of any job search strategy.  A strategic job search campaign requires you to make the most of your networking list.  Statistics say that 85% of jobs are found through networking, so doesn’t it make sense that you would need to manage your network as efficiently as possible.

Build A Network Management Tool

As you begin your job search campaign don’t stop with creating a list of contacts.  You can build a simple networking tool that will keep you organized and even tell you when you need to follow up.

One simple tool you can use is a spreadsheet.  Google Sheets can help you organize all your netwoManage Your Networkrking information in a spreadsheet that you can access from any electronic device with an internet connection.

Divide your list in to three tiers and label them one through three.  At the top of your list, create a tier with the label “new”.  This new tear will not only help you manage your network list of contacts that you already have, but it will help you organize the new contacts that you will make during your job search campaign.

Consider the “New” Tier and Tier 1 contacts your hot prospects.

Tier 1 contacts are those you know well, are willing and able to help you by leveraging their expansive network.  You will consistently reach out to these connections during your job search to network, ask for advice and brainstorm.  Your Tier 1 contacts are your personal board of directors for your job search.

Tier 2 contacts are those connections that may only be acquaintances.  Perhaps they are centers of influence in a professional organization, non-profit.  They may be past clients or work for competitors.  These are the people that you know, but may not know well.

Tier 3 contacts are family and friends outside of the business arena.  This tier could be made of old college friends, former colleagues with whom you have lost contact or former professors.

How To Manage Your Network

This tiered networking system can also become your networking action plan during your job search.  Assign time frames for contacting each tier during your job search by adding columns in your spreadsheet.  Add one column to record your most recent contact date.  Add another column to be a trigger for your next contact date.  Each day, filter the sheet for the current date and you have an instant networking call list for that day.  Expand the list by creating a filter for all call back dates within the next 7 days and you have a weekly networking contact list.

Add additional columns in your spreadsheet for basic contact information including email, phone, and mailing address.

Start Networking For A New Job

You can create a custom tool to manage your network during your job search for free using an Excel or Google Docs
spreadsheet.  YourStart Networking For A Job network management tool should be flexible.  Contacts in the “New” tier will move to Tier 1 or Tier 2 as you determine how they might fit into your search.  Your networking list is a flexible tool that you own and can change at any time.


What tools and techniques would you recommend using to manage your network during your job search?  I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

Build A Networking List

Build A Networking List

The Need For Networking

The numbers are clear:  85% of jobs are now found through networking.  Not only do I believe the statistics, but I am proof.  As I thought about the reality of that number, my memory went to the start of my career.  Even before the life I call my “career”, networking goes back to jobs I had in high school and college.  I found my first job after college through a temporary agency, but that is the exception.  Every other job I’ve had after school, during summers, full time employment, advancement opportunities have come through networking.  After starting my own consulting business, my clients have been gained through networking in some fashion.

When you know the facts, you must consider networking your number one career strategy and use your network to find a job.

Create A Tiered Networking List

Begin by creating a networking list for your job search.  Type the list using Word, Excel or Google Docs and Sheets.  Create three tiers for your contacts.  Tier One is for those contacts that are the biggest centers of influence, those whom you know well and consider to be well known or well connected.  This is your list of “Hot Contacts” and will be the connections your contact first.  Tier Three on your networking list are those contacts that you may not know well or maintain regular contact.

Brainstorm Your List Of Contacts

Let your mind wander through your friends, acquaintances and colleagues.  Include vendors and competitors.  Capture the names of alumni, class mates, teachers, coaches and mentors.  Set a time limit and list as many names as you can in 20 minutes.  Don’t be distracted if you think you’ve listed the name twice.  Do not spend time classifying the names any further and don’t slow yourself down by spelling the names correctly, this list is only for you.  Your goal is not a perfect list, but a list that you can use.

Think of your networking list as a living document that will grow and change during your job search.  Contacts that you have listed as Tier 1 contacts will move to Tier 3 and you will meet new contacts that you will list among your Tier 1 network. After you have a tiered list, make a simple plan to organize your list.

Develop A Follow Up System

Your networking strategy is so critical that you need to stay organized and develop a follow-up plan.  This plan does not need to be elaborate.  Create a system that works for you.  Build a spreadsheet listing each contact name in order by tier.  List their contact information in separate columns including email, phone and mail.  Finally include two columns for dates.  In one column, record the date of your last conversation.  In the other column, record the date when you will follow up with the client.  This method creates a simple daily networking list and you will never waste time wondering whom you should next contact.

Start Networking To Find A Job

Put the statistics to work for you and make networking the biggest part of your job search strategy.  An organized networking list and follow-up plan are essential tools in your job search tool box which show that you are serious about your job search campaign.  Best of luck as you start networking to find a job.