Nice Girls End Up on Welfare

Posted: September 20th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on Nice Girls End Up on Welfare

Across the table from me sat Amy, a lovely blond who is one of the city’s best financial advisers around. She also happens to be in her early 30’s and look as though she’s in her late teens. Amy has spent the majority of her life being a “nice girl” when it comes to negotiating for herself despite the fact that she’s been a hard-nosed, kick ’em in the teeth financial advising guru when it came to her clients.

Here we sat sipping on fresh brewed coffee and Amy was about to be the nice girl again.  Three major clients had left her firm and she was the ticket to getting them back. The only problem was that they were no longer in the division that Amy was a part of, and to get them back she would have to take a pay cut and go back to work for a guy that paid her less money, and less respect.

I don’t think so, Amy.  Enter the “Nice Girls End Up on Welfare” conversation.  This is not only a tag line and conversation, it’s a topic I speak about across the country.

Why is it that when it comes to ourselves, we women tend to do things for “free” or “less” than we would if it were for other people?  We give and give and give. No more, at least not for Amy.

What did she really want, I asked.  She responded promptly.  She knew what she wanted and wasn’t afraid to tell me.

“Does he have a way with women that’s different than he does with men?” I prodded her

“Yes” she said as she chuckled

“Perfect. Wear a beautifully tailored skirt suit. Nice, professional jewelry and your best 4 1/2 inch heels. Unbutton your shirt just a tad bit low and get ready to negotiate using everything, and I do mean everything, you’ve got. Most importantly, use your best asset, your brain.”

“Keep it fact-based and non-emotional.” I continued “The difference here is he needs you, you don’t need him. Make sure he knows that you know that. Ask for one thing you don’t really care about. Let him be able to say ‘no’ to something so he can maintain his ego as the boss and feel like he won. Start higher than where you want to be so you have room to negotiate.”

“And remember, you’re happy where you are. As long as you’re willing to walk away, you win.”

All of a sudden Amy was beaming. Her confidence was shining through her like the sun after a rain shower. I loved that she felt the strength that she knew she had within and was going to win the negotiation she deserved to win all along.

The reality is that nice girls end up on welfare because we’re nice. Yes, I include me in this group. For a long time I coached professionals on career transitions and their job searches for free. I would help with their resumes, give interview advice and provide counter-offer strategies for job offers without charging a dime. Where did it get me? Exhausted and frustrated. I was charging nothing for hours and hours of coaching that took years of expertise leaving the other person feeling excited and ready to go while I felt exhausted and spent. Where’s the win-win in that?

Smart Girls End Up On A Yacht! Go Girls Go!

Job Posting to Interview in 24 Hours

Posted: September 13th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on Job Posting to Interview in 24 Hours

In a market where landing a new job takes an average of 211 days (or just over 7 months), it can become frustrating to continue the search. If you’re a job seeker that’s been strategically approaching your search, know that there will be a time when success comes your way and your unique qualifications and talents are the right fit for a position out there.

When I got a call this week from Richard* sharing his success story, I requested his permission to share it here. His success is an example of what you can, and will, experience with the type of focused persistence he applied to this position.  In the spirit of full disclosure, Richard is a recent career coaching client of mine; I coached him on a new Resume That Gets Results and a new Pimped Out Linked In Profile focused on a strategic search plan based on networking. 
*names have been changed to protect actual client confidentiality

Richard’s 24-hour Success
10:00 a.m.
Noticed position posting for Vice President at Company X, posted on 8/25
3:00 p.m.Based on networking advice, he created a targeted profile and applied on-line.
3:30 p.m.
Logged in to Linked In to search for a contact he knew at Company X. Identified Jason, a Recruiter within Company X he’d met at a career networking class he attended just last week.
4:00 p.m.
Sent Jason an email referencing the class they attended.
4:05 p.m.
Jason responded via email with the contact information for the recruiter on the V.P. position.
7:00 p.m.
Crafted customized cover letter to accompany resume and sent it to the recruiter, and Jason.
7:15 p.m.
Jason responded to my email; he’s sent a personal note to the recruiter.
7:30 p.m.
The recruiter responded; scheduled a phone interview for 10:00a.m. tomorrow.
10:00 a.m.
Phone interview with the recruiter went great; Richard is now 1 of only 5 candidates being submitted to the Chief Marketing Officer for an in-person interview.

Why did Richard have this type of success in a 24 hour period? Preparation. Using every tool in his tool box and Taking Swift, Clear Action.

Richard’s highly qualified for this position and clearly got in on the interviewing schedule at the last minute, bypassing the stacks and stacks of resumes that the recruiter had received. If you’re going to go after a position posted on, Yahoo! HotJobs (now owned by Monster),, or any other top job board, it’s to your advantage to take a comprehensive approach and create a strategy around landing that job rather than merely submitting your resume online.

Shape of your job search

Posted: September 7th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on Shape of your job search

The Chicago Tribune published an article on the front cover the career section on Sunday, August 29th titled “Body of Evidence” that focused on the link between a candidate’s physique and ability to get hired.  Before you start emailing and calling The Chicago Tribune, know that their article is based on the findings of a Newsweek Magazine survey of over 200 national hiring managers. Of those surveyed, 60 percent were men and 40 percent were women, something to keep in mind when you consider the results. Here’s what the survey found:

  • 63% believe physical attractiveness is beneficial to men; 72% believe it’s beneficial to women
  • Looks matter more than education: 59% advised spending as much time and money on making sure you look attractive in person as you do on paper. 
  • Ladies, we’ve got it worse. Respondents said women are better off wearing figure flattering clothing at work yet 47% agree that women are penalized for being too good-looking in the workplace. 39% believe being “very good-looking” is an advantage for women.
  • Being fat is the worst (despite most of us are). Almost 75% of Americans may be overweight according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, yet 2/3, nearly 67%, of hiring managers would hesitate before hiring a candidate that’s qualified but significantly overweight.
  • Ageism, alive and well. If you’re older looking, it’s even worse. 84% of hiring managers said they believe bosses would hesitate before hiring a qualified candidate who looks much older than his, or her, co-workers. Facelift? Botox?
  • 64% of hiring managers believe companies should be allowed to hire employees based on looks.
  • Confidence matters. When ranking the Top 2 qualities in a candidate, hiring managers listed confidence and experience first and second.

This past week I was asked by a reporter to comment on this article and my response will likely cause controversy. While I believe there’s a serious issue with the perception of what overweight looks like in America, I also think that hiring managers have to consider hiring practices that keep their bottom-lines healthy.

Hiring an overweight candidate can have a serious impact on the health of their bottom-line. Let me clarify what I mean when I say overweight. As a slender woman people think I automatically think everyone needs to be a size 0 or 2. The average American woman is a size 12, that’s healthy. America’s distorted sense of weight has no part in hiring practices. On the other hand, hiring obese candidates (men or women) causes a strain on companies. Here are a few facts on what obesity is costing employers*:

  1. $93 billion in direct medical costs
  2. $3.4 billion annually for sick leave
  3. $2.5 billion annually for obesity-related life insurance spending
  4. $1.1 billion spent on disability insurance

When hiring a normal weight employee, the annual health care premium average is $4,016 which nearly doubles for an obese employee (BMI >40) to $8,359*. (*source: Optifast)

Hiring a candidate that keeps their weight under control and takes care of their body directly impacts the company’s productivity, health insurance costs and, as a result, the bottom-line.  When it comes to hiring a new employee, the hiring manager has a responsibility to consider more than just the look of a candidate. They need to consider the productivity, cost of the candidate to the business both short-term and long-term, the impact on the team and their qualifications.

As a veteran career coach, former HR executive and hiring manager, I’m an advocate for equitable hiring practices. As a woman, minority, family member of an obese person and career coach of high caliber 45+ candidates, I am far too familiar with unfair hiring practices. This study is not new information, it’s simply confirmation of what we knew has gone on for decades.

Monster works?

Posted: September 7th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on Monster works?

Joe and I spoke on Friday about his desire to land a new position as an engineer. One of the questions I asked him was how he landed his current position. He went a bit quiet as he thought back and then started to chuckle as he replied, “Believe it or not, I think I had my resume on Monster and a recruiter called me.” 

I responded, “You sound surprised.”

“I am. Those things never work.”

“I agree. That’s why I focus my clients on networking. It’s just amazing to hear someone who actually landed a job off Monster say that it doesn’t work. They do work 20% of the time, it’s just such a small percentage that, particularly with the merger of Monster and Yahoo! HotJobs, you have as good a chance at finding a needle in a haystack.”

“I agree. I’m still shocked I got the call from the recruiter here.”

Joe and I had a good laugh about his experience landing his job off Monster. Here’s a top notch engineer that landed a job with a premier technology company four years ago, off, and he has no faith in job boards.  As we continued to chat about what he was looking for from a career coach, I was impressed by Joe’s initiative to get his resume organized and laid out in a fashion that put his best foot forward in today’s high-stakes market.

Is Joe’s job in jeopardy? No.
Has Joe been forewarned of a layoff? No.
Why is Joe preparing his Resume?

He’s the same as 25% of all employed professionals that are keeping their eyes and ears open for other opportunities in today’s market. Having your resume and Linked In profile reviewed and revised by a professional career coach gives you the upper hand in today’s overcrowded market. It gets your phone ringing before something happens that requires you to start making outbound calls.