How to Prepare for Job Search & Career Planning During the Coronavirus & Financial Crisis

These are indeed uncertain times for all of us amid this Coronavirus outbreak. It’s the topic everywhere…on TV, Radio, Social Media, etc. Everyone is talking about how we can protect ourselves, practicing social distance, all the toilet paper that is missing from the shelves…etc. But the truth is that this is the first time we all experience something like this, which is why we see all of the reporting, panic, and opinions.

Some of us may remember living through Anthrax, West Nile Virus, SARS, Human Influenza, MERS-Cov, Ebola, Measles, Zika, and Chikungunya, but none of those were Pandemics. According to my research from 1900-2020, there have been 5 Pandemics (Sources: https://www.who.int/csr/don/archive/country/usa/en/ & https://www.mphonline.org/worst-pandemics-in-history/) as follows:

  • HIV/AIDS PANDEMIC (AT ITS PEAK, 2005-2012): Death Toll: 36 million / Cause: HIV/AIDS  
  • FLU PANDEMIC (1968): Death Toll: 1 million / Cause: Influenza 
  • ASIAN FLU (1956-1958): Death Toll: 2 million / Cause: Influenza
  • FLU PANDEMIC (1918): Death Toll: 20 -50 million / Cause: Influenza
  • SIXTH CHOLERA PANDEMIC (1910-1911): Death Toll: 800,000+ / Cause: Cholera

As of March 15, 2020, YTD, we’ve seen 5,839 deaths from Coronavirus worldwide (Source:https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/), and from what we are all learning we will continue to see that number rise which means that we must do our part to keep our selves and our communities safe. We also need to prepare to continue with our lives and the changes that this may bring.

An area that is already being affected is the job market. With all of the events that have been canceled, the theatres, museums, and businesses that have closed, we see that the effects of this virus go way beyond a health crisis. In preparation, I want to talk to you about how you can prepare for your job search and career planning during these uncertain times.

We’ve all seen that many companies are now implementing working remotely because the business must go on. My gut says that as the weeks go on and the uncertainty remains, we’ll start seeing the rise of “virtual interviewing”. What does this mean? It means that if you are currently looking for work or looking to transition sometime in 2020, you MUST get your telephone interviewing and video interviewing techniques on point. This means practicing and getting comfortable over the phone and video.

The next thing we may also start to see is a slowdown in decisions because they may wait to see what is happening with the economy and/or they may decide they want to meet you in person before making a final decision. This is the time for you to be patient and communicate well on their timeline.

Here are some tips to make sure your phone and video interview go well:

  • Be aware of your environment – Get rid of distractions – they can cost you the job: Pets, Loud Noises (typing, etc.), People in the background, Messy Desk, or Background. Try to use a blank wall as your backdrop and do not do it in public.
  • Lighting – Make sure you have good light around your face and in the room.
  • Personal Appearance – Look professional from head to toe. You never know if you must get up.
  • Eye Contact – Always keep video at eye level and maintain eye contact with the camera. Edited 3/16/20: Check out my friend Ray Franklin’s new post “Look them in the Eye – A Primer to Improve Video Conference Eye Contact” the video tutorial in this post gives you some great tips on how to practice. Click on this link to view: http://www.stageamerica.com/audienceadvocate-blog/videocalleyecontact?fbclid=IwAR0e976jkfd3BijBaFs9Cq5vubPIjv_yRnMVtrHYhw7NcTXmerbNjsYXn_0
  • Seating & Posture – Don’t move around in your chair and make sure you keep good posture.
  • Camera – If your camera does not work well, then purchase an external camera.
  • Audio – Make sure your audio is excellent and, if not, purchase an external mic.
  • Connection – Try not to be on WIFI and connect to a hard connection.
  • Test – Ask what Streaming Service they will use and test it out.
  • Practice – Use Google Hangouts or Zoom to practice with a friend.
  • Notes – Use sticky notes on your computer screen for things you do not want to forget.
  • Be prepared. Be yourself.

The third thing we need to prepare for is what can happen as a result of a financial crisis. We’ve all seen the wall street rollercoaster this past week, and we have no idea where we will end up, but with all the closings and shutdowns, we could be heading towards a financial crisis. This, unfortunately, could lead to the restructuring of businesses and layoffs. We may not see this right away as this takes a little bit of time as companies come up with a strategy to restructure, but this is the time for you as a professional to make sure that you are prepared for whatever comes.

This means that all your professional branding tools should be updated and ready to go. This includes your Resume, LinkedIn, Cover Letters, and Interview Skills. You do not want to be caught unprepared and scrambling to put these together at the last minute. So, take this time to plan ahead and prepare yourself.

If you want to learn more about how to update your professional branding tools, check out this other article I wrote https://www.linkedin.com/post/edit/6636042944530964480/ or feel free to email your questions to vimari@beproductivecoaching.com.

Interested in career coaching or creating a career transition strategy? Schedule a complimentary consultation: https://calendly.com/vimariroman/free-consultation?month=2020-03

What Are Professional Branding Tools?

Beyond just a memorable logo, good branding increases the value of a company, provides employees with direction and motivation, and makes acquiring new customers easier. A brand represents the sum of people’s perception of a company’s customer service, reputation, advertising, and logo.

personal brand is, in many ways, similar to a corporate brand. It is who you are, what you stand for, the values you embrace, and how you express those values. So, as you can tell, having a personal, professional brand is just as important as having a company or corporate brand. Keep in mind that your professional brand must also be memorable. 

A lot goes into the making of a memorable professional brand. If you do not define your professional brand, others will. You can strengthen your professional brand by making sure you create a good reputation, networking, making your voice heard in meetings, and attending conferences. Beyond this, your professional brand must be able to make a good impression when you are not present, especially when you are looking to make a career transition.

These are documents you’ll need throughout your career. Tools you need to help you get to the next position. It’s how you show up on paper and online—the first impression. Whether you are looking to grow into the next position, moving companies, or make a complete transition, your professional branding tools must represent you as a professional. Think about what makes you competitive and how you want others to remember you.

There are three simple steps you should take to making sure that you are building a professional and memorable brand.

Step 1: Resume & Cover Letter: Recruiters spend an average of six seconds reviewing an individual resume. Make them count!

➡️ Resume: Think of how you can seperate yourself from the competition. Recruiters and hiring managers spend an average of 6 seconds browsing at a resume which means you must make them count. Focus on highlighting your accomplishments and write the resume for the job you want. One page if you are just getting started. Two pages for professionals with ten years of experience and three pages for C-Level executives are acceptable.

➡️ Cover Letter: No, this is not old fashioned. Even if they do not require it send it. Even if it’s a fast application online – send a cover letter. PDF your document to include your cover letter and send it as one document. A cover letter is where you tell the recruiter or hiring manager why you’re the person for the job. You compare their requirements with your skills and accomplishments. Show them you’ve done your research and tell them why joining their team would be an excellent fit for both. Keep it to one page.

Step 2: LinkedIn Profile: 95% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find top-notch candidates. Make your LinkedIn profile match your stellar resume and land the interview you want!

➡️ Let’s face it…we live in a digital age. LinkedIn is the professional site where recruiters and hiring managers go to learn more about you. Make sure you are present and control what others see online. Don’t make them have to Google you. LinkedIn is an extension of your resume. Make sure it aligns and make sure you utilize the space to tell them more about you. Get recommendations from others in your network, have a great headshot, and get creative with your cover photo, have it be relevant so that you can stand out. All of this is important and makes a difference. 

Step 3: Interview Preparation: Overcome your fears, refine your pitch, and tackle even the hardest interview questions. Communicate what makes you stand out from the competition and gain the confidence you need to relax at that important interview.

➡️Be prepared…be prepared…be ready. You can have a great resume, but if you do not back it up with a great interview, then it’s useless. Practice your introductions. Practice the questions that are difficult for you. Anticipate what’s going to be asked and get yourself prepared. Preparation includes having questions ready for you to ask the recruiter. Remember that the interview is for both parties. They are interviewing you as much as you should be interviewing them to make sure it’s going to be a great fit. Must I mention that you should look prepared too? What does that mean? Professional at all times. Pull out the jacket or suit even if the company is known to be casual. There is no such thing as being overdressed. Ladies, keep it classy and stay away from low cuts or too tight.

Once you have these tools in place, do not forget to keep them updated. I cannot tell you how many outdated LinkedIn profiles I come across. Imagine how many outdated resumes there are. Is your’s one of them? There is nothing worse than having to rush to update these tools when you are trying to put your name in for a position. Take charge of your career. You don’t have to wait. Be prepared at all times by keeping these tools updated so that you are ready at all times.

Need help with your tools or have a quick question you would like answered? Schedule a complimentary consultation: https://calendly.com/vimariroman/free-consultation

Resumes: Why Your Outcome Is The Result Of Your Investment

I received a call yesterday from a new prospective client who found me on Craigslist….yes, Craigslist. It turns out that as I was exploring ways of getting new clients earlier this year and I happen to be selling something old on Craigslist when the thought came to me to place a $5 AD focusing on my Resume Writing and Interview Coaching services.

Why you may ask?

Well, I realized that not everyone understands what “Coaching” is and how it can benefit them but everyone does need a resume (not to mention most resumes are horrific – but I’ll leave that for another post), and I figured there could be a chance that people may look for this service on Craigslist. It turns out that I was right.

After a few minutes of speaking to my new prospective client yesterday, he asked how much it would be for me to write his resume and although my pricing is clearly noted on the AD, I gave him the quote. He immediately responded that my quote was higher than what he had hoped to “spend” but that he would have to end up spending it because he was in desperate need of a resume as he needed to apply for a new position the next day. I explained that he was not “spending” he was “investing” and I agreed that I could certainly meet his deadline and would not charge extra for that.

When I asked if he already had an existing resume that he can send me he confessed that he recently spent $60 on someone with an HR background to do his resume but when he looked at it the day before and printed it he realized what a crappy job that person had done (why he didn’t go back to get his money or revise it is another story). Before I could speak the words he took them right out of my mouth and said: “I guess you get what you pay for”. I could not help smile and reply “exactly”. I went on explaining that is the exact reason why the AD he read on Craigslist says “Don’t forget…you get what you pay for!”

Turns out my new client’s resume is actually costing him and upward of $259 because he didn’t want to invest in the first place. Why an upward? Because time is money. The time he spent going on Craigslist to find a new service provider, the time that he took to call me, the time he took to speak to me, the time he took to email me his current resume and then the time he took to answer my questions all have value. The question is…how much is his time worth? How much is YOUR time worth?

So, the next time you are thinking of making an investment in yourself think about this: “You get what you pay for!”

Interested in having me look at your resume or considering coaching? Book a complimentary 30 min. discovery coaching call by visiting my booking calendar and choosing a time that works best for you: https://calendly.com/vimariroman

5 Tips to Finish the Year Strong

Welcome to a brand new month. A brand new quarter. A new beginning. The ability to start something new or depending on your perspective the opportunity to finish the year strong. 

I ❤ October. The weather is nice, the mood of the holidays is fast approaching and the end of the year is only 3 months away. 

But like you, I remember the days of entering Q4 and feeling the anxiety of my 2018 goals and wanting to finish the year strong. 

As we enter the first week of October this is the perfect time to pull out your journals or notebooks and look back on the goals you set for yourself in December or January.

Here are 5 tips to finish 2018 strong:

1 – Review your year:

  • Write down your biggest success and shortlist actions you can replicate next year. 
  • Do the same for your biggest failure. Write down what you have learned and preventive actions. 

2 – Review your goals:

  • Reevaluate where you are as of today.
  • Take a look at how far you’ve come.
  • Establish what you can do in the next three months to accomplish those goals.

3 – Review your relationships:

  • Both professional and personal.
  • How are they doing?
  • Are there any that may need some work?
  • Are there any decisions that need to be made?

4 – Review your health:

  • How are you feeling?
  • Is it time to get back on track with your exercise routine?
  • Do you need to eat better as we get ready to welcome the holiday season?
  • Are there any pending doctor appointments you need to confirm?

5 – De-Clutter Mentally and Environmentally:

  • Check items off your to-do list. The shorter the list the more you will enjoy the holidays.
  • Get all the “must do” items or things you have been procrastinating out of the way.
  • Delegate whatever you can.
  • Donate items you do not use.
  • Tidy up your desk and your emails.

The idea is to do whatever you can to feel good about ending your year strong and starting the New Year journey with as little baggage as possible. Think and plan S.M.A.R.T. 

Need a little accountability? Book a complimentary 30 min. discovery coaching call by visiting my booking calendar and choosing a time that works best for you: https://calendly.com/vimariroman

Find these tips useful?

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Defining Strengths, Skills, and Achievements On Your Resume

In the last two years, I’ve been actively assisting clients in many different industries in updating their resumes. During this time I’ve noticed a trend that I am hoping to help with. Nine (9) out of ten (10) resumes that I review are missing the 3 key elements that make a resume: Strengths, Skills, and Achievements

As a courtesy, I just reviewed a past colleagues resume in order to provide feedback and once again, their resume was missing these three key elements. Hence what has prompted this post.

These elements are what will help you stand out from your competitors. Think of your resume as your brochure; your marketing tool. It must tell the story of who you are and your background but most importantly it must start with the “Why?“.

  • Why should your potential employer stop to read your resume out of the stack of 100?
  • Why are you the best candidate?
  • Why should they call you in for an interview?

To determine the “Why”, think your professional experience as it is relevant to the job that you will be applying for and ask yourself the following questions for each of the past positions you will be listing on your resume:

  • What has made me stand out at work?
  • What have I brought to the table?
  • What do my bosses recognize and mention that I am doing well during my annual reviews?
  • What do I love to do?
  • What are my natural strengths and talents? What comes naturally?
  • What strong skills do I have that my colleagues do not have or that are stronger than theirs?
  • What am I proud of?
  • How have I made a difference at my job?
  • If I am gone, how would I be remembered?
  • How have I contributed to the success of the business?
  • What schooling or training do I have?
  • What are some of the skills I’ve learned through my hands on experience?

After you ask yourself these questions you should have a list of top skills, strengths and accomplishments that you can incorporate into the body of your resume.

Now you may ask yourself, what is the difference and why are these three key elements so important? I’ll tell you why!

Strengths: Strengths are tasks or actions that you can do well and make you stand out from your colleagues. These include talents, knowledge, and skills. People use these traits and abilities in their daily lives to complete work, relate with others, and to achieve goals. Everybody has their own set of strengths. By discovering what your strengths are you learn how to use your natural talents every day so you can thrive in life and at work. Instead of wasting time trying to fix your weaknesses, learn how to develop and apply your strengths for success. To help you identify your strengths ask yourself the following:

  1. How do you absorb, think about and analyze information and situations?
  2. How do you make things happen?
  3. How do you influence others? How do you build and nurture strong relationships?

For example your strengths may look like this: Strategic, Focus, Communication, Development

Skills: Key skills are work-related skills that you need to do a job. Most often, you can find key skills in job descriptions. Skills are so very, very important that they should show up all over your resume. Not just in the resume skills section. There are soft skills and hard skills. When you’re deciding what resume skills to add, technical and other expert-level know-how should definitely get first dibs.

Certain soft skills, like those that signal leadership, negotiation, and communication skills, are great to add to your resume in moderation and where appropriate. But be selective. You want to be avoid being overly fluffy. Employers are looking for concrete skills. If they’re filling an engineering position, they don’t care how ‘outgoing’ you are.

The Difference Between Hard Skills and Soft Skills

What Are Hard Skills? Hard skills are teachable abilities or skill sets that are easy to quantify. Typically, you’ll learn hard skills in the classroom, through books or other training materials, or on the job.

Here’s a list of typical hard skills to include on a resume:

  • Proficiency in a foreign language
  • A degree or certificate
  • Machine operation
  • Computer programming
  • Accounting
  • SEO/SEM Marketing
  • Bookeping
  • Planning / Event Planning
  • Project Management
  • Data Analysis

What Are Soft Skills? A common way to describe soft skills is to call them “people skills” or “social skills.” Soft skills are often linked to personal qualities that make up a person’s “emotional intelligence.”

Examples of soft skills include:

  • Communication
  • Ability to Work Under Pressure
  • Decision Making
  • Time Management
  • Self-motivation 
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Leadership
  • Adaptability 
  • Teamwork
  • Creativity
  • Relationship Building

Achievements: This is the area that most miss. Remember when a resume mainly listed responsibilities? That’s a thing of the past. Responsibilities are job descriptions pure and simple. Today, employers want to know what you actually achieved—delivered based on key organizational goals. Achievements is what you brought to the table. How you made a difference in the organization.

What qualifies as resume achievements? Think about sales performance, increased team efficiencies, new policies, procedures, and systems … stuff like this.

They want to know how you performed—the results of your efforts, not just a description of your job functions.

For example: Replace such statements as “managed marketing department” with “optimized department by building a marketing team that focused on media needs and captured 15% more market share.”

Stand out and get the attention, promotion, salary, and recognition you deserve by not ignoring these 3 key elements and I promise you will have a resume that will be worth more than 3 seconds.

If you rather have someone help you and want to learn how I can be of assistance schedule a call on my calendar at a time that is convenient for you: https://calendly.com/vimariroman

www.beproductivecoaching.com

12 Ways to Push Yourself Out of Your Comfort Zone Daily

“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” Brian Tracy

This year has been the year that I have decided to push my boundaries. I am purposely stepping out of my comfort zone weekly in order to continue growing. Stepping out of your comfort zone is not always easy. But once you do, I promise that the feeling will be amazing.

We have reached July 2nd – the first Monday of the mid-year point. This is a good time to look at the last six months, evaluate your goals, do some shifting if you need to and step out of your comfort zone.

Here are 12 ways you can push yourself out of your comfort zone daily:

1. Take the first stepAll you need to do is to take the first step. It will be difficult. The first day at the gym is the worst. The opening line of your story takes the longest time….etc. But as you gain momentum, it is easier to keep moving.

2. Put yourself in a new environment

Begin with some small changes that do not present any real threat, such as eating at a different restaurant in a different part of town, or attending an art exhibit. The idea is to place yourself in new areas where you control the interaction.

3. Don’t pick the safe choice

Every time you’re making a choice, one choice is the safe/comfortable choice, and one choice is the risky/uncomfortable choice. The risky/uncomfortable choice is the one that will teach you the most and make you grow the most, so that’s the one you should choose.

4. Take a different route home

If you drive or walk a different route, you will see different things. In a small way, that increases your view of the world. That is just an easy way to start. After that, you can make more drastic changes. Eventually, you will feel comfortable thinking out of the box. 

5. Make a snap decisionIt doesn’t have to be a life-or-death decision. Anything from choosing a restaurant to shopping. Just make a choice that’s unusual for your routine without overthinking it.

If that still sounds daunting, flip a coin. Yes, I am serious! Flip a coin over the decision and stick to it. I do it all the time and end up glad that I did (mostly).

Eliminating the need for mulling over a decision greatly boosts the process of stepping out of our comfort zones. Plus, snap decisions instill a feeling of self-trust. So, like Nike ‘just do it.’

6. Consider other points of view

Surround yourself with very smart people who are a little bit arrogant and disagree with you on many things. Make sure to debate ideas with them, in a civil way, which will cause you to re-examine your beliefs.

7. Say “yes” more often

Say yes even when you don’t think you’re ready. … If you are working, say yes to new projects, new assignments, new roles — even when you have not done it before. It opens up huge opportunities in your career. Who knows — you might find yourself enjoying something you never got the chance to explore earlier.

8. Volunteer

Preferably, make it a learning experience. Pick something you’re very unfamiliar with and soak up everything you can while also making yourself useful.

9. Do what you’re afraid of 

New mindset. It goes like this: Does this scare me? Then I have to do it. That’s how you conquer fear. It never goes away, you just learn how to ride that energy.

10. Create challenges to push yourself in areas you want to improve

Decide on a few challenges (and their triggers) for yourself designed to push you outside of your comfort zone in areas you want to develop.

• Next time you see a handsome boy or girl (trigger) you have to go and talk to him/her (challenge).

• Next time you go buy a cup of coffee (trigger) ask for a 10% discount (challenge).

• Next time you find yourself making eye contact with a stranger (trigger) keep it until they look away (challenge).

• Next time someone asks you how you are (trigger) respond by saying you are great/fantastic instead of just ‘good’ (challenge).

Just focus on these triggers and don’t make any excuses. It’ll become a habit after a while.

11. Allow others to decide for you

I make all the travel plans for my husband and I. If he was in charge we wouldn’t go anywhere. So, catch hold of friends who are more outgoing than you. Let them make the plans, and just go with it.

12. Remember that tomorrow is a new day

It helps to remember that what doesn’t kill you generally really does make you stronger — you will survive, you will heal, you will learn something, you will have a better chance of emerging unscathed next time.

My challenge to you today is to put some of these into practice this next couple of weeks to step out of your comfort zone then email me at vimari@beproductivecoaching.com and let me know how it goes.

Know someone that could step out of their comfort zone? Share with them via Facebook, Email or Twitter.

Resumes that make the six seconds

“When love and skill work together, expect a MASTERPIECE” Anthony Robbins

Are you ready for a new career or a better opportunity? Do you have the tools needed to get you that interview…that new opportunity?

A good resume can be hard to find; just ask any recruiter or hiring manager thumbing through stacks of them. To stand apart from the crowd in today’s competitive employment market, you must submit a document that makes an immediate impression. In fact, a well-crafted resume is your most effective tool for landing an interview and, ultimately, a new job.

According to quite a few studies, recruiters spend an average of six seconds reviewing an individual resume. What does that tell you? That if you’re a job-seeker, it’s incredibly important to make those few seconds count.

Your resume is the most important document in your career. Job seekers are 40% more likely to get noticed by hiring managers with a professionally written resume. Today, your skills, credentials, and accolades must truly stand apart in order to get a second glance. Once you get beyond the six seconds it takes just another few seconds for a recruiter or hiring manager to lose interest and decide to look at the next resume. Your resume must sell your strengths, skills, and achievements in a precise and organized manner.

Following are some key “do’s” and “don’ts” of resume writing.

Do:

·        Do use action verbs as much as possible. For instance, instead of writing a passive sentence such as, “My company has provided me with five years of meetings and events experience,” write using an active voice: “Possess over five years’ experience in strategic meetings management.” 

·        Avoid vague terms such as ‘familiar with’ or ‘experience with’ — these phrases set off alarms to recruiters and hiring managers, who may question your actual depth of knowledge.

·        Be short and to the point. Use bullets. Avoid fluffy or redundant language. The goal is to communicate your abilities clearly and concisely.

·        Use a chronological format. Recruiters, Hiring Managers and Executives prefer work histories listed in reverse chronological order rather than grouped by skills or job function. 

·        Skills, Strengths, and Key Achievements: these are all different and your resume must sell and highlight these separately. Do remember to tailor your resume for the job you want and make sure that your key achievements and qualifications relate to the position. 

·        Let the job description guide your resume. If you’re applying for a position, and the advertisement for the job asks for candidates with ‘high energy’ and ‘experience with corporate clients,’ integrate those phrases into your resume. Many companies electronically screen resumes for keywords, so you can boost your chances of landing an interview by adopting any applicable phrases.

·        Be honest. Do not lie in a resume. People who try to outsmart potential employers by attempting to lie in their resume usually discover that the only person they have outsmarted is themselves.

Do not:

·        Don’t include a long, unrelated list of job duties on your resume, such as ‘familiar with XYZ design software’ and ’good with numbers’ if you are going for a marketing position. Instead, think outside of your job title and list only those skills that are relevant to the opening.

·        Do not make it too long. Do not include 20 years or history or 20 different jobs if you are a job hopper. Make it relevant to the position you are looking for and keep it at a max of two pages.

·        Don’t include irrelevant facts about your personal life: The fact that you enjoy yoga isn’t relevant unless you’re applying to work at a yoga studio. Only pertinent information — such as volunteer work or connections with professional associations — should be listed.

·        Email address: Do not include an unprofessional e-mail address in your resume, such as ‘onesexygal@gmail.com’ or ‘mrgq@gmail.com.’ Uses your name in the email address instead. 

·        Grammar, spacing and fonts: Do not overlook the little things. A resume that has typos, misspellings or grammatical mistakes and different fonts send the message to potential employers that you lack attention to detail. It is always a good idea to use spell-check and ask a friend or relative to review your resume for accuracy before submitting the document.

·        Once again, do not lie in a resume. The truth always comes out. Integrity is important and you never know whom that recruiter or hiring manager may know. You will also be interviewed and you need to be confident during the interview in order to get the job.

·        Don’t list references or write ‘references available on request.’ Hiring managers assume you will provide this information when asked. I also recommend you give each of your references a copy of your resume so they can more adeptly highlight your achievements when contacted.

Not sure where to start? Today, more than 60% of executives hire a professional resume writer. The best athletes have coaches to take them to the next level, so why wouldn’t you hire an expert to help you with your resume and interview preparation?

About the author: Vimari Roman is a Career & Leadership Coach who helps individuals achieve their peak potential and live a fulfilled life by utilizing their natural gifts and talents (also known as strengths). Learn more at www.beproductivecoaching.com. Contact at 786-340-3174 or vimari@beproductivecoaching.com

Women in Leadership

In the last couple of weeks “Women in Leadership” has been popping up everywhere I turn, in many different areas of my life and as I’ve been thinking, I’ve been inspired to write this post.

The first was an article that I read a couple of weeks ago (unfortunately I cannot share the article with you because I don’t recall where or how I got a hold of it). A day later, I received an email from Meetings and Conventions Magazine with an article featuring Meeting Professionals International (MPI) newly launched Women in Leadership Course. I paid extra attention to that article because I am a member of MPI, and I also sit on the Board of the local South Florida Chapter as VP of Education.

This new four-hour course that MPI has launched aims to examine why women are less likely to ascend to leadership positions than their male peers, what they can do about it, and to help them create individual action plans to overcome some of the more common career obstacles. Apparently women represent 80% of our industry, yet we are not seeing 80% in leadership roles. You can click on this link to read the article and learn more about the course: http://www.meetings-conventions.com/News/Industry-Associations/MPI-Launches-Women-in-Leadership-program-meeting-planners/

Last Wednesday, I attended my Emmaus Women’s meeting and oddly enough our topic that day was about “Work” and “Women in Leadership”. The topic was brought up by one of our sisters who shared that at the Hospital where she is currently working they are now launching a “Women in Leadership” initiative because they realized that most of the “leaders” they have are men. Do you see the duplication here? Stay with me…

Then I received an email from my Strategic Intervention & Leadership Coach forum that spoke to Coaches about focusing on Women and Leadership. I started to think and connect all of the areas of my life where this subject was present. In the 3 years or so that I’ve been practicing my Coaching as a Certified Strategic Intervention & Leadership Coach, I think back, and my clients have been both men and women. I started to think back to see if I could identify any differences between Coaching the two and some thoughts and differences came up.

Then yesterday, we celebrated “International Women’s Day” and I was congratulated by quite a few people. Both during meetings or conference calls held, and a few text messages, including one from my uncle who lives in Puerto Rico. I even received an urgent call from the Mayor of the city where I live, asking me to come meet her and some other El Portal staff for 2 minutes, and when I quickly went over to meet them at 5pm, I found out she wanted to take this picture I’ve placed to the right of this post which features some of our police officers, our Village Clerk, the Mayor and I. I was recently elected this past November and sit on the Council of our beautiful Village. Anyhow, I found this all very odd because I don’t recall this day ever being so pronounced. At least not in my personal interactions. This is even more peculiar because Facebook is typically where I get to find out what special International day is being celebrated, and I haven’t been on Facebook since Ash Wednesday when I gave it up for lent. All of these interactions got my mind going and my thoughts took me to all of the Women’s Marches that took place around our Country earlier this year. I continue to connect the dots.

As I connect the dots, I see the trends and as I read articles, have discussions, I realize that they all pretty much have the same information. Basically, women feel that they are still treated differently than men and that they get paid differently. There are statistics support that women still get paid less than men, and that there are less women in leadership than men. But at the same time, I’ve also seen articles and statistics that talk about a rise in women leadership. Like with any subject, if you google, you will find different statistics for the same subject.

Again, I am not sure why all of a sudden this subject is so apparent to me but one thing I know for sure, I believe women are just as intelligent and capable as men. I believe that if women want to be in leadership and get paid their worth, they should. I also believe that as women we should empower each other and look for ways to celebrate each other as men often do. After connecting all these dots, and for the first time ever sitting down to really think about this subject, I ask myself where is all this leading and what am I to do about it.

As a woman, I have been in leadership for most of my career. I’ve been blessed with a wonderful career where I have had the opportunity to grow and learn. I started my hospitality career at 15 years old working part-time at the front desk of a hotel where a few years later I was promoted to my first leadership role as a Front Desk Supervisor. My career continued to grow, and I went from the small hotel in Lynbrook, Long Island to working in New York City at a very high-end all suites hotel on the upper East Side of Manhattan. Once again, I was quickly promoted to leadership. Then I moved to Miami where I also held a leadership role as Assistant Front Desk Manager. Few years later I went from operations to group sales and later promoted to leadership within Sales. In 2013, I shifted from working full time in hotels as Director of Sales & Marketing to becoming an entrepreneur within the Hospitality and Meetings Industry. My personal experience is that I do not feel that I’ve not been able to get opportunities because I am a woman. I’ve gone for promotions where men have also been candidates, and I have received the promotion. I even think I possibly got paid more. I unfortunately cannot relate to what many women feel. This doesn’t mean that I don’t believe this is true. I just have not experienced it personally. I have a Type A personality and I am extremely goal oriented and determined. I question if that has anything to do with my ability to have held so many leadership roles.

As I look back, something did come up. I remember that I was never the type of girl to have too many girl friends. I was always friendly but most of my closest friends were always men. I felt I could relate better, and I also thought women were “catty” or judgmental and gossipy, and I could not relate to those qualities.That was my honest impression of women. It wasn’t until maybe 10 years ago that I started expanding my circles with many women friends. In fact, it was quite noticeable to me and I saw the shift where I now appreciated the nurturing I was receiving from my women friends. I also didn’t surround myself around women that were “catty” or judgmental. The women all had something in common. They were strong and independent women. Many were much older than I and we all appreciated and respected each others strengths and weaknesses. I can now say that I have many girl friends with all different backgrounds and experiences. I now realize the importance of having these circles and how the women in my life have helped me grow.

I’ve come so far that I even joined a fabulous Mastermind Group that my friend started about a year ago. We were 6 ladies who came together to read and study the book “Think and Grow Rich”. I think back to that Mastermind Group and how together we supported each of our goals, and it was truly amazing. Masterminds have been around for ever, but I don’t hear many women talk about being a part of one. If you are reading this post and you are a woman, or have a special woman in your life, I recommend you/they find a Mastermind Group locally. You’ll be amazed on how much you can grow and how you can support the growth of other women.

Seeing this shift in my life, and recognizing that there are many women that are not as confident or have not had the same opportunities that I have, has made me compassionate towards this subject. I would like to contribute where-ever I can to see women gain confidence and not be afraid to go for what they want. Including leadership roles. How I will contribute to this is yet to come…I haven’t thought that far but I think writing this post is a start.

I’d love to hear comments and thoughts on this subject. Are you a woman who feels that you have not had the same opportunities as your male colleagues? Are you a woman who relates to my journey? Are you someone who works on empowering women? Are you someone who thinks this is all BS? Whoever you are and what ever it is that you have done or not done, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Until then…make it a productive rest of the week!

Happy belated #InternationalWomensDay!