Refreshing your career doesn’t have to be a major project, says Lisa Johnson Mandell, author of Career Comeback: Repackage Yourself To Get the Job You Want. Smartbrief’s Mary Ellen Slayter recently spoke with Lisa about the simple steps that workers can take to update their image — and improve their prospects of landing a job they love.
What inspired you to write the book?
In my 40s, with the recession looming, I found myself in the unenviable position of a freelancer who needed more work to put bread on the table and kibble in the dog bowl. I was sending out hundreds of resumes, and getting no response. My husband saw my futile efforts, and asked if he might take a look at my resume. “No offense sweetie, but you look old … on paper,” he told me. Once I let him back in the house, we decided to stage a career comeback that involved “Botoxing” my resume, putting my social networking efforts and Web presence on steroids and getting smarter and more effective in my job search. My efforts turned out to be so successful I received numerous full-time job offers in just a few weeks.
When you talk about “Botoxing” your resume, what does that mean, in practical terms?
Well, when you get Botox, it’s usually to lift, firm and freshen your look. It’s the same thing with your resume. You want to lift all your freshest, strongest qualifications to the very top, and erase any telltale age lines like date of graduation and outdated job skills.
What role can social media play in a career makeover strategy?
It’s absolutely essential that you have a vital web presence, at minimum on Facebook, LinkedIn, and on your own professional blog. A picture is worth a thousand words, so a flattering, professional yet engaging photo of yourself is a very important aspect of this. If you can easily be found online with your professional assets prominently featured, you will have headhunters approaching you for jobs that haven’t even been posted yet. I know this because I have been recruited this way, and I have recruited others in the same fashion.
What’s your best advice for someone who has been out of work for a while, and is just starting to realize that changing careers is a must, not an option?
Try to see your situation as a blessing rather than a curse. You’re being freed from a career that is no longer viable for you and is probably holding you back. By the way, most artists and athletes come to this point sooner rather than later — there comes a time when they have to give up their lifelong dream and find another one, in order to make a living. There are those who resent it and regret it every day of their lives, and there are those who find a new passion and put the same amount of dedication into it. The minute you chose to leave the past behind and dedicate yourself to the future, you will find new opportunities and challenges that will move you forward.
To learn more key tips and actionable steps for developing your career from Lisa Johnson Mandell, as well as recruiters from major employers such as Starbucks, Facebook, and Microsoft, sign up for the Career Summit today! (SmartBrief is a partner in this event.)