How Can Your Passion Land You a Job?

Stories matter.

I lead something of a double life: on the one hand, I work for the business consultancy Academy28, researching and developing tools and services focused on individual and corporate development. In my other job, I’m a university teacher, writer, and researcher. In other words, I spend some of my time dealing with the theoretical side of personal development (the self-motivation tips, the presentation techniques, the job preparation) and the rest of my time ‘at the coalface’: I put it all into practice, focusing on the personal educational development of university students — not in the blogosphere, or in a hypothetical situation, but in the real world.

As a real-life teacher and ‘facilitator’, then, I spend much of the day immersed in my specialist field—the study of literature. This is why I believe that stories matter: I do a lot of writing, thinking, and teaching about the importance of human stories.

So when I came across the following article in the course of my work for Academy28, it was relevant to both sides of my working life:
“How storytelling spurs success.’
And this got me thinking.

The reason the piece on storytelling got me interested in the subject – interested enough to write this article – was that it engaged with something I was really passionate about: teaching literature, and letting other people know about the relevance of the multiple narratives that structure our existence.
Well, so what? Not everyone cares about books — how is this relevant to other people? Why should it matter to you? And what has this got to do with careers?

I realised that in order to grab the attention of a reader – whether it be a passing surfer coming across your blog during a period of down-time at work, or the HR manager of a company scanning through your job application – you need to engage with things you feel passionate about.

When you go into an interview for a job, you want the interviewer to know that what you talk about and the character traits you present are examples of passion, not just polish. Anyone can learn off by heart the tricks of the trade that will get you noticed during an interview — what is much rarer is evidence that the position is one you feel a certain engagement with.

The best opportunities, both in life and in your career development, are those that enable you to harness multiple interests and skills, and to demonstrate your personal investment in the opportunity. If you don’t do this, you’ll be bored; if you’re bored, so are any potential employers: how can you expect someone to be enthused by something that you’re not?

Next time you apply for a job, think about the following aspects of your application:

  • have you foregrounded your interests?
    • make sure what’s important to you isn’t relegated to the very end of your resume
    • and don’t leave it out altogether, because you think it’s ‘not professional enough’
    • you’re a well-rounded person with outside interests, not a corporate automaton — an interviewer wants to see this!

Guest Expert:Sam Knowles is Senior Instructional Designer at the small UK business consultancy Academy28, which specialises in the use of personality analysis and psychometric profiling to tailor personal, team, and corporate development to individuals’ behaviours and needs. Academy28 are looking to extend the reach and usefulness of the products and services they offer — as part of this, Sam is currently working on launching the first in a series of e-books focusing on the interviewing experience. Visit the blog at for more information, excerpts from the e-book, and regular digests of useful careers-focused information from across the internet.

Job Search Over 55, How to Battle Back

Peter Macnab

Found yourself without a job after many years of service? Statistics continue to indicate that the job market remains tight. Reports of some positive movement on the job front are quickly tempered with specific stories of employers not wanting unemployed applicants or of extremely long job searches encountered by older workers.

Job Eliminations
A shocked economy forced many organizations to reduce their number one cost, payroll. Realizing the largest savings meant laying off those with the heftiest paychecks. Unfortunately in most cases these were the employees with the longest terms of service and older in age. Corporations strapped with large bank commitments and diminishing sales routinely reduced their payroll costs in this manner.

Job Search: Assessment of Qualifications
It is an emotional time after a lay off or position elimination. Frequently missed is the importance of the resources available for displaced workers. Many corporations will offer access to outplacement services. While helpful in assembling the documentation needed for a job search, these services offer little in the way of actual help finding employment. Further, they do not cover some key basics that will really help as you begin a search for a new position. While hiring is slow to recover, there are some tips that may help accelerate landing a replacement position.

Know what you have to offer
Start looking into positions on the many job sites. Find out what employers are asking for as requirements for applying. Experience alone is no longer a guarantee of resume acceptance. Additional requirements now usually require at least a bachelor’s degree. Once you know what the requirements are for application consideration, begin an assessment of your strengths and weaknesses.

1. Credentials: Compare your credentials against the requirements and make your list. If you are lacking in an area of education, training or certifications now is the time to find out. Do you have a required degree? Do you have certification in a certain process? Are you trained in a specific area? Knowledge is power here, if you need additional training to boost your qualifications, it is best to know right away.
2. Resume: refresh your resume as soon as possible. If you have been given access to outplacement services that include resume writing, use it. One note of importance is that a resume needs to be targeted to the position being applied for. If you can, choose several similar occupations and see if you can come away with several targeted “generic” resumes that can be modified as needed.
3. References & Recommendations: Collect as many recommendations as you can from associates, colleagues, business relationships, and friends. These are invaluable to have on file if needed, but are usually forgotten until much later on in the job search process.
4. Network: Catalog your personal and professional network of associates. Everyone you can think of that you have connected with throughout your career and personal associations. A great place to start is your address book and contacts. Fill in the gaps, these contacts are invaluable in ways you have not thought of yet.
Know Where to Go:

Make Resume Accomplishments Measurable Whenever Possible

By Katharine

This post is part of a series of excerpts from ExecuNet’s report, Making Your Résumé Recruiter Ready By ExecuNet contributing editor Marji McClure. You can download a free copy by going  here.

To ensure your place on the candidate slate, those accomplish-ments have to demonstrate the value you provided your previous employers in measurable terms. Recruiters say they don’t want to read a general listing of your job responsibilities. They want to see: metrics, quantifiable results, quantitative information, and true accomplishments
“A good résumé will show what you know, what you did and how those things translate into value to the organization,” says Topus. “You have to show the outcome, how you made a difference.”
Metrics are perhaps the most effective way to highlight successes and attract the attention of recruiters. “Metrics is the language of business,” says executive branding expert David Topus. “Anything that’s measurable and has metrics associated with it is high impact.” Among the metrics executives should try to include in their résumés:

  • Increase in revenues
  • Increase in market share
  • Increase in profitability
  • Increase in shareholder value

Job seekers really need to “understand how to quantify and monetize accomplishments in each role. ‘Show us the money,’ ” says one recruiter.
“A résumé today has to be more than a descriptive document. It has to sell you,” says Topus. “A descriptive document doesn’t really create enthusiasm in the reader’s mind. But a document that sells you has a different impact. They’re eager to meet you. They feel lucky to have you in for an interview.”

Complete Article 

Drop old jobs from resume to avoid dating yourself

By Cindy Atoji Keene

As a longtime college housing director, Maureen Wark said, “How do you move 1,300 students in two days into three dorms? It’s not easy, but I got really good at it, and loved the job.’’ But in July 2008, after 12 years working at a large Boston-area university, Wark’s supervisor called her in to her office and told her it was time to move on for her own professional growth.

Wark, who agreed she would leave in June 2009, would have nearly a year to look for a new job. But the timing couldn’t have been worse as the economy plunged into a deep recession.
More than 100 applications later, Wark is still looking for a full-time position while teaching part time at a community college and doing consulting work in higher education administration.
When Wark, 48, of Salem, met with Boston career coach Elizabeth Freedman, she wanted advice on her job search and resume. Although she had a career of more than 20 years in higher education, she felt she was losing touch with the industry.
“When I’m sitting in my pajamas on a Tuesday, it’s hard to reach out and feel like I’m still part of that world,’’ she said.
Freedman’s first piece of advice: create a plan for managing contacts. Freedman suggested taking an e-mail management tool such as Microsoft Outlook, creating an address book of possible job leads, and importing the names into an Excel spreadsheet. Then, she said, Wark should use the spreadsheet to track how and when she followed up with a contact to make sure she followed up every six weeks.
Next, Freedman recommended editing down a three-page resume by removing college graduation dates and deleting jobs she held more than 15 years ago.
“By putting absolutely everything on your resume, you’re running the risk of appearing overqualified,’’ she said. “I think you’re aging yourself on paper.’’

More Advice and Complete Article

All-too-common mistakes can sink the best job search techniques

Last week’s JobsSunday feature focused on what job candidates could do to re-energize and re-focus their attitude through their job search techniques.
This week the focus is on the opposite — what job candidates should make sure they avoid as they look for work.
The phrase “shoot yourself in the foot” didn’t create itself. Although it didn’t originate with job seekers, it might as well have.
Every day, as job candidates look for a job, almost every one of them makes at least one mistake in the process. The worst part is, many of these mistakes are avoidable.
These are some of the most common — and most critical — job search mistakes that experts say can be avoided with a little extra thought and up-front consideration.
1) A non-professional email address. Job candidates can use free email hosts such as or to establish a plain but professional email account that is nondescript.
2) A last check on appearance before an interview. Job candidates who get their foot in the door for an interview need to make sure they look the part. Badly wind-blown hair can make a difference.
3) Pay attention to detail. One mistake, mentioned a number of times by hiring managers, is job candidates who use a cover letter template and forget to change the company name. Cover letters and resumes should always be customized.
4) Real networking is work. Real networking builds mutually beneficial relationships. That can be hard to do in a group setting. Job candidates need to make sure they have a few one-on-one meetings each week.
5) A focus on specific jobs and job types. No job candidate is a fit for every job, or good at everything. A job search will be much more effective if the focus is on exactly the kind of work qualified for.

Tips 6 – 10 

When Looking For Work Is Your Job – Tax Advice For Job Searches

Written by NAPSI

Sacramento, California (NAPSI) – Searching for and starting a new job can cause people to spend money when they may be short on funds. A bright spot is that some of those expenses may be tax-deductible. Unemployed And Searching For A New Job
Taxpayers—particularly the unemployed and underemployed-should file tax returns to claim all tax credits and deductions they are entitled to on their tax returns, to ensure they get the largest tax refund they are due.
Remember, all income must be reported to the IRS, regardless of the source. It does not matter if it’s from unemployment compensation (all of which is subject to federal income tax this year), tips, a lawn-mowing business or working as a nanny.
While looking for a new job, keep good financial records because items used exclusively for the job search are tax-deductible if the job is in the same field. Among these expenses are resumé development, professional placement services and unreimbursed mileage, airfare and hotel expenses for interview travel.
Moving For A New Job
If relocating for a new job, unreimbursed moving expenses may be eligible deductions that do not have to be itemized. These are the eligibility requirements:
• Any moving expenses incurred within one year from the first day of work
• The new job would have increased the taxpayer’s commute by more than 50 miles
• If the taxpayer was previously unemployed, the new job must be at least 50 miles from the taxpayer’s old home
• Taxpayers must be employed at least 39 weeks during the first 12 months after the move.
Starting A New Job
Expenses for unreimbursed items necessary for working, such as computers, mobile phones, training that allows workers to keep their current positions, union dues and required uniforms may be eligible tax deductions. To be eligible, these items must be required by the employer and used exclusively for work purposes. Use the H&R Block job deduction guide to learn what expenses are typically claimed for certain occupations.
Eligible job expenses must be claimed as itemized tax deductions and they must total more than 2 percent of adjusted gross income; only the portion of job deductions and other miscellaneous itemized deductions that exceed 2 percent of adjusted gross income may be claimed.

Complete Article