Cut the Crap Get a Job

With summer fast approaching, many of you are looking for a job, right? Are you having any luck? If not, pick up “Cut the Crap, Get a Job!” by Dana Manciagli.

This book takes you step by step through the job search process. It requires a lot from you the reader, looking for a job will become your job. Manciagli is a global career expert with an M.B.A., and her strategies have been successful for many of her clients. Now, she is sharing her secrets with you.

The book is broken up into three sections: the first section is about you being committed to job search, the second section is preparing to win a job and the third is about applying, interviewing and follow-up. Manciagli explains that the way to obtain employment has changed, so your job search must change, too.

“Regardless of what type of job seeker you are, I have good news and bad news. The bad news first: The entire landscape of job searching has changed. It’s a new era and you are not current. The good news: There are experts who want to see you win the job you want in this highly competitive market,” Manciagli wrote.

Manciagli’s goal is for her readers to find a job that they not only need, but want as well.

This is not your typical job search book with tips and tricks; they are included, but the reader has homework assignments to carry out that will help enhance their job search. There is no room for excuses with this book. You are either fully committed to obtaining employment or not.

Each chapter is a progression from the last one. For example, chapter four is to create an outline for your job search and chapter five is to build your job-tracking tool, which is a part of your outline. There is advice on how to use social media to help your job search, along with how to network for jobs, resume tips and tricks and more. Manciagli also offers access to her Cut the Crap website for even more help and info.

“Cut the Crap, Get a Job!” can help you find a job if you do your part. This is what Manciagli wants everyone to understand: your job search is yours, and what you make of it is up to you. If you do not apply the strategies in the book or take the advice, then stick to summer reading.

The book is a helpful and insightful tool for anyone looking for a job. If you are serious about a summer job or a long term one, read this book today and get started with your successful job search.

Getting from College to the Real World- The Basics

Presentation I Gave to a Senior Arts Class 
Dream Job Exit Sign

As many of you know graduation is right around the corner! The next chapter of your life is beginning and it’s exciting and scary all rolled into one.  Do you feel ready? What are your goals? What type of jobs are you looking for?

One of the best ways to find a job depends upon your ability to network.  Networking accounts for 70-80% of jobs today. So start talking! It’s not just about talking; it’s about what you say.

Do you have a 30 seconds about me prepared? How do you introduce yourself? How you present yourself is HUGE and first impressions count!

If you are able to know and understand your audience, then you can successfully market yourself. In the book, BRAG, The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It, Peggy Klaus discusses brag bites and bragologues. The purpose of them is for you to be able to discuss your goals, interests, and accomplishments in a story like manner. It’s important that you are always ready to brag. Brooks Harper, author and speaker says that every day is an interview and it’s true because you never know who you are going to meet.

Another way to network is to utilize LinkedIn!  It’s a wonderful tool that helps you find jobs, connect to other people in your field, and stay informed about your career field of interest. One of my coworkers got her job because of her Linkedin profile.  It’s a very professional website.  It’s easy to set up and easy to use- it’s a great way to communicate with others in your field in your city and state.

Volunteering can be another way to meet others and connect with them. Employers love to see that potential candidates have consistent volunteer experience. Make sure to volunteer in an area of your interest and to add it to your resume. You never know where or what volunteering can lead to especially in the arts field where so many opportunities are volunteer-based.

These are all general job search strategies; let’s get more specific to the arts.  For those interested in non-profit go to You can join for free and post a bio about yourself related to your work. You can find internships and volunteer experiences.  Americans for the Arts is another non-profit organization that lists available jobs. They also have an organization entitled, Young Arts Professionals- it does cost to join both organizations. Searching for jobs and posting your resume is free! Creative Hotlist is another website to search for jobs and post your resume. USAJOBS is where you can search for jobs by state or occupation. These are just a few.

Once you’ve found a job that you are interested in, you have to have an all impressive resume.  Resumes are not a one size fits all. There are basic elements needed in a resume.   Use keywords from the job description in your resume. Many companies use an Applicant Tracking System to weed out resumes that do not have enough keywords before an actual person sees them. The format needs to be clean and easy to read. There needs to be white space and 1 inch margins all around. For each heading, you don’t need more than 6 bullets to talk about the experience. All the important information needs to be at the top 1/3 of the page. This is the portion that gets scanned by the reader. Use quantifiers in your descriptions, people pay attention to numbers. Use a profile summary, not an objective. You need a separate reference page. Be consistent throughout your resume as far as font, size, and bullets. Tailor your resume to the position. Lead with results, include your LinkedIn profile link if you have one, and don’t use repetition on your resume, get a thesaurus. Your resume needs to tell a story about who you are professionally.  Another piece to the puzzle of obtaining a job is the cover letter.  The truth is, no one enjoys writing a cover letter, and it’s the wicked stepmother or odd relative to the resume. No one understands them. The most important element of a cover letter is to explain that you know about the company- what they do, what they stand for, and how you are a good fit for them.  You are selling yourself, but in a way that shows that you care about the organization, not just about yourself. You do want to share your experiences, but always connect it to how it will help the organization.

Resumes get you an interview, but an interview can get you a job.  Peggy Klaus says that an interview is one of the best times to brag about yourself, it’s where you bring your resume to life.  You need to have concrete, specific examples and stories to share. Brooks Harper who wrote “Why Should We Hire You said “That’s all interviewing is: Telling your story in a manner that persuades someone to hire you.”   Practice for your interview with your career coach or a trusted friend.  Video yourself practicing, from experience I can tell you that you will notice things you don’t notice when practicing in the mirror.    During an interview, you are being looked at from the minute you walk in until you exit the parking lot. Be sure to make a good positive impression by dressing properly, arriving at least 15 minutes earlier and being confident and kind.  Dress for the job you want, not the one you have. Pay attention the way people are dressed at your interview, always ere on the more conservative side even if it’s a more casual place.  Stick to neutral tones such as black, navy, gray, white, and khaki, bright colors can be distracting.   There are 4 types of questions that interviewers typically ask:  straightforward, behavioral type questions, situational, and brainteasers.  If you understand what the questions are really asking, you will be better prepared to answer. Many people make the mistake of not answering the question that was asked or being vague in their answers.  Remember to use the STAR method when answering questions, describe the situation, the task, the action taken, and the results.  Employers want to see that you can get results and solve problems.  Be sure that you have at least 2-3 questions to ask the employer that are about the job- what are the immediate goals for someone in this position, what is the typical day like in this position, ask questions that show you are interested in the position and the company.  At the end of the interview be gracious, say thank you and within 24-48 hours send a snail mail thank you letter.

Graduation is an exciting time and the next chapter in your story is about to begin. As you prepare, be sure you are networking with people in your industry, volunteering, and doing all you can to find a job that you want and will be excited about. You are on your way!

Five Books Every Student Should Read


As a life long learner and avid reader, I could not agree more!

Originally posted on The NACE Blog:

Lakeisha Mathews

Lakeisha M. Mathews, Director, Career and Professional Development Center, University of Baltimore
Twitter: @RightResumes_CC
Blogs from Lakeisha Matthews.

A few months ago I wrote about 10 must-read books for career professionals. Now I would like to draw attention to a few must-read books for any student who aspires to be successful, a leader, or simply to be ready for the world of work.

With information always at their fingertips, students can access tips, samples, and information on career and professional development in a split second on Google, YouTube, Pinterest, and so forth. However, many professionals can attest to the bookthat changed our lives, or the authorthat helped us mature and think differently about ourselves. Our students should be encouraged to have the same encounters with books that help them grow and mature professionally. Whether it’s a hard back, soft cover, or e-book, books…

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Don’t Forget Your Cup!

Southern Belle

Don’t forget your cup that is what I have to tell myself everyday or hear my coworker tell me. You would think I’d remember by now, but some days my hands are full or my mind is on something else and I just forget. It’s a part of my everyday routine and I  can’t function without it, yet I still remind myself to take it with me. It made me think, what else do we forget that we shouldn’t? Did I lock the door? Did I turn off the oven? Do I have my keys? There are so many things we do and so many places we go no wonder we forget things. Life seems so rushed now and we have to remember to slow down.

I think it applies in our careers as well. Are we rushing through it? Are we so busy trying to get to the next level that we don’t appreciate where we are?  Are we enjoying what we are doing or just going through the motions?  What are our priorities or values?

It’s so easy to get bogged down with what we have to do and what’s next that we forget the present. In my job as a career coach I am always learning new ways to help my students and want to be able to carry all of them out, but I have to remember that my most important job is to meet students where they are and go from there.  My students are my priority and as long as I am serving them I know I am doing a good job- they are my cup- I cannot forget them.  There are days I have to work on other things like reports or attending meetings, but all of these things circle back to my students and how they are affected.Ruts are inevitable, we will all have times of going through a rut. During a rut, we have to remind ourselves why we are where we are and why we do what we do. We have to remember our cup.

Tell me what your cup is in comments below.

The Ever Effective Job Hunt

Job Search

Every day we hear how difficult finding a job can be, but in the same breath, we hear of someone obtaining a new one. How does that happen?  I believe there are people who search for any job, no job, or the right job.  How do you decide what jobs to apply for?  What about all those job applications you have to fill out, then tweaking your resume to fit each job description, and finally you play the waiting game.

To begin, you need to have an idea of the types of jobs you want to look for. This means the type of environment you want to work in as well as the hours you want to work, and if it’s a job that you will enjoy.  You want the job to be a good fit so think about what you bring to the table what S.T.A.G. you have,S.T.A.G. being your Skills, Talents, Abilities, and Goals. In her book, Cut the Crap, Get a Job, Dana Manciagli said, “Industries are not jobs. But it is a start as it is good to have some interest in an industry or two. However, much more important is to know what type of job, based on the skills you have from your past experiences(including what you are not good at).  Focus more on the function or department you see yourself working in.”   It’s vital when looking for a job to really know yourself and what you want from your job and to not just take any job, but one you will enjoy.

As you look for jobs on LinkedIn or read through the job descriptions carefully and look at what the job is really asking for.   Does the company want someone with good communication skills, or a lot of experience in the field?  Think of the job description as a contract where reading the fine print is a MUST!

Let’s say you found 2-5 jobs to apply for and then you start filling out job applications and they are asking for TMI, things you don’t remember and you realize that you don’t have all the answers!  What do you do?  Most online jobs have a short form you fill out and many require that you create an account with their site and then take you to the actual application.  What I have learned from employers is that one of their pet peeves is when applicants fail to completely fill out the job application, this takes it to the discard pile immediately.  Be sure to complete the application to get you one step closer to a job.

Now that you understand job apps, let’s look at your resume.  Your resume needs to be tailored to every job you apply for. This means that you will tweak it with keywords from the job description.    Your resume needs to be neat, clean, and easy to read.  The format should be consistent, your name should stand out, and remember include a profile summary, not an objective.  Your reference should be on a separate page with your contact info at the top.  (For more info see my blog on resumes)

Congrats! You have sent off your job applications along with your proofread by someone other than you resume.  Does this mean that you now do nothing but sit around in sweats watching Netflix?  No, it means you are proactive!  You are now making connections on LinkedIn, networking and talking to people about your  job search process. This is a time that your elevator pitch really comes into play During this time, you may apply for more jobs or volunteer to gain experience, don’t be idle.

Applying for jobs can be tedious and time consuming so make sure you apply for jobs you really want so you make the most of your time.  The process is so worth it, when you land a great job. It’s important to be active in the job hunt and let everyone know about it. As you go through the process, you will learn new things and be on your way to a finding the job that is right for you.

Movie Lines and Careers

If you're a bird

Movies are a part of our lives, everyone loves a good movie.  I begin thinking of how I could use my love of pop culture and movies to relate to careers to teach my students.   I begin hearing all of these classic movie lines and how they could apply to careers and career development.  It was actually fun and I begin trying to create a workshop around it.  Here are 5 movies that jumped out at me with lines  that can teach us career lessons, there are dozens more that may become a future blog.

The Godfather, 1972

“Great men are not born great, they grow great” Don Vito Corleone 

Lesson 1:To truly succeed in your career, you must think of learning as a life long process and not an overnight event. You must always challenge yourself and push yourself forward. Go out of your comfort zone, try new things, tall to someone new. In order to grow and become what you want to become, you have to first try.

“I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” Don Vito Corleone– 

Lesson 2: This popped out to me as a self marketing tool, when you go for a job interview, you need to be the offer the employer can’t refuse. You must be able to sell yourself in an interview to land your dream job. Be the best they’ve seen! 

Dirty Dancing, 1987

“Nobody puts Baby in a corner.” Johnny Castle

 Lesson 3: I must admit, this is one of my favorite lines of all time!  As I begin to think about what it really meant, it dawned on me that what was being said was that no one should be labeled or placed in a corner when they have so much potential. Don’t let anyone corner you in your career or life. Be who you are and accept yourself.In your career, you will deal with negative people who will try and bring you down, don’t let them win. Always be yourself and do your best.

“I carried a Watermelon”  Francis “Baby” Houseman

  Lesson 4: We will all have embarrassing incidences at work or make mistakes. That is okay, correct what you can and move on!  Hopefully you get a second chance to redeem yourself and try again. Many people have had a “I carried a watermelon moment and survived, I know I have.

Toy Story, 1995

“To infinity and beyond”- Buzz Lightyear

 Lesson 5: To me, this means go big or go home as Kate White teaches in her book, “I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This.”  When you are working on an assignment, go the extra mile even if it’s a lot of work. Show what you can do, think outside the box. Be okay being or thinking different. I read of a workplace where everyone sat around and threw their ideas for projects no matter how crazy or far-fetched they seemed, everyone got a chance to share their ideas. Don’t be afraid to share your ideas to go big or go home.

Reach for the sky”- Woody

  Lesson 6: As adults, we become jaded at times and put away childhood dreams we wanted to accomplish because we feel they aren’t possible.  I say that we still need to reach for the sky and reach for what we really want- go for the big promotion or open that new cake decorating business you always wanted to open.  Write a book or take a class in a subject of interest. Remember,  from lesson 1, you don’t have to do everything overnight, carve out time each day to work on your big dream- Kate White teaches that too.

The Notebook, 2004

“If you’re a bird, I’m a bird” Noah Calhoun

Lesson 7: Another one of my favorite lines. Noah and Allie loved each other truly and they did argue a lot, but they also supported each other. Find someone to support your career goals and dreams who will push you to do your best. It can be a significant other, a parent, or sibling or you may find “your person” at work like Christina Yang and Meredith Grey did. Whoever it is, give each other support and pep talks when needed. Don’t give up on each other or yourselves.

“Stop thinking about what I want, what he wants, what your parents want. What do you want? Noah Calhoun

 Lesson 8:This is something I often talk to my students about, what do they want from their career, what are their hopes and dreams? Your career should be yours, not anyone else’s. It is important that you know what you want and if you don’t, then do all you can to find out. Go see a career counselor, take an assessment, and write down what you find. Once you know what you want, do all you can to make it happen.

Fast and Furious 6, 2013

Who’s got a plan B?  Roman

Plan B? We need a plan C, D, E. We need more alphabets! Tej Parker

Hey, we do what we do best. We improvise, all right? Brian O’Conner

Lesson 9: At times in work and in your career you will need a back up plan and to be able to improvise. Things happen, people get sick or you forget something you were supposed to do. It’s life, so don’t panic, monitor and adjust. This is a soft skill that all people need, to be able to adapt to changes and various situations. If you can keep your cool and be level headed, people will take notice and turn to you when things go south.

You know what they say, Stasiak, if you want the career-changing big fish, you gotta be willing to put on the big boy panties and sail out to the deep water.

Brian O’ Conner

Lesson 10: I think this quote sums things up nicely! It encompasses trying new things, growing and learning, challenging yourself, and not being afraid to take risks- all things needed in your career development.

Thanks for reading!

How to Conquer a Job Interview

The Beatles

Imagine that you have an interview for your dream job in 2 weeks.  You feel: EXCITEMENT, you do your HAPPY DANCE; you call your best friend, THEN, YOU GET SUPER NERVOUS!!! I have got to start getting ready right now. How am I going to get ready?  What am I going to wear? Who can help me get ready? This may be how you feel when you learn you have a job interview and it is all completely normal. The best thing that you can do is prepare.

Today we will discuss how to interview the right way, what all the interview questions are really asking, and gain interview practice. The goal is for all of you to leave here feeling prepared for job, internship, or graduate school interviews especially with Employment Engagement day coming this week.

First things first: Prepare for the interview! This is more than choosing what to wear and actually practicing an interview with your career coach, those things are important, but here are a few simple things you can also do. Research the company- visit their website, find out the latest news going on in their organization, if you know anyone working at the company, talk to them! Connect with them via social media and read what those pages have to say. Become familiar with them so that when you are asked why you want to work there or what you know about the company, you have a strong answer. Interviewers want to know what you know about them. Find something from the website or social media that you can relate to and share that in your interview.

Your outfit says a lot about you; make sure it’s sending the right message! Do choose an outfit that you are comfortable in but is also professional. Dress for the job you want, not the one you have.  A white button down shirt and black pants are always in style!  Stick with neutral tones such as black, gray, khaki, and navy. Make sure you will not have a wardrobe malfunction by having your skirt and top a proper length. Pull your hair back if you have a tendency to fidget with it like I do. With jewelry, if you know it will distract you, don’t wear a lot.    You want to look confident and ready.

The next step is to begin practicing for the interview with your career coach.  It is also an excellent idea to video yourself practicing. An actual interview can be one on one or with a panel; you have to be ready for anything. As you answer questions, remember the interviewer may not ask the exact question that you practiced, but it will be similar. What you need to do is to craft or create concrete examples or stories to share to make you stand out! Brooks Harper discusses the importance of storytelling in his book, Why Should We Hire You, he says “That’s all interviewing is: Telling your story in a manner that persuades someone to hire you.”  Peggy Klaus discusses the same idea in her brag book; she says that an interview is the perfect time to brag. Interviewers are trying to get to know you so let your personality shine through with your words; don’t rely solely on your resume.  When speaking with her nephew Max, she emphasized the importance of bringing your resume to life. Once you have your examples and stories understand that you can use them with a variety of questions. Remember when answering questions to use the STAR method- situation, task, action, and results.

It’s important to be familiar with specific interview questions, but it’s more important to understand what type of question the interviewer is asking you.  According to a recent article from US News, 4 common types of interview questions are: straightforward, behavioral, situational, and brainteasers or skills test. If you understand what the interviewer is really asking you than you are able to answer specifically. Often people make mistakes in interviews by not answering the question that was asked. If an interviewer asks for a specific example, give them an example, don’t be vague.

At the end of the interview, you will have an opportunity to ask questions, don’t say you don’t have any to ask, you do!  The interview is also the time for you to ask questions about the company. Let’s go over a few sample questions for you as the interviewee to ask and why. At the ending of the interview remember to shake hands with everyone and collect contact info if possible. Send a thank you note to everyone involved in the process, it goes a long way. Follow up from an interview with a phone call or email to see how things are progressing, this shows that you are serious about the position and interested as well.

An interview can be intimidating, but if you will do your part to be ready, then you will succeed. Remember to practice interviewing, dress appropriately, share stories to make you stand out, and follow up!  Interviews are the deciding factor for you obtaining or not obtaining employment. Make your interview memorable in a good way. Be positive, confident, and professional. If you will follow the tips from this workshop, then you will be on your way to conquering any interviews that come your way.

Writing as a Career Coach


I love writing- writing lists, blog posts, articles, in my journal, it doesn’t matter really. Writing is a way that I am able to express myself and put my thoughts on paper. It can be very cathartic for me  as well.  I think that everyone should find a healthy way to express themselves if it’s writing, painting, singing, or designing. Everyone needs a creative outlet!  I am very blessed to be able to share some of my writings with others whether via this blog or Linkedin.

As you may know I currently write book reviews for our on campus newspaper. I was recently interviewed by one of the staff writers to talk about the Center for Career Coaching and Professional Development and the Institute for Leadership and Professional Excellence which the C3PD (what we call the Center for Career Coaching and Professional Development for short) is part of.  I also wrote another  piece for two of our upcoming events here on campus. This week we have a Dress for Success Fashion Show. I wanted to share the links  for these 2 items with all of you. Enjoy!


Let me know, what’s your creative outlet?

Is it writing, painting, singing or something else?