Thursday, June 24, 2010

SPEAK EASY NOTE # 28 - Resume Magic

Last week I received an emergency request from a new client for resume help. The voicemail I received on Thursday morning went something like this:

“I desperately need help with my resume. I have a job interview at 3:30 PM today and a recruiter has told me that the opening sections of my resume - featuring the previous two years - look very choppy and that I need to reconfigure what I'm giving to people. Based on what the recruiter told me, I have rewritten those sections of my resume and have sent it out to people but I'm thinking it's not really working for me. I know this is very short notice but do you have any time to help me with this before my interview this afternoon so that I can take something better to my meeting?”

The following examples are the BEFORE and AFTER versions of the opening sections of this resume that I worked on for this individual.

(These examples have been totally fictionalized to camouflage the person’s identity.)

ORIGINAL VERSION – Prior to the Wordsmith update

111 South Ave., Apt. 66A, Big City, USA 30044
(666) 222-8888

Top producing sales associate within investment world, financial services, and beyond. Consistent track record of exceeding sales and performance goals. Successful in sales due to (a) highly effective internal and external relationship management resulting in quality client development, (b) strong sales support and business development  management skills, and (c) ability to close deals based on experience, client needs assessment, and confidence in asking for the order.


2009- May 2010
QRS CAPITAL ASSETS January to May 2010
Managing Partner, Broker/Dealer, Sales Director.
Partnered with former US Bank Equity Markets; Brokerage Head to grow Equities Broker/Dealer.
•    Opened key accounts including FireZion, Frellus Capital, Rattleback, Purple Capital, Obabar Capital, Joshua Capital, Ruffage Capital, Slumberland, and BadBoy Capital.
•    Pitched RAM, LMN, X Capital, Third Pet, Pella Ice Capital and Avatar Fund.
•    Planned, negotiated, and implemented new business strategies and recruitment.
•    Grew revenue 500% in 6 months before key investor exited the business.

SIENNA USA, LLC, 2009-2010
Co-Managing Partner.
Created LLC to explore business initiatives in offshore investing and international trade.
•    Wrote and developed business plan and pitched 40+ VC's on developing the business;
•    Consulted to VIP Communications and Big Capital.



111 South Ave., Apt. 66A, Big City, USA 30044
(666) 222-8888


Consistent, successful track record of exceeding sales and performance goals through:
• Effective networking, resulting in quality lead-generation
• Strong sales support and relationship management skills
• Ability to close deals based on experience, client needs, and confidence in asking for order.


Managing Partner, Broker/Dealer, Sales Director
Develop and leverage investment fund relationships to build/grow business platforms
• Partnered with former US Bank Equity Markets; Brokerage Head to grow Equities Broker/Dealer, for QRS Capital Markets.
• Opened key accounts including FireZion, Frellus Capital, Rattleback, Purple Capital, Obabar Capital, Joshua Capital, Ruffage Capital, Slumberland, and BadBoy Capital.
• Pitched RAM, Buffet, LMN, X Capital, Third Point, Paella Ice Capital and Avatar.
• Planned, negotiated, and implemented new business strategies and personnel recruitment.
• Grew revenue 500% in 6 months before key investor exited business.
• Created LLC, Sienna USA, as co-managing partner to explore business initiatives in offshore investing and international trade.
• Wrote and developed business plan and pitched 40+ VCs on developing business.
• Consulted to VIP Communications and Big Capital.

Note that
1. All of the information is there in the "AFTER" revision without omitting any of the significant content from the BEFORE version of the resume.
2. In the revised version, the opening overview section reads much more tightly with very easy access to the key selling points and service areas of Martha Ann Waterbird.
3. The presentation of the most recent two years has been combined for a unified focused presentation rather than looking like two separate unsuccessful "choppy" work roles over two years of time.

It is great fun and hugely satisfying to be able to transform resumes to reflect people's best selling points  as well as help them develop the language and responses they will need to convey consistency and focus when they are out on job interviews, presenting their resumes. 

Until next time,
The Wordsmith
SPEAK EASY, The Communication Guide for Career and Life Success

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

SPEAK EASY NOTE #27 - Phone Racing with the Boss

Situation Synopsis / Communication Challenge


My problem is speaking to my boss via the telephone. I find that it's hard to get a word in during a conversation, yet if I'm not quick to respond to a question, he gets annoyed. I find myself very often talking over him which is annoying to me and to him, I'm sure. Sometimes I'm so frustrated after a conversation I want to scream! He can be very rushed at times as he is usually very busy and short on time.

Frustrated at Work


Dear Frustrated,

This is a situation that can be managed over time, using a variety of strategies.

Let’s start with your reactions during and following these phone calls. It is likely that the relationship with your boss has many more elements to it that are frustrating to you than just these rushed phone conversations. If you had ample regular access to your boss and strong open communication with him other than these hurried telephone calls, then it would be unlikely for them to bother you as much as they do.

Always keep this at the top of your consciousness:

“You are the only person you can change.” You have no way to change or control what others do. By changing what you think and how you see situations, you can adjust your own perspectives and communications, and thus increase the potential to have the influence you desire on what others say and do.

So the most important step you can take is to make a commitment to yourself to replace your frustration with acceptance and humor by reminding yourself that, “Yep, that’s the way he always communicates on the phone when he’s busy and rushed.” “I knew that was coming.” “He sure is consistent.” “No surprises here!” “Oops, there it is … again!” These simple reminders can give you an inner chuckle and a sense of soothing tolerance that will set the stage for your heart rate to calm considerably and for your strong emotional response to diminish and even disappear. Your number-one goal is to reduce/eliminate your negative and, yes, legitimate emotional response to your boss’s behavior. If you can start here and accomplish this new perspective, you will have gained such a wonderful new advantage, no matter what he says or how you respond in these conversations.

Accomplishing this new perspective is the first challenge. Once you have been able to integrate and truly internalize this genuine adjustment, there are a number of strategies and communications that have the possibility to create a new dynamic in your workplace. I will provide a range of recommendations for your perusal, selection and adaptation. Remember though that what works well with healthy well-balanced individuals may not work at all with people facing huge pressures or who have mental health challenges. The Surgeon General’s office reports that, “The current prevalence estimate is that about 20 percent of the U.S. population are affected by mental disorders during a given year.”

This means that one in five people in our lives has some type of mental health obstacle. This is just one more factor that is an important consideration in the choices we make in how to approach and communicate with people. And, of course, since this is your boss, that hierarchical element will also be a factor in how politically advisable any of the suggested approaches may be.

With these caveats in mind, I offer you the following communication options for your consideration and adaptation:

“Sam, I hear how important xxxxxx is to you. Right now, here is what I can tell you about xxxxxx. I will follow up on this and get back to you (right away, by the end of the week, or …) with more details.”

“This sounds like something you want to know immediately/urgently. Here is the current best answer I can provide. We will need to do x, y, and z to gain the bigger picture that is required.”

“Sam, I would like to give you a thoughtful and thorough response to your request and can do this if I have your attention while I describe the key elements of xxxxxx.”

“I have listened carefully and understand quite well the demands on your time as well as those required for this project. I would like to make sure we have an open meaningful ongoing regular two-way dialogue about m, n, o, and p to avoid the frustration we both experience when we talk about …. ”

“When I hear this amount of concern and pressure, it is difficult to be as responsive as I would like to be.”

“Sam, I would like to get on your calendar for a face-to-face meeting so we can look at how to make sure our communications with each other are as effective and beneficial as possible. I have some requests I would like to make and some observations I would like to share with you relating to our communications.”

“Thanks for making time to sit down together and meet with me today; I know how busy you are and how much demand there is on your time. I have prepared a list of topics I want to discuss with you. My goal is to make sure I am doing everything possible to do my job in the best way I can and to provide you with the information and input you need. It is important to me that I describe certain obstacles I see in our communications and certain benefits I recognize we would both gain from adjusting the way we communicate. …”

Sometimes all that is needed is,
“I hear you. You have been very clear about what you want. You have been very clear about how you see this.”

It might be beneficial for you to work with a coach or ask a trusted co-worker or friend to role-play with you how you will present what you want to say to your boss. It is important to keep your communication tone very level and respectful.

Until next time,

The Wordsmith
SPEAK EASY, The Communication Guide for Career and Life Success

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Speak Easy Note #26 - New Speak Easy Platform

It has been quite awhile since I have written a blog posting. There were a few reasons for the unanticipated lengthy hiatus:

1. Taking a break could be cleansing and refreshing, clearing a path for new ideas, truth and clarity.

2. A dear friend and colleague suggested that I was sending out too much and too frequent email.

3. I had wanted to introduce a new platform to Speak Easy Notes.

4. I was traveling and technical glitches prevented easy posting to Speak Easy Notes.

And so what I thought would be a couple of weeks off somehow turned into almost three months! Thank you to those readers who let me know they missed my blog postings and that they read them religiously. I have truly appreciated hearing how valuable my communication advice has been to you and your colleagues at work. It means so much to learn that what I have written has touched others in a meaningful and significant way.

What I would like the new platform to be is my responding to individual communication questions from readers related to both professional work situations as well as personal relationship dynamics. I would like for people to send me a brief synopsis (consisting of 100-words or less) describing a situation or circumstance they are experiencing, along with the communication challenge they would like to tackle.


Situation synopsis:

My girlfriend’s mother constantly describes in a very judgmental tone to uninvolved people - like a repair person fixing the washing machine - what she would like for my girlfriend, her daughter, to do about something - when her daughter is not present to hear these comments but I am. To me, it seems completely inappropriate for my girlfriend’s mother to be exposing uninvolved people to this information and to her opinions, and to be saying these comments in the hopes I will tell her daughter. It is very difficult for me that she regularly communicates this way.

Communication challenge:

I want to ask my girlfriend’s mother to stop doing this and let her know how much I dislike this type of communication. I want to be respectful of my girlfriend and avoid a confrontation with her mother. What are some good ways to handle this type of communication challenge?


Stressed Boyfriend


Dear Stressed,

First of all, I can hear how uncomfortable you are when you feel that your girlfriend’s mother is discussing private information with strangers concerning your girlfriend, and especially how much it bothers you that the mother is making these comments in front of you without your girlfriend being there to hear for herself what her mother is saying.

Before giving you advice on how to have a communication with the mother, I would ask you first to be 100 % sure that you want to say something about this altogether to her. Sometimes it is better to say nothing in these situations so that you avoid reinforcing and calling attention to the negative situation, feeding right into it and giving it importance by making it “bigger” than it already is. This concept is similar to managing bad behavior in a pet. Often when your dog misbehaves, it is better to ignore him or distract him if possible by giving him a command to “sit and stay” that you can calmly praise him for than to make a big deal out of his annoying barking. Sometimes negative reprimand increases an undesired behavior because there is so much attention given to it. When your girlfriend’s mother says these types of things, if you can internally capture an attitude that encapsulates: “So what!” “Who cares what she says?” “How silly and unimportant this is!” and immediately leave the room as quickly as possible without saying anything, you might be communicating what you want to communicate in the best way possible.

If you decide that you do want to speak to her about this, it is important that you make sure there are just the two of you present for this conversation and that the talk takes place at another point in time shortly following when her public judgmental communication took place. It might go something like,

“Nancy, there is something I wanted to let you know in private. First, I want to tell you that I am respectful of your opinions and your right to express them. (Make sure there is no “but” following that prior statement.) It is also important to me to tell you that I am uncomfortable hearing what you wish Sarah would do about something when she is not there to hear what you are saying. I wanted to let you know how I feel about these types of conversations and how much I would appreciate not hearing these kinds of comments. Thanks for your respect and for listening to what I wanted to tell you.”

It is better to refrain from saying anything about whether you will communicate or have communicated any of this to your girlfriend. Again, by keeping that out of your comments, you actually are communicating that you are not going to be the mother’s message deliverer. If the mother asks you if you are going to tell the daughter anything about this or if you have already shared the conversation you overheard, you can respond respectfully by saying something like, “I wanted this conversation to be about privacy and respect and that is really all I wanted to say right now.”


I look forward to receiving your communication challenges and selecting from them the ones that best represent communication issues many people face on a daily basis. I may adapt some of the examples and I will certainly camouflage people’s identities so that privacy is respected. Please let me hear from you.

Until next time,

The Wordsmith
SPEAK EASY, The Communication Guide for Career and Life Success