Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

As a Career Coach, I work frequently with people who are fighting feeling like a fraud in their careers. This feeling of not being qualified or good enough keeps them from applying to jobs they’d be amazing in and it stops people from realizing all sorts of achievements from bigger salaries to promotions to accolades and awards. I’ve found it is absolutely essential to moving ahead to put these fears to bed if you want to gain some peace while you work toward your goals.

Impostor Syndrome, Mental Health quotes, words typography top view lettering concept

What can help you move past this feeling of ineptitude? In my experience it isn’t just one thing, it often takes a variety of elements for people to make a real and lasting breakthrough in this area of professional self-perception block. Here are three questions to ask yourself if you want to tackle this pattern of thought and move beyond it.

What do you have?

Take inventory of what you have going for you in terms of training, professional development, and education. List your degrees and certifications earned, training programs, lectures, conferences, and workshops you’ve attended. Track the professional development related books you’ve read (Goodreads is a great tool for doing this). Do you regularly read any trade publications or newsletters? Be sure to keep track of these items going forward. Most people haven’t kept a thorough record of what they are doing to be great at what they do and you might surprise yourself when you look at what you’ve done to learn your trade beyond traditional degree programs. Often, this activity alone can cause quite a shift in professional self-esteem and it can also help you figure out the answer to the next question.

What do you need?

Make a professional development plan going forward. If you don’t keep developing your knowledge you will become stagnant in your thinking and approach. I’ve seen people slip into complacent modes in their careers, and it can erode confidence quickly and deeply. Once you’ve taken a thorough inventory of what you have already accomplished in your career development, you’ll probably uncover areas of opportunity where you could focus on more active knowledge acquisition. Research potential training and certifications that are valued in your field. Sign up for a class or workshop. Make a plan to read a certain number of books a year and then start developing a strategy behind which topics you want to focus your reading around. Having goals and a plan will help you filter out items that won’t be as useful to you (but might be attractive due to a celebrity speaker or a flashy promotional scheme), and will also keep you on track and confident that you are doing your best to stay sharp.

Not sure where to start with your professional development? Consider getting a 360 review to get a sense of how your performance is perceived by your colleagues and to identify other areas to tackle. Also, start looking at job descriptions of jobs you would like to have in the future and do a gap analysis to see what you need to learn or do in order to be a qualified candidate.

How do you feel?

Discuss feelings of being an imposter with a trusted colleague, a career coach, a therapist, and a friend. Get insights from these trusted resources in your network and work through the sometimes complicated feelings which can accompany this type of block. It’s amazing what a conversation with someone can accomplish, especially when the topic is confronting fear and insecurity. Get it out, do a gut-check, and sort out what is fueling these thoughts that hold you back. Getting clarity is key to battling this particular stumbling block, so be prepared to hash out the details and get to the core of what is causing this pattern of thinking for you. I especially recommend both therapy and coaching if you are having extremely negative and harmful manifestations of fear and inadequacy in your professional life. Having other voices to help you gain clarity on your value, turn down the volume on your negative self-talk, and to bolster your self-esteem can be so beneficial in putting this self-sabotage to rest.

I love to work through stumbling blocks like these with my clients. Reach out today if you’d like to schedule some time to talk about this or any other career development issue you are facing – nerdygirlcareercoach@gmail.com.

Find a job That Fits – Seasonal and Work at Home Focus

flexible work“I need a job that fits my life!”

Search: Seasonal, Work From Home, Part-time, Freelance, Contract, Telecommute

I’ve worked with people that are retired, individuals with chronic illnesses, caregivers, and folks that just want to get out of the rat race of a daily commute. It can be tough to find work that can meet the demands of real life, especially when your life becomes complicated by demands outside of work.

Whether you want to find a temporary position during the holidays or a job that lets you work from home, many employers are offering roles with a little more flexibility. Below, are a few companies and resources to get you started as you begin to search for a job that matches your needs and your life.

Now hiring!

  • Williams and Sonoma: Williams and Sonoma is hiring from home in North Carolina, New Mexico, Ohio, Nevada (Reno), Utah (Salt Lake City and St. George), Texas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Ohio (Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Akron).
  • Amazon: According to a recent press release (Oct 12, 2017), Amazon Is hiring more than 120,000 seasonal employees for the upcoming holiday season in 33 states. “We prepare year-round for the holidays and we’re excited to hire for over 120,000 positions this season to help delight our customers,” said Dave Clark, Amazon Senior Vice President of Global Customer Fulfillment. “We look forward to welcoming back holiday employees who return year-after-year to Amazon and welcome new faces to the team, many of whom will continue on with regular, full-time roles with the company after the holidays.”
  • Nordstrom: Nordstrom has a number of Seasonal Customer Care Specialist roles both in-office and Work at Home (Listed as Work @ Home) on their site as well as a number of other types of seasonal roles such as a Seasonal Online Beauty Stylist or A Seasonal Communications Operator.
  • Macy’s: Macy’s is still hiring seasonal employees at retail stores, in food services, and in distribution.
  • Various Employers – Telecommuting, Part-time, Freelance: Are you looking for a flexible role that isn’t necessarily seasonal? Check out flexjobs.com. With a dazzling array of companies and positions – you’ll have a great time exploring what is available. It’s a real eye-opener to see what is possible and the site weeds out a lot of the junk you can find on other sites. This is a great place to start if you are just starting to think about telecommuting.

Further considerations:

  • Research: Start researching companies in your current industry or ones that hire many people in your field. See if any of the companies that are on your target list offer flexible work options, such as telecommuting. You’d be amazed at what types of roles are being offered as remote work these days. Some companies, like these, have extensive flex options and highlight them on their careers pages: AetnaAccentureDell.
  • Consider Consulting:  Some companies aren’t large enough to have full-time employees in specific roles and will instead hire a professional on a contract or freelance basis to complete the work. If you are just getting started, reach out to a fellow-consultant in your field to learn the ropes and also seek out consulting companies with your specialization. Areas can include Human Resources, IT, Accounting, Marketing, Finance, and many others.
  • Staffing and Temp Agencies:  If you haven’t worked with an agency before, you might forget to check in with them now, but the right one can be a great help. Some, like Creative Circle, specialize in creative work, including copywriting and other types of roles that are well-suited for remote jobs.

While this might not be a complete list of seasonal, part-time, and work from home opportunities, hopefully, it has given you a few new ideas or a place to start.

*I have no connection or arrangement to benefit from any organization listed in this post.

Essential Guide: Tools for Updating Your Work Wardrobe

Whether your goal is a style update, to free to the peoplesave money and get clothes for a new job or interview, or just to keep your look on-trend without going bankrupt – these are the browser extensions, apps, and subscriptions you should check out before your next makeover.

Saving Money

Honey:   Honey keeps you from paying money you don’t have to. Add this extension to your browser and Honey finds deals and promotions; automatically saving you from searching through emails, google search results, or your coupon stash every time you make an online purchase.

Upside: It’s like having a coupon fairy as your best friend and shopping partner. You don’t have to change where you shop and the types of things you like to buy; just shop as you normally do and Honey takes care of saving you money. Downside: Sometimes, there aren’t promotions for honey to find, but with the time saved not rooting around for coupons, you can scout out less costly duds.

Saving Money and Clearing the Closet

ThredUp:  Thred Up is an online consignment store. You send your used, defect-free clothing (name brands, on-trend preferred) using a cleanout kit that you order from their site (free of charge), your items are listed for sale on their site, and you either receive a payout or take payment in store credit. You can also shop their miles of listings for clothing and accessories. They have a wide selection, reasonable prices, frequent promotions, and provide a way to shop great brands at a fraction of the cost.

Upside: The selection of shopping a nationwide resale shop with the convenience of online shopping. Downside: Your items may not sell, but you can have them sent back to you for a shipping fee or elect to have them donated (similar to what you might do if you had a garage sale).

Varage Sale: Varage Sale is a fun virtual garage sale app that lets you shop and sell easily within your own community. Garage sailing without getting lost or putting the miles on your car. You can clear out your your closet, cupboard, and garage and earn money towards a new wardrobe – and/or – you can turn around and find great deals on gently used professional wear (and all types of things from stand mixers to video games). If you fall in love with this community-centered app and think you’d be a great brand ambassador you can apply to do just that; thereby earning  access to special deals, promotions, exclusive events, and an increase in your presence and visibility on the site.

Upside: Garage sales any day of the week, and shopping in your jammies!  Downside: The thing you want might not be in season or “in stock”. So if you are on a time crunch, you might need to use other methods.

Keeping Your Wardrobe Fresh and In-Style

Wardrobe Rental or Subscription sites – The premise is similar for all of these types of sites. After entering your preferences, you are shipped new styles each month. If you don’t like the items or if you are done wearing them and want to try something else, you just return the items and wait for new styles to head your way. It can be a great way to have a trendy, fresh, always changing wardrobe. You can find a wide variety of terms and prices and there are options for both men and women. These services aren’t always cheap, but you get a tremendous amount of variety at a fraction of the cost of a permanent wardrobe. Some of these sites focus on accessories or specific sizes. There are new entrants into this type of business regularly. Do some googling and check out the reviews to find which is best for you!  Or, you can start by looking over these options:

Women’s: Like Gwynnie Bee,  Le Tote,  Bag, Borrow, or Steal, The Ms. Collection.

Men’s: Five Four Club, Hall&Madden, Manpacks, Root Bizzle, The Mr. Collection

Upside: The variety is amazing and it can make you feel like you have the world’s biggest closet. Downside: The price and length of contracts can be a little off-putting. However, If you need to maintain an on-trend look and a fresh-crisp wardrobe for your job, this might be one of the least expensive ways to make it happen.

What great new apps, sites, and services are you using to help keep your wardrobe work-ready and fashionable?


Job Search MUST: Twitter

Even though it is true that twitter can be a large rabbit hole of crazy, distracting things – you can also cultivate a feed that benefits you in powerful ways.  To continue with my theme of featuring sites that you may have overlooked in your job search – I give you:  TWITTER!!!

I’ll beg you to ignore the weird shadows that make me look like I have no front teeth.

What it is: Essentially it is just brief content provided openly.  You follow people sharing content – and thereby create your feed.  You can also share content and join the conversation.

Why you’ll love it: Because the principle of twitter is so simple, it is amazingly elegant and you can use it for so many things.  I’m going to focus here on ways to use it in your job search.

 1. Use it to follow people who have job search advice.  These are people like me, that share tools to help you with finding a job or enriching your career.

Too many talented professionals fall short in the ability to market themselves and navigate the waters of the job search.  There are coaches, HR experts, and savvy entrepreneurs sharing tips that can benefit any type of career on twitter.  Here’s a description on how to follow lists (users grouped by topic) so that you can find a wealth of information, quickly:  http://www.job-hunt.org/social-networking/using-twitter-lists.shtml

2. Use twitter to follow companies you want to work for.  It’s a great research and sourcing tool.  To find a company (especially the account that is focused on hiring) on twitter, type company name and “careers” or “jobs” into the search field (or just go to the main twitter account for the company).  HR and social media teams share information about their culture, important events for their organization, open positions and networking opportunities:

3. Use it to follow experts & peers in your field and join in the conversation. Find professionals that share information, news and events relative to your field.  Staying current is key, so use social media to help you with your professional development.  To start with, you might check any professional publications or associations for your field that are tweeting, and then branch off from there (see who they follow, who they retweet).  You can also retweet or share information that you find that would help peers in you field or industry.  Sharing can be a powerful way to enhance your professional brand online.

Also:  If you can tune in live and watch a twitter chat, you can get a lot of great information quickly, and join in to contribute or ask questions.

Here’s more tips that might help you as you begin to use twitter in your job search:

Getting Started with Twitter

9 Must Follow Twitter Hashtags

5 Useful Twitter Chats for Job Seekers

Just to get you started – 140 Employers Posting Jobs on Twitter

Job Search MUST: Glassdoor

I’m in San Francisco this week – and this beautiful Cool Grey City of Love is full of headquarters for so many of the best online tools a person can use in their job search.  It’s easy to forget, but the internet has so much more than just job boards to help you in your search.  In the next couple of weeks, I’m going to post my favorite sites and feature some of the best ways you can use them RIGHT NOW to get a job.


The first website headquarters I stumbled into a few days ago on accident was Glassdoor.  I was heading up to explore the Muir Woods in Marin County – and was thrilled to see that the shuttle to the woods took off from the idyllic setting of the Glassdoor parking lot (see the excited picture by their front door, above).  I’ve been recommending Glassdoor for years and think it is an amazingly powerful tool. *

What it is: Glassdoor is a website that features user-generated reviews, feedback, and ratings for employers.  The site functions much like Yelp, but for your job search.

Why you’ll love it:  You can use Glassdoor in lots of ways, because the feedback they collect is varied and there’s so much of it.  But here are my favorite uses:

  • Research for Interviews – Glassdoor collects actual interview questions that other candidates have been asked when interviewing at companies.  If you are interviewing at a major employer (think Amazon, Apple, Insight) – imagine the advantage you can gain by getting a front row view of their actual interview process from other candidates that have gotten jobs there.  If you have an interview coming up, I suggest checking them out on Glassdoor as part of your research.  **
  • Research for Salary Information:  The user-reported salary information on Glassdoor is a great resource.  You can use this information if you are trying to estimate your target salary, or if you want to find out what a specific company is paying for your role.  Current and former employees of companies help take some of the mystery out of pay and benefits – so you can be informed in your search and also be better armed for salary negotiations. 

Important to Note:  You will be prompted to share information about your current and/or former employer when you create an account.  The information you share will not be linked to you and your profile (more of an explanation of privacy is on their site).  Taking the time to share reviews and information about your former employer helps other job seekers, so be sure to share as much as you can to pay it forward.

Also nice:  The employer reviews on Glassdoor good way for you to get a sneak peek inside the culture of an organization to help you decide if they are a good fit for YOU.  

*Disclaimer – I do not work for Glassdoor (nor have I ever, even though that would be amazing).  I don’t have any deal to gain from this recommendation.  It’s a great tool that I have used and recommended for a long time.  Add it into your mix of favorites!

**I use Amazon as the employer in all of my screen shot examples – so my screen shots are not indicative of the diversity of employers that are on the site – they are just included to give you a sense of what the information looks like.

Women: Are You Giving Yourself Credit?


“Studies show that women don’t give themselves enough credit — they undervalue their ability and intellect while men overstate them. You can see why that culture can be off-putting for women.”

That is a quote from this article:  http://www.cnet.com/news/women-arent-the-problem-in-tech-land/.

It’s a compelling article and a thought-provoking quote.  For me especially, because it is something I’ve experienced first-hand as a career coach and resume writer. I’ve spent much of my time coaching women simply challenging them to own their accomplishments and contributions – which is KEY when you are writing an accomplishment-driven document like a resume.

There’s so much to work on in terms of self-marketing when you are in a job search, but none of that work (the refining, the crafting, the targeting) can happen if you can’t first claim your career and achievements as your own.

You worked as part of a team on your latest project.  Unless you are in some sort of industry or organization that is organized differently than the rest of the planet, one universal truth is that all accomplishments happen in conjunction with the work of other people.  I admire people who understand this and use this knowledge to get amazing things done.  However, when you are writing a resume, you have to claim your work.  Even if you occasionally want to reference your team and collaboration (which is good in moderation) – if you can’t mention something you worked on without giving all the credit away in the same breath, maybe there’s something else going on.  Maybe you are selling yourself short.  Your resume, your job search, the conversation where you ask for a raise or a promotion (yes, ASK), these are the times to sell YOU.

Are you giving yourself credit?

5 Job Search Tips I Learned by Watching Star Wars


…but I was going over to Toshi station to pick up some power converters. Great opportunities will pop-up and change your plans.  These great opportunities sometimes disguise themselves as awful things like getting overlooked for a job or getting fired.  Just because it wasn’t a part of the plan, doesn’t mean it is all bad.  Take heart and try not to sound like Luke at the beginning of the original trilogy.  Please.

Aren’t you a little short for a storm trooper? Successful people come in all shapes, sizes, and genders.  If you love it and you are capable, don’t worry about the stereotype for your career.  Seek out employers that value diversity and reward them by being awesome at your job.

These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.  Move along.  If it isn’t right, don’t force it (oh that was an unintentional bad pun, but I refuse to erase it).  In all seriousness I believe that when you truly connect with a role or a company – and that when they DIG you back, everything becomes easy.  It becomes a no-brainer from both sides.  If you find yourself really having to talk yourself into it; pause.  Don’t try to make something work that isn’t right for you or for the employer.

I find your lack of faith disturbing.  Turn down the volume on your critics, but stay open to help.  Seek out people that can support your goals by giving you meaningful feedback.  Don’t just stick to peers in your field or your closest buddies, call on professionals too.  Times where it pays to hire help:

  • if it’s a big change
  • if you feel stuck
  • if things just aren’t working the way you’ve been doing it.

Do or do not…there is no try.  Online job searching is great (and necessary as many employers require an online application to be completed), but is much more effective when combined with in-person efforts as well.  Consider your online application just one of the steps, instead of the ONLY step. If you really want a job, find ways to really go for it (without becoming a crazed stalker).  Seek out people in the company to recommend you to the hiring manager.  Ask an employee that currently works there for an informational interview.  Network and meet as many people as you can that work for the company you want to work at – or in the industry you want to work in.  Your relationships will help you immeasurably throughout your career, so form them with care and with purpose.

Job Search Angst – Application Woes


The Frustration:

“Why do I have to submit a resume, cover letter, AND still create a profile/submit an application for every single employer.  Enough!  It is all on my resume.”

Why it happens:

Employers use applicant tracking systems (ATS for short) to help them manage their hiring processes.  An ATS can help them do everything from providing EEO information to show compliance with labor laws, to making applications searchable (narrowing down from really large pools of candidates to more manageable lists), to managing communications to applicants (thanking them for applying, notifying applicants when the position has closed, etc.), and so much more.  Because of the astronomical amount of applications recruiters receive, they need tools like these to help them on to the next steps in the hiring process (screening, interviewing, hiring, training).  They are such handy systems and solve so many business problems that employers have continued to overlook one…

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5 Job Seeking Activities for When You Aren’t Feeling It

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There’s going to be days where you are ON.  You are ready to make connections and put yourself out there – even if you are nervous.

And then there’s those off days.  You gave it all the rest of the week, you had a setback that bummed you out, or something just isn’t working.  You need a plan to keep momentum going even when you aren’t going.  Here’s some ideas:

  1. Source.  Look up jobs to apply to tomorrow (or even all next week).  I am a fan of sourcing separately from applying – it is more efficient.  The only thing required when you’re sourcing is to answer “yes”or “no” when searching through job descriptions. You can throw the yes’s into a google doc or just email them to yourself with the day you plan to apply to them in the subject or body of the email. If you have a…

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Cover Letters, Objective Statements, & References – In or Out?


I get asked questions like these frequently:

  • Do I need to write a cover letter?
  • Do I need to have an objective statement?
  • Does anyone ever call references?

I’m going to answer these in one big, sweeping answer and then we’ll drill down and see what that means in terms of each individual question.  Sound good?

Rule of thumb:  Everything in your resume or in your full application package needs to matter.  Everything should be relevant to the position you are applying to and in some way speak to your skills fit, culture fit, or motivation to work at that company and in that role.  Anything that doesn’t fit that rule of thumb, can be omitted.  

Breaking the rule of thumb down:

Do I need to write a cover letter?

I give you a qualified “Yes”.  Keep in mind, a bad cover letter might do more harm than good…

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