Reconsidering the Resume

By Tiffany A. Dedeaux

Resume: A Brief Account That Has Prepared Me

My focus for the last couple of months has been on the resume.  If I thought about it, it was my first love when it came to Career Coaching because it allowed me to re-frame my friend’s work experience in ways that helped her see the value.  Which is crazy that she didn’t see what I saw in her.  She transitioned from video editing in Seattle to film editing in LA all while reading books on finance.  She then turned her career into a passion for banking.  Really, her passion is doing what is right for people, and her creative expression was through banking.  It also helped that in the Pacific Northwest she could speak both Mandarin and Cantonese in addition to English.

In talking through a resume I discover both a powerful way to prepare for interviews, and an amazing way to help excavate value.  Everything we do has value because it makes us who we are today.  In life we leave nothing behind.  In our work we don’t either, we just can fit it all in one document!  If you were to go back and think through what you studied in school, and how that informs what you do now, would you think differently about that program?  What do you and don’t you give yourself credit for?

Resume: To Occupy Again

Reclaim your achievement.  Resume your position as the promising candidate, and take back the value that you have earned through the experiences you have had.  One achievement that my immediate family seems to think I don’t claim is that I have an Emmy for a program I worked on while I was in local news.  I realized that is not the case, because I can look at that gleaming statue and remember.  What I have forgotten, a skill long ago earned in a college class, is the understanding and writing of HTML.  That is something that, as I started combing through code, I realized it never dawned on me to mention while I was talking with those I met at a coding bootcamp.

If you were to look again are your resume what would you remember?  What would you reclaim?  What would you learn about who you are and where you’ve come from?

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Lists: A Better Way to Plan Your Job Search

By Tiffany A. Dedeaux

What if the three lists suggested by Seth Godin to start a project, were done by you at the start of the Job Search?  How would this change your approach?  This is how I could see the three lists translating:

  1. List all the things that need to be true in order for you to get your ideal job.
  2. List all the skills you already have and the skills you can improve on or still need to acquire.
  3. List what you are afraid of including what is out of your control.

Need to be True

Considering what needs to be true in order for you to get your ideal job can also be done if all you need is a good job if that is the next logical step.  I have known people who have had a string of difficult jobs, and that means what they really need now is a good work experience. Identifying what you need to have happen is important, but also consider what you may need to change in terms of your approach.  If you see the job market as difficult, consider why you think that is.  I challenge anyone who tells me how hard it is to find good work in a college or retirement town to consider that the nature of we work has changed.  We learn in school to be employees but few are trained to be employers.  This training must be intentionally sought, which may in fact be a weeding out process.

If we stopped thinking in terms of a job to sustain us, and thought in terms of an entrepreneur doing work that fuels us, would that change our approach to the job market? For me that word – entrepreneur – means that instead of waiting to be recognized I would have to go out in search of recognition; instead of doing what I’m told or waiting to be told, I would take the initiative; instead of waiting to be promoted I would create the next career-defining move whether that is outside a company or within the same company.  In fact, networking in person or on LinkedIn is not just for finding your next job, it can be for finding (or creating) your next promotion.

What needs to be true for you to take the next step?

Acquired and Developing Skills

The skills you have can go on your resume, the skills you can improve are an opportunity.  If you know where you can improve this can keep you humble and give you a chance to demonstrate a need to grow.  You can stay there — in that need — or you can create a plan to grow.  By developing your skills you change the conversation about yourself to what you are doing rather than what you could do to improve.  This plan for improvement can also be a great way to stay motivated during the marathon of a Job Search.

What skills could you develop as a way to improve your chances of getting your ideal job?

False Evidence Appearing Real

Fear as an acronym helps me to remember that all the things that I am afraid of are either not real or only have the power I give them.  Naming your fear can help dissipate it, but more importantly, can help you shift focus from hiding to moving forward.  It is also important, as Seth points out, to look at what is out of your control because then you can consider if worrying about it helps or hurts your cause.

How is fear holding you back?

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Need Different Results? Change What You Wear!

By Tiffany A. Dedeaux

I have come to realize that when I was told not to dress for the job that I had, but for the job that I wanted to have, this could also mean dressing to feel powerful for your job search as well. How you dress impacts how you feel, and if you are doing everything in slippers and your jammies what are you saying to yourself about how important your task is? If you dress for success when you are applying for work, even if you’re doing it from the comfort of your own home, how you feel can come across in the jobs you select and the words you include in your application materials.

Personally when I heard about dressing for the job I wanted, I changed from wearing sweatshirts and jeans to suits even though I was working an overnight shift and few people saw me (or cared). More recently I noticed a trend. While I was at Microsoft it was a rare treat to be able to wear jeans to work, so once I left I wore them ALL the time! I realize now even if I dressed them up, others had to know I was wearing jeans again. When I needed to get unstuck in my own networking approach, what did I do? I changed what I wore. In three years I’ve gone from logoed t-shirts to logoed polo shirts and I feel better and I get attention; the right kind of attention.

Not seeing the results that you want? What are you wearing?


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Networking in Context

While I was doing my own networking someone shared with me some interesting stats about the art of making connections.

  • Those who felt networking was effective spent 6.5 days a week doing it, while those who felt it was more of a waste of their time spent only invested 2 days a week in it.
  • Women tend to network less often with more success because of their approach was more relational than transactional.
  • Networking doesn’t stop with an event; you have to create a system for keeping track of those connections.

What surprising facts about networking have you found?

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Your Interview Has Begun

By Tiffany A. Dedeaux

“I’d like that job…”

If you’re looking across your workplace saying the same thing, I’d like to point out that once you’ve made that decision – even before – the interview for your next job has begun.

If You’re Staying

If you’re looking for a new job within the same company, how you work at your current job matters because your boss can observe you with this new job in mind, as can your co-workers.  Does your current work performance and attitude betray your trust or demonstrate your value?  If you’ve been betrayed, now’s the time to do a little reputation rehab by demonstrating the work habits you want to be known for.   Not sure how? Message me and let’s talk.

If you’ve demonstrated your value, continue to do well as your pursue your next job.  In addition to evaluating yourself, evaluate the new job.  Ask questions about the position, what it’s like to work in that role, and even offer to be trained and fill in as needed.

If You’re Leaving

If you’re looking to leave your current company, then your work performance and attitude can give you both an opportunity to brag in your job interviews and can open the door to getting recommendations from your current boss and peers.   Your homework, in this case, is to revamp your resume to include your new skills and outline the impact you’ve had.

What you do matters.  This includes how you perform and how you behave.  Even if you’re not happy in your current role, or you are simply ready to move on, this can be a key time to check in with yourself to ensure that you are representing your interests well and to better prepare for what happens next.


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Managing Mid-Stream Mayhem

By Tiffany A. Dedeaux

Have you ever had to figure out a job or assignment, only to have someone come back and try to train you how to do it later?  In my experience as an employed person and Career Coach, there is a lot more ‘figuring things out’ when it comes to jobs and assignments these days.  While the workplace may be more ‘entrepreneurial’ in nature, there are still some things you can do to minimize the headache.

By en:User:Mwanner [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Just like reforming any new habit takes effort and intention, so does creating or taking on a new job role or assignment. If you’re in charge of onboarding, think through the content of what you want and your intent for the position that is being filled, and share it with the person doing the work.  If you’re the one blazing the trail or doing the work with little or no support:

  1. Ask those that matter.  Start by asking decision makers (i.e. your actual boss) if there are already procedures.  If there aren’t, share what you see as the need and how you plan on solving it.  This can serve as a way to get their buy-in for your approach from the start.
  2. Leave a trail.  Write down your procedure or process for how you’re accomplishing your work.  This can serve as a manual either for the person who replaces you as you blaze the next trail or for yourself the next time you’re paving a path.
  3. Know your choice.  If you opt to ask for ‘forgiveness’ rather than ‘permission’ when you approach your tasks, recognize that you made this choice so you can be prepared to change course or redo your work once the Decision Makers realize they had no plan in place and decide to give you instructions ‘after the fact.’

As frustrating or exhilarating as being a Pioneer can be, make it work for you by keeping track of the skills you use in this role, so you can capture the magic of what you have to offer in the next draft of your resume.

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You’re the Ideal Candidate: Here’s How to Sell it

By Tiffany A. Dedeaux

What does it take to sell yourself as a job candidate? During the application process your potential employer may not tell you what it takes, but that should not stop you from asking.  If you get a constructive response, that could change the game.  I’ve asked, and was tipped off about a book the owner of the company wrote.  This gave me insight into the company culture and, when I was later able to quote the boom, demonstrated that I could learn and take the initiative.

“This is your chance to pivot and pursue.”

During the job search process, and later in the employment relationship, it’s important to remember it’s not about you but the services you provide. During the application and interview process, identify three key problems that the company is trying to address with this hiring, and then present yourself as their solution now, and going into the future.  If you talk to them over the phone for a screening or an interview:

  • Notice when they’ve gone silent. They may be typing or writing notes.  This isn’t a time to panic or get nervous but a chance to display confidence.  What does confidence look like for you in this situation?  Can you tell when you’ve said something profound?  If you made a slip of the tongue, can you recover?  This can also tip you off when you answered well so keep this in mind as you move forward.
  • Notice when they ask you to repeat something. That ‘something’ has caught their attention.  This can be your chance to pivot and pursue this topic as it may be your strength in this situation.  It may also be that your intent was not understood.  It can take practice to know the difference, but to restate the answer in a more concise way may provide you with the insight you need.

“Discover what dots to connect and which ones to hang your hat on.”

There could be a lot of candidates, or only you. Keep in mind that, regardless, this is a process so you are trying to make it positively memorable.

  • Know when they’re offering opportunity for growth. Opportunity is the chance for you to grow something. If you ask them for an oak tree and they provide you with an acorn, this is a chance for you to demonstrate you know what they’re offering, and to illustrate how you’ve made something happen in the past, or how you plan on making the most of this chance now.  It is key that you know what dots to connect and which ones to hang your hat on.
  • Know how they like to build their team. If you don’t know, ask. If they provide you with an opportunity, ask questions about the structure or guidance they provide.

The truth is their ideal client may change so its important to be adaptable because this process is also an opportunity to make something grow.

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Jobs: Your Growing Season

By Tiffany A. Dedeaux

Grapes tell the story of a place from creation to where we are now, says 5th generation farmer and Lady Hill winemaker, Jerry Owen.  This point was noticeable to me when I had the chance to visit Johan Vineyards, one of the few certified bio-dynamic fields.  These grapes grow with native wild yeast and little manipulation so that they winemakers can ‘let it be what it is.’

With an orange Pinot Gris named Drueskiall, and the first bio-dynamic Pinot Noir they call Petillant Natural, what I’ve learned from these winemakers is that each season can teach us something different:

  • 2011 was a year of patience.  The winemakers had to wait until November to harvest and, in order to spend time with their families, rush to get it all taken care of before Thanksgiving.
  • 2012 was a year that didn’t start how it finished.  The Johann fields experienced a cold and wet June which gave way to a beautiful July.
  • 2013 was a year of happen-stance.  Typhoon remnants dropped six inches of rain in two days, which led to an unexpected treasure: a biodynamic dessert wine.
  • 2014 was a year of abundance.  The question, which was a good problem to have, is where to put it all?  It was reported as one of the best Oregon growing seasons with no abnormal rain dump.
  • 2015 is ahead of the curve.  With such a mild winter, the cycle of growth is about 2-3 weeks ahead of schedule.

Consider that your job is a grape and each job tells the story of your career development from creation to where you are now.  If you were to write out the lessons you’ve learned from each job – each growing season – what would it reveal about you and your work?  Do you let your career grow wild with little manipulation?  Or is your career perfectly processed along scripted guidelines?

These are your opportunities to learn , grow, and make the most of each harvest.  Look back at your last five years and list in appreciation, what you’ve learned.  Now, look ahead.  What achievements do you want to bottle?

Posted in Awareness, Career, Coaching, Creative Metaphor, Ecopsychology, Gratitude, Life Vision, Narrative Ecopsychology, Story / Narrative | Leave a comment

Your Career is Your Wine: Lessons from a Winemaker


By Tiffany A. Dedeaux

Wine is not merely a beverage, but a way to enable conversation.  Like life, wine is about relationship and Jerry Owen, the owner of Lady Hill Winery, knows this.  Jerry is more than a winemaker; he’s a 5th generation farmer and a storyteller.  The story starts with the name of his label:  Lady Hill.  This is what he calls the land where he lives because he can count the number of boys in his family on one hand.  He calls himself a household facilitator and in recognizing his lot in life, he embraces the feminine qualities of his conversation elixir.

Beyond the powerful story and the great conversation spaces he is preparing to open in the Summer of 2015, the key lessons I am taking away from my conversation with Jerry are these:

It’s easier to tell a good story if it’s yours to tell.  No one can tell Jerry’s story like he can, so for anyone representing a brand – and we all are if we’re looking for work – we have to make the story our own.  In fact, if you’re making a recommendation to a friend, chances are you told them your story to make your case.

If you’re struggling in your search for work, consider the story you are trying to tell.  Are these jobs even for or about you?  Or are you following someone else’s plan?  One question I like to ask the people I work with is if they are looking for a survival-based job to ease their mind or a passion-based job to feed their heart.  Depending on their answer, where they look and how they look may change.  If you’re struggling with the story you tell in your job search, slow down and allow the wine to breath.  If you’re looking for the wrong sort of jobs, this is your chance to look for ones that fit your story.  If you’re looking for the right jobs but are still struggling, consider how you can make the story your own.

Saying you’re as good as another creates an artificial glass ceiling.  By putting yourself in the same category as another, you limit your room to improve.  This is where the ceiling comes in.  You don’t have to be better than another, you just have to be different, Jerry insists.

Uncork the possibilities by not limiting yourself to what others have done or can do.  Learn from what they do well, but identify and embrace what makes you different.  It just may be what you offer is more pleasing to the palette of the person you want to work with.

When you get a second chance:  build, don’t repeat.  Lady Hill is Jerry’s second winemaking venture and he went into it wanting to keep what worked and purge what didn’t. The story continues in the pour.  When he first made wine he created a bottle that translated as ‘Going into the Shadows,’ so to pick up where he left off, this time we are ‘Headed into the Light.’

A second chance at a job or in a career is an opportunity to make something else happen, so what do you want to do differently this time?  What do you want to keep the same?  As this is a continuation of your work story, what does this winemaking venture offer that your other one didn’t, and where do you plan to take it from here?

Who you are shows in your work.  Jerry says many don’t respect Merlot because it’s easy to abuse by over-cropping and still, it remains drinkable.  For Jerry, wine is like food, it can lose its flavor if you dumb it down in order to mass produce it.

If you are changing jobs or careers, identify why you are looking to make the change.  If it is due to changing priorities, how can you scale what you offer without feeling like you’ve been over-cropped?  What can you do this time that will allow the work, and your love for it, to keep its flavor?

CC BY-SA 2.0

You are a winemaker with you career as the wine, and your job as the bottle you’re producing right now.  What is your story?  What is the conversation you’re looking to start? What lessons are you learning as you pour?

I trust that this inspires you to clarify and share what you do with the world.  Let me know what I can do to help you invest in your gift.

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By Chance or by Choice

By Tiffany A. Dedeaux

Change in careers, for the most part, is by chance or by choice.  Chance is when others make decisions for you, like your job being terminated, transferred, or changed beyond the original scope of the role. Chance is also when circumstances align to create a condition beyond your control such as not being hired because you may not fit in with the team in place, change in management that creates a change in operations, or even something greater like significant changes in the economy or storms of the century demolishing companies and leaving jobs in its wake.

Career change by choice is when you have control, such as accepting or declining a position, moving companies, or even moving cities.  These can seem like momentous choices at the time you’re confronted with them.  In the end, you are ultimately faced with the choice of staying where you are or moving on.  There is actually a risk no matter what you choose, because staying where you are does not guarantee your circumstances, job, or place of employment will stay the same, only that you think you know what to expect for the foreseeable future.

When these two worlds collide, chance and choice, you must decide how you respond.  Do you choose to embrace the change or do you choose to resist?  The secret is, whatever you decide, you can also choose to change your mind.  Another secret is that change is always happening.  Change is a basic element of life, like air.  You cannot see it, but you can witness the effects.  Change can happen in small whispers or it can happen in big gusts.

I am a career coach because I am fascinated by how we express and share ourselves through our work.  It can be a deeply personal act, which is why change can be both exciting and offending.  I can help you find that excitement and deal with that offense.  I work with those of you who are gasping for change, and those who are gasping trying not to let it in.  I work with those of you who are gulping change in with a glint in your eye and smile on your lips; and those who are taking it in, eyes wide with fear.

Change is your air, and I help you understand that you have a choice, how to make that choice, and how to prepare for when it happens again.

I am your career coach.  Let’s choose together.

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