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What Resume Format is Best?

Recruiters are surprised on a daily basis by the poor quality and lack of attention to detail that is found in most resumes. Even if your resume lands on the desk of a ‘kind’ or ‘nonjudgmental’ recruiter, you are still likely to pay a hefty price for submitting a mediocre resume. For example, let’s say the salary range is $90k to $110k. For an exceptional candidate that shows to be a good match to the job, you can expect the company to come in closer to the top of the range. For someone who looks like a match but is not confident in their abilities and shows moderate attention to detail, the offer comes in at $90k. That is a potential $20,000 loss.

Let’s look at it from the positive side. I developed the resume, LinkedIn profile and coached several clients resulting in anywhere from a $30k to $40k increase over their current compensation. The increase to their base pay was $20k or more. These results are very real. The client was the same person before they engaged me as when they received the outstanding offer. Here is what made the difference:
  • A resume that professionally presented accomplishments and their career journey transparently and succinctly.
  • A LinkedIn profile that was consistent with the resume, and was effective in branding my client based on desired career/next step goals.
  • Greater self-awareness that enabled my client to speak confidently and articulately about their strengths.
  • A professional demeanor, starting with the resume (the first impression), that commanded making a competitive offer.
  • A strong work ethic to search the online job boards (LinkedIn is the best but a couple of others would be advised) on a consistent basis to find the better quality openings at the best paying companies.
  • Use of a job search networking strategy on LinkedIn.
  • Effective interviewing skills.

So what resume format is best (choose one)?
1. Aesthetically designed format with use of color to add some excitement.
2. One-page responsibility-based resume.
3. Achievement-based resume.
And the answer is…
When written correctly, achievement-based resumes are the ones that get applicants noticed. These are the ones written with the recruiter or hiring manager or future boss in mind, because they provide clear, measurable descriptions of your outcomes.
This is what Google is really getting at when its top recruiters suggest: “Accomplished [X], as measured by [Y], by doing [Z].”
Let’s just rewrite those four examples from above to show it in action. You’ll notice that for readability’s sake, sometimes this will actually coe across as Y-X-Z or Z-Y-X or other combinations. The key is simply to include all three elements:
  • Grew website digital audiences from zero to 15 million visitors per month by running effective marketing campaigns and recruiting 45 new high-performing writers.
  • Saved the company $9 million in five months by reviewing current technology vendors; renegotiating five neglected contracts and replacing two legacy vendors.
  • Increased sales by 9 percent MOM for the seven months I was in charge of a five-person team, by implementing advance scheduling and friendly internal competition to improve team’s morale.
  • Achieved 98.5 percent customer service “5-star” reviews in my team by rewriting call scripts and empowering team members to make any “good faith adjustment” under $50 without escalation.
Your goal is to leave a hiring manager thinking something along the lines of, “Wow, if she increased sales by 9 percent at her pervious company, I wonder if she could do the same thing here?”
Juxtapose that against the other formats’ inevitable questions: What the heck did she actually do there? 
And you can see why Format #3 will always be the winner.

Carl Nielson is a career and job search coach with over 20 years of corporate human resource management experience. He founded Success Discoveries to serve individual needs. You can learn more about Carl on his LinkedIn page at and at his offering website at
If you’d like to schedule a complimentary one-on-one phone consultation, go to Carl’s calendar

The 4 Keys to a Great Resume and Why You Should Care

What happens when…

  • you are approached about an attractive internal opportunity that promises a promotion?
  • you realize that expanding your experience or increasing your salary requires a job change?
  • you are unexpectedly unemployed due to downsizing or industry upheaval?
  • you realize that your current resume is not getting any response?
You always need to have a current, professional resume ready to go. While “professional” doesn’t necessarily mean hiring a professional, for most job-seekers, partnering with a professional helps ensure a resume that generates results.

So, you decide to take an objective look at your existing resume. You pull up the latest version of your resume and realize it hasn’t been updated in a while. You notice your resume seems outdated, is missing critical accomplishments and doesn’t strike you as helping you stand out. Perhaps you even search online for “keys to a great resume” (which yields about 108,000 results.)

Where do you start to get the best resume possible?

As you begin the process of updating your resume (or even starting from scratch), keep the prospective employer in mind. Multiple surveys show that most recruiters spend 30 seconds or less reviewing each resume. The harsh truth is you don’t have much time to impress employers. Hiring managers only care about the value you have to offer as a candidate, and recruiters are willing to spend no more than 30 seconds looking for that value.

I believe there are four keys to creating a great resume that employers will notice:

Resume Writing Key #1. Clarify who you are and what you want.

First and foremost, employers want to know if you’re minimally qualified for the job. Before they ever read your resume and your story, hiring managers spend most of their time skimming through resumes to identify keywords and experience that match the job description.

The more effectively you can tailor your resume to quickly expose your accomplishments and value, the better your chances are. Generic resumes built with a Word template are a dime a dozen and don’t do well in an applicant tracking system (also known as an ATS). You can optimize your resume against any job description. Some of the experts say this will make you a top candidate. I agree, with some conditions. However, it is better if you have one resume that was so well designed and written that it will standout across multiple jobs.

A lot has been written about keyword research for resumes.

According to a Forbes article, “Depending on how a specific ATS works, the location and frequency of keywords within your resume can be extremely important. Typically, the better your resume matches the job description requirements, the higher you’ll rank in the ATS. Additionally, it’s common practice for companies to begin reviewing applicants from the top of the ranking list – bad news for job seekers who haven’t customized and keyworded their resume.” (

CareerBuilder gives three reasons to keep keywords in mind:

  1. Keywords help get you in front of a human being. An ATS uses keywords to sort and prioritize resumes and cover letters to save the hiring manager time. Without targeted keywords, your resume can get lost in the shuffle.
  2. Keywords help you hone in on what’s most important. Making a list of keywords up front can help you whittle down your long list of experiences to focus on what the hiring manager will actually care about. This can be extremely helpful for someone with extensive experience.
  3. The right keywords demonstrate that you’re speaking the same language as the hiring manager. It’s important to show that you’re on the same page by using like terminology to convey your specific skill sets, qualifications and experience.

Lisa Quast, contributing writer for Forbes, writes “Gone are the days of creating one resume and using it for every job application. Customization is the name of the game in today’s digital age, which has become more and more important with the increasing use of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).” I don’t agree.

Now, I will address the conditions I referred to previously. Obviously keywords are critical to navigating the path through an ATS to an actual person. The truth, however, is that without clarifying who you are and telling a compelling story of accomplishments supporting your ‘next step’ career goal, keywords won’t do much more than get the recruiter to pause for a closer look before rejecting your resume. You should focus your search on jobs which align with your qualifications and your passionate direction for your career. Creating multiple resumes solely to fulfill some subjective keyword requirement for each job becomes overwhelming (excessively cumbersome and time consuming). Are key words something to be aware of and use? Yes. Does your resume need to be SEO optimized. Yes. Should a keyword list dictate how you write your resume? No. 

On a final note about telling your story, according to a Careerbuilder study of about 2,000 hiring managers, 57 percent of respondents said the most common lie they catch on a resume is an embellished skill set. Take care to include only keywords, skills or experiences that truly reflect your abilities. Be prepared to be asked about anything you include in your resume. If you cannot provide supporting examples or fact/figures of claims on your resume, carefully evaluate if you can make that claim truthfully.

Resume Writing Key #2. Demonstrate overall career progression.
Hiring managers want to read resumes that tell the story of a candidate’s career. This story helps them identify why you’re applying for the position and whether you’d be a good fit. Gaps between jobs will be flushed out quickly. Don’t attempt to hide the employment gaps.

Make sure your resume outlines the key responsibilities you’ve held in each position and how they’ve contributed to your overall career success. Your job titles should also give the employer an idea of the type of experience you’ve had over time.

Resume Writing Key #3. Identify your personal brand and online presence.
Hiring managers frequently want to see your personal web presence because it gives them the opportunity to learn more about you as a candidate. Jobvite’s 2014 Social Recruiting Survey found 73 percent of employers have hired a candidate through social media. In 2018, that percent has grown to over 90%. LinkedIn offers a great opportunity to create your own personal brand identity. Include a link to your LinkedIn profile on your resume so that employers can easily learn about how you add value to your industry and how you’ve professionally engaged online. You don’t have to be a thought leader, just present yourself as someone interested and involved in your profession. And be sure your resume and LinkedIn profile are aligned – discrepancies in job titles and employment dates from one source to another create red flags.

Resume Writing Key #4. Pay attention to organization, spelling and grammar.
Whether you prepare your own resume or use a professional, you must take care to avoid formatting mistakes, misspelled words and grammar errors. Many resume writers use the words “professional” and “certified” to refer to recruiting experience and/or HR background and have little-to-no experience with writing/editing. Unfortunately, I see too many professionally prepared resumes with confusing formatting and grammatical errors. While some consider these things minor, I believe that formatting and consistency dramatically improve comprehension and clear; error-free presentation speaks to your personal focus on quality and attention to detail. Look for a professional (or a professional team) that offers the unusual combination of HR experience and solid training in writing, such as a degree in English.

If you want to overcome the 30-second rule, you must do everything possible to create an attention-getting resume that will cause the recruiter to take a long look. Following these four keys will help you produce a resume that gets the positive attention it deserves from prospective employers.

Carl Nielson is a job search coach who partners with you and a grammar expert to develop resumes that get results. Learn more at or on Carl’s LinkedIn profile at
Want a personal and confidential conversation with Carl?
To schedule a convenient time on his calendar, go to
Success Discoveries
Carl’s LinkedIn Page

Interviewing Tip: How To Find Out Why You Didn’t Get The Job

After you’ve spent your time and energy interviewing, it’s depressing to find out you didn’t get the job. Welcome to normal.

Don’t let not getting the job impact you emotionally! For sure, it’s a not-so-fun part of the journey but can be, and must be, an opportunity for personal growth. Feedback is one of the best tools you have to learn how to improve. Asking for feedback the right might even get you a second look that leads to a change in the hiring managers thinking. Managers want people who are focused on continuous improvement and growth.

So don’t be afraid to reach out to the company to find out why you didn’t get the job. You may just get rewarded.

Here are a few tips to help you get feedback so you improve for the next opportunity.

1. Go directly to the source.
If you want feedback about why the company turned you down, go directly to the hiring manager. They’re more likely to give you a candid response. Many HR managers or recruiters usually give more general responses like “we found a candidate that was a better fit for our needs.” You can still ask “I totally understand, but can you give me any advice that might help me?”

2. Send an email. Don’t call or message on message on LinkedIn.
Since you’ve already interviewed with the hiring manager and built rapport, sending an email is non-threatening and the best way to communicate. A phone call tends to put someone on the spot and doesn’t give them a chance to think through their response. And if you send a message on LinkedIn, they may not see the message right away and you risk getting a delayed response.

3. Ask for specific feedback, but don’t use a demanding tone.
As you craft your email, use the phrase “Quick follow up” as the subject. Keep your email to no more than one paragraph and make sure it’s positive and appreciative?. In the email ask 2-3 specific questions you would like feedback on from the interview process. Don’t ask questions that focus on “why” you didn’t get the job, but rather on “how” you can improve. People are more likely to respond to someone who seeks out growth opportunities as opposed to someone who just wants answers.

4. Ask who else they know.
Always end the email by asking if they know of anyone else you can reach out to as you continue your job search. Use this as an opportunity to network. You never know who they might know.
Here’s an example email asking you could send to the hiring manager.

Hi (Hiring Manager),
I wanted to thank you for the opportunity to interview for the position of (job title) with your company. I really enjoyed learning about (company name) and getting to know you and your team during the interview process. I understand you have decided to move forward with another candidate that better fits your current needs.
As I continue my job search, I would greatly appreciate your feedback on how I can improve as a candidate. Could you provide insight into what I can improve upon to help me stand out and progress in my career? Specifically, I would appreciate feedback on the following:
1. What is the one skill I can improve upon that may be holding me back?
2. If I had the opportunity to redo my interview, what is the one thing I should have done differently?
I really appreciate any candid feedback you can offer to help me improve. Additionally, if you know of anyone that may be hiring for similar positions or any networking group I should reach out to as I continue my job search, please let me know.
Again, it was a privilege to meet you and thank you for the opportunity to interview for the position. I wish you and your team continued success.
Your Name

Rejection isn’t easy, but you can use it to your advantage.

To learn more about how to improve your interview skills, prepare for interviews or get feedback on your resume, check out the free Success Discoveries Job Search Tools and Resources site at You’ll instantly have access to extensive resources and templates to help you throughout the job search process - including interviewing tips and techniques.

5 Steps to Help YOU Ace an Interview

by Dave Clark, staff writer for TTI Success Insights

[Note from Carl Nielson: TTI Success Insights (TTISI) is our assessment solutions partner. One of the many benefits, besides incredibly superior talent assessments, is the depth and breadth of thought leaders at TTISI. Dave Clark is a staff writer for TTISI who I have come to respect greatly. The following article is a great piece that I will be sharing with all of my individual job search coaching and resume writing clients.]

After applying for a new job with a company you’d really like to work for, the call came that you’ve been selected for an in-person interview. You want to land this job badly.

Even if you have the qualifications for the job, you understand the importance of conducting a great interview. You may have a lot of questions going on inside your mind, including “what do I need to do to ace an interview?” Following these five steps will increase your chances of making a very positive impression.


Keep the conversation positive

There is nothing worse than talking badly about a previous employer. Rarely is anything gained and most of the time it reflects badly on the individual spreading the negativity. If things didn’t end well at your previous employer, say you had “creative differences” or “different philosophical viewpoints.” No use going into details about your negative experience.

Most employers assume that if you are bad mouthing a previous employer, you would do the same to them if your employment doesn’t work out. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire; meaning if you were involved with a negative experience previously, you may have had some culpability in making it that way. Keep the negativity out of the interview.

Be interesting while concise

Sure, you want to make a good first impression, but being too talkative isn’t the desired outcome. Say something that will position you as intelligent, interesting and qualified while keeping your comments brief enough to keep your interviewers interested. Most people try to make up for a quality answer through a lengthy one. As a rule of thumb, spend no more than 30 seconds answering each question.

Look for body language from your interviewers to see if they are getting bored with your responses. If you begin to lose eye contact or if they start fiddling with their pencil or notepad, it’s probably a good idea to finish that thought quickly.
When the interviewers ask a question, be sure to listen intently. You want to ensure you are answering completely and accurately. Listening is becoming something of a lost art and if you can demonstrate that you are a good listener, you will position yourself positively against much of your competition.

Be yourself

There’s no point in trying to be someone you are not because the truth will be exposed if you were to land the job. Unless the job you are applying for is that of a professional actor, make life easier on yourself by being yourself. [Schedule a quick info call with Carl Nielson.]

Interviewers can easily pick up on someone who is being authentic and who is putting on an act. No one wants a faker and if they sense you are faking it, you probably will not land the position. Believe that you are good enough because, chances are, you are!

Make it a two-way interview

Actively interview the company that is interviewing you. Ask questions about their culture, how long other people have been employed, what changes are on the horizon and where they see the company going in the next three to five years. Employers want you to be as interested in them as they are in you.

The interview process is just as important for you as it is for the company. What good does it do if you land the job, but find out that the company or the position isn’t right for you? There is no need to hide the fact that you are interviewing them. Most employers will appreciate the honesty and respect you for wanting to ensure they are a fit for you. Chances are, they will be more forthcoming with information about the company knowing that you are truly interested in learning more.

Ask for the job

As simple as this seems, the majority of candidates do not ask for the job during an interview. Asking for the position shows you are truly interested and committed to wanting to be part of their team. After a set of interviews provided two candidates in a dead heat, I once hired a candidate simply because she asked for the position. That simple question showed me she really wanted the job and it acted as the tiebreaker between two good candidates.
The candidate didn’t oversell herself, she just expressed a genuine interest in the job and the organization. Overselling gives off an impression of lacking true skills. Be confident in your abilities and project that confidence when answering your interview questions.

Be confident but never desperate. If you come across as desperate, it sets off red flags as to potential problems or lack of skills. Confidently tell them you believe you would - and will - make a great addition to the team while also giving off the impression that you’ll be just fine if you don’t land the job.



When competing with dozens of candidates for one open position, you want to position yourself to succeed in every possible area that you can. Why be good when you can be great? While some of these points mentioned here are easy to perform, it’s those who actually use them during their interviews that will find the most success. Be calm, smile and appear confident (even if you are petrified internally). Have a plan prior to your interview and work that plan when you are in front of your potential employers. Want more on this topic? Learn how to find your perfect job.

About the Author

Dave Clark is a staff writer at TTI Success Insights. He enjoys writing in many different capacities and loves to help clients properly convey their message to the world.

Career advancement: Steps you can take to help your career

Career advancement can mean different things to each of us. You may be interested in more responsibility or broader scope of duties as an individual contributor or you may be interested in becoming or expanding your managerial responsibilities.


One truism I've realized for in-place promotions in most organizations is that a person is usually doing the job before they are recognized and promoted to the level that is deserved by the contribution. If you are of the mindset that you expect the company to promote you before you perform at that higher level or support that expanded responsibility, you may be waiting a long time for that promotion.

On the other hand, your success in your job could very likely be creating the increased demand for your talents, expanding your responsibilities or growing the company. Once your success has solidified into real numbers, you are in a good position to request a career discussion with your boss.

In the meantime, you can be doing a few things (in addition to great work) that will help you get what you want:

1. Let your voice be heard at least one time in every meeting.

How many meetings are you in every month? I’ll bet it’s too many to count. And in how many of those meetings can you honestly say you added value? If you are silent, you may as well not even be there. Or worse, if you speak up after the meeting—in the hallway, or among your friends—you are actually undermining the purpose for the meeting.

You may not think you have anything to contribute, or you may be intimidated by other people in the room. But the only way to get past those self-effacing fears is to start talking. Knowing you are going to say at least one thing in each meeting is going to make you listen harder, because you are going to offer an opinion, or ask a question.

When you contribute in meaningful ways to daily events and decisions, your credibility grows. You become someone others turn to—and listen to.

2. Get visibility and build credibility by leading three initiatives.

If you are a manager, step up and propose something new. Perhaps there is an archaic process that needs to be overhauled; or a sticky personnel issue that needs a better policy; or a quality improvement measure that needs to be created.

If you are an independent contributor (a specialist with no direct reports), assert yourself and get involved in a project that will improve a product or service or reduces an administrative process. Reach out to colleagues in other areas and collaborate on ways to work better across departments.

Leadership actually isn't assigned to any job or job title. Regardless of your job title, offer to lead an effort to make an improvement—whether it’s on your own job or something beyond your job description.

3. Speak in front of a group at least two times per quarter.

It doesn’t have to be a large group, but standing up and speaking in front of any group is one of the best career builders there is. Perhaps you can be invited to speak to your own team or to a cross-functional team, to share what you learned at a recent conference you attended or to share your specialty knowledge about the impact of a change. Or, maybe you can speak at a department meeting to give a project update. You may be able to speak at an outside professional meeting—introducing the speaker, or announcing upcoming events. Any time you speak, you build more confidence.

If you are a manager or senior executive, presentations are a part of your job. If you are not happy with your performance, do something about it. Resolve to get some feedback and work with a colleague who does it well, to polish your slides and your delivery. You may even want to get some professional coaching to take your performance to a whole new level or join a Toastmasters group.

4. Name five people you would turn to for help if you lost your job.

Having trouble thinking of anyone? Look around…how many of your friends and relatives were caught by surprise when they lost their jobs? They didn’t think it would happen to them—but it did. Be smart and cultivate contacts long before you need them. Start by thinking like you’re unemployed. Who do you know in your field who has a good reputation and is well-connected? If you called a former boss, would he or she introduce you to others and give you a good reference? If you decided to start your own business, do you have any connections to people who could help you?

Reach out now and schedule a get-together for the next month. Find out what they are up to and be proactive about providing them information or introductions to people who may be able to help them. Good networkers know that you should give and you may not ever be able to measure the ROI of giving. Don’t wait until you need help—offer it first.

Successful careers aren’t built by getting the perfect job in the perfect company. They come from taking the small steps, day after day, year after year. When you look back, you’ll see how far you’ve come—even in one short year.

Carl Nielson is a U.S.-based executive coach, organizational development strategist and founder of Success Discoveries and The Nielson Group. He is known for his ability to help leaders and their teams achieve measurable, lasting improvements. The Nielson Group specializes in leadership development, organizational change, teambuilding, executive coaching, CEO coaching and team coaching, 360-degree feedback surveys, customized training, leadership teams, project teams, high-potential development, manager skills, team conflict resolution and retreat facilitation.

Contact The Nielson Group at (972) 346-2892, or

Are You Reminding Others What You Need?

“Am I reminding people of what I want?”

This short 3-minute coaching point comes from Steve Straus. You can view the original posting and subscribe directly to his blog here.

Coaching Point: Most of the time people simply need to be reminded of what you want. Not lectured. Not made wrong for not remembering. Simply reminded.

But wait, you might say, what right do I have to tell people what I want? Don’t I have to be of service to others first, then take care of me? Sure. Perhaps. Maybe. Depends on what you feel is important for your life journey.

To truly serve people – not just engage in some mutual neediness-filling – it helps if your cup is full. Giving/serving from a less-than-full cup is tough. It may feel noble, but it drains and diminishes you.

When your cup is filled to overflowing you can give from the overflow with no requirement, nor even intention, of getting something back. That’s full service.

Are you reminding people of what you want?

If you are looking for something to help take your relationship to an entirely new level or just want to bring added new insights into the relationship with your significant other, please check out Success Discoveries for Couples. This is an assessment and guide that you’ll enjoy and value. 

5 Reasons Why You Didn’t Land an Interview and What to do About It

Applied for a job and haven’t heard back? Check these 5 reasons to make change happen.

You find the perfect job online and submit your application, already fantasizing about your new position. Then the waiting game begins. You wait, patiently at first, and then the panic sets in. Should I follow up? What should I say? Did I do something wrong? Why isn’t anyone calling me?!

After what feels like forever, you check back on the job posting, only to realize the position’s been filled.

This phenomenon is commonly referred to as the “Black Hole,” and leaves most job seekers discouraged and unsure what to do differently with their future applications. If you’ve found yourself in this position, wondering what went wrong, consider the following reasons why you didn’t hear back.

The hiring manager never saw your resume.

Before your resume is passed along to the hiring manager, it first has to get past multiple gatekeepers:

  1. an electronic screen known as an applicant tracking system (ATS for short) that searches key words and may also have a pre-qualifying questionnaire
  2. a junior-level HR coordinator
What to do about it
  • Reassess your resume to ensure it’s has a high "attraction index" and is telling the right story in terms both gatekeepers and hiring managers will recognize and appreciate. Add keywords. Your skills and experience that will be key in the job you are applying for must be aligned with the key words listed in the job posting.
  • Simplify your resume. Too much can be as bad as too little. Instead of providing a job description for each of your jobs, state your accomplishments and contributions. It will be shorter than a job description and allow you to be concise. This will also allow you to be seen more broadly for other jobs that need what you've accomplished.
  • Design for the reader. A resume needs to grab a reader's attention starting at the top. As the reader scans your resume, they should "want" to continue scanning. A strong resume attraction index is strong at keeping the reader interested. A low attraction index usually results in no action.
To make sure your resume is an asset and not a barrier, consider Resume ReWrite by Success Discoveries, a boutique resume writing service that is very cost-effective.

You applied too late.

A study by TheLadders found that your chances of getting a call back plummet 72 hours after the job is published online, even if you were considered a good fit for the job.
What to do about it

When you find a job you’re interested in and qualified for, make its application a priority. Use apps like Job Search by TheLadders so you never miss a potential opportunity. BUT, also use networking strategies (see 3rd reason below) to find the hiring manager or someone that can introduce you to the hiring manager. Social networking tools such as LinkedIn(the #1 social media networking tool) to find the right people (including the staffing recruiter assigned to the job).

Your online brand sold you out.

A survey by Jobvite found that 93 percent of recruiters are likely to look at a candidates’ social profile – regardless of whether a candidate provides that information. And a startling 70 percent of recruiters have turned down a candidate based on something they found about them online. If you’re not managing your online brand, you could unknowingly hurt your chances of landing that dream job.
What to do about it

First, for many good reasons, lock down your Facebook and other social media accounts that are not professionally focused so only those you are connected to can see your information. Second, take a fresh look at your LinkedIn account (and if you don't have one get one). Look at others' profile on LinkedIn and find some that are well done, interesting and effective. Remember the attraction index for your resume? Same goes for your LinkedIn profile.

You didn’t leverage your network.

A study by CareerXroads found you are ten times more likely to land the job when your application is accompanied by an employee referral. This could be as simple as including an employee’s name in your online application or, better yet, having your contact at the company send your resume directly to the hiring team on your behalf. Make time to invest in your network and always check for relevant connections before sending in an application.
What to do about it
Whether you do this or not, you have a network. Your network is like an iceberg. You can see only a small percent of your full network. It is up to you and only you to leverage your full network. If you are intimidated by this one, "get over it". Think of two scenarios: The lion is about to eat you but you have a gun and ammunition. In one scenario, you shoot the gun to stop the lion. In the other, you leave the gun on the ground and the lion enjoys a quick meal. This lesson is about much more than just survival. It is about your quality of life. Those that don't take charge of their own life, that don't see this particular issue as their personal accountability task, will surely receive less pay, will likely not reach their full potential and will feel unfulfilled throughout life. So get over it and just do it. Call, email, talk to people until you get close to the right hiring manager at the right company with the right job that you want. It is very likely your competition is leveraging their connections to get an inside track on the role before the job posting was even posted.

Your Attitude and Perspective Matter. Even when you seem to do everything right, there’s no guarantee you’ll land the interview. This can occur for a myriad of reasons. Whatever the case, realize that sometimes the fate of your application is simply not in your hands - but many times it was in your hands the entire time.

What you can do - Recap

Focus on the areas where you can influence your candidacy and try not to get hung up on the ones that are outside your control. After you apply to that “perfect” job and create a reminder to follow up, set a goal for yourself to find at least two other well-fitted opportunities to pursue. Don't wait on ANY job. Keep pushing to expand your network. Be the first to get an interview for newly opened positions. And make sure your resume and LinkedIn profile have a very high attraction index.

How to Encourage Trustworthiness in Your Relationships

Success in any relationship requires some willingness to trust people. Whether at work or in your personal life, how can you do a better job of gauging trustworthiness and thereby improve your likelihood of experiencing a successful relationship? Try these tips to prompt trustworthiness in behavior:

  • Be generous. Feelings of gratitude foster trustworthy behavior
    Giving others a reason to feel grateful is a win-win: They benefit in the short term from your generosity, and you reap the rewards of their loyalty
  • Find commonality. Emphasizing common ground increases the likelihood that others will see you as someone with whom it’s possible to build a lasting and beneficial relationship
  • Don’t punish. Threats of punishment can prevent untrustworthy behavior in the moment but can be counterproductive in the long term: others may be less likely to take risks to support you

Recommended programs

For the workplace
For personal relationship building

Video for Every Couple - Enjoy

Success Discoveries produced this video to promote the self-directed Success Discoveries for Couples program. The video has become an inspirational hit that brings hope and balance to anyone who finds it difficult at times in a relationship. Anyone in a relationship has challenges from time to time. Enjoy the video.

Oh, and if you are interested in learning more about Success Discoveries for Couples, just click on the advertisement to the right (with big pink and red heart).

Use headphones for best listening experience. Click on full screen and HD quality (bottom right of video) for best viewing.

Happy Valentine’s Day - This is for you

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Make it a great day unless you have other plans. Carl Nielson

Three selected videos - one of them is bound to be the perfect one for you

Valentine’s Surprise

Underappreciation Disappears in a Heartbeat

You are Perfect Just the Way You Are

Get Inspired

The following short video from Lead Out is a perfect way to start each day. As you watch the video, think of those things on your daily task list and consider how you can apply one or two of the different messages throughout the day. Different parts of the message will be relevant on different days so I recommend watching the video each day.

Make it a great day, unless you have other plans.

Career Coaching for Students™ Growing Nationally

Success Discoveries is very pleased to announce a number of new licensed facilitators for the Career Coaching for Students™ program. From Indiana to Ohio, Pennsylvania to Los Angeles, Career Coaching for Students™ is growing at a steady pace.

In addition, the website, redesigned in 2009, has turned into the number one web portal for quality career and education research. From researching careers to choosing a major to solving the financial aid puzzle, Student Resource Central™ is the premier career and educational exploration resource portal on the web to support students and their parents.

To find a licensed career coach in your area check out the national map at

Student Resource Central™ includes access to the career exploration resources, eduational institution exploration resources and Resource Central resources library. Site includes career video websites, interview video sites, search tools to find any and all vocational schools, colleges and univerisities by interest, major, vocation specializations, information on financial aid, scholarship information and much more. Learn more at

Success Discoveries for Couples Self-Directed Program Just in Time for Valentine’s Day

Success Discoveries is announcing the 2013 edition of Success Discoveries for Couples™

Success Discoveries for Couples™ is a unique and personalized Valentine’s Gift Self-Directed E-Book and Assessment Package ideal for any couple.

The developers at Success Discoveries have put the best coaching strategies, knowledge, expert experience and assessments into a self-directed program simply called Success Discoveries for Couples™ that grabs you and doesn’t let go. If you made a personal commitment this year to be a better lover, better listener, have greater empathy or be more engaged with your spouse - this is the program for both of you. If you have been wanting more love, more empathy, more meaningful conversation, more support, this is the program for both of you.

To learn more visit
Purchase by February 11th and receive a 10% discount by including coupon code: sd9ri8 at check out.

Announcing New Self-Directed Program - Developing Resiliency

Success Discoveries announces a new self-directed program called Developing Resiliency.

Developing Resiliency is an ideal self-directed learning module for anyone feeling a lack of initiatve or difficulty being persistent toward your work or goals or having difficulty handling rejection. It is very appropriate for anyone facing difficult times of any kind or for those wanting to start the new year off on the right track with more energy, focus and confidence.

What’s included:
  • A personal development plan to guide you through resiliency development activities
  • An online animated presentation of the three critical skills related to resiliency
  • Downloadable MP3 audio recordings of each critical skill lesson (ideal for listening to while walking or exercising)
  • Three skill development workbook lessons covering initiative, persistence and handling rejection.
  • Each lesson includes insightful information and simple practice activites:
    1. Why each skill is important
    2. What skills are associated with initiative, persistence and handling rejection
    3. Activities to strengthen each skill
To learn more about this program go here.

Anger Management Issues or Narcissistic Tendencies? 17 Soft Skills That Help or Hurt

“Does Serena Williams, Kenye West and Rep. Wilson demonstrate the need for anger management or is it something else?”
America is exploding with public displays of person-directed anger in sports, entertainment and politics. While anger is a normal human emotion, the displays of verbal aggression and anger by West, Williams and Rep. Wilson represents unhealthy anger which destroys interpersonal relationships as well as the reputation of the perpetrator.

According to George Anderson, an anger management coach, there are six situations in which anger is unacceptable in a civil society:

  1. When it is too intense.
  2. When it occurs too frequently.
  3. When it lasts too long.
  4. When it leads to person-directed aggression or violence.
  5. When it destroys interpersonal relationships.
  6. When it has health implications.
Anderson goes on to say “Anger is one of the most misunderstood and overused of human emotions. Anger is not a planned action - it’s a reaction to an inner emotion. Anger is energy. It serves a purpose by giving people the drive and determination to cope with difficult situations we find ourselves in. Anger helps discharge tension. If handled well, anger can help resolve conflict and improve relationships with others. Anger is an easy emotion to show; everyone gets angry.”

Does anger, when poorly managed, indicate a lack of anger management as a skill, lack of respect or something more complex such as a combination of lack of respect for others and lack of a set of basic skills?

Let’s start with a lack of respect for others. Whether it be a sports referee, a panel of judges for an entertainment award or the President of the United States, there seems to be a plausible theme running through each of these public displays of anger. First, a sub-minimum level of respect for others. Second, in each of the three recent public examples, the person is coming from a position of privilege. And third, in each case, each is feeling something is being taken away from them that they thought they had a right to have. When a two-year old acts out in this manner (a temper tantrum in the store when they can’t have the toy on the shelf) most parents stop the behavior in an appropriate but clear manner that makes the temper tantrum a poor choice for the child. As a parent, I call this “the terrible two’s”. Why just the “two’s”?

As parents, we teach our children at an early age how to respect us, how to respect others and how to accept that they can not have any thing they want. I believe that is why most adults behave in a “civil manner” when faced with challenging or frustrating situations. Is anger a valid emotion? Absolutely. But to Mr. Anderson’s point above, it is unacceptable behavior when it crosses the line.

So perhaps these three public figures didn’t receive a proper upbringing. Or maybe their rise to fame created confusion for them - losing their way from the path of decency, respect for others and civility. Or perhaps it is something more. Could it be narcissism?

Unhealthy Narcissism is the extreme result of a lack of skills. The lack of development of those skills or loss of those skills might be due to the adult environment, stress levels or their childhood. It is very possible it is a combination of all of these.

So what can an adult who has unhealthy narcissistic behaviors do?
Usually, they are not aware of or open to feedback until their behavior becomes so outrageous that “their public image” is destroyed. In the corporate setting, I often see the narcissist anxious to have a third party mediator get involved. They are so sure they are “right” and “healthy” that the “other” person(s) who they see as “the problem” will be highlighted and dealt with appropriately. This happens in businesses too often. The result there is usually termination.

Most companies don’t have the time, confidence or see the value in investing in someone who has stepped over the line one too many times. In organizations, the critical straw that broke the back is one of many outbursts that were tolerated for too long. Unlike the good parent with the two-year old, companies tend to find the narcissistic behavior difficult to stop before it becomes dysfunctional for the organization. Once it is dysfunctional for the organization, it results in a termination. The human resources function is not equipped to handle these types of people and are usually the enemy of narcissistic managers. Placing a narcissist on a “performance plan”, while procedurally correct, has the same potential for self-correction as the Titanic did on that fateful night.

So what can people do to stop the dysfunctional behavior before it reaches a point of no return?
In my coaching, I have focused on selected skills that are connected to the dysfunctional behavior. These skill development strategies must be integrated with one-on-one coaching. To not provide the one-on-one coaching is to leave self development in the hands of a dysfunctional, narcissistic person which as a low probability of being successful.

So what skill modules have been shown to help a person become a better person, better leader, better professional? I’ve provided a list of skills that, when intentionally developed, will eliminate unhealthy narcissistic outbursts of anger.
  1. Empathy
  2. Conflict Management
  3. Personal Effectiveness
  4. Interpersonal Skills
  5. Diplomacy
  6. Flexibility
  7. Freedom from Prejudice
  8. Self Improvement
  9. Relating to Others
  10. Persuading Others
  11. Correcting Others
  12. Flexibility
  13. Evaluating What is Said
  14. Balanced Decision Making
  15. Surrendering Control
  16. Personal Accountability
  17. Sensitivity to Others
To keep a culture of narcissistic behavior out of the organization requires ongoing effective leadership development. This can include at its center, a set of core competencies established to communicate expectations as well as guide the leadership development program. One of the best books on leadership development that I’ve used is Stephen Covey’s The 8th Habit. In the book, Covey address’s two critical elements to highly successful leadership: 1) Find Your Voice and 2) Inspire Others to Find Their Voice. If, as a leader, or just as a person, you are focused on those two things, you can’t possibly have narcissistic tendencies.

Carl Nielson
Chief Discovery Officer
Success Discoveries