FAQ’s: An interview with Joellyn Wittenstein Schwerdlin
Here are answers to frequently-asked questions about who I am and the work I do with clients in career transition:
Just to be clear: I’m not an employment agency or recruiter, nor am I hired by companies to fill positions for them. And I’m not a career marketing firm that charges tens of thousands of dollars, promising so-called “exclusive access” to hidden job market leads and contacts. (Side note: when you work with me, you’ll learn to uncover the hidden job market yourself.)
As your career coach, my top priority is YOU: I have a vested interest in helping you achieve your job and career transition as quickly and smoothly as possible. My private mentoring, plus the tools of my 8-module career coaching program will equip you with everything you need to achieve this goal. Together we will develop a clear, concise focus for your career/job search campaign, while exploring your hidden strengths and how to position yourself to compete in today’s labor market. Side note: Please scroll down to (9) for details about this program.
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My credentials also include a Certified Professional Resume Writer-CPRW designation, which I earned in 1994. You’ll find sample resumes, cover letters, and other contributions I’ve written featured in the following publications: 100 Conversations for Career Success (2012), Gallery of Best Resumes, 5th Edition (2011); Cover Letters for Dummies (2009); Job Search Bloopers (2008); Gallery of Best Resumes, 4th Edition (2007); Best Resumes for College Graduates to Land $75,000+ Jobs (2004); Gallery of Best Resumes, 3rd Edition (2004); Gallery of Best Cover Letters, 2nd Edition (2004); Resume Maker Professional 11.0 (2003); America’s Top Resumes for America’s Top Jobs (2002); Gallery of Best Resumes (2001); Gallery of Best Resumes for People Without a Four-Year Degree (2000), Gallery of Best Cover Letters (1999) and others.
Prior to my work as a career coach, I earned my Bachelor of Music Degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Illinois, at Urbana-Champaign. After graduation, I moonlighted as a professional singer while holding administrative positions in the corporate world across various industry sectors, including academia (medical school), business valuation, insurance (personal lines), manufacturing, and pharmaceuticals, as well as nearly two years in the HR department of a social service agency for developmentally disabled adults and children.
I got clients right away who were pleased that the resumes I wrote helped them land interviews — and job offers! However, some clients returned to me in a year or two, lamenting that the new jobs they landed weren’t such good fits after all. What I discovered was that while a client’s need was a resume update, the problem was that they didn’t know what would bring them true career satisfaction. That’s when I decided to expand my practice into career coaching.
During this two-hour session (conducted by phone), we’ll discuss your situation in detail. We’ll even go on a “guided tour” of your career, from school days to present, so I can get a “big picture” of your employment history, leading up to what you’re going through today.
I’ll listen, ask you important questions, and takes lots of notes. Then, we’ll schedule a second call (approx 30-45 minutes), where I’ll provide you with the following feedback:
- What’s Working: Job search strategies and career directions which appear to be on track; you may already be doing many things right, even though you haven’t reached your career goals yet.
- What Needs Attention: What you can change or add to your career/job search campaign to get better results.
- Next Steps: A customized action plan to help you get unstuck and moving forward.
This feedback will be provided to you in verbal and written format. I also record both sessions in MP3 format and will provide you with download links, so you’ll have permanent copies of them.
The CAP Session allows me to understand your entire career story, what your transition might entail, and what your actual challenges are, so we have a foundation for any other work we might do together to facilitate your career transition.
Some clients get exactly what they need from the CAP Session by itself; others prefer to continue in my full career coaching program, because the accountability and support they get makes their transition happen much faster and more deliberately than working alone.
Module 1: Establish a Foundation for Your Career Transition Campaign. Through a unique self‑assessment process, you’ll discover your 3-6 top transferable skill sets (aka “Key Success Factors”), which will become major building blocks of your campaign, to help you:
- Know with certainty what skills you’re naturally good at and enjoy the most;
- Feel more confident about what you can offer prospective employers;
- Get crystal clear about your most perfect career path and the work you love;
- Create compelling content for resumes, cover letters and social networking profiles;
- Make educated choices about the right jobs to pursue;
- Feel more at ease when communicating with hiring managers;
- Be specific about what you need from your networking contacts and colleagues;
- Take control of interviews, salary negotiations and job offers.
Module 2: Build Your Confidence and Career Marketing Content by backing your top transferable skill sets with “Reality Stories” that showcase how you’ve used these skills at your highest level of effectiveness to produce results for your employers. These stories can tightened for resume bullets and social networking profiles, expanded for answers to interview questions, or woven into networking conversations…the possibilities are endless!
Module 3: Discover Your Perfect Career Path to get clear about the work you love: a reason for welcoming Mondays and jumping out of bed in the morning. You’ll use the “Six Dimensions of Career Clarity” model, incorporating the top transferable skill sets (Key Success Factors) you discovered in Module 1, results from personality assessments and career interest inventories, along with strategic brainstorming tools, to sketch out your ideal career scenario.
Module 4A: Transform Your Resume from Bland to Brilliant to stand out from the crowd and grab the attention of target employers. We’ll use the “Reality Stories” from Module 3 to create eye-catching, value-driven, key-word rich resumes, cover letters, and social networking profiles which will bring you more interviews and potential job offers.
Module 4B: Perfect Your Elevator Pitch to know exactly what to say to engage your networking contacts and target employers, instead of watching their eyes glaze over. You’ll get a formula for crafting a pitch that sounds natural and energetic.
Module 5: Network Your Way into the Hidden Job Market to compete in the unpublished job market and get referrals to jobs through networking. You’ll learn strategies for communicating with your network that will open doors to hiring managers.
Module 6: Multiply Your Job Opportunities in Unexpected Ways to avoid getting stuck in the discouraging cycle of posting resumes on job boards — and waiting for responses that may never come. You’ll learn to expand your search beyond job boards to bring you more opportunities than you ever thought possible.
Module 7: Turn Job Interviews from Interrogations into Conversations to establish instant rapport with interviewers and be positioned as a top candidate. You’ll learn a “five categories of interview questions strategy” to help you cut down on prep time, ease performance anxiety, handle tough questions, and increase your chances of getting the job.
Module 8: Negotiate Your Job Offer with Confidence, to get paid what you’re worth and enjoy all the benefits and perks of your new job. You’ll learn how to use five salary-negotiation rules which will assure you won’t leave money on the table.
You’ll also get these materials: 1) Handouts and worksheets supporting the 8 steps of the program; 2) Program textbook: “Job & Career-Building: A Time-Honored, Structured Process to Identify Marketable Skills, Identify Target Market Segments, Build Connections with Hiring Decision Makers in Those Markets, Successfully Interview for and Land a New Job or Promotion, and, to Manage Communications Visibility on the Job so that Your Career Naturally Moves to Its Highest Level.”
Besides this, a “rule of thumb,” you can expect to search one month for every $10,000 in salary you wish to earn; or longer, if your transition requires learning new skills, getting additional training or experience, or building a larger contact network.
- First: we’re not going to begin the program, unless we’re both convinced you’ll come out ahead and financially profit from it.
- Second: my fee is a professional fee, similar to what you’d pay accountants, attorneys, and management consultants– with one difference: I put a cap on my fee, which means I just set one amount and then we don’t worry about the hours. I’ll be glad to share the exact figure with you over the phone. I promise you won’t be shocked and that you’ll find it to be comparable to what other coaches are charging.
- Third: clients have been excited to report that they were able to recover their career coaching investment within the first month of their new position.
- Fourth: money has never stopped anyone from working with me, if they really want to.
Consider what you’ll do with me to be an action learning course. No excuses anymore, just a very different way of thinking and full support from me while you work toward this incredibly exciting goal: a new career path, in a great company, at a salary you deserve, where you’ll be happy at work again.
If you believe a new resume is all you need to move forward, I’ll gladly refer you to another colleague or alternate resource where you can find a resume writer to fit your needs. But click here to see the benefits of getting career coaching having a resume prepared.
Besides, once we’ve been working together, two things will happen:
1. You’ll learn to be more resourceful in finding a position through other channels, besides working with recruiters;
2. You’ll be able to work more effectively with recruiters and avoid lots of wasted time (for you and the recruiters), because you’ll have a clearer picture about the positions best suited for your needs.
The only important questions you should ask are: (1) Did Joellyn deliver what she said she would deliver? (2) What was the difference you found working with a coach like Joellyn versus doing it alone?
Another way is to sign up for free monthly career tips, which provide you with the latest tools and powerful techniques from my career coaching program.