If you are on Goodreads, here’s a chance for U.S. readers to enter the giveaway for a signed copy of one of my books:

Know Yourself, Grow Your Career: The Value Proposition Workbook

Master the Interview: A Guide for Working Professionals

To learn more about my books, you can visit my Amazon Author Page at amazon.com/author/annemariesegal.

Two Books

Kirkus Reviews
“The most trusted voice in book reviews since 1933”

As an indie author, when you submit your book to Kirkus Reviews, you hold your breath waiting to hear what they will write. They are not the only voice, but they are quite an important one! Fortunately, I have good news to report! 

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Here’s what the Kirkus reviewer wrote about Master the Interview: A Guide for Working Professionals:

“….integrating open-ended questions and self-assessment exercises into each chapter… is probably the strongest aspect of the book…”

“…a particularly helpful chapter discusses how to answer the toughest ones, such as ‘What are your weaknesses?’”

“One of the more valuable chapters steps through ‘nine common blocks’ and how to overcome them…”

“Throughout this book, Segal consistently offers positive, uplifting guidance while adopting an objective yet empathetic tone.”

“A self-directed, interactive manual that should benefit experienced and new job-seekers alike.”

To read the full review, please click here or visit: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/anne-marie-segal/master-interview.

Anne Marie Segal is an executive coach, writer, resume strategist and member of Forbes Coaches Council. She is founder of Segal Coaching, author of Master the Interview: A Guide for Working Professionals (available online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and many local booksellers) and a frequent public speaker in New York, Connecticut and beyond. 

As we usher out the last few days 2016 and make space in our lives for the New Year, here are five of the top blog articles published on ANNE MARIE SEGAL: THE BLOG this year. Please leave a comment below if you would like to let us know your favorite article of the year and how it has impacted your professional life.

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8 Core Qualities of Successful General Counsel and How to Achieve Them

I Don’t Want a Coach. I Just Want a Job.

Achieving Gratitude in a Macho Work Environment

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Successful Career Transition Stage 1: Start With a Creative Mindset

Get It Together: Organizing Your Job Search Leads

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Thanks to all my readers and followers!
I wish you all a prosperous and fulfilling 2017!

You may also like:

Why You Need a Strategy Before Writing Your Resume” on Forbes.com

Breaking Out of a Suffocating Job Search” on LinkedIn Pulse

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Anne Marie Segal is a career & leadership coach, author of Master the Interview and resume strategist/writer. She launched her coaching practice after 15 years as a practicing attorney. For more information about working with Anne Marie, please visit her website.

Images: Shutterstock/Adobe Images.

What started as a kernel of an idea six months ago – and was only 20 pages in late April of this year – will be a 220-page book on Amazon in a matter of days (or even hours).

I have had many friends, clients and other ask what it is really like to write a book. My answer here tends to describe the non-fiction world rather than how it would be to draft a novel or other fictional account.

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It is amazing, first of all. Truly breathtaking. If you like to write, it is like eating all the ice cream you ever wanted and never getting full. For anyone who has ever wanted to write a book, I highly recommend it IF –

you are willing to devote countless hours of your life and will feel energized that you did so.

Here’s only a partial shot of the number of drafts that I made over the course of writing Master the Interview. In addition to writing and revisions, there is quote-checking. And, if you are publishing it yourself, you need to leave time for cover design, interior formatting, title selection (and vetting), image selection (and more vetting), back-of-book blurb drafting and more. And did I mention tons of copyediting, unless you have someone you really trust to do it for you? Heck, I even learned how to code very basic HTML today to format the descriptions in my e-Store. [Update: I decided not to use the e-Store, because the minimum price of the book (that Amazon allows) would have been higher than I wanted. It will be priced at $19.99.]

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I saved dozens upon dozens of versions to not lose work and keep my momentum. I edited constantly in the final days before finishing the book, even while I was waiting for the car battery to be jumped by roadside assistance on a trip to Annapolis.

In other words, the writing is only one part of it, and unless you have someone (or want to pay, or get lucky to find a publisher) to do the rest, get ready to put in countless hours.

I self-published this time because I wanted to understand everything that went into the process. I am taking a risk. I know some people won’t buy my book because it doesn’t have a big name attached to it. Many more will, however, make the judgment based on the quality that lies within.

As an entrepreneur, I know that writing is an essential part of thought leadership, and I couldn’t wait to get my ideas out there. In addition, as a career coach, this book is directed to my clients first, as it will facilitate our work together. Those two factors played into my decision, and were it not for that, I may have gone the traditional route from the beginning, even if it meant that publishing would take longer and I would have less control over the outcome of the book.

Will I self-publish again?

Hard to say. This investment has certainly made me more nimble. I see documents in an entirely different light. The first time clearly must be the hardest, and now that I am over that hurdle, the learning curve will be easy. So maybe. It depends on what the traditional publishers offer, I suppose, based on the track record that I am able to develop this time around.

One of the things I learned most was to see the book as a BOOK and not a scattered selection of writings bound together with a cover on them. This was a huge disruption in my prior way of thinking and the only way I successfully brought the project to the finish line.

I used the function in Microsoft Word that lets you see multiple pages at once quite often, and I got used to looking at chapters in a new way. It’s essentially the 10,000 foot view, which helps you step back from your material. Not only do you see what you have written with a more detached perspective, but you also gain an entirely new sense of flow and clarity in your writing.

Two more great lessons from this experience were (1) putting words down onto the page, which forced me to have even greater conviction about what I was writing and (2) having the opportunity to receive direct input and suggestions from 50+ expert and industry sources and revise my thoughts and words based on that input. In that sense, the time I have spent on this project has paid me back tenfold already, regardless of how many copies are sold or other good things come out of having done it.

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Here’s the bird’s eye view of editing your own work and seeing your book as a BOOK.

I am sure that I will have more to say in the future about book-writing. For now, here are my initial impressions in the final stages of publishing.

Last but not least, if anyone is considering writing a book themselves and wanted to know how to manage their time to do it, I would suggest creating a schedule with an end date (and finding a way to make it seem “real”). Then back up to the current date and plan out each step that needs to be done. For me, I first started writing a 20-page version, then I got my Table of Contents going, then I wrote more and went back to the Table of Contents. I continued this back-and-forth until the content was over 80% done.

Having a solid Table of Contents was absolutely key to organizing and completing the book.

I must have rewritten and proofed this book at least 20 times, and some parts needed more work than others. I also wrote a few chapters which did not make it into the final book. I estimate that, altogether, I spent 500 hours on this project over a half year of writing, so I spent 20 hours a week on average. It occupied my brain for many more. I expect that a second book will take less time, as I am sure that I did “heavy lifting” many times where none was needed.

How do you fit an extra 20 hours into your week? Early mornings, late nights, writing on weekends and generally prioritizing your writing above anything that is not truly necessary. Some weeks I wrote more, and other weeks I wrote less. The alternative is to spread everything out over a longer period of time – and I had initially budgeted 12 months instead of 6 months for this project – but I can tell you that writing is nothing if not addictive! Once you get into the thick of it, you may not want to put it down.

Thanks, all!

Anne Marie Segal is a career and leadership coach, writer and resume writer for attorneys, executives and entrepreneurs. Her new book, Master the Interview, is forthcoming on Amazon.com. For more information about Anne Marie’s coaching and resume writing work, please visit www.segalcoaching.com.

 

 

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In the countless résumés that I have reviewed over the years, and in those I have rewritten for clients, there are a few major flaws that stand out so often they merit their own post. These common résumé mistakes aren’t limited to the folks who are unsuccessful in their careers. In fact, they are so ubiquitous among those who “should know better” that it prompts me to ask: why do smart people write dumb résumés?

Beyond poor writing and lazy proofreading, here are three of the most common culprits in bad résumé land:

1) The Sherman Tank résumé. Otherwise known as “let me put all of my accomplishments down on a page so I don’t miss anything someone might want.” An alternate description of this type of résumé could be ClutterFest. The Sherman Tank or ClutterFest writer thinks he or she is sharing a diverse celebration of achievements, while the reader feels like it’s an exercise in sorting prized antiques in someone else’s dusty attic.

The Sherman Tank résumé – durable and bulletproof but too bulky to zip around curves – doesn’t put a candidate in the best light. In fact, it doesn’t cast any light in any direction at all, so no depth or differentiation can be seen, only too many words on a page (and often in too tiny a font).

Put yourself in the shoes of the reader. How much work would you want to put into deciphering if a candidate was a good fit for your open role (especially if it seems that he or she hasn’t bothered to do it either)? How hard would you squint to read past the first few words?

In my most extreme example to date, I turned a client’s five page résumé into two pages. Truth be told, she was an awesome candidate for her target job. She just couldn’t figure out how to edit her own experience or what to emphasize, so a reader couldn’t “get there” to see it. She had never given thought to what an employer might be looking for, focused only on the trees in her own forest. In addition, because of her inability to edit her own experience, she had included some very detracting information alongside the helpful points, which further diluted the effectiveness of her message.

2) The Barely There résumé. The opposite of the Sherman Tank is the Barely There résumé. When I have worked with clients who have this type of résumé, I spend a lot of time asking the same question: “And what else did you do?” They have great experience, but somehow they can’t seem to get it down on the page. They leave out key details, such as skill sets they possess – and can demonstrate – that are important for their target job.

Like the Sherman Tank writers, who are focused on their own experience, the Barely There writers have not put themselves in the position of an employer and asked what they can offer that would be valuable for the target position. In one recent case with a client, for example, we pulled out four different skill sets that she would need for a job transition and were not on her résumé, without stretching beyond her legitimate experience. In that case, the client hadn’t presented herself as a well-rounded generalist with a specialization, which was required for her target positions, because her current firm had pushed her in a single direction without valuing all she could offer. Although this push and the associated stress were the major reasons the candidate was seeking a change, she had internalized the pigeonholing by her current firm and was unable to see beyond it when it came planning (and drafting) her great escape.

3) The Showed Up and Did My Job résumé. A corollary to the Barely There is the résumé that simply lists what a person did at a job, with no thought to prioritization or differentiation from other candidates in similar roles. Unlike the Barely There, which lacks enough detail, the Showed Up and Did My Job résumé might be an appropriate length, and even look “right” at first glance, but ultimately the narrative is not compelling enough to prompt the next step: a job interview.

In many cases, my clients who have a Showed Up and Did My Job résumé list tasks that were simply “part of the job” but indicate nothing that showcases particular sets of skills. As we talk through their major projects and accomplishments on the job, or how they pushed the envelope in the position, they realize that the résumé is missing critical points because they had not put enough thought into the value they actually bring, as opposed to the tasks that a job entails. Often these clients are looking for a new job because the current one feels like they are on autopilot. But having a Showed Up and Did My Job résumé is like putting your centerpiece job-search marketing document on autopilot navigation as well, with a few missed stop signs and on-ramps along the way.

If you are reading this post closely, you see a theme emerging. Smart people write dumb résumés because they too heavily rely on their intelligence and natural instincts in the writing process (which serve them so well in other contexts), hoping that the reader will fill in the gaps when needed. Then they waste weeks and months wondering why the phone doesn’t ring, putting their energies into thinking about their own situations and insecurities instead of the greater perspective of how to best present themselves to achieve their goals. Instead, the smart résumé writer steps back to reframe his or her experience so that the reader (recruiter, potential interviewer, friend of a friend, etc.) is enticed and excited about the potential fit between the individual as a candidate and the new role.

As I consistently say to clients, your résumé is not an obituary, it’s a marketing document. I make this point with the full knowledge that these words may take some time to resonate. Smart people can write smart résumés by thinking of them in terms of what the résumé vehicle is meant to do – transport them from Point A to Point B – rather than getting caught up in their own discomfort with self-marketing or treating the résumé as a retrospective or roadmap of their careers to date.

In short, writing is only the final iteration of creating an effective résumé. Find your target, take aim, gather your arrows (of experience) and then write.

Anne Marie Segal is a business and career coach to attorneys, executives and entrepreneurs and offers résumé writing and LinkedIn services. She writes about career and business issues and often posts on LinkedIn Pulse, where this article was originally posted. You can find her website here.