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Finding that Opportunity, Part 2

Ellen Steverson is a Resume and Interview professional who has helped people worldwide get the job of their dreams. Periodically we will host one of her posts for those of you either searching for work, or hiring candidates.  She can be reached at

  1. There have been several studies that say that up to 60% of jobs are filled through networking. You can ask people for information and advice, or ask them if they know of any job openings. If you are conducting an open job search (that is, you’re not trying to keep your job search quiet from your current employer), the more people you tell you’re searching, the more likely you are to find your next opportunity.
  2. The most important pieces of your LinkedIn profile are your profile Headline and your LinkedIn Summary. These two things are the first items a prospective employer will review. While the résumé uses third-person language, your LinkedIn Summary should be a first-person narrative that appeals to a prospective employer’s needs by identifying what makes you a good candidate. For more information on LinkedIn, or to have your LinkedIn profile professionally written, feel free to contact StartingBlock Career Services.
  3. One of the best resources for you in a modern job search is your résumé writer. When in doubt about something you’ve heard, or read about, ask! While it can be tempting to ask friends, family members, or others who have recently gone through a job search, a more reliable source of information is a professional résumé writer who is committed to staying on top of the changing world of work, including trends and technology that will impact your ability to successfully secure your dream job by helping you navigate through the modern job search.
  4. Before the interview, do your homework! Review the company’s website and learn more about the key personnel, the work they do, their clients, and potential areas where you might be an asset. Google the company. Look for recent news articles about the company. Review the company’s social media profiles (if they exist). Check out the company on and see what current and former employees have to say. Ask your network for help learning more about the targeted company. If you know your interviewer’s name, Google that too. Check out his or her LinkedIn profile and social media accounts. And prepare a list of targeted questions to ask in the interview — 3-5 questions that demonstrate you’ve done your homework and that, when answered, will give you additional insight into the company.

Performance Review coming up?

Ellen Steverson is a Resume and Interview professional who has helped people worldwide get the job of their dreams. Periodically we will host one of her posts for those of you either searching for work, or hiring candidates.  She can be reached at

  1. How to keep track of your job performance in preparation for a performance review: If you haven’t already, start a journal to track your performance. Develop a system to collect information from third parties — customers, co-workers, vendors, etc. that can be used in next year’s performance review. When you have meetings with your boss between your annual performance reviews, be sure to take notes. As you think of things you want to ask about in your next meeting, write them in your journal so you can find them easily when it’s time to meet.
  2. Preparing for your next performance review: You should start preparing for your next performance review as soon as you complete your current review. Don’t just file the paperwork away. Use it to guide your work. Review your objectives monthly to ensure you are on track for the expectations your boss established. In particular, if you had a poor review, make sure you are scheduling regular meetings with your boss to ensure you’re on track to improving your performance.

Finding that new Job Opportunity

Ellen Steverson is a Resume and Interview professional who has helped people worldwide get the job of their dreams. Periodically we will host one of her posts for those of you either searching for work, or hiring candidates.  She can be reached at

  1. There are a few ways to use your network to find a new opportunity. The first is to contact specific people in your network — or your entire network — and let them know you are looking for ideas, information, advice, and contacts/referrals. Create a networking cover letter and send the letter with your résumé to each of the contacts in your network. This is the broadest way to use your network, and can be useful if you are currently unemployed and not worried about jeopardizing your current job by visibly pursuing a new one. Contact StartingBlock Career Services for more coaching techniques on how to use your network effectively.
  2. Your LinkedIn profile should align with your résumé, although the two should not be exactly the same. The work history listed in your profile should definitely match up with your résumé — this is an easy check for prospective employers to make. However, your profile should complement — not duplicate — your résumé.
  3. You should commit to keeping your new résumé updated. If you don’t already have one, start a “brag” file. This can be a file folder or a folder on your computer that you use to collect items for updating your résumé. This can include descriptions of projects (and quantifying accomplishments related to those projects in terms of numbers, percentages, and dollars), performance reviews, testimonials or letters of appreciation from customers, awards/honors, training certificates, publications you’ve contributed to, etc. And finally, put a note on your calendar for next year at this time to update your résumé with StartingBlock Career Services.


2019 ObamaCare Rate requests surfacing

Fox News in an article (click here) is reporting as follows:

Maryland insurers Carefirst, Kaiser, Blue Cross and Blue Shield are requesting an average 30 percent increase.  Some of the richer PPO plans have a 91% rate increase request.    Virginia is following suits with increases of up to 64%, although Anthem Healthkeepers is only requesting 6%.


These are the first two states to release information on pending increases;  all increases have to be approved by the State Insurance Departments.

Can you get my attention in 20 seconds?

I have a list of ten rules I have accumulated over the years from various sources, and the first of these is called “Friars Law.” Named after a local Marketing Professor here in Summerville, Jim Friar.  Jim has a lot of great sayings around marketing such as “You know what happens when you don’t do any marketing?  Nothing!”

Friars law is always having your elevator speech ready – I have met many entrepreneurs in both my business and with SCORE, who cannot describe what they do in less than 5 minutes! Since you get about 20 seconds to get (or lose) someones attention, you need to finally hone this down, in my mind, to perhaps 3 sentences.

Ask yourself “What do I make or do?,” “Who is my target market” and “How does this help my clients?” Now compact that into three sentences.  Or less.

If you are an IT guy/gal, it could be “We help businesses be as productive as possible, with a minimum of downtime, so they can focus on their customers.” If you are a bakery, it could be “XYZ Bakery goods will wow your family,  friends and clients with tasty quality cakes and cookies.  Why spend all those hours cooking (and then cleaning) your kitchen?”

In my case I am currently using “I am the business owners point man on everything they love- High Insurance Premiums, ObamaCare and Compliance issues.” If I can get a business owner to laugh, they get my point, and I have their attention.

Remember that everyone you meet has a ballcap that says “WIIFM” – whats in it for me. If you cannot tell them why they should be interested in you right now, you are just one more person they met.

September 2018
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Reeve Conover is a Registered Representative. Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a Broker/dealer member FINRA/SPIC. Cambridge and Conover Consulting are not affiliated. Licensed in SC, NC, NY, CT, NJ, and CA. - SIPC - Brokercheck