Filtering: The Enemy of Career Progress

photo: clean and dirty water. In my practice, I find myself working most often with people who have great passion, talent and commitment, but have stalled in their career tracks because of self-limiting beliefs, and because of what I describe as faulty approaches to “filtering.” People can have a few kinds of faulty career filters that get them stuck in their tracks. The first faulty kind is the filter that screens too many thing out, and the second is the one that lets too many things in. Both can leave you dead in the water. The key, I think, is to fine-tune your filtering process, so you can let enough options pass through, without having too many random options that lead you down blind alleys, toward disappointment and eventually, despair.

The first kind of filter is caused by self-limiting beliefs. If you find yourself thinking or saying any of the following, you may be over-filtering.

  • I think I’d like the job, but I probably can’t do that.
  • There’s going to be so much competition for that job. They won’t consider me.
  • I’m sure there’s an inside candidate, so why bother applying?

The second kind of filtering really isn’t filtering at all. It’s what I call “shotgunning.” Basically, any option is seen as a good option. Instead of aiming for a particular target, you choose a general direction and apply for everything you see. This may result in interviews, but is less likely to result in jobs that are a good match.

The point of filtering something is to get to its purest possible state, leaving only the best parts in the final product. When it comes to career planning, the point is to filter out options that “muddy” the picture, and leave both you and your potential employer with a crystal clear view of your best qualities.

How, then, can you keep the right things in and the wrong things out of your career plan? By applying the right kinds of filters. The five I suggest you concentrate on are the same ones most recruiters will apply in considering a candidate: Education, Experience, Achievements, Motivation and Fit. In this series, we will explore the best ways to apply these filters toward your career planning and job search efforts.

How are you “filtering” opportunities into or out of your career plan? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Podcast: Why Educators Need to Get LinkedIn

linkedin-logoThink LinkedIn is a waste of time?

When you work in Higher Education, it’s tempting to dismiss some of the conventional wisdom about social networking. If you’ve heard (or said) any of the following, then listen to today’s show.

  • In higher ed, it’s always about what you know, not who you know.
  • I’ve already got tenure (or a great job). I don’t need to worry about networking.
  • LinkedIn doesn’t really do anything.
  • I don’t need another place to post my CV. IT’s on my website and I can e-mail it to anyone who wants it.
  • “I don’t know anyone who uses LinkedIn besides my students, and I don’t see what good connecting with Johnny from my [insert class name here] is going to do me any good.”

In today’s Higher Ed Career Coach podcast, I’m going to tell you why all of the above are nonsense, and clue you in to what LinkedIn is really good for.We’ll also cover some higher ed and employment news, upcoming programs, new coaching packages, and site news.

The show airs at 11 a.m. ET today (Friday May 11). If you have questions or comments on today’s topic, or could use advice on a job search issue, call in to the show! The phone number is (347) 989-0055, or you can click on the Skype “S” click-to-talk button from the episode page.


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Podcast: 7 Points to a Winning Resume


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Your resume gets you in the door. Or it doesn’t. It won’t get you a job. Its role is to get you noticed.

In this week’s episode off the Higher Ed Career Coach Show on BlogTalkRadio, I’ll be talking about the art and science of resume writing, and give an overview of the 7 points included in my recent e-book.

We’ll also discuss ATS (Automatic Text Screener) programs, and some tools and tips for getting a handle on the challenge of writing a keyword-rich resume.

I will also take calls from those with questions about resumes, and will give a brief overview of some of my resume writing and career coaching packages.

Please join me for the podcast by clicking the episode link or listening with the player in the sidebar at right.

If you’d like to call in, the number is (347) 989-0055, or you can use the Skype “S” click-to-talk button from the episode page to connect via Skype.

New Podcast: The Restart

Retro MicrophoneWhen your job search stalls, it’s discouraging. We’re starting to reach that part of the year when interviews for the first big wave of vacancies from placement conferences comes to an end, so that’s the topic for this week’s podcast.

How can you get back in the game? And what can you do to keep your spirits up, in the face of an extended search?

One this week’s podcast, Higher Ed Career Coach Sean Cook will offer some tips and perspectives, and will take your calls. Please join the show at 11 am Friday.

Why Educators Need to "Get" LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the largest professional network on the internet, with more than 150 million members in over 200 countries and territories, and it adds 2 new users every second. Using the network effectively is a hot topic in business circles, but in my work with clients in higher ed, I get some interesting responses when I encourage them to look into ways to use LinkedIn effectively.

Five things I’ve heard from clients and colleagues recently:

“In Higher Ed, it’s always about what you know, not who you know.”

“I’ve already got tenure. I don’t need to worry about networking.”

“LinkedIn doesn’t really do anything.”

“I don’t need another place to post my CV. It’s on my website, and I can e-mail it to anyone who might need it.”

“I don’t know anyone who uses LinkedIn besides my students, and I don’t see what good connecting with Johnny from my [insert class name here] is going to do me any good.”

If you’ve said any of the above, or have trouble convincing your colleagues to dive into LinkedIn, this infographic might help. I’ve written it to sum up some of my thoughts, in response to the questions above.

Look for more articles and resources on how to use LinkedIn soon! If you really want to really dive in and learn how to use LinkedIn like a pro, check out Lewis Howes’ LinkedInfluence course. (affiliate link). I bought it and found it well worth the money. It gives a great overview of the LinkedIn profile and how to optimize it, and best ways to use groups, applications and other features.

I also offer LinkedIn coaching and profile writing packages, if you are looking for a little one-on-one help. Contact me at for more information.

Do you have any great LinkedIn tips? Share them in the comment section.