A portfolio is a gathering place for your proudest accomplishments. It’s easy to gather your projects, experience, skills, and values in one place if you start now by finding a binder (or folder if you don’t have a binder handy) and drop in what you have right now. As you gather more accomplishments add them to your binder.
Keep it simple – add to your portfolio as you gain accomplishments.
Make it easy – start with what you have.
Have fun – add a picture or photo to the front of your portfolio, add colors, assessments, lists, art, or whatever best represents you.
Your portfolio is flexible. As you build your LifeWork Portfolio, take out what is no longer working for you and add what makes you smile. Develop new skills and accomplishments where you need them. If you can’t easily list your strengths, skills, and character, refer to pg. 110-113 of Fire Up Your Profile For LifeWork Success.
CAREER SUCCESS FORMULA
Strengths + Skills + Character + Opportunities = Career Success
The purpose of your portfolio is to gather personal and career information, job search tools, plans, and goals in one place. If you need a portfolio to take to an employer, you will want to choose the most relevant information from your LifeWork Portfolio and create a separate professional presentation folio, binder, or folder. Use the method most appropriate to your field of interest. Grow your portfolio and adapt it to your career transformations. Be creative, make your portfolio yours, and use the section titles that work best for you. Here are some sections you might want in your LifeWork Portfolio:
If you should feel a bit overwhelmed with the task of gathering your strengths, skills, and accomplishments to create an extraordinary picture of you, then contact a LIfeWork Coach,
or counselor to help you bring your strengths and accomplishments to light.
Adapted from: Fire Up Your Profile For LifeWork Success
@copyright 2016 by Nancy J. Miller
Your profile is an opportunity to paint a unique picture of yourself that you can use and adapt for a bio, an “About” page for your website, a resume for job search, or a profile for social media.
"Create your own visual style... let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others.”
If you haven’t ever created a picture of yourself in words, it may seem like a daunting task. Where would you even begin? You can start by gathering your education, experience, accomplishments, credentials, and skills in a Career Portfolio (you can gather your information in a binder, file, or album).
You decide what you want to share and with whom. Once you write a basic profile you will be able to adapt it to many situations. Use your profile to tell people who you are and what you value. Play around with the words until you come up with something that feels like you.
Depending on where you use it, your profile might be a paragraph or a page. You can adapt your profile for media, a short bio, a cover letter, a proposal or presentation. Choose the voice you want to use (your name or pronoun “I”, or “we”). Looking back at your accomplishments and what led to where you are today will give you the push to move forward.
Whether you are starting a formal career, you are transitioning with years of management experience, or you are reorganizing for retirement, your Fired Up Profile will provide you with the information and tools you need for a commanding introduction. Listen first then connect with common interests.
With your job search tools, your ability to manage your career, and your Career Portfolio of accomplishments you can feel confident wherever you are. You are NOT a job search beggar waiting for an employer to provide you with his meager offering. You know what you want and you are willing to take the steps necessary to find your own personal career success.
The ability to tell your story in different ways will help you respond to the prompt “Tell me about yourself.” As Kathy Hansen says in her book, Tell Me About Yourself: Storytelling
to Get Jobs and Propel Your Career, “Knowing how to tell your story makes you unique and gives the interviewer something to like about you.”
When connecting with customers, employers, and partners you want them first and foremost to like you. Why wouldn’t they? You have so many unique talents to share.
DESCRIBE WHO YOU ARE
The first step to finding life and career success is knowing who you are, how to describe your strengths and abilities, and how to confidently say how you make a difference. Use your journal or a page in your Career Portfolio to write about yourself. This is the first step to writing your profile. Write a description of yourself.
From the book: Fire Up Your Profile For LifeWork Success
I found my self feeling apathetic about my writing until January of this year when I started two classes through the Creativity Coaching Association that includes Creativity Coaching, self-coaching, and building my practice. I can see that I've been neglecting my Creative Coaching blog, but now I am getting energy and motivation to fire it up!
Apathy can kill a business or project before it really gets off the ground. Apathy is so boring that I can't even think of a picture for it. Where does it come from?
Distractions, disruptions, tech difficulties, working on something I am no longer interested in, wondering if anyone is listening or if anyone cares. Wow! I'm' bored just listening to myself––that's what apathy does. Apathy is indifference or suppression of emotions.
My job as a coach and writer is to stir up the emotions in myself and interest in others. It doesn't happen by itself. It often happens with others or in groups. My creativity coaching class and clients are bringing out my emotions, excitement, and interest. It doesn't happen in a vacuum. We need people to stimulate us, bring out the best in us, and inspire us to do the work we were made to do.
Ok. I'm ready to write! My next post will definitely have a picture.
Blessings for Health and Prosperity,
We are coming to the end of the fall season, and in the Sacramento Valley we are feeling an early winter. After four years of severe drought we are getting rain and frost. Seeing damp streets with the breeze bouncing leaves up on our lawn, reminds me of an activity in Carol McClelland’s, The Seasons of Change: Using Nature’s Wisdom to Grow Through Life’s Inevitable Ups and Downs. She says:
"Take a walk and notice the season. What are some of the signs
of winter? Notice lingering traces of fall. The seasons are
a great reminder that things are always changing, growing,
My favorite evening activity is to walk outdoors and notice the season. I find the changing seasons are most interesting whether it is a cool breeze on my face contrasting with the warm sun on my back or the bright Christmas lights in contrast to the cold dark winter night.
The seasons remind us that change is normal but unexpected change or changes that come fast and furious can feel dark, unsettling, and confusing. McClelland calls the darkness the Winter Solstice where there is hope in the darkness. The work of a counselor or coach often intersects with a sense of darkness or confusion. Bringing light, hope, and clarity to the challenging times is like the natural movement from the darkness of winter to the bright resilience of spring.
Unexpected change can cut into plans and expectations like an axe into wood, but expected change can be more like a slow slice into fresh bread. Instead of feeling the clamor of separation, the slow slice is made easier if there is a plan for how to share the fresh bread. Is that too much analogy for you? Personally I could smell the fresh bread and feel the anticipation of what comes next. I’ve learned to be optimistic and find joy in expected change. I start feeling a little sad in September with the yearly expectation that our swims and weekly trips to the lake are ending, so I start planning winter trips like a train ride from Sacramento to Denver in the winter. Last year riding through the snowy mountains was a peaceful winter adventure. The colder days are perfect for contemplating and writing.
Enjoy the coming winter season. If you get stuck in the Winter Solstice, contact a counselor or coach to spring you back to life before you even turn your calendar to March.
When you accomplish something or have a small success––it doesn’t matter how small it is, give yourself a WooHoo! It's even more fun if you share your WooHoo! with someone else and then High Five. You might even want to give yourself a nice WooHoo! to energize yourself for your next success. Here’s what to do:
Feel your success in your body. You can energize your mind and body in a matter of seconds to start opening up your posture for success. WooHoo!
I read about writers who love to take the train. It sounded like a writer's dream. Since I want to write another book, possibly scifi, I couldn't wait for the opportunity to write on the train. I was picturing myself getting so much work done during my ride.
It was so much fun to talk to people ahead of time about my upcoming train trip and hear about the trips they want to take on the train. The conversations and stories turned out to be a highlight of taking a train trip.
I found the best part of my 2-day train trip was relaxing while watching the amazing scenery, serenity, and sharing stories with other passengers in the dining car. We talked about Dr. Who, science fiction, gardening, and vegetables. I even got praise for my book, Vegetable Kids in the Garden from people interested in gardening and vegetables. It was a fun place to network.
There are so many ways to talk about yourself, become yourself, and reach out to others in unconventional ways. I didn't write much on the train, but I found that taking time out to see nature, talk with different people, and gain a new perspective inspired me to do the work I want to do. I was excited about hearing more stories, talking to people, and finding creative ways to use social media.
A career is more than a resume and a business is more than selling a product. Doing something different, finding a new perspective, sharing interests and a bit of our lives is part of creating career success.
Your style shows in how and when you work and play. It is your brand––what you show to the world. You brand your work with more than what you say to your audience.
You show your style in what you do, how you look, what you say, and how others perceive or react to you.
What’s inside is the substance. Without that you don’t have a resume, profile, book, or whatever you want to show people. But unless you can draw the person in to see the substance it goes nowhere.
Take a moment to think about your business. Imagine what you want your customer to feel when they meet you. Do you want them to feel relaxed or energized? Do you want to look efficient and functional or warm and fun? Do you want your voice to sound warm and passionate about what you do or cool and professional?
Whether you have your own business or you are in the business of looking for a job, working for an employer, or writing you want to find the style that truly reflects the you that you want to present. Notice how your customer or employer reacts to you. Are you getting the result you want?
Style matters because it is how you show yourself to others. Unless you attract your audience with your style, they will never see the real you and what you have to offer your employer or customer.
The holiday of gratitude is coming this week. But even though Thanks is in the name, some may not feel very thankful if they are working rather than spending time with friends and family on Thanksgiving.
Many people are working on Thanksgiving Day as well as other holidays, some providing necessary services so we can enjoy the holidays, while others are working to earn extra money and benefits.
Although everyone appreciates people working in necessary support services, many Americans are not supportive of stores being open on Thanksgiving. Retailers open on holidays to keep up or get ahead of what other stores are doing. What do you think about the trend toward retailers opening on Thanksgiving to get ahead? Is it a service to customers and employees or just another way to make a profit?
Traditions are important to many people and change can be disruptive. "It is healthy for employees to get a day off during the holidays, especially for Thanksgiving Day because it really is a time to show gratitude." said W. Ballard, the Assistant Executive Director for Organizational Excellence for the American Psychological Association. Can you be grateful for your job while working on a holiday especially one with Thanks in the name?
For those who choose a career where they know they may be working on holidays to help people in crisis and emergencies, they are often thankful they can be of service on holidays. Those without families in the area who want to earn extra income are thankful for their jobs in retail.
Whether you are working or expecting someone for dinner who ends up on the job, you can create a holiday of giving thanks for the opportunity to work.
You need your own bag of tricks if you are over 50 and want to keep working, find a job, or start a business. In some ways there are more opportunities than ever before, but with the evolving economy and workplace, there are also more choices, challenges, and uncertainty.
Baby Boomers are expected to work longer according to National Institute on Aging, “Growing Older in America: The Health and Retirement Study.” But are they working better? Some are and some aren’t. As workers move into their 60’s the workplace and sometimes retirement options may get even more difficult.
Working after retirement age
There are many reasons people continue working after the typical retirement age of 65. It may be either because of necessity or choice. If a person loves their work, feels valued by what they do, or feels needed at work they may want to continue working as long as they can.
Alternatively if a person has no retirement benefits they may need to work longer than they would like to at the same time hoping their health lasts long enough to work as long as needed and social security lasts the rest of their lives. They may need to depend on family or support systems as they get older. While working full time may take a lot of time and energy, it is important to take time to make a plan, make time for relationships and family, and look at options.
There are those who retired early to save their retirement income because of changing retirement tiers. Retiring in their late 50’s or early 60’s leaves years of retirement for many with choices about what to do in their retirement years.
Those who had enough retirement income to live a frugal relaxed retirement, had a stressful working environment when working, or had health issues may decide to volunteer or work seasonally when needed.
Some were forced to retire with little or no retirement and find them selves looking for work in an employers market. They may end up taking work they don’t enjoy to make ends meet. Keeping an optimistic cheerful attitude at work can improve the working environment and taking time to walk in nature, exercise, have a hobby or visit friends and family will promote a happier healthier life and work.
Retirees who have a large nest egg may choose to travel, work when they want to at something they love to do, volunteer, or start a business. The freedom to do what you want and follow your passion may be the ideal retirement, but there are many ways to find smaller pieces of time to nurture your interests.
Flexible Work Schedules
Retirees who can afford it often look for flexible work schedules so they can travel and visit friends and family.
A part time business allows those with a creative entrepreneurial spirit to experiment with their creativity and try something they never had time to do previously.
Retail is a hot market for seniors providing full time, part-time, flexible, or seasonal work.
Sales of Technical and Scientific Products is an example of a career for the over 50 group that offers a healthy compensation for those with a college education and technical experience.
Retail Sales Workers also have a bright future with less compensation and less education needed, but seasonal or part-time work hours allow time for extra activities while earning an income.
So Many Choices
For some it may seem like they are locked in a box of working with no way out, while others bask in freedom, but you make choices at make at every age. Your career is a patchwork of choices that make a pattern for your life. Choose your pattern and make your choices count. You will rearrange the pieces, mend the raveled edges, add and take away parts as you develop the pattern of your career. Do your research, hire a career or financial professional, talk to friends and family, and create a beautiful picture of your life and work.
Nancy Miller is a Career Counselor and Coach who received a Master’s Degree at age 50 and went on to write her first book, “Fire Up Your Profile For LifeWork Success” and her first children’s book, “Vegetable Kids in the Garden” after age 60. Plan your career development, watch for unexpected opportunities, and enjoy every decade of your life and work.
I would love to hear your stories of work over 50. I will be writing and sharing more on the topic. Contact Nancy, email@example.com.
You won’t want to miss the many articles on November 2nd, Quintessential Careers Job Action Day 2015. They will be available to browse on the website.
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