Internet Inspirations: Last Gasp for Winter

March 26, 2013 § Leave a comment

Winter's last gasp!

Winter’s last gasp!

Enjoy these interesting reads from around the internet as we wait for spring to evict winter from Maryland!

Here’s some great tips over at PT Money about checking out a potential employer’s approach to work/life balance. Even in this tight job market, it is still important to align jobs with your values.

We’ve written about how Craig’s List can be a great source for job listings, but as we mentioned, do your due dilligence. The Job Bait scam is described in this Wise Bread article. Use common sense and be careful about what personal information you share.

This article is part of a series on Women and Money over at and includes some good ways to keep your professional life moving forward even when you’re out of the traditional 9 to 5.

I loved, loved this article at the Jane Dough weighing in on the whole women and working debate that has been raging lately. The title alone is fantastic: “Why We Don’t Need Any More Female Billionaires Telling Us How To Have It All”. I really like the point Colette McIntyre makes that not all women have the same advantages as billionaire CEO’s and where are the men in this conversation?

And for something completely different…

I thoroughly enjoyed this guest post over at Mr. Money Mustache from David Cain entitled, “How To Walk Across A Parking Lot.” No, really. Read it and think about it.

Posted by: Heather C.

The Right Tool for the Job

January 18, 2013 § Leave a comment

PEC Board member Cheryl Pullins shared this piece with us from her own blog which is chock full of great information and inspiration!  Cheryl works with women entrepreneurs to elevate their businesses to new levels.

The right tools can showcase the fabulous gem! (Photo by Mauro Cateb via

The right tools create interest and highlight positive attributes! (Photo by Mauro Cateb via

In years past tools for a job search included the help wanted section of the Sunday edition of the local newspaper, a red ink pen and your resume. You could spend hours on a Sunday afternoon combing through the help wanted section to identify jobs within your industry and/or skill set.

How have things changed.

With the onset and growth of social media, the job search has progressed to a whole new level. The development of the internet created an opportunity for job seekers to do some detailed research on a prospective employer. However, if we fast forward, job seekers can not only do research about the company they can now interact and connect with potential employers on a deeper level. With access to sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn individuals can now experience the prospective employer’s culture, become exposed to the organization’s corporate values and engage with key staff.

Facebook and Twitter ranked number one and number three in social media popularity, but LinkedIn is a robust social media site where job seekers can find enormous value. With over 75 million members and executive level representation from all of the Fortune 500 organizations, LinkedIn has created a platform for job seekers to showcase their skill and experience, in addition to building and connecting with those who can provide value to the job search.

For more information about LinkedIn visit  Don’t forget to join the Pinnacle Empowerment Center group to stay up to date on the latest from PEC!

Photo by Mauro Cateb of a diamond measuring tool via

Talk Back To Us – Ask A Coach!

November 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

We’re all ears for your questions! Join us for Ask A Coach!

Ever heard that it’s okay if you talk to yourself but you’re really in trouble if you start answering back?  Well, we want to avoid that!  We want to start conversations about what’s on your mind so we’re creating an Ask A Coach feature and we need YOUR help!

  • What questions do you have about how to get started with updating your resume?
  • Do you need ideas on how to explain gaps in employment?
  • Have you been at home with the kids for the last several years and want to know how you can make your resume more marketable?
  • Do you have questions about how to get that small business started?
  • Do you feel like there could be more to your life or career but aren’t sure how to identify the changes you can make?

Send us YOUR question and we’ll answer them on Facebook, on the blog, or in a message back to you.  You can post on our Facebook wall, send us a Direct Message, or just send us an email at info(at) if you’d like to keep your query private.

Don’t forget we have lots of friends in a variety of fields to so if we don’t have the answer, we’ll activate our network and find out!  Look for answers on Thursdays.

Remember, the only stupid question is the one you didn’t ask!

Don’t want to wait?  Take our poll and let us know what topics interest you most!

Let’s Go Fishing! Maybe?

October 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

By: Cindy Virtue. Job Search Coach.

Are you serious about landing your next job or are you just giving hiring managers a near death experience?

This week I was preparing for my upcoming workshop on how to help teens with their job search and getting ready for a family camping trip to Point Look Out in Southern Maryland where my sister likes to go fishing off their pier. I came across this question from Dick Bowles, Author of “What Color is My Parachute” – How do you fish? Do you choose Pond One that has two fish and ten fishermen or do you choose Pond Two that has twenty fish and only two fishermen?

When I go fishing I like Pond One. Why? I really don’t want to catch anything. I like hanging out with my sister but I have a fear of touching the worm and the fish. I’ll sit there all day, sort of hoping to catching anything only to reel it in and to let it go. This is the “Open Market” in job searching. The Open Market are the job boards, want-ads, placement agencies, etc. This represents less than 20% of all jobs are advertised and yet more than 80% of all job seekers look here!

Now let’s talk about Pond Two. This pond is for the real fisherman, like my sister, who enjoys catching fish all day. The more fish she catches, the more motivated she is to keep trying for that Big Catch of the Day! This is like using the “Hidden Market in Job Search Method”. You access this job market through your personal network, company websites, yellow pages, social media, and by developing leads before they are advertised. More than 80% of all jobs are filled this way but less than 20% of all job seekers look here!

In today’s job market you have to get out of your comfort zone, step up and take charge of your job search, and build relationships that can help you move forward. So, how do you fish?

Cindy Virtue has over seven years of coaching experience. Drawing on her own career transitions experiences, Cindy helps clients chart a path for career success. You can meet Cindy at one of the Empowerment Center’s free monthly Job Clubs.

Random Stuff on a Summer Friday

June 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

Photo credit: Baxter Bedell (c) 2010

It’s been hot and the pool beckons so here’s a roundup of random musings and pieces of information to finish off a hot summer week!

First, we are very excited to announce the addition of our Virtual Career Center which will be available next week!  The VCC provides career develop information and research tools all in one place online available 24/7.  All of us at PEC know that schedules can be challenging and when you finally get some time to yourself, it may be 6 a.m. or 10:30 at night.


  • Company & Industry Research
  • Job Postings that are continuously authenticated for currency and accuracy
  • Self-evaluation tools & assessments
  • Create professional resumes and cover loetters
  • Interview preparation
  • Networking and Social media integration

I have volunteered to be the office guinea pig in the system and will be posting about my experiences working with the system in the coming weeks so stay tuned!

As I have been playing around a bit more on our Twitter account, I ran across Cheryl Wood’s Fearless Jump Day.  On August 17th she’s asking women to do something they fear whether it is jumping out of a plane or writing a novel or making that call to the client you’ve been wanting to land.  It got me thinking and I love the idea of taking a day to be fearless.  I signed up.  Want to join me?  What are you going to do?  Find the discussion on Twitter at #FearlessJump and see what other women are pondering for their fearless jump!

The debate continues surrounding the Atlantic Monthly article by Anne Marie Slaughter and the whole issue of work/life balance, or integration, or whatever you want to call it.  Staff writer Sarah Gilbert shares her version of the story over at Get Rich Slowly today. I liked that Ms. Gilbert also frames it beyond just moms and kids but also adults with other family responsibilities such as aging parents. How has this issue affected you?

Another Get Rich Slowly post I enjoyed this week was “Finding Balance in an Imbalanced World” by guest writer Megan Van.  While the post was about how our parents and family impress our own values on work and money, I wondered about the same influence on how we view work and life.  Are there people in your life that you wouldn’t want to be or those you admire?

Be sure to like us on Facebook. There’s been some great stuff we’ve been passing along!  You can also watch me bumble along on our Twitter account!

Tell us what you’ve been reading and thinking about during these hot summer days!

Putting the Fun in Funeral: Lessons about Work from My Dad

June 14, 2012 § 1 Comment

Rocking a handle bar mustache and a Dorothy Hamill haircut like only we could in 1979! Magnificent hair is another legacy from my dad.

My favorite thing about the movie My Girl is that the main character is the daughter of a tuba-playing small town undertaker – VERY familar. We didn’t live at the funeral home growing up but we did have their phone line at our house and I have fond memories of wandering over to the office during the summers to mooch coca colas when things were slow. And my dad does play tuba. And euphonium. And several other brass instruments in his spare time. When my dad wasn’t warning me about the dangers of dating brass players, I learned a few things by example from his own career that held me in good stead as I have navigated my own non-linear professional path.

My dad had always wanted to be a funeral director but his parents steered him toward another career path that seemed to them to hold the promise of more financial stability (a great read on this is over at Laura Berman-Fortgang’s Huffington Post blog). Over the years, life happened and my dad’s dream faded until his mid-thirties when an opportunity presented itself for him to go back to school and finally train to become a funeral director. It hasn’t been an easy road over the last thirty years as the industry has changed dramatically. I have watched my dad roll with it and re-invent himself career-wise a few times and here’s what I have learned.

It doesn’t matter that you’re a girl or who your family is or any other external defining factor. When I got accepted into an special academic program at school, he was proud, but he warned me “…that and a quarter will get you a cup of coffee”. Over and over again he emphasized the importance of getting a good education and working hard. He knew I would be judged based on what I produced, not on any other factor.

You’re never too old. I didn’t realize it as a kid, but it must have been quite an adjustment for my dad to leave a known job for the unknown of funeral school and apprenticeship.

Don’t be afraid. As the funeral industry has changed, my dad has dealt with periods of career upheaval. Along the way, I never saw him give up hope. Even as he explored other job options, he found opportunities to learn from these situations. Fear holds you back and closes your mind to new experiences.

Change your perspective. My dad is no longer a full-time funeral director. He keeps in touch with the industry he still enjoys working as a substitute but his full-time job is in insurance. Years before, he had to get a state license to sell insurance products. This additional credential allowed him to segue into a different career when the labor market tightened for the funeral industry. If he hadn’t been flexible in how he viewed his credentials, he would have missed an opportunity.

Do what you love. My dad is good at what he does and his favorite part is helping families. His interest in serving others held him through a return to school and constant change in his industry. Even though he doesn’t do it full time, his background and commitment to helping families serves him well in his new career.

What did you learn from your dad about work and career?  Tell us in the comments below!

We here at PEC wish everyone a wonderful Father’s Day!  

Posted by:  Heather Comstock

Is the Stench of Desperation Overpowering the Sweet Smell of Success?

May 4, 2012 § 1 Comment

As I have been reading the articles about unemployment, one theme emerges which is the fear that employers are holding long-term unemployment against potential candidates. Curious, I asked Lisa Dolce, our founder and one of our career coaches, whether this was true.

Lisa said that employers do look at that, but the real problem is desperation. Lisa said that potential employers want to know what an individual can do for them. When candidates are only communicating “I need a job” it is off putting and doesn’t help the hiring team understand how this particular person will help them meet their goals. “You’ve got to communicate your value!” Lisa said.

I asked her how underemployment is perceived by recruiters. Lisa said there was nothing wrong with taking a position just to get some cash flow for your household. When discussing it with potential employers, can you talk about what you learned from the experience that will be applicable to the current position? Working in a customer service position for a major company is an opportunity to learn how a large organization operates including their training program, distribution processes, and other techniques that have given them a competitive edge. Being able to talk about what you’ve learned shows potential employers your flexibility and that you can find value in any opportunity.

“Does volunteering help with closing the gap of long-term unemployment?” I asked. Lisa affirmed that its a great option for keeping your skills current and trying new things. Volunteering expands your network and can help put you in contact with people who can help with your job search. A great resource for finding awesome volunteer positions is Volunteer Center Serving Howard County!

Shameless plug: we’re looking for volunteers for both the Empowerment Center and the upcoming Women’s Empowerment Conference on October 26th. If you’re interested in using your marketing/public relations, event planning, or other skills drop us a note at info(at)!

What I learned chatting with Lisa is that no matter what, you have to communicate your value! At the end of the day, potential employers want to know what you can do for them. Being able to tell them how you can help them meet their goals shows that you’re committed and not just looking for a job,and that you’ll move on at the first opportunity.

What value do you bring to the table? Can you articulate it? Have you ever been a situation where you know your desperation turned off a potential employer?

Posted by:  Heather Comstock

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