The History of Holiday Greeting Cards

seasons greetings

Wishing friends and family a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays via an annual greeting card is something we take for granted today. But have you ever wondered when it all began or how greeting cards have evolved?

  • Early greeting cards started out as simple slips of papyrus that were exchanged by both the Egyptians and Chinese as messages of goodwill.
  • The British Museum has a Valentine from the 1400s that is considered the oldest known greeting card in existence.
  • By 1840, the introduction of the postage stamp assisted the popularity of greeting cards. These early cards were created as works of art.
  • In 1843 Sir Henry Cole (London) commissioned a card illustrated by John Callcott Horsley. The focus was on the image rather than the greeting card message. 1000 of these cards were produced and sold for 1 shilling each.
  • By the 1860′s when cheap colour printing came along almost everyone could afford cards and a new industry took off. What was once relatively expensive, hand-made and personalized item, became an effective and affordable way to communicate.
  • In the 1900′s greeting cards, particularly christmas cards evolved based on the designs and fashions of the times. These were the influences of the 1920′s Art Deco movement, the satirical commentaries on poverty and prohibition during the 1930′s and finally the humour oriented cards of the 1950′s.
  • Humour continues to be popular today, as does religious motifs, winter pictures and romantic scenes of times gone by.
  • Today greeting cards are a billion dollar industry and come in all sizes that include singing cards, digital cards and e-cards

Finding the right card or perfect message can be alot of fun and for many people a way to get into the spirit of the holiday season. Happy Holidays everyone!

Do you have a spiritual bucket list?

It’s that time of year again, a time for celebration, and spending time with friends and family. For some, it may also be a time to honor culture or religion. Regardless of your spiritual practice, for many this is a great time for self-reflection and clarifying personal and professional priorities for the New Year.

As the year comes to a close, and I prepare to reflect on this past year, and set my intentions for the New Year, a colleague suggested I consider developing a spiritual bucket list.

What is a spiritual bucket list? When I think of a spiritual bucket list, I think of activities that fuel my personal growth and development, items that help me be a better person, become a better version of myself and to truly live my highest potential. I also imagine things that feed my soul, and focus on my inner vs external development and journey.

Henry David Thoreau once said, “What lies before us and what lies behind us are small matters compared to what lies within us. And when we bring what is within out into the world, miracles happen.”

So in the spirit of the holidays, I’m sharing some of the items I came up with for my spiritual bucket list. I intend to use the list as my inspiration over the next 12 months.

1. Visit at least 10 of the sacred/holiest places in the world.
2. Learn to live in the now by living more intentionally.
3. Practice yoga regularly (at least 2x per week).
4. Meditate on a consistent basis (at least 3x per week).
5. Attend a silence/spiritual retreat.
6. Watch an inspirational movie at least once per month.
7. Read an inspirational book at least once per month.
8. Volunteer in my local community for a cause that I am passionate about.
9. Start the lessons in “A Course in Miracles”.
10. Practice compassion with friends, family and strangers.

Perhaps my list will inspire you to develop your own spiritual bucket list, or to at least consider some ways to tap into your highest best self now and always.

3 Massive Mistakes Career Professionals Make

I work with so many career professionals who are frustrated about being passed over for promotion or overlooked when it comes to plum job opportunities. Often they don’t know what they are doing wrong that is keeping them stuck and not realizing their full potential.

So here are the 3 massive mistakes even smart career professionals make and what you can do about it:

Mistake #1: They don’t CELEBRATE themselves!

To celebrate yourself does not mean you are self-serving or even narcissistic. Rather, it means to acknowledge yourself for your accomplishments and to take credit for a job well done. It is important to celebrate your successes and to self-promote yourself. Successful people know how to celebrate and share their wins in a way that gets them noticed. And if you are one of those career professionals who expect their work to speak for itself then expect to be disappointed when the work goes unnoticed or unappreciated. Here are some effective self-promotion strategies you can use:

1. Copy your boss on specific emails that highlight or showcase your successes

2. Keep track of all your successes and accomplishments

3. Make sure you are heard by contributing at least one relevant point in every meeting you attend

4. Look for opportunities to take a leadership role in the workplace

Mistake #2: They lack CONFIDENCE!

To be confident is to feel good about yourself and your abilities. To know what you stand for and why. Not to second guess yourself but rather to be self-assured. To be confident is to feel empowered. Confidence does not mean arrogance or power tripping. Here are some confidence building strategies to consider:

1. Use the power of your voice and the power of your body language

2. Take your place at the meeting room table

3. Network internally and externally

4. Learn from others

Mistake #3: They don’t have a CAREER PLAN!

One of my favorite quotes is: “when you don’t have a clear vision, any road will get you there.” A career plan is a blueprint for success. And in today’s job environment you want to be in charge and in control of your own career. You can no longer rely on your employer to prepare you for your next promotion or job opportunity. The responsibility to perform and to ramp up quickly is left to you the employee and that means you need to approach your career in a very different manner. Here’s the best way to develop your career plan: Get an expert coach to guide and mentor you!

No matter where you are in on your career path currently… at the start of your career or perhaps nearing the end and thinking about retirement – you need a career plan!

5 Lessons Learned Walking The Camino

I’m not sure why I felt so compelled to walk the Camino de Santiago. I do know my determination was reinforced about 6-7 years ago after a friend of mine and her husband hiked it. She described the path as being a spiritual journey of self-discovery, cathartic in every way (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually). It just felt like something I would really enjoy doing and could also benefit from. My natural tendency is to be in a state of “doing” rather than in a state of “being”. Walking “the Camino” is all about the state of “being”. So this past September, the timing seemed just perfect for me to finally walk “the Camino”. The plan was to walk from Ponferrada to Santiago over 10 days, walking about 20-25 km per day. Over the course of 10 days, I had lots of opportunity to cross paths with others on the same trail and I also had plenty of time to just be with myself, alone in thought.

I learned many lessons while walking, many of which are applicable to career and in life. Here are just 5 of the many lessons learned while walking the Camino de Santiago:

1. Keep it simple and be prepared. It seems inevitable and yet how many times have you left things to the last minute, not leaving enough time to be fully prepared only to scramble needlessly? Before I walked “the Camino”, I had a checklist of items to pack, and to purchase for my trip. Because I was travelling with only a backpack and a carryon, I had to be very selective about what I would bring on the trip and what I was willing to carry in my daypack. Every morning, I would prepare for the day by putting baby powder on my feet to avoid blisters, wear the appropriate clothing and pack only what I needed in my daypack. Keeping it simple and being prepared made it easier to focus on my daily walk.

2. You almost always have what you need most. I quickly realized that I was carrying too much in my daypack and that purging was needed. I carefully considered what I absolutely needed. This became a daily ritual. Did I really need a full roll of toilet paper in my backpack? Did I need the whole first aid kit or just a bandage or two? Could I do without the flashlight? Would it rain today? Every day I became more discriminating about what to wear and what to carry. The essentials became quite apparent. It’s amazing how little we need when we become more discerning and clear on the difference between necessary and nice to have. How many “things” are you holding onto that you really don’t need?

3. Stay in the moment. For most of my life, I have been conditioned to be in a state of “doing”. In my corporate career, I was rewarded for planning and taking action, doing stuff, accomplishing things and quite frankly even in my personal life, my “to do” list is a mile long and my sense of worth was and still is tied to how much stuff I get done in a day. So staying in the moment and just enjoying what I was observing, hearing and feeling was foreign to me. But when you are walking for 4-6 hours a day, sometimes on your own with no one to talk to, it becomes much easier to stay in the present moment. To take in all that you are seeing, to notice much more than you otherwise would, to hear the birds, the rustle of leaves, the babbling river, the feeling of your feet on the stones beneath you, or to take in the view and fully immerse yourself in your surroundings, that’s the joy of just “being” with it. This was a new and exciting experience for me. Staying in the moment gave me great clarity and was extremely grounding and centering.

4. Change your perspective. Along the path, the view changes frequently. Sometimes you walk along the highway and it requires you to be more vigilant, sometimes you find yourself in the forest smelling eucalyptus, other times you may walk alongside a river or a well-worn rocky trail, or in a small village or larger town. One minute you are looking uphill and wondering how you will ever make it up that hill and half an hour later you are looking downhill into a valley appreciating how much easier it was than you had ever imagined. The perspective is very different moment to moment. It allows you to appreciate where you’ve come from and where you may be headed without expectation or attachment.

5. Embrace opportunities. There are so many opportunities you don’t even need to look for them; they magically appear in your path. Like the medieval festival in Ponferrada the first night we were there – what a wonderful way to spend our first day in Spain assimilating to the Spanish culture. Or the cafè that landed on my path serving delicious cafè con leche at just the right time I was ready to take a break. Or that amazing massage therapist/reflexologist that happened to reside next door to where I was staying on the day my feet needed it most. The opportunities are everywhere, you simply need to notice them, and then embrace them.

Walking over 200 km of “the Camino” reminded me of the simplicity of life and just how much we strive to make it much more complex than it needs to be. Since being back from my Camino walk, I have vowed to keep things simple, stay more present, and eliminate daily clutter and complexity from my mind and my life. I have everything I need to embrace the opportunities coming my way and to adjust my perspective as the view changes.

How Self Aware Are You?

Self awareness is a key leadership competency which is sometimes undervalued and much overlooked in leadership development. To be self aware means to really know yourself including how you are wired, behavioral traits and preferences, habits, motivations, emotional responses as well as your thought processes. Self aware leaders are introspective and have a really good, conscious sense of self without being self critical. Does this resonate with you?

Take this quiz to see how self aware you really are. For each statement indicate if it is True or False for you. Be honest with yourself!

  • I know why it’s easy for me to connect with some people and not with others
  • I have a great sense of which tasks are easy and enjoyable for me and which ones are just plain drudgery
  • I know how to make the most of my strengths
  • I have a really good understanding of my blind spots and what to do to compensate for them
  • I know how to foster high performance teams
  • I know how to optimize my personal productivity and effectiveness
  • I know how to bring out the best in myself and in others even under stress
  • I have tremendous understanding and impact and influence over others
  • I am able to easily identify behavioral styles others use as well as how to best respond to them appropriately
  • I know where I am vulnerable and prone to excess in using my strengths
  • I am aware of how my preferred behavioral style changes under stress and the impact of that on others
  • Self aware leaders make better leaders

If you answered True for 10 or more of the above statements, congratulations! You are probably very self aware already and likely attracting a great deal of success.

If you answered True for 6 to 9 statements, you probably have some self awareness but could benefit from becoming even more self aware.

If you answered True for less than 6 statements, you could definitely benefit from some increased self awareness through self assessment tools and/or self awareness coaching.

Self aware leaders make better leaders. They have an interpersonal compass that guides them to get the most out of themselves and others. If you are looking to better understand yourself, the best place to start is from the inside. Self assessment tools (like The LIFO® Method) can be highly beneficial in helping you understand how you are wired, how you may be perceived by others, what your blind spots are and how to get the most out of yourself and others.

If you would like to better understand yourself and maximize your personal and professional effectiveness, consider a LIFO® Assessment. Receive a 50% saving when you use LIFO50 at the time of checkout. Here`s the link to register for your LIFO® Assessment, Debrief & Action Planning session now:

Where Do You Stand in Your Career?

Recently, I had someone email me with the following situation:

“Dear Linda, I have applied for several jobs within my current company with no positive outcome. I ask for feedback as to what I could have done differently in the interviews, but they just won’t offer feedback. In fact, I’ve often (4 times now) been at the very end of the interview process and each time the decision is not to hire me. I don’t get it. I have a good HR record, I’m always a high contributor, I have won awards and I have a development plan online on the company intranet site. I just can’t seem to get any feedback from the people I interview with and I’m getting frustrated by this. I just want to know what it is that’s keeping me from being hired. Any feedback or advice you can offer me would be greatly appreciated! Sincerely, Denied for jobs!”

This is a very common situation and there could be several explanations for why “Denied for Jobs” is not getting the jobs he’s been interviewing for. Let’s look at a few of them to gain some perspective.

  1. Not interviewing well. D might have a glowing HR record and a lengthy list of achievements but may not be doing a good job of communicating his strengths and accomplishments in the interview process. And if D is up against other candidates, D might not fare as well in comparison to the other candidates if they are much better at articulating their strengths and accomplishments. The interview process is not the same as actually doing the job. You must be able to clearly articulate why you are the best person for the job and the strengths you bring to the new role.
  2. Not prepared for interview process. D might be assuming that his hard work and contribution speaks for itself and should be enough to secure the job, but it is not. Many people who go through an interview process are ill prepared and not practiced in the art of interviewing. Preparation and practice are key to successful interviews. Check out my earlier blog on the subject of how to stand out and land your dream job.
  3. Missing the mark on required skills. D might be missing some required or soft skills needed to do the job or may simply not be communicating them well enough. While required skills may be considered table stakes, often the soft skills like collaboration, communication, impact and influence are more subjective and may not be stressed in a job posting or even in an interview. Make sure you connect the dots for the interviewer by highlighting not only the identified required skills you bring to the table but also other desirable soft skills that make you a strong candidate. And if you are missing any key skills. Make sure you develop a plan to close any skills gaps so you are ready the next time.
  4. Indispensible in current role. D might have become indispensible in his current role. Sometimes it happens gradually as a result of saying “yes” to everything that comes your way, taking on way more than your fair share of the workload. D may have become the workhorse, the person in his department that everyone depends on. The boss may even have a vested interest in hanging onto D. And if this is an accurate description, it may be high time to ask yourself how you might be enabling the situation.
  5. Not having sponsorship. D might have support for applying and interviewing for other roles within his organization. But does he have sponsorship? Support is the go ahead to put yourself out there and apply for the position. Sponsorship on the other hand, is more like advocacy. You need strong advocates especially when you are applying for internal job opportunities and you need more than just one advocate. While it’s important that your boss advocates on your behalf, building strong relationships across multiple stakeholders will ensure you have sponsors in many areas advocating for you.

My response to D would be to try and determine which of the above situations best describes his reality as D may never get the true feedback he desires. I would also recommend he hire a coach to gain increased self awareness, especially around any blind spots he may have. A coach can assist D in preparing for his next career opportunity.

The Confidence to Make Your Next Career Move!

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Have you ever missed out on an opportunity you really wanted because you didn’t have the confidence to put yourself out there?

There are many patterns and behaviors that can get in the way of confidently moving forward in our careers. Sometimes our shadow self becomes our social persona out of fear, insecurity or self-doubt. We may mask our insecurities by doing busy work or by procrastinating and not taking action that will move us towards our goals. Sometimes these saboteurs show up as stories built upon fear-based assumptions and beliefs that disguise themselves as truths.

There are 2 kinds of stories or sets of beliefs to pay attention to. “I” stories and “they” stories. Let’s consider both of these:

“I” stories may sound like:

  • I’m not ready to be promoted
  • I don’t have enough experience
  • I’m not worthy
  • I’m not smart enough
  • I’m under qualified
  • I’m … (you fill in the blanks)

When you believe these “I” stories, these beliefs keep you small, they hold you back from applying for that ideal job, or asking for the promotion, or requesting a raise or taking on a leadership assignment. And chances are, if you don’t believe in yourself and your abilities, over time others won’t either. It becomes a vicious circle of negative beliefs manifested into your current reality.

Now, let’s take a look at the “they” stories which can equally hold you back from achieving your goals and aspirations.

“They” stories may sound like:

  • They don’t value me
  • They don’t appreciate the work I do
  • They don’t believe I can do that job
  • They aren’t smart enough to see my potential
  • They don’t think I’m ready
  • They don’t … (you fill in the blanks)

“They” stories can make you feel like a victim and lead you to believe that you are powerless or somehow don’t have control over your situation. Sometimes “they” stories can cause you to get caught up in office politics, gossip and negativity and ultimately may cost you that job promotion or leadership assignment.

You can reclaim your true self and stop believing these false “I” and “they” stories and show up as confident, powerful and in control if you are willing to break the cycle. The key is to acknowledge what’s going on and take steps to bring the real you back out into the open. Don’t focus on how things are supposed to be. Focus on the facts and not the stories. Give yourself a reality check.

If you are stuck and not sure how to move forward, there are 4 things you can do right now:

  1. Become more self-aware. Start with an honest look at yourself. Engage others who know you to assist you by providing their honest feedback as well. Consider the stories you are engaging in or believing to be true. Ask yourself what else could be going on that you are not seeing. You need to start managing your mind and your beliefs. Learn to pick up on and defeat any negative thoughts or stories which can destroy your self confidence.
  2. Visualize what you want. Studies have shown that athletes who spend time visualizing the perfect game show measurable improvements in their physical skills. Visualizing success actually trains your mind and body to behave successfully in real life.
  3. Create a plan. Having a well thought out plan provides you with focus, direction and the confidence to take action. Consider hiring a professional coach to assist you in creating your career plan. The better prepared you are for the future, the easier it will be for you to slide into your next career move.
  4. Take action. Even if it’s one baby step at a time. Take that first step forward.

In today’s workplace, employers hire and promote employees who are ready to “hit the deck running”, proactive individuals who are confident. So what are you doing to ensure your preparedness for your next career move?

18 Tips to Move Your Career Forward in the New Year!

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It’s time to set your intentions for the New Year. Here are 18 tips from some of the world’s best career experts to assist you in moving your career forward.

  1. Foster “Interpersonal Wellness”. Leading people is not easy, that’s why Joyce Odidison, recommends regular wellness audits/assessments to improve and inspire individual and workplace wellness.
  2. Be a “Workplace Athlete”. According to Corey McCusker there are 7 key similarities of top performers to professional athletes including a high level of confidence, the ability to concentrate on process as well as the end result, resilience, mental attitude, a sense of challenge/competitiveness, peak condition non-thinking automatic response and the ability to relax.
  3. Spot Signs of “Burnout”. Cheryl Shurtliffe says burnout is most common amongst people who are phenomenal at their jobs. And while there are good levels of stress and bad levels of stress, it’s important to identify the early signs of burnout in yourself or in others around you.
  4. Begin Your “Destiny Discovery” Process. Most people are “chasing opportunities instead of creating on purpose”. According to Michelle Casto there are “6 stages in the destiny discovery process” to assist in moving energy from the head to the heart in order to create intuitive energy alignment.
  5. Release Unwanted Negative “Emotions”. Peggy Kelly-Davies states emotions are generated by your subconscious mind and are indicators and motivators to do something. Becoming Emotional Intelligent therefore starts with self awareness of your own emotions and feelings.
  6. “Play a Bigger Game”. According to Patti Cotton many of us (especially women) play it small by holding back usually out of fear of rejection or fear of loss. And if you can relate, start by identifying where you are playing small and identify the little steps you can take. Incremental steps will “stretch your comfort zone”.
  7. “Prioritize Your Passions”. Signy Wilson says it’s important to “notice when we are over-functioning” and to “stop running on empty”. Because we simply can’t do it all, we should list our passions, cull the list, then prioritize the list and find a way to blend our passions with our daily actions as well as ensure structure for self care.
  8. “Build Meaningful Authentic Relationships”. That’s the result of becoming a master networker. According to Alana Muller networking is not about finding a job or collecting business cards. Networking is about connection, community and belonging.
  9. “Cultivate Your Gravitas”. According to Susan Freeman, gravitas is critical to executive presence and can be cultivated. “Gravitas” is a measure of confidence, decisiveness, a projection of your inner game or authenticity and the missing link to executive presence.” How you act (show up), how you speak (communication) and how you look (grooming and polish) matters.
  10. “Hone Your Skills”. Wendy Weiss says “cold-calling is a basic skill set” which can be learned. It takes 7-12 contacts to get prospects to respond. Most sales people give up long before that. Wendy emphasizes a good process and tracking will get you results.
  11. “Connect to the Wisdom of Your Heart”. According to Dr. Lise Janelle, “the quality of your life depends on the question you ask about your life”. 90-98% of what we do is conditioned response. Our actions/behaviors can be conditioned while our hearts hold the key to love, gratitude, wisdom and inspiration.
  12. “Consider the Financial Impacts”. According to Val Cattelan, strategic financial planning can equate to significant dollar amounts in the long run especially when you consider tax savings and portfolio returns. In addition to a career plan, you need a solid financial plan.
  13. “Make it Better”. According to James Graham people resist change because they view change the same way they view torture. Adapting your mindset to focus on “more or better” is an easier transition. James reminds us to “believe in the magical power of your mind”.
  14. “Enhance Your Brand”. According to Donna Serdula, your LinkedIn profile is your digital introduction, a summary of who you are as well as a projection of your future success. Your LinkedIn link will usually be the first thing that pops up when someone googles your name.
  15. “Develop Resiliency”. Catherine Meyer says there are 4 keys to developing resilience: optimism, stress management, flexibility and openness and the ability to see solutions within your control and influence.
  16. “Experience Facial Intelligence”. Michelle Butt uses the face as a guide to knowing how to interact with others based on their needs and communication preferences. According to Michelle, the face can be a tool to understanding people’s patterns and behavioral tendencies.
  17. “Develop Exceptional Teams”. Dianne Crampton says the leader’s focus should be on team development rather than team building. Team building can have a marginal effect and be demotivating while team improvement can have a lasting effect increasing collaboration and interdependence.
  18. “Boost Your Confidence”. Linda Cattelan says the shadow side of confidence can derail a career. It’s important not to believe the stories you make up. According to Linda, you need to focus on what you can control and influence by getting yourself ready. And there is no better time than the present to focus on yourself and your next career move.

Whether you are at the start of your career, mid way through your career, or at the tail end of your career, vow to make this year your most successful year ever.

If you would like more information on this topic contact Linda at 416-617-0734 or email

How To Enjoy This Holiday Season!

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Are you feeling like the year is drawing to a close faster than you expected? Are you running out of time hoping you get everything done on your holiday “to do” list? Are you stressed and worn out? Well, perhaps it is time to stop, take a deep breath and rethink how you are spending your valuable time.

  • Take a hard look at your “to do” list. Is it full of “must do” or “should do” vs “want to do”? What’s on the list that you can stop doing right now? What’s on the list that you can get someone else to do? Ensure your time is spent doing the things you most value and enjoy.
  • Simplify wherever you can. Perhaps you can stop exchanging gifts with some of your friends or family. You can cut back on the number of greeting cards you mail out or stop altogether. You might consider sending electronic greeting cards instead.
  • Start a tradition. I love decorating my home for the holidays but my husband doesn’t get excited by the work involved in getting our home decorated. So, several years ago I started a tradition with my dad. He comes over to help me decorate my tree(s) and helps me with the outdoor lights and garland and whatever I need done to complete the decorating. We have a great father/daughter visit laughing and talking and then end with a nice cup of coffee and some cookies. I wouldn’t trade this time with him for anything. He’s 84 years old and still loves to come over and help.
  • Spend time with loved ones. At some point over the holiday season I’ll bring out the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” and we’ll watch it as a family. We make popcorn, curl up on the couches and then settle in to watch the movie together. The holidays are about celebration. Make sure you take the time to celebrate, laugh and have fun with the people you most care about.
  • Start a gratitude journal. It’s a great time of year to reflect on all your successes and accomplishments throughout the year as well as a great time to reflect on all the people in your life that you value and appreciate. In addition to writing about it, be bold and let them know, you will feel great and so will they.
  • Engage in physical activity. If you can make the activity a group activity that’s even better. A friend of mine rents an ice rink every year and invites all his friends and family for a skate and some hot chocolate. It’s a terrific way to catch up with people you haven’t seen in awhile as well as being a fun and active way to enjoy the holidays. Just think-you could organize a toboggan party or a bowling party to work off some of that holiday food.
  • Relax. When you feel overwhelmed or stressed make sure you take the time to relax and re-energize. Read a book, take a warm bath, or sleep in.

So before the year is over, stop and take some time to truly enjoy the holiday season and do whatever is most important to you. I wish you and your families the very best this holiday season. Happy Holidays!

5 Best Strategies To Stand Out And Land Your Dream Job!

interview date Lately, I’ve been assisting with the recruitment of new employees for a small boutique firm. Sorting and sifting through over 250 applicants for only 2 jobs has been an interesting and revealing exercise. I’ve noticed many mistakes in every stage of the recruitment process from how an applicant submits their interest and resume, to the phone screening process through to the in person interview.

If you are interested in standing out as a candidate, here are my 5 best strategies to help you avoid some derailing, yet common mistakes:

1. Be strategic about which jobs you apply for. The job market is highly competitive. Applying for any and every job is not the right strategy. Make sure your strengths, skills and experience are in alignment with the job description and the requirements of the job. Don’t waste a recruiter’s time and energy if you do not meet most of the job specifications but you really want to work for the company. A better strategy might be to network with employees within the organization until the right job comes up that matches your strengths, skills and experience.

2. Make it easy for a recruiter to pick you out of the multitude of job applicants. First impressions really do count. Your LinkedIn profile should include a professional looking headshot, summary and highlight relevant past experiences and education. However, remember even a great LinkedIn profile is not a substitute for a resume and quality cover letter. Make sure you have a well written and succinct resume that is also attractive to look at. Customize your resume and cover letter to the job you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a creative marketing role, use your creativity. I once observed an applicant submit an infographic resume in response to a marketing role resulting in her landing an interview.

3. Don’t make the recruiter do your work. I’ve noticed applicants use minimal effort to apply for jobs online. I’ve seen scanty online resumes or no resumes, relying on LinkedIn profiles alone. Always include a full resume and where possible submit a cover letter which summarizes why you are applying for the position and why you are the right candidate for the job. This requires that you also do some research about the role, the organization and perhaps even the hiring manager. The better prepared you are, the greater your chance of landing the interview and the job.

4. Practice phone and email etiquette. Often it’s the little things that make a difference in landing you the job you want. Let’s start with making sure you spell check your resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile. Details matter! When engaging in email or online conversation with a recruiter or prospective employer use more formal email etiquette, including proper salutations, grammar and effective written communication skills. This is not the place to use “texting” language or abbreviations. During phone interviews, make sure you capture the interviewer’s name and use their name when asking or answering questions. People love to hear the sound of their name. It not only lets the interviewer know you are someone who listens but it also says you care. In a recent assignment, only 2 out of 20 applicants interviewed used my name in the phone interview. Both advanced to the in person interview stage. Lastly, always follow up a phone or in person interview with a thank you email. Not only is it good manners, but it’s another opportunity to make a good impression and gain share of mind with the recruiter or hiring manager. And because most interviewees don’t do these simple things, you will stand out.

5. Show up as your best self. So you’ve finally made it to the in person interview stage. Make sure your shoes are polished. Many hiring managers look at the shoes first. Sounds strange, but it does say a lot about your attention to detail. Shoes don’t lie. As for attire, I recommend at least one notch above how you would normally show up for the job. It is better to be over dressed than under dressed. Example, an applicant showed up to an interview in dress pants, dress shirt with the top button undone and a loose tie around his neck. He was being interviewed for a wealth management role where everyone wears a suit to the office. Unfortunately, he was ruled out before he even opened his mouth.

If you want to stand out as the ideal candidate, take the time to be strategic in your approach and in the interview process. That means careful planning and research, preparation, practice, and attention to detail. With a little extra effort you can stand out amongst the other candidates, and that little extra might be just enough to land you your dream job.