Master Career Counselor

Carla Hunter, President of Career Span, Inc. is a Master Career Counselor (MCC) by the National Career Development Association and a Certified Career Coach by the National Board for Certified Counselors. She is an expert in writing resumes, effective job search strategies and interviewing success. Most recently, with over 20 years of navigating the complexity of today's world of work, she published "Finding Your Place in the World of Work", a career interest inventory (2014) and CareerView, an iPad app. As a private practice career counselor and a workforce development consultant, this blog is Carla's trove of ideas, trends, forecasts, and career tips for finding meaningful work.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Remember Who You Are

The search for work often feels like navigating impossible terrain with hidden land mines.

The high points are amazing!  The immediate relief when an employer calls to interview is indescribable.  The low points of multiple rejections cause disappointment that can spread over your confidence like a bad case of poison ivy.

The journey to employment can fatigue the strongest among us. It is an exhausting process.

The palpable combustion of uncertainty and stress cause wear and tear on one's very soul.

The longer it takes to find work, the greater intensity of stress and a continuous cycle of unanswered questions. It can be gut-wrenching.  The gnawing sense of loss causes the jobseeker to forget who they are as a talented professional with much to give and gain.

A sense of identity can easily be shattered with a pink slip.

I see grown, burly, strong men cry like babies when faced with the rupture of job loss.  I'm convinced losing your job calls for a funeral of closure, grief and consolation. But we can't stay forever at that visitation.

Questions surface and race through the swirling mind of a job-seeker:

What's my purpose?

Am I good enough to work again?

Who will hire me?

What's wrong with me?

What could I have done to prevent this?

When will this nightmare end?

Ways to protect your esteem and confidence

In the end, the greatest correlation of seeking and finding work is inextricably linked to your levels of motivation, confidence and determination.  When those levels are high, you're likely to gain momentum that naturally works in your favor. Conversely, when they are low, your search drags on endlessly.

What strategies can you intentionally use to keep your self esteem intact?

Listen to beautiful music.
Take a walk everyday.
Listen to motivational people.
Remember the good, let go of the bad.

Everyday, imagine yourself employed.

After landing a job and exiting from the career counseling process, I hear three primary themes of the job loss experience:

1.  Losing the job was the best thing that could have happened to me.  It ends up that job loss led to a better opportunity. Imagine that?
2. I had to view my job search as full-time work and I could not call in sick.  My best work was to maintain confidence. Having supportive friends, family and colleagues is crucial.
3. I had to remember who I was and that nothing, not even job loss could steal my sense of self without my permission.
Remembering my value as a person diffused the explosion of job loss and rendered it powerless.

Finally, if you are the friend of a jobseeker, please encourage them today with a kind word or note.  Express how much you appreciate their friendship and remind them of how important they are to you.
Validate their talent, skills and all the strengths they bring to the table.

The power of being connected and remembering our importance to each other is an important life skill that we all need to practice even when employed.

What additional strategies would you would share with someone who feels frustrated and at a loss with their job search?


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Priceless Art Burned: Beauty Turned to Ashes

Today, art lovers grieve the travesty of priceless works of beloved artists being burned to cover the crime of stealing them. To set fire to irreplaceable beauty and masterpieces is unfathomable.

Read the story here.

The act of someone burning them in an oven provoked deep emotion as I realized fire turned something invaluable into nothing but rubble and ashes.

It reminds me of how we so easily forget and neglect our God-given potential, talent and skills in much the same way by wasting our opportunity to make a difference in the world.

When we forget who we are and the potential residing in our hearts, it is akin to burning away a masterpiece that cannot be replaced.  Our skills smolder as we waste away each day in angst, indecision or unhappiness.

God, the master artist, created a one-of-a-kind masterpiece in each of us to bring meaning and beauty to others by action, words and relationship.

Each of us is given a calling, a vocation to accomplish through a myriad of career choices.  There are reasons for our existence and the journey to discover our multi-purposed life is nothing short of pure beauty.

To think you are not good enough, prepared enough, strong enough, or ready enough is as though you are turning an oven on to a broiling temperature and burning your potential to rubble.

Life is art lived out on the canvas of daily rituals, events, routines and habits.  Your capacity to be spontaneous, accomplish goals, to learn new things and to overcome fear creates a masterpiece of richness and depth for others to preserve your legacy for generations to come.

What else possibly matters more than loving and serving others?

The paint of your life is your willingness to be fully alive and present in this moment.
As Monet's masterpiece cannot be replaced, neither can you.

Don't let fear steal your priceless time and burn away the moments for why you are alive.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Successful Interviewing Research Guide

In a previous post, I discussed the variables you can control in a job interview. Read it here.  A job interview places tremendous stress on a job seeker to get it right with little room for error.  This makes the preparation all the more important and vital to a successful interviewing outcome.  You must remember the interview is about your resume in high definition.  It is the reason you got the interview.
The employer wants to know how you are the solution to their problem. 

 The non negotiable activities for success include these two important steps:

1. Research and complete a background check on the company.

Before you enter the premises of an interview (starting the moment you park your car), you must inspect, examine, study and accumulate a vast knowledge of the company. This empowers you to know if the company is a place where you want to work.  

  • Call your local better business bureau for any consumer complaints
  • Check your local chamber of commerce to see if the company is an active member
  • Talk to anyone you know who may work there to find out the major reason they are hiring (sometimes that isn't always good)

2. Be an interviewing sleuth and track your potential employer's progress.

You are in the driver's seat ready to determine if you want to spend the majority of every working day with this potential employer. As you prepare for an interview, find the answers to the following questions to make an informed choice and to prepare you for questions you may be asked. 


  1. Who is this company and how was it founded?
  1. Who does it do business with?
  1. What does this company do for the benefit of customers?
  1. Who are its major competitors?
  1. What is the potential for growth of the company in my area? 
  1. When did it begin? 
  1. What is its mission statement?
  1. What is the main website address and social media emphasis?
  1. What geographical location does this company reach?
  1.  How many people work there?
  1.  Is it public or private?  
Also, think about answers to the following personal questions as the fuel of your interviewing engine:

What are five reasons I want to work here?

What are the top five skills I offer this company?

Does my resume translate into the solution this company needs?

Could I envision myself working here and enjoying it?

If you're a jobseeker, utilize this post as a tool to empower you. The result may include NOT wanting to interview with the company, saving you time and energy. Hopefully, it solidifies the reason you want to be hired.

Researching the company before the interview is the foundational principle of successful interviewing.

Are there additional questions you would include in this guide?  

Next post will include the important sites to do your research.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Career Counselor Advice for Career Counselors

Today's job market has placed heavy demand on career counselors from all service deliveries including workforce development, college career centers and private practice specialists. 
We must remember the importance of mindfulness to our client's need and wellbeing even more than developing an awesome resume template or sharing an effective job search strategy. 

Being fully present in the moment is the strongest link to the future of career development success.  It is much like growing a healthy houseplant.  It takes time, energy and attention.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Science of Job Interviews: Variables You Control

There are a plethora of articles on job interviewing fundamentals.  Here are some really good ones:

1. Dress nice!

2. The first impression matters!

3. Send a thank you note!

My blog post will frame job interviews as a science and how certain variables affect the outcome.
Awareness of these two sets of variables can empower you to persist and be patient with the process.


Chemistry is the major driver of interviewing success.   There are certain elements of an employer's personal bias, first impression beliefs and personality preferences that influence hiring decisions.

Simply put: Just like a science experiment, there are variables that can and cannot be controlled.

So, let's use the scientific method to empower you to success!!!!!!!


If you follow this method and frame your interview in the following way,  you'll have positive results.

Step One: Ask yourself this question:

Why should this employer hire me?

The key point to any successful job interview is to have a resume that lands you the interview.  The platform for this must begin by targeting your skills to an employer resulting in seeing you as a potential solution to their gap. Knowing your skills and having the ability to express, display and quantify your results is a variable within your control. The compound chemicals that you mix in an interview results in a positive dynamic interaction or an unfocused dud of awkward discussion.


Here are your chemicals to bring to the table. 
You must have the exact combination the employer needs:

1. Motivation
2. Tempered energy
3. Thorough company and industry knowledge 
4. Precision of quantifiable results
5. A teachable and positive attitude

In the next post, I will explore the second stage of a successful interviewing methodology. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Science of Pollination: Our Career Beehive

Today's career and job search vocabularies are saturated with a word that usually contains a negative connotation: networking.

Networking, a word birthed in pyramid schemes contains the sense of using or being used for the benefit of another.   Its also known as small talk, benign or useless conversation and the most dreaded of all job search activity.
Many people see networking as a necessary evil in the job search resulting in anxious awkwardness.
Networking when I need it is all about me.  Networking when you need it is all about you.

What about a style of connecting that is all about "us"?

The interdependent need to grow, develop and expand our professional sphere with positive influence needs to be rebranded as career pollination.
It is intentional, purposeful and vital to the overall wellbeing of our livelihood. Let's reframe this very important and essential activity in a positive and sustaining light.


Just like bees and hummingbirds pollinate the world, we do the same for one another.  Our relationships must be a give and take demonstration of trust and positive action.  This can harness great power to diminish discouragement and alter the course of our careers.

Career pollination is defined as the intentional transfer of information in the world of work from one professional to another.  It is the key prerequisite for successful job searches and future opportunity. It is the fusion of two or more persons' knowledge synchronized to each other's professional needs. It is a symbiotic and mutually beneficial relationship to the person, company, industry and world.


Pollinators are those incredibly important people who naturally make us feel comfortable, validated,  and needed. They bring mutually beneficial people together for the common good of everyone.
I can think of several pollinators in my life who are linked to my professional development and success.
They've knocked on doors and introduced me to people I would never have otherwise known.   Pollinators connect people for positive outcomes that benefit all.  How am I pollinating other colleagues' success?

This is the key: building intentional relationships for the common good as we exchange information makes the world a better place.

What could be more rewarding?

Just like one bee cannot possibly pollinate the entire floral landscape, we cannot navigate the world of work alone.  The more we pollinate, the less discouraged and isolated we tend to be.


Connecting to people and transferring information to another can have profoundly positive effects.

1. We reproduce successful relationships with colleagues and industry partners.
2. We tap into the nectar (positive energy) of relationships with one another that inspires us to greater success.
3. We provide an important service to humanity by connecting to each other.  What is truly more important?

Pollinating is becoming a lost art because we no longer make the time and space for it.


Creating a beehive of active relationships and takes time and energy.  It doesn't happen overnight yet every moment spent produces great reward.

Here are some healthy beehive activities:

1. Have lunch twice a month with professional colleagues.
2. Have coffee with an industry expert every three months.
3. Read one book a month on your career trends, future growth and best practices.  Have conversations with co-workers and give the book as gifts.
4.  Join at least one new professional organization each year.
5. Take a class at least once every two years to enhance your professional development.
6.  Volunteer in your community.
7. Take a moment and meet all the neighbors on your street.
8. Write an email of appreciation or affirmation to your colleagues or better yet, a phone call!!

The honey of career pollination is found in the connectedness of other professionals who challenge, encourage and develop us to be our best and find meaning in our work.

How healthy is your hive?  My wellbeing depends on it.


Monday, February 4, 2013

The Lion of Discouragement (Part Two)

In a previous post, the lion of discouragement seeking to devour the hope of all jobseekers was put on notice.  Read it here.

Job seeker discouragement is the most pervasive predator of successful attainment of employment. Simply put: the jaws of being down-hearted will slow your success to finding a job.

The Most Effective Job Search Strategy (Pink slip the lion) 

To have an effective job search and discover the employer who needs your skills, remember the following reality:

1. Employers aren't responsible for your livelihood, you are.
2. If your previous job is now obsolete, it won't return in its current form.  Have a funeral and mourn the loss.  But do not bury your hope and determination to work.
3. It is and shall indefinitely be the employer's market.  This means you have to be intentional and active in finding the employer who needs your skills. Discovering your employer is an art in itself. 
4.  Reframe your job hunt starting now.  Instead of seeing the process as overwhelming and daunting, embrace the opportunity to show core competencies every employer needs. 

In the end, the most powerful job search strategy isn't a methodology. It is a relationship.
A relationship between you and the world of work and how you engage it daily. This directly correlates with your success.  Step back, assess your strengths and let go of having to remediate a weakness. Focus today on learning, building, and moving forward. This attitude will catapult your search to a new level of intentional pursuit.  Focus on what is good.  Focus on the small accomplishments of each day.  The best way to slay the lion of discouragement is to learn the science of pollination. 

More on that in a future post.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Infographic Resume: You Had Me At Hello!!!!!

Successful resume writing is an art and science.

First, the science.

Chemistry 101

The employer has an opening and looks for the right and best fit.  Company culture, leadership and a gap in the current staff drives the need to grow the team.   How does your resume and cover letter make the point that you deserve an interview?  You likely will hear about this protected opening from a colleague and the world of work's interpersonal routing system delivers you an opportunity.

Does your resume provide the necessary oxygen to sustain interest in meeting you?

I could go on and on about the chemistry factor, but am focused today on an emerging resume art.

The Infographic Masterpiece

Infographic resumes have increased over the past two years.  What is very useful about them is how they take "data" and mine it into information that is quick to scan and an enjoyable diversion from the typical chronological resume.

How I created mine:

I went to

It then connected to my Linked In profile and created my resume infographic:

An infographic resume is a creative way to summarize your fit to the company's need.
The science of success requires chemistry and the art of expressing yourself in innovative ways.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Job Hunting: Do You Need a QR Code?

Here is a guest post from my colleagues at

In October 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the US unemployment rate stood at 7.9 percent. Admittedly this is one of the lowest figures reported since 2009, yet it still amounts to a staggering 12.3 million unemployed persons.

There is little wonder that competition for available jobs is fierce and job seekers are increasingly looking for ways to stand out from the crowd. The importance of social media in a comprehensive job hunting strategy is well documented. The Jobvite Social Recruiting Strategy reports that 92% of companies use or have plans to use social platforms for recruitment purposes, with 73% of companies having already made a successful hire.

In turn, these statistics have educated job hunters into the importance of well thought out social profiles that are full of character as opposed to being unnaturally squeaky clean. The Jobvite Social Job Seeker Survey reports that 88% of job seekers have at least one social networking profile, while one in six respondents credited social media with their current job. With so many job seekers jumping on the social networking bandwagon, could it be time to find a new way to stand out from the crowd?

One of the latest ways to appear different to the hundreds, if not thousands, of competing applicants that are standing in between the job seeker and the chance of a regular monthly paycheck is the use of a QR (Quick Response) Code. But wait, aren’t they something to do with couponing? Not any more. QR codes are increasingly commonplace on everything from fast food placements to movie posters. Users scan the code with their smartphone or tablet to be directed to (hopefully useful and mobile friendly) content.

Savvy job seekers are looking at how they can use a QR code on their resume or business card as part of their job hunting strategy, and some, like Victor Petit, are doing it in a very creative manner. There’s no denying the appeal of the QR code to help an applicant differentiate themselves from other applicants, but does that mean that every job seeker should have one? That largely depends on the sort of company a job seeker is hoping to work for.

Progressive employers such as advertising agencies, marketing firms, and software technology companies are likely to find the use of QR codes attractive. To see that a candidate has enough understanding of the technology to be able to implement it in their job search will be an attractive quality to many employers. It’s a given that a resume and covering letter should be tailored as far as possible to each job application, so one way a job seeker can gauge whether or not to include their QR code in a particular application is to see if the company they are applying to uses the technology themselves. If they do, it’s fairly likely that the job seekers personal QR code will be well received.

Sold on the idea of a personal QR code? The one question that remains is how job seekers can get their hands on one. Corey Eridon shows how to create a QR code over at HubSpot.

Author Bio

Linda Forshaw is a Business Information Systems graduate from Lancaster University in the UK. She is the main contributor to, as well as a full time writer and blogger specializing in education, social media, and entrepreneurship. Contact her on Twitter @seelindaplay