As part of my series about the “How Business Leaders Plan To Rebuild In The Post COVID Economy,” I had the pleasure of interviewing Lisa Rangel.
Lisa Rangel is the Founder and Managing Director of Chameleon Resumes LLC (https://chameleonresumes.com/) the premier executive resume writing and job landing consulting firm named a Forbes Top 100 Career Website. As a Cornell University graduate, she is also a Certified Professional Resume Writer, Job Landing Consultant & 13-year Recruiter. She has been featured in Fortune, Inc., CNN Business, Fast Company, Business Insider, Forbes, CNBC, Time Money, BBC, Newsweek, eFinancialCareers, CIO Magazine, US News & World Report, Good Morning America, Fox Business News, and other reputable media outlets. Rangel has authored 16 career resources found at joblandingacademy.com
Thank you so much for your time! I know that you are a very busy person. Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
I actually started my business, Chameleon Resumes, in the economic collapse in 2009. I spent 13 years as a search firm recruiter spending most of my recruiting years as a finance recruiter on Wall Street. My recruiting experience grew to overseeing practices in a few states and in a myriad of disciplines. When the economic collapse happened, I started Chameleon Resumes focusing on executive resume writing services and job landing tactic training. It has been an upward growth story every year since I opened.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
One mistake I made when I first started, not sure how funny it is, is when I started my blog. I was so petrified to publish that I was paralyzed in putting up my first blog post for a few weeks. I irrationally thought that if I made a mistake, or if readers didn’t like my post, then my business would be ruined. At some point, my mindset flipped. Realistically, the first blog post would be read by a few people…one probably being my Mom. So when I realized it is impossible for one well done post that is realistically read by a few people to be harmful, I published the blog post. I now have 900+ posts.
Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to, that really helped you in your career? Can you explain?
One book that I revert back to over and over again since I first read it years ago is The Adversity Quotient by Paul G. Stoltz. When reading that book, I realized successful people in business a long time, whether as an employee or as a business owner, aren’t always the smartest people or the people with the biggest and best business ideas. In fact, most successful small businesses and experienced executives have the resiliency to deal with the adverse situations that come their way. This book helped me realize that early in my career before I started my business.
Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven business” are more successful in many areas. When you started your company what was your vision, your purpose?
I am not sure when I started I had a vision or purpose other than paying my bills, to be frank. I was laid off in 2009 in NYC amidst the economic fallout at the time. I started charging for the resumes I was writing while I concurrently job searched. My husband was a stay-at-home dad when I was laid off, so we didn’t have a second income to fall back on at the time. I had to hustle. So that was my “purpose” in the beginning.
After a couple of years of writing resumes during what I called my “productive unemployment” and liking the flexibility to work from home with my family for the first time ever, I realized I could make executive resume writing into a real business. So I did. My purpose then came to help people avoid the situation I found myself in when I was laid off. It inspired me to create the podcast Pretend You’re Fired Today. Chameleon Resumes reviews on this podcast how to be ready for any unexpected layoff and always be prepared for whatever the job landscape throws your way. I see so many senior level, 6-figure job seekers think a layoff isn’t going to happen to them, until it does. And then they are taken aback by it happening. I can’t prevent someone from getting laid off…but I can prevent them from being unprepared. I had a client say recently, “Lisa Rangel reviews the current economic situation and showed me how to be ready.” That is music to my ears and my current mission: I want people to be ready — that is the ultimate job security.
Do you have a “number one principle” that guides you through the ups and downs of running a business?
“Yes, how can I be of service?” This is what I live by. Even my marketing materials teach job seekers how to land a job without spending a dime with us since I know everyone can’t afford an executive resume writing service. We have great testimonials about our free materials and I am very proud of what we have created to help job seekers at all levels. It’s all in giving back.
Thank you for all that. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. For the benefit of empowering our readers, can you share with our readers a few of the personal and family related challenges you faced during this crisis? Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
My family, thankfully, didn’t have anyone become gravely ill due to Covid. However, we experienced many of the common challenges we all faced: reduced-to-no family contact (i.e., couldn’t see a new baby in our family for months), didn’t hug my mom for weeks, my daughter had to come home unexpectedly from college, online school for both my kids, fear of going out, and even when we could start to, having to do so cautiously. Some of my family members became furloughed and unemployed. They waited for months for unemployment to kick in.
How did we deal with it? One day at a time and we helped each other from afar. We accepted our boundaries as best we could and did our best within the boundaries. I made sure I got out for a walk 4–5 times per week for sanity restoration purposes. I tried to eat well (and not beat myself up when my mind told me potato chips were the only option to quell my anxiety).
Can you share a few of the biggest work related challenges you are facing during this pandemic? Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
My biggest work challenge was my desire to help everyone that needed it and only having so many hours to do so. My team and I offered 200 hours of free no-strings-attached coaching in April 2020 as a way to help people that needed help — just pure free help. My heart goes out to everyone that is struggling. I created our free tools years ago, but they are truly our way of trying to assist everyone who needs it since it is not possible for us to physically help everyone.
Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. What are a few ideas that you have used to offer support to your family and loved ones who were feeling anxious? Can you explain?
The key thing is to remember hiring still happens during a pandemic. It doesn’t stop. Now it may slow down, but it doesn’t stop. The only people who never get hired are those who stop looking. We are seeing clients get hired every week since March 2020. So keep looking and don’t give up. And reach out to people — don’t be so dependent on job boards or waiting for people to contact you. Reach out to people regularly to be noticed and found. Essential companies and forward-thinking companies are hiring right now. And as for the news, shut it off as you job search. You only need one job — you don’t need to solve the unemployment problem. So keep reaching out to people for conversations to land that one job. Stay focused on that!
Obviously we can’t know for certain what the Post-Covid economy will look like. But we can of course try our best to be prepared. We can reasonably assume that the Post-Covid economy will be a trying time for many people across the globe. Yet at the same time the Post-Covid growth can be a time of opportunity. Can you share a few of the opportunities that you anticipate in the Post-Covid economy?
Companies will always be hiring people who see possibilities where others see no opportunity. Companies always want to hire people who have the ability to make something out of nothing — who can thrive without a playbook. So find the forward-thinking companies and essential service companies and pitch yourself there.
How do you think the COVID pandemic might permanently change the way we behave, act or live?
I think we will be working from home more and in a more flexible manner. I think we will have to come up with ways to develop relationships with co-workers online. And large groups may be something we don’t revisit for a while. But we will all still need to socialize, workout, create art, and grow businesses no matter what — so the opportunity lies in the new ways to do these things. We are all still human, after all.
Considering the potential challenges and opportunities in the Post-Covid economy, what do you personally plan to do to rebuild and grow your business or organization in the Post-Covid Economy?
We plan on continuing to grow by being of service to the job seeking community.
Similarly, what would you encourage others to do?
Find what feeds your soul and serves your community. Once you do that, other things can work themselves out.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?”
It is more of a mantra I live by, “Always find a way to make something out of nothing.” This is something I have lived by since my first job in high school. Growing up, I didn’t have access to many resources so I had to make things happen without much. So the ability to make something out of nothing has always been a good compass for me.
How can our readers further follow your work?