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Agency Spotlight: Angeles Mannies

When most people think of professional, in-home child care, the image of a female nanny comes to mind.  However, there is another aspect of well-qualified child care professionals that are often overlooked: the male nanny, or “manny.”  To serve this interesting niche market, a new agency has surfaced in the Los Angeles area, Angeles Mannies.

Founded by Daniel Butcher, a previous manny himself, this boutique agency strives to match private employers with highly skilled, dedicated, and multi-talented mannies that are committed to the industry.  Many of the mannies hold special certifications, college degrees, or special areas of expertise.

In today’s Agency Spotlight, Daniel tells us more about this interesting take on the traditional nanny industry…

1. How long have you been in business?

I have been placing mannies with families ‘pro-bono’ for a couple of years now, but decided to make it into a business around June/July 2015.

2. What makes your agency unique?
95% of our placement efforts are focused on 5% of the entire childcare population: Male Nannies. My goal is to showcase the different dimension males can bring to domestic childcare.

3. What types of positions do you place?
We focus on childcare placements for the most part and are open to all kinds of domestic positions. For example, we have placed tutors, chefs, personal assistants, sports coaches and swim instructors.

4. What is your ideal candidate?
Aside from a healthy list of requirements and certifications for safety reasons, we look to employ trustworthy, loyal, professional and creative individuals with a passion for childcare who are looking for a career in the industry, not stepping stones to something else.

5. Do you place across the country or locally?  If so, where?
Currently we are only serving the LA County area.

6. Do you look for any special training or certifications, such as college degrees, private service schools, etc?
We ask that upon hire, there is proof of CPR/First Aid certifications, TrustLine verification (a legal requirement in California for domestic childcare through an agency), and a college degree or equal qualification.

7. Where do you announce your open jobs?
Open jobs are announced to our existing pool of mannies via email. I am also a huge believer in word of mouth within the neighborhood and community – believe me, word travels fast!

8. How should a candidate apply for a job?  Do you want an online application, resume or both?

9. Do you belong to any professional associations?
I am a member of the International Nanny Association (INA), and am currently looking into Association of Premiere Nanny Agencies (APNA) and the Domestic Estate Management Association (DEMA). I will also be attending the Annual INA conference in Washington, DC in 2016.

10. How can people contact you?
People can contact us in a number of different ways

Phone 661-666-1012



We can also be found on Twitter and Instagram (@Angeles Mannies) Google+, Pinterest, and LinkedIn (

Are you an agency owner? Would you like your agency featured in our Agency Spotlight?  There is no fee!  Contact Donna Shannon at 720-452-3400 to find out how you can be included.  Our Agency Spotlight is provided as a service to job seekers, and is not a statement of endorsement.  All information is  provided by the participating agency.

A most triumphant job search

“Bill: Ted, while I agree that, in time, our band will be most triumphant, the truth is, Wyld Stallyns will never be a super band until we have Eddie Van Halen on guitar.

Ted: Yes, Bill. But, I do not believe we will get Eddie Van Halen until we have a triumphant video.

Bill: Ted, it’s pointless to have a triumphant video before we even have decent instruments.

Ted: Well, how can we have decent instruments when we don’t really even know how to play?

Bill: That is why we NEED Eddie Van Halen!

Ted: And THAT is why we need a triumphant video.

Bill, Ted: EXCELLENT!”

-Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989), Orion Pictures

Do you ever feel that way in a job search? I know I have, especially when looking for a dream job. Sometimes, the task feels so daunting that it seems you will never make it into the position unless you have a veritable rock-god on your side to help you along.

The problem with that line of logic is that it is entirely unrealistic. While great for laughs as two underachievers with a dream stumble through time to finish a history report, it is not all that helpful to you and your job search. The fact is, you are likely already skilled at your chosen profession (unlike Bill and Ted, who at this point didn’t even know how to play their instruments).

However, you can still find yourself in a similar trap while working the job hunt. How do you present yourself in a job search most triumphantly? Who is this Eddie Van Halen, and why do you need him? How do you turn a bogus job search into a non-heinous and most excellent adventure?

1.    Which comes first, the video or the Halen?

Before starting your job search, you need to ensure that your career documents are in order. Updating your work history, education, and contact information is one of the first and easiest things you can do with your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile. These are all the core components of your “Triumphant Video.”

But in order to make it truly triumphant, there are a few extra steps you can take that will go a long way towards helping you land your dream job. Ensure that your LinkedIn profile, resume, and cover letter are “Key-word optimized.” By using the same key-words employers are searching, your resume is more likely to pass through their screening software be read by an actual person.  Here at Personal Touch, we use our Key Element Detector™ to identify these industry-specific key-words and work them into our resumes.

Once you have triumphant career documents, you are ready to get your own Eddie Van Halen.

2.    Eddie Van Halen?

Eddie Van Halen, arguably one of the best guitarists on the planet, is unfortunately not likely to get you a job. Being a rock god demands a lot of time.

Your Eddie Van Halen will instead be someone who has a certain amount of influence in your target job. By searching websites like LinkedIn, you can connect with company owners, C level executives, hiring managers, or other employees who are affiliated with your industry and/or target companies.

Connecting with these people over social media sites can help you to learn more about the company to which you are looking to apply. The old saying “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” applies here. We live in a day and age of amazing technology that allows us to connect with people around the world in seconds. Take the time and make those connections, and you won’t regret it.

Who knows? You might actually get Eddie Van Halen!

3.    Party on, Dudes

Armed with a most excellent resume and a collection of righteous dudes from around the world to vouch for you, your job search will be easier and smoother than you could have possibly hoped. In the words of the great President Abraham Lincoln:

“Fourscore and… seven minutes ago… we, your forefathers, were brought forth upon a most excellent adventure conceived by our new friends, Bill… and Ted. These two great gentlemen are dedicated to a proposition which was true in my time, just as it’s true today. Be excellent to each other. And… PARTY ON, DUDES!”

-Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989,) Orion Pictures

There is profound wisdom in that. “Be excellent to each other,” as a philosophy, is a similar statement to “Do onto others…” or the Golden Rule. To strive for excellence and to treat others with excellence and respect is a noble pursuit. Applying that same philosophy to a job search allows you to cultivate positive attitudes with the people whom you associate with, in turn increasing the likelihood that they do the same for you. While looking for a job, having persons wishing excellence for you and actively trying to help you achieve it is a rare commodity these days.

Party on, dudes.

The Career Awakens


It’s that time of year again. Jobs will soon be flooding the market like a sudden invasion by the First Order. Now that the holidays are over, employers are looking to revitalize their staff with new people. Some even go as far as to hire recruiters for their skills as bounty hunters. During a job search, employers often feel like faceless entities or insurmountable empires.

So, how does the average job seeker face these kinds of odds (approx. 3720 to 1) and compete with other job seekers in a busy, fast paced market? How does one person outwit the cunning hiring manager and their advanced computer screening systems? How do you awaken your career and get the job you really want?

Answers, you shall find, young Padiwan.

1.    Preparation and Tools of the Jedi Job Seeker

Before tearing off into the frontier of job postings, work on your job searching tools, including your resume, social media profiles and employment website settings. Your resume is your lightsaber, one of the most crucial tools of the Jedi. Your social media profiles, including LinkedIn, are your Millennium Falcon, able to get you in contact with actual hiring managers of the companies you are applying to in less than 12 Parsecs. If any of these are in a poor state, you will be cut down by the insidious HR department long before you ever speak to a single person at the target company.

The January hiring surge is short – learn everything you can about the hiring process itself to become a competitive candidate.  Remember, you are literally fighting hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants for every job. Make the most of every opportunity.

2.    Know the Mission. Know the Enemy

The rebels never would have blown up both Death Stars if they had not known the weaknesses of the Empire and their engineering. The key for you and the job search is to actually research your target employers. The more you know about the company, the better off you will be when it comes time to interview with them. Not to mention that research is the best way to discover and contact the key managers involved in the hiring decision.  Plus, research give you clarity about the company’s culture and work environment.

Start off by selecting and researching at least 10 potential employers each week, even if they don’t have any posted jobs yet.  Research includes finding out about their business, the size, where they post jobs and key managers and employees. Of course, add companies that have posted positions that peak your interest as well.

Work on building your LinkedIn network to create some connections within these target employers.  Your social network is essentially your rebel alliance. This is your support, your connections, and sometimes direct lines to your target companies.

3.    The Jedi Job Seeker Code

“There is no emotion, there is peace…”

First of all, don’t let your emotions rule your job search.  This can be a challenge, as finding a great position can be invigorating.  Similarly, receiving the rejection email can be a devastating blow.  Try to keep an even keel during your job search so you don’t lose your perspective.

“There is no ignorance, there is knowledge…”

Just blinding applying to jobs without research is to barrel forward in ignorance.  Take the time to learn about your targets to make the most of every single job application and submitted resume.  Similarly, educate yourself about the hiring process to empower your own job search.  Knowing the tricks and traps is the best way to avoid HR’s sarlacc pit that consumes most resumes.

“There is no passion, there is serenity…”

Sorry, Jedi, but here I have to disagree.  Passion is paramount in the job search.  Smart managers hire people who are passionate about what they do.  Traditionally speaking, the passionate employee with produce better work, stay longer, be more committed, call in less, and is in general a better hire.  Don’t be afraid to express your passion in your cover letter, your resume, and the interview.

“There is no chaos, there is harmony…”

A job search conduct in chaos is not effective.  This means that frantically applying to jobs over your lunch hour is not going to work.  Set aside time every day to work on your search, including creating a space within your home dedicated to this purpose.  Still the mind and let go of your anxieties and stresses of the day before tackling something like writing your resume or starting a complex online application.  Just a few calming breaths to reset the mind can make a world of difference.

“There is no death, there is the Force.”

Death is but a transformation, including job changes, career transitions, and new opportunities.  To be effective, we have to let go of the former life to experience the new one.  In many ways, this is aligning ourselves with our higher selves – if we work towards it and allow it to happen.




hiring process infographic for private service and domestic staffing

Making sense of the hiring process: an infographic

For many private service professionals, the recruitment agency is a vital piece of their job search.  Employers frequently reach out the agency to list their positions, trusting them to make the best match based on experience, skills, and personality.  However, not all of the candidates understand exactly what goes into that hiring process.

Check out the infographic to learn more about the multiple phases required to secure a top position in the luxury lifestyle management industry…

hiring process infographic for private service and domestic staffing

Get your job search ready for the New Year

When most people think of the pending New Year, typical resolutions spring to mind: exercise more, eat right, and – of course – get serious about their job search.  However, while many people know they want to get something new, deciding what to do first for the job hunt is not always apparent.

Try this checklist to get your job search into full swing…

  1. Update your resume and LinkedIn profile

Even if you updated your resume as recently as six months ago, take another critical look at it.  Did you get the results you wanted?  Are you pulling in key words that are relevant for your industry today, or are you using outdate terms?  Have you summarized the older, less pertinent work history to highlight your more recent accomplishments better?  Don’t forget about the format and look of the resume itself.  An outdated format can not only look boring to the reader, but may actually make an online application system choke if it’s built exclusively with tables, text boxes, or graphics.

As for your LinkedIn profile, many of these same rules apply.  However, it also needs to be dynamic, engaging, personable, and informative.  LinkedIn allows us to include more information than just the resume alone.  That’s one of the reasons why employers will automatically look at an applicant’s LinkedIn profile before contacting him or her for an interview.  Plus, recruiters search for passive candidates on LinkedIn. You want to make sure that you are layering in the right key words to attract their attention.

  1. Set up your job search agents or saved searches

January is known as being a boom time for new job postings online.  Make sure that you have a saved search for your target jobs on the major employment sites, including LinkedIn, Indeed, CareerBuilder, Monster, and so on.  Remember to include sites specific to your industry, such as Dice for IT positions and EstateJobs for private service.

Big tip: don’t set up every job board to send you a notification every single day.  You want to rotate these, so that you don’t end up seeing the same job over and over.  This creates “perceived scarcity” in your mind; in other words, after days of viewing the same positions, the brain rebels and cries “I don’t know why I’m doing this!  There’s never anything new!”  If you set up your email notices on a rotation, such as Indeed on Monday, CareerBuilder on Tuesday, LinkedIn on Wednesday, and so on, you overcome the perceived scarcity as you continually see new information.

  1. Plan on networking

Yes, networking is still a main tool of job searching.  This includes online resources, such as LinkedIn, and the live, face-to-face meeting with people.  If you aren’t sure of where to meet others in your field, start with professional associations, Meetup groups based on your industry, alumni groups through your college, and LinkedIn Groups based on your interest.

NOTE: LinkedIn is changing the way Groups behave!  Where it used to be relatively easy to join Groups, you now have to be invited by an existing Group member.  If you want to see more of the upcoming 2016 LinkedIn changes, please join my free webinar, “LinkedIn Updates for 2016:”

  1. Research your market

One of the best things you can do for your search is get familiar with your local market.  This means not only learning the names of companies, but determining what industries are growing, which are declining, and what is the next to emerge on the scene.  Local business magazines, the Chambers of Commerce, the Office of Economic Development, and the Department of Labor can be great resources in these areas.

For example, the IT / Tech industry in the Denver and Boulder market has been heating up considerably in the past 6 months.  Recruiters are actively sourcing candidates and are still struggling to fill the positions.  However, the Oil & Gas industry, a longtime staple in the Colorado market, has been struggling for over a year.  Yet, every week our company receives calls from people wanting to break into Oil & Gas.  While it’s not impossible, it’s exceeding difficult for newcomers, just based on the economic health of the industry right now.  For these career changers, they may want to research other options that will capitalize on their transferrable skills.

  1. Become solutions-oriented

The traditional job search starts with applying to a job online and waiting for HR to call to set up the interview.  However, the modern job search often requires the creativity to think outside the box and the courage to implement the plan.

While HR doesn’t want to receive your calls or emails, there is nothing in the rules against reaching out to key managers at your target companies.  Of course, it must be done the right way, but start with accepting the fact that managers can be just as frustrated with the hiring process as you are.  Even if the company has a policy against the managers receiving resumes, the worst that will happen is that your resume will be sent to HR – which is where you have already applied.

Look for solutions to the job search, as well as offering solutions to the employers.  In the end, this is what they really need. Someone who can take them to the next level through determination, drive, and that legendary can-do attitude.

Using the personal touch helps business people connect

Onboarding your new household staff or manager

Within the corporate environment, companies invest significant dollars into making sure that their new employees will feel welcome, acclimate to the culture, and become effective in their new jobs. Considering that it can cost up to 50% of the person’s salary to replace them, a solid onboarding process is a valuable strategy.

However, within the home staffing environment, how to get your new employees up-to-speed may not be so clear cut.  If you’ve never had private staff before, the challenge can be especially intimidating.  How do you create an orientation plan when you don’t know what to expect?

Here’s some simple guidelines and tips to make sure that you and your new employee will be off to a great start:

1.      Make time to meet with them on the first day

The first step to building a successful working relationship is to invest the time.  Even if it’s just the first hour of their first day, greeting them personally lets your new household manager, personal assistant or staff member know that they are a valued edition to the team.

Without a doubt, the #1 aspect that employees look for in a private service job is a good personality match with the family.  The best way to reinforce your family’s unique culture is to be there.

2.      Have an orientation plan

We all want someone to step into a position and immediately know where everything is and how to perform the work.  No matter how talented your new staff member or manager is, there will be a learning curve.  It takes time to become familiar with a new location, from identifying the cleaning products to accessing the passwords for the personal calendars.

Create a plan to orient your new staff to cover these important questions:

  • Tour of the home or office and location of key components to their work
  • Regular schedules and appointments
  • Introduction to other staff members, especially if they will be supervising this person
  • Child or elder care essentials, even if they are not providing direct care to other family members: allergies, activities, schools, and doctor’s information
  • Communication plans: who to call in emergencies as well as preferred communication methods for less urgent matters
  • Expectations for hours, reimbursable expenses, pay dates, benefits, and other payroll-related items
  • Processing employment paperwork

3.      A clearly defined job description

Hopefully, you will have created a job description before hiring your new staff member.  If not, be sure to do this critical step.  This is your guideline for all parties involved so that expectations are clearly communicated on all parts.  Remember, your new persona assistant or household / estate manager wants to make your life easier.  The job description lets them know in no uncertain terms what their responsibilities are.

4.      Setting boundaries

Personal boundaries can be a sticky area for new household employers.  While your employee is here to support your lifestyle, realize that they do have their own lives as well. Don’t ask them to stay beyond their normal hours every single day.  Don’t stifle their communication with their own family members.  While it’s not acceptable for them to be on Facebook every moment of the day, they may need to be contacted in an emergency.

A common term in private service is “friendly but not familiar.”  This means that while your staff is an important part of your household, they are not your family.  Some households reinforce the personal boundaries by having their staff refer to them as “Mr. Smith” or “Mrs. Jones.”  While a subtle difference, it can help maintain the professional nature of your new relationship.

5.      Your own adjustment

If this is the very first time you’ve had staff, realize that this is not like the movies.  It can be an adjustment to have someone new in your home or working closely by your side on a day-to-day basis.  Do you treat them like a guest or a servant?

The answer is neither. While you are clearly the employer, remember that you need to communicate clearly to your new person.  Sometimes they will have suggestions to improve the household operations.  Listen to their voice of experience, but ultimately, the choice is yours.  If you don’t like the way a task is being handled, speak to them about it.  Often times, writing it out before approaching your employee can help you clearly define the problem and devise a plan for how to change it in the future.

Using diversity to evaluate company culture

In the modern world of job searching, finding a position that is a good match has more to do with company culture than any other factor.  However, many job seekers don’t know what to look for when trying to determine the workplace culture.  Some things are obvious, such as the physical aspects of the work environment – for example, many introverts are not comfortable working in an “open office” design, where there is very little separation from one person’s workspace to another. However, how can you gauge the real flavor of the office during the interview phase?

One of the biggest indicators of a company culture falls back into the importance of diversity.

Defining workplace diversity

According to, diversity is defined as “similarities and differences among employees in terms of age, cultural background, physical abilities and disabilities, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation.” (Read more:

When interviewing with a company, take note on if they have a diverse workforce.  Smart companies understand that it can take an extra effort to hire a diverse workforce, but it also helps them gain a competitive advantage as the company’s culture becomes more flexible thanks to the diverse points of view.

Diversity of thought

There is another aspect of diversity that is not as readily apparent as the outward physical characteristics.  This is the “diversity of thought,” which reflects how the employees actually think and approach their work.  For a real forward-thinking company, it is necessary to employ people who actually offer different perspectives in how to solve problems or to apply their area of expertise.

For example, in one of my past roles, I provided the recruitment for a small business in the Denver area.  The original founders of the company were brilliant engineers, who also happened to be some of the most introverted people I had ever met.  When it came time to hire new employees, they heavily favored candidates just like them, regardless of the role.  They valued an engineering background above all other qualities, having convinced themselves that their products were so technically complex that only engineers could properly represent what they were manufacturing.

However, problems quickly arose once the company tried to expand.  They hired several Sales Engineers – again, emphasizing the engineering aspect.  Unfortunately, they failed to understand that they really needed smart SALES people who could be trained in the technical benefits of their products.  The core problem here is that people who are drawn to sales usually have an entirely different set of soft skills and personality traits than engineers.  By only hiring engineers, their sales continued to slump to the point that the company struggled to survive.

Diversity of roles

Another common problem that a company may face is hiring too many managers.  While many people know about the challenges of large companies generating a wide base of middle-level managers, this issue can impact small companies as well.

For example, another small company that I worked with had 70% of their workforce with the phrase Manager, Director, or Vice President in their title.  Out of all 10 employees, only 3 of them were actual “boots on the ground” employees, performing the day-to-day work of the company.  Even when the company decided to expand their operations, they hired another Vice President rather than a team of employees to provide the heavy lifting to get the new venture off the ground and profitable.

When interviewing with a new potential employer, be sure to ask about their company structure and how many managers would be in place over you.  If the company is extremely top-heavy, it could be an indicator of problems to come.

Practicing diversity

Finally, take note of how well a company actually implements their diversity programs.  Some companies may make a real effort to hire diverse teams, yet struggle to retain those same staff members.  Rarely is this because of blatant racism or other discriminatory actions, but more of a case of just not thinking about things from the other person’s point-of-view.

For example, with one of my past positions, I had a wonderful assistant who just happened to be Jewish.  On December 1st, the owner of the company told her she had to put up all of the Christmas decorations for the office.  Of course, she wasn’t very pleased with this directive; however, she did as she was asked.

The real problem started when the owner came by to review her work and proceeded to complain loudly that the decorations weren’t done correctly.  My assistant defended her ground, pointing out that she had never put up a Christmas tree before and really didn’t understand what this was all about.

I almost lost my outstanding assistant that day, as she was ready to walk off of the job based on the insensitivity of the owner.  In the end, I finished the decorations because keeping her on my team was critical to our long-term success.

Knowing where you fit

Diversity can be a great indicator of the workplace culture for any job.  Along those lines, it’s important to define what you are looking for in an employer.  Do you want a loud, fast-paced collaborative environment where you can bounce a lot of ideas between team members?  Or do you favor a quiet workplace where you can concentrate on your tasks with little interruption?  Are you driven to meet new people or do you prefer to work alone?

By defining the elements of company culture that appeal to you the most, you are more likely to identify the opportunity when it comes along.  And remember, diversity in all of its forms can be one of the best subtle and covert ways to gauge company culture during the interview process.

Simplify your life with a Personal Assistant

Personal assistant finding her center

The right PA can bring order to any chaos

What would you do with your life if you had more time to enjoy it?  Between the demands at the office and the home, everyone gets stretched thin.  Add in the important factors of professional associations, non-profit boards, children’s schedules, and the ever-present unexpected twists of a busy life, it can be downright maddening.  Fortunately, there is a dedicated, efficient, and organized solution: the professional Personal Assistant.

Bridging the gap between the home and the office, a Personal Assistant can tackle everything from representing you at non-profit board meetings to organizing your closets.  This specialized administrative professional utilizes all of the latest technological advances to maintain comprehensive calendars that merge your business, personal, and family members’ schedules – and can do it on the fly.  Too busy to handle crucial errands like shopping, dry cleaning, and vehicle maintenance?  The Personal Assistant can not only perform the work, he or she will also memorize your favorites and preferences, making sure that everything is done to your standard of perfection.

While all Personal Assistants are focused on making your life easier, there are different levels available to fit your particular needs and lifestyle:

The Executive Personal Assistant

Often working within the business office, the Executive PA is the pinnacle of personal assistance.  Not only can this trusted right hand manage all of the duties of the typical, high-level Executive Assistant, he or she extends these services to the needs of your personal life or properties.  Frequently, this includes helping with non-profits, from Board meetings to the planning and execution of large scale fundraising events.  The EPA works very closely with the employer, which may include traveling with the principal for extended periods, both domestically and internationally.

Most EPAs possess extensive experience in business, often serving as an Executive Assistant for C-Level executives for many years before adding coordination of personal affairs to their repertoire.

The Personal Assistant

Instead of being attached to the office, the Personal Assistant is more closely related to the concerns of a single person or persons and their home.  Ideal for anyone with a busy lifestyle, the PA is a trusted partner in meeting all of those obligations. Some of the typical responsibilities include personal shopping, event planning, calendar coordination, travel planning, and even domestic staff management.  As each job is customized to meet the particular needs of the employer, the PA is the epitome of flexibility and adaptability.

Since these jobs are so unique, PAs may come from many backgrounds, such as event planners, concierge, hospitality, administrative assistants, and professional organizers.  Regardless of their history, all true PAs are masters of technology, using everything from Microsoft Office programs to mobile devices to stay on top of all the demands of their employers.

The Family Assistant

For households who may not need a full Personal Assistant, a Family Assistant is a great solution.  Many times, a FA may help care for older children after school, coordinating their activities and appointments. During the day, they handle the essential “business” of the home: budgets, shopping, home organization, social obligations, and home maintenance coordination.  While they usually don’t perform the housekeeping or cooking beyond light housework, they do manage the staff or contractors who do.

Hiring Your New Right Hand

When considering hiring a new EPA, PA, or FA, start with making a job description.  While it may evolve over time, you need to define what areas you need covered to accurately evaluate candidates.  Next, think about the level of technical skills required.  For example, do you need an expert with Microsoft Office and cloud computing, or can everything be accomplished with your iPad? Should they be an experienced event planner, or does errands and personal shopping fit your needs better? Depending on these requirements, your salary range should be competitive in the market to attract the right candidates.

Next, think about security concerns.  When hiring anyone who will be involved with your personal affairs and family members, be sure to run complete background checks, including criminal and credit checks.  Consider using testing measures as well, not only for their technical skills but also personality traits.  After all, this is someone that you will be working with closely, and you want to make sure that their personality is compatible with yours.

Many times, private employers turn to specialized employment agencies to help with their search.  In that case, do expect to pay a fee on top of the annual salary. However, keep in mind that these agents are experts in the private service industry.  As such, they can help with every phase of the job search, from developing a workable job description to conducting comprehensive background and reference checks.  Most agents are contingency-based, meaning that the placement fee is only paid when the new PA is hired.  Some, like the Personal Touch Recruitment, offers retained searches as well as contingency hiring.  In that case, the agent acts as your own personal HR department.

A Vision for You

Thanks to the help of a talented Personal Assistant, you gain the most precious commodity: time.  Time to spend with your family, your work, and your true passions – like more golf!


About the Author

Donna Shannon is the President of Personal Touch Recruitment Services, a boutique agency that helps private employers find and onboard elite professionals such as Personal Assistants and Household Managers. For over 10 years, she has worked closely with the luxury lifestyle management industry, both as a recruiter and as a career coach for private service professionals.  To find out more about Personal Touch Recruiting and all of their services, please visit:

Don’t be a Scrooge in your job search

Dickens Scrooge Man with Candlestick Walking in Winter Forest at Moonlight.

The holidays are nearly upon us. It is a time of goodwill, new beginnings and kindness. For the modern job seeker, many just put off their resumes and job searching till the first of the year. People are natural procrastinators in that respect. After all, there are not a lot of job postings or hiring going on this time of year. Everyone seems to have other things on their mind compared to a boring old resume or keeping up with their networks.

This only makes things worse for you later on.  After all, we can all learn from Scrooge that if “nothing changes, then nothing changes.”  With that in mind, what to the three Holiday Spirits – Past, Present, and Future – have to teach us about the job search?

The past: foundation to a good outcome

I like to think of the resume a representation of the past. It is quite literally a timeline of your past achievements, where you came from, and the skills you have acquired in your professional history. If your past is jumbled and unclear, your resume can feel like a looming spirit of past transgressions and culminate into a vicious cycle of infrequent interviews and even fewer job offers.

Take the time this season to explore your past and bring it to light in a positive way. Demonstrate yourself to be a viable candidate for the job you are going after with a history that shows the skills and talents employers are seeking.

The present: networking and meaningful connections

A healthy network is key in the modern era of job searching. Are you on LinkedIn? If not, we always recommend getting with it. HR departments will be looking you up on LinkedIn, making your professional social media presence more important than ever before. More importantly, LinkedIn is a great way to connect with people in your industry or with companies you would like to work for. A strong network will get you more attention from companies and the hiring managers within them.

If your network is not as established yet, you deal with another malignant ghost haunting your holidays. It often feels as if you don’t know the right people, or you can’t get the recommendations, or you are simply out of the loop.

While building the network, don’t forget to take some time with your network over the holidays, even if it is sending out a simple season’s greetings and wishing them well. One of Scrooge’s biggest mistakes was to not value his current employee, skipping over the personal connection that actually creates a positive work culture.  It took a ghost to show him Tiny Tim’s plight, even though he employed his father for years.  Be sure to reach out to your connections to show that you care.  A little kindness for your network will get you far once the holidays are over.

The future: building an effective strategy

The future looms over us all in this life and is often a source of anxiety and stress, especially for those of us out there looking for a new job. As far as most are concerned, the future and planning for it stops at decided what job their target job is. However, it takes real work to set up action steps to achieve that new position.  Without a clear strategy, life actually continues on the same path – and for Scrooge, that was foretold as a lonely and grim future.

To become a master of your own destiny, start forming a real job search plan and proactive, effective strategy. Ask yourself the following:

  • What is my target job?
  • Who are my potential employers?
  • Where are they advertising their positions?
  • What is their own presences on LinkedIn or other social media sites?
  • Do I have connections at these companies already?
  • Who should I be contacting and how do I track down their contact information?
  • When will I schedule time for my job search?
  • How will I track the results of my applications and interviews?
  • Who are my best advocates within my network?

Once you answer these questions for yourself, you will have a clearer idea of how to start your job search. If you aren’t clear about how to implement every aspect of your search, consider checking out additional resources, such as books, thought leaders, or even coaches to get you moving forward.

Taking charge of your fate

Like Scrooge, we can’t avoid the ultimate fate that waits at the end of our lives.  However, we can choose how we shall live, and that includes the opportunity to work at a job that we truly enjoy.  The important thing is to establish some realistic goals, fine tune your resume, and build a network that will help you reach it. From there, you become a better architect for your future and take it from the hands of fate.

Don’t put things off till after the holidays. Take the time now to build a great resume that highlights your glowing reputation, establish a strong and meaningful connection with the people in your network, and work out an effective set of goals to put yourself ahead of the other job seekers this winter. Happy holidays!

Perfect resume recipe

Hungry for a new job this holiday season? Follow this simple recipe for a tasty new resume and enjoy a main course of great interviews that lead to your next sweet job.


1 Microsoft Word document

3 – 4 relevant job postings

800 – 2000 words

3 cups experience

1 cup relevant skills

1 cup previous achievements

1 bottle Key Word marinade

3 tbls contact information

2 tbls education

Season to taste


  1. Preheat brain to 350 degrees. Lay out ingredients on Word Document in the following order: 3 tbls contact information, 50-70 words introductory paragraph, 1 cup relevant skills, 3 cups experience, 1 cup previous achievements, 1 tbls education. Combine ingredients in document.
  2. Place resume in warm brain for 20 minutes.
  3. Lay out relevant job postings on cutting board. Find key elements by cutting away fat, keeping only desired skills and experience. Combine to create the key word marinade.
  4. Remove resume from brain and add key word marinade. Return resume to brain and bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Season to taste with personal flavor to capture your unique personality.
  6. Garnish with cover letter and serve to potential employer.

All metaphor aside, a good resume starts with a basic understanding of what goes into making one. When writing a resume, most people ignore some essential elements.  Just like a failed soufflé, missing the essential ingredients will make the resume fall flat.  Without the right key words, it can’t pass the screening process.  Not enough spice and it will bore the hiring managers.

Don’t forget to do a taste test before sending your resume out to potential employers.  Show it to colleagues, friends, and family to get their opinion.  Remember to put more credence on the opinions of people within your industry, but multiple reviews can also spot the simple grammar or spelling error that can ruin a resume.  If you are working with a recruiter you trust, they can provide some guidance as well.

Remember, your resume should be a representation of you on paper.  You want the employers to savor it, not just screen it.  While key words can get you through the door, you still have to impress the hiring manager with your relevant knowledge, skills, and experience to land the interview.

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