Deflategate and Your Job Search

If you tell the truth, you won't forget what you said.

If you tell the truth, you won’t forget what you said.

I admit it. I live right in the heart of Patriot Land. So while, I might be biased about what did or didn’t happen, I do see how it relates to a job search. I bet you are scratching your head wondering where I’m going. It is said that the Patriots were using whatever they could to get an advantage. Job searchers do the same thing. They look for and use anything they can to get an advantage over the competition.

Using every advantage is expected in a job search. However, where does one draw the line? I recommend conducting a job search that the local newscast would find boring. Some typical dishonest actions by job searchers

  • Lying about your education to show you have better qualifications than you do.
  • Taking credit for things you didn’t do in group projects to embellish your accomplishments
  • Inflating dollar and percentage amounts to make your figures look more impressive.
  • Making up stories to answer the “tell me about time when…” question.
  • Exaggerating your previous salaries in order to bargain for a higher salary.
  • Expanding dates on your work to hide or close gaps in your résumé.
  • Falsifying your job titles so you can obtain a higher level job than you are qualified for.
  • Dropping the names of people you do not know.

Doing any of the above things is dishonest. You may think you will get away with it, but it will only be for a while. Your résumé is a marketing document whose the sole purpose of getting you an interview. The job application is a legal document signed by you attesting to the fact the information you provided is correct. Any variation between what you said or presented in your résumé is grounds for ending your candidacy or being fired should you get hired.

There are other ways companies can discover your dishonesty. Some companies perform a background check on potential employees. These checks reveal the truth not what you hope is the truth. Your references want to be credible and will strive to tell the truth. It’s their reputation at stake if they get caught in a lie.

Some interviewers are adept at discovering the truth. You may have practiced your story, but they can see a falsehood. They are watching your every move and evaluating what you say. A lie can be quickly uncovered inconsistencies in your résumé, job application and your answers. Don’t challenge them, because they have more practice than you do. You have more at stake—you want the job. Be honest. You will stand a better chance of getting and keeping the job.

Whether the footballs were deflated or not and by whom is to be determined. There are consequences for them if they did.

How can I help you in your job search?

 

Image:  freedigitalphotos.net  Stuart Miles

Do You Hate Your Job and Dread Monday? Life Is Too Short For That.

Most people hate their job.  If you do, it's time to do something about it.

Most people hate their job. If you do, it’s time to do something about it.

Is Friday the longest day of the week and Sunday the shortest? If you are one the many Americans who hate their job, you answered yes. Do you know anyone who actually loves their work? I know just a few. Most people I know hate their jobs. I had a job I thoroughly hated. I stayed because I was getting paid and that was the only reason.

Why do people hate their jobs? Well I can tell it isn’t always about the money because a raise will only make them happy for a short while. Soon they will be back to hating their job. I was in love with the work that I was doing because it was in a field that didn’t interest me. And the boss was a micro-manager who was rude to everyone.

If you hate your job, you might relate to one or more of the reasons below:

The environment is toxic: the physical space has safety issues, needs a facelift, has technical problems, has poor lighting, has temperatures that are inappropriate for the season, is too small or has noise issues. However, making corrections in this area will not solve the problem.

Relationships are toxic: The relations among leaders and with employees are broken down to the point where no one trusts anyone. Bullies exist in the workplace. Overbearing bosses and impossible deadlines contribute to bad feelings in the office. Financial issues resulting in cutbacks, layoffs, no advancement or raises are other causes. Employees do not feel appreciated; instead they feel like they are cogs in the wheel propelling the company forward.

The work itself: The work may require heavy physical labor or repetitive motions. There is no opportunity for creativity. Many tasks are unpleasant to do or you just don’t like that type of work.

People want to feel engaged and part of the greater good. They wish to make a difference and enjoy the work they do. Money and perks won’t change these things or create job satisfaction.   They want a team atmosphere where they can talk with leaders who listen and are concerned about their employees. Also, doing they want to do the work they love to do instead of fulfilling someone else’s dream.

If you aren’t happy in your job, it’s time to change it. Life is too short to spend 1/3 of it hating what you do. Start thinking about what you actually enjoy doing and look for a job doing it. It will make a difference in how you enjoy the other areas of your life. I left and so can you. Taking careful steps to look while you are working will lead to a much happier life. It did for me. Now I love what I do and enjoy Mondays.

 

How can I help you in your job search?

Interview and the Flu: What Do I Do?

Sick Young Woman Lying in Bed

If you have the flu, don’t interview.

It’s flu season. Usually, getting a flu shot would protect you but this year the shot is only 23% effective. If you are a job searcher with an interview scheduled, nothing could be worse than getting the flu when you are supposed to interview. You will do your candidacy more good by staying home than going to the interview. The people you are scheduled to meet will appreciate that you’re not sharing your germs.

 However, canceling an interview is a delicate procedure that may lead to jeopardizing your candidacy. When you cancel an interview, you aren’t guaranteed it will be rescheduled. The interviewer has the option of rescheduling if the cancellation is for good cause.

 Call to cancel your interview as soon as you know you won’t be able to make it. A day or two in advance would be ideal, but if that isn’t the case, call as early in the day of the interview as possible. Don’t leave a message. Keep calling until you are able to reach someone. The people you should call are the interviewer, the interviewer’s assistant, the person who arranged the interview or your contact in human resources. Leaving a message isn’t a good idea because it may not be read right away.

 When you reach someone, let them know that you are unable to make the interview. You can give them a brief reason for the cancellation, but don’t go into personal details; keep it professional. Apologize for the inconvenience and thank them for the consideration. It’s the right thing to do, and you want to keep the inconvenience as minimal as possible. Doing anything less is closing the door to your candidacy at the company.

 After you have spoken to a person, or if you have tried several times but have failed to reach a person, send an email. In the email, apologize for the cancellation; state a brief reason, name of the interviewer, time, date, location of the interview and the job title. Be polite and respectful in all your communications with the company.

 You will, of course, want to reschedule your interview. If they are willing to reschedule, be flexible and consider the time it will take to recuperate. If you reschedule by email, give 2 or 3 times you will be able to interview. If you are calling on the phone, ask the interviewer for a time that is suitable for the interviewer. Apologize again for the inconvenience and thank them for accommodating your needs. Follow up by sending an email to confirm the date and time of the interview.

 The best thing you can do is avoid the flu, but if you do get the flu, rest and drink plenty of fluids. To your health and job search success!

 

How can I help you with your job search?

Do You Put Your Degree Date On A Resume?

Do I or don't I add my graduation year?

Do I or don’t I add my graduation year?

At a recent networking meeting we had a lively discussion about whether job searchers should include on their résumé the year they graduated from college. The group was pretty much split down the middle. It was an important question as all the attendees were over 45.

I would like to share some points from both sides of the issue and leave it for you to decide.

Reasons for putting your graduation year: The number one reason was transparency and honesty. By including your graduation year, you are showing how open and honest you are. You don’t fear age bias and you rely on your skills and experience to prove you are qualified for the position.  

By leaving your graduation date off the résumé, you are actually calling attention to it. When the rest of the résumé contains your employment dates and your education lacks dates, there is something about it that looks odd. The reader will wonder if the applicant is too old or too young for the position.

The available technology makes it easy for anyone reading your résumé to find out how old you are.

The interviewer won’t be happy to learn they have been fooled when a person who is older than expected arrives for the interview. It leaves a bad impression when they feel they have been deceived.

Reasons against putting your graduation year: The number one reason was fighting age bias. People can be immediately disqualified for a position when the reader figures out how old the candidate is.

Along with age comes price. The older candidates cost more. This will prevent you from becoming a candidate for the position.

At , G.P.A is irrelevant and so are your major and graduation date. You have proven your capabilities by listing your experience.

The applicant just needs a chance at an interview to be able to prove their worth and dispel any misconceptions the interviewer has about older workers.

What I think: I think people should their graduation date. It creates an open and honest resume. You are how old you are. Highlight recent courses you have taken to show you are interested in learning new things. Show your accomplishments and achievements with numbers to prove how you are an excellent candidate.

So just what did we decide? Well, it ended civilly when it was declared we agreed to disagree.

What do you say? Where do you stand on this matter? Please share your thoughts on either side.        

 

How can I help you with your job search?

WITH THE NEW YEAR COMES A NEW ENERGY

The New Year brings the energy for change.

The New Year brings the energy for change.

Here we are in between Christmas and New Year.  The cooking and baking are done, and the goodies long gone from plates, but firmly stuck on your hips.  The tree is dropping needles like snowflakes in a blizzard.  The family is looking for things to do; already bored with all the new distractions.  And you are wondering what 2015 holds for you.

It’s a time when you look at your life to see what is working for you and what isn’t. It’s a time for a fresh start on things you want changed in your life. Perhaps it’s your health, your relationships, your career, or something else. Whatever needs to be changed, the New Year brings a new energy to making changes.

Life is short, we all know that. Improving your health will prolong your life. But you need quality if you have the quantity. That’s where relationships and your career come in. How are they? Are they what you want and need?

People seem to hesitate to make changes in their lives because they are comfortable with the way things are. Change scares many people because it means stepping out of their comfort zone to enter the unknown. Even knowing that there is a chance at something better makes people hesitate because they are afraid the change won’t be better; they fear it could be worse. That is why people are afraid of the unknown.

You deserve the life you imagined. If you are able to make changes, make them. Take advantage of the energy the New Year gives you. Your best life is waiting for you. Go for it!

 

How can I help you in your job search?

 

Image:  freedigitalphotos.net  stuart miles

Twas The Night Before Christmas of the Job Searcher

The stockings were hung by the fire in the hopes

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was working, not even the mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes they wouldn’t show the wear and tear.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds
While visions of ipads, Abercrombie and Fitch danced in their heads.

With bills unpaid and the mortgage due
I tried to relax and renew.
When in my chest I felt a flutter
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Right to the laptop I flew
To see what I should do.
To WebMD I went right away
By now it was all the healthcare I could pay

But what to my eyes should appear,
The reason for my flutter became clear.
With the symptoms spelled out
I knew I was stressed with no doubt
Not having a job was heavy on my mind.
I needed a job of any kind.
To Careerbuilder! To Monster! To Craigslist and Indeed.
On the company websites I had to look with speed.

I found all the jobs that I would apply
Now to create a resume without a lie
Functional or chronological, it was difficult to choose.
The only thing that mattered was the schmooze.
So I decided on one.
And from my mind the words did run.
And then in a flash it was complete.
Making it effective was quite a feat.

But there was no time to relax
It had to go by fax.
Each had a cover letter
To make my skills and experience look better.
Sending a packet to each firm
I wondered who would confirm.
The fax machine LCD twinkled on each transmission
While I only hoped for a successful reception.
The tones and beeps confirmed my premonition
I was on my way to ending this transition.

The cookies set out for Santa before
Were my fuel for this tedious chore.
One by one the resumes were fed into the machine
To finish this task I would surely need caffeine.
This would be a good job for some little elf.
I laughed when I thought of this in spite of myself.
Soon I realized I had nothing to dread
Because doing it myself they would arrive and maybe read.

Without taking a break, I continued my work
I wanted to finish before I went berserk.
The hour was late and I wanted to doze,
But needed to finish before everyone arose.
I finished at last with some time to spare
And decided to spend the rest of the night in my chair.
I managed to utter before my head started to bob
Happy Christmas to all and to all good a job!

The Best Thing for Your Holiday Job Search

Put aside your job search for a while and enjoy the holidays.

Put aside your job search for a while and enjoy the holidays.

One thing on shopping lists at this time of the year is batteries.  Batteries come in different sizes to accommodate the various toys and electronics they will be used to power.  You want the ones that will keep going, and going, and going.

You are like batteries when you search for a job.  You keep going, and going, and going.  But like batteries, you will lose power and need to recharge.  For the next couple of weeks, take time off from your job search.  You have worked hard on your search for a long time.  It’s time for you to enjoy the holiday.  Think of it as your holiday vacation.

Taking some time off from your job search won’t hurt. In fact, it can only help.   In order to recharge most batteries, they need to be not working when recharging.  That is what you should be doing.  Be fully in the moment without the job search being on your mind.  Put it out of your mind and concentrate on the holiday.

You can put to rest the resumes and cover letters, refrain from searching the big boards for open positions, and anxiously waiting for the phone to ring with an interview or job offer.  The only thing you will need to continue is networking.  Nevertheless, you can build relationships instead of leads, relationships that you can follow-up on after the New Year and should certainly do so.  You can enjoy the friendship and conversation instead of trying to get a sense of whether this person can help you.

Make some time for you.  Relax, read a book, take a nap.  Do whatever makes you feel good and less stressed. Watch your favorite holiday movies and other things that make you feel good.  Spend some time laughing with others.  When you get back to your job search, you will feel rejuvenated and ready to go. 

Make happy memories with family and friends.  With this time, you can do things you haven’t done because you didn’t have the time.  Do some cooking and baking; they make delicious gifts.  Decorate your home.  Attend the parties and events that you haven’t been able to in the past.  Enjoy the holidays and what comes with them.

Yes, enjoy the even the children wired up from eating too many cookies and too much candy; the friend or relative who had just a drop too much of Christmas cheer; the crowded stores and traffic; and the unsolicited advice from yet other well-meaning source.   These, too, are what memories are made of.

Enjoy this respite because this little break is soon over. On January 2, you will be back at your job search rested and ready to go with new enthusiasm. 

How can I help you in your job search?

image:  freedigitalphotos.net  gualberto 107

The Best Thing for Your Holiday Job Search

Put aside your job search for a while and enjoy the holidays.

Put aside your job search for a while and enjoy the holidays.

One thing on shopping lists at this time of the year is batteries.  Batteries come in different sizes to accommodate the various toys and electronics they will be used to power.  You want the ones that will keep going, and going, and going.

You are like batteries when you search for a job.  You keep going, and going, and going.  But like batteries, you will lose power and need to recharge.  For the next couple of weeks, take time off from your job search.  You have worked hard on your search for a long time.  It’s time for you to enjoy the holiday.  Think of it as your holiday vacation.

Taking some time off from your job search won’t hurt. In fact, it can only help.   In order to recharge most batteries, they need to be not working when recharging.  That is what you should be doing.  Be fully in the moment without the job search being on your mind.  Put it out of your mind and concentrate on the holiday.

You can put to rest the resumes and cover letters, refrain from searching the big boards for open positions, and anxiously waiting for the phone to ring with an interview or job offer.  The only thing you will need to continue is networking.  Nevertheless, you can build relationships instead of leads, relationships that you can follow-up on after the New Year and should certainly do so.  You can enjoy the friendship and conversation instead of trying to get a sense of whether this person can help you.

Make some time for you.  Relax, read a book, take a nap.  Do whatever makes you feel good and less stressed. Watch your favorite holiday movies and other things that make you feel good.  Spend some time laughing with others.  When you get back to your job search, you will feel rejuvenated and ready to go. 

Make happy memories with family and friends.  With this time, you can do things you haven’t done because you didn’t have the time.  Do some cooking and baking; they make delicious gifts.  Decorate your home.  Attend the parties and events that you haven’t been able to in the past.  Enjoy the holidays and what comes with them.

Yes, enjoy the even the children wired up from eating too many cookies and too much candy; the friend or relative who had just a drop too much of Christmas cheer; the crowded stores and traffic; and the unsolicited advice from yet other well-meaning source.   These, too, are what memories are made of.

Enjoy this respite because this little break is soon over. On January 2, you will be back at your job search rested and ready to go with new enthusiasm. 

How can I help you in your job search?

It’s All About the Gratitude

Don't let people forget you.

Don’t let people forget you.

When my children were little, I would take a holiday photo of them in festive clothes and cute poses so that friends and relatives could see how they had grown in the previous year.  Then I would write our names in the cards and address the envelopes.  People enjoyed receiving the photos.  I would see them posted on refrigerators through the year.

The most difficult part was the letter that I would send to let people know what we had done in the last year.  It had to be worded just right.  I didn’t want to sound like I was bragging, but then I didn’t want to share the distressing news.  Finding just the right balance took time. 

That’s what holiday cards are all about, letting people know what has happened to us during the last year and wishing them well in the coming year.  But if you are a job searcher, thanking those who have helped you in any way is the best way for people to remember you.

It’s best to send a generic New Year greeting to thank your friends, contacts, recruiters, former managers, colleagues, customers and vendors to avoid offending anyone not celebrating the holiday season. It will be counterproductive if you show insensitivity to other’s beliefs.  

If anyone of the above has helped you in any way, send a card in the mail.  If you are just touching base to remind them of your relationship, an email message that is sincere is proper.  Consider bringing them up-to-date briefly on your current situation. It’s more about the appreciation.  Share a story, article, thought, or memory because you are building a relationship. 

In the spirit of building a relationship, suggest getting together for coffee in the coming weeks.  Keep it light and friendly and not desperate or depressed.  Include your name and contact information in the card.  I don’t think a business card sends a warm fuzzy, holiday feeling.  You are staying in touch or thanking them for a favor you received; not looking for a job. 

It isn’t too late to send out cards. Your goal is sending out New Year greetings, not Christmas.  So you have time to get these out.  In fact, you can wait until the day after Christmas to choose your cards when they all go on sale.  And who doesn’t want to save money. 

Give people thanks for what they have done for you this year as a gentle reminder about your status; if they hear of something they are more likely to think of you for the position.  You don’t need to make it a long message; just enough to let them know you appreciate their help.

How can I help you with your job search?

10 Gifts Job Searchers Need But Won’t Ask For

Sometimes the best gifts can't be wrapped.

Sometimes the best gifts can’t be wrapped.

Ask a job searcher what they want for Christmas.  From my experience, the answer is “a job.”  The last thing a job searcher needs is a scented candle or a box of chocolates.  While these gifts are delightful, they don’t give the job searcher what he/she really needs—meaningful employment and a paycheck.  You can be assured a job searcher won’t want to impose.

Some of the best gifts don’t cost anything at all.  The most thoughtful gifts are ones that show the recipient that you are aware of their needs and likes.  Most of the items in the following list can’t be wrapped and placed under the tree, but they can be given sincerely to help someone succeed.

  1. Introduce the job searcher to one or more of your contacts.  Over 85% of jobs are obtained through networking. The one you introduce them to could be THE ONE.
  2. Offer to practice the interview and offer constructive criticism.  Interviewing is stressful; practice helps to reduce some of the stress.
  3. Volunteer to proofread their resumes and cover letters before they send them out.  Be willing to do this often as job searchers need to send a separate resume for each position.
  4. Keep in touch.  Contact and socializing are beneficial to everyone.  The relationship with other people is vital at this time.  Their confidence and dignity have been reduced, and spending day after day on the computer alone can take its toll.
  5. Bring them as a guest to your gym.  Exercise relieves stress and keeps the mind sharp.   Or offer to be a walking buddy.
  6. When job searchers get discouraged, they find it difficult to keep up the job search.  An accountability buddy will keep them on task.  However, you want to be firm but patient
  7. Take the job searcher out for coffee/lunch to brainstorm search strategies, companies, contacts and such.  Or just let them vent without judging them.  They need someone to listen to them.  You don’t have to give advice or say anything meaningful.  Moral support during this difficult time is critical.
  8. Give an order of business cards on quality cardstock or a pad folio for a professional look when networking or interviewing. gift card/cash comes in handy in so many ways.  Buying food, gas, clothes, and paying bills is hard at this time.
  9. Provide some time with a career coach to evaluate their job search and make recommendations for improvements for quicker success.
  10. A gift certificate for personal grooming with a barber or hair stylist. A job searcher can use it before an interview or networking event.

It isn’t too late; there is still time to get the job searcher you know what he or she actually wants.  It will help to know that it can be a touchy subject to offer unsolicited advice.  So proceed carefully and tactfully.   Be assured that the support you give will be highly appreciated.

How can I help you in your job search?

Less is Success When Searching for a Job during the Holidays or Anytime

Less is success

Less is success

During this holiday season, you are combing a job search with holiday preparations. At this point, you are probably stressing yourself trying to get everything done. I don’t have advice on how to cut your stress about your holiday preparations, but I do have some advice about your job search.

If you are like most people, you are trying to get a job as quickly as you can. There are many ways to accomplish this task but only some are successful. One method that isn’t very successful is the spray and pray approach. It involves applying to everything and anything you see that you are qualified for, are interested in or are willing to do.

It sounds like a good idea for getting a job a.s.a.p. However, it isn’t a very good plan for many reasons. But for my purposes here, I want to discuss two sources of job search frustration resulting from the spray and pray approach.

The first is “the black hole.” Ever heard of “ the black hole?” That is where your résumé goes when you apply for positions that don’t match your skills and experience. Even though you are willing to learn how to do the job or are prepared to take a lower level position, the employer doesn’t see it your way. He/she is looking for the person who best fits the needs of the job.

The second is silence. Job searchers complain about the lack of communication from companies. When too many people apply for open positions, it creates an overwhelming number of resumes. It makes responding to each one an impossible task, and you feel frustrated because you haven’t heard from the company.

The way to avoid job search frustration is to target your job search. Only apply for jobs that you are absolutely qualified for and have experience. Of course, this will significantly cut the number of resumes you send. It’s a time saver as you are not spending the time to tailor your résumé to highlight your skills and experience for a position that you won’t be considered. And you won’t feel frustrated that you haven’t heard from the company.

Targeting your job search activities to only positions that are relevant for you saves time and frustration during a season when there are many other things taking your attention and causing your anxiety. Don’t let your job search be one of them. Success will come quicker when you are only looking for jobs that you will have a chance of obtaining. You will be able to spend more time with family and friends and enjoy the holidays.

 

How can I help you in your job search?

Holiday Networking Success for Introverts Part II

I can network.

I can do this.

In my last post, I shared with you steps you can take to prepare for a networking event and that you should practice so that you will have an easier time when you get to the event. Tips on what to do when you are there and after are below.

While you are there, step out of your comfort zone and build relationships with people who will benefit from knowing you. You have prepared and practiced, and now it’s show time

  • Arrive early before the bulk of the crowd arrives. You will feel less intimidated with only a few people in the room.
  • Bring a trusted friend/colleague to introduce you to others, provide emotional support, and tips for success.
  • Look around the room for someone who looks like you feel. Engaging in conversation with this person is a low risk way to start the event.
  • No matter how many people are at the event, you don’t have to connect with all of them. You have set a goal. Once you have reached your goal you can either continue or stop the choice is yours.
  • It’s a good idea to take a break from networking to restore your energy. Every venue will have a restroom where you can retreat to. Find a quiet corner to check your email/voice mail or reread your notes and goals. With a boost of energy, you can continue to work the room.
  • Fake it until you make it. Walking around the room with a smile, firm handshake and welcoming body language no one will see the terror that is raging throughout your body.
  • Once you have engaged someone in conversation, you can take on the role of listener. Allow them to do what most people enjoy-talking about them while it takes the pressure from you to keep the conversation going.
  • Know when and how to end the conversation. There is something to be said about less is more. Instead of getting to the point where you start rambling or fumbling for more conversation, thank them for taking the time to talk with you; acknowledge they must have many people they want to see; you appreciate their time; and you would like to continue the conversation at a mutually convenient time.
  • Ask for a business card or contact information so that you can follow-up.

After the event you are finished the hard part, but there is still some work to do. But you will be more comfortable connecting one-on-one and have had time to relax and recharge.

  • Look at your goals and see if you accomplished them. If the answer is yes, give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done. If not, don’t beat yourself up It isn’t about the quantity of your network it is the quality. You stepped out of your comfort zone and put yourself out there.
  • Follow up in the way you said you would. You worked hard to get the contact, don’t lose it by not following up. Networking is about building a relationship not just collecting connections. It will serve you later down the road.

You have something to offer everyone you talk to, and they want to meet you. These tips are meant to help you in doing what is uncomfortable for you. Don’t hide in a quiet corner, got out there– mix and mingle your way to success.

How can I help you in your job search?

Holiday Networking Success for Introverts Part I

I hate networking

I hate networking

It seems that the road to success is networking.  It can be career suicide if you fail to network in this day and age.  Everyone is doing it and needs to do it.  But for many, networking is more painful than anything imaginable.   For introverts, shy people and those who are socially challenged, it doesn’t mean the end of the world.  With the helpful tips found here, you can build a network to match any extrovert.

Before you go to the event, prepare and practice.   Having done this ahead of time will take some of the pressure off while you are in the situation.  You will know what to say, how to say it, and when to quit.

  • Prepare:
    • Write 3-5 open-ended questions that are appropriate for everyone in the room.  Questions about the venue, food, weather, upcoming holiday, etc. act as a lead-in to a conversation.
    • Know what’s going on around you and in the world so that you are can keep up with conversations by reading the newspaper, listening/watching the news, and keeping up with other current events.
    • If possible, find out who will be there ahead of time.  Do a Google/LinkedIn search on people you are interested in meeting.  When you have some background information, you can prepare questions and have some knowledge about the person so you won’t be at a loss for words.
    • Assemble a list of goals you would like to achieve at the event.  Find a reasonable number of people you would like to connect with at the event.  You don’t need to talk to everyone, but having a number will keep you focused on continuing the networking.
  • Practice:
    • Ask family and close friends to help you prepare for the event by allowing you to practice your questions, rehearse body language that is welcoming, friendly and social, and prepare general chit-chat.   Ask them for honest feedback and take their suggestions for improvement.
    • Go over your elevator speech many times so it comes out sounding natural and not over-rehearsed.
    • Practicing while you are in a safe environment will give you confidence.  The more you practice the better and more self-confident you will become, which makes networking so much easier.

My next post will help you when you are at the event and after the event.  In the meantime, start preparing and practicing.  It’s never too early to be ready.

How can I help you in your job search?

Five Things You Should Know About Networking during the Holidays

laughing at a party

It’s the best time to be looking for a job.   It’s a highly social time of the year. Everyone is hosting a party to celebrate a holiday or the end of the year.  Due to the nature of the holidays, people are in a giving mood.  Attend as many events as you can and meet as many people as you can. 

Here are five things you should know to make this holiday season’s networking successful for you.

Networking isn’t about getting the job.  It’s about establishing relationships with people.  It’s about being giving and taking with you doing quite a bit of giving while establishing a relationship.  Give with a sincere and generous spirit instead of “I’ll give now but you will have to give later.”  That’s a one-sided relationship.  While networking in this way, you need patience.  Things will not happen overnight.  But, you are laying foundations and planting seeds that will pay off in the long run.

Know how to start conversations.  People are not going to events looking for you.  You are looking for them.  Before the event, take a look at the news to see what people are talking about.  Some good starters are the weather, the venue and the refreshments, the event sponsor/host, or local sports teams.  Avoid hot topics such as politics and religion. 

Follow up.  Building a relationship requires contact after the first conversation.  Remember to continue the relationship after the holidays. During the conversation, note the things that interest them or some problem they want solved.   When you follow-up, include where you met and a little about your conversation.

Some tips. 

                      Dress—You don’t want to be remembered for the “outfit” you were wearing.   Keep your apparel festive but conservative.

                      Food—Don’t over indulge at any party.  It’s a long season with delicious, tempting food resulting in holiday weight gain you will regret in the New Year.

                      Alcohol—Avoid alcohol; stick to soft drinks or club soda.  You reduce your inhibitions and run the risk of not remembering the people you spoke to and what you said you would follow-up on. And you don’t want to embarrass yourself.

                      Business cards and resumes—Bring plenty of business cards with you; you don’t want to run out when you meet “the” person.  Wait for a request for your résumé before sending it out and don’t give it at networking events.  

Final thoughts.  Your mindset will go a long way in determining how successful you are during the holiday season.  People like friendly, positive people.  They will be more willing to help you if you are a likeable person. 

The holiday season is the best time to build your network.  Family, friends, companies, schools, associations and clubs celebrate at the end of the year.  Be prepared to meet people and add to your network.  Enjoy yourself, be positive and a new job will be waiting for you in the New Year.

How can I help you in your job search?

Beat Holiday and Job Search Blues

The Holidays are a tough time to be in transition.

The Holidays are a tough time to be in transition.

For many people engaged in the job search, the holidays bring on the blues.   Why this is the case varies from person to person. There are many reasons: too many things to do, wishing to have a “perfect” season, family issues, and a decrease in daylight. The job searcher experiences these, in addition to looking for a job with little or no success.

The blues are often associated with something we do not have, a loved one, time, a job or the perfect family. Many times the things we have lost can’t come back, but we can make changes to deal with the situation. So how does one overcome the holiday and job search blues? There are several ways, and I have listed a few of them here.

  1. Planning—When we overbook ourselves and don’t leave enough time to rest and do everything we need and want to do, it puts pressure on us to accomplish everything in a timely fashion. Make a schedule and leave enough time for the unexpected. Part of the pressure is trying to do everything in a short period.
  2. Limit Expectations—Martha Stewart has a beautifully decorated home, delicious food, and thoughtful homemade gifts. I will let you in on a little secret. She has plenty of staff to help her; she is not doing it all by herself. You are only one person, and unless you have a staff, you can only do so much. Only expect to accomplish what is reasonable for you.
  3. Gratitude—Be thankful for what you do have. Wanting causes anxiety. You have more than many people, so enjoy what you have. When you do you become a more positive Instead of dwelling on what you do not have and wanting more, you are grateful for what you do have. It creates a positive attitude that shows when you are networking and/or interviewing.
  4. Express Gratitude—Appreciate the people who have helped and supported you along the way. It is a fitting time to say “thank you.” People will not notice if you do not, but will appreciate it when you do. It makes them more willing to help you because they know you appreciate their efforts and are not taking them for granted.  

Having peace of mind during this stressful time of year makes the season easier to bear and makes people willing to help you. How you respond to your situation makes a difference in how the blues affect you.

How can I help you in your job search?

The blues range from mild to severe. The suggestions in this article are intended to handle only the mild forms. If you are suffering from a more severe form of the blues, it is suggested that you seek professional help.

Image:  imagerymajestic

Coping with the Family and Looking for a Job

Yes, you CAN have a good time at a family gathering.

Yes, you CAN have a good time at a family gathering.

In a parody of seasonal favorite “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” one of The Twelve Pains of Christmas is facing the in-laws. Well, it isn’t just the in-laws that can be a pain, but your family as well. Whether immediate or extended, your family has your best interest in mind. The holiday season is likely to do one thing: bring everyone together, the in-laws and the outlaws. But you can make the season less agonizing.

One of the conversations is sure to be your lack of employment. You can expect advice, criticism and lots of questions. As someone who is searching for a job, you can take steps to prevent attacks and make attending holiday gatherings enjoyable. Planning ahead a little, instead of dreading it, will make family gatherings better for you.

The key is to take the initiative and bring up the situation. By doing so, you take control of the situation because you have determined the ground rules beforehand. And you will follow your rules regardless of what others do or say. Stand firm; this is a commitment to you.

Step 1  In the days leading up to the occasion, decide what you want people to know. Because you know them so well, you can predict what comments they will have. Write it all down.

Step 2  Look at what you have written and take each statement one by one. Write down how you want to respond. Rewrite, tweak, then practice, practice, practice your responses. You should be able to deliver them without missing a thought or idea.

Step 3  Pre-arrange a sign with a trusted ally. When you make the sign, your ally is prepared to intervene and get you out of the situation ASAP. This signal should be subtle and discreet—remove your glasses, tie/scarf, or tug your right ear. It can be a life saver. You won’t have to leave the gathering, just that person.

Step 4  When you arrive at the event, you get to choose the time and place to use your prepared statement. Say what you have planned and don’t allow anyone to interrupt you. When you finish, show that you are not interested in discussing it further. It’s a party! By all means stay calm and respectful. One more thing: Remain alcohol-free when you do this. It adds to your credibility.

Step 5  Enjoy the rest of the event! You will enjoy the rest of the event if you continue to stick to the promise you made to yourself.

Gathering for the holidays is meant to be fun and enjoyable for everyone. But every family has ways of pushing buttons. Sometimes, it is all in good fun; other times, not so. This can be hurtful for the person on the receiving end, even when comments are intended to be in good fun or to be genuinely helpful. With a little planning and lots of patience, the holidays with family can be the happy times they are meant to be. Enjoy the holidays and your family!!

 

How can I help you in your job search?

Holiday Job Search Myths—Busted!

Santa has many requests for a new job.

Santa has many requests for a new job.

The holidays are filled with myths.  One man can deliver toys to every child in the world in one night with flying reindeer.  A snowman that can walk, talk and sing just the same as you and me.  An elf that sits on a shelf in your home can keep children in line.  Children believe these myths , but adults believe in other myths.  Job searchers, for example, believe that the holiday season is the time to put the job search on hold until the New Year.

There isn’t anything further from the truth than the last six weeks of the year are the worst for job searchers.  In fact, yesterday I talked to a woman getting ready for an interview and a man who was sent a job description and encouraged to apply.  If the hiring myth were true, neither of these two people would be working on interview and resume skills.

The truth is you are as likely to get hired at this time as any other time of the year.  Let me show you:

No one hires during the holiday season.       

Yes they do. 

  1. Openings need to be filled to complete staffing requirements.
  2. Managers want a complete staff ready to hit the ground running at the first of the New Year. 
  3. Some companies have fiscal years that coincide with the calendar year.  If they don’t fill their staff, they could lose the position.
  4. Headhunters are motivated to get their bonuses.  Positions that they haven’t been working on will suddenly become their number 1 priority.

No one is around so getting an interview is difficult.          

Part of that is true. 

Not everyone is in every day.  So setting up an interview is difficult. You may have to go in several times and/or at odd times to accommodate their schedules.  But flexibility on your part could get you the job instead of someone who only wants a perfect interview schedule.

People aren’t available during the holidays.  

Again only partially true.

  1. The company still has to conduct business.  So people are around.  The good news is that the gatekeeper may not be around. Resulting in the hiring manager may answer their own phone or a temp worker who doesn’t know the policies may put your call through.
  2. Trade shows are over, out-of-town traveling is over, and the people you want to see may be available.
  3. Mangers are tying up loose ends before the end of the year, and they are reviewing plans for the New Year. 

The best thing you can do is take advantage of the fact that many people believe these myths and stop their job search.  So while your competition is taking the holiday off, stay on course, be flexible and don’t give up.  You will have a job in the New Year while the others are dusting off their resumes.

 

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Creative Non-Retail Seasonal Jobs That Bring In Cash

Use your skills and interests to make holiday cash.

Use your skills and interests to make holiday cash.

It’s that time again – the holiday season. For some job searchers, it means time off from the job search (a topic for another post to come). But the wisest job searchers know that the holiday season is just as good as any other time to be successful in the job search.

The most common seasonal jobs are retail jobs. However, if retail doesn’t interest you, there are plenty of other choices. Here are some common and unique seasonal jobs.

1. Mall Santa—If you like children, then this is for you. Some children will love you; others will fear you. A little research on what children ask for today goes a long way in helping you to connect with the children.

2. DJ—Many people and companies give holiday parties. Whether in private homes, restaurants, or function halls, no holiday party is complete without lively seasonal music. People who DJ for a living are booked months in advance, so the jobs you get may come with little notice. Digital music requires less equipment than vinyl records. Load your computer with your music, borrow or buy used speakers, and you are set to go.

3. Catering/Wait Staff—If you can cook what people like and it’s delicious, you can make money. Can’t cook but you can serve food and help clean up. You also have a job. Check with several catering companies and give your name for seasonal help, or spread the word among friends and family.

4. Electronic Whiz—If you know your way around a computer or tablet, or can set up a flat screen TV with surround sound, you will be in demand after people receive these coveted gifts. Often people buy these gifts for people who have no idea how to set up or use them. Let friends and family know that you can set up or teach how to use electronic gifts, and ask them to spread the word.

5. Temporary Office Worker—Employees using up their vacation time leave a hole in the department staff. Some companies hire temporary workers to fill the gaps. Use this opportunity to shine and show the manager the value you bring to the company. They may not want to let you go and may be able to find a spot for you.

6. Personal Assistant—Some people are too busy for the holidays. They need someone to shop for them, wrap gifts, write holiday cards, organize private parties, or run errands. You can do these tasks for them. It’s a terrific way to show people who have connections what a talented worker you are.

7. Photographer—If you have a camera and patience, you could photograph pets and children. A little imagination for unique shots and patience with fidgety children and finicky pets will bring you many opportunities to network with others.

8. Holiday Decorator—Decorate homes either indoors or outdoors. People pay other people to put up their decorations and take them down after the holiday season. When you talk to one client, ask if their neighbors would be interested in your services.

These are only a few of the things you can do to make some money over the holidays. With a little imagination, you can think of what you can do for others. You will be making money and networking at the same time.
How can I help you in your job search?

 

How can I help you in your job search?

 

image:  freedigitalphotos.net:  stockimages

 

Are you employed but should be looking for a job?

There are many names for bullying, but the results are the same.

There are many names for bullying, but the results are the same.

Many people employed should be looking for a job. They should be proactive in their career. The reason I say this is because it happened again late last week. Another friend contacted me because she got suspended from work. She should have looked before that.

You see, my friend Bella was suspended because she had a “hostile attitude”. Nothing could be further from the truth. Bella was a victim of bullying. For whatever the reason Bella’s boss did not like Bella and created a “hostile” work environment for her. The manager favored one over Bella aggravating the situation.

Bella tried to ignore the situation by doing her best in everything she did. However, that only made matters worse. The better she did; the worse her boss made it for Bella. Thinking she could overcome the bullying; she stayed. I do not think Bella realized she was being bullied. She called it being picked on. But being picked on is another way to say bullied.

The bullying ended when Bella’s boss finally had enough “proof” to suspend her. In a meeting with the big boss, Bella’s boss shared story after story of how Bella had a bad attitude and created a “hostile environment”. The big boss believed Bella’s boss and not Bella. She was ordered to take her personal belongs and leave the building. If there were such a thing as a bullying handbook, this incident could have been taken from it.
Living paycheck to paycheck did not allow Bella to save for a rainy day. Now, Bella is scrambling to find work and trying to collect unemployment. A proactive approach would have been for Bella to get out of the situation instead of trying to stick it out.

Too many people like Bella try to stick it out. It is doubtful that anyone being bullied in the workplace will win. The bullies have too many people on their side. They have followers who know what side they should be on or else.

It is unbelievable that bullies get away with what they do. How is it that management cannot see what is going on? How did the bully get so powerful? How do they choose their victim? These and many other questions remain. There is an excellent website that is fighting workplace bullying. http://www.workplacebullying.org/ This site had information about what bullying is, how to fight it and legislation in states to prevent it.
If you are being bullied, harassed, tormented, threatened or being picked on, sticking it out isn’t the answer. Take proactive steps to put an end to the bullying or get out. You have the right to work without fearing the bully and their team.

 

How can I help you in your job search?

image:  freedigitalphotos.net  David Castillo Dominici

 

Job Search Success=Mind, Body, Spirit and Know-How

Success equals mind, body, spirit and know-how

Success equals mind, body, spirit and know-how


There are many ideas on how to conduct a successful job search. And every strategy and technique is helpful to someone. There is no one best method for everyone. The job search is an individual thing. What works for one doesn’t work for another. I see the proof with each client I work with.

Different industries, companies and hiring managers influence the job search requirements. It is necessary for each job searcher needs a tool box full of strategies and techniques and know how and when each is used.

The tools and techniques go beyond the resume, cover letter and interview. There are other tools that as well. Tools that are used in other aspects of life, unlike the resume, cover letter and interview. They are mind, body and spirit. Used in conjunction with the traditional job search methods yield success.

The following four websites provide information on mind, body, spirit and job search know-how that will help you to be successful in your job search.

Mind:

http://www.happify.com/ Happify uses science and technology to make people feel happier than they are currently. Using the free resources are useful in helping you to see what goes into being happy. There are activities and articles on the free version of the site that are very helpful. And of course there is a premium version with more resources. The activities are life changing habits.

Body:

http://thesoulofhealth.com/nutrition-stress/ Abigail J. Dougherty, RD, LD/N is a Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Expert. This article on her website details the connection food has on stress. Included are specific and categories of food that aid in fighting stress.

Spirit:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044464?pg=1 The Mayo Clinic is recognized as a world leader in medicine. This article on their website explains the importance of spirituality in a healthy life and makes suggestions on how to merge spirituality into daily life. This site does not encourage participation in any one organized religion but rather asks questions to raise the awareness of the importance and need for spirituality.

Success:

http://www.sparringmind.com/perfect-email/ How to Email Busy People (Without Being Annoying) is a blog by Gregory Ciotti. Although not a mind, body or spirit tool, it is a practical job search tool that gets your email read. If you are going to send an email, you want it read in order to get results. Gregory has some practical and easy tips to follow.

The above websites were selected from thousands with all good information. If you have any websites that you find particularly helpful, I would love to know about them. Sharing information and resources is a valuable way to fill up your job search success toolbox.

How can I help you in your job search?

Unemployment and Professional Associations: Now you have to pay or do you?

What do you do when you need to renew your professional association memberships while you are unemployed? The expensive membership costs covered by your former

Association conventions are key networking events.

Association conventions are key networking events.

employer that benefitted both of you is now your responsibility. But because you are unemployed, the dues and fees are the sources of financial questions. Let me tell you about a client that handled this issue quite successfully.  

 My client was a member of several professional associations, and the costs were picked up by his employer.  He attended the conferences and conventions also paid for by his employer.  The arrangement worked great for over ten years.  He attended all the events sponsored by the organizations; learned new things and brought back the information back to the company.  The company benefitted when my client used the knowledge gained at these events to improve his work performance.

Then my client got laid off.  The company no longer paid the dues and fees.  Now he was in a catch 22 situation.  He needed to attend the events in order to network but couldn’t afford the costs.  The real kicker came when it was time for the annual convention, and he would not be able to attend because of the high costs.  He needed to attend and network with people in his industry that could be of help to him.  Yes, he was connected to some on LinkedIn, but not everyone was on LinkedIn.  

After thinking about it for a few weeks, he emailed the membership coordinator with the details of his situation.  He asked if it would be possible to attend for only one day.  The cost would be lower, and no overnight stay at an expensive hotel.  He had nothing to lose.  The worse they could say was no. The membership coordinator agreed to allow him to attend on the day the vendors attend.  Perfect!  Vendors make great contacts, as they know what is going on in competitor’s companies.

So my client attended and brought his professional camera equipment. He offered to take pictures of the event and give them to the association in return for his attendance. He had a great day meeting and talked to many people.  He made contacts with new people and he was leaving and thanking the membership coordinator, someone asked if he were attending the banquet.  He answered no, but the membership coordinator said that it would be great if he joined them.  So he did.  

Having his camera handy was the best decision he made.  During the banquet, he took pictures of people to share with the association.  He used this opportunity to photograph people he would never have been in contact with because of the level.  It was an excellent way to get their names, companies and meet them.  Follow up was easy because he was able to send them the pictures he took.  Everyone likes to receive pictures of them.  It was the perfect way to meet some important people.

He had many conversations with people he made contact with that day and got several interviews.  Although he ultimately accepted an offer that came about from a source other than the convention, he made connections with people he would never have. All because he asked.

By just asking his various professional associations, he received both good and bad news. The good news was he attended an important conference for one day free, and another group allowed him to renew his membership at a much lower student rate with the same benefits.

Don’t be afraid to approach the membership coordinators with an explanation of your situation.  People are far more generous than you ever imagined.  Some associations will make allowances on a case by case basis; others have set protocols in place to handle these issues.  All you have to do is ask.  The worse they can say is no.  Best case is they give you what you want.  However, you have to step out of your comfort zone to ask because they cannot read your mind.    

 

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Interview Lessons Learned from Halloween

Interviews can be a trick or a treat.

Interviews can be a trick or a treat.

Halloween is here. Just ask the kids who have their costumes ready and can taste the candy. They have been preparing for a long time. I remember as a kid, the summer would be spent deciding how I would dress for the big day. But as a career coach, I think about how trick or treating can teach job searchers about interviewing.

Halloween means costumes, getting candy for just showing up and remembering to say thank you. Interviewing means interview suit, proving you are the best candidate and remembering to say thank you.

  • Costumes—you don’t wear your Halloween costume every day, and you don’t dress as your best professional self every day. Just as you spent a long time finding the perfect costume, you must find the perfect interview clothes. You want to be dressed to express your interest in the job appropriately. You don’t want to dress too casually or overly formal. The type of company, the job and your personality determines the right balance for you. It is common knowledge in human resources that the day of the interview is the best dressed they will ever see you.
  •  It isn’t about you getting the candy–Unlike Halloween; you don’t get the candy for just showing up and ringing the doorbell. It is about showing up ready to show the company how you are the best candidate for the job. You must prove to them you understand their need and how your skills and experience are the best fit. Only one person gets the job; not everyone who applies or interviewed. There is only one position, and it is going to the best. Prepare and practice to impress the company.
  •  Remember to say thank you--just as you said thank you after someone dropped a candy bar in your bag, you must remember your manners and say thank you after the interview. Why? Because it is your opportunity to show the company your good manners. Good manners are only a small reason for the thank you note. It is your way of following up to give them a gentle reminder who you are and what you can do for them.

While waiting for ghosts, witches, hobos and princesses to show up at your door, prepare and practice some basic interview questions. The fundamental questions such as, what is your biggest weakness; what is your greatest strength; why should we hire you; and tell me about yourself. The candidate who proves they are the best will get the job.

 

How can I help you in your job search?

The One Skill Every Job Searcher Needs

Waiting, waiting, waiting, that's the job search.

Waiting, waiting, waiting, that’s the job search.

What is the one skill every job searcher needs no matter what their occupation or experience level?  It’s a skill that some people have naturally, and others have to develop.  Sometimes you have this power in abundance and other times it’s in short supply.  One thing is for sure if you are looking for a job; you need it.

Have you guessed what the skill is yet?  If you haven’t it’s patience.  The job search is an exercise in patience.  There is no getting around it.  You are going to need patience every step of the process.  From  waiting to hear from the people you connect with at networking events to starting the job after you accept an offer, time goes by slowly for the job searcher.

However, on the other side, the company side, time isn’t the same urgent issue it is for the job searcher.  They will work on the job when they are ready and only when they are good and ready.  The job searcher is at the mercy of the human resources and the hiring manager.  Hiring for the position you are interested in is only one item on their to do list.  And the priority it has varies day-to-day.  

So what is a job searcher to do?  My mother wasn’t a job searcher, but she always said, “God, grant me patience NOW!”  It didn’t work for her, and I doubt it will work for you.  So you should try something else.

The first thing is to realize that your urgent need for a job isn’t an immediate task for the company.  Once you understand this fact, the rest will be easier.  Second, learn patience. That is easier said than done.  And finally, it requires continuous practice.

The first step shouldn’t take too long to learn.  Your work experience will remind you how long things take to get done in companies.  You have experienced this in your last job.  Nothing happens instantly; there is a step-by-step process that requires someone to sign off on each step.  Throw in a vacation or day off here and there, the process lengthens.

The second step is the one that will take the most work.  Do everything in your power to get the outcome you desire.  Make the connections, send a résumé or go on an interview, and do a follow-up. Let go of what is making you impatient.  Distract yourself with other things instead of dwelling on the one issue.  Remember that not everything is about you.  You have to wait your turn.  Keep thinking positive thoughts.  
And the last step is keep doing what you did in the second step until you hear the outcome.  However, you will not always hear something; I’m sure you have heard of the black hole.  Not every company gets back to every who applied,  which is why you have to keep repeating what you did in step two.  

Having patience isn’t always a skill that gets people hired.  But if you have patience, it will make the job search less stressful. 

 

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Image:  Freedigitalphotos.net  Ambro

Do You Have the Golden Ticket To the Interview?

Your resume is your Golden Ticket to the interview.

Your résumé is your Golden Ticket to the interview.

Charlie Bucket needed a Golden Ticket to tour the Wonka Chocolate Factory.  You need a Golden Ticket to get invited to interview.  Charlie was lucky to find a ticket in a candy bar.  You aren’t that lucky.  You need a résumé that will get you to the interview.  

The only duty your résumé has is to get you to the interview.   It doesn’t get you a job, only the interview.  After that, it’s up to you to get the job.  Wonka only issued five tickets.  Companies don’t invite many more than that to interview.  You can’t buy an interview; your résumé has to show you are the best candidate available.
To be successful in its purpose, your résumé has to capture the attention of the reader within seconds for the reader to continue reading.  Therefore, place your best information above the fold.  Your accomplishments, achievements, honors, awards, skills, and other information should distinguish you from among all the other candidates.  
To be read by a human, the résumé must turn up in a search of the application tracking database.  Accomplish this by using keywords found in the job posting that will match the search criteria.  The higher the match between your qualifications expressed by the keywords and the job requirements, the better chance your résumé gets read.
A résumé filled with keywords take practice and skill.  It isn’t difficult after you get the hang of it.  Isolating the terms that are keywords is easy to do.  I isolate the terms into separate bullet statements then match the skills and experience of the candidate to each bullet statement.   Once done, it is easy to insert the keywords into the proper places in the résumé.
Other elements are important in the creation of the resume.  One–include only relevant information.  Two–the format should be clean and easy to read. Three–avoid design elements that are not accepted by the application tracking system. And four–write a résumé that demonstrates what you can do for the company.
A résumé that follows these guidelines creates the Golden Ticket to the interview.  While at the interview, you are under inspection to see if you match your résumé.  Honesty and are in all your statements.  Bragging is important, but there is a fine line between bragging and exaggerating. 

Charlie Bucket was honest; kind and well-behaved.  Charlie won the factory.  If you want to win the job you need to be honest, kind and knowledgeable.   Even though you are these things and more, you need to get to the interview.  Your Golden Ticket is your precisely crafted resume.  

 

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image:  freedigitalphotos.net  digitalarts

How to Prevent Your Resume from Looking Like Your Obituary

What happens to resumes that don't get picked.

What happens to resumes that don’t get picked.

You have read obituaries.  They list every job the deceased held.  Sometimes you see a single career path, other times you see a career path that winds all over the place.  Resumes are the same.  You can see a theme of success or a laundry list of everything done in every job held.

Creating a résumé that is relevant for the position will keep your résumé in the running. And not in the depths of the application tracking database.

If your career path covers everything from scooping ice cream in high school to selling the cure for the common cold and everything in between, including all of it in your résumé does more harm than good.  Today your résumé needs to highlight your skills and experience that make you an ideal candidate.

I have looked at candidate resumes that are impressive.  However, they don’t answer the question, “WHY ARE YOU THE BEST CANDIDATE?”  Buried in the content is information that related to the position.  Sometimes, I find it at the end of the résumé.  This hidden gem won’t get read if the reader doesn’t find a reason to continue reading after the first half of the résumé.

Listing irrelevant skills and experience won’t get you an interview.   However, if you are looking for a sales job and you show you sold more ice cream than your co-workers for several years running, or you consistently surpassed your quota for selling the cure for the common cold, you have caught their interest.

Eliminate the non-essential. Most people have experience and skills doing many things. However listing all your experience and skills wastes space that should be used for highlighting your unique selling proposition.  There are exceptions to this. For example, if you worked as an ice cream scooper as a teenager and are looking to for a job at an ice cream manufacturing company as an engineer, office assistant, or accountant, your ice cream scooping experience is relevant.

Show them the money. Show in dollars and percentages how you made money, saved money, or saved time.  Show them how you are the best at what you do by listing the awards and honors you have received.

Tell them that you were the office guru when it came to knowing how to do a particular task.  For example, if you were selected for the project because of you were the only one available to do something unusual.  Mention how you were the go-to person for understanding Microsoft Office or other software inside and out; or how you were the person who was the only one that could handle difficult customers; or another similar expertise.

Check your past performance reviews for the information you can use.  Talk to your former co-workers to see what they have to say about your skills.

Your next employer doesn’t want to know everything you’ve done; they want to know that you are capable of doing better the job than anyone else.  Give them what they are looking for.  Less is more in this case.  More useless information could mean the demise of your consideration for that position and find itself resting in the dead resume bin.

How can I help you in your job search?

 

Ten Must Haves for Every Job Search Toolbox

What's in your toolbox?The two things that come to mind when people say job search are resumes and interviews. If it were only that easy, the job search wouldn’t be as frustrating and confusing as it. Here are some of the things your job search tool box needs for a successful job search.
1. Growing network—most jobs are obtained by networking. Grow your network and stay in touch with your network. It’s a reciprocal connection that you are building not “what’s in it for me” be willing to help wherever you can.
2. Positive mindset—remain optimistic that something good is going to happen. People shy away from people who are desperate. They don’t want to risk their reputation on someone who has negativity written all over them.
3. Thick skin—you are going to hear you are not the right fit more than once, if you hear anything at all. It isn’t you personally. It is the nature of the job search. Don’t take rejection personally.
4. Patience—the job search isn’t a one and done. It takes many resumes and interviews to get the one job you are looking for. There will be times when you can’t find anything to apply for. The time between submitting a résumé and hearing from the company may take weeks or months, in some cases. The hiring process can be long in some companies. Don’t give up.
5. Volunteer—use your skills to help another person or organization at no cost and it will fill the gap in your résumé. It offers you an opportunity to meet people who may be able to help you. The best thing is you will feel better about yourself. There is a correlation between helping others and feel good.
6. Join a job search networking support group—you can expand your network, learn tips and tricks to boost your job search, get leads on jobs, and gain the emotional support along with the encouragement you need at this difficult time.
7. Mentor/coach—an impartial person who will listen to your and guide you through the process.  A person who answer your questions and ask you questions to bring out the best in you.

8. Be appreciative for any help you get—whether it’s thanking an interviewer or someone who have you a lead, express your appreciation for any help you get. It is the best way to make sure you will continue receiving help.
9. Know what makes you unique—the hiring manager wants to hire the best person for the job. Be able to articulate what unique skill, ability, or experience you bring to the job that no one else has.
10. Take care of you—this is an extremely stressful time. Your health is vital to your job search success. It is essential that you eat healthy, exercise regularly, and get the rest you need. If you have all the above but look sickly or depressed, you won’t get the job.
It takes time and patience but with the right tools your job search will have the momentum it needs to keep you motivated and on task. By incorporating the above in your job search, you will be sitting at your new job before you know it.
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The One Worse Thing to Do In an Interview

Serious isn't good for interviewsIn 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue. I bet you still remember that from grade school, too. You have said it over and over again because you have it memorized. But memorizing is the worst thing you can do. You ruin your chances of being hired

Being prepared not just ready to interview but so rehearsed that you have become automaton. You answer questions as if in your sleep and are perfect in your delivery.  It’s the way I have seen people give their elevator speech. Say all the words, smile in just the right places and sounding like a grammar school reciting a memorized poem.

There is not phonier sounding than over rehearsed answers to the interviewer’s questions. You may think you have nailed it, but all you have done is shown that you have a good memory. The interviewer wants to see your personality.

Your skills and experience are important, but you are being interviewed on how well you will fit in with the group. You can teach skills, but you can’t change someone’s personality. You will be working with these people for 40 hours a week and they want to be sure they won’t regret hiring you.

Be genuine because that is your best asset. Over rehearsed comes across as not only nervous, but insincere. It leaves the interviewer wondering if the answers are true or manufactured.

Practice your answers so that you can say them confidently and genuinely. Nervousness in an interview is normal but can be controlled. Using guided visualization when preparing for your interview will help you practice what you will do and say. Guided imagery is done best when in a relaxed state so it, usually, begins with a period of relaxation.

Another good way to prepare is to get help from a friend. With your friend asking you questions, video tape your responses. Review the video to see how you come across. Take it from there to remove any annoying gestures or words.

Preparing for an interview is more than just how you look and the answer to questions, but how you answer them. Show them the real you, not the one you think they want to see. You won’t be able to keep up the charade for very long if you get hired. The genuine you is a much better person to bring to the interview. And that’s the best thing you can do at an interview.

 

How can I help you with your job search?

 

Image:  freedigitalphotos.com   stockimages

Providing an honorable and dignified workplace

Everyone was involved and everyone won.

Everyone was involved and everyone won.

“…you have demonstrated to the world that it was a person’s moral obligation and social responsibility to protect a culture which provides an honorable and dignified place in which to work.”

These words were spoken by Arthur T. Demoulas on the occasion of his return to the corporate offices of the Market Basket grocery store chain. The short story of why he returned is Arthur T. Demoulas was ousted as CEO of the family run grocery store chain that dots eastern parts of the states of Massachusetts and New Hampshire with a single store in Maine.   He was kicked out by his cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas. The reason is they have different thoughts on how to run the company. Arthur T. maintained a business model that provided shareholders with billions of dollars over the years, provided above average wages for the employees along with bonuses, and profit-sharing, and providing customers with quality products at lower prices than the competitors.

Arthur S. extracted $300 million and distributed it to the shareholders, all members of the family. He wanted to sell the company to a competitor and walk away with about $4 billion dollars to be share by the family. This would put an end to the benefits to the employees and customers.

In reaction to the ousting of Arthur T., employees in the warehouse and truck drivers walked off their jobs grinding to a halt the deliveries to the stores. When eight upper level managers encouraged and supported the walk off, they were fired. Customers reacted by boycotting the store until Arthur T. was reinstated. After six weeks of hot and heavy negotiations, Arthur T. was finally able to present an offer that was accepted by the shareholders.

The governors of Massachusetts and New Hampshire requested that the family members come to an agreement by a given date. The deadline came and went and five days later a deal was announced which included Arthur T. to return as head of the company.

In his “victory” speech, Arthur T. told his employees what they already knew

“And no one person is better or more important than another. And no one person holds a position of privilege. Whether it’s a full-timer or a part-timer, whether it’s a sacker or a cashier or a grocery clerk, or a truck driver, or a warehouse selector, a store manager, a supervisor, a customer, a vendor or a CEO, we are all equal. We are all equal and by working together, and only together, do we succeed.”

What happened this summer in New England will be studied for years to come. It is remarkable that employees, customers and vendors joined together to support a CEO whose primary goal is to provide a workplace where everyone is honored and dignified. His results are proven with the demonstrated loyalty of employees, customers and vendors alike because everyone wins financially.

It seems to me, that more corporations should be run this way. If there were, people wouldn’t their bosses, their jobs, and want to leave before their health suffers from the stress.

Congratulations to Arthur T. Demoulas for providing an atmosphere where everyone benefits and people will stick their necks out to defend it.

 

Get Back to Work on Labor Day

Labor Day is all about work you love.

Labor Day is all about work you love.

Today is Labor Day, Monday, September 1, 2014. Historically Labor Day has been a day when laborers have the day off from work. It’s supposed to celebrate the social and economic achievements of American workers.   But if you are a job searcher, it is the start of the job search season. Or should I say the last day of the summer job search pause.

 Many job searchers have taken the summer off because they think no one hires in the summer. If you are one of the many who continued your job search all summer, take the day off and celebrate your efforts. Tuesday both groups of job searchers will be back to searching for jobs. And the competition will be stiff.

 Here are three websites that will get you back to the job search:

1)   The U.S. Department of Labor website, lists resources for the job search. They include:

 Job & Training Information

  •    USA Jobs – Jobs in the Federal Government
  •    Career Guide to Industries
  •    Career Tools & Services
  •    Employment Opportunities at the Department of Labor
  •    MySkills MyFuture
  •    MyNextMove
  •    MyNextMove for Vets
  •    Occupational Outlook Handbook
  •    Occupational Outlook Quarterly
  •    One-Stop Career Centers
  •    Senior Community Service Employment Program
  •    Services for Job Seekers

Layoff Resources

  •    Career Tools & Services
  •    Dislocated Workers: Rapid Response
  •    Information for Dislocated Workers
  •    State Dislocated Worker Coordinators
  •    State Unemployment Benefits Offices

 

2)  PC Magazine posted an article about The Best Job Search Websites. It is a slide show of job search websites (Dice, MediaBistro, Monster, Careerbuilder etc.) and has a brief explanation about the site and what you can expect.

3)  The Riley Guide provides information on How to Job Search, how to Explore Career Options, lists of Networking and Support Groups and resources to help you find Counselors, Coaches, and Mentors. You can find lists of Sites with Job Listings and job banks, executive search firms, recruiters and staffing firms for all 50 states.

4)  AARP  has a list of best companies to work for if you are over 50 years old.  If you are over 50, you know your job search is more difficult.  AARP has assembled a list of companies from all over the United States.    

 I think these three sites have enough information for your job search to off to a good start tomorrow.

 

Send me an email at arleen@arleenbradley.com to ask me a question about your job search.

 

Photo: freedigitalphotos.net: stuart miles

Why I Stayed in a Job I Hated

You don't need to stay stuck in a job you hate.

You don’t need to stay stuck in a job you hate.

I stayed in a job I hated because I didn’t think I could do any better. I didn’t know that each day I was there my confidence and esteem were draining away.   I didn’t know that I could enjoy my job.

One of my biggest fears was the money. I feared I wouldn’t find a job I like making the money I was. Another fear I had was I would end up in another job that turned out to be as bad as the one I was in. And finally, I worried that I wouldn’t be able to find another job.

Since I thought I was unable to leave, I hoped the situation would improve. But I didn’t know that my fate was up to me. I had to either speak up or leave.   I waited in silence getting more and more frustrated and stressed. Finally, my body made the decision for me.

My body had had enough and it let me know it. The stomach upsets and headaches became unbearable. Now I knew it was time to go. So I quit. My health was more important than my concerns about another job. It was more important than the money or finding a job that I would love.

Something amazing happened. I not only started feeling better, but I felt happier. Sundays were enjoyable because I was dreading Monday morning.   No more feeling like I wanted to cry on the way to work. And I learned something important. I will never stay in a job I hate. Life is too short and I have options.

Not only will I not stay in a job I hate, I won’t let anyone else. It has become my mission to help people find jobs they love and get paid what they are worth. No one has to be miserable because of a job.

You can deal with anything if you have your health. Everyone has bad days at work but when every day is a bad day and your job starts interfering with your life and health, staying isn’t the best option. Your body will only take so much stress then it will say enough. I was lucky; nothing serious resulted from staying in a job I hated. Others are not so lucky; severe and/or life-threatening illnesses can result.

I learned a valuable lesson. I am more important than any job and YOU are too.

How can I help you in your job search?

Image:  Freedigitalphotos.net  marcolm

Is Your Job Making You Sick?

Don't ignore your health

Don’t ignore your health

Is your body trying to tell you something about your job? It is if you experience recurring headaches, stomach upset, heart disease, anxiety and depression. Your body is the best indicator of your toxic job and it’s best to listen.

Of course, not all the above ailments can be attributed to your toxic job, some maybe from pre-existing conditions or other factors in your life. But if you have these symptoms and no other issues, they may be the result of your toxic job.

Cortisol is a hormone in your body that has many benefits. One is that is responsible for protecting you from harm. It is released during flight or fight situations. When used properly, cortisol will give you what you need to be able to deal with danger. However, if you are stressed due to your job, chances are you don’t have to make life or death decisions.

During periods of stress, cortisol is released and it is assumed that your body will recover from a temporary danger at which point your natural body relaxation response will take over to prevent the release of cortisol. If you are in a constant state of stress, cortisol is released continuously. But your body doesn’t need the cortisol and so it starts attacking your healthy body.

The increased cortisol effects:

  • blood pressure
  • immunity
  • bone density
  • blood glucose
  • cognitive performance
  • thyroid
  • cholesterol
  • body fat
  • heart
  • joints
  • breathing
  • digestion

The level of cortisol in your body can be controlled. You have two choices. One is manage your stress using relaxation techniques such as exercising, yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, hypnosis and many others. The other is removing the stressor by finding the source of your anxiety by: changing departments or duties, reducing your hours, transferring to a new location or get out of the situation altogether. Another words, leave your job and find another.

Whatever you decide to do, you must do it. You are not meant to live in high levels of stress. There are some situations you cannot control, but the ones you can control, you owe it to yourself.

 

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Why do so many people hate their jobs?

70 to 80% of Americans hate their job.

70 to 80% of Americans hate their job.

It’s a well-known fact that many people hate their jobs. In fact, you may be one of them or know someone who does. But the real question is why and why do they stay. For the purpose of this post, I will only address why. Another post will address why they stay.

Basically, there are three reasons why people hate their jobs. The answer is the work, the people, and/or the work environment. Pretty broad categories to be sure; however, this is what I am hearing.

Let’s look at the first reason—the work. The work includes the tasks needed to be done to do the work, the industry and they type of work. Some people do work they don’t like because it is someone else’s agenda. Think of family run businesses that expect the children of the owners or relatives to work in the business. Sometimes, it’s work that is not of interest to the next generation. Whether it’s a legal, medical, retail, plumbing, electrical or some other business not every child wants to relive the experience in the business as an adult.

Boredom in a job that has no challenge causes some people to hate their job along with working long hours, doing the jobs of others who have left with unrealistic deadlines and doing a job because it is the only one they could get at the time.

Another reason is the environment. The environment includes the location and condition of the building. Safety, comfort, lighting, temperature and air quality cause some to hate their jobs. The corporate culture that determines the policies and procedures causes dislike for a job.

It’s hard to imagine a forest ranger sitting inside a building all day or an accountant hiking through a forest marking trees. Indoors people would feel terrible in the outdoors and vice versa. People who like to move around would go crazy sitting at a customer service terminal all day.

The job environment must match the individuals’ style for the worker to be happy. I know plenty of people who say they would hate being in a position where their hands were dirty most of the time. Corporate culture that requires certain dress codes prevents some people from freely expressing their personalities is shunned by some. Maybe you will only work for companies that have coffee stations every 500 feet and an in-house gym.

The last reason is the people. From what I have read and heard this is the most popular. They hate their boss, or manager either immediately above them or further up the ladder. Or maybe their co-workers, the customers, the vendors, or anyone they come in contact with. People have different personalities and not everyone can or want to get along with everyone.

Some complain about micro-managing bosses while others complain they can’t get any direction from their boss. The person sitting next to you could drive you crazy and you just can’t take it anymore. Maybe you had a romantic relationship with a co-worker and the relationship is over. Or you may have lost creditability with your boss or co-workers. For whatever reasons, people are the hot buttons that can really put people over the edge.

You are probably wondering why money isn’t on the list. It’s because money is entirely different piece of the equation. People are willing to stick around and put up with the above mentioned items if the money is good for a while, but at some point the money loses its’ importance. I hate this job but I stay because of the money becomes there is no money in the world worth putting up with this.

It is estimated that somewhere between 70 to 80% of Americans hate their job. These results in lost revenue are due to increased illness and lack of productivity. It’s a catch 22 situation for employees and employers alike. Things can’t get fixed because of lack of income and the things that will help workers can’t get done causing more dissatisfaction. And the cycle continues.

How can I help you find a job you love?

How much do you love your boss?

i love my bossMany people hate their bosses. It’s not uncommon for people to dread going to work every day because of their boss. I had a few jobs like that. I quit all of them. One was so bad; I had to listen to a particular song all the way to work.

There is a group of people, a large group, about 25,000 who love their boss. They love him enough to put their own jobs on the life for him. In fact, several people lost their jobs over their support for this man.

This man is Arthur T. Demoulas. His employees work at Market Basket, a 71-store grocery store chain in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.

You see Arthur T. loves his employees and customers. He treats his employees like family. Arthur T. has been known to attend funerals and weddings of his employees. Not just the people in the corporate headquarters, but people who work in the grocery stores as cashiers, baggers, and department workers.

His compassionate nature has benefitted employees who are ill or who have sick family members by allowing them to be with their loved ones and paying their wages while they are out. He has been known to call his employees personally to check on them. You can be sure these employee’s come back to work with a renewed loyalty to the man and his company.

Arthur T. keeps his customers loyal by offering quality products at lower prices than his competitors. This loyalty is being paid back to him in the form of a boycott of the Market Basket stores and a petition on his behalf.

His business model is very successful. The chain had no debt while he was in charge. The goal of most corporations (and individuals). Expansion occurred under his watchful eye resulting in about $4 billion in revenue in 2012.

So why are people supporting Arthur T and signing petitions? He was voted out of office by his cousin Arthur S. Demoulas, who owns 51% of the privately held company. Unlike Arthur T., Arthur S. doesn’t work at the company but instead is the principal of a Boston-based business. But about $80 million in weekly revenue; employee satisfaction and customer loyalty doesn’t matter to Arthur S. He wants to change the business model to make more and be in debt.

So I ask you again, would you risk your job to support the reinstatement of a man who brought you profit-sharing, care and concern for you, your family and the community? I think it would be an honor and a privilege to work for a man who has the best interests of his employees, customers and corporation on his to do list. And he does it—not just in words, but in actions.

Additional information

From Today: The 50 best employers for baby boomers

In this video, TODAY financial editor Jean Chatzky talks about some of the companies on the list. 

If you would like to see the complete list, click here.

 

The current list is the 2013 list.  The list used to be published every year since 2002.  But in 2010 and 2012 no list was published.  If a list for 2014 comes out, you can be sure I will put it here.   Past winners can be found at:  http://www.aarp.org/work/employee-benefits/info-09-2009/past_best_employer_winners.html

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

How can I help you in your job search?

From Today: It’s not too late! The 4 best jobs for boomers

The Today Show had some good news for boomers. In this video clip, you will hear Tom Gimbel, president and CEO of LaSalle Network, talk about the 4 best jobs for boomers. He shares why these jobs favor boomers over younger workers.

How can I help you in your job search? 

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Watch Your Words in the Job Search

When you are in a job search, you want to do everything the right way. You leave no stone unturned to find out the best way to do things. And creating your résumé is one of your most important tools. You put time and effort into making it the best you can, so that it will be read and get you an interview. The résumé is a compilation of words. The question is how well do you use your words to get your point across successfully.

A Grammarly, the grammar checker, team looked at 500 active job postings, an elite group of 100 of the most profitable businesses in the United States. They evaluated  each companies’ language in the postings on how they worded the hiring priorities. Below is an infographic of their results. I think you will benefit from it when creating your résumé.

Grammarly Celebrity Twitter Mistakes

Ace The Interview By Not Saying a Word

Yes, that’s true. Without saying a word, you can communicate volumes of information to the interviewer. You communicate by facial expressions, posture and movement. A savvy interviewer can decode you actions. If they don’t like what they see, you are out. Your skills and experience on your résumé got you an interview. Your body language shows if you are a “good fit” with the rest of the team.
What should you be aware of? Here is a list:
1. Arms—don’t cross them in front of you. It is a defensive gesture. Nor should you be waving them around when you are speaking.
2. Hands—keep them away from your face. Touching your face indicates anxiety or lying.
Keep your hands and arms close by you but visible to the interviewer. If you gesture when you talk, do so without using large movements. Shake hands with a firm grip somewhere between bone crushing and a weak, dead fish handshake. Don’t play with anything in your hands such as a pen or twirl your hair.
3. Eyes—make eye contact without staring. Glancing around the room without making eye contact indicates boredom or lying. Try looking at the area between the interviewer’s eyebrows or chin.
4. Facial expressions—keep your face soft with a warm, genuine smile instead of tense. Avoid frowns and smirks.
The interviewer looks at your face for most of the interview. A friendly expression that shows confidence and interest is more appealing that an expression that shows anxiety, desperation or dishonesty.

What you do is more powerful than your words.

What you do is more powerful than your words.

5. Sit squarely in the chair—don’t lean to the side or slouch. Leaning back in the chair shows arrogance. Instead, sit up straight and lean in slightly, it shows interest in what the interviewer is saying.
6. Feet—keep your feet on the floor. Don’t cross your legs or put your ankle on your knee both gestures indicate complacency.
Your posture in a chair or standing should show confidence, interest and truthfulness. Walk upright your head held high, and your shoulders back, you look professional, confident and competent. All the right messages that you are the one they are looking for.
If you aren’t sure what your non-verbal presentation looks like, videotape a mock interview and review it with another to find where your body language needs attention. After you know what needs to be changed, practice interviewing and be aware of your actions and appearance.
Your body language alone won’t get you the job. You are a complete package. Your skills, experience, accomplishments, along with your answers and demeanor are all essential. Prepare your verbal and nonverbal communications to ace the interview.

 

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