Raise your hand if you’ve ever exaggerated your proficiency level in a software program on your resume. Or if you have listed that you are fluent in Spanish since you once took a course in college or high school. Or worse, raise your hand if you have ever overstated your volunteer activities to appear more community-driven. If I had to guess, most of our readers would be raising their hands high. At the very least, they would be looking at their feet and shifting uncomfortably. How about during the interview? I can hear you now... “I am self-motivated, always on time, first to volunteer, a people person...” and the list of embellished qualities continues on. We all do it. Our main priority in the interview is to sell ourselves. But when does it cross the line from embellishment to just a flat out lie? Truth be told, if you are in the mix of job hunters, you understand how competitive the game is. It’s almost as if the job seekers are now the predators and the … [Read more...] about Resumes and Interviews: A Thin Line Between Embellishment and Lies
Christmas cookies line the tables at work. Holiday sales tempt you into buying not only presents, but that sweater you need for yourself (or at least you tell yourself you need it). Extra emails, phone calls and parties lure you away from work and your other obligations.Why are the holidays such a distraction from all priorities? Diets, budgets, work, free time...they all go out the door starting the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. While December is an all-consuming month filled with entertainment, it still serves as an interruption to completing any type of pre-planned goals.So how do you keep on track during this overwhelming season? To be blunt, you don’t! You will inevitably give in to those delicious sugar cookies, skip out of work for the extra happy hour, and spend some extra unplanned cash. However, you can still contain the December mess by following these tips (or at least one of them).1. Get your shopping done early. Make a list of what presents you have to buy and … [Read more...] about Holiday Distractions Are Unavoidable
For most of us, networking is something that operates in the background as we go about our everyday business. Personally, I often find myself having to push extra hard to make, keep and cultivate relationships. Those of us who sit on our networking laurels will often site the "six degrees of separation" law as an excuse. After all, if you subscribe to the theory, then you'll meet the connection you need "naturally."What if I told you that the six degrees of separation law is a myth, designed to create complacency while others get ahead? According to a new book, The 29% Solution, only 29 PERCENT of us are six degrees apart from everybody. And authors Ivan Misner and Michelle Donovan tell you how you can get into the 29%.The book is broken into 52 weekly networking success strategies and it can be read chronologically or you can pick and choose the chapters that apply to you. Each section ends with action items, making this reading exercise more than just a passive activity.From setting … [Read more...] about Networking Advice: The 29% Solution
The class went "oooh" and "ahhh" when the note came down from above."Andrew G.R., please report to the principal's office."Busted.The blood rushed from my face as I journeyed to meet my maker. I walked down the narrow, fluorescent-lit corridor with my mind racing. How did he find out?"Andrew," Principal Schulman said, sternly. "We have a problem."Fighting tears (this was fourth grade!), I stared down at my feet, unable to fill the silence with anything worthwhile. "It appears that you have next Friday off because of a family trip."Where is he going with this? I wondered."That is the day of the class trip to Yankee Stadium. And because I know they are your favorite team, we have decided to move the trip up a day. So, you will be able to attend, after all."What?! All of that buildup for good news?! And here I thought he knew about that incident in the girls' bathroom....The feeling of anxiety that often accompanies being called to the principal's office never leaves your side. The … [Read more...] about Why Bosses Call Us In to Their Offices
Wouldn't it be nice if you could anchor yourself so deep into the fabric of the organization that you work for that you become immobile? It's no easy task, and there will always be elements out of your control. However, by learning from one of my favorite geological wonders, the volcano, we can give ourselves better odds to hang on to our gig. Here's how to be like a volcano. ACT LIKE LAVA Lava flows until it fills every crack. When it comes to your company, you should be identifying voids and doing your best to fill them. This will help you become "one" with the organization, hence laying the foundation for the future - just like hot molten lava. BIG & POWERFUL You can chop down trees, relocate entire houses and tear down stadiums. But one thing you've probably never seen is anyone taking down a volcano. No one f*cks with the volcano because they can't. You want to put yourself in a similar spot, and since growing another few feet isn't an option (even with advanced … [Read more...] about Bulletproof Your Job: Be a Volcano
You are giving an update, doing a presentation, or even just observing your associates in their work environment. Yawns, texting, and computer screens displaying non-work activities (unless you work for Facebook) have all infiltrated your work space.How do you wake them up and regain their focus and attention?It is not an easy task, and consequently, there is no easy answer. Among many things, the solution depends on the primary age group, their personalities, and your culture at work. However, here are some questions to start asking yourself about your employees. 1. The most important question of all is the most obvious: why are they unfocused?- Do they have personal troubles going on in their life (i.e. a break-up, divorce, death in the family, money troubles, etc)? If you know the answer, this is a good start. They felt comfortable enough to share the problems going on in their life which likely means you have a decent working relationship.- Are they under or over challenged in … [Read more...] about Empathy Can Bring Back 'Lost' Employees
For anyone seeking a change in career, or post-retirement options for that matter, the new book by Samuel Greengard, 'Crash Course in Finding the Work You Love', is a veritable treasure trove of everything one might ever want or need in pursuing such a life sea-change.This is a highly readable book that offers a broad array of interesting facts, figures and case studies about career change. The author, who describes his own journeys along the personal self reinvention trail, is truthful and helpful. Unlike similar books, this author achieves his objectives without an iota of pretension. Given the many, many books already published that deal with this subject matter, Greengard is to be commended for both his candor and ability to distill and simplify the many complex issues entailed in such an endeavor. The number of people reinventing themselves at age 45 and beyond is growing into nothing less than a tidal surge, and AARP, armed with their wealth of knowledge and resources on second … [Read more...] about Crash Course in Finding the Work You Love
I have always been on a "path." First I was on the straight A’s through middle school, graduating with honors from high school, playing all the typical sports to show my team spirit path. Then I was on the joining all the right clubs and volunteer organizations, finding the right college, picking a flexible degree, completing the required internships, and finding the perfect job to prove my hard work after college path.I’m exhausted just thinking back on it.I'll be completely honest and open: over the past year, I LOST THE PATH.As 2009 rapidly approaches, it has struck me that I need to get back on a plan. It used to bother me when people asked me where I saw myself in five years; now I understand it was because I never could quite picture anything after college.It truly is such a simple concept. If you want to lose 20 pounds, do you make a plan to do it? Of course you do! Making obtainable goals and reaching them gives us the motivation to keep going and hopefully to … [Read more...] about Do You Have a 5-Year Plan?
It was Friday morning, 9am. Another seemingly quiet day at Company A. Then the memo went out."It is with great excitement that we announce the merging of Company A and Company B. We expect this union to strengthen our position within the industry and create a plethora of new opportunities for all levels of staff."The blood rushed from Mike's face as he finished reading. He was thinking about the house he just bought, the flailing economy, and the baby on the way. Losing his job was NOT an option.Jenny stopped by Mike's cube. "Did you get the memo," she asked. "Pretty cool stuff, eh?"Mike was dumbfounded. "Yeah, 'cool stuff' if you can get by on $405 a week. We're probably all gonna lose our jobs.""Chill out man. First, I highly doubt they'll touch us, we're the higher grossing division. Second, they might ask you to head up the entire division! Maybe more responsibility and a larger staff will lead to a bigger paycheck.""But what if they tap my counterpart at Company B to run the show? … [Read more...] about One Memo. Two Reactions. Who Are You?
CNN Money has released September 2008 unemployment rates ranked from best to worst by state. South Dakota takes the winning rate with only 3.2%, while the union's smallest state, Rhode Island, shamefully reports an 8.8% unemployment rate. Coincidentally, the state I am trying to move back to almost doubles the unemployment rate than the one I currently live in (OH vs. VA). Someone put the Buckeye State on an economic fitness plan!But what does this really mean? First, unemployment rates are clearly an indication of how local businesses are fairing. Second, the higher the unemployment rate, the higher your competition most likely is. Thus, you will have to try harder to land a new job or simply keep the one you have.The job market is tough right now, no matter which state you are hunting in. Here are a few tips to help you along the way. * Make a weekly resume submission goal. To figure this out, calculate how many you were previously submitted in a week’s time, and then DOUBLE … [Read more...] about Is Your State an Unemployment Loser?