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Buku Pintar Cari Kerja &

Fienso Suharsono
UU RI No. 19/2002 tentang Hak Cipta
Lingkup Hak Cipta
Pasal 2:
1. Hak Cipta merupakan hak eksklusif bagi Pencipta atau Pemegang Hak Cipta untuk mengumumkan atau
memperbanyak Ciptaannya, yang timbul secara otomatis setelah suatu ciptaan dilahirkan tanpa mengurangi
pembatasan menurut peraturan perundang-undangan yang berlaku.
Ketentuan Pidana
Pasal 72:
1. Barangsiapa dengan sengaja atau tanpa hak melakukan perbuatan sebagaimana dimaksud dalam pasal 2 ayat (1)
atau pasal 49 ayat (1) dan ayat (2) dipidana dengan pidana penjara masing-masing paling singkat 1 (satu) bulan dan/
atau denda paling sedikit Rp I.000.000,00 (satu juta rupiah), atau pidana penjara paling lama 7 (tujuh) tahun dan/atau
denda paling banyak Rp,00 (lima milyar rupiah).
2. Barangsiapa dengan sengaja menyiarkan, memamerkan, mengedarkan, atau menjual kepada umum suatu ciptaan
atau barang hasil pelanggaran Hak Cipta atau Hak Terkait sebagaimana dimaksud pada ayat (1), dipidana dengan
pidana penjara paling lama 5 (lima) tahun dan/atau denda paling banyak Rp 500.000.000,00 (lima ratus juta rupiah).
Buku Pintar
Cari Kerja
& HRD (Personalia)
Fienso Suharsono
Fienso Suharsono
Copyright VanDetta Publishing
Hak Penerbitan ada pada
2009 Vandetta Publishing
Hak cipta dilindungi Undang-Undang
Alamat: Jl. Banyan VI, B-7, No. 3, Bukit Menteng, Citra Indah, Jonggol, 16830
Telp. 021-89930461, 08164803147
Fienso Suharsono
Tata Letak:
Endang Agustina
Faiz Athallah
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 09
p. cm.
Fienso Publishing
ISBN 979-xxxx-xx-x KDT
EAN 978-xxx-xxx-xx-x
1. Buku Pintar Cari Kerja & HRD 2009
viii, 144 hlm. 21,5 cm.
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Buku Pintar | Cari Kerja | HRD
Daftar Isi
CVs And Resumes Sometimes Just Get In The Way............................ 1
Searching for Jobs Online .......................................................................... 3
Students Searching for a Job ..................................................................... 4
Technology in the Workplace - Boon or Curse? ................................... 5
After Your Interview - What Must You Do Next? .............................. 6
Tales from the Corporate Frontlines: Career Opportunities for
New Graduates........................................................................................ 8
Searching for an IT Job............................................................................ 10
Successful Job Seeking? The Importance of Your Cover Letter ..... 11
The Case For Internships ......................................................................... 12
Wake Up and Learn Something New ................................................... 14
Benefits of Mystery Shopping For Secret Shoppers ........................... 16
Career Killers to Avoid............................................................................. 18
10 Key Career Success Questions ........................................................... 19
Think About a Nursing Degree .............................................................. 20
Employment Under A Microscope....................................................... 21
Thurvival Skills for 05 .............................................................................. 23
What You Should Never Put on Your Resume ................................... 25
What to Do if You are Over 40 and Have Lost Your Job .............. 27
Why One Word Answers are Bad News at Job Interviews .............. 29
Resumes Arent Important - They are Everything When it
Comes to Getting an Interview .......................................................... 31
How to Write Cover Letters That Increase Your Chances of
Winning an Interview............................................................................ 33
The Art of Selling Yourself! .................................................................... 35
Searching for Employment ..................................................................... 36
Searching for an Executive Job .............................................................. 37
Searching for a Federal Job ..................................................................... 38
How to Recoup From Missing the Most Important Meeting of the
Year ...................................................................................................... 39
5 Steps to Standing Out Above the Crowd at Work ......................... 41
Unemployment Blues: Mind Over Mood ............................................ 43
How to Tell if You are Fired and Just Dont Know It ...................... 45
Job Lead Websites To Use in Your Telecommuting Search.............. 47
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Everyday Is Saturday: Help for the Suddenly Unemployed.............. 48
Strange Jobs Still Pay The Bills ................................................................ 50
Hiring the OverQualified Employee or Mining for Gold................. 51
Employees, Get Used to Working under Surveillance ....................... 53
What Every Employee Should Know About How to
Overcome Boredom ............................................................................ 55
The Group Interview ............................................................................... 56
Writing a Must-Read Cover Letter ......................................................... 57
Make a Good Living Doing What You Love ..................................... 59
How to Insure Job Security ..................................................................... 60
Write And Get Hired ................................................................................ 62
Using Freelance Websites to Telecommute ........................................... 64
Age Discrimination is Alive and Unwelcome Here! ........................... 66
Get Off Your Butt and Out of the Rut ............................................... 68
Dont Settle ................................................................................................. 70
Working On A Farm In Kent ................................................................. 71
Rethink Your Career Transition .............................................................. 73
Auto-Disqualification - When Your Resume Never Reaches the
Decision Maker ...................................................................................... 75
The Five Most Common - And Most Avoidable - Rsum Errors 77
Make Your Resume Keyword Rich and Scanner Friendly................. 80
The Role of a Medical Assistant in a Modern Medical Practice ....... 83
How to Make Money as a Reflexologist ............................................... 85
Personal Grooming: 8 Top Reasons Why You Cant Take It For
Granted In Your Career ....................................................................... 87
Listening for Interview Success .............................................................. 88
Mastering The Lunch Interview.............................................................. 89
Conduct An Informational Interview ................................................... 92
Just a Series of Choices ............................................................................ 93
Seven Ways to Say Youre Fired and What to Do When It
Happens to You..................................................................................... 95
Getting Started: 5 Things You Need to Decide When You
Get Started with a Job Search ............................................................. 97
Your Interview Questions Are a Serious Matter ................................. 98
Back to School for a Career Change ..................................................... 99
What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up? Something
That Hasnt Been Invented Yet! ......................................................... 100
Buku Pintar | Cari Kerja | HRD
For My Second Career, I Want to Do Nothing! ............................... 102
Seven Myths You Must Challenge Now To Begin Your
Second Career Today.......................................................................... 103
'Ten Things To Do When You Really, Really Hate Your Job .......... 105
When Your Job Goes Away: Seven Tips' ........................................... 107
How People Really Explore New Careers: What Does A
Real Career Search Look Like? ......................................................... 108
Career Planning for Gifted Adults ....................................................... 112
The Springtime of Your Career ........................................................... 113
Looking for Work in All the Wrong Places ........................................ 114
Losing A Career Can Feel Like Getting A Divorce .......................... 115
Prepare for Your Performance Review Before You Start the Job 116
7 Steps To A Job-Winning Resume ..................................................... 118
7 Tips to a Powerful Resume ................................................................ 119
5 Biggest Resume Mistakes You Can Fix Yourself ........................... 120
10 Steps to Interviews that Win the Job ............................................. 121
For Effective Decisions, Look Beyond Career Stereotypes ............ 122
Career Strategy When Your Boss is a Bully ........................................ 124
Are You Ready To Start A Business? Take This Quiz and See........ 126
During Midlife Change: Are You a Jumper or a Clinger? ............... 128
How to Walk Away from an Opportunity thats Wrong for You .. 130
Reinvent Yourself in a New Career ..................................................... 132
Why Bachelors Make Bad Decisions: Five Tips to Move from
Reality Television to Your Career Change ....................................... 134
Losing a Career When Youre Moving for Love' .............................. 136
Relocation Myths and Stereotypes ........................................................ 138
Moving Without A Job: Should You Move to the Location
of Your Dreams and THEN Look for a Job? ............................. 140
Ready to Move -- Anywhere! ................................................................ 141
Rewriting Your Resume: 7 Easy Ways To Give Yourself An
Upgrade ................................................................................................ 142
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Fienso Suharsono
Buku Pintar | Cari Kerja | HRD
As a head-hunter and Career Coach I see so many CVs and resumes
that look as though they are designed to get in the way of what I (or any
other recruiter) might need to know about you the candidate. They vary
from pure meaningless waffle without any identifiable facts to lengthy tomes
with so much detail they send me to sleep. And I persevere where many
others wouldn't bother.
My least favourite CV of recent times was seventeen pages long. The
first page had only the candidate's name on it (you know who you are Don't
you?) and the second page was devoted to a full page head and shoulders
photograph. The other 15 were packed full of so much information that I
felt I knew his life history.
Most professionals I know would not take the trouble to even read
this; someone here seems to need to justify their existence. At this point I
lose interest.
Don't do this to yourself!
All the poor recruiter wants to know is: should I interview this candi-
So make it easy for them to conclude: yes I want to interview this
That is the sole job of your CV or resume.
So get your information in the right order and keep it brief and rel-
evant. Too much information can disguise all the good things you have to
offer, because nobody can find them.
The first page is the most important part of the CV or resume. The
reader needs to see immediately who you are, what you have to
offer and how they can get hold of you.
What specific skills are showcased on your CV or resume?
Have you clearly identified your level of expertise and competence?
Have you worked in diferent sectors?
A short section of "Key Skills & Achievements" can cover a lot of
ground for you.
Have you done everything you can to convince and reassure your
reader that an investment in your skills is a good choice?
If you have an impressive but meaningless job title, change it to con-
vey its real meaning. At interview you can explain "my actual job title was?"
When you come to laying out your employment history always start
with the most recent job - employers take most notice of current skills and
Within each employment section you should include the company name,
the dates, your job title (but see above) and two or three lines which de-
scribes the purpose of your job. By this I mean why are you employed
there at all.
You should then follow this by detailing how you have met that pur-
pose, including achievements and outputs quantified wherever possible.
These can of course be simple bullet points of information.
Go back through your history but Don't bother too much with what
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happened more than 10 years ago; with the pace of change much of it may
not be too relevant anymore.
Peter Fisher,
For guidance on how you might produce your own CV or resume go to
Buku Pintar | Cari Kerja | HRD
Searching for jobs online is easier than ever, but also more confusing
than ever. Any Internet user doing a job search online will find that they can
choose from hundreds of national employment listing web sites and the
numbers can often be staggering. When performing on online job search, it
is a good idea to choose from an online employment classified web site that
allows for regional searching. Localized searches can narrow down employ-
ment opportunities so that the job searcher doesn't have to search through
hundreds or even thousands of posts in order to locate a handful of listings
in an individual's local area. When performing an Internet job search, it is
important to keep in mind that not all local employers will post job listings
online, but they will post their openings in local newspapers. Most newspa-
pers allow for an online job search in their classified sections if the newspa-
per is also available for viewing the Internet.
If doing a job search online is the way an individual prefers to begin
searching for employment, the best way to begin is to use the job search
box that is often located somewhere on the home page of employment web
sites. By using the search box, an job seeker can get results from many
different categories in various databases that might not have been present
if an individual chose to search in a single database. Searching options can
be very simple or allow an individual to search by specific keywords, job
location and other relevant information. This may not always present an
individual with the kind of results that they are looking for, but most em-
ployment sites will send notification of new listings that might be of interest
as they become available.
The advantages seeking employment online reach far beyond ac-
cessing thousands of available positions around the world. Most employ-
ment sites offer resume assistance, the ability to post resumes for potential
employers to view and even the ability to instantly submit a resume to
positions of interest. Conducting a job search online eliminates a part of the
stress associated looking for work as well as matches employees with em-
ployers much faster than ever for better pairing and more effective results.
By Heather Eagar, owner of
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Searching for a job has become easier than ever for those who are
graduating from school and looking to enter the workforce. Many schools
offer guidance services as well as networking opportunities for graduates
looking for work after finishing school. Recruiters often work hand in hand
with career services on a number of campuses to connect with the kind of
individuals they have in mind for specific positions. While these types of
services can open doors to several people, hardly anything offers more in
their job search than online employment web sites.
The number of online employment web sites with thousands of posi-
tions just waiting for the right person to apply for them are plentiful and
most likely one of the best places to do a student job search. Online job
websites feature a number of entry level positions as well as higher level
positions to those who meet specific qualifications. Those who aren't limited
to a restricted location for employment can benefit from online employ-
ment web sites that feature national job listings. People who have a specific
locale that they need to work in can often narrow down their search by
When students begin their job search, some flexibility and focus is
necessary to broaden the number of opportunities that can be applied for.
Online employment websites Don't usually limit the number of jobs that can
be applied for, so submitting resumes or applications to several job oppor-
tunities could result in more interviews. While carrying out a job search, it is
crucial to make as many professional connections as possible and network
A student searching for jobs through an online employment website
provides an individual with a number of valuable tools and exposure to
countless of potential employers. Advice and ideas can be found online as
well as helpful services including resume writing, resume posting and distri-
bution, and job search ideas. An online job search can be the most effective
tool an individual has in finding employment.
By Heather Eagar, owner of
Buku Pintar | Cari Kerja | HRD
Like all new innovations, technology in the work environment can ei-
ther work for you or against you. What is good for the employer or is not
always the same for the employee.
Is Technology Working FOR You or AGAINST You
When cellphones became available it seemed that they would fill a need
for instant communication - any time, any place - that would help people
be more efficient and thus save time.
Then email became a mainstream method of business communica-
tion. Marvelous - now telephones wouldn't ring off the hook, messages
would not have to be stored and retrieved as verbal communications, which
took time. Instead, information would be clear and concise and could be
retrieved and answered any time, any where - again the promise of more
With email, internet and cellphones, was it really necessary for work-
ers to be restrained to the office? Maybe shorter work days would ensue.
Perhaps parents could collect their children from school and be contacted at
home via either of these methods.
The work world was changing.
This truth came about as more workers were able to take their jobs with
them. The travel from home to work and back again was no longer a
barrier for actually DOING the work.
Telecommunication was making itself an integral part of conducting
business. With cellphones and email, distance, time and travel were no
longer barriers to conducting business effectively. For some, this meant
that coming to the office every day was an option - not a requirement.
Mothers and fathers found new freedom to take care of their children
while still collecting the paycheck they needed to support them. Work could
be done at home, at the park, at the grocery store, at night...
Unfortunately, this ability to work anywhere has become a nuisance
instead of a luxury for some individuals. The fact that they are ABLE to do
business any time, any where, means that they actually ARE doing busi-
ness all the time. Rather than free them, they found that they cannot get far
enough away from work to really put it away for the day. Illness and emer-
gencies do not stop the phone from ringing or the email from piling up - and
because you can access it, there is no excuse for not dealing with it.
So for some, the convenience has become a ball and chain - creating
longer work hours and constant stress. For these individuals it is necessary
to commit themselves and their work mates to guidelines such as turning
the phone off. Not accessing email regularly. Sticking to these rules and
telling other work mates your new practices should help.
Remember that you were supposed to be ASSISTED by these de-
vices. It is in the best interest of your health and the well-being of your
family if these tools keep their proper place.
Roger Clark is senior editor at Top Career Resumes who provide free information to job seekers on all aspects of finding a
new job and Medical Health News where you can find the most up-to-date advice and information on many medical, health and
lifestyle topics.
Vandeta Publishing | Fienso Consulting | Free Ebook
Other than actually landing the interview itself and living through it,
waiting after the interview and wondering whether you will get a phone call
or a rejection letter can be one of the most difficult aspects of searching for
a job. What you do after the interview should actually start while you are
still 'working' the interview.
Prior to leaving make sure that you have noted the name of the per-
son or persons who interviewed you. This will come in handy later for a
number of purposes. Also, do make sure that you shake hands once again
with your interviewer and thank them for taking the time to meet with you.
Also, it's not out of line to ask when they expect to be making a decision.
This gives you a timeline to go by.
Always be sure to send a thank-you letter. This practice not only dem-
onstrates good social etiquette but it also helps to keep you and your skills
fresh in the mind of the interviewer. On some occasions an interviewer
already has an idea by the time the interviews are completed who they will
be calling to offer the job; however on many more occasions they still
remain unsure who will be awarded that coveted slot. Sometimes they want
a little time to 'sleep' on the decision or they may need to consult supervi-
sors or others within their organization regarding the hiring decision. If a
decision has not already been reached in the mind of the employer when all
of the interviews have been completed, taking the time to send a thank-you
letter can go a long way toward making sure you Don't get lost in the
While it's a good idea to send a polite thank you note to the person
who interviewed you it is not a good idea to pester that person to no end.
The only result you are likely to achieve through this strategy is alienating
yourself from them and assuring that you won't get the job. Although 'Don't
take no for an answer' is a strategy that many aggressive job coaches
recommend; it is still always best to observe polite social standards.
That is not to say that you should sit by the phone and allow several
weeks to elapse, waiting, while you hear nothing and do nothing. Ideally,
your thank you letter should have gone out the same day as the interview,
no later than the following day. This means that the interviewer should
receive it within one to two days following the initial interview.
Keep track of when the employer indicated a decision would be made
and if that time has come and gone, it is perfectly permissible to go ahead
and phone them. However; when you do make the call, be polite. State
your name, the date you interviewed and the position for which you inter-
viewed. You may say that you are following up to inquire as to whether a
decision has been made.
At this point, the conversation can go a number of ways. The em-
ployer may indicate that a decision has been made and all candidates who
were not selected will be receiving a letter in the mail. If this is the response
you receive, it is your cue that you were not hired. Had you been, you
would have received a phone call from the employer by now.
Thank them for their times, ask them to keep you in mind for any
future vacancies and get off the line. Don't burn any bridges. It could be
that there was simply a better qualified candidate for that particular posi-
Buku Pintar | Cari Kerja | HRD
tion, but they might consider you for a different, future position.
On the other hand, the employer may state that they are still review-
ing resume, conducting interviews, etc, etc. This type of response could
mean a couple of different things. It could mean that they really have made
a decision and the person just doesn't feel comfortable telling you on the
phone that you weren't selected or it could simply be taken at face value.
Perhaps something came up and their initial timeline has been forced
to be extended somewhat. In either case, always remain polite and thank
them for their time. After you end the call, make a note of the date on your
planner and set a tickler to remind yourself to call back in a week if you still
haven't heard anything. Call back once a week, every week until a decision
is made. Once a week is persistent; a trait which is to be admired. Once a
day is pesky; a trait that should be avoided at all costs.
While it can be difficult to wait around after the interview, the most
important two things that you should do is not blow the opportunity by
annoying the employer with numerous pesky phone calls and by all means
do not show up announced at their office door asking if they have arrived at
a decision. Finally, make sure that you Don't pin all your hopes on one job.
Yes, it may have been your first choice and your ideal dream job; however;
this is probably also true for someone else as well. Use the time while you
are waiting to hear back from the employer to line up your 'B' plan. Con-
tinue job searching, scheduling interviews and most importantly, reminding
yourself that you can do this.
Roger Clark is senior editor at Top Career Resumes who provide free information to job seekers on all aspects of finding a
new job and Medical Health News where you can find the most up-to-date advice and information on many medical, health and
lifestyle topics.
Vandeta Publishing | Fienso Consulting | Free Ebook
This article relates to the Career Opportunities competency and ex-
plores issues such as internal growth opportunities, potential for advance-
ment, career development importance, and the relationship between job
performance and career advancement. Evaluating the Career Opportuni-
ties competency in your organization will determine whether your employ-
ees believe they have a chance to grow within the organization. Studies
show that lack of career opportunity is one of the top reasons why employ-
ees leave an organization. Also, continually hiring open positions from out-
side the organization can be detrimental to morale when a qualified candi-
date is available internally. Topics covered in this competency are: per-
ceived opportunity for advancement, existence of a career development
plan, and organizational commitment to staff development.
This article, Career Opportunities for New Graduates, is part of
AlphaMeasure's compilation, Tales From the Corporate Frontlines. It tells
how a group of HR employees tried a new twist on an annual event and
discovered ways to improve their company's strategy for career develop-
Anonymous Submission
I have spent the past 25 years working in the HR department of a
large financial services company. Every spring, our department gets buried
in a barrage of resumes and cover letters from fresh, talented graduates
eager to begin their careers with our company. Every year, our hiring execs
choose those that fit the company's needs best at that particular moment in
Obviously, businesses are eager to hire new, young, fresh workers.
They are enthusiastic, intelligent, and eager to work hard and establish
their careers. They are also relatively cheap, as any honest hiring exec will
But once these grads are hired, and begin their careers---then what?
After noticing that after five years or so, very few of these graduation
season new hires were still working with our company, we set out to find out
why. We decided to try something different during this year's interview
process. As a little experiment, we added questions about what these new
grads expected in terms of career development and advancement, and got
some surprising answers. Following are a few of their biggest concerns:
Availability of career development programs. They consider training
and mentoring to be a top priority. Realizing that college is only the
beginning of their learning process, our interviewees want to know
that the resources they need for professional growth are readily
Internal promotion vs external hiring. Candidates are eager to
follow a career path inside the company, and concerned that their
Buku Pintar | Cari Kerja | HRD
path may be blocked by external hiring for desirable positions. They
are willing to work their way up, as long as it's possible.
A reasonable chance for upward mobility. As long as they feel that
the opportunity for career advancement is possible, they will
remain. But a huge fear is to be pigeonholed in a dead end situa-
tion. Once that happens, they would rather move on. These kids
have invested time and money in their educations, and they are
serious about getting the most from that investment.
We performed this little experiment in conjunction with data obtained
from a recent employee satisfaction survey showing how our current em-
ployees perceive opportunities for growth and advancement within the com-
pany. We took that data and compared it with what these young career
candidates expected from a potential employer. We were able to zero in on
problem areas and develop effective solutions.
They weren't aware of it at the time, but this year's new recruits helped
to shape the future of the company where they hope to build their careers.
We hope they stay around to do just that.
Josh Greenberg is President of AlphaMeasure, Inc. AlphaMeasure provides organizations of all sizes a powerful web based
method for measuring employee satisfaction, determining employee engagement, and increasing employee retention.
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Looking for an IT job is one of the easiest to perform due to the
incredibly high demand in the IT field. As the Internet grows, corporations
network through Intranets, even the advancement of science has the de-
mand for anyone with IT skills at an all time high. Computer technology
continues to advance, change and grow and, in turn, increases the demand
for new and diverse IT jobs. A job search for a person with the right skills is
not only easy, but can be quickly done with the accessibility of online IT
employment web sites. When an IT professional is embarking on a job
search, it is important to keep in mind that these jobs tend to pay very well.
With the high demand for IT employees, the first job that an individual
comes across may not be the best one as far as pay and benefits. Contrary
to how many other people looking for employment have to search, submit-
ting resumes and often settling for less pay or entry level positions. IT
professionals can often take the time to 'shop' around for the best job
offers before accepting a position.
The Internet offers a number of websites that provide the opportunity
for anyone to search through potentially millions of listings in order to find
a few that meet the individual's qualifications. Looking for an IT job can be
done on any one of these kinds of websites, but with the increasing demand
for IT employees it has brought about a number of IT specific job related
websites that cater specifically to IT professionals. In addition to Internet
job listings, IT professionals can do their job search through trade publica-
tions, and even newspaper employment classifieds.
While having IT skills doesn't guarantee a quick and easy job search,
having a well-written resume can help in how many positions will earn an
individual consideration. IT professionals can always find help with putting
their resumes together through resume writing services or software that
guides an individual through resume templates. However an IT profes-
sional goes about his or her job search, the tool of their trade is most likely
the best way for them to find the right position.
By Heather Eagar, owner of
Buku Pintar | Cari Kerja | HRD
As an employer I receive many job applications each week. Some
cover letters are so well written that I am compelled to review the attached
resume even if our company is not currently hiring. I Don't want to miss an
opportunity to contact an outstanding individual. Other cover letters are
sufficiently interesting that I will file them away and review them later in the
week, while others simply beg to be deleted immediately.
What makes the difference? For me, there are three factors; under-
standing, argument and attention to detail.
Understanding. Here's what I am looking for. Did the job seeker
spend time to find out about our company, our products and ser-
vices and our markets? As an employer it's easy to identify the level
of understanding of job seekers and classify them into three areas:
those who understand our company, those who have some under-
standing of our industry and those who have no understanding at
all. I dispose of e-mails from this last group immediately. However,
if the job seeker clearly takes time to understand us, I'll take time
to read about him or her. As for the group in the middle, I'll usually
take some time to read their cover letter, but unless they make a
compelling argument with excellent attention to details they too, will
be deleted.
Argument. Even if the applicant clearly demonstrates some
knowledge of our company I'm still looking for a compelling reason
why I should take time to review an accompanying resume. I'm
interested in the applicant who clearly goes the extra mile, one who
understands us and persuades me to find out more. This is the type
of person I want working for our company!
Attention to Detail: Grammar and Spelling. It goes without
saying that grammar and spelling are important. They are corner-
stones of written communication. Since we are a client-focused
company, every employee must possess good communication skills,
both written and oral. I'm looking for well-constructed paragraphs
and sentences, together with correct spelling. Details count.
Bruce Sutton is president of Jobhawk
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America may be the Land of Opportunity, but this is also the land of
the Big Trade-Off. Sure, you can have that nice house, but you're going to
have to become a mortgage slave to keep it. You can drive that fancy
sports car, but you'll have to fork over an insurance premium as hefty as
the GNP of some Third World nations.
It's the same with a career. Most professional positions require expe-
rience, but in this classic Catch-22, how does a young college student or
graduate gain that experience? Well, it's just as Mark Twain said, "Never let
school interfere with our education."
I believe the intern programs in place at companies like Coca-Cola,
Proctor & Gamble, CBS, and mine provide the best chance for young people
to enter and grow in many professions. Although the work is demanding,
with little or no immediate financial return, interning is a textbook example
of a win-win situation.
When a young person comes to my public relations company and tells
me he's willing to intern, a distinctly modern social contract is entered into.
Though he is not a servant, and I am not a teacher, if he does some unpaid
work, we'll do some teaching. The company gets the opportunity to ob-
serve eager and smart young people who energize the company. Like a
farm team, interns are prospective employees, and we get to watch them
in action. For the intern, the rewards are far greater.
Firstly, most interns are college students, and nearly all receive valu-
able college credit for their services. Beyond that, interning teaches the
neophyte how to function in a complex, real-life adult business environ-
ment. Mike Tyson could have studied boxing manuals his whole life, but he
would never have become the Champ if he hadn't stepped into a real ring.
No classroom can substitute for visceral, palpable learning in an authentic
Problem solving, initiative, creativity, and cooperation are well fos-
tered as the intern struggles to carve a niche for him/herself. To make it as
an intern, one must embody the qualities of any effective worker, and the
rewards go far beyond the merely educational. Many interns go on to highly
successful careers.
Interning is practical. In an ever-tightening job market, it provides
career preparation, enables a young professional to develop marketable
skills and demonstrate potential to a prospective employee. But beyond the
practicalities, there's a bigger picture that needs to be addressed.
For too many, America has become the Land of the Freeloader and
the Home of the Lazy. People seem to want it all, right here right now, with
a minimum of effort. Dreams of winning this week's Lotto game have sup-
planted that dream of building a life built of Freud's twin peaks, "Lieben and
Arbeiten," love and work. The old-fashioned work ethic is, if not dead, then
surely on the critical list. America says it wants to be No. 1, but many refuse
to expend the effort to get there. We can do it, but there's only one way,
and that's simply to work for it, and work hard.
For centuries, apprenticeship was the equivalent to today's technical
college. The spirit of apprenticeship is still alive in interning. If America's
work force whined a little less, and had a little more of the initiative of my
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highly motivated interns, maybe this country could find a semblance of its
former glory. Yes, they do not get paid. But as my interns have so brilliantly
demonstrated, nobody works for free.
Michael Levine is the founder of the prominent public relations firm Levine Communications Office, based in Los Angeles. He
is the author of Guerrilla PR, 7 Life Lessons from Noah's Ark: How to Survive a Flood in Your Own Life.
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The US Government has just released last month's job creation fig-
ures. It was the lowest number in two years. This is a revealing and disturb-
ing snapshot of what is actually happening in the real economy, not the one
artificially created for the headlines. Our US GNP or Gross National Product,
is based upon manufactured durable goods. Unfortunately, the manufactur-
ing economy in the US has not yet recovered from the devastating collapse
it saw commence in the spring of 2000. The recent improvements in jobs
and growth are substantially confined to the service sector. Manufacturing
is what drives the US economy and it is suffering.
Do you work in this market segment? Are you comfortable? Do you
feel stable? Have you yet realized that there is no such thing as job security
anymore? That concept is gone. Unlike our parents and their parents be-
fore them who could count on working in a selected field for a given em-
ployer for life and then retire, we of this generation, working in any aspect
of manufacturing have no such luxury. Our job, or even the company we
work for, could change overnight or possibly be gone in a heartbeat. The
face of the Fortune 500 is drastically different than it was just 10 years ago.
Many companies are gone forever or have been acquired other firms or
holding companies. Many have split up and others are now manufacturing
off-shore in China or India. So where is your security?
What is it that you can count on during this period of instability? Where
is your value as an employee? Unlike our ancestors who relied on a strong
back to work the fields or do heavy labor, we rely on our knowledge and
skills. Our value, what we have to offer employers, is located between our
Aside from your intrinsic value as a human being, a creation of God,
do you offer enough real value your employer so that when the tough
employment decisions have to be made, you are one of the people who
stay? Do you offer enough value to demand that a new employer will hire
you if you are not so fortunate? These are tough questions. We do not really
like to examine these possibilities, but examine them we must, for there is
no more job security.
I recently spoke with a man that I had not seen in some time. He is the
Quality Assurance Manager for a large, well-known manufacturer of con-
sumer audio goods. He said that business was great, but he was fearful of
his long-term prospects with his employer of 8 years because scuttlebutt
had it that the company was quietly building their first plant in China, due to
open in late-2006. He realizes that even though their products are technical
in nature and superbly crafted, the plant's operations were basically as-
sembly and packaging, and those functions could easily be done as well
overseas at a much lower cost. Over the past year, he wisely reviewed his
options, studied for and acquired his real estate license, and has begun
selling homes part-time. He saw that he had little choice but to take action
now, well in advance of what may occur to the plant next year.
He woke up and decided to learn something new. Such a need exists
for almost everyone else as well. This manager decided that if he was to
maintain his lifestyle and have a promising future, he had to take charge
now. He had to learn new skills, because the skills he had been trained in
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would possibly soon be rendered useless, at least to his existing employer.
Could he locate to another position in a similar capacity at another
company somewhere nearby? Possibly, but what guarantee would he have
that they same thing would not happen there. There are no guarantees. He
was forced to take action and expand his skills now.
Some people are not as fortunate, and we hear about them everyday
in the news. This plant is closing their doors. That company is reducing
employment by 60%. Another company is expected to only hire 15 people
instead of the 45 that they originally thought. It goes on and on. What do
these people do now? They have to act fast. They typically have to learn
new skills so as to be able to offer value to a new employer somewhere
The bottom line is that since we no longer have any real job security,
life-long learning is more important than ever. What is this life-long learn-
ing? It is the concept of continuous learning. Many people go through pri-
mary and high school, possibly college and declare that their education is
over. It does not work that way anymore. We must at least be continuously
learning additional skills in our chosen field and possibly even expanding
our skills into new fields. In this manner, we offer maximum value to our
employer or possible a future employer who may even operate in a differ-
ent industry.
Wake up and learn something new. Sitting idle and dormant will surely
prove costly to you. There is no other real alternative. You need to get busy
Daniel Sitter is the author of the breakthrough e-book. or
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Mystery shoppers are people who are hired to scrutinize employees,
products and customer services of any organization. The benefits that they
get from mystery shopping are:
They enjoy doing a job that's fun and frolic
Mystery shoppers shop because they enjoy doing that. Mystery shop-
pers visit not just the stores but the restaurants and hotels too. They are
supposed to evaluate products like food, drinks, spa and gym. It's obvi-
ous that they have to use the products in order to assess them. They get
their money that they had spent on eating, back. To top it all they get
some bucks for doing this job. Quite often, they get free meals in restau-
rants and free stay in hotel suites. This is really "hitting two birds with
one stone."
Acting attracts them
Acting gives them an all time high. They even get paid for it. What more
could they ask for? They get to shop in the department stores with the
hidden camera. They pretend to buy stuffs and simultaneously catch the
persuasive talks of the salesmen on camera. Sometimes they even color
their hair and shave their beard or mustache to mingle with the shop-
pers. They do such funny and adventurous things to conceal their iden-
They can get engaged in secret shopping at any point of time
Mystery shopping is open for people of all age and category like, retired
persons, home makers or the professionals. The technological and eco-
nomical developments have brought mystery shopping in forefront. Ex-
employees of airlines, banks etc. too work for mystery shopping compa-
nies. This profession is good especially for those people who have been
badly-placed in their full time jobs or are dissatisfied with their jobs.
Mystery shopping is a good means of earning for such people. There are
various mystery shopping companies that register people to be mystery
shoppers, online. Some people get registered with 10 companies, whereas
there are others who get registered with few that offer interesting jobs
like cruising and visiting nightclubs.
They make good money
Different companies pay differently to the secret shoppers. Money earned,
actually depends on the nature of the job. For example, a shopper can
get somewhere near $8 for accomplishing small assignments like banks
while for more sophisticated jobs they get $25 or more. The working
efficiency of a person too determines his earnings as a mystery shopper.
There are shoppers who make about $100 by working back-to-back in a
day. A mystery shopper initially begins with as little as $5 per job. Hard
work and sincerity enable him to earn hundreds of dollars a month and
he grows as a professional. It is assumed that as mystery shopping
gains popularity both mystery shoppers and the companies will make
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big money in the coming years.
The task is sometimes very simple and easy to accomplish
Sometimes these shoppers are required to do simple tasks of assessing
the drive-in tellers. Secret shoppers observe their welcoming style,
whether or not they chew gums and the time taken by them for delivery.
This is why secret shoppers carry useful stuffs like stop or digital watch.
Mystery shoppers answer some queries in the form provided to them by
their employers at the end of their scrutiny. They send it back to the
mystery shopping company and from there it is sent to the actual client.
Future prospects are good
As the mystery shopping business is growing, shoppers are always on
their toes. They have to log-in on websites in time otherwise they might
lose some opportunities, to shop, and their competitors might win. The
scope for being a mystery shopper is vast as companies don't repeat a
shopper for the same job at the same place. They always hire fresh
faces. The craze for being a mystery shopper is such that some compa-
nies get calls very frequently from enthusiast who want to be mystery
shoppers. Mystery shopping companies serve clients in many countries
and employ about thousands of shoppers. This provides opportunities
for large number of aspirants who look forward to work as secret shop-
Joseph operates an online resource providing mystery shoppers an avenue to locate more companies to hire them for mystery
shopping tasks.
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Many professionals and managers are so involved in day-to-day cri-
ses and fighting fires that they forget about a key leadership characteristic:
self-management. Effective leaders are first of all effective in managing
themselves: their time, their focus, their emotions and their careers. It's
too late to figure out what's next for you once your company has merged,
had lay offs, changed strategy or whatever. Here are the biggest mistakes
leaders make in their careers:
Burning bridges along the way.
Each profession may seem big, but, as you move up in your career,
you come to realize how 'small' each really is. Something you said
or done may comes back to haunt you.
Not having big enough goals.
A key career stopper is setting your goals too low or not being
willing to put in the time it takes to reach goals. Believing "I could
never do that" or, "They'll never give me the go ahead" means it
probably won't happen. Take risks, try new things, initiate and learn
and grow.
Playing office politics.
Some people pick the wrong battles to fight. When you get en-
meshed in gossiping or office politics, you forget about the goals,
mission and getting the job done. It'll lead to a lack of outcomes, a
career killer every time.
Having a bad attitude.
"It kills even the most talented," said one top executive, who has
observed many talented people rise and fall. Attitudes are learned,
and you can improve yours daily by consciously and actively
working on it. Negative attitudes slow you down, but good ones are
jet fuel, enhancing all you do.
Thinking that money is everything.
A great salary doesn't equate to happiness. For most people,
executive or staff, money means very little if you are truly unhappy.
Job satisfaction is the number one reason people elect to find a new
job. What gets you up each day excited about going to work?
Take control of your career! If you Don't, who else will?
Marcia Zidle, the 'people smarts' coach, works with business leaders to quickly solve their people management headaches
so they can concentrate on their #1 job - to grow and increase profits.
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At some point in every professional or managerial career, there is a
time when one start thinking: Is it time to move on or do something else?
However, before you quit your job and take a fling at something else, real-
istically evaluate your career and potential options by asking yourself these
ten career success questions:
Do I really like my work or am I hanging on marking time?
Am I promotable or am I seen as a disposable commodity?
Am I visible to potential employers, as well as my current boss?
Am I growing or stagnating or just standing still waiting for the next
wave of change?
How smooth are my interpersonal relationships with my boss and
Am I being rewarded at my true worth?
Have I recently checked out my value in the marketplace?
How valued and diversified are my skills and competencies?
How can I distinguish myself from competitors?
What will it take to get where I want to go from the place I am right
While setting distinct goals is a critical factor in career advancement,
remaining flexible is important too. Climbing the career ladder with blinders
on could mean missed opportunity. Career success involves staying open,
staying flexible and making sure you're using your talents to the fullest.
Remember, control your destiny or someone else will!
Marcia Zidle.
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If you decide to get a degree in nursing, there are many things you
need to know and consider first. Choosing your nursing school may not be
as easy as you expect. There is research that needs to go into it to be sure
you get the best school available to you. You are going to want to look into
different college programs, where they are located, how much they cost,
what degrees they offer as well as information about scholarships and more
to help you make an informed decision about which is best for you.
Getting your nursing degree is no cakewalk. It won't be easy, espe-
cially if you have to keep a job or if you have a family and children to take
care of. However, if you push yourself, you will be very happy with the end
result. It is a profession that is very rewarding and fulfilling.
There are many different options for you in the nursing profession. It
is a very diverse field that offers you many different departments to work
in. You can work hands-on with patients or you might want to work in a lab
or research facility. You might choose to work in a specific field such as OB-
GYN or Pediatrics. You can go into the field that interests you the most. The
options are vast for you.
If you are working on getting the perfect school for nursing, you need
to also consider what specialty you plan on doing, if you have one. This will
help you get the right degree. Most nursing programs have very general-
ized programs but you may have the option to add on extras if you choose
such as in a specific field.
Nursing is an excellent career choice. There are many different op-
tions for you to advance over the years or even to change your field if you
chose to. With nursing, you get the opportunity to work with a large variety
of people. You will generally have good working conditions and good pay.
You also have personal satisfaction that you are helping someone or being
productive with your life. It is a very rewarding career.
It's easy to find a great job in nursing. There are so many places in
your area that need nurses. You should call the local hospitals, clinics and
other medical offices to see if they have openings. You can also use the
Internet to your advantage since you can apply for jobs online and also
look up information about a particular job you are interested in.
Suzanne Verita is the owner of
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A certain amount of oversight is involved in almost any job. The more
important, the more highly skilled, the more successful the position, the
lower the degree of oversight. At the bottom rung of the economic and
social ladder - the laborers, the maids, the easily replaceable positions - the
more watchful are the powers that be, the less secure are the workers, the
more personally vulnerable are they to any mistakes made.
When money or similar valuables are intermixed with poorly paid
employees, the level of oversight reaches outsized and intrusive propor-
tions. Diamond workers in South Africa submit to body cavity searches
after every shift, a humiliation society normally limits to convicted felons or
known drug traffickers.
In the United States, low-level workers in finance and banking are
closely observed for cash or figure discrepancies. Too many errors lead
inevitably to termination. The larger the amounts of money involved, the
more significant the mistakes become. A fast food register a few cents out
of balance differs markedly from a bank cashier imbalance of several hun-
dred dollars.
The more pure cash is involved, the more difficulty there is in tracing
a paper trail of transactions to establish where a discrepancy occurred. I
just returned from three days in Las Vegas, the American capital of cash.
Surely nowhere else in the country handles the thousands of hundred dollar
bills that change hands in that town, to the tune of several billion dollars
For years, in the counting rooms it was one pile for the house, one pile
for the government, and one pile for "the boys." Untold millions were si-
phoned off for the East Coast crime czars. The government hated being
cheated of their fair share. The gamblers could care less where the money
went as long as they had a fair chance of winning and their play rendered
them free rooms, free shows, and free food. It was symbiotic - a mutually
advantageous relationship. Any worker foolish enough to try to cheat the
uniquely expert cheaters at the top, found their final reward in the unforgiv-
ing desert where flesh melts quickly and bone fragments blow quickly away
in the beds of long-dry rivers.
Then the corporations moved in and "the boys" faded away into their
old street rackets and the burgeoning drug trade. The corporate-owned
casinos are no longer in the business of skimming: they can make legiti-
mate returns for their shareholders through the huge returns guaranteed
by the house advantage in every transaction. To add to the gaming cash,
they moved to ensure a profit in related areas: rooms, food, and shows.
Even the owners and managers, with their accounting-oriented per-
spective on the world, recognize their vulnerability to greed, cheating, and
theft in the huge cash side of their business.
Casino worker oversight, while not yet approaching the body-cavity-
search level, is perhaps the most organized and intrusive in the western
world. It ranges from dealers clapping and showing open, empty hands, to
two or more floor walkers (depending on the size of the jackpot) co-signing
on every hand-pay slot win. It involves floor men watching every table bet,
box men watching every roll of the dice and its payoff stacks of chips. It
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requires supervisors to watch the floor men, managers to watch the super-
visors, undercover security men to watch both workers and guests, and
eye-in-the-sky overhead cameras that can observe and detect every one
of a million transactions per day.
Does all this monitoring and second-guessing have an effect on em-
ployees? Personal trust is something we rate highly. Talk with someone
whose spouse has cheated on them and you will find that the emotional
pain has little to do with sex but everything to do with the loss of trust and
the doubt that a relationship can ever really survive such a loss. Although
secondary to intimate relationships, we would like our coworkers and su-
pervisors to trust us also, as a mark of respect if nothing else.
On the other hand, we are aware that the world is full of cheaters,
those who would break any moral, legal, or ethical code if it gave them an
advantage in the race for success and financial independence. We want to
be trusted to act responsibly and do the right thing but we are just a little
reluctant to trust others to quite the same degree.
Close oversight of everyone gives us a certain sense of security - it
levels the playing field for us all by rooting out those who would bend the
rules to get what they want. We tell ourselves that we have nothing to fear
because we are innocent and that will protect us.
Then we read about long-convicted prisoners whose innocence has
been belatedly proved by newly developed scientific forensics. We miss a
familiar face at our favorite casino and finally learn that the individual left
town after an error-inspired accusation of misconduct resulted in termina-
tion and blacklisting from the industry.
Where there is cash floating around in generous amounts, there will
always be temptations, overzealous suspiciousness, justice and injustice
on all sides because the truth is not amenable to scientific analysis and
every event has multiple explanations and perspectives.
So we keep on watching ourselves and each other. Those of us who
loathe the concept of big brother and snitching on friends, draw back in
disgust as we see the need for security invade our lives. We can stay out of
the gaming world with its cameras and minutely regulated transactions but
how do we avoid the monitoring threatened with every call for customer
service or the cookies embedded in our computers to track our wanderings
through the Internet?
The cheaters, the scam artists, the swindlers and the frauds have
won. It is we, the innocent, who must dwell in prison cells of continuous
third degree scrutiny.
Virginia Bola operated a rehabilitation company for 20 years, developing innovative job search techniques for disabled
workers, while serving as a Vocational Expert in Administrative, Civil and Workers' Compensation Courts. http://'
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Just what is a "thurvival skill?" It's a skill that let's you thrive and
survive at the same time. In today's economy it's not enough to just be
good. You need to be better than your counterparts and colleagues. It's all
about creating an action plan to keep you name in the limelight and on the
top of the list. What list am I talking about? The one that says call X, hire X
or X is the best person for the job. Or event he list that reads we can get rid
of everyone but X. Is this person you? It could be. It takes a particular skill
1. Flexibility - You need to go with the flow. There are things you can't
change so be prepared to accept the consequences and move on.
Be adaptable no matter what the circumstances and Don't let
adversity get you off your game plan.
2. Accessibility - Opportunities happen in a flash. You need to be where
people can reach you: cell, phone, fax, and email, whatever. Let you
number two person know how to reach you in case that once in a
lifetime opportunity presents itself. If people need you, respond that
day if at all possible. If you Don't, someone else will and you will
have lost your edge.
3. Visibility - Who are you? Can people find you? Do an ego search on
GOOGLE. Type in your name and see what shows up. At the very
least, you should see some basic listing about yourself. So you want
to improve the odds of your being found? Get a personal website
and use your name as the domain.
4. Credibility - Are you an expert at something? If not, why not? Its
easy to become one and then use need to use that expert status to
your advantage. The more credentials you have in your CV, the
more power it wields when you seek out opportunities.
5. Connectivity - Who can you call when you need help? Remember it's
a quid-pro-quo world so just dont start calling people when you are
in a bind. They probably won't call back if you already haven't
established a relationship.
6. Your Me-factor - You simply have to think about yourself. Yea, I
know the cheers for the team and all that stuff. Well, the cold hard
truth is that the team isn't going to cut it when your you-know-what
is on the line. You need to look out for numero uno. Allocate time for
personal enhancement and enrichment every day. Don't get caught
up in the party line that you are too busy to manage your own
7. Technologically savvy? Big deal. Do you know how to use email? Do
you know how to use it to your advantage? Do you use it to keep in
contact, solidify a relationship, alert someone as to how and where
you can be reached or get new business? Your technology skills will
make you or break you in coming years so spend a little time
developing this particular knowledge base.
8. Investment programs - Not your 401K or IRA investments, but
investments in you as a person. What's going to affect your bottom
line? Have you kept up with current industry technology? Do you
know what skill sets are in demand for today's top employers? Keep
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that knowledge base at the cutting edge and you will have leverage
over your competition.
If you hone these skills, you are on your way to successfully negotiat-
ing the balance of the year both employed and enjoying your job. Invest in
yourself as part of your personal portfolio. Make 2009 the year of you
where you can both thrive and survive.
JoAnn Hines' specialty is PACKAGING PEOPLE. Whether you want to be paid more, you just lost your job, or you want to
progress in the one you have, her advice and expertise can help you transform your personal brand. She can show you how
to package yourself and make your brand a hot commodity. It's easy once you know the ropes and begin to utilize her insider's
secrets. She shows you step by step how to increase your visibility, credibility and marketability with easy to use tutorials and
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Liars Get Caught! What NOT to Put on Your Resume
"Everybody does it" as they say. Face it, the job market can be a very
tough place to compete. If everyone inflates their experience then how can
an honest person get a job?
Well, as tempting as it may be, you do NOT want to risk lying on your
Whether it's personal information, job experience, or schooling - em-
ployers are finding new ways to sniff out liars and you Don't want to be one
of them.
While some information may not be easily verified, information such
as a criminal record, can be very costly to you in the event it is
checked out. With sites like you can never guarantee
that an employer won't be able to find the information, even if your
employer is hiring you for domestic work and is not a business.
Clearly this is not the place to boast about fake employment as you
are going to list the businesses you worked for which may be
contacted for verification. As this is the most likely area your
interviewer will do a check on, avoid misrepresenting yourself at all
Think that nobody will notice if you slip in an education you Don't
really have? Perhaps you do have the skills, but you can't afford to
claim education you can't provide proof of. is a new
service that will allow employers to have background checks -
similar to criminal or credit checks - to verify your claim.
With all that said and done, how can you create a resume that will
highlight your skills and abilities without needing to lie?
Give yourself credit. Your skills in the workforce can be weighty indi-
cators of your ability to work in a given job. You may not know what an
employer is looking for. With many jobs that Don't require a particular ex-
pertise, you many find that they are looking for people who are able to
learn on the job. Proof that you have gained skills as a worker (or even a
volunteer if you're just starting out) can be very valuable.
Be certain that you focus on skills. Expand your descriptions. Do not
say 'I worked in an office', rather say 'I was responsible for answering the
phones in a professional manner and directing calls to the proper depart-
ments. In a busy work environment I was able to multi-task by providing
supportive administrative assistance to the head receptionist including main-
taining a filing system, processing inter office memos, delivering docu-
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ments in a timely manner, directing clients to their meeting appointments
and providing relief reception. I was quickly able to learn the filing and
switchboard systems as well as create good working relationships with fel-
low staff.'
As you can see from the above example, it is perfectly acceptable to
elaborate on your skills, but do so in an honest and ethical manner. If you
need help you can find software programs which will give you suggestions
on wording depending on the position you are describing or you can hire
someone who writes resumes to help you. Have confidence in keeping the
job you are sure to get by doing it right the first time.
Roger Clark is senior editor at Top Career Resumes who provide free
information to job seekers on all aspects of finding a new job and Medi-
cal Health News where you can find the most up-to-date advice and
information on many medical, health and lifestyle topics.
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Unexpectedly loosing your job can be a very traumatic and distressing
experience at the best of times. If you are over 40 and can't find the job
you deserve, you will need great inner strength and self belief to come
out on top.
Could this be you?
You're working at your family's welding business during the day, and
then go to your second job at night. You're 50-some years old, working as
a cashier at Target. You always said that if you're 40 years old and have a
career that requires you to wear a name tag, then to just shoot you!
Not that there's anything wrong with working at Target or wearing a
name tag or working the family business. Those are all honest jobs. It's just
that after 20 years with your previous company, and with your education
and expertise, you hadn't exactly planned on ramping up to your golden
years asking customers if they'd like to save ten percent on their purchase
by opening a store credit card.
You heard rumblings about the company folding. But as far as you
knew, the numbers were good. At least they were good. Then competition
took over and the owners decided it was a good time to bow out gracefully.
You were hoping you weren't going to be one of the countless main wage
earners to get let go. But sadly, you were. Unemployment ran out. You sent
out literally hundreds of resumes and still nothing. Your spirits are down,
you're frustrated (that's an understatement) and you even had to humble
yourself to get some help from a local food pantry.
You've done all the online courses; you have tirelessly pounded the
pavement and scoured the classified ads. You've even hit up all the online
sources to jobs such as and about 800 other job boards that you regularly surf.
If one more person tells you that a door closes and a window opens or that
good things come to those who wait, you think you're going to puke.
You have a family counting on you, so now what? For starters, keep
plugging along. Keep on keeping on. You know a job isn't going to fall from
the sky, so you need to just accept that your job right now is finding a job.
You are working and you're working harder than most at this task.
More importantly you need to keep a positive outlook. Yes that's easier
said than done. But if you can't control the circumstances you can control
your attitude toward it. You can either look at downsizing as an opportunity
to do something different or to learn something new; or you can view it by
accepting that you've been dealt a bad hand of cards and now all you can
do is play it out. Do not view yourself as a victim. No good will come from
that attitude.
You wouldn't have advanced nor had the longevity that you did in your
former career had it not been for your wherewithal and internal drive. You
need to find that strength again. If you're still having a pity party, it's time to
get over it. If you've sent out that many resumes and exhausted what you
believe to be all your leads and you're still bitter and feeling sorry for
yourself, it's time to reevaluate. If you haven't already accepted a job that
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you're overqualified for and underpaid, then it's time you did.
Pride can be our biggest downfall. Working a family business that you
never wanted to, or working nights at the concession stand may not be
what you envisioned for yourself. View it as temporary. View it as a pay-
check. View it as an opportunity to network with people you would have
never had the opportunity to cross paths. Maybe your next customer could
be a business owner that you've been attempting to get an interview with.
As for the people who give you clichs, know that they mean well.
People who have not been a mile in your shoes, Don't understand it. They
Don't know what to say. Remember downsizing sometimes sucks, but it
may be forcing you into a new opportunity that you really love. Make the
best of it.
Roger Clark is senior editor at Top Career Resumes who provide free information to job seekers on all aspects of finding a
new job and Medical Health News where you can find the most up-to-date advice and information on many medical, health and
lifestyle topics.
Buku Pintar | Cari Kerja | HRD
It takes a lot of time and effort to get invited to a job interview. Don't
blow your chances by being misunderstood by the interviewer. Not many
people are aware that giving one word answers to questions, substantially
increases your chances of conveying the wrong impression.
Active Listening Skill Tips for Interviews
During a job interview, a potential employer asks, "Can you take on
more than one project at a time?" If you respond, "Yes," you may want
to rethink that answer. According to Dynamic Listening: Interview Skills,
a computer based training module from Mindleaders in Columbus, Ohio,
you should avoid one-word or one-sentence answers.
Be specific. And speak money-language. Here's a preferred answer
to the question above, "In general, depending upon the type and length of
projects, I believe in efficiently handling more than one project at a time.
This could save a company as much as 30%." Let's check out the definition
of "active listening skills" and learn more to help with your next interview?
Active Listening Skills
Just as everyday "speaking" is not the same as public speaking; "listen-
ing" is not the same as active listening. Active listening means two things:
analysis and response to the message being communicated.
An active listener maintains eye contact and good posture with a slight
lean towards the speaker. During the interview, the listener nods, smiles
and takes notes. Be ware, however, that a daydreamer or pseudolistener,
can adopt these behaviors. So a listener's physical response does not nec-
essarily mean good listening skills are at work.
Nonverbal communication, more than just the nod or smile, is impor-
tant. Gestures, appearance, timing, voice responses, facial expressions,
spatial distance, all affect how the speaker (or interview) interprets the
listener. So a person preparing for a job or work project interview should
consider the cultural climate and norms of society of the interviewer. In
short, perceived active listening based on nonverbal signals can vary from
culture to culture.
Especially in this age of such great cultural diversity, be courteous of
others regardless of cultural, sexual or societal backgrounds. If you are a
woman and get to a door before a man, open it. If your interviewer doesn't
speak English very well and looks puzzled at your words, go back and
explain yourself again in different words and re-establish a good communi-
cation exchange.
Note: a major part of active listening is paraphrasing. It's not the
same as summarizing. A summary is a shortened version of the original
message, focusing on the main point. To paraphrase means to re-state the
message in your own words.
Active listeners take notes by paraphrasing or restating what the
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speaker said in their own words, and summarizing main points. A good
listener is not the same thing as a silent listener. Good listeners ask ques-
tions, even something like, "Is this an accurate paraphrase of you have
said?" to let the speaker know that you understand the message being
Roger Clark is senior editor at Top Career Resumes who provide free information to job seekers on all aspects of finding a
new job and Medical Health News where you can find the most up-to-date advice and information on many medical, health and
lifestyle topics.
Buku Pintar | Cari Kerja | HRD
Employers and recruiters receive hundreds of resumes for every po-
sition they are trying to fill. To select their shortlist of candidates to inter-
view, they look for the most common resume mistakes most applicants
make and eliminate them first.
To increase your chances of getting an interview, make sure you avoid
these common mistakes.
Ten Resume Mistakes to Avoid
Whether you've been downsized, are looking for a career change or
are just starting out, your resume speaks volumes about you. If your re-
sume doesn't make it past the first cut, you're doomed; no matter how
qualified you are. Below are ten common mistakes to avoid when putting
your resume together. Remember, you only get one chance to make a good
first impression.
1. Multiple pages? You need to be concise. Keep it to one page and one
page only. If you can't highlight your talents on one page, you're
giving the message that you are unorganized and tend to go on and
2. Fancy paper? If your skills Don't speak for themselves, then your
fancy paper isn't going to make a bit of difference.
3. Fancy font? Same as above. Don't try to set yourself apart with a
different font on your resume. Set yourself apart by being uniquely
4. Irrelevant info? No one really cares that you were a singing waiter if
you're applying for an accountant job.
5. Outdated information? Does it matter than you had a newspaper
route and were on the high school cheerleading squad 24 years
ago? No, not in the least. Leave it off.
6. Typos and misspellings? You would think this is an obvious one, but
you'd be amazed at the number of resumes received with big
blaring mistakes.
7. Falsified information? Greatly elaborated credentials are the same
as lies. Do not list diplomas, certifications, affiliations or awards that
you did not earn. Just Don't do it. It'll come back to bite you in the
8. Attachments? At the resume stage do not send any attachments,
whatsoever. If you are granted an interview, at that time you could
bring in whatever it is you're so hot to get into the selecting official's
hands. The person accepting the resumes will likely just throw it in
the round file.
9. Elaborating too much? Place of employment, job title and brief, very
brief description of job responsibilities are all you need. Don't
complete a whole paragraph for each job you've held.
10. No cover letter? Writing a good cover letter is a bit of an art.
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However, any cover letter is better than none. Just keep the same
principles in mind with your letter: Brevity, relevant and free from
If you can avoid these simple ten resume mistakes, you're more than
half way there to getting an interview. Once you have your foot in the door
you can really shine for the boss. If you Don't make it past the first cut, due
to any of the above fatal mistakes, your beautiful resume will be used to
wipe up coffee spills or will be added to the recycle pile! Don't let that
happen to you.
Roger Clark is senior editor at Top Career Resumes who provide free information to job seekers on all aspects of finding a
new job and Medical Health News where you can find the most up-to-date advice and information on many medical, health and
lifestyle topics.
Buku Pintar | Cari Kerja | HRD
Submit a poorly written cover letter and the chances are your resume
will end up in the trash bin without even being looked at.
On the other hand, a well written cover letter can almost guarantee
you get an interview.
Interview Winning Cover Letters
Ok, you may not win any awards for the cover letter that you enclose
to your resume, but you may increase your odds it actually getting read, if
you follow a few simple steps.
1. Keep it brief. Your resume is the document that conveys your
qualifications, therefore your cover letter need not go on and on
about how wonderful you are.
2. Remember it serves a purpose. It is announcing you, and your
enclosed information, your resume.
3. Tell them what you're doing: I'm applying for the position of,
Enclosed is my resume for the position of.
4. Clearly state what position you're applying for. Don't assume the
Human Resources person will automatically know what job you want
or that they only have one opening.
5. Highlight a few of your strong suits. Although brevity is the key
here, you Don't want to merely say, "Here's my resume. Bub Bye."
6. Don't be redundant with contact information. All that pertinent
information should be on your resume.
7. Don't staple your cover letter to your resume. Often photocopies
need to be made and it just frustrates the person making the copies
to have to remove your staples. Use a paperclip if you feel the need
to attach it; else just send it on top of your resume.
8. Typos. That's an obvious one. It's hard to proof your own work. Find
one other person to give both your cover letter and resume a
glance over. You're dead in the water if your cover letter has
misspellings, poor grammar or typos.
Below is a same letter you can use as a guide:
Human Resources, COMPANY NAME HERE
Enclosed please find my resume. I am very much interested in working
with you as your POSITION TITLE. As you will see from my enclosed
resume, I am qualified in a variety of areas. (Or I am uniquely qualified
for this position because of my vast experience in). My college degrees
are in Business Administration with a minor in Management. I have spent
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the last two decades performing INSERT SIMILAR RESPONSIBILITIES.
I am anxious to discuss this opportunity with you further.
Your Name
You as can see, the above cover letter is short and to the point. It
serves a purpose of prefacing your resume. Don't waste your time going on
and on and on. It will not get read. As it stands, you have a 50/50 chance
that anyone will even read your cover letter. Are you willing to take 50%
odds that it will be read, only to have a lousy cover letter that will essen-
tially hinder your resume from consideration? Follow the above simple steps
and you'll make a great first impression. Of course, it's up to you to have
knowledge, skills and abilities to back it; but at least you're starting off
Roger Clark is senior editor at Top Career Resumes.
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To "sell" oneself on paper is not easy. Creating a resume is a design
and construction job and a test of your writing skills as well. A resume can
either be self written or written with professional help.
Self-written resumes are attractive with good fonts but the disadvan-
tages of self-written resumes are that they may be unfocussed and care-
lessly organised. The candidate who gets the job is not always the most
qualified; rather, the candidate with the best presentation is the one who
gets hired. A resume is what is most essential to communicate what we
have been, what we are, and what capacity we have to push ourselves
ahead in future. It should be effectively communicated and should not be
perceived as a catalogue or records of our past life.
This is where professionally written resumes come in handy. What the
employers require is an intelligently organized, easy-to-scan-or-read Re-
sume without flowery language and exaggerated claims. It should be pre-
sented in such a way that even a busy reader should be able to grasp
immediately the benefits the company will have on this suitable recruit-
The skill to select and het in the right ingredients in the right way (to
focus or tailor your resume), the ability to trim unwanted personal informa-
tion, to cover up blemishes are all skills which will prevent from being
screened out.
From the employer's point of view, he would get hundreds of resumes.
Not everyone will get time to scan them all. For them, resumes are dry,
boring documents, which would put them to sleep. That is why a resume
should be impressive enough to perk them up and keep them awake. Apart
from the education level, experience and contact information, the basic
facts, which would influence the employer, should be provided.
Especially for persons in the art, advertising, marketing, or writing
professions, the resumes are samples of their skills! The accomplishments
mentioned in the resume get read by the employers and displays the skills
and there are lesser chances of screening it out!
Learn to create a masterpiece, not just any other simple document
which gets turned down easily!
Hpriya Sivan
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Searching for a job can be a daunting and confusing task for anyone,
whether he or she is just entering the job market, looking for a better job or
find him or herself without a job after several years with one employer. A
job search can be successful when the person looking for a job knows
exactly what they should and should not do when looking for a new job.
Once a person has located a job that they desire, the applicant needs to get
their resume ready and avoid the most common mistakes that job seekers
make while looking for a job.
When performing a job search, just about everyone is likely to come
across a job they is perfect for them. The first thing most people do is to
prepare their resume or fill out a job application, depending on how the
potential employer prefers to screen their applicants. Resumes are more
common when the position is full-time in a professional line of work. Part-
time positions often require a company job application be submitted in lieu
of a resume. Honoring the kind of application method that is requested by
the company offering a job is an important part of a successful job search.
Submitting the requested application or resume is the first step in showing
a potential employer that an individual is cooperative and able to follow
If an individual is looking for a job and knows that they desire full-time
professional work, he or she will want to have a well- written, error-free
resume. If a resume has typing or grammatical errors, it can affect how a
potential employer views the quality of work an applicant might submit if
hired. Choosing to have a professional resume writing service complete a
resume before starting to search for employment can eliminate the kinds of
errors that could lead to a resume getting rejected. In addition, an appli-
cant should be able to submit an attractive and appealing resume that is
more likely to result in consideration.
Finding job search portals and resume services are easier than ever
to access through the Internet. Employment websites and services can
make searching for a job quick and simple with search options and even
the ability to eliminate certain. Employment websites often offer their own
resume writing services to simplify the job search and application process
even more. The right combination of job search and resume resources
allow for outstanding applications that can make finding a new job easier
and faster than ever.
By Heather Eagar, owner of
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A job search for executives is far less complicated today than it has
been in the past. Anyone who is looking for an executive job can simply
look to the Internet where there are hundreds of employment websites,
with many specifically geared towards executives. These websites offer
individuals the opportunity to network with other executives in order to
share ideas, offer communication about opportunities and support that can
be useful during a job search.
The best way to begin looking for an executive position is to have an
exceptional resume that provides any potential employer with an individu-
alized declaration of that person's educational and employment history, in
addition to their professional direction anticipated for the future. The re-
sume is such an important part of a job search that it can truly mean the
difference between landing an interview and having the resume discarded.
There are a number of things that can set one candidate apart from an-
other, and an outstanding resume can be a great start.
Job search websites for executives often work closely with recruiters
from a number of specialty areas in order to make the right connections.
Meetings and interviews can take place on the Internet or via phone. Some
job search services come with full support from a professional staff to pro-
vide answers and counseling during the process.
Many executives who are looking for a job are in a position where
they would like to keep the fact that they intend to change companies a
private matter. Posting a resume on a job search website might seem risky,
but a lot of these sites provide only resume information, and it is up to the
individual posting the resume to release any contact information. Be sure
to confirm the site's confidentiality options before proceeding.
By Heather Eagar, owner of
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Many years ago searching for a federal job was a long, complicated
and drawn out process. Today, it has been become far less complex and is
now just a three-step process. Finding a federal job used to be accom-
plished through postings in a government office branch and sometimes in
libraries. Today, finding an opening can be done right on the Internet. There
is a web site that lists federal jobs also lists many state, local and even
private business positions. Many of the federal, state and local jobs can be
applied for right online. If a position requires a resume, individuals can take
advantage of online resume development and transmission.
Looking for a federal job can be done at most Federal buildings around
the country and even through an interactive voice response telephone sys-
tem for the hearing impaired. A search may turn up something called a 'hot
job', which is a job that needs to be filled immediately. The office of person-
nel management usually posts these for those who are in need of immedi-
ate employment. If a person performing job search would like to work with
a specific federal agency, many times each federal agency will list their job
openings right on their individual web site.
Most individuals looking for a federal job can complete the application
process by submitting a resume, a federal employment application or even
other written form of application approved by the department accepting
applications. The federal government does provide application forms like
the optional application for federal employment form OF-612 and the SF-
If an individual has done a job search and found positions that he or
she would like to apply for, whatever type of application is submitted should
contain important information. Applicants should include all of the job infor-
mation that was included in the job listing, the applicants personal informa-
tion including all contact information, the applicant's educational history,
previous employment record and any pertinent experience related to the
job position. Once the federal job search and application process is com-
plete, applicants simply need to wait for a response.
By Heather Eagar, owner of
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Sometimes missing a critical meeting just can't be helped. Despite the
advance planning, you just cannot make it to the meeting. Before you get
out the guilt stick and beat yourself up about how stupid that was or how
bad it's going to be for your career, take a step back and examine how to
overcome your absence.If you have been following my advice, you did all
of the advance preparation for attending the meeting or the show. You
know from those preparations about the specific activities and events that
you missed. Always keep the agenda or the pre-show planner until after
the event occurs.
Recently I had to miss an important event at which I was to give a
speech. Fortunately, I was prepared in advance and was able to send my
speech via email for distribution at the event.
Learn from this: Prepare in advance. Plan for Murphy's Law. Be pre-
pared to ask someone to present your information or represent you at the
event. In the case that you are irreplaceable (we all wish that) contact the
lead organizer and let them know you have a conflict. Find out the best way
to proceed and explore if there is anything you can do in advance to smooth
it over. If extra work is required as a result of your inability to attend, do it.
That way you are making a commitment even if you are not there.
Tip: Try not to wait until the last minute to report that you can't make
it. The more advance notice you give, the better the relationship will be and
they better their chance to find a replacement.
After you have missed the event, spend some time assessing what
activities took place. Think it terms of the most critical elements. Did some-
one take notes? Can you get them? Who has the information on the discus-
sion topics and the outcomes of the conversation? Was a colleague or asso-
ciate in attendance? If it was your boss, see if you can get some face time
to review what transpired. Follow up with the person in charge of the event.
Send a handwritten note to them and apologize for your absence. Volunteer
to help again at the next event. Remember you are not really doing pen-
ance; you are just getting back into the loop.
Sometimes actually missing a meeting can work to your advantage.
After the event, you can get in front of important participants by requesting
that they bring you up to speed. Apologize for missing the event but Don't
obsess about it. We all experience events beyond our control.
Establish a rapport with the meeting leaders and discuss a absence
protocol. Volunteer to set one up. This places you in a favorable position.
You are still willing to do your share and be active in the group's outcome.
Volunteer for other assignments. A word of caution: if the reason for
missing the meeting was family or medical issues that are not resolved,
wait for this step to your plate is clear. Missing one meeting is OK. Missing
more than that can cause problems.
Remember the important issue is to not overreact because you couldn't
be there. Regroup and rethink your strategy to get back into the main-
stream events and activities.
Think big picture and plot in the grand scheme of things. Yes, you
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really hated that you missed a critical meeting but in the long run respon-
siveness and willingness to commit is what people will remember after that
single event.
JoAnn Hines' specialty is PACKAGING PEOPLE.
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Do you feel like one in a million at work, and not in a good way? When
you run into your boss in the hallway, do you get the impression she isn't
sure who you are? Are the juicy projects always going to someone else?
If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you need to raise
your work profile. Here are some tips to get you started.
1. Listen more than you talk. If you offer an opinion, suggestion,
comment or question at every opportunity, soon people will run
away when they see you coming. Remember when you were in
college and there was always one smart-aleck who, when the class
was asked, "Are there any more questions?" would shoot his hand in
the air and hold the class up? Don't be that student in the board-
room. If you listen carefully and confine yourself to intelligent and to
the-point remarks, you'll end up looking smarter than most of the
people in the room. And when you do have something to say,
everyone will listen.
2. Meetings aren't for airing dirty laundry. If you have a problem or
gripe with someone, bring it to his or her attention privately. When
you point fingers or air departmental problems in a group setting,
you (a) blindside the person you're complaining about, and (b) have
just about ruined your chances for a peaceful resolution. Besides,
the next time you make a mistake, that person will fall all over
himself to make sure to bring it up in a large meeting just to watch
you squirm.
3. Try to catch people doing something right. Whether boss, co-worker
or subordinate, people love to be told they're doing a good job. You
Don't have to turn into Eddie Haskell to be aware of opportunities to
compliment someone. Keep it short, low-key and honest. It's even
better if you can pass the compliment to someone else. "Hey, boss,
Jim was a huge help to us on the Acme project, he made some
suggestions that should save us $20,000." What are the chances
that the boss is going to mention it to Jim the next time he sees
him? Pretty good.
4. Know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em. Pick your
battles. If you've made the best case you can for doing something a
certain way and the boss decides to do it Sally's way, smile and go
along (unless doing it Sally's way is going to send you to jail). If
your way really is better, people will remember that when Sally folds
like a cheap card table. When you do decide to keep fighting to do it
your way, make sure it's something worth fighting for and not just
because you can't stand to lose. If you only start a war when the
stakes are high you have a better chance of coming out on top than
if you try to fight every low-level skirmish like Sherman going
through Atlanta.
5. Don't hide your mistakes. As soon as it becomes apparent that
something has gone wrong, take it to your boss and be upfront
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about what happened. Have a plan laid out to correct the problem
and limit the fallout. You should be able to tell the boss that you've
already put the recovery in motion and exactly what the final
outcome will be. The key here is to accept the blame without hand
wringing or whining and pointing fingers at your subordinates or
other departments. You take the responsibility, and then you take
the lead in fixing it.
Looking for more career advice?
Joan Schramm is a career, executive and personal coach with twenty years experience in management, training and coaching.
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Our lives are tranquil and smooth so seldom, it seems. We have our
ups-and-downs, our good days and bad days, our sunny moods and black
moods. The less we swing in opposite directions, the happier we tend to be.
The biology of our bodies craves balance and consistency -- changes in our
thought patterns and emotions interrupt the regularity of our nerve path-
ways leading to chemical inbalance and internal disturbances.
Stress kills because stress is the critical determinant of how we think,
how we feel, how we react: all activities which terribly upset that silent body
chemistry. Events cause stress: the death or illness of a loved one, fear of
terrorism, divorce, exposure to violence or a personal attack, financial set-
backs, loss of a job.
We cannot remove the event: it happened. We cannot control the
stress: our bodies have already reacted. We can only control our mind and
use its enormous power to move ourselves back closer to normalcy and
Unemployment plays havoc with our emotional system. We rapidly
cycle through anger at what has happened, grief at what we have lost, fear
of what lies ahead, and recurrent shockwaves of shame, anxiety, and de-
spair. We take a number of hits all at once: loss of occupational identity,
economic pressure, family anxiety, and the humiliation of job search. How
can one little mind fight all of that at once?
One step at a time.
1. Assess.
Assess your situation objectively so you can set your priorities in order.
If you are eligible, register for unemployment immediately while identi-
fying everything in your life you can live without for the immediate fu-
ture: entertainment, treats, brand foods, non-generic household staples,
driving for pleasure, gourmet cooking, and eating out. Check your credit
cards and major loans (house, car) and see if there are arrangements
you can make to just pay the interest until you're back to work. Early
contacts and planning may reduce your immediate financial burdens
which will, in return, reduce your level of anxiety and fear.
Resolve not to ruminate about the unfairness of your layoff and iden-
tify some activities which will allow you to keep that negative brooding at
bay when it quietly sneaks up on you.
2. Ask.
Asking for support starts with bringing your family on board so they
know how you're feeling and how they can help. Even a totally self-
absorbed teenager may be willing to pull their part when the family's
survival is at stake. Explain how you are going to organize your job
search and how you will need to count on them when you're feeling
rejected and worthless. Identify a time when you will all meet together,
once a week, so you can fill them in on what has been happening and get
ideas from them which might make your next efforts more successful.
This will help you move beyond the grief of your job loss and the
increased solidity and support will allay your sense of worthlessness and
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3. Appreciate.
Use your job search activity to bolster your self-esteem. Your confidence
is already in jeopardy and your sense of self-value under constant at-
tack. As you take the physical steps to find new work, take the time to
nurture your emotional needs. Read your resume not just as a document
outlining your experience but as a conduit to your character. Think back
to your prior work and education. Give yourself a mental boost for the
successes you have enjoyed, no matter how small. Pat yourself on the
back for the efforts you expended and your value as an employee. If
there were failures, as is usual for most of us, remind yourself of what
you learned and how you became a bigger, better person for the experi-
ence. Reread any awards, special recognitions, or recommendations you
ever received and internalize such paper symbols as evidence of your
value, your worth, your ability to contribute to the world.
When you take to the street and visit employers, agencies, or obtain
interviews, Don't just focus on the outcome. It is so easy to interview, not
receive an offer, and bear down on yourself as a no-good failure. The right
offer will eventually come if you persist. What is important now is to appre-
ciate what you have actually done. Give yourself credit for the actions you
personally took to get that interview: resume submission, telephone calls,
agency referral --whatever steps were needed. The job might not have
been a good fit, that's why it wasn't offered, but you did all the right things
to get the opportunity that a personal interview affords. Revel in the fact
that you are taking the right steps in the right direction and that just a little
more time and similar effort will lead to success.
Use your mind as a source of constant self-support and self-apprecia-
tion and it will counteract the stress you're now feeling. Use it frequently,
and use it positively, as the one source of help and affection that will never
desert you.
Virginia Bola operated a rehabilitation company for 20 years, developing innovative job search techniques for disabled
workers, while serving as a Vocational Expert in Administrative, Civil and Workers' Compensation Courts.
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No one should be fired and be surprised about it. There are always
warning signs. The trick is in learning how to recognize the signs and to
have a plan of action. Many time subtle hints are given that allude to the ax
falling. Here is a checklist of early warning signs that add up to impending
* You are asked to update management on all your currents projects.
* You no longer get asked to join meetings that you have always
attended in the past.
* You are pushed to wrap up longstanding projects.
* You have a general sense of unease at work.
* Your expense reports are closely scrutinized and require explana-
* Things that were expensed previously are now being questioned.
* Time off for personal reasons is denied or questioned.
* Your office space is downsized or moved to a distant location.
* You are asked to transfer to an out of the way facility. * Your duties
are changed to some not critical to the company's success.
* You are asked to prepare a job description and explain your duties.
* You walk into a room and there is silence.
* Performance reviews are either canceled or rescheduled as an
* Communications that were by mouth about your performance
suddenly appear in written form.
* Your income is frozen for no apparent reason.
* No one invites you for drinks, lunch or social events.
* HR wants to meet with you to update their records.
* Your boss meets with you less frequently with a much shorter
* You are suddenly given a performance review.
* Your boss seems distant and unavailable.
* Someone sees your boss outside the office with what looks like a
job candidate.
* Your boss seems inordinately interested in your contacts and
resource base.
* Your boss starts making your decisions and directing outcomes.
* Your boss seems particularly interested in your project outcomes.
* Management is conducting interviews for a job that is similar to
* You start reporting to a new boss who is a more junior manager.
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* A new committee is formed to restructure the department and you
are not on it.
* You are no longer copied on memos and internal communications.
* Other employees seem uncomfortable in your presence.
* You are asked to explain your job to a subordinate.
If you checked one or none of these items then you are probably safe
for the time being. If you answered yes to a couple of these, it could be an
early warning sign that there are problems ahead, and your boss is laying
the ground work. If you answered yes to five or more, you better begin to
update your resume. You are probably fired and just Don't know it yet.
JoAnn Hines' specialty is PACKAGING PEOPLE.
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Let me ask you a question: are you tired of using job sites only to find
scam after scam? I bet you're nodding your head in agreement to that
question. I know that I was sick and tired of spending all my time online
searching for telecommuting jobs only to find scams. Any type of free job
site is going to have a few scams, but some sites have more legitimate jobs
than others, and some are easier to use than others.
There is one job site that I enjoy, have found the most legitimate jobs
from, is the easiest to search through, and has a good variety of jobs. This
site is If you've never used this job search website,
I would start using it today!
What makes it such a superior job lead website? Well, let me tell you
what I personally like about it. I like that there is an option to search
telecommuting jobs only; not too many job sites have this option built into
the search feature. You simply go to whatever city you want, select what-
ever category you want, and click on the telecommuting option. Then, it
pulls up the telecommuting jobs! It's sooooo easy!
I also enjoy that there are so many great categories, and there are
some really diverse categories. If you're looking for jobs in administration,
biotech, writing, teaching or many others, you can find them at http://
I also enjoy that there are so many cities and countries to search
through. If you're searching for Canadian telecommuting jobs, there are
options to search that country. If you're looking for telecommuting jobs in
Ireland, there is an option to search that country and many other countries
as well. Plus well over 30 US cities!
To find the best results, I go to and start
with the first city, Albany, and start with the first category, accounting and
finance, and then start searching through every city and category! Sounds
simple right? It is simple, but you need to stay committed to looking for
jobs everyday.
Telecommuting jobs go fast, so searching everyday at
will be your best bet. You need to jump on the jobs the day they are listed.
Is this going to take time on your part? Of course, but if you're serious
about working at home, you will find the time to search everyday for jobs. is one of the easiest job search websites I've found, and
it's one that I go to in order to find legitimate leads from every single day!
My husband has even started using it to find offline jobs in our area.
I have other job search websites that you can try out listed on my
MommysPlace site. I haven't used all of the websites on this list, so please
know that I can't vouch for them all or tell you if they are the best to use.
You should try as many as you want in order to decide which ones work
best for you.
Now get out there and get searching! I wish you the best with your job
Nell Taliercio,
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I recently was "unhired" by my former employer. Unhired is a softer
term than "fired" but it means the same. With no warning and an immediate
departure, I found myself at home enjoying the provisions of a severance
package but curious about the next steps.
Like most recently unhired people, I went through a range of emo-
tions--shock, anger, grief, rebellion, self-reliant indignation, and so forth.
Yet, after a few weeks I found myself wondering what day it was. For me,
everyday was Saturday.
That's not a bad thing. It's great to be able to cut the grass before it
gets too hot or swim on sunny days. However, there was still a problem. Not
only did I not have a job, but I wasn't making progress toward getting a
job. Something had to change.
Now, I know that it is impossible to force an employer to give me a
job; I can't even force them to look at my resume! All I can do is apply,
check back, and wait. That routine leads to a sense of frustration!
I decided that the only person who could hire me was me! So, I ap-
plied for the job and got it... I'd be real worried if I didn't get that job! I hired
me to do some things the other me wasn't doing. In effect, I fired the
"waiting for my ship to come in" me and hired the "go kill something and
drag it home" me.
That led me to a new routine... a routine I'd advise any job seeker to
consider. Here's the plan:
1. Get up! I started by setting my clock to force myself to get up at the
same time every morning. This put my mind in the "going to work"
2. Get going! I'm one of those guys who needs a cup of coffee and a
shower to get my brain functioning. In addition, I exercise every
other morning. So, even though I have no specific appointments, I
still go through the routine--coffee, exercise, shower--to get my
mind moving toward doing something creative.
3. Get busy! Whether it is writing articles, updating my web site, or
looking through the online job listings, I make it my point to get
about accomplishing a task. The afternoon break is deserved only
after I have accomplished something that day.
4. Get creative! Your next employment might not look like your last
one--and that might be a good thing! Too many people limit their
futures by the boundaries of their pasts. In my situation, I have
discovered my future might be a myriad of adjunct teaching respon-
sibilities, speaking engagements, freelance writing, and entrepre-
neurial activities. That's a lot different than my corner office over-
looking downtown! The cool thing is that my new experience puts
me in the driver's seat!
5. Get out! You, your spouse, your family, and your pets deserve to
venture outside the privacy fence and into the world beyond. All
work and no play makes everyone miserable. So make it a part of
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your routine to exercise some spontaneity. People who lock them-
selves into their rooms often suffer symptoms of depression and
other problems.
6. Get determined! Waiting for someone else to rescue you from your
perilous state is stressful. Take charge and use your creative
energies to begin marketing your talents to the most likely custom-
ers. Who knows, you might discover that your new employer
actually is staring you in the mirror!
Being laid-off, fired, unhired, released, or negatively employed is trau-
matic. The key to survival often is a person's motivation to turn a nega-
tive into a positive. Chances are your future will be brighter than you
Dr. Terry Hadaway is a well-known expert in adult education, a freelance writer, and a university professor. http://
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Strange jobs? How do we define that? Years ago I stole cars as a repo-
man, had some adventures as an investigative process-server, and even
handed out samples in grocery stores. Here are some other unusual jobs
you can aspire to:
Wrinkle Chaser
This is the person that irons wrinkles from shoes as they are being
made to ensure they are perfectly smooth when you buy them.
Chicken Sexer
This is a real job title. A chicken sexer sorts through baby chicks to
determine if they are male or female, and then segregate them.
Citrus Fruit Colorer
A Citrus Fruit Colorer, with the help of steam and chemicals, gives
citrus fruit a more natural coloring, because fruit is usually picked
before it is fully ripe.
Celluloid Trimmer
A Celluloid Trimmer shaves down a golf club and then adds celluloid
bands onto the golf clubs to make the leather grip stay in place.
Odor Judgers
Want to smell armpits all day to help make effective deodorants?
I'm not sure why somebody other than some strange fetishist would
want this job.
Furniture Tester
Now here's a good one. The La-z-Boy Company (and probably
others) employs furniture testers to check out their recliners. Want
to relax for a living?
You can herd, castrate and brand cattle. Then, when you get bored
castrating cattle, you can repair fences, watering troughs and do
other maintenance work on the ranch.
Alligator Wrangler
This is more of a dangerous job than a strange one, and probably
not worth the pay, unless you get a T.V. show like the The Crocodile
This is just a small sampling of the weird jobs out there. I understand
that sumo-wrestlers need helpers in the bathroom, for example, and a
friend of mine once had a job painting "Brake Release" on those little handles
all day. Then there are the strange businesses you can start, but that's
another story.
Steve Gillman,
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I am having a hard time understanding why a valuable resource such
as the "over qualified employee is having such a hard time getting a job.
Something seems to be out of whack here. How is that as a society we
deplore people who live on welfare and rape our system, but at the same
time, refuse to hire people who are out of work because they are seemingly
over qualified for the job, EVEN when they are willing to work for thousands
of dollars less than they would normally receive.
Now this seems really weird to me. I can understand on the one hand
why an employer may not want to hire the person who is overqualified.
They may fear he will be unhappy in the position and will try to leave as
soon as possible. This is a valid concern, however, think about it for a
moment. This person is knocking at your door and willing to take thousands
of dollars less because they CAN'T get a job. You have a gold mine walking
into your office, why aren't you mining for gold?
It seems to me that a change in perspective might be in order here.
Think about the follow scenario from a Coaching perspective.
Imagine that you are in the market for mid range car such as Ford
Focus and when you get to the dealership, the dealer is having a fantastic
special. Today, he is selling BMW's and Audi imports for the SAME price as
the domestic, no catch!! Please be honest here, are you going to purchase
the upgrade for the same price or are you going to stay with your original
decision. Which will it be? Are you going to turn down the import or are you
going to say "thank you very much" and drive out of there as fast as you
can in your beautiful beamer before someone changes their mind? This is
exactly what is happening when you hire the person who is over qualified
for the job.
You have an incredible opportunity from a strategic viewpoint to hire
the knowledge, expertise and advice that this high price tag employee nor-
mally comes with, for an affordable price today. Think about how taking this
person on can better your organization, even if it is for a limited time. We all
know there are no guarantees in business today. Companies are downsizing
to bare bones. Doesn't' it make sense then to maximize the employees that
you do have? The way to do this is to hire the talent but for less money.
Don't worry about how long they are going to stay with your organization.
Obviously they were having a tough time getting hired in the first place if
they were lowering their price and job expectation. Use them to implement
new ideas and strategies that will propel your organization forward. Have
them mentor your staff so that whatever knowledge they do come with,
becomes enterprise property when they leave. This is like winning the Lot-
Thinking in the short term and wondering when this person will leave
your organization, is taking a negative view of the situation. Instead, try
putting a positive spin on this windfall, and think about all the improve-
ments and implementations that may take place while they are under your
employ. Try to give them a bit of autonomy, after all they were probably
former managers and even CEO's, but if they are willing to take the job,
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then let them, and thank the Universe for the forces that led them to your
Frankie Picasso is an Entrepreneur and Customer Service Expert who has spent the past 20 years in Marketing and Customer
Service consulting for both Public and Private Sector organizations.
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Let's face it. Monitoring employees' e-mail, tracking their Internet use,
logging everything done at keyboards has become the norm in Corporate
America. With computer monitoring software so cheap and easy-to-apply
it's no wonder that workplace surveillance becomes more and more wide-
spread. Here are some figures from the 2005 Electronic Monitoring & Sur-
veillance Survey made by American Management Association and the con-
sulting firm ePolicy Institute:
76% of companies monitor websites their employees visit, and
65% use software to block connections to certain websites.
36% use software to log keystrokes and keep track of the time
spent at keyboards.
50% store and review computer files.
55% store and review employees' email messages.
So, wherever you work, the odds of your company's keeping a keen
technology-aided eye on you are pretty high. There is no such thing as
privacy at the workplace, experts say. Let's not have any illusions about it.
Even if you are allowed to use workplace computer at lunchtime or after
work, the policy covering the use of computers and the Internet applies as
According to the same study, 84% companies surveyed do have rules
covering personal use of email, 81% have established policies governing
the Internet use. So, majority of organizations at least have set up rules for
everybody to observe.
80% of organizations that monitor keystrokes and time spent at key-
boards let employees know about that. 86% notify staff about email moni-
toring, and 89% alert workers that their Web activities are tracked. These
figures show that for vast majority of employers the aim is to make
workforce to comply with the rules rather than to catch somebody red-
handed. The remaining 20%, 16% and 11% probably carry out clandestine
monitoring. Too bad, but there is little employees can do in most such cases.
It seems odd, but under the law, in many states employers aren't
obliged to warn employees about computer and /or email monitoring. We
may grumble it's not fair, we might protest, but that's that. At least in the
vast majority of organizations monitoring is not surreptitious.
If the rules are set, the only option is to conform to them. And try not
to take offense, though it is not easy. Though employers sometimes are
carrying it too far, in most cases they aren't doing it out of pure malice.
Company owners are protecting themselves from reputation-damaging
scandals, costly workplace harassment lawsuits and data leakage.
Employers are expected to protect employees from hostility at work-
places, and they monitor, say, email messages to spot those who are send-
ing obscene or hateful emails. Software for email monitoring costs far less
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than a single compensation payment in case the victim sues the firm. Lots
of companies can't afford litigation; those who can, Don't want it.
Even logging every keystroke can be justified if the employees are
dealing with trade secrets or some other highly valuable (in a direct sense
of this word) information. It doesn't necessarily imply distrust, some com-
panies just won't survive if some confidential information is lost.
If the employer doesn't allow staff to surf a bit during lunch breaks, it
doesn't at all mean the boss is a petty tyrant or just greedy. There is an-
other reason for these restrictions.
Unrestricted Web surfing from workplace computers leads to corpo-
rate PCs swarming with malicious software. In fact, lots of these computers
already are choke full of various unwanted programs, some of them ex-
tremely dangerous.
Last October, America Online and the National Cyber Security Alliance
examined the computers of 329 randomly selected Internet users and found
that 85 percent of them contained some form of spyware. The average
"infected" computer had more than 90 spyware and adware programs.
The State of Spyware Report, made by Webroot Software released on
May 3, says:
During Q1, 2005, 87% of scans made with Webroot's SpyAudit
software found some form of unwanted program (Trojan, system
monitor, cookie or adware) on corporate PCs.
Excluding cookies, which are not such a serious problem as key
logger programs or Trojan horses, more than 55% of corporate PCs
contained unwanted programs. There were an average of 7.2 non-
cookie infections per PC.
Now consider the fact that no single anti-virus or anti-spyware product
protects against all the crap that might land in workplace computers. You
are lucky if it's just irritating adware. But in case of programs capable of
stealing information, like keyloggers or keylogging-containing Trojans, a
single "overlooked" program may mean lost valuable data.
Of course, no regulation is perfect. Everywhere where there are rules,
policies and regulations there is always room for abuse or misunderstand-
ing. It seems that the human factor is the weakest link here.
Ancient Romans used to say "Dura lex sed lex" (the law is harsh but it
is a law). Present-day computerized workforce can paraphrase it "the policy
is strict but it's a policy".
Alexandra Gamanenko,
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Do you find yourself easily becoming bored or tired at work for no
apparent reason? If that's the case, then pay close attention. Research has
shown that fatigue and a worn-out feeling are often caused by unproductive
mental attitudes. If this describes your case, read on to learn six ways you
can overcome boredom.
1. Actively listen to everyone you meet: When you're interested in
people, life is never flat or dull. And when you listen actively, you
are so involved in what the other person has to say that you soon
lose sight of your own predicament.
2. Become enthusiastic about life, people, and things: You will soon
find that you will feel enthusiastic, too.
3. Make sure your work challenges all your resources: Start a hobby
that does the same thing, too.
4. Become productive: Authorities agree that 100% rest is rarely the
solution to fatigue or boredom. When you are active and productive,
you have little chance to be bored.
5. Keep your mind productive, too: Reading is an excellent antidote to
tension and boredom. Besides, reading will build your fund of
knowledge while siphoning off the tension, boredom, and fatigue.
6. Join the do-it-yourself movement: You won't be bored while you are
creating, repairing, or carrying out a project.
Remember: When you maximize your potential, everyone wins. When
you Don't, we all lose.
Etienne A. Gibbs, MSW, Management Consultant and Trainer, conducts seminars, lectures, webinars, and writes articles
on his theme: helping you maximize your potential.
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Sometimes, when going on job interviews, you might end up in a
situation where you are in a group interview. A group interview is where
you are being interviewed along with several other candidates for the job.
Some professions that might conduct group interviews are sales, education
and flight attendants.
The purpose of the group interview is to observe candidates' interper-
sonal skills and personality traits. After the group interview, the number of
candidates is lowered and usually one-on-one interviews are set up.
Potential employers want to see how you interact with other people.
This gives them an idea of how you will deal with managers, co-workers
and customers. They also want to find out how well you work in a group.
Sometimes, the group is asked to work together in order to solve a hypo-
thetical problem. While the group is working, the employer is noticing sev-
eral things:
Do you have a positive attitude?
Do you encourage participation from other group members?
Do you demonstrate leadership abilities when working in a group?
Are you able to help the group focus and work together?
What's being said during the group interview is not nearly important.
Your personal traits and interpersonal skills are most important to the em-
ployer. If you are positive, show leadership skills and work well with a
group, the employer feels that you will exhibit those same qualities on the
Michelle Roebuck,
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If you want to land an interview, you'll need more than a perfectly
polished resume, you'll also need a perfectly polished cover letter.
A cover letter does more than provide a mere introduction, it gives
the employer an opportunity to see why you are the right candidate for the
job-before she even takes a look at your resume! By taking the time to
customize a cover letter to each job opportunity, you can almost guarantee
that your resume will get a good look instead of landing a permanent home
in the circular file-or worse, the recycling bin.
Put yourself in the employer's shoes for a moment. You have stacks
of resumes on your desk and only one position to fill. Because you are
crunched for time, you'll need a quick way to review everyone's qualifica-
tions and reduce the pile to a handful of possible candidates. How will you
do this?
By browsing each cover letter.
If a cover letter intrigues you, you'll then flip to the resume and give it
a look before deciding which pile the resume belongs in.
This is the burning question on employer's minds. When you are writing
a cover letter, let the employer know how you can benefit her company.
Include a few career highlights and give a few examples of how your
expertise will be a positive addition to the staff. Resumes often focus on
past accomplishments and employment history. Although that is valu-
able information, the employer really wants to know what you can do for
them. Give examples of how you plan on increasing profits, locating new
customers or increasing productivity. Employers will be impressed that
have spent time thinking about how to better their company before you
even step through the door.
You may feel compelled to rattle on about your employment history and
recent accomplishments to stress your extensive experience. But, you
Don't want your cover letter to appear overwhelming. If you were pre-
sented with a page long document with tight margins and small text,
would you be excited to dive in? Employers won't be either. Remember,
your resume may be only 1 of 100. Make sure the important details
jump out instead of burying them in blocks of text. Your cover letter is
not intended to replicate all of the information in your resume.
Think of it as a teaser-if you grab their interest in the cover letter, you
can guarantee that your resume will get a fair look.
In general, a cover letter can be accomplished in half a page. De-
pending on your situation, it may be shorter or longer, but make sure it
never exceeds a page.
Since resumes Don't explain potential resume problems, such as gaps in
employment history, it is often acceptable to explain any discrepancies
here. Keep it brief and Don't get too personal. It's not a good idea to
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share too much information, and never, never bad-mouth a former em-
ployer. Regardless of the circumstances, this will almost definitely de-
stroy your chances of an interview.
It probably goes without saying that your cover letter-and resume for
that matter-should be polished and neatly printed on high quality paper.
Make sure to proofread the letter to ensure there are no spelling or
grammatical errors. Don't rely on spell check, which usually doesn't lo-
cate misuses of words such as "there" and "their" or "two" and "too." If
spelling isn't your strong suit, have a word-savvy friend edit for you.
Neatness also includes addressing the letter to the correct person.
Using the introduction "To whom it may concern," or "Human Resource
Personnel" is inappropriate and looks lazy. Make a good impression by
calling the company to find the correct person and his/her title. It will be
worth the effort.
Writing an individualized cover letter is time-consuming and tedious,
but it is worth all the effort. Take the time to write a sparkling letter and
your soon your phone will be ringing with interested employers.
Good luck!
Lindsey Hadwin,'
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Don't let anyone talk you into going to college when all you really want
to do is be a chef or tear apart a car engine.
Some times our society pushes the wrong thing on us. You have to
say no way! If you really want to learn a trade instead of college, just do it.
Many people make a great living working with their hands in some
kind of trade. Are you a good problem solver? Then maybe being an auto-
motive tech or electrician would work for you.
Or you are creative and really know how to put color and form to-
gether into something beautiful. Try design or graphic arts or drafting or
even landscaping.
Getting trained in a trade will give you confidence and allow you to
find a great job. Employers want trained people. Give them what they want
and you'll get want you want. Having a skill set is like having money in your
wallet, you can lose!
So many people are stuck in boring jobs because they didn't take the
time to find out what is out there. They just fell into some job and all of a
sudden that's their career. You're going to spend at least one third of your
life working. You need to take time and consider what you want to do.
Do some research and see if there is a perfect career fit for you. Don't
you want to go through life loving your occupation instead of dreading the
Dots McLeod,
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The attorneys I coach have one common problem. They Don't have
enough hours in the day to do everything they need to do. Most are working
long hours and that "To do" list keeps growing not shrinking. So it is no
wonder that when I suggest that they find time to market their practice they
think I am just plain daffy!
If you are working in a successful law firm with plenty of business,
why bother to market yourself? When clients are flowing in it is hard to
imagine that it will ever stop!
During the past few years here in Boston there have been law firms
that closed down because they were no longer profitable, law firms that
merged with other law firms, and lawyers who were asked to leave their
firm because they weren't covering their overhead. What used to feel like a
stable environment now feels very unstable. What can an individual lawyer
Nothing is constant in the work world today. Everything changes very
quickly. To be really nibble attorneys need to be flexible so that they can
make a move when circumstances change and their job is threatened.
If you are absorbed in your work, it is sometimes difficult to even
notice that the environment is changing. Michael Gerber in his book The E
Myth Revisited talks about the three roles a business owner must take:
entrepreneur, manager and technician.
The entrepreneur sets the strategy of the business and has the vision,
the manager watches over the processes of the business and the technician
does the work of the business. If you work in a firm, you have been hired to
do the work of the technician (the legal matters you are working on). There
are others who look at strategy and manage the work.
I've suggested before that everyone manage his/her own career as
though it were a business. Have the attitude of what Daniel Pink calls a
"free agent". Not only do you need a career strategy but you need to man-
age that strategy and your work as a technician. This is really a balancing
act, difficult but not impossible.
For starters in order to be ready for whatever comes up, having a
good solid book of business (client relationships that you own) can help you
no matter what happens in your firm or in the environment. Good relation-
ships mean that the clients will move with you to another firm or your own
Ok so how do you find the time to create and maintain those relation-
ships? It doesn't have to take a huge amount of time. Make a list of the
clients and potential clients that you enjoy working with and who are or
would make good clients for you.
Telephone calls, notes, breakfasts, or lunches are all good ways to
stay in touch. Marketing can be fun not a burden so find your own way. It
can also be done quickly between tasks or at a meal that you would be
having anyway.
Take Action:
1. Read The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber
2. Read Free Agent Nation by Daniel Pink.
3. Read Ten Ways to Market Your Business Doing What You Love To Do
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4. Read Ten Ways to Develop A Free Agent Attitude http://
5. Make a lunch date with one of the clients or potential clients on your
list. Enjoy the connection!!
Alvah Parker,
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Want to get hired faster than up to 97% of other job seekers?
Well, you can. By doing two simple things almost nobody else is doing:
1) write down a job search goal and
2) read it out loud 10 times a day.
Do this and you'll find a job faster as a result. I promise.
Here's how ...
Depending on which self-help book you read or success guru you
listen to, only about 3% to 10% of the population has written goals, with
deadlines. To prove this, ask yourself -- do you have written goals? Prob-
ably not. Now go ask 10 friends. Only about one will answer yes, if they're
The point is this: only a tiny percentage of people take the effort to
decide exactly what they want in life and then write it down in the form of
clear, specific goals.
This may explain why only a tiny percentage of people rise to the top
in any profession. Why a tiny percentage are truly happy in their work. Why
a tiny percentage sail from one rewarding job to the next, as if they were
following a blueprint for success.
Well, that's what written goals are -- mini-blueprints for success.
Think about it. Would you hire an architect to build you a home who
refused to draw a blueprint? You'd think he was nuts, of course, and show
him the door.
And yet, I'll wager that more than 90% of people look for work with no
written goals -- blueprints -- of any kind. Is it any wonder so many folks
meet with so much frustration and take so long to get hired?
OK. Let's get you a job search goal and then burn it into your brain, so
you will get focused, get motivated and get hired. Fast.
There are two steps to this goal-setting process.
Step 1) Decide on the job you want and write it down
Complete the following statement and write it on a 3x5 card:
"It's June 30. I'm an outstanding JOB TITLE who adds value to the
company lucky enough to have me. I'm making $XX,XXX in a stimulating
environment, doing work I love, surrounded by co-workers I enjoy."
Now, why is this important?
Writing a goal forces you to get clear on what you want. After all,
you'd never write down a goal like this: "Um, well, I'd like a job that pays
the bills, maybe working in an office or something." Yet, that's typical of the
response I get from many people when I ask, "What job are you looking
So, by writing down a specific employment goal with a due date (so
your subconscious knows you're serious), you'll be ahead of the vast ma-
jority of other job seekers.
But that's not enough ...
Step 2) Reinforce your goal
Writing down a goal is great. But if you want breakthrough results,
you have to reinforce it until it's crystal clear in your mind's eye, like the
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North Star.
To do this, read your goal out loud 10 times every morning. Then, put
your 3x5 "goal card" in your pocket and refer to it during the day -- at least
three times, if you can.
Soon, your life will organize itself around finding your ideal job, as
your subconscious goes to work. You'll start to see employment leads where
before there appeared none.
Example: someone you haven't heard from in 10 years will call, and
the conversation will lead to a job interview. Or your hair dresser will volun-
teer the name of a hiring manager who's looking for someone like you. Or
your next-door neighbor will bring back a hammer he borrowed last year ...
along with a job lead.
I've seen this sort of thing happen too many times to dismiss it as
Try this two-step process for the next 30 days and see for yourself.
The worst that can happen is you'll have a very clear idea of the job you
seek. At best, you'll be working.
What have you got to lose?
Kevin Donlin is President of Guaranteed Resumes. Since 1996, he and his team have provided resumes, cover letters and
online job-search assistance to clients in all 50 states and 23 countries.
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How is your job hunting going? Have you had problems finding legitimate
jobs? I Don't know if you've ever thought about using freelance websites
to obtain work at home, but this should be something you look into. It
might not be for you, but you never know until you try.
So what would the benefit be to using a freelance website to obtain
per project work at home? The first and most obvious benefit is that you
would be earning money to help pay your bills, but the less obvious benefit
would be that you are gaining valuable work at home experience to put on
your resume! There are many employers out there that would rather hire a
telecommuter that has worked at home before and if you have no work at
home experience on your resume, they may go with someone who does.
However, using a freelance website is a bit different. Many times the
people posting the projects just want to use your services for a short time
and for a specific project. They Don't necessarily care if you've worked at
home before. Therefore, it could be easier to get a couple projects like this
under your belt and then you can place that job on your resume! It will look
good to other potential long term employers to see that you have experi-
ence working for someone at home.
You might also be able to get projects that you Don't have a lot of
experience in, but want to do more of to build your resume up. If you want
a full time job at home with a company, let's say transcribing, but they all
want you to have experience transcribing, it could possibly be easier to get
projects off a freelance websites and that way you can build your experi-
ence for the jobs you really want.
So this sounds great, right? What is the downside? I would have to say
that the downside if two-fold. One, there are going to be others bidding on
the same project, more then likely, so you still have competition and many
times the winning bid seems to go to the person who is willing to work the
cheapest. Not always the case, but it does happen. So you might not neces-
sarily make what you'd like to.
The only other downside I personally see is that if you want the secu-
rity of a full time paycheck, this might not be the way to get it. You are
usually working on a project basis and then when that project is over you're
done, but you need to remember all the positive reasons for trying this type
of work?I choose to look on the bright side and I would rather have one
project that paid me enough to cover a bill for the month then no projects
and no money. Plus, you never know when you may end up with someone
who wants to use you on a more part time to full time and/or exclusive
basis. I have a client/friend who uses one of these freelance websites to
post projects often, and she would be a great person to work for! I'm sure
there are many more people like her posting projects that would be great
people to work for.
There are many freelance websites out there. You can go to and type in freelance websites or freelance job websites
and I'm sure you will pull them up. The only two I've heard much about are and Now as with anything, you need to
make sure that the freelance website is legitimate and fully research how
you will get paid and if there are any fees. Here is just some very basic
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information about elance and guru to help you get started:
Subscription fee's (in order to bid on projects). There are differ-
ent packages ranging from free to $30.00 per month
Transaction Fee. There is a fee of 8.75% commission on the
invoiced project if you win the bid and the fee is called a "finders
Payment. You can either be paid through eLances online billing and
payment system or your regular client billing and payment process.
A $10.00 fee applies for wire transfer withdrawals above one per
month through their system.
Subscription Fee. Basic profile/membership is free
"Guru Profile/membership" will range from $29.95 to $99.95 per
Transaction Fees. It depends on what subscription plan you
choose. You will need to read each plan at the Guru website to view
this information.
Payment. You have to invoice the employer through Guru's billing
systems. Guru will apparently be handling the funds and will send
you payment via check, direct deposit, wire transfer, remit2india
and paypal.
So as you can see, it can get a little confusing and there are plans in
which you will have to pay a fee, but I would start out with the free subscrip-
tion to get a feel for the website, for the projects posted and just to decide
if this is something you would like to invest time and a little money into.
I want to be clear that you Don't have to use freelance websites in
order to get work at home. There are many job lead websites out there and
lots of jobs for the taking, but this is just yet another way to start getting
work at home experience and some money to pay the bills. Freelancing is
100% legitimate and many people have been doing this type of work for
years. I know you have been preached at to not pay for a job, so how is this
any different? This is more like paying to access a job lead database. There
is nothing wrong with that and it is not a scam. My good friend, Pamela,
owns a job lead website that is loaded with company websites and she
charges a fee for you to access this. Freelance websites are much like this
in the fact that they charge (for the better subscription plans) to connect
you with possible employers/projects.
I would recommend having a look around for yourself, maybe ask
some friends if they have ever used these freelance websites and get their
personal opinion, but just remember this as an option to getting work at
home jobs.
Nell Taliercio is the publisher of a weekly telecommuting newsletter that helps moms and dads work at home. Read more about
the newsletter and get your free listing of job links at - She is also the owner of http:/
/ which is a website for work at home moms and dads.'
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Common sense appears to be a rare commodity these days. Why is
this so?
In an era when the emphasis seems to be on all things young, beau-
tiful and sometimes shallow its about time we took stock of ourselves and
did our businesses a favor by employing older workers! Age discrimination
is a terrible injustice that has far reaching effects on our economy where
ever we are.
When I was much younger I used to watch these older workers with
wonderment and ask myself 'how did they get to be so smart' many of
them didn't even have degrees! Now 25 years in the workforce has edu-
cated me with some answers.
It was a lesson that was to educate me through the years as I often
learnt that the most successful and balanced poeple in society where those
who were older and often weren't highly educated as we think education
They were street smart and wise in the ways of the business world
and usually displayed compassion and the willingness to share. As a young
accountant I was fortunate to be mentored by some very smart older people
who took the opportunity to help me develop. When I left the accounting
profession I had a reputation as an excellent manager.
On one occasion this well known business identity confided in me that
many experienced poeple his age would 'give their eye teeth' to mentor
other younger business people and willingly without charge.
So why this discrimination and why do we take away the hope that
older workers have!
Because of the reducing birth rate in Australia it is estimated that by
2010 the percentage of employees aged between 45 and 60 years of age
will be 65%. Many industries are not presently equipped to cope with this
radical change in age demographics and it is now time for industry and
government to work together preparing the way ahead. Australia is nt alone!
Recent studies have belied the myth in respect to older workers and
concluded that mature workers are productive, however, there still contin-
ues to be muddied perceptions about age related workers (Productivity of
Mature and Older Workers: Employers' Attitudes and Experience, ACIRRT
Grey power will increasingly become more important as enterprises
endeavour to stay ahead of the pack and retain mature aged workers who
have skills, experience and competencies to contribute to industry and busi-
Discrimination in employment
Discrimination in employment can include where an employer treats less
favorably a worker
in any variation of the terms of work; or
in denying or limiting access to opportunities
in dismissing a worker; or
by treating a worker unfavourably regarding work.
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The answers to age discrimination aren't blowing in the wind! They are
really common sense. Where can you buy maturity and wisdom. You
can't! Maturity and wisdom is earnt and proved in the furnace of lifes
Employment - do you have a policy on older workers?
Employment policies ? Discrimination?
Grievance policy for all complaints
Flexible work practices
Finally as an example I was once employed to manage a company
which was heading towards Chapter 11. I inherited an older worker who
was near retirement. Se proved to be a key difference in turning the com-
pany around!
Go ahead and make someones day. Its your people that make you
money, yes old and young, employ the best person and Don't discriminate.
Old age grows on us all!
Philip Lye is Director of Biz Momentum Pty Ltd.,
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It's amazing to see so many people who are prepared to sacrifice
their lives for the sake of their careers.
I'm sure you know of someone like that. They get up at the crack of
dawn, drag their weary bodies out of the house and head off for another
exciting day at work. Ten or twelve hours later they head home totally
exhausted with all their energy sapped from their body.
They might make the effort to find out how the rest of their family's
day has been, even read their children a bed-time story. Finally after hav-
ing something to eat, taking a hot shower or bath, they then veg out on the
couch. They immerse themselves in the newspaper (again) or watch the
news or some mindless television show (if they Don't fall asleep before-
And this is a common scenario for many people who work for some-
one else! I can understand it if you own your own business where there's so
much extra pressure riding on you, yet to sacrifice so much for someone
The Solicitor
I met Jerry at the gym. He was telling me that for the past two years he
has been working at a legal firm in the city. An average day commenced
at 8.00 a.m. and finished at 7.00 p.m. Working weekends was common.
Lunch breaks and time off were unheard of. This was the culture instilled
at his company! No wonder staff turnover was high! Here was a young
man, only 25 years old, absolutely stressed to the max. He felt he was
on a rollercoaster and couldn't get off.
Clearing the Clutter
Jerry was so entrenched in his situation he couldn't clearly see what he
could do. He felt powerless so did nothing. I suggested to Jerry he write
a list of all the options open to him. Some of these were:
Speak to his boss and work out a compromise.
Plan his working day and be strict about the time he would leave
each day. Take charge himself by starting later if he had to stay
back. Or finish earlier if he had to commence work earlier. Learn to
say 'no'.
Look for another job where they put their people first. (According to
Jerry most legal firms treated their people the same way). See our
newsletter Look After Your People and They Will Look After You
Jerry really did know his options and just needed to have someone
to confirm what he already knew (and ask a few hard questions).
So what did Jerry do?
He spoke with his boss who agreed to a compromise. Unfortunately that
only lasted two weeks and Jerry found himself in the same situation.
He did what he knew deep down he should have done months ago but
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couldn't be bothered doing as it was more pressure in his life. He allowed
time to go job-hunting. I suggested he use our weekly planner so he could
plan his week effectively with the key focus on finding a new position.
He contacted everyone he knew and told them about his situation.
Jerry scoured the internet for vacancies and the weekend papers. He in-
vested time and energy into his own life. Within three weeks he had a new
position handling legal matters in a medium sized business (not a legal
By taking action Jerry moved forward. He got himself organised and
focussed and took control of his life. He realised he had the power to make
the change.
Are you holding yourself back? Is it time for you to stop drowning and
start swimming?
5 Ways to Get Off Your Butt and Out of the Rut
#1 Make a list of what you'd like to change. (eg. Change job, lose
weight, find a partner)
#2 Prioritise which item on that list is the most important and write no. 1
next to it. Continue numbering the rest of the items.
#3 Look at the first item and prepare a list of the possible solutions.
(e.g. Change job - contact everyone I know and see if they know of
any openings. Contact companies I'd like to work for. Start my own
business - attend a small business course)
#4 Decide which of those solutions is the first one to take action on.
(e.g. Change job - contact everyone I know and see if they know of
any openings)
#5 Act! (e.g. Phone or email everyone you know and make sure you
follow up)
The Final Word
Whatever is happening in your life it is all down to you. If you're happy
and content with both your work and home life that's fantastic.
If you're not, then maybe it's time you got off your butt and out of
your rut. You can either do nothing or take action. The choice is yours.
Lorraine Pirihi, principal of The Office Organiser is Australia's Personal Productivity Coach. She specialises in working with
businesspeople showing them how to dramatically boost their productivity, reduce the stress and the mess in their lives and
have more time for enjoying their life.
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Chuck was the best of the twenty-four candidates. Still, he didn't have
exactly what I was looking for and my instincts warned me of his unusual
personality. Yet the skills required for the job were specialized and he had
most of them, and I'd been interviewing for five months, and my boss
wanted the position filled before the budget process started. No, he might
not be perfect, but he would be ok.
So I hired Chuck. As a new manager, it was a decision I came to
regret. Chuck turned out to be a marginal performer, never grew into the
job, and drew frequent complaints from his teammates. It might have taken
me five months to hire Chuck, but it took me eighteen to fire him. Still, I'm
grateful for the experience. Chuck taught me a lesson I applied in my next
twenty years in management: Don't settle.
When you settle, you choose mediocrity. Don't settle for the best of
the worst. Keep looking. Don't settle for something that's barely okay. Push
to make it better. Don't settle for average work from others when excep-
tional is needed. And Don't settle for delivering good when you're capable
of better. Expect more from yourself. Then expect more from others.
Whenever I've settled, the work or decision comes back like a boo-
merang, reminding me to keep my standards high. As W. Somerset Maugham
says, "It is a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the
best, you very often get it." I know that's been my experience.
There's a story I like about Phidias, a Greek sculptor working on the
Acropolis. As he was finishing a statue of Athena, which would stand a
hundred feet high next to a marble wall, an onlooker asked, "Why are you
chiseling strands of hair on the back of her head where no one will see them
or even know they're there? "I'll know," replied Phidias.
I wish I would have found a cabinet maker with that same attitude
when we were building our home. When we moved in, we discovered tops
of cabinets uncapped and unstained. It's true no one would see them. But,
it was not the quality of work we expected, paid for or wanted. The cabinet
maker had settled for mediocre. But we didn't. We had him do them over.
People who are winning at working know when good is not good enough.
They operate like Phidais, not our cabinet maker. They understand that
quality work is not an accident. It's a deliberate focus that starts with high
personal standards. People who are winning at working, Don't settle for
mediocre. Not in others. And not in themselves.
Nan S. Russell. Sign up to receive Nan's free biweekly eColumn at
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Being a student, a person needs to look for summer jobs, to keep up
with the expenses for school and fun activities. This task is not always easy,
especially when you are studying at an American branch university and you
have to pay tuition as well. So getting a summer job obviously rules out
getting a job in your home Eastern European country as that would pay for
only a couple of beers the most.
So here we go, approching the winter and thinking about the summer.
There are few agencies in England, most of them under the Seasonal Agri-
cultural Workers Scheme, SAWS, where we want get in, as this is happen-
ing just before we enter the EU. We send off the applications to Concordia
and wait. The waiting continues and so we call the office. The lady is a little
bit hesitant about what we are studying and where, but we just keep talking
that we need the summer farm job just like nothing in life at the moment. In
two weeks we get the workcards, happily jumping all around and celebrat-
ing the victory, so far.
From papers it seems just fine, a small farm in Kent, all in all we are
suppose to be twelve people there, and so we should get on. Happing pre-
vious experience and knowing that the less people there is, the better you
have a relationship with the farmer, we are quite content with what we got
and start preparing for the trip.
We arrive in London, get on the train to Kent and unload all the backs
in a small village. Start calling the farmer and he picks us up just as prom-
ised in the papers. He seems a nice guy, looks a bit worried. Do not know if
it is after the look at us or something wrong with his plants. But we get
sorted out and arrive at the farm. It is quite a surprise, the farm is big,
farmer house on the right, packhouse and refrigarator on the left. There
are three caravans for us, the farm workers to be, and as we are the first
ones to arrive, we get to choose. What a luck. They are all fine at the end.
We keep asking for work right at the beginning, not to make an im-
pression, as you really need to work picking strawberries, but we need to
make some money. And the farm seems just right for doing so, the farmer
is a nice 50 something guy with his wife and two kids. Later on as we
progress with the worker, he gives us further work in the afternoon and
pays handsomely. It is just a couple of hours, but after the week it makes a
nice addition to our pay. We are happy.
The work itself is not easy. Picking strawberries requires an early get
up, waiting for a little bit of sun so that the dew gets of, and you just keep
moving in your lane, with your holder and boxes for the whole day. Moving
in and out of the field to the truck where the supervisors are standing and
taking in the full boxes, punching your card of the first class and second
class boxes, checking the produce and how you have separeted them.
At the beginning it was a mess with the supervisors. Too older English
ladies and they were just giving us a hard time. But it kind of sort out with
the time spent at the fields and at the end, we were friends. They took us to
some shopping center and around the town for fish and chips. It was a nice
summer, with lots of hard work, but it paid ok in terms of money and per-
sonal relations. We still have friends from the time we picked strawberries,
couple of farmers friends have already visited Slovakia, and in return, we
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have showed them around over here. If you are looking for a farm job now,
there are several resources to use, among those The Farmhands Service is
one of those. For further information please visit the website.
Written by Marian Bridik, Aston Ltd. Farmhands Service.'
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Are you going nowhere in your career? If you've decided it's time to
change your career completely, here's a new way of changing!
Before you jump ship, think about What's been happening in your
career. Have you been making little or no progress for some time? You may
be in the throes of what George Leonard, author of Mastery, calls the "pla-
teau". Leonard argues that we master something with a series of one in-
tense upward growth spurt followed by a long period of nearly flat growth,
a plateau. In this age of "what have you done for me lately", you may have
just tired of being on the plateau. Before you chuck your old career, decide
whether it no longer works for you or whether you've just tired of being on
the plateau. If you've decided to change careers completely, read on!
So you've decided to jump, eh? Well, you've got two choices of how to
do it. First is the traditional "think, plan, do" linear sequence we've all been
taught by career counselors and well-meaning family members. If you're
just changing jobs within a career field, this strategy should work fine for
you. But it sucks for career changers and here's why! We get much of our
identity from what we do; just ask anyone about himself or herself. What
does she or he tell you first? I'm a ___________ (fill in the blank here,
doctor, lawyer, Indian chief.) We get that identity by what we've done in our
careers. In my experience hiring hundreds of folks for law firms, interview-
ers are skeptical of "career changers". Hiring is a costly and time-consum-
ing process, and interviewers Don't want to do it any more than necessary
nor take unnecessary risks. You've got to convince them that hiring you
makes sense, and to tell a convincing story requires that you've convinced
yourself the change makes sense. It's hard to convince yourself you can do
if you haven't done it.
So how do you present a prospective employer with a risk worth tak-
ing? Use the second option for career changing, an iterative process. Ok,
you say, I'll bite. What's an iterative process?
Merriam Webster's dictionary describes it as a repetitive process that
yields results successively closer to the desired result, which is clarified as
a result of the process. So take heart, all those who want something differ-
ent but Don't know exactly what it is, the iterative process comes to your
rescue. So what does an iterative career shifting process look like? Herminia
Ibarra describes a three-step strategy in her book, Working Identity, Un-
conventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career. First, create experi-
ments. Stephen Covey once said we can't talk our way out of a situation we
behaved our way into. Since our identities are defined by what we do, we
need to pick some possible, alternative career identities and find activities
that allow us to try these identities on for size. If they fit well, we can delve
more deeply into them. If they fit poorly, we can put them back on the rack
and try another.
Second, shift connections. Your working identity is also defined by
your web of relationships in work and family life. Your current co-workers,
bosses, family members, suppliers and customers all have vested interests
in having you remain unchanged. Talk with any of them about a new career,
and they'll steer you toward a slightly modified version of what you're doing
now, not a career shift.
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So, you'll need to meet new people in your experimental fields. Go on
informational interviews. Write to authors in your new field and engage
them in conversation. Investigate trade or professional associations in your
new field, or talk with college professors who teach that subject. Use your
imagination to find new people for your network. Since who you are is
defined by the company you keep, you need to meet new people to guide
and help you shape your career experiments successfully.
Third, revise your life story so it's compelling and coherent. Revising
your life story involves revising your resume and story you'll tell during
informational and job interviews. You need this revised story for two rea-
sons. 1. To convince yourself during a time of turmoil and confusion that
your career change makes sense; and 2. To convince a prospective em-
ployer that hiring you is worth the risk.
A good story is like a good movie. Good movies cause you to "sus-
pend your disbelief". You care about the character, believe in him or her
and relate to the struggle he or she is going through. You watch with bated
breath as the protagonist struggles against obstacles that cause fundamen-
tal changes in character. You believe in the character as he or she reaches
the point of no return and resolves his or her struggle, either successfully or
unsuccessfully. You care and you believe in them.
How do you suspend your interviewer's disbelief? By making your
story compelling and convincing. Demonstrate to your interviewer that your
transformation is complete and sensible. Explain the internal reasons for
your career change, for example, I changed to do something I'm really
good at or that I really enjoy. Show how you've learned from what you've
tried and how you used that learning to deepen your understanding of
yourself. It's best to avoid external reasons (i.e. I was fired or laid off) to
avoid the impression that you simply accept fate rather than actively shape
it. Cite as many reasons for your change as you can, and point out any
explanations that have deeply rooted causes. Family or financial circum-
stances may have prevented you from realizing a goal from long ago.
Persevering and overcoming obstacles are attractive qualities to employ-
Show continuity and causality, a natural series of unfolding events
that make sense. Connect your past work life to your present situation and
project it out into the future. Tell your story so that the obstacles you've
overcome and what you've learned about your character inspire your pro-
spective employer to believe in your motives, character and ability to reach
your goals. Tell it so they can see you doing the same things for them!
No matter how you cut it, change is messy, and career change is no
exception. Margaret Wheatley and Myron Kellner-Rogers, in A Simpler Way,
share that life uses messes to get to well-ordered solutions. But messes
Don't feel very good while you're in the midst of them! That's where profes-
sional help comes in. A broad shoulder to lean on when you need it. A
productive mind to help you brainstorm experiments and shift connections.
A capable life story editor to help make your story compelling and convinc-
ing. If you know you need a change, but Don't feel comfortable going it
alone, contact a career coach!
Copyright 2005, Fruition Coaching. All rights reserved. Rick Hanes is a life and career coach, writer, outdoorsman, gardener
and tireless advocate for living life with purpose and passion. He founded Fruition Coaching in 2004 to lead the fight against
leading lives of quiet desperation. Check his website at
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How would you know if your resume did or didn't reach the appropri-
ate decision maker? You can truly never know for certain. However, there
are steps you can take to ensure that your resume does not get "auto-
disqualified", or provide obvious reasons not to be hired.
There are several "mistakes" commonly made in resumes that give
immediate reasons why you will not be offered the opportunity to go to the
next step in the hiring process.
The usual first step in obtaining a position is the submission of your
resume. Typically that is to the staff in a Human Resources department.
Often, HR is given a specific group of parameters the hiring manager
is seeking in a particular applicant. If a resume does not reflect those pa-
rameters it is often filed away and never given to the decision maker.
Age is often a factor in this process. Age discrimination happens. It
happens to applicants that are too old for a position or too young. Compa-
nies are not allowed to ask an applicant's age, but often times they Don't
have to. Many people reflect this information voluntarily in their resume. By
giving a high school graduation year, college graduation year, or even the
dates you attended schools gives the reader ample information to decide if
you are too young or too old for the position. Age is never a reason you will
be hired, but it certainly could be a reason you are not hired. Why give
them this information?
Many applicants are concerned that they have worked for only one
company or in only one industry and that their skills are not transferable to
other industries. This is when your marketing skills are truly tested. Mar-
keting yourself is very similar to marketing a product. Find out what is
going to make you attractive to the employer as a potential employee and
showcase those skills in your resume.
So, how can you avoid "Auto-Disqualifying"?
Example: If you are applying for a management position but have never
held a manager's "title," showcase the fact that you have managed oth-
ers or supervised projects so the person reading your resume under-
stands that you have the necessary skills even though you have not held
the title. If your resume is not reflecting your skills, then it is probably
being disqualified before it reaches a true decision maker. This is com-
monly known in the employment industry as "auto -disqualifying."
Education, or lack of, is a tougher hurdle to overcome. Many positions
have an educational requirement that some people have not achieved. This
again brings us to marketing yourself. Showcase, through your resume,
that you have the skills and knowledge to succeed at the position they are
trying to fill. There are very few "perfect applicants" for any particular po-
sition, as a result decision makers typically must choose whom they feel is
right for the job based on skills, experience and you're your ability to fit into
their team.
Do you know if your resume is reaching decision makers? Market
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your skills in your resume to ensure that your resume is actually reaching
the true decision maker. Do this and increase your chances of landing that
Steven Bristow is a senior consultant for R.L. Stevens & Associates Inc. (
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Writing an effective rsum can certainly be challenging. There are
numerous rules and none of them apply 100% of the time. It is often much
easier for people to craft their document if they understand the boundaries
within which they will need to operate 100% of the time - the mistakes that
should never be made and will brand a job-seeker as unprofessional. Elimi-
nating all of these errors from your rsum will go a long way in improving
your chances of securing an interview.
1. "Responsible for..."
The Problem:
This is one of the most common, and most amateurish, rsum errors.
There is no greater example of weak, passive writing than the overused
"responsible for." There are two base reasons why this phrase is to be
avoided. The first is that it is already understood that the information
included in your rsum are activities that you were responsible for; this
is the equivalent of writing "we cook..." before an item listed in a restau-
rant menu. The second reason is what I alluded to above: "responsible
for" is passive, bland, and boring. It does nothing to draw in the reader,
and demonstrates no specific or relevant skill. With the average rsum
being read in approximately seven seconds, the first word or two in each
sentence is absolutely critical because it is the information that will be
read first and most. Whether anything else in a given sentence will be
read at all entirely depends on if the first couple of words strike a chord
with the reader. If the hiring manager holding your rsum does not spot
keywords of interest in those vital locations, then the entire rsum is
probably going in the trash, no matter how great the rest of your infor-
mation is.
The Solution:
A great way to test the quality of a rsum is to read just the first word
in each sentence, and see what image those words build of you as an
employee. If your first words consist of "responsible for", "helped",
"handled", or other passive language, then you're not creating a power-
ful or compelling first impression. Open each and every sentence with a
power verb that is relevant to the job you are applying for. Words such
as "manage", "direct", "administer", and "process" can often be used to
replace "responsible for", and are far more effective.
2. Using a paragraph format.
The Problem:
As mentioned above, the average rsum is read in approximately seven
seconds. In those precious few seconds, the hiring manager will skim
through your entire document and determine if you possess the qualifi-
cations needed for the job. If your information is organized in long, dense
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paragraphs that are difficult to read quickly, they are most likely not
going to be read at all. Think of your rsum as a shopping spree... if
you have only seven seconds within which to conduct your shopping
spree, which would you rather be faced with: an enormous pile of prod-
ucts where it is impossible to discern what each individual product is
without an in-depth perusal, or an organized, easy-to-navigate row of
products that are displayed independently so that you can easily see
what each is? Remember, you have only seven seconds. I think we'd all
agree that it is much easier, when on limited time, to approach informa-
tion that is already parsed out for us. Paragraphs are intimidating to the
eye and for the hiring manager who has literally hundreds of other appli-
cants to choose from, the loss of one whose document is difficult to read
is not going to be a consideration.
The Solution:
Create brief, bulleted statements. Each statement should focus on one
particular skill and be no more than two lines in length.
3. Repetition.
The Problem:
It is not uncommon for people, in an attempt to not overlook anything, to
mention the same skills multiple times within the same rsum. This
creates a boring, stale document in which the heavily repeated skills
overshadow everything else. In addition to this, the repetition contrib-
utes to excess length; again, we come back to that same seven seconds.
Let's say, for example, that in your resume you want to list skills A, B, C,
and D. If you do just that, then it is easy to identify all of those skills in
seven seconds. If, however, your rsum lists A, B, A, A, B, B, B, C, A,
C, B, A, A, C, B, D, C, A... suddenly, your qualifications are not as obvi-
ous and one - D - could very easily be overlooked.
The Solution:
Identify which skill each and every statement is addressing and write
that information directly on a copy of your rsum. Then review the
skills listed next to all of your statements. Are you seeing one or more
skills listed over and over? Consolidate this information. Also, Don't fall
into the trap of repeating information from one section to another; if you
mention an accomplishment in your Professional Summary, do not men-
tion it again in your Professional Experience.
4. Writing job descriptions.
The Problem:
Committing this error is what can make the difference between getting
an interview and losing the opportunity to someone else. Employers are
not interested in what activities you performed on a daily basis - they
are interested in how well you performed those activities. Stating that
you "processed paperwork" gives no indication of what type of employee
you are... this same statement could apply accurately to the person who
doodles on the desk and misses deadlines as well as the person who
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exceeds deadlines and quotas and has 100% accuracy.
The Solution:
Focus on accomplishments. Many job-seekers disregard this advice with
the mistaken notion that they do not have any accomplishments. Most of
the time these people do have quantifiable achievements; they just Don't
realize that they do. It can be difficult to look objectively at our own
experiences. Review employee evaluations. What positives are noted?
Think about special projects or busy times; were there any instances in
which you were praised, or were very proud of the job you did? Any
times in which you improved processes, made or saved money, or lifted
some of the burden off your supervisor's shoulders? If you truly have no
accomplishments, then focus on results. What are the results of your
work? For example, "processed paperwork." What paperwork and why?
What does this paperwork do for your company? "Facilitate ongoing liti-
gation by processing complex legal documents" is much more effective
than simply "Processed paperwork," although both would technically be
5. Using Objective statements.
The Problem:
This is often the result of a job-seeker who has either been out of the
market for a long time, or someone who is using a dated rsum-writing
manual. Objective statements have, thankfully, gone out of style on
rsums. Why thankfully? Objective statements are counter-productive.
By definition, an Objective states what you, the job-seeker, want. The
problem with this is that the hiring manager does not care what you
want; the hiring manager cares about what you can do for the company.
Additionally, what you want should be clear from your cover letter and
by the simple fact that you sent your rsum in the first place - it does
not need to be repeated (see #3, above). Since this is often positioned
at the very top of the rsum, it is a regretful waste of highly visible
space that should be used to appeal to the interests of hiring managers,
not to address information that the hiring manager isn't interested in.
The Solution:
Professional Summary, Profile, Summary Statement... whatever you want
to call it, a summary section at the top of your rsum that reviews your
strongest, most relevant skills and abilities is a surefire way to capture
the attention of your reader and encourage him or her to read on. This is
also a highly effective strategy to position notable achievements that
occurred early in your career in a visible location.
Jaimie Marzullo is a professional rsum writer and career counselor, and owner of
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If you haven't looked for a job recently, there are new tactics that
hiring professionals are using that you should be aware of before updating
your resume.
Employers and recruiters increasingly rely on electronic resumes, re-
sume posting boards and job banks to find job candidates. Resumes are
either being scanned or input directly into keyword-searchable databases,
and accessed when an employer inputs a keyword list of requirements that
best describe the position they are seeking to fill.
The database searches for keywords describing job titles, responsi-
bilities and descriptions, degree requirements, computer knowledge as well
as personality traits. This software scans through thousands of resumes
and identifies those that most closely match the imputed keywords. The
more keywords or "hits" the software finds in a resume, the more likely it
will be read by a HR professional. Keywords are the most important ele-
ment of a scannable resume.
What exactly are keywords? Keywords are nouns or noun phrases
that identify skills unique to a specific profession or industry. Although ac-
tive verbs have long been essential for building a successful resume, now
the noun or noun phrase that follows an active verb is equally important.
For example:
Self-motivated IT manager with a strong work ethic and problem
solving abilities
Talented Graphic Designer of 4-color direct mail catalogs and
corporate web site design
Accomplished in Microsoft Office software applications, Excel, Word
and PowerPoint
Nominated by the New York Times for the Pulitzer Prize in news
Keyword nouns are the experience and skills that are specific terminol-
ogy used in your job and are still relevant to your job search. Other
sources for identifying keywords are job descriptions, job titles, soft-
ware requirements, educational degrees, college names, company names,
professional organizations, awards you've won and personality traits.
Words that are repeatedly used in trade journals and classified ads in
association with the job title you are seeking are also keywords.
Whatever your final word choices are, your keywords should accu-
rately describe your skills, talents, and experience. As a word only needs to
be used once for it to be considered a "hit" in a keyword search, use syn-
onyms wherever possible to broaden your number of hits.
The Summary area of your resume should consist of several short
statements that highlight your most important qualities, achievements and
abilities. By tailoring every word in the "Summary" to your targeted goal,
you can make this area keyword rich.
The most common ingredients of a well-written Summary are listed
below; use what best describe you:
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a sentence describing your profession
followed by a comment stating your level of expertise
followed by two to three statements related to any of the following:
unique mix of skills
range of environments in which you have experience
a special or well-documented professional accomplishment
a history of awards, promotions, or superior performance commen-
one or more professional or personal characteristics
a sentence describing your professional objectives or interests
It's important to list only the skills you would feel comfortable using if
you were to be tested. Should the position you are seeking require knowl-
edge of software you Don't know, consider taking lessons before listing
it on your resume. If you've submitted your resume online to sites like or your resume has already been elec-
tronically imputed into their databases. But what happens if when it's
scanned from a paper copy?
OCR software attempts to match characters scanned from your re-
sume with standard letter shapes. This makes it imperative that your re-
sume is formatted with a font that OCR can recognize, font choice the single
most important factor in creating a scannable resume. Simple, conserva-
tive typefaces such as Times New Roman, Arial, Helvetica, Verdana and
Courier are some of the best choices.
Other content and design guidelines are:
keep it simple and conservative
use high quality 8-1/2 x 11 inch, white or off-white paper, print on
one side of the paper only
format headings with either Bold text or ALL CAPITALS.
use headings sparingly but consistently to support your information
Don't use italics - it skews characters and confuses OCR
Don't use underlined text - it confuses OCR
use no more than two fonts in sizes between 10 and 12 points
allow margins and line spacing (white space) to keep the document
from looking crowded
use horizontal lines to separate sections of your resume
Don't use vertical lines, graphics, shading or boxes
your contact information with your name is printed at the top of
each page
a summary, where your best assets, whether education, experience,
or skills are listed
categories are clear and text is indented
dates of employment are easy to find and consistently formatted
each entry highlights a capability or accomplishment
verb tense is consistent; current job is in present tense; past
employment is in past tense
use a minimal amount of punctuation, it can confuse OCR
capitalization, punctuation, and date formats are consistent
no typos or spelling errors
Don't fold or staple your resume, if you mail your resume use a
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large envelope
Your resume should be a quick and easy to read, containing no fluff and
no unnecessary words. As hiring professionals look through hundreds or
even thousands of job applications, they may spend only a few seconds
reviewing each resume. To catch their attention, you must quickly con-
vey that you standout from the competition. A successful resume is one
that does not exclude you from consideration.
Your resume is a personal self-marketing tool; so make sure you get
a powerful and accurate message across. By fine-tuning your keywords to
meet the qualifications of each job, the more likely that you'll be asked to
an interview where you can sell yourself.
Mary Carroll is a customer advocate for Video Professor, the leader in self-paced software learning tutorials, helping our
customers to better understand Video Professor and how our tutorials can provide tools to learn various software programs
to your desired level.
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Many physicians are unsure of what tasks are appropriate to assign to
a Medical Assistant. It is important to remember Medical Assistants are not
licensed to make independent medical assessments or give advice. Al-
though many Medical Assistants may have advanced training in certain
clinical areas it is ultimately the responsibility of the supervising physician
or other licensed health care provider to assure that their staff and Medical
Assistants working in the office are performing duties in compliance with all
governing laws.
Physicians must determine the skill level and capabilities of each Medical
Assistant they supervise and take into account liability risk and quality con-
trol when assigning them their responsibilities. Physicians should provide
initial direct supervision and periodically assess the quality of their work. In
practices with nurse managers, medical assistants can receive additional
supervision coordinated to maximize workflow in a practice. Communicat-
ing the Medical Assistant roles to other staff and clearly delineating their
responsibilities is important in maximizing the productivity of the health
care team.
Although legal requirements addressing the Medical Assistant scope
of practice vary by state, the Medical Assistant generally works under the
license of their supervising physician or the managed care organization
that employs them. To learn more about medical assisting scope of prac-
tice, contact Donald A. Balasa, Executive Director and Legal Counsel of the
American Association of Medical Assistants, by e-mail at dbalasa@aama-
Below are some of the duties that a typical medical assistant may
perform (it is important to check with local and state medical boards to
determine what duties a medical assistant can legally perform. It is also
important to remember that a medical assistant is not a physician, nurse,
physican assistant or other licensed healh care provider, they must there-
fore always be supervised by the appropriate licensed health care provider,
after all it is the medical practioner whos license is most at risk.) The role of
a medical assistant may be split into both administrative and clinical tasks.
Typical Medical Assistant administrative tasks may include: Work in
reception, answer telephone, schedule appointments, process medical bill-
ing, keep financial records, file medical charts, telephone prescriptions to a
pharmacy, transcribe dictation, send letters and triage patients over the
telephone using a protocol to determine the acuity of the visit and the visit-
length for scheduling purposes.
The clicical tasks of a Medical Assistant vary greatly buy state and
other local laws as well as the policies of a medical office or the health care
setting were they are employed. Some of the supervised clinical tasks of a
Medical Assistant may include: escorting the patient to exam room, carry
out patient history interviews, take and record vital signs, prepare patient
for examination, provide patient information/instructions, assist with medi-
cal examinations/surgical procedures, set up and clean exam rooms, main-
tain medical supply inventory, restock medical supplies in patient rooms,
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perform venipuncture (in certain states), administer immunizations (also
only in certain states), collect and prepare laboratory specimens, notify
patients of laboratory results after evaluation by a physician, schedule pa-
tient appointments, translate during medical interviews with non-English-
speaking patients, give prevention reminders, instruct patients about medi-
cations or special diets, basic patine medical education, perform some ba-
sic laboratory tests, prepare medications as directed by the office physi-
cian, assist in performing ECGs.
Additional medical assistant duties may include: helping to develop
educational materials, educate patients about procedures, negotiate man-
aged care contracts, manage accounts payable, process payroll, document
and maintain accounting and banking records, develop and maintain fees
schedules, manage renewals of business and professional insurance poli-
cies, manage personnel benefits and maintain records, perform marketing,
financial and strategic planning. Also, help develop and maintain personnel,
policy and procedure materials, perform personnel management functions,
negotiate leases and prices for equipment and supply contracts.
There are many lwas that govern the function of a medical assistant
and other medical office staff members, so a Medical Assistant should never
perform any duties or functions unless specifically instructed my their su-
pervising physician or other licensed health care professions.
Although legal requirements addressing Medical Assistants scope of
practice vary by state, Medical Assistant generally work under the license
of their supervising physician or the managed care organization that em-
ploys them. If you have any questions about the legal role a medical assis-
tant may play in your practice please contact your local state medical board
for advise. Additional Medical Assistant training inforamtion information is
available at St. Augustine Medical Assistant School:,
which now offers online distance education training for Medical Assistants.
Dr.Mark Stout, Dean of Distance Education, St. Augustine Medical Assistant School,
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Being a reflexologist is one of the top five career choices in the field of
holistic health. The trend shows that more and more people are turning
toward holistic practices to enhance traditional medical therapies. Being a
reflexologist also allows the practitioner to create a flexible schedule in
many circumstances.
If you have thought about a career in reflexology, it is time to start
getting more information. The first thing you should do is contact the local
reflexology association in your area. One such website is for the American
Reflexology Certification Board. Although, certification is not required in the
United States, for professional reasons, you should be certified if it is avail-
At the website, you will want to find answers to several things. You can
look for schools certified to teach reflexology, licensing and certification
requirements, and any other information you think would be helpful to you.
Going to school to become a reflexologist is a requirement in most
places, even if you Don't need to be licensed or certified after graduating.
Classes range in duration from six months to one year or more. The class
usually is at least 100 hours in classroom time and at least 300 hours prac-
tical time. Depending on your location, requirements may vary.
You should look for a reflexologist program that focuses on more than
the feet and hands. Look for a school that discusses health, nutrition, biol-
ogy, chemistry, physiology, anatomy, ethics and professionalism. Finding a
school that also explains the business side of being a reflexologist is a plus.
You may want to consider a school that also offers a massage thera-
pist program. Even if you Don't do it now, becoming a massage therapist
can add to your income potential and increase your marketability. You may
decide to wait to take these classes later, since they are more intense and
licensing is a requirement in many areas.
As a reflexologist, you will be working with a client's feet and hands
for 45 minutes to one hour in a normal session. You should be able to talk
with the client before, during and after the session. It is your job as a
reflexologist to calm and relax the client while being a good listener.
Once you are in the final stages of the reflexologist program, you
should start working on marketing your services. From your practical expe-
rience, you may have a small client base, but you need a large client base
that will continue to grow. You should decide if you want to go to your clients
or have them come to you. If they come to you, consider renting space or
partnering with a chiropractor, doctor's office, podiatrist, or holistic health
You may also want to check local gyms and spas as well. They may
allow you to offer your reflexologist services through the business or they
may hire you full time. It is just a matter of going to these different places
and selling yourself and your services.
If you decide to go to your clients, you will want to partner with doc-
tors, holistic practitioners, chiropractors, and gyms. They may refer clients
to you to enhance the therapies their patients are currently receiving.
Once you know how you are going to work, you need to decide on the
cost of your reflexology services. Some places will dictate the fees you can
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charge, and others will not. You will need to contact local reflexologists, and
ask them about the services they offer and fees associated with the ser-
vices. This information will give you a basis to work from when developing
your own pricing system.
You should check reflexologist web sites routinely and subscribe to
industry magazines. This will keep you up on new trends, tips, and tech-
niques in reflexology. You may also look at continuing education class at
your local community college.
Since you may with working with clients in a medical setting, the client
may think you are a medical doctor. If this should happened, just gently
remind the patient that you are not a doctor, but a trained, certified (when
applicable), professional reflexologist.
The only other real problem you could face would be if you feel the
client is unclean or the client's feet and/or hands have sores, fungus or
other diseases. Never feel that you have to accept everyone who contacts
you as a client. You need to protect the clients you already have, and that
may mean refusing service to others. Let them know they have a problem
and should seek medical attention. Tell them to return to you when the
problem has been corrected and then you will take them as a client.
If you are still interested in becoming a reflexologist, contact the local
reflexology association, get more information, and get started.
Copyright Randy Wilson, All Rights Reserved. Randy has do1zens of home based business articles such as Start a
Mattress Cleaning Service, Unusual Home Based Businesses and Start a Catering Business.
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Most people when they landed "the dream job" after an interview or
even got "the deal" of the lifetime in their businesses, sadly to say tend to
slack on their grooming habits and it even goes to the point that they are
wearing their pajamas going to the office. It seems that's very extreme but
it happens.
Why can't you take personal grooming for granted?
1. It's personal hygiene. Personal grooming is the process of being
clean or neat. It speaks volume about how you treat your body and
how you treat your working environment around you. People who
are neat in their body tend to be neat in their desk.
2. It shows how you can take care of yourself. If you can't even take
care of yourself, then how can you take care of you work or your
3. First impression last. It's always good to be ready and presentable
when you meet someone who you can network with and even can
help you transform your career for the better.
4. The Gossip Mill. Your colleagues will and always will talk about
people who aren't around sight. Which do you prefer to be talked
about, the person who stinks or the person who looks well?
5. Office workers who are well groomed tend to be well liked. Your
colleagues and clients will like working with you more. Would you
like to be working with someone who reeks of body odor and who is
not doing anything about it?
6. Step on your manager's shoes, who would you promote? Tom and
Joe are both extremely good at their job, same working ethic, they
are both people person but Tom are more put together than Joe. It
doesn't mean that Tom is more handsome than Joe but Tom takes
the time to be presentable even when there are deadlines to meet.
Joe on the other hand, wears shirts and pants that's crinkled and
looked like it's been worn since yesterday. His excuse is that he
doesn't have the time to dress well. It really tells about how you
manage your time well because in spite of your hectic schedule, you
can manage to look presentable. Now if there's only one person to
promote, would you still promote Joe over Tom?
7. It makes you feel good. If you feel good on the outside, you'll feel
good on the inside. If you feel good about yourself, your attitude
towards people and your work will be better.
8. Last but not the least, it only takes thirty to forty five minutes of
your time in the morning and it doesn't have to cost you an arm and
a leg to look well groomed.
Most of all you Don't have to be a beauty queen to be well groomed.
You owe it yourself and to your career. It will always be a great tool for you
to use to get ahead of the game.
Thea Ivens is an Independent Beauty Consultant for Mary Kay Cosmetics.
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Yes I know that we usually think of interviews as us doing all the
talking, but the reality is different. At least 40% of the time we should be
listening, and what we hear will have an enormous effect on what we say.
So listening well is a most important interview skill.
But why do so many of us find it difficult to listen well? After all, so long
as our hearing is not actually impaired we can hear most of what is going on
around us. However many of us will find listening difficult for a number of
if there is anything we might consider unusual, or irritating about the
speaker's appearance, voice, accent or pronunciation we allow it to
put us off;
we naturally think at about four or five times the speed at which we
think, so when someone else is doing the talking we can find a lot of
time to allow our minds to wander;
our own thoughts are generally of more concern to us and we find it
easier and more pleasant to tune in to these than concentrating on
what someone else is saying;
since we were quite young we have taught ourselves to listen to
many things at once, and actually pay only the minimum attention
to any of them, so it becomes difficult to pay attention to one thing
for a longer period of time;
as soon as we think we've heard enough to establish in our minds
what response is needed, we stop listening to the speaker and start
composing our answer.
Misunderstandings arise from failing to pay full attention in many situa-
tions, but in the interview it could cost you the job you really wanted.
Peter Fisher guides job seekers through the steps needed in order to achieve that all important new position. http://www.your-
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Interviews can be nerve-racking, brain-draining, headache-inducing
experiences. These days, recruiters have found a way to make the inter-
view even more difficult by combining the experience with a meal. This
means that in addition to listening to the interviewer, formulating intelligent
responses, and trying your hardest to be confident, you now have pay
attention to how you look while eating.
Interviews over lunch or dinner are an increasingly popular recruiting
tool. This career article gives you the need-to-
knows of the meal interview.
1. Mind your manners
2. The dish dilemma
3. Consume and converse
4. Finish with a bang
It may seem unnecessary to mention, but those basic table manners you
were taught as a child still matter. In casual settings, poor manners are
not always corrected. Therefore, you could have picked up some habits
that your mother would be ashamed of and more likely than not, your
interviewer probably will not be too be impressed by them either.
Here are just a few of the habits you should be mindful of during a
meal interview:
BE POLITE. In addition to evaluating your answers to questions, an
interviewer is also assessing your personality. Be courteous and
respectful to everyone, especially the wait staff. Words such as
"please" and "thank you" speak worlds about your character.
BE AWARE. Keeping you elbows on the table, chewing with your
mouth open, talking with your mouth full all convey a negative
impression. Pay attention to even your smallest actions.
BE PREPARED. If you feel uncertain about your table manners,
consult the experts. Emily Post's books on etiquette are considered
to be among the definitive works on etiquette. There is no shame in
doing research; after all, this is an interview.
Even though you are being treated to a nice meal, you are not free to
order any dish you like. You are in an interview, and therefore, you have
the duty of maintaining a certain level of professionalism and formality
throughout the meal. There are no definitive rules of food selection, and
you may have to make a game-time decision. However, following these
rules will help you steer clear of trouble:
AVOID MESSES. Steer clear of foods that have to be eaten with
your hands or have a tendency to splatter. It is hard to recover from
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the embarrassment of splashing your interviewer with spaghetti
sauce, nor do you want to inadvertently adorn yourself with gravy
or cream sauce. So stick to foods that can be cut into small pieces
with a knife and fork.
NO STENCHES. Avoid foods that have a strong or unpleasant order.
You are better off having an interviewer not remember you at all
rather than as the candidate with bad breath. So no matter how
much you love onions and garlic, lay off the stinkers for one meal.
KEEP IT QUIET. You need to be able to conduct a civil conversation.
Avoid foods that are crunchy and noisy to eat. In a public setting
there is a lot of noise that could drown out the voice of a person
sitting across from you so try not to order food that would add to
the problem.
FOLLOW THE LEADER. You may be wondering if a menu item is
priced too high or if to order an appetizer first, etc. The answer is to
follow your interviewer's lead. Try to order food in the same price
range as the interviewer and order the same number of courses.
You do not want to be sitting idle while the recruiter is still eating.
You are at an interview and also dining out. This means you need to not
only be talking, but also eating. It can sometimes be difficult to do both.
Try and keep these issues in mind when posed with the challenge of
eating and talking at the same time:
YOU ARE IN CONTROL. Don't feel so pressured to talk that you
Don't eat at all. This can be interpreted as nervousness.
ASK QUESTIONS. When going to an interview, it is always a good
idea to have questions. This will allow you get more information on
the company and show that you have done your homework. During
the meal interview, it will also give you the opportunity to actually
eat as your interviewer responds to your questions.
Unlike that of a standard interview, the end of a meal interview does not
just end with a handshake and a "Thank You". There are other things to
keep in mind including:
DON'T OFFER TO PAY. It's never expected of a job candidate, and
you Don't need to do it.
NEVER ASK FOR A DOGGY BAG. No matter how delicious the meal
was, requesting to take a portion of it home is not appropriate for
the setting.
REAFFIRM YOUR INTEREST. Let the interviewer know how much you
would like to work for his/her company.
A "Thank You" AND HANDSHAKE CAN'T HURT. As in any interview,
Don't forget to thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet
with you. In addition, be sure to be gracious and say that you
enjoyed the meal and end the interview with a firm handshake.
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Make sure to follow up with a thank you letter in the morning.
The meal interview is tricky, but not impossible. With a little guidance
and a lot of confidence, you can sail through them with flying colors. Just
try to keep these helpful hints in mind. Good luck and bon apptit!
Nathan Newberger, Managing Editor, Permission is granted to use reproduce this article
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Informational interviews are designed to get as much information as
you can about the industry and career you're seeking a job in from people
who are already in that career.
Many job seekers Don't conduct informational interviews because the
purpose of this type of interview is NOT to ask for a job. But, when you talk
with people in your area of interest, you establish rapport with them, get
salary ranges for the position and hopefully, have your name passed along
to the hiring manager when there is an opening in their company.
Conducting an informational interview can be a very powerful job
seeking tool for you. As you conduct these interviews, you're:
Establishing several important contacts
learning more about the industry you want to work for
and getting your name out there before anyone else in case a job
opens up.
You can also take the information you gathered from these informational
interviews and apply them to a regular one-on-one job interview. For
example, you'll be able to negotiate your salary better because you found
out beforehand what the salary range was for the job you're seeking.
The informational interview is almost like a hidden secret for job hunt-
ing success, since so few people use this technique. Get the advantage
over other job seekers by adding this powerful tool to your job search.
Michelle Roebuck,
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Steve's a pretty regular guy, wife, 4 kids in their blended family, 12+
years of engineering experience, a degree, mortgage, car payments, some
debt, and feeling depressed because he waited to look till the end. Last time
he transitioned was 5 years ago for more money and he liked some of the
people and it was simple, this time he's heard some in his professional
association have been looking for almost a year...and they weren't light-
weights. No wonder he's sweating.
Steve's wife can't figure out why he's so moody and angry, she doesn't
understand that Steve has feelings of rejection from a company he had
been loyal to for 5 years. He had poured heart and soul into his projects.
Even though he didn't always agree with his manager's direction, on a
project he shepherded, he had been recognized for achievement. Gosh,
only 2 years in and already a rising "star".
In hindsight, Steve saw he had subtly butted heads on how the team
was treated by management and that he made suggestions that "his bosses'
way" was backward. Things began to slip. It was more real when he didn't
get a merit raise. He didn't fathom the basic tenet that consistent values
with the management are fundamental to longevity. You see, Steve made
an "easy" choice to compromise his work ethics and principles because he
thought he was on the upside of lots of growth (money).
Choice #1, Choose based on values, not only on personalities in the
Now that his desk was cleared out, a few weeks to wind down was in
order before he could mount the energy to start looking. After all, he
deserved a break, didn't he? It gave him time to think over what went
wrong?to concentrate, to brood over the calamity that landed on him
because others hadn't done their jobs. It simply wasn't fair?Jesse, their
6 year old, couldn't understand why "daddy just sits in the den and won't
play with me anymore?"
Choice #2, You have power to choose your reaction to difficulty. It was
business, not personal, and even if it was personal, so what, get some
support, get some direction, get some help to tackle this bump in the
road and get on with life.
Steve's wife finally pushed him to get his resume posted online?this is
easy! What he didn't know was the internet is only about 4% of the
market and that less than 10% of the companies who have posted have
ever hired someone from the internet. He has complacently fallen into a
deadly trap believing quantity will always yield quality positions!
Choice #3, Choosing to get a career by coincidence will seldom (read
seldom as never) yield a role with expansive growth potential and long
term satisfaction. It is not easy; it takes expertise, competitive edges of
timing, better exposure and more powerful communications about
capacity to win a position of your choice.
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Eventually, Steve let a recruiter encourage him to "get his foot in the
door" in a company a few states over. It was his only "egg in his nest" and
a few steps back to where he had been 8-9 years earlier?and he'd have to
leave Sundays and come back home Fridays since relocation wasn't even
offered. But what choice does he have, it's been 11 months since he was let
go and savings have dwindled and he's tired of being a stay-at-home dad.
Choice #4, Choosing to take a job will only spiral down his career, his
confidence, his perceived capability and his cash. Being talked into, that
is recruited/sold, a cookie-cutter position versus taking a position that
has been engineered around him. There should be no question.
Well, Steve has gotten accustomed to the commute and his efficiency
apartment and really looks forward to seeing his kids next weekend. The
job is just that, he's surviving, but there's no challenge?same-o every
day. That recruiter called back to say he's got another job like this on the
East Coast, Steve hung up on him this time?about all the energy he
could muster. Been feeling really exhausted.
Choice #5, Choosing to ignore his body cues of exhaustion only leads
Steve to depression and powerlessness and feeling trapped again.
Choosing to have proper rest, diet, exercise and balance of life
Steve's 17 month anniversary is coming up, he's looking a little haggard
from the day-to-day grind. It's Friday, about 2 and Steve's boss wants
him to come to the conference room?and the HR person is there?
Choice #6, Steve can choose to run this cycle again?or choose to
purposefully utilize his full potential by proactively marketing himself.
It's Steve's choice?it's his career?it's his life? Then, again, maybe it's not
Steve; maybe it's you???
Bruce Benskin is a Regional Manager in Cincinnati for R.L. Stevens & Associates Inc. (
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Today's employers scramble for creative ways to advise employees
of their unexpected departures. The days of employers being loyal to their
employees are long gone. We now live in a culture where every working
adult should be wearing a parachute just so he or she can land safely when
forced to jump from the corporate tower. How are employers giving em-
ployees the boot?
1. You have the opportunity to resign. Let's be honest, you have the
opportunity to resign everyday. What makes today so special? Well,
it's because you really Don't have a choice in the matter. If you say,
"Thanks, but I'll pass on that today," you likely will find yourself
terminated anyway. Employers use this phrase to ease their guilt.
2. We've decided to go a different direction. That leads the employee
to believe that he or she controlled the direction of the corporation.
Most of the companies I've been around Don't involve average
employees in the direction-setting process anyway. In reality, the
company hasn't decided to go a different direction; its managers
have decided you will go a different direction--toward the door!
3. We are reorganizing and you are no longer needed. I love this
phrase because it forces the corporation to admit its previous lack
of organization. This usually is a cover for some financial decision in
which the manager saved his rear by sacrificing yours.
4. We have a new corporate mandate. Ambiguous explanations always
sound intelligent, but they really say nothing. Do you really think the
corporate head honchos got together to discuss your future? Ask
one of those people to explain the corporate mandate and see if
anything intelligible comes out of his mouth!
5. We are downsizing. That also is a great catch phrase. Chances are
that the corporation will not be reducing its product or service
offerings. There's a good possibility that the managers won't be
required to reduce their salaries or control their business expenses.
It just means the company will attempt to do more work with fewer
people. So you either get dumped or dumped on? take your pick.
6. You are being negatively retained. Huh? That's simply corporate
doublespeak for "you're fired!" However, in order to even make
such a statement, the corporate mouthpiece first had his or her
brain sucked out and replaced with Cool Whip!
7. We have a zero-tolerance policy. So, that means only the perfect
people keep their jobs, right? This card is played when a corporation
discovers a worker using his or her brain. Maybe the employee
argued a point or expressed disagreement with a decision. Like a
cult, many corporations require their subjects to avoid any thinking
that calls into question the bad decisions of the corporate "brains."
When you think, you're no longer tolerated!
So, what do you do when you are on the receiving end of one of these
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1. Update your resume and circulate it to all of your acquaintances
outside your company. Be careful when talking about your previous
employer so as not to jeopardize the hush money--sometimes
called a severance package.
2. Contact your previous employer's competition... you might be a
valuable addition to their workforce!
3. Reevaluate your career goals. Check out the resources available at
Dan Miller's
4. Relax. Emotional decisions seldom are smart decisions, so take your
5. Look forward, not backward. Don't dwell in the past but rather move
forward toward the new beginning you have ahead.
If you are an employee of a company, the chances are good that
you'll be terminated at some point in your working career. If you are an
employer, you might have to terminate an employee. Whatever you do,
just shoot straight. No one likes talking to someone who intentionally is
ambiguous. Think about it!
Dr. Terry Hadaway is an author, speaker, university professor, and ezine publisher. His lighthearted and insightful articles
are read by thousands of people every day. Visit
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There are few things more frustrating for a headhunter than asking a
person basic questions that revolve around what you as a job hunter are
looking for in a job and being given uncertain answers. I'm not talking
about salary; that's a question where a wise person states a target objec-
tive and is flexible enough to let the market decide their value.
I'm speaking about these basic questions:
1. What is your current compensation? The three wrong answers are:
(1) a lie (A lie will be found out generally after you're hired. You
know what happens then? While you're out to lunch or have gone
home one day, your ability to login while be terminated and security
will be waiting for you at your desk with your personal items packed
to escort you from the premises). (2) I won't tell you (This reveals
that your salary is much lower than the amount advertised and that
you are seeking a big bump). (3) Do you really need to know that
(Yes. I do because my client will want to know. They will ask it on
their form. Many companies will terminate an interview for refusing
to answer),
2. Geographically, What's acceptable to you. Some people are willing
to drive more than others. Some people must follow mass transit
routes. Some people are willing to relocate at a company's expense
or are willing to relocate on their own for the right opportunity. Think
about it.
3. What's not working for you that is prompting you to want to look for
another job? Most of the time, money is not the only factor. Be
prepared to discuss your reasons maturely. An immature answer
would be, "I hate my job," or "My boss is an idiot." Instead, try this
one-"I would like to leave consulting and move to industry so that I
can avoid the heavy travel that is keeping me away from my family
too much."
4. What are you looking for in a new position? Nine times out of ten,
people Don't think of this when they speak to me. What am I
supposed to do? Guess? "I know it when I see it" isn't helpful either.
5. What was the corporate culture like that you were working in? Did
you like it? What did you like about it? What didn't you care for? Let
me know if I should replicate your current work environment in your
next firm with more money and more interesting work . . . or not!
Take some time before posting your resume to decide what is impor-
tant to you and you will find that your interviews will be better . . . and so
will your results!
Jeff Altman, Managing Director with Concepts in Staffing, a New York search firm,
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Of course interviews are mainly about you answering the questions
they put to you, but at the end of your allotted interview time, the questions
that really matter most are yours. You should hope to hear the interviewer
ask you: "Have you any questions?"
But even if they Don't ask, you should grasp the opportunity and say:
"Do you mind if I ask a couple of questions?"
However you must be careful when planning what questions you're
going to ask, and make sure that they are not ones that you should already
know the answer to because it's been covered in the interview. Try to make
sure that you ask questions that are relevant to the job. You could ask
things like:
Is this a new position?
Who would I be responsible to?
How many other people do a similar job?
When did the last person leave this job? (And why?)
When will I know the result of this interview?
What opportunities are there for progression or further training?
Do you have time to show me around the area where I will be
Is there anything else that I can tell you about my experience or
And the most important if you can ask it is: "Did I answer all your
questions fully?"
If they do have any reservations, this just might bring them out and
let you have another shot at giving a better answer.
You probably also want to know about pay, benefits and holidays too,
but now is not the right time to ask - and it's important not to ask too early.
You'll get a chance when they show they're interested in you for the job.
If they covered all the points you were going to ask: Try paying the
interviewer a compliment:
"I think you've covered all the points I was going to ask you about."
"I wanted to know about the department structure and the systems
that you use, but you have covered all those areas, thank you."
Show that you have taken an interest in the company: "I read that
you have ten outlets in Yorkshire. Are you intending to expand any more
during the next year? "
Try for the opportunity to summarise for one last time why the inter-
viewer should offer you the job. This means that you will leave on an up-
beat note with your skills and experience the final things that they remem-
ber about you: "Could I summarise why you should seriously consider me
for this position?"
Interview questions are not only your best leads because they let you
know what is important to the interviewer, but your interview questions let
them know you are interested. It also means that the interview doesn't just
fizzle out but ends positively.
Peter Fisher, preparation.html
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Q. I hate my job as a computer consultant. I am ready for a career
change. The aptitude tests say I should be a recreation specialist. I like the
idea but I dread returning to school for a new degree.
A. Before you invest in a degree, try out the new career. A test drive
will tell you more than any pencil-and-paper test. Find two or three people
who are doing what you want to do and ask to spend a day or a week with
If you like what you see, visit a few schools or universities that offer
degrees in your area of interest. Ask for names of people who have gradu-
ated one, three and five years ago.
Ask the alumni, "Did this degree help you get your job? Advance in
your job?"
"Would you have done better with a degree from another school? Or
would you have done as well with a degree from a lower-ranked school?"
Don't stop until you have talked to six graduates -- maybe more.
Talk to students, not faculty. Professors must support their own pro-
grams, even when they want to say, "You can do better elsewhere," or,
"This program is a waste of your time and money."
And these days, anyone with a title like "Admissions Director" or "En-
rollment Management" may be trying to make a sale, not offer objective
Investigate several options.
You may find an equally satisfying career that offers on-the-job train-
ing. You may find an educational program that takes less time or comes
with a stipend.
No degree program offers a magic bullet.
Ultimately you may win the job and career success by your power
networking as well as you social, interpersonal and technical skills. There
are many paths to career fulfillment, not just one.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and career/business consultant, helping midlife professionals take their First
step to a Second Career.
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Most of us were brought up to study hard, get good grades, choose a
"practical" college major, and strive for a "good job."
Talk to a stranded midlife career- changer and you realize the game
has changed. Yesterday's rules prepared us to be passengers on a large
ocean liner that promised a smooth voyage. Today we realize that ocean
liner turned out to be the Titanic and we need to keep ourselves afloat on a
small life raft if we want to survive.
Here are some tips to help your child learn not only to survive, but to
thrive and grow in a chaotic world.
1. From the first day of kindergarten, encourage your child to build on
strengths rather than focus on limitations.
Does she spend hours studying models of cars for the last twenty
years? Maybe she'll become an auto mechanic -- or maybe she'll
parlay her ability to classify detailed information into a career as a
biologist or pharmacist.
2. Encourage your child to choose a field of study based on his or her
natural abilities and passions, not "what will get me a job."
Claudia Kennedy, the Army's first female three-star General,
majored in philosophy. In her book Generally Speaking, she claims
philosophy prepared her to become a top-level intelligence officer.
Carly Fiorino, famed CEO of Hewlett-Packard, studied medieval
history. And Michael Lewis, financial writer and best-selling author of
Liars Poker, was an art history major.
3. Assure your children that few mistakes are fatal.
Did your child fail a course? Face rejection from a first-choice
college? Most of us can't avoid an occasional failure, but we can
learn bounce-back attitudes as soon as we can talk.
Yolanda Griffith, WNBA basketball star, dropped out of a premier
program due to pregnancy. She returned to a lower-ranked college
program, baby in tow, and now plays for the Sacramento Monarchs.
I once taught a student who had flunked out of junior college
following a close call with the legal system. After a four-year stint in
the US Navy, she returned to college, maintained a dean's list grade
point average, and went on to a top law school.
4. Encourage your child to experience success in any area of her life.
Did she make the honor roll? Get selected for a play, a club, or
athletic team? Win an election for competitive office? Survive a
strenuous application process for a summer job? Once your child
has tasted success, he will know how it feels and will act like a
winner when he enters the job market.
Cecilia, a shy twelve-year-old, blossomed when she won the lead in
a school play. "We want you to improve your grades, not spend time
in rehearsal!" fumed her worried mother.
To everyone's surprise, Cecilia's grades improved and she made
new friends with the "good kids" who were also achievers. Most
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important, no matter what happens, Cecilia can return to that
feeling of success whenever she gets discouraged.
5. Getting into a top university -- or any university -- will not guaran-
tee success.
I've met Ivy Leaguers who have experienced unemployment,
bankruptcy and even homelessness. I've met high school drop outs
who flourished on their own initiative.
In my own small town, a couple with graduate degrees dropped out
to pursue artistic careers -- and they clean houses to pay the bills.
Recently a minimum wage job was posted by a nonprofit -- and
several unemployed lawyers applied.
Career-changers who face the future with an attitude of "I can handle
anything" are the ones who win today. Tossed into the ocean, they'll impro-
vise a set of oars and keep up their spirits till they figure out what to do
next. Those who feel betrayed ("I thought I was set for life") flounder around
for weeks, months, even years.
Entitlement is over Those who have a positive outlook, who can seize
the unexpected opportunity, can count on reaching the shore. And they
realize that only they can transform a resting place into a safe harbor.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and career/business consultant, helping midlife professionals take their First
step to a Second Career.
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Q. For my second career, I'd like to know "What to do when you have
done a lot and nothing really interests you anymore. The things that inter-
est me are not financially feasible right now, because one of the things I'd
like to give up is working!"
A. People often want to stop working when they've experienced a
series of challenges. You leave one career and begin another. You experi-
ence a great burst of energy as your second career takes off. And then
your exciting new career goes away. Or you realize your dream was not at
all what you anticipated.
1. Don't think of crashing the career party. Stop pounding on closed
doors. Think of creating yourself as a person who will collect all
sorts of exciting invitations!
2. Reach out for more opportunities to do what you enjoy. As you
become enthused, you'll generate unexpected connections. And
you'll come across as purposeful and productive.
For example, I began writing book reviews for just for
my own amusement. At first my reviews seemed to generate only
intangible rewards. Then one day the UPS truck delivered a box of
best sellers from a major publisher. Now I get books, clients, media
interviews, website visitors and more.
3. Find something to enjoy every day, even something as simple as
walking the dog (well, that's not always so simple). Keep remem-
bering what fun feels like.
4. Share your career frustrations only with a paying audience who will
keep your questions confidential. People tend to get the most help
when they appear to have everything they want. Opening to the
wrong person can kill a potentially exciting option.
5. Gain information by expressing lively curiosity. Attend professional
meetings, classes, and informal gatherings.
6. Keep moving. It's tempting to hide when you're not sure what you
want to do, but activity fuels creative problem-solving.
7. Remember that most people Don't follow a linear path as they move
to their second (or third or fourth) careers. They take two steps
forward and one step back. They zig and they zag. And usually they
fall into their next lives - sometimes literally! - and realized they've
been preparing for this move all along.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and career/business consultant, helping midlife professionals take their First
step to a Second Career.
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* Has it been awhile since you explored career options?
* Are you making your 21st century choices based on beliefs that
were accurate when Reagan was president of the US (and Thatcher
was PM of Great Britain)?
* Do you wish you could take a test that would point you to the
perfect Second Career?
Then you're probably operating on yesterday's myths -- time to move
to today's reality!
Myth #1: Science supports the traditional linear career change
model: test for interests, identify careers and go find a job.
Reality #1 Researchers at Stanford and Harvard found that career
exploration proceeds in a zig-zag trial-and-error path, almost
always with a hint of serendipity. Learn more.
Myth #2: Starting a business is riskier than seeking a new job.
Reality #2: If you're midlife and/or have a high profile in your
industry, you may replace income faster by starting a business --
even if you continue to seek a job at the same time. Learn more.
Myth #3 : Skills that brought you career success are the same skills
you need for career change.
Reality #3: Career and business achievement calls for football
skills: teamwork, planning and playing your position. Career
change? Think playground basketball! Scramble and change rules
with every game. Learn more.
Myth #4: Ignore unexpected thoughts like, "Maybe it's time to
move. " They'll soon go away.
Reality #4: These hints come from your intuition, which is not a
woo-woo concept but a reliable source of insight that has been
recognized by mainstream psychologists, security consultants and
scientists. Crack your intuitive code and find a new source of power.
Learn more.
Myth #5: Make tough career decisions like business decisions. Or
gamble. Choosing between two wonderful opportunities? Or two
equally scary options? Estimate probabilities...or give up and flip a
Reality #5: Work with new processes designed specifically for life
decisions. Learn more.
Myth #6: Feeling scared? Stop!
Reality #6: Fear can be your friend, especially when you're moving
outside your comfort zone into a new adventure. Fear means you're
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taking care of yourself as you move into the unknown. Learn more.
Myth #7: Career change means feeling stressed and miserable.
Reality #7: Career change can become a source of meaning and
growth. Most people look back with gratitude on this time in their
lives. Learn more.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and career/business consultant, helping midlife professionals take their First
step to a Second Career.
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1. Begin focusing on what you want instead of how much you want to
escape. When you find yourself sharing the latest horror story, stop
in mid-sentence and say, "What I want to have is..."
2. Create an image that describes you in your job. Are you on a
riverbank with no way to get to the other side? Lost in a jungle?
Poking through a thorny hedge? When you get comfortable with the
image, begin visualizing a change in the obstacle. Imagine building
a bridge across the river or finding a path in the forest. Don't force
the image or the change. When you're ready it will come.
3. Think of developing skills, not serving time. Take every course
that's offered and focus on skills that can lay a foundation for your
own business or next job. Can you learn HTML or PowerPoint? Can
you use some evenings, weekends and lunch hours to solicit some
free lance gigs?
4. Focus on satisfactory, not superior performance. Use the time
difference to build your new life. People often say, "I can't do
anything -- I work ten hours a day!"
If you are firing yourself or expecting to be fired, your job is finding
a new job. Be ethical: you owe your company the minimum you
need to earn your salary." But Don't be surprised if you start to
accomplish more than ever and find yourself getting promoted.
5. What conflict are you escaping? Dishonesty? Corporate greed?
Hypocrisy? Allow yourself to wonder if these qualities are mirrored
in your own life -- or even in your mind. If everyone around you
seems dishonest, are you being dishonest with yourself? With
others? After you resolve your own conflict, you may find the
workplace has changed or you have been catapulted into a new,
more satisfying life.
6. Put on your shield and armor when you enter your workplace.
Everyone should learn how to create a psychic shield. Imagine that
you are surrounded by an outer shell that is made of a solid mate-
rial -- so strong that nothing can get through to hurt you. Some
people prefer to imagine a protective golden light, but I think the
solid shield is stronger. Take two or three minutes to put on your
shield, every day, before you enter the workplace.
7. Give yourself a gift every day -- a splurge of time or sensual taste
buds. Read a book, talk to a friend, eat your favorite food. Don't
deaden your senses with alcohol (although if you're a wine connois-
seur, your special wine can be a gift) or spend big bucks at the mall.
Think simple.
8. Find at least one thing in your life to appreciate: the softness of your
cat's fur, the winter sky, the spontaneous hug from a friend. Appre-
ciate as much as possible about your job: the money, the view from
the window, the new computer, friendly conversations with the guy
down the hall. Savor the experience. Appreciation is the engine that
attracts good things into your life.
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9. Tune in to your intuition before deciding what to do next. Meditate
and listen to the world around you. The saying "frying pan into the
fire" is real. If your goals and desires do not come from a secure
place within yourself, you will find yourself paying undue attention to
wet blankets ("If you quit you'll never get another job") and false
friends ("Just quit! Move to Tahiti! You won't starve!"). Sometimes
the same "advisor" proposes both ideas in the same week. A good
coach or counselor will give you confidence in your own intuition,
not impose their views of what you should do now.
10. Write this down somewhere: After you've left -- and you will -- all
that time will seem to have gone in the blink of an eye. You will
have trouble remembering what bothered you so much. The rest of
your life will still be ahead of you.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and career/business consultant, helping midlife professionals take their First
step to a Second Career.
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Q. "What do I do after a job goes away?"
A. Many people believe that job losses are like earthquakes and com-
puter meltdowns. It's not "if" the Big One is coming. It's when.
Sometimes you decide it's time for a change. At other times, you're
surprised by events. Either way, your life can be disrupted. Many people
are surprised at their own feelings, even if they couldn't wait to leave that
job. Here are some steps to take with the Big One is here.
1. Discuss your resources with a qualified financial advisor. Can you
stretch your funds beyond six months? Equity loan? Brokerage
margin loan? Short-term jobs?
2. Explore feelings, if need be, with a qualified specialist. Many people
grieve lost careers, houses and cities -- even those they hated the
3. Go slow! Sell the house, move to Wyoming and live in a tent? By
December, the tent is cold and the bears have confiscated your
computer to play hibernation solitaire. "Career winter" is no longer a
4. Explore free or low-cost career resources. Check out the Chamber
of Commerce, your alumni career center, SCORE, and the unem-
ployment office. If you have trouble staying focused or making a
plan, paying your own career coach may be a good investment.
5. Do something fun at least once a day. Take the dog to the park, eat
an ice cream sundae, visit a museum. Malls and television are
(usually) distracting but not satisfying.
Caution: If "fun" has gone from your life and your vocabulary see
#2 -- right away.
6. Get physical. Walk, run, work out, play a sport every day. Exercise
creates energy and keeps you healthy.
7. Get creative. Write, paint, take a ceramics or poetry class.
Seems frivolous? No You'll need to be creative when you plan your
next step. Get the juices flowing. Above all, keep a journal. Life will look
very different a year from now and you will be amazed how far you have
come and how much you have learned.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and career/business consultant, helping midlife professionals take their First
step to a Second Career.
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The traditional model of career choice suggests a linear pattern. Get
to know yourself. Learn your kills and talents. Explore careers that seem to
best utilize your talents and skills. Today, both research and experience
suggest that real career change doesn't happen this way.
What's real? Serendipity and zig-zag patterns
Contemporary researchers find that nearly every career path involves
an element of serendipity. John Krumboltz of Stanford University published
several articles on this topic in respected journals.
Herminia Ibarra's research at Harvard Business School demonstrated
that career change tends to follow a zig-zag pattern rather than a straight
line, with two steps forward and one step back. She found limited value in
extended introspection and self-analysis. See her book Working Identity.
What about testing?
Career coaches and counselors are divided on the subject of tests.
Some insist that all their clients undergo a battery of tests. Others dismiss
tests entirely. One career counselor says, "I can learn more about a person
from astrology than from any personality tests." One coach asks clients to
define themselves as "earth, wind, fire or water."
Before you pay for testing, I encourage you to ask what you hope to
gain from the time and money you invest. Be aware of the limits on what
tests can do for you. After all, if you could just take a battery of tests to
forecast your future, we wouldn't hear from so many job-frustrated people!
So why Don't tests have all the answers?
A job is much more than a series of skills. Every career or profession
includes an ambience - style, working conditions, flexibility of time. Often
it's not the work itself that drives people out of the field. It's the "other
Take teaching, for example. You love kids and want to work with them
and you Don't mind earning less than your corporate counterparts. Your
workday ends at three and you get summers off. You get a decent pension
and great benefits.
However, that's not the whole story. Your day begins as early as 6:30
AM. You give up a lot of personal freedom. There's no phone on your desk
to make a call home -- and certainly no privacy to talk. A quick trip to the
bathroom? Someone has to cover the class. The students go home at three
- but you have papers to grade, meetings to attend, and perhaps a re-
hearsal to direct. Your school district rewards test results, not creative learn-
Another example. Now let's say you like to earn money and solve
math problems. Are you ready for a CFO job? Each company has its own
culture, of course, but in general the business world values image and
style. You have to be comfortable moving through a hierarchy and giving
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the appearance of respecting authority.
Bottom line: Your aptitudes and values may drive you to teaching, but
you will soon be searching for a new career if you are a night person who
also values workplace autonomy.
If you have been working a long time, tests often show you are per-
fect for the job you hold now. After all these years, you've probably inter-
nalized values and attitudes of your profession -- and you obviously have
enough aptitude to remain employed! Clients frequently come to me after
paying hundreds, even thousands of dollars for midlife, mid-career testing.
"A waste," they say ruefully.
On the other hand, your college-age children may benefit from test-
ing, especially if they are thoroughly confused about their first career moves.
College testing centers often employ high quality professionals because
they train counseling students there.
Tests may not help you balance tradeoffs. Your aptitude and values
may point you to a nature-loving outdoor career, but you realize there are
few jobs available and those won't pay enough to live on. You have to be
creative if you're going to make this combination work. The question, "How
can I enjoy my love of nature and still earn a good living?" might best be
discussed in a series of one-to-one conversations with someone who un-
derstands the career jungle.
On the other hand, strong motivation can compensate for low apti-
tude. In her book Crossing Avalon, Jean Shinoda Bolen writes of her deter-
mination to become a doctor, following a strong religious experience just
before she entered college.
Bolen easily aced her liberal arts courses but struggled with sciences.
At one point she received a midterm "D" grade in a zoology course. Yet she
was accepted to a fine medical school and became a respected psychiatrist,
Jungian therapist and best-selling author.
In a corporate setting, what appears to be test effectiveness may be
self-fulfilling prophecy. MegaBig Corp administers aptitude tests to all appli-
cants for sales positions. Only those who achieve a score of 80 out of 100
are hired. Those who earn 95 or higher are identified as high-potential
superstars and sent off to special training. Managers, of course, see scores
of their new hires, and they report a strong correlation between sales suc-
cess and scores. If you really wanted to test the tests, you'd administer
tests to all applicants, hire a sample regardless of scores, and refuse to
disclose test scores to supervising managers and trainers. Few companies
would be willing to do this.
However, in one study, researchers told high school teachers, "Here is
a list of IQ scores for your class." In reality, the "scores" were locker num-
bers! Those with higher locker numbers mysteriously out-performed those
with lower numbers.
The teachers tried to be fair, but anyone who has taped a classroom
knows teachers can give subtle cues of approval, disapproval and support.
Managers can do the same.
You probably can't refuse to take a corporate test, but you may be in
a position to ask some tough questions.
Before you spend money on tests, ask these three questions.
(1) Do you need to take tests to obtain this information? If you've been
a successful accountant for ten years, you probably have a knack
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for numbers and details. However, testing may enhance your
confidence if you feel shaky.
Elaine, a top executive in a Fortune 100 company, had been promoted
to vice president in a male-dominated specialty. However, Elaine was get-
ting nervous. There were only three or four departments like hers in the
entire country and, if her job ended, so would her career.
Elaine visited a career counselor who began with a battery of tests.
"The tests show I'm very organized and I'm a good manager," she
reported happily.
Elaine dealt with thousands of pieces of paper each week and had
been a highly-paid manager for over ten years. Her friends were not at all
surprised by Elaine's test scores. However, Elaine had received little praise
or validation from her own management. She wanted those test scores to
bolster her confidence as she began her midlife career exploration.
(2) Who will be administering these tests? University counselors work
with bewildered undergraduates seeking their first jobs.
Outplacement counselors work with experienced corporate execu-
tives, many of whom want a job just like the one they left. Find a
service where you resemble the other clients.
Tests must be interpreted to be useful. If your counselor starts to gush
about your intelligence or creativity, you may indeed be the next Einstein or
Michelangelo -- or you may be in the wrong testing center. If your counselor
hopes to sell you on follow-up sessions, she'll be highly motivated to come
up with a story that leaves you feeling confident and appreciated.
Often test results are written so ambiguously that they could apply to
almost anyone -- a frequent critique of both astrology and Myers- Briggs.
Overly specific recommendations can be equally useless. What will you do
if the tests suggest you should become a police officer or a funeral director?
Have some fun. Pick any of the sixteen Myers-Briggs profiles. Ask a
few friends to take a test. Pretend to score the test and then hand your
friends the profile you chose at random. Nearly every time, your friends
will say, "That's me!" However, be careful. Studies also show that people
have trouble shaking their beliefs in bogus feedback, even when they're
told it's bogus.
(3) Who designed these tests?
Some assessments are carefully designed while others have no more
value than a light-hearted quiz from a popular magazine.
If you are asked to complete an assessment or test, Don't be shy
about asking questions. If you want to push some buttons, ask about reli-
ability and validity. Ask whether the test was "normed" on a population that
shares your demographic characteristics.
"Self-validation" is a bogus concept. As we have seen, there are many
reasons you might say, "That's me! How accurate!"
One skeptic has put together or a solid critique of a popular test, the
Myers-Briggs scale.
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Bottom Line: Alas, there is no magic genie who can direct you to a
new career. Tests may feel more scientific -- but recent career research
suggests that career-changers to listen for messages from serendipity and
their own intuition. In particular, when learning to navigate a new career
world, you need to develop creative strategies that allow you to plan real-
istically while remaining open to surprises that, ultimately, change your life
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker Sand career/business consultant, helping midlife professionals take their First
step to a Second Career.
Vandeta Publishing | Fienso Consulting | Free Ebook
"James is so restless and energetic. I wonder if he's hyperactive."
"Nancy seems to be all over the place. She's got a dozen projects
going at once!"
"Harley does things so fast! He put up a website in two weeks."
"Marlene is so intense. She needs to lighten up."
While it's possible that James is hyperactive, Nancy is scattered, Harley
skates on thin ice and Marlene is depressed, it's also possible that each of
these people wears the label, "gifted adult," often unaware.
Gifted children often lose interest in school because they're bored.
They Don't always get top grades because they think in unconventional
Gifted adults can be misunderstood. Those who read books like
Jacobsen's The Gifted Adult often feel relieved: "Finally, someone under-
stands where I'm coming from!"
Gifted adults often face unique career challenges. Job environments
rarely reward creativity, a hallmark of the gifted, and frequently punish
anyone who threatens to color outside the lines. Corporations often re-
semble football games, where players are rewarded for being in position to
receive the ball everyone wins by executing the coach's play. Gifted people
function better when their game resembles playground basketball, where
you can scramble and make plays as you go.
And when gifted adults seek career guidance, they must filter feed-
back they receive from friends and consultants who are not familiar with
their situation.
"Whoa! You're trying to be a jack-of-all trades and you'll end up a
master of none."
"Wow! I've never seen anyone move as fast as you do. I'm sure
you're going to be a success."
"You're going too fast! Slow down or you'll fail."
"Focus on one thing at a time."
"Boy, you're catching on fast! You must be well-suited to this field."
If you're gifted, you probably already have some idea that you're
"different." Read a few books and articles. Browse websites. Understanding
how you operate can help you avoid, "Why is this happening" questions and
reach success on your own terms.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and career/business consultant, helping midlife professionals take their First
step to a Second Career.
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Rick Jarow, author of Creating the Work You Love, introduced many of
us to the notion of career seasons. When we're struggling with a career,
we're most likely to think of winter. At some point a career change (or other
transition) feels like being buried under a coat of ice, hibernating through
long, dark days. Hopefully we learn to see the beauty of winter -- sun on
the snow, clear air, the bare outlines of trees denied their leafy cover-ups.
Spring gets promoted as a time of new beginnings -- and it's a fragile
season. Buds appear on trees, only to become leaves in a matter of days.
Cherry blossoms, forsythia, and daffodils seem to last just long enough for
us to learn their names. Spring also brings energy. Here in New Mexico,
we're blown about by winds. The dog races around the park like a young
puppy and the cats spend hours bird-watching. Spring can be harsh. Frost
can crush the brand-new blossoms and a sudden snow will take care of
next summer's harvest. And you can be fooled. Just when you think it's
safe to shut down your heating system, pack up your parka and begin a
joyful summer of shorts-and-a-tee, you get a cold day. The dog is thrilled -
- but you're not.
You probably see where I'm heading with this. Often clients seek out
my coaching services after a long, hard job search, or a long dry period of
seeking customers for a new business. They've glimpsed a taste of suc-
cess: a few nibbles to the resume, a few customers who seemed happy but
then disappeared. They're really ready for summer. Spring can be harder
than winter. After slogging through ice and snow, you're ready for warmth!
I remember living in cold climates -- Alaska, Connecticut, Manitoba -- when
a gray, cold spring seemed like the last straw. We deserve more!
Inevitably, we do move on because the earth turns and life goes in
cycles. Longer days bring more sunlight to fight the frost. Icicles start drip-
ping and then one day we notice they're gone and a dandelion sprouts on
the front lawn. At last!
Your experience of spring depends on where you lived up to now --
literally and metaphorically. By midlife, some people have experienced only
summer. The first winter can be terrifying. You Don't own a parka and have
no idea how to shop for one. Boots? Gloves? Where do we start?
If you've been there before, it's easier to believe spring is coming --
and you've learned some tricks to protect your fragile new growth.
Need an extra boost to get through spring -- your own or the season's?
Talk to people who have been there. Find a coach or counselor. Join a new
group. Take the dog for an extra long walk. Devise your own Spring Festi-
val. And keep looking for glimpses of summer every day -- even when
you've had to pull an extra sweater out of storage.
Exercise: I recommend keeping a record of spring. Write down the
changes you see -- and the dates. When do you first notice a snowdrop or
a dandelion? When does the ice start to melt? How are you responding?
How does this spring compare to the last one? And put aside your record in
a safe place -- to read the next time spring comes around.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and career/business consultant, helping midlife professionals take their First
step to a Second Career.
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The Question: After identifying a potential employer, I get contact
information, do my research and send out my resume and cover letter,
requesting an interview for a management or human resource position. I
am listed with recruiters and staffing agencies and call them every week.
I attend local networking events but end up meeting people who are
also unsuccessful job-seekers. And I search the Internet bulletin boards,
sending my resume and following up a few days later. Help!!!
The Answer: Remember the story about the man who was searching
for his keys under a bright street light? He explained to a passer-by, "I lost
my keys in the parking lot - but it's too dark over there!"
Job-seekers need to leave the brightly illuminated paths and delve
into the dark corners where they will find their own keys to success.
First, you need to network before you hit the mailbox. I know -- that
dreaded "N" word. However, if you're applying for a senior level job, you're
often expected to arrive via an introduction.
Second, a vague set of goals will win your resume a one-way ticket to
the wastebasket. You need a separate resume and cover letter for each
position, carefully targeted to showcase your skills and your unique ability
to fill that position.
Third, seasoned professionals often make simple grammar and spell-
ing mistakes because they're operating on overload. A resume is just one
more hassle in a crowded day. You probably know these mistakes can kill
your chances, even if your skills are stellar. Think "proofreader!"
Fourth, employers pay recruiters and staffing specialists when they
need unique, specialized, hard-to-find employees. These resources account
for only a tiny percentage of placements, even in boom times. Calling once
a week may backfire: you come across as needy and pushy. Believe me,
their fingers will start punching keys the moment they need you.
Finally, choose a networking group with a leader who knows the score
and promises to provide fearless feedback.
You may be reluctant to hire a coach or career counselor because
one-to-one guidance doesn't come cheap. But if you keep hitting a wall,
your investment may help you save time, money and hassle. And some-
times it's nice to have someone who can hold a flashlight when you're
groping around in the dark.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and career/business consultant, helping midlife professionals take their First
step to a Second Career.
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Most of us are aware that we need to grieve the death of a close
friend, relative or favorite pet. We are beginning to learn that other events
-- relocation, divorce, illness -- can also be experienced as loss.
Losing a career or business can also be a source of grief, anger and
frustration. Starting a new business is an end as well as a beginnig. You
may feel as though you are getting a divorce after a twenty-year marriage.
Here's why.
1. Sometimes the career leaves you. The field wants "younger
people." Or you have to change in ways that violate your sense of
2. Sometimes you leave a career that seems perfectly wonderful and
fulfilling to those on the outside. "The money's so good," your
mother says, "and it's not as if you're scrubbing floors all day. Can't
you just hang in there and pretend you like it?"
3. You feel disloyal. After all, you've gained a lot from this career. For
the rest of your life, you will view the world through the lens created
by your training and experience. You will question assumptions,
criticize, challenge, argue, prepare, organize, or negotiate.
4. Friends take sides. After you leave, some former colleagues no
longer return your calls. Others try to engage you in a rousing
session of "Aren't they horrible," which you Don't want either.
5. Those left behind begin to feel abandoned. Are you leaving for a
new love, an opportunity that will be livelier, more exciting, and yes,
even sexier? Worst case: you're leaving for a new career that your
former associates find entirely unsuitable.
6. You have started projects that you will be unable to finish because
your new life has no room for them. Anyway, without your former
big-name affiliation, you have no credibility to raise them to a level
you can present or sell.
7. Your new identity gains you access to new and exciting places, but
people treat you differently. You feel naked without the old title on
your business card.
8. The rules of the game have changed since the last time you were
unattached. And this time around, you're less interested in those
"how to get lucky" sessions.
9. You spend more time in the gym. You spend hours walking the dog.
You try new hair styles, dare to enter an art gallery, read your first
self-help book and consider talking to a professional who bears little
resemblance to Jennifer Melfi.
10. You're starting to think, "Being on my own for the rest of my life
may not be such a bad thing."
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and career/business consultant, helping midlife professionals take their First
step to a Second Career.
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When you start a new job, you probably realize the first three months
are critical to your long-term success. Everybody's eye is on the "newbie"
as you learn the ropes. "Does anybody want to go to lunch?" is the wrong
thing to say in a run-during-lunch or never-leave-the-desk culture. You
may begin your job by reading a stack of manuals. Or you may dive right in
to fix a crisis or install a much-needed systemd. Your first step... Logical
first steps, right? Wrong! Your very first step should be to set up a meeting
with your boss to find out what will count in your new job.
What You Need to Know
* What does your boss expect: outcomes, budget, and dates. Be as
specific as possible.
- If you're designing a training program, by what date will you have
brochures? Attendees?
- Will participant evaluations of the program influence your own
* What is the next step in your career path?
- How can you prepare yourself for promotion?
* Does your company evaluate by numbers, e.g., 5 is outstanding and
3 is average?
- If so, what would you need to demonstrate for a top score?
* Is your boss expected to "curve the grades?"
- If the boss is limited to three "outstanding" ratings out of ten people,
learn whether the top scores have traditionally been awarded to the
same people each year.
* Try to learn how your boss will be evaluated. You may not be able to
ask directly but you can expect to be rewarded for helping your
boss score points.
Reality Checks
Begin keeping a record of your activities and accomplishments. Write
entries every week, if not every day. Save evidence of accomplishments so
you can be ready to document your performance.
Finally, as you learn the ropes, compare formal and informal rules.
Tom's boss said, "We want you to revitalize this product line." After
considerable work, Tom managed to increase sales of a dying product. He
was horrified to receive a "Below Average" evaluation. His company main-
tained the line as a loss leader. They wanted a caretaker, not a manager.
Tom was the wrong person for that job.
Angela was hired "to raise standards and prominence" of a private
college's new program. She soon realized the school needed money and
she would be rewarded for increasing the number of tuition-paying stu-
dents. She turned her efforts from program content to marketing. If she
were uncomfortable in that role, she would have sought a new job.
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The Bottom Line
Don't wait a six months or a year to find out what your boss expects.
You may even be able to lay a foundation for these discussions during the
hiring process.
Regardless, a supportive boss will welcome your initiative. Those who
insist on vague standards ("hey, we all know what we're supposed to do")
or feel insulted by the question ("are you worried I won't give you a fair
shake?") are sending a loud, clear warning: "Danger ahead."
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and career/business consultant, helping midlife professionals take their First
step to a Second Career.
Vandeta Publishing | Fienso Consulting | Free Ebook
A new resume can jump-start your career. Your network contacts may
ask for a resume and some industries absolutely, positively demand a re-
sume as the price of admission. When you begin thinking of your resume as
a power source, the results can be astonishing.
1. Your resume is a sales tool. It is not a place for therapeutic self-
disclosure or true confessions. Be honest but present your accom-
plishments in the most positive way.
2. Leave tricky questions ("Why did you have six jobs in ten years?"
"Why are you applying for an entry position after you've been
running the show?") for the interview. Practice interview responses
with a support group, friend or career coach.
3. If chronology works against you, opt for a sales pitch letter or use
your network to get past the screeners. If you can't avoid a resume,
some experts will advise a functional resume. However, once you
show up for an interview, expect to be asked for a chronological
4. Focus on accomplishments. "Supervised ten people on a project that
finished three weeks before deadline and saved megabucks."
If you're over fifteen, you do not have "duties." You have "responsi-
bilities" and "accomplishments." Anyway, nobody cares about what
you were supposed to do. They want to know what you contributed.
5. Exploring multiple jobs? Tailor your resume to each position and
each field. Show that you understand your target firm's problems --
and are uniquely equipped to solve them.
6. Do not let anyone write your resume for you. Accept suggestions
and feedback but the final product should be in your own words.
7. Use your network to review the final product. Ask at least six people
in your field for candid feedback. The final test: How do you feel
when you read the resume? When you feel proud of your resume,
and you're eager to share it with everyone you meet, you're ready
to move.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and career/business consultant, helping midlife professionals take their First
step to a Second Career.
Buku Pintar | Cari Kerja | HRD
A new resume can jump-start your career. Your network contacts may
ask for a resume and some industries absolutely, positively demand a re-
sume as the price of admission. Does your resume come across as wimpy
as a lettuce leaf -- the kind that hides under your salad and nobody notices?
Create a powerful resume that demands to be noticed -- and earns kudos
for great style.
1. Your resume is a sales tool. It is not a place for therapeutic self-
disclosure or true confessions. Be honest but present your accom-
plishments in the most positive way.
2. Leave tricky questions ("Why did you have six jobs in ten years?"
"Why are you applying for an entry position after you've been
running the show?") for the interview. Practice interview responses
with a support group, friend or career coach.
3. If chronology works against you, opt for a sales pitch letter or use
your network to get past the screener. If you can't avoid a resume,
some experts will advise a functional resume. However, once you
show up for an interview, expect to be asked for a chronological
4. Focus on accomplishments. "Supervised ten people on a project that
finished three weeks before deadline and saved megabucks."
If you're over fifteen, you do not have "duties." You have "responsi-
bilities" and "accomplishments." Anyway, nobody cares about what
you were supposed to do. They want to know what you contributed.
5. Exploring multiple jobs? Tailor your resume to each position and
each field. Show that you understand your target firm's problems --
and are uniquely equipped to solve them.
6. Do not let anyone write your resume for you. Accept suggestions
and feedback but the final product should be in your own words.
7. Use your network to review the final product. Ask at least six people
in your field for candid feedback. Learn more about networking.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and career/business consultant, helping midlife professionals take their First
step to a Second Career.
Vandeta Publishing | Fienso Consulting | Free Ebook
A career consultant can diagnose and overhaul a troubled resume.
But you can check off the basics yourself.
Mistake #1. "The mystery applicant." No contact information.
Fix: List a daytime phone number and email address, right at the
top of the page. Create a professional-sounding message for your
answering device.
Mistake #2. "The scrunchie." Loads of detail crammed together in
eight-point type.
Fix: Add lots of white space, avoid tiny type and use bullet points
instead of long paragraphs. If you've got a story to tell, most
reviewers will happily turn to a second page.
Mistake #3: "List of tasks and duties." Obituary of a boring em-
Fix: Sell yourself by focusing on accomplishments. Demonstrate the
impact of your achievements. Describe actions, not obligations.
Mistake #4: "The expressionist." Sets off alarm bells.
Fix: Choose chronological rather than functional form, especially if
you use traditional job-hunting sources: HR departments, recruiters,
and advertisements. Off the beaten path, use a sales letter or
network your way to in-person presentations.
Mistake #5: "Creative language." Spelling, grammar and punctua-
tion errors.
Fix: Proof-read and ask a friend to help. Computerized spelling and
grammar checks won't catch everything. A carefully-prepared
resume will stand out more than you can imagine.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and career/business consultant, helping midlife professionals take their First
step to a Second Career.
Buku Pintar | Cari Kerja | HRD
These days, interviews Don't come easily. When you get The Call,
make the most of your time -- and go for it!
1. Investigate the company's culture, markets, and finances. But resist
the temptation to show off what you've researched: "I just read that
you're about to embark on a new product line") unless you have a
question directly related to your career.
2. Look like you belong. Learn the company's dress code and err on
the side of conservatism. When you're seeking a senior position
based on industry experience, you'll be expected to know the rules
without being told.
3. Take charge of the interview! The most successful interviews feel
like friendly conversations. When your interviewer has an agenda
(such as the infamous "stress interview") stay relaxed. Think of
playing a game.
4. Assume everyone you meet will provide feedback to the decision-
maker. Some companies hand out comment forms to receptionists,
security guards and potential peers who take you to lunch.
5. Communicate interest and enthusiasm, even if you're not sure
you're ready to commit. You'll rarely have all the facts until you're
looking at an offer.
6. Bring extra copies of your correspondence from this company as
well as your resume, references, writing samples, portfolio and
current business cards. Interviewers lose documents and conversa-
tions move in unexpected directions.
7. Create a relaxed, positive attitude by devising a realistic game plan.
When your career isn't riding on a single interview, you'll have fun
and make a confident, relaxed impression.
8. Write a thank you letter within forty-eight hours. Create a low-key
sales letter, emphasizing how your qualifications match the
company's needs. Present yourself as a resource, not a supplicant.
9. After you write the letter, forget about the interview. Email or phone
only if you've received a competing offer with a deadline.
Occasionally you may make points with follow-up mailings. A sports
team public relations applicant sent puzzles, games and press
releases -- and she got the job. Use your intuition.
10. Keep notes of what you learned from the process. What worked?
What would you do differently?
As soon as you begin your new job, develop a career plan and a
safety net before you need one.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and career/business consultant, helping midlife professionals take their First
step to a Second Career.
Vandeta Publishing | Fienso Consulting | Free Ebook
You've probably been taught not to stereotype people based on race,
religion or sex. But when you make a career or business decision, do you
still make decisions based on stereotypes?
"Insurance sales reps must be gregarious."
Hal, a successful insurance agent for many years, has developed a port-
folio of loyal, happy clients. Hal can be described as an introvert. He
rarely speaks unless spoken to, and then he speaks briefly and softly.
His clients have learned that he's a caring, dedicated agent who never
misses a detail.
"Accountants sit quietly and crunch numbers."
These days, accountants, especially those in the large firms, have to
become experts at client relations. Often they're expected to steer busi-
ness towards the firm's consulting division.
"Want to travel? Be a travel agent!"
Once upon a time, when nobody worried about security and airlines gave
us more than an inch of legroom, I loved to travel. When I sought ways
to combine my love of travel with a career, I would often hear, "So be-
come a travel agent."
Surprise! Travel agents rarely travel. After all, someone has to stay in
the office and answer calls from clients. A major perk involves the "fam" or
familiarization trips, when agents are invited as a group to preview a new
resort or discover a new locale. There's rarely time for leisurely sight-
These days, a corporate travel agent is more like a traffic cop than a
friendly guide, charged with enforcing regulations of the company who pays
her commission: "The non-stop flight is two hundred dollars more than the
connecting flight with the two-hour stopover. Looks like you've got two hours
in Cleveland."
After dealing with hundreds of less-than-thrilled employees, one agent
told me he was quitting the industry, probably for the more serene life of a
bill collector.
"Big cities are unfriendly."
Any place will feel hostile to newcomers. I've lived in several of the
largest cities in North America and found helpful, caring people every-
where. Often businesses are more helpful simply because there's more
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"The desert is all sand and cactus."
In the high desert of New Mexico, where I live, we have green trees,
flowering plants, and snow in the wintertime. We have abundant fruit
trees and sometimes we have to rake leaves in fall.
"Small towns are conservative, you have to join a church and country
club, and you must be married."
Probably some are. My town has less than twenty thousand people, yet I
know lots of very happy residents who forego churches and country
clubs in favor of coffee shops and art galleries. We have many single
people and a sizeable gay population. Generalizations? Well, nearly ev-
eryone has a dog or cat and you'll find numerous multi -pet households.
How can you avoid stereotypes?
Traditional career tests often are based on outdated or stereotyped vi-
sions of careers. Stereotypes of locations tend to be perpetuated by
folks who have never visited, let alone lived there.
I encourage anyone contemplating a life change to follow the Rule of
Six. Talk to at least six people who have real, hands-on experience on the
path you want to follow. If they clam up and say they're too busy to talk,
you've learned a great deal already.
Most people will begin with a happy, party-line spiel. Dig deeper till
you start uncovering negatives and warnings.
On the rare occasions you hear a lot of negatives, keep going until
you discover a positive.
Harry almost gave up on his goal when four people talked about prob-
lems getting clients for a unique consulting business. After we talked, he
realized they had all used the same time of marketing -- and they weren't
very good at it. He broadened his search to gain a new perspective.
The Bottom Line
I'm always amazed at how many "experts" base recommendations on
stereotyped versions of careers and places to live. That's why you may
be advised to become a funeral director or a florist when you really
belong in outside sales.
There's no substitute for gathering your own information from people
who have been there and back. If something sounds too good -- or too bad
-- to be true, it probably is.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and career/business consultant, helping midlife professionals take their First
step to a Second Career.
Vandeta Publishing | Fienso Consulting | Free Ebook
Q. Right after I accepted my new position, the manager who hired me
quit. I now have a boss "Sam" who's a classic bully. He has most of the
office terrorized. Every question becomes a confrontation. Last week, he
walked into the conference room as I was meeting with a customer and
began berating me about a missing fax. Our Regional VP has asked us to be
understanding because Sam has family and health problems. I've only been
here two months. Should I begin looking for a new job?
A. When you're a midlife, midcareer manager, you face different chal-
lenges than an entry level employee. Changing jobs can be one of your
options -- after you've taken some steps.
(1) Document your boss's behavior, with action time and date. Personal
comments ("he's a jerk," are irrelevant. Instead, "Sam entered
Conference Room A at 11:04 AM while I was meeting with Mary, VP
of Eastern Widgets. Mary left five minutes later, so I could not
complete my presentation to this Major Account." Write what Sam
said and describe his gestures objectively. "He pointed a finger at
me," not, "He waved his arms wildly." Keep your notes at home.
(2) Document your efforts to establish a good relationship with your
new boss. Be ready to demonstrate that you're building bridges.
(3) Stay tuned to the office grapevine but avoid getting bogged down in
long gripe sessions. Use the time to enhance your skills and test the
job market.
(4) Take care of your own needs. Coaches can help you develop
creative coping strategies and provide a confidential sounding
board. If you're seriously depressed or anxious, find the appropriate
professional resource.
(5) Begin exploring the job market, even if you're new. Many employers
will understand if you explain, "The manager who fought to get me
hired has left the company and my new boss wants to put own team
together." Be brief and professional.
(6) Call the manager who hired you. She may not be willing to serve as
a reference, but she can back up your story of a change in manage-
(7) Listen for hidden agendas. Some managers are untouchable, no
matter how outrageously they behave, because of some past
history with the company. Maybe they brought in a big account
during an economic downturn. Maybe they saved the president's
career a long time ago. You may never learn the reason.
(8) Assess your corporate culture before making a formal complaint.
Once you've reached management level, you have to tread care-
fully when appealing to HR, senior managers or even legal action.
You're expected to be able to handle all kinds of tough situations.
Some companies even evaluate managers on how they deal with a
bad boss.
(9) Prepare a "last resort" strategy. If your boss has crossed the line
from bad to bully, you can't find a new job, and your stress level
soars, take your documentation to the appropriate resource. Start
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with your boss's boss, then human resources. Make your case
professionally, in terms of the company's needs. "I've lost two sales
reps who named Sam in their exit interview. I've had to spend an
extra nine thousand dollars to hire replacements and they're still on
their learning curve."
(10) Reclaim your own power. Seize the opportunity to use your
company's resources as a vehicle to reach your own career goals. A
coach or consultant can help you identify specific steps you can
take. Recognize that your time here will be limited and begin to
invest time, energy and sometimes money in your own healthy
long-term future.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and career/business consultant, helping midlife professionals take their First
step to a Second Career.
Vandeta Publishing | Fienso Consulting | Free Ebook
Don't get discouraged! A "no" answer to any of the questions will
identify an area for development -- not a roadblock. I am available to help
if you would like to discuss your options in greater detail.
(1) Do you offer a clear, unambiguous benefit that your target market
can't live without?
Ideally you can learn whether demand exists for your service.
Otherwise, Don't dive in. Dip a toe into the water to see if it's warm.
(2) Can you demonstrate expertise?
Collect testimonials, references, products and awards. Credentials
help only if clients believe they make a difference.
(3) Do you have evidence that people will pay for your services? For
instance, you may have achieved expertise in a certain type of
healing where the going rate is $15 an hour. .
(4) Is your market crowded with competitors?
If it's hard to stand out, you need a network of personal contacts to
get started. And if the quality of your competitors varies, much of
your business will depend on referrals.
(5) Do you have networks of people who can become clients or referral
For instance, are you a CPA whose clients pick your brain for career
change and business start-ups? Do you belong to professional
groups that will give you access to a mailing list?
If so, you may have a straightforward transition to your new
(6) Have you ever
(a) been self- employed or
(b) been successful at a straight-commission sales job?
If you dropped out of a sales job because you couldn't handle the
uncertainty, you need an exceptionally generous safety net before
you embark on your own solo venture.
(7) Are you at home on the internet?
Do you understand the principles of web design, so you can do-it-
yourself or work intelligently with a designer?
A website is a commitment, especially for service businesses. You
have to be your own designer, marry a designer, or have a big
maintenance budget.
(8) Are you active in a community that is large enough to include
potential clients and referrers?
It is possible to have a lucrative distance business, but it takes
longer and requires unique marketing skills.
(9) Are you comfortable in a sales role? When someone calls to inquire
about your services, are you willing to view your task as selling as
well as helping, analyzing or troubleshooting?
(10 ) How much continuity exists between your former career and your
new business?
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Professions have norms and values. The greater the distance, the
more challenging will be your journey, and the greater the risk and time to
achieve. You may have to learn a new way of thinking about the world.
And you truly may not be able to go home again.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and career/business consultant, helping midlife professionals take their First
step to a Second Career.
Vandeta Publishing | Fienso Consulting | Free Ebook
Over the years, I have identified two kinds of midlife career changers:
Jumpers and Clingers.
Jumpers thrive on energy, enthusiasm and improbable luck. The last
three times they leaped, a net appeared. They see no reason why the next
jump should be any different.
Clingers thrive on careers that offer security, money and identity.
When they outgrow their careers, or find themselves forced out, they feel
lost. They can't remember the last time they found themselves in this posi-
Coaching jumpers and clingers for career change
Jumpers call a coach when they are ready to find a new mountain.
Suggest a destination and they ask, "Where is it?" Often they've made
another leap before the coach realizes what is going on.
Clingers call a coach when they find themselves lost in the jungle.
They ask, "How do I know if I've made the right decision?" and, "How can I
find security?" They hold out a one-way ticket, asking, "How do I change to
a round trip?"
Jumpers have learned to accept that sinking-feeling-in-the- gut as
they leap off the mountain. Climbers are not used to feeling edgy. They
Don't want a roadmap; they want a hotel reservation, preferably chosen
from a listing in the auto club directory.
Career change lessons for jumpers and clingers
Both Jumpers and Clingers face a new reality. Even the bravest Jumper
can run out of luck. Choose the wrong mountain and the net never appears.
And in the twenty-first century, Clingers must create their own security.
Jumpers must stop at the edge of the mountain, before the point of no
return. "Does this feel right?" they have to ask. "Should I look first this
time, to see if the net really exists? Or maybe instead of leaping it's time to
climb down more carefully, one ledge at a time."
Clingers also have to ask, "Does this feel right?" Like Jumpers, they
must look for safety nets. They learn to read maps and differentiate be-
tween dangerous potholes and afternoon shadows. And when they can't get
a guaranteed hotel reservation, they learn to make a contingency plan to
avoid sleeping in the park.
Jumpers learn to walk where they used to run. Clingers learn to walk
where they used to ride.
Most people will combine the qualities of jumpers and clingers, but
you can save a lot of grief by knowing your prevailing style. Jumpers need
guides who say, "Stop! Think!" Clingers need guides who motivate them to
go. Over-motivated jumpers become daredevils; over-planned clingers lose
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Disasters and Victories
Both jumpers and clingers can head for disaster. Jumpers leap into icy
water or treacherous rocks. Clingers find their once-secure shelter has
been blown over by a hurricane.
Jumpers bring energy and daring to a new venture; clingers bring
planning skills and a track record of past accomplishment. Ultimately, both
achieve success by recognizing their own operational styles and using their
own strengths to survive and thrive in new terrain.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and career/business consultant, helping midlife professionals take their First
step to a Second Career.
Vandeta Publishing | Fienso Consulting | Free Ebook
Q. I just finished a job interview. Everything went well. But I can't get
excited about the job. The people were nice but frankly, I got bored.
Should I withdraw my application or hang on to see what happens?
A. Let me share a secret. I love country music - especially the clas-
sics. Your question reminds me of Kenny Rogers's big hit, The Gambler. I
can't quote even a line due to copyright laws, but you can Google the song.
Know when to stay. Know when to put down your cards. And above all,
recognize when it's time to walk away and time to run.
I believe that everyone in business should create a goal, "Be able to
walk away." Be able to let go of a customer who's a pain and a job that's
creating pain. Be able to recognize a business opportunity that's all wrong
for you, to say, "That's not a good fit."
Feeling bored sounds like a signal to me. If you (or your interviewer)
has trouble staying awake, that's like a red light flashing and a big siren
screaming, "Go away!"
So...What's the best way to walk (or run)?
1. Expect your interviewer or client to say, "Thank you! We appreciate
your honesty."
They probably won't add, "Frankly, we agree - you're not a good fit
here." But most likely, that's exactly what they're thinking
2. Plan for the unexpected. On very rare occasions, you'll hear, "Oh
no! What can we do to make you change your mind?" or, "We have
another option that may interest you."
But Don't count on it.
3. Create a neutral explanation that's mutually face-saving and final.
Good reasons: "We Don't have room to do justice to your project,"
or, "I've decided to pursue another option that seems to be a better
fit for me at this time."
Bad reasons: "The chemistry didn't seem right," or, "I Don't see
room for my career growth."
Your contact person might be searching for a new job herself - and
you may be a terrific match for an opportunity in her next position.
4. Recognize that you will (most likely) be burning bridges.
Be sure you aren't acting out of short-term emotion. Wait a few
days after the interview (if you have that luxury) and consider
talking to a coach, consultant or other trusted sounding board.
5. Revive your networking, sales activity and application process.
Often saying "no" will clear the decks for you to clarify what you
really want. Some folks believe you're reflecting abundance and
making way for newer, more appropriate opportunities to enter your
Bottom Line: Being in a position to decline opportunities means you
hold a winning hand. You're well along the road to whatever you define as
success and prosperity. Use this option sparingly and wisely.
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In any relationship, I've found that saying "yes" to the wrong proposal
inevitably leads to a bitter, expensive divorce.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and career/business consultant, helping midlife professionals take their First
step to a Second Career.
Vandeta Publishing | Fienso Consulting | Free Ebook
Some people reserve the word "vocation" for religious calling. Con-
temporary career guides encourage us to think of a "life purpose" that
guides and gives meaning to a life, regardless of career. See, for example,
Mark Albion's book, Making a Life, Making a Living.
Many people speak of being "called" to a career. There is a sense of
"inevitability," that, "I was meant to do this." Some say, "This feels right."
Self-help books, career coaches and counselors are available to help
people who want to discover their sense of purpose. In reality, all any of us
can do is stir the pot: create an environment where vocation can be discov-
ered and grown.
The push for reinvention can come from yourself or from external
It can be more difficult to deal with losing a much-loved career that
gave meaning to a life. Sometimes the vocation can be taken away when a
job is lost or a market disappears.
Often, however, people feel no external push out the door. They just
realize, sadly, that they no longer love what they are dong. Or they no
longer believe their work has value. And, they ask, what next?
Reinvention does not follow burnout.
Losing a vocation is not the same as "burning out." Burnout, a well-
defined psychological condition, results when people feel they are giving
more to their work than they are getting back. They begin to see clients as
ungrateful and undeserving.
Burnout requires healing: deeper personal relationships, creativity,
and time off. A lost vocation cannot be healed. It may return in a different
form but people must recognize that it is a real loss that will be grieved.
Four steps to find your way forward
You probably can't go home again, but here are some ways to go
First, create your own way to say good-by to your former life. Not
everyone experiences severe grief symptoms -- sleeplessness, self-de-
structive actions, loss of appetite -- but if you do, see a licensed therapist or
grief counselor.
Second, begin to introduce new actions and activities into your life. In
the early stages, do not worry about finding a new vocation. Just begin to
act. You may want to keep a journal or embark on a creativity program,
such as The Artist's Way. You may enter a temporary setting, such as the
Peace Corps or a university degree program.
Third, honor what you lost. A part of you will always reside there. A
dancer-turned-business-student uses the discipline or dance to excel in her
studies. A teacher-turned-flight attendant can handle restless passengers.
Fourth, realize you have a wonderful gift: the capacity to find meaning
in life and work. Begin working towards a new future, realizing that one day
you will be caught up in a new adventure.
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Your new vocation will come as a surprise, perhaps when you give up
looking. It won't be the same but you will feel rewarded, happy, fulfilled and
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and career/business consultant, helping midlife professionals take their First
step to a Second Career.
Vandeta Publishing | Fienso Consulting | Free Ebook
The Bachelor is one of the many reality shows that have gripped the
US television viewing audience.
Premise: A very eligible Bachelor (last season featured an NFL quar-
terback) stays in a mansion with several eligible young women. They seem
to spend their days swimming, tanning, and speculating about the Bachelor's
intentions. They meet the Bachelor in one-to-one and group activities. Each
week the Bachelor gives a rose to the women who will continue to compete,
and two who do not receive a rose go home. (If you're a more faithful
viewer than I am, please email me with corrections!)
So what can we learn about career reality from this reality show?
1. Walk out the front door of your comfort zone.
From the women's perspective, The Bachelor is a metaphor for the wrong
kind of job hunting. Whenever you're one of a group chasing the same
dream, it's difficult to create a realistic game plan and use energy effi-
ciently. But they're chosen to compete and it's so easy to get caught up
in the game. Career changers, of course, aren't stuck in a mansion with
a single prize, however dazzling. Like the contestants, though, they can
get awfully comfortable. Better to walk out the front door and keep look-
ing until you recognize your true goal and the ink is dry on the offer
2. Prepare for irrational rejection.
If you choose to stay and compete, remember that the decision-maker
is looking for reasons to eliminate options because there are just too
many choices to evaluate rationally. Interviewers overwhelmed by hun-
dreds of resumes often can find an adequate choice from the first fifty -
or from any fifty chosen at random. You can't read anything into rejec-
tion except the laws of probability and randomness.
3. Look through the windows: there's a world outside!
When you're caught up in an intense contest, it's easy to forget there's
more than one race in the world and certainly more than one prize. And
I believe everyone should pursue multiple goals at the same time. It
sounds time- consuming, but usually you can achieve synergies by cre-
ative planning. You learn how to pursue one goal by striving after an-
other. And most important, you're likely to come out a winner.
4. Recognize that choices look different when you're on deadline.
From the Bachelor's perspective, there are pluses and minuses to this
series of forced decisions. First, it's easy to procrastinate when you face
a tough decision. A deadline often clarifies options and actually makes
the choice easier. But when you're facing a complex decision with conse-
quences that last for years, where a mistake can be costly, it's best to
take more time.
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5. Don't anticipate the final decision until the ink is dry on the contract.
Nothing happens until you get the offer in writing. In one episode, the
Bachelor took two different finalists to the same jewelry store to look at
engagement rings! Even after you've looked at rings together, the show
seems to say, you're not even engaged to be engaged. (We won't go into
the ethical dimensions of these actions in the context of romance. But
would you want to accept a rose - or a ring - from someone who just
went through the same process with a different potential partner?)
I've heard first-hand accounts of verbal offers that were withdrawn or
materially changed by the time they were translated to writing. And even
written offers can be withdrawn for sufficient reason. During times of stress,
people make promises they Don't intend to keep, and others hear promises
that were never intended to go beyond light banter.
Bottom Line
It's no accident that Bachelor match-ups seem to fall apart when the
season ends. And it's no accident that great decisions lead to empower-
ing, satisfying, meaningful lives.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and career/business consultant, helping midlife professionals take their First
step to a Second Career.
Vandeta Publishing | Fienso Consulting | Free Ebook
Those who watched HBO's Sex and the City (SATC, now available on
DVD) know the last eight episodes were less about sex and more about
city. And the last three episodes, taken together could serve as a case
study for a decision faced by many clients Should I follow my heart or hang
on to my job?
Whether you want to move to be closer to aging parents, or follow a
lover into a new life, the stakes are extremely high. Some people really do
live happily ever after, but others end up divorced, broke, and stuck in a
place they really hate. Here are some tips to become part of the first group
and avoid the second.
1. Test the move.
Before selling your home, resigning from your job, giving up your
apartment, or getting a visa, spend time in your future environment - and
watch for changes in yourself and your relationship. SATC fans noticed that
Carrie's lover, Alexander, began to act differently once he was on his own
turf. And a two-week Paris vacation would have saved her lots of misery
(although the story would be less fun to watch).
2. Recognize that relationship dynamics will change once you've moved.
A common scenario: Hal and Sallie fell in love and married while both
were in graduate school. Hal was offered a tenure-track position at Prestige
U on the west coast; Sallie was offered a similar job at Elite U the east
coast. Sallie considers giving up her own career to follow Hal. After all, she
reasons, she can start a part-time job at Prestige U - and who knows?
Hal and Sallie met and married as professional and financial equals.
They earned small stipends as graduate assistants - but the stipends were
identical. Now Hal emerges as the major breadwinner. Sallie might rejoice
in her freedom to pursue creative interestr that would not be possible on
the tenure track. Hal might proudly embrace his role as family provider.
Maybe they would have children and Sallie would be a stay-at-home mom.
But let's move to a parallel universe. Hal resents being the major
breadwinner. Now that Sallie's bringing in far less money, he wants her to
do more around the house. He's gone a lot, attending meetings and collo-
quia where Sallie's not welcome, even though she's at least his equal in
scholarship. Sallie doesn't really want new creative outlets: she wants to
pursue academic research, and once she's branded as a part-time "ad-
junct," that route will be closed to her at this university.
3. Replace "sacrifice" with "strategize:" find creative ways to join head
and heart.
While researching my book on moving, I talked to Joyce, who'd moved
to Texas to be closer to her growing grandchildren. After a few months,
Joyce reported, the novelty wore off. The grandchildren had their own friends.
Soon they'd outgrow baby-sitters and begin charging the neighbors to mind
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children, pets and lawns. She could go to their games and performances,
but what would she do the rest of the time?
I've met at least half a dozen people who moved to spend more time
with their relatives - only to discover, after the move, that the relatives
were doing just fine, thank you very much! Even after begging you to
come, they realize they didn't know what they really wanted.
Long-distance relationships can be brutal -- but it's not much easier to
feel like a fourth-class professional while your spouse's career soars into
the stratosphere. And if you build a name and reputation on the east coast,
after awhile you may be able to move to the west coast, on your own terms
and in your own right.
4. Discover flexible options that you're willing to consider.
Ursula "trailed" her successful new husband from Chicago to Los An-
geles. Before moving, she decided she was willing to abandon her own
highly successful career in market research and begin a new career in
sales. At first, Ursula seemed to be failing miserably. She had little aptitude
for sales - but she really loved the "click" when someone said yes. And she
believed deeply in her product. Encouraged by her husband, Ursula per-
sisted and, five years after the move, became "Salesperson of the Year" in
her firm.
Not everyone is cut out to be an Ursula and not everyone lands in a
lucrative alternative career. Bill, with a PhD in history, decided he could find
happiness as an underpaid, overworked adjunct professor, focusing on teach-
ing rather than research. He grew to love teaching and working with stu-
dents, while his wife built a lucrative career as a vice president in a financial
management firm.
When you know you'll be moving for one partner's goals, often the
second partner chooses a portable career: freelancing, coaching, computer
programming. Portable careers often require an initial investment in one
location, where you build relationships with potential clients and employers.
But they often bring new rewards and open doors to exciting adventures.
5. Begin with honesty.
Once you recognize you Don't want to move, or you really resent
giving up your career, you can begin to focus on solutions. I often encour-
age partners to visit a couples counselor to deal with the emotional chal-
lenges. Denying feelings can lead to a major collapse of the job or the
relationship. Opening up can lead to creative synergies you never antici-
pated. And you may feel deeply relieved to learn your demanding family
really doesn't mind if you remain in your job, two thousand miles away.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and career/business consultant, helping midlife professionals take their First
step to a Second Career.
Vandeta Publishing | Fienso Consulting | Free Ebook
You've probably been taught not to stereotype people based on race,
religion or sex. But when you make a career or other life choice, do you still
make decisions based on stereotypes?
Relocation Myths
"Big cities are unfriendly."
Any place will feel hostile to newcomers. I've lived in several of the
largest cities in North America and found helpful, caring people everywhere.
Often businesses are more helpful simply because there's more competi-
"The desert is all sand and cactus."
In the high desert of New Mexico, where I live, we have green trees,
flowering plants, and snow in the wintertime. We have abundant fruit trees
and sometimes we have to rake leaves in fall.
"Small towns are conservative, you have to join a church and country
club, and you must be married."
Probably some are. My town has less than twenty thousand people,
yet I know lots of very happy residents who forego churches and country
clubs in favor of coffee shops and art galleries. We have many single people
and a sizeable gay population. Generalizations? Well, nearly everyone has
a dog or cat and you'll find numerous multi-pet households.
Career Stereotypes
"Insurance sales reps must be gregarious."
Hal, a successful insurance agent for many years, has developed a
portfolio of loyal, happy clients. Hal can be described as an introvert. He
rarely speaks unless spoken to, and then he speaks briefly and softly. His
clients have learned that he's a caring, dedicated agent who never misses
a detail.
"Accountants sit quietly and crunch numbers."
These days, accountants, especially those in the large firms, have to
become experts at client relations. Often they're expected to steer busi-
ness towards the firm's consulting division.
"Want to travel? Be a travel agent!"
Once upon a time, when nobody worried about security and airlines
gave us more than an inch of legroom, I loved to travel. When I sought
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ways to combine my love of travel with a career, I would often hear, "So
become a travel agent."
Surprise! Travel agents rarely travel. After all, someone has to stay in
the office and answer calls from clients. A major perk involves the "fam" or
familiarization trips, when agents are invited as a group to preview a new
resort or discover a new locale. There's rarely time for leisurely sight-
These days, a corporate travel agent is more like a traffic cop than a
friendly guide, charged with enforcing regulations of the company who pays
her commission: "The non-stop flight is two hundred dollars more than the
connecting flight with the two-hour stopover. Looks like you've got two hours
in Cleveland."
After dealing with hundreds of less-than-thrilled employees, one agent
told me he was quitting the industry, probably for the more serene life of a
bill collector.
How can you avoid stereotypes?
Traditional career tests often are based on outdated or stereotyped
visions of careers. Stereotypes of locations tend to be perpetuated by folks
who have never visited, let alone lived there.
I encourage anyone contemplating a life change to follow the Rule of
Six. Talk to at least six people who have real, hands-on experience on the
path you want to follow. If they clam up and say they're too busy to talk,
you've learned a great deal already.
Most people will begin with a happy, party-line spiel. Dig deeper till
you start uncovering negatives and warnings.
On the rare occasions you hear a lot of negatives, keep going until
you discover a positive.
Harry almost gave up on his goal when four people talked about prob-
lems getting clients for a unique consulting business. After we talked, he
realized they had all used the same time of marketing -- and they weren't
very good at it. He broadened his search to gain a new perspective.
The Bottom Line
I'm always amazed at how many "experts" base recommendations on
stereotyped versions of careers and places to live. That's why you may be
advised to become a funeral director or a florist when you really belong in
outside sales.
There's no substitute for gathering your own information from people
who have been there and back. If something sounds too good -- or too bad
-- to be true, it probably is.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and career/business consultant, helping midlife professionals take their First
step to a Second Career.
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Moving without a job will challenge your identity -- but for some people,
it's the best way to go. Here are some ways to deal with the question.
How will you answer the "What do you do?" question?
Landlords and bankers want something more solid than, "It's about
being, not doing." And will your self-esteem hold up after you say repeat-
edly, "I'm looking for a job."
You cannot take for granted that a particular set of professional skills
will be in demand.
Arlene, a physician, found she could not relocate easily to some prov-
inces of Canada; a shortage of hospital facilities restricts the number of
physicians allowed to practice. The old stand-bys -- teaching, social work,
library science -- have become crowded fields, often unionized, with long
waiting lists.
But what if you really want to move? Want to start a new life before
you start a new job? Do you have fantasies of moving to a new part of the
country or even the world? Quit your job or escape a layoff and start over?
Hold on tight to your chair. Force yourself to stay seated until you have
an action plan, preferably in writing. Here are seven tips to get started.
1. Carefully research your target destination. Forget the myths. A
small town may be not be a haven of low-cost, crime-free living. A
big city may have few opportunities in your chosen field.
2. Protect your work identity. Line up a job -- even a temporary job --
before you move. Find at least one client for your free lance busi-
3. Define your career flexibly. Are you willing to wait tables, paint
houses or work as a temporary secretary? Do you have marketable
skills: carpentry, construction, dog grooming?
4. Don't count on the old stand-bys -- teaching, social work, library
science, nursing. You may need a union card or local reference to
get established. And many openings exist only for beginners.
5. Identify friends and friends-of-friends in your target destination who
can jump-start your social life and show you the ropes. .
6. Rent or buy before you leave your job, if at all possible. If you
haven't moved in twenty years, you may be surprised.
7. Much advice from well-meaning friends and relatives will be useless
and even harmful. People share their stereotypes and their own
buried fantasies. "I've always wanted to live there," they say
wistfully. Or, "Don't they have a high crime rate?" Get the facts and
seek professional consultations.
From Making the Big Move... Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and career/business consultant, helping midlife
professionals take their First step to a Second Career.
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"I have lived in this city all my life. My family is here. I am pretty
satisfied, but lately I'm getting restless. I want to move somewhere - any-
where. I was thinking of Seattle...:"
Whenever I give a talk, somebody asks this question. If we're in Mi-
ami, people want to move to Seattle. If we're in Seattle, Miami sounds
pretty good - especially if we're in the rainy season.
(1) Identify what you have now. Lisette said,"My whole family is here.
We have family meetings every two weeks. They are very important
to me."
(2) Get a sense of why are you restless. Is your career growing stale?
Do you need to meet new people?
A common response is, "I can't find anyone to date." Over the
years, I hasve found that, when people are ready to commit to a
partner, they seem to find just the right person, whether they're in
New York, San Francisco, or even Gainesville, Florida.
But some people are ready to move. Sometimes people really do
become happier after they've moved. Your true home may be a
place you've never been.
(3) Ask yourself, "What am I moving to?" Do you want a bigger city with
more culture, more people, more diversity? Do you want to live in a
place where you can afford to buy a house? Do you want a change
of climate or a place near the water?
"Moving without a job" and "Choosing a destination" are topics from
my book, Making the Big Move.
(4) Begin to visualize yourself living in the place you've chosen.
See yourself walking the streets and driving the freeways. Feel the
sun coming through the windows. Over time, your visualization will
change. Sometimes it will disappear altogether. Don't try to hold on:
you'll soon find a new goal.
And Don't try to visualize a place you've never been. Visit first.
Visualize later.
(5) Expect surprises, once you admit you are restless and can visualize
yourself already moved.
I began visualizing a move to Philadelphia while I was living in
Canada. I wasn't sure how I'd get there or where I'd live or what I'd
be doing. I just imagined walking around Rittenhouse Square, living
in a great apartment with wide windowsills where the cats could sun
themselves while I worked on the computer.
The visualization came easily. Eventually I was offered a job in the
Philadelphia area and found an apartment I loved. The cats did
enjoy the windowsills (although they thought the low-flying helicop-
ters were pretty strange birds) and I began writing my book there.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and career/business consultant, helping midlife professionals take their First
step to a Second Career.
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In today's competitive job market, a first class resume is an essential
tool for winning an interview. The way in which you present your skills,
achievements and experience on paper will profoundly affect the way in
which a hiring company considers your application.
An expertly crafted resume not only captures the attention of its reader
through careful attention to layout and formatting; it also targets the spe-
cific needs of the potential employer by matching and highlighting your
abilities and background to the key requirements of the position.
So what exactly is the 'perfect resume'?
It's well-nigh impossible to get recruitment professionals to agree on
this. For example, take the vexed question of the 'resume objective'.
Some employers prefer to see a clearly stated objective as evidence of
a candidate's career focus; others consider including an objective to be
a restrictive practice -- or worse, little more than vague waffle.
So in the pursuit of a truly personalized resume, it's hardly surprising
that effective practice differs from applicant to applicant -- and what suits
one job-hunter may not work so well for another.
And while it's impossible to lay down hard and fast rules of best prac-
tice in resume writing, it's a whole lot easier to identify some of the habits
that can turn recruiters right off -- perhaps even sabotage a candidate's
chances from the start!
In this article, I've collected some of these common resume blunders
-- so if you're looking to upgrade your resume, here's a checklist of seven
easy ways to start!
1. Don't rely on a 'one size fits all' resume
If your resume is going to get you the interviews you deserve, it needs
to focus on the particular demands of the job. So unless your field is
very narrow, it's likely that you'll need to adapt your resume to each
specific application.
To help you target your resume, try answering these questions:
you're thinking of applying for a job; what would the perfect appli-
cant be like?
what are their most important characteristics?
what skills and attributes do they possess?
When you profile the 'ideal candidate' in this way, you're putting your-
self in the employer's shoes: thinking first about what matters to them and
imagining what they'll be looking for when they make a short list from all
the applications they'll receive.
This is a really useful exercise to help you decide which of your own
abilities and achievements to spotlight in your resume.
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2. Make sure you include complete contact information
Your cover letter may get separated from the resume. Don't blithely
assume that because your address and telephone number are in the
cover letter, they Don't need to be on the resume as well -- they do!
If the employer wants to get hold of you, they'll likely use the phone.
So ensure that you give a personal number (including area code) where
you can be reached during the day or where messages can be left. Include
a cell phone number and e-mail address where possible.
3. Make the resume easy to read
Don't print your resume in any font size smaller than 11 pt. Be liberal
with white space and remember that bullet points in a list help a reader
to absorb information.
You can emphasize headers and key points by discreet use of bold
type, capitals or underlining -- but Don't overdo the effect.
Consider going on to a second sheet if a single page is crammed.
4. Seize the reader's interest in the first few lines
If your application is one of dozens or even hundreds received, you
need to capture the attention of the reader in just a few seconds. The
best way to focus interest at the start is with a powerful objective -- or, if
you prefer it, a skills summary. It's the place to emphasize your key
achievements and core expertise and identify specific job goals.
The employer wants a straight answer to the question 'What can this
person do for me?' -- so make your profile easy to read and give a clear
statement of what you can bring to the job.
5. Don't underplay your achievements and experience
You've already imagined what the perfect candidate for the job would be
like. So now focus on those aspects of your own background and skill set
that best illustrate those attributes.
Highlight your key accomplishments and areas of authority and, wher-
ever possible, use action verbs and statements that quantify what you have
achieved. But Don't get creative here: make sure you give evidence for
your claims.
6. Order your information according to what the reader wants to know
There's no single correct order of elements in a resume. Everything de-
pends on what the employer or recruiter is most interested in finding
In general, put your most relevant material first! Many recruiters like
a reverse chronological order of dates.
Also be aware that some employers dislike a purely functional re-
sume format and feel that it glosses over gaps in work history or other
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7. Check your spelling and grammar
There's no substitute for careful proofreading of your resume. Use gram-
mar and spell checking software by all means, but be aware that it may
not always pick up contextual errors.
Print the document and check it on paper rather than on screen. If
possible, ask a reliable friend or relative to double check for mistakes.
Don't forget to check that you have spelled names correctly.
Conclusion: keep developing your resume
Your resume is a powerful marketing tool. It will always be a 'work in
progress', constantly needing updates and refinements according to chang-
ing circumstances. If you're planning or conducting a job search, redrafting
your resume could be one of the best investments you make towards your
future career success.
Nigel Patterson is a business writer and publisher of
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