Posts tagged: job search training

Want to Be a Success, Be Nice

Dog Eat Dog

It may seem counter intuitive in this dog eat dog world, that being nice could help a person’s career. People think being cut throat and having a competitive fire is needed to get ahead — and to get ahead we must step on and over people.

There IS a place in business for a seriously competitive attitude. Specifically, when customers or products are involved, being better and stronger can benefit all. Imagine the world of personal computers, for instance, if there were no competition? Where would that industry be? Would our lives be better or worse?

Nice Guys Finish – First

Being kind, generous, thoughtful and interested in those around us takes effort. And that is largely the problem.

As we rush through our days, we get so focused on “doing”… that we forget to just “be.”

So, just for today, stop, breathe, see the person standing next to you and smile. Listen when they talk. You may be surprised at their reaction — and how you feel.

Photo credit: Jessica Hagy

Swearing and Spelling

wonderful story, curious spelling

I find it surprising and disturbing that recruiters are still holding two things against job seekers in their social media posts:

Swearing and spelling.


In the infographic, “Watch What You Post on Social Media,”  when recruiters were asked, “what are the biggest red flags in job applicants’ social profiles?, the answer is, well, old fashioned … and perhaps not helpful to the potential employer.

In this survey, swearing and spelling have nearly the same negative impact as illegal drugs and sexual posts.


Look, I completely understand that we need standards and differentiators. But eliminating a candidate because they use an ‘F’ bomb vs. using drugs? This makes no sense. I am 100% for everyone paying attention to what they post. I am a well-known ‘hater’ of Face Book for many reasons (mainly they have continually shown open contempt for privacy), but I understand that it is an important part of many people’s daily lives. So just eliminating a candidate for a spelling error doesn’t make sense. In a tight job market, I can see why recruiters use any tool to distinguish between applicants. But spelling errors? We teach the whole language approach to reading and writing in school (vs. phonetics). When you look at the picture… at this kid’s notebook… you see “samwichis” and “lemminad” are early attempts to wrangle language.  When you realize kids today probably are not even learning cursive… perhaps it’s time to think of the ‘context.’

I realize hiring is complex and keeping up with trends in social media is difficult. But especially in the coming, ‘war for talent’ – it will be helpful to think broadly about the changing mores in social media and expression.

Photo Credit: Extra Credit  Woodleywonderworks

Key Hiring Question: When & Why Will You Leave?

When you are interviewing for a job… probably one of the last things on your mind… is why and when you might leave. You’re thinking… I don’t even have the job… why would I think about when I might leave?

Great companies make this complex question part of the interview process.

In an insightful article by someone I admire, Charlene Li of Altimeter Group, How I Hire: Figuring Out Fit — And The Exit Strategy… she outlines the criteria and process for assessing candidates based on culture, skills and my favorite and what I consider relatively unique…  sense of purpose.

“As part of the hiring process, I also talk with people about how they will leave Altimeter one day. The idea of lifetime employment is dead, so why not face up to the reality that this person we’re hiring will one day leave? It’s a core part of us living the value of Integrity — that openness and transparency develops trust.” Charlene Li

The last regular, ‘show up in the office’ job I had, I actually negotiated my departure date as part of my hiring package. When they offered me the job, I told them I would stay one year.  It allowed me to focus on getting the job done without worrying about how I’d leave. It was very empowering.

I am not suggesting that every time you take a job, you should negotiate your exit. What I am suggesting is that you think about what you want to get from the assignment… even it it’s just to earn some money or stay for 6 months.  Be conscious of what it will look like when you have reached that goal.

By the way, this takes courage and it puts the responsibility for finding your next ‘step’ right where it belongs; with you.

Image credit: Diane Arbus Moving On

(More) New Tools for Managing Your Career – Are You Tired Yet?

Whether it’s job hunting or managing your career; it’s all a big pain. I need to learn new stuff, talk to people, use my brain and do things I don’t want to do.

So every time I read about more new ‘tools’, my head spins and then I stop whining and get learning. Do you know about – scours the web/social/everywhere to find candidates that match a potential employer’s criteria (tech) – goes way beyond the resume to understand values, desired work environments, etc. (design & tech)

Silp – social recruiting for ‘passive’ candidates

Somewhere – let’s companies talk about themselves as ‘cool’ employers and their environments (the old/new attraction vs. promotion idea!)

Then there’s  – that hopes to help both the employer find candidates and also provide information to the candidate; about the credentials of the person who DID get the job, where your skills gaps are, etc.

The point is not to learn about every new job service and sign up. It is to be aware of the ways in which recruiting, job hunting and career management are changing. Do you have a job search or career improvement group you meet with? If so, different people could learn about new tools and then share their learning. Everyone wins and it perhaps minimizes the overload!

Photo credit: The Garage barto

The Beauty of Portion Control…In All Parts of Our Lives

I’m a fan of old movies, particularly black and whites. I love the acting, the clothes and the funny old telephones, no computers etc. But one thing really stands out…

When they’re eating and drinking… the plates and glasses are really SMALL. Compared to what we use now, they look like toys. I’m struck by how we complain about being overweight but we don’t realize how much more (of everything) we consume.

I moved about a year ago and just got around to finally unpacking the last of the boxes. I have a set of family china and when I look at it, it seems so old fashioned. And yet I think if could return to drinking 6 ounces of coffee and one slice of toast instead of 20 ounces and 2 pieces… It would be better for me.

This idea that  “smaller is better” can translate well to the rest of our lives. Can I work out for just 10 minutes a day? Can I get by with two new pairs of shoes this year? Can I be happy with one new suit not three?

Our expectations have swelled along with the size of our plates, cups and waistlines. Simple doesn’t do it anymore. Less isn’t enough. How can we get off this treadmill?

Awareness.. not just of what we eat but how we live. Eat dinner off a small plate instead of a big one. Use a small fork instead of a large one. Drink out of a small glass. And most of all, think of taking small steps towards our goals. You can do it. I believe in you.

Photo credit: Saucy Salad, The china survived the move

Then: Get Thee to a Classroom — Now: the Teacher is Waiting…Online

Ok, I’m an old dog and everyday, I have to learn new tricks. I don’t like it but…  I like to eat so…

Here are I a few things that work for me.

— I read Mashable everyday. A daily news brief that talks about tech in business.

–I use Tweetdeck/Seesmic (Twitter application) to search for an article that I think would be of interest to my network. Then I post the link with a comment to Linked In. I do this 3 times a week.

–I talk to Millenials (20’s somethings). I am a digital immigrant (a Baby Boomer) and I can’t think like a digital native no matter how hard I try. They give me perspective and ideas and are most gracious about helping an old dog.

— Video. I use it everyday.

  1. Want help with your job search? Or social media training in general? Check out
  2. Over 50? The Encore Career Institute offers retraining & certifications.
  3. The world’s leading universities have put hundreds of courses (+ audiobooks, movies, etc.) online FOR FREE! Check  out
  4. Workforce training and continuing education:   The e-Learning
  5. Don’t forget to look on  YouTube   or Vimeo for a tutorial of whatever you’re interested in learning. It’s probably out there!

Now go have some fun!

Photo credits: IELTS in 30 days 

Would You Flunk A Social Media Background Check? Part 2

Last week we talked about what the regulators are doing. Now I’m going to share some real sad but true stories from the social realm. You may or may not agree with the decisions described here but that’s not the point. What’s important is to understand that –this is reality. I have heard each of these stories first hand. Here we go…

— A CEO described interviewing a young man and liking him. After the young man left, the CEO decided to go online and ‘Google’ him. (Yes, that’s a verb now, to Google.) Here’s what he read on Facebook. “I just had an interview at xyz company. The company is a dog but I’m sure they are going to make me an offer which I’ll take while I keep looking.” He didn’t get the job and probably to this day doesn’t know why.

— A graduate student getting his Master’s in teaching began doing his student teaching. After about 3 weeks, he was called by HR and told he was being terminated. When he asked why, he was told that photos ‘unbecoming’ a teacher were found online. They found pictures of him on his Facebook page  drinking a beer (he was over 21) in a public park.

I live in New York, an ‘at will’ employment state, which means that any employer can ‘let go’ any employee without cause. (ok, that’s not the legal terminology).

Bottom line: Pay attention folks. It’s not a conspiracy but they are out to get you.

Photo credit: Random Good

No Fishy Handshakes Please

Last week I was speaking at a big event and had the pleasure of meeting many people. I was, however,  unhappily struck by the number of people who don’t realize the negative impression of their fishy handshake.

What do I mean by a ‘fishy’ handshake? Well, when you offer just the fingers of your hand or when you fail to grasp the other person’s hand and shake it with confidence; you run the risk of having people think you are weak. This especially goes for men shaking hands with women. It is disrespectful to barely shake hands with a woman. It makes them think that you don’t think of them as equals.

You’ve probably heard the story about why we shake hands, i.e.,  to show that we have no weapons in our hands. Aside from the way we dress and eye contact, our handshake is another very important signal of our confidence.

When you shake hands, please, oh please I’m begging you, look the person in the eye and give them a gentle but firm handshake. This isn’t a strength contest but it is a chance to make the other person sit up and take notice of your positive manner.  So ladies,  put your hand out there and shake firmly. Guys, do the same. it’s so important!

Photo Credit: Ads of the World

You’re Awesome, Now Be Awesomer

You’re pretty cool. You’ve worked hard, you’re a nice person. So, are you where you want to be?

Sometimes we get so caught up in day to day living that we forget that we have the power to change ourselves. We have everything justified in our minds about why we can’t change, why things aren’t going our way, blah, blah, blah.

Practice one of these and it will change you…forever:

Promote someone else. When was the last time you helped to promote someone else? Not yourself; someone else. A person who you think is great. Talk about him/her to your connections.  This will require you to know them well enough to help promote them. (No promoting your son, daughter– doesn’t count!)

Be brave. My favorite poet is Mary Oliver. I know you’re thinking, oh no, not poetry. Yuck. Well, I get that. I like poetry and I don’t understand most it. (Maybe that’s because it’s bad poetry!) Anyway, Mary wrote this poem titled The Journey. She talks to us about listening to our inner voice and having the courage to be ourselves. Not easy but the most worthwhile of life’s adventures.

Be here now. During your day, be fully present when you are talking to someone. Look them in the eye, smile, listen as if you were going to have to repeat back to them what they just told you. Practice this with your children, spouse, friends, parents, etc. You’ll be surprised at how much fun it is, how much it is appreciated and the joy of being in the moment.

Change is good, timing is everything, patience is the key. I’m in your corner!

Photo credit: Sharon Greene


The Coming Battle for Talented Employees

It may be hard to believe but many Human Resource professionals are gearing up their recruiting efforts. While the economy isn’t exactly humming, the job market is heating up and companies are actively looking for ‘bench strength.’  In a 2010 survey titled, Job Seeker Nation, it was reported that we are rapidly becoming a nation of ‘free agents’ who are continuously alert for opportunities. And by the way, this is a good thing. Try this on for size…

I know keeping up our skills is hard and that trying to make sure we’re networking and connecting is a pain. But consider the alternative. “If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less,” said General Eric Shinseki, Chief of Staff, U. S. Army. He wasn’t referring to the job market but, it does apply.

Each of us needs to be thinking about being a proactive career manager. Are you diligently building your network? Are you getting training? Are you actively discussing key aspects of change in your field?  Do you read blogs that are relevant to your industry? Are you out of your comfort zone?

I want to be one of those people that companies are willing to fight to recruit. How about you?