Monday, April 27, 2015

Quit groveling at work

Debra Auerbach, CareerBuilder, says apologizing all the time in a professional setting can hurt your career.

A study done at the Univ of Waterloo in Canada found women tend to say they are sorry more than men.

People who do this all the time want everyone to be happy. They want to be liked.

But it is impossible to control what others think.

If you really did something wrong, sure, apologize. But people now apologize before doing anything.

"I am sorry to take up so much of your time."

"I am sorry--this is probably not what you are looking for."

"Sorry--I should have spent more time on this."

This makes you sound less than confident--and people lose confidence in you

It is not easy to break this habit. Sometimes you might even need to ask a friend to point out when you do it--it can be that automatic.

Sorry--did I go on too long with this?

Friday, April 24, 2015

Yes, you can get a job by cold calling

Everyone loves to call up perfect strangers and try to get them interested in something--especially in hiring you.

Yet, Susan Adams,, says cold calling still works. She quotes Robert Hellman, a NY career coach with a decade of experience, who says 40% of his clients have gotten jobs by deciding where they want to work, then pinpointing someone there and being honest about the fact that they have no connection to this person or the company.

Sometimes you get a bite, sometimes, well, a "cold" shoulder.

If you do get a meeting or interview, be prepared to be focused and brief. This is not about you--but about what you are offering them. Have ideas for their business, know their situation.

Don't waste the person's time--after all, they are not doing a colleague a favor or anything--this is totally on you.

In the article, people who tried this sent a bullet-pt letter or email and then maybe called. Don't stalk. That never goes well.

But I do think you can ask anyone anything--if they don't respond or are hostile, well them's the breaks.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Attention: New grads

OK, grads--time to write a resume.

Wes Lybrand, assistant director with the University of Alabama at Birmingham Career and Professional Development Services, has some pointers. (Pssst--you do not have to be a recent grad.)

You need to be focused, clear, and concise. You need to know the job you want and aim toward it.

Your resume may only have 10 seconds to make an impression. Ten seconds!

So you must tailor the resume to each job. Use the same keywords the job description does--for one thing, a computer may be matching and it won't try to figure you out. For instance, they may call for a "team player," so don't say, "worked well with others on two projects." Say, "I am a team player as evidenced by my two years on a six-person project to...."

Proofread! Get families and friends to proofread!

Yes, try to stick to one page--that is still the norm.

Ax boilerplate like "References available on request." Of course, they are.

Emphasize your accomplishments--not just the duties you faced in each job.

And I would arrange it with the most notable first.  If you went to a "big" college, put education first. If you interned or worked with a "big" company, put jobs first...drop education down.

And please, no  photos or physical descriptions.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Do you love to check the boxes?

I do! Watch a show--erase it from the DVR. Have a to-do list--check! Check! Love it.

Liz Ryan,, says most people  like that sense of accomplishment.

You got something annoying off your plate! You rule.

The problem is, she says, focusing on that list can keep you from looking up to the clouds.

What you could do if you did not focus on the small petties is unimaginable!

You have to obey the laws of gravity and physics (and of the land)--but there is so much more you can do besides getting rid of dopey chores.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Interest in farmers fueling farmers markets

It's spring--time for some home-made cheese or fresh berries and veggies. Do we head for the store--maybe not. Produce in the store can be days old.

You don't have to be some prissy locavore (people who eat foods grown or raised a few miles from them) to enjoy the farmers market.

For one thing--those juicy tomatoes--the ones you used to stand in your grandmother's garden and nosh on.

But researchers say people also like the social aspects of farmers markets--they see people they know week after week--many of them actual farmers.

Yes, the prices may be a little higher--but it's worth it.

Some older lovers of farmers markets have cut back their own gardening in favor of the Saturday morning excursions.

Our market here in Chandler AZ is Thursday afternoon--not exactly a convenient time. But I do remember the Saturday morning one in Adams-Morgan in DC or the Eastern Market on Capitol Hill.

So much fun!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Are you college material?

Ought to be able to polish off this subject in 200 words, right?

Matthew Tarpey, CareerBuilder, tackles the subject of whether you should go to college. He quotes Ben Feuer, a consultant with Forster-Thomas, Inc., who says there are three major considerations.

First, your grades. Yes, they count and count big. Your GPA and test scores will govern what schools are a practical option for you.

The second is your ability to pay. College costs--and you pay long after you get out. Even a state school can be $23,000 a year. A private university can be twice or more.

 Three-quarters of students have loans. For students graduating in 2014, this means $30K or more in debt.

And the third consideration is your goals. At 18, a person may not know his or her goals, but will know where they would fit in or where they would not.

Take time to think about this--really think.

There was a story in the New York Times Sunday on whether there should be limits on how many schools the generalized application can be sent to. These applications cost money. Narrow the field first.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Questions interviewers should not ask

Did you ever come out of a job interview and think, "Hey! I don't think they were allowed to ask me that."

Well, some questions are actually forbidden by law.

A Career Builder survey showed that even the hiring managers are not clear on what these are.

Deanna Hartley takes this on. Apparently one in five employers has asked an illegal question and found it later it was a no-no.

Examples of questions they should not ask:

How old are you?
What is your political affiliation?
What religion are you?
Are you pregnant?
Are you disabled?
Do you have children--or do you plan to?
Are you in debt?
Do you drink or smoke socially?
Are you married?
Where do you live?
What race or ethnicity are you?

But it's OK to surprise you with...

What super power would you like to have?

Do you believe in life on other planets?

If you were trapped in a blender, what would you do?

If you did not have to work, what would you do?

If you were stranded on an island, what 2 items would you like to have?

Welcome to the wacky world of work!

I once hired someone because she told me she had once had lunch with Mick Jagger.

She had really bad details, although she turned out to be a great employee.