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Interview Techniques - Persistence Counts

2009-04-17 by

A local business was looking for office help. They put a sign in the window, stating the following: “HELP WANTED. Must be able to type, must be good with a computer and must be bilingual. We are an

“Equal Opportunity Employer.”

A short time afterwards, a dog trotted up to the window, saw the sign and went inside. He looked at the receptionist and wagged his tail, then walked over to the sign, looked at it and whined.

Getting the idea, the receptionist got the office manager. The office manager looked at the dog and was surprised, to say the least. However, the dog looked determined, so he lead him into the office. Inside, the dog jumped up on the chair and stared at the manager.

The manager said, “I can’t hire you. The sign says you have to be able to type.” The dog jumped down, went to the typewriter and proceeded to type out a perfect letter. He took out the page and trotted over to the manager and gave it to him, then jumped back on the chair. The manager was stunned, but then told the dog, “The sign says you have to be good with a computer.”

The dog jumped down again and went to the computer. The dog proceeded to demonstrate his expertise with various programs and produced a sample spreadsheet and database and presented them to the manager. By this time the manager was totally dumbfounded! He looked at the dog and said, “I realize that you are a very intelligent dog and have some interesting abilities. However, I still can’t give you the job.”

The dog jumped down and went to a copy of the sign and put his paw on the sentences that told about being an Equal Opportunity Employer. The manager said, “Yes, but the sign also says that you have to be bilingual.”

The dog looked at him straight in the face and said, “Meow.”

Courtesy of Jon Ritchey in Boone, CO

Please remember to send us your humor. Clean jokes preferred.

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Checklist: Clean Up Your Web Trail

2009-03-06 by

How to find where your personal information is located online.
by John Hazard

The World Wide Web turns 18 years old this August. In that time, it has amassed billions of pages of information from millions of Web sites—many of which probably mention your name, your business and your associations.

Whether you’re an avid user of social networks or an online novice, chances are good that information about you occupies some corner of the Web. It is standard practice for recruiters and employers to use that Web trail to build a history and profile of potential candidates. Whether you’re just beginning your job search or you’re many months in, it’s smart branding to ensure your online presence tells your story as you would wish it told.

Lindsay Olson is a partner and recruiter at Paradigm Staffing as well as an expert on using the Web to market yourself and hunt for a job. With her help, TheLadders built a printable worksheet in Portable Document Format (PDF) to help you examine your online profile systematically and make sure it is spotless before it is seen by recruiters and potential employers.

CAREER ADVICE

We won’t be able to cover every aspect of the vast Web here, but these steps will cover the Web sites and pages most likely to cause you trouble in your job search. (For a quick primer on using LinkedIn, Facebook and other social-networking tools, you can also download TheLadders’ recent package “Can You Facebook Your Way to a New Job?”)

You’ll find John Hazard at TheLadders –
where you can Search 7889 New $100k+ Jobs This Week! New $100k+ Jobs This Week!

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Interviewing On the Sly

2009-02-27 by

When interviewing and employed, use these tips on dressing down interview attire for the office

by Joyann King

In a corporate culture where business casual is making waves, showing up to work in a three-piece suit is a dead giveaway to your colleagues that your dentist appointment is really an interview — somewhere else.

Fortunately, there are ways to tone down your look for the office but avoid a changing overhaul in the cramped restroom before your interview. By pairing a few casual items with your more formal interview attire, it will be anybody’s guess why you look just a little more polished today.

Women:

1. Wear flat boots or ballet flats.

Leave your gorgeous pumps in your car or under your desk in favor of lower heels. Bare legs and ballet flats or riding boots with tights will instantly dress down your interview appropriate skirt or dress. Bonus: Your feet will thank you.

2. Trade your jacket for a soft cardigan.

Layer a cozy cardigan in a soft color over your interview blouse or dress. Cardigans evoke a sense of casualness not usually appropriate for a formal interview. Leave your jacket hanging in your car or at your desk. Bonus: It will stay wrinkle-free.

3. Add a fashionable scarf or trendy jewelry.

A boldly colored necklace or Pucci printed scarf are a bit too fashion-forward for a formal interview. Add these fun accessories to your interview attire for a whimsical look; just don’t forget to tone them down before your interview. Bonus: Compliments from your colleagues.

Men:

1. Leave off your jacket and tie.

In this case, it is all about what you don’t wear. If a formal suit isn’t in your office dress code, simply leave your jacket and tie off till the interview. Bonus: Comfort! Isn’t that enough?

2. Wear a sportcoat or pullover sweater.

If you prefer to wear a coat to the office, opt for a more casual sportcoat or a cozy pullover. These layers will instantly dress down your suit pants and button down. Bonus: Style points for mixing it up.

3. Keep your shoes casual.

Leave your shiny Allen Edmonds under your desk in favor of a casual loafer or driving shoe. A low-key shoe even when worn with suit pants clearly will deter your colleagues from suspecting that you are looking for work elsewhere. Bonus: Your shoeshine will stay fresh.
——
Joyann King is a New York fashion editor and stylist. She has worked in the fashion departments of glossy magazines like Glamour and Self and contributes frequently to Elle.com and Instyle.com. Formerly the fashion editor at ELLEgirl.com and a stylist for Macy’s and JCPenney, Joyann loves helping real people find their own personal style. She can be seen in fashion videos on ELLE.com and CBSnews.com offering her unique perspective on current trends.

You’ll find Joyann King at TheLadders –
where you can Search 8016 New $100k+ Jobs This Week!

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Stop Looking for a Job

2009-02-13 by

The best way to get a job is to connect with people outside of your need for a job.
by Darrell Gurney

“The best way to get a job is to not look for one.” Does that idea sound crazy? It’s true, and I’ve shared it with my clients for years.

That doesn’t mean sit on your backside eating bonbons watching soap operas. It simply means it’s critical to find reasons to meet with people outside of your need for a job.

Take a case in point. A client of mine was a high-level, VP-Marketing type. We had completed his preliminary career inventory work so he understood his unique value and patterns of success; we even branded him in an authentic yet catchy way. He proceeded to knock on back doors the way he had been taught — to research and relationship-build. Yet he still allowed survival-mode desperation to seep into his conversations. His hints weren’t overt, but a tone of fear-based neediness limited his results.

One day he said, “Darrell, through all the introspective work we’ve done, something has become clear: I have entrepreneurism in my blood. My father was an entrepreneur. His father was an entrepreneur. My brothers and sisters are all entrepreneurial. So I’ve come to this conclusion: To heck with these corporate jobs — I’m going to start my own business.” He went on to purchase a couple of franchises and was happier than ever.

Once he stopped “needing” a job, interesting events started to occur.

Without even pushing, he began receiving calls from folks he had met during his campaign. He also fielded unexpected calls on the resume he had placed in cyberland. With no attachment to landing an interview, he discussed frankly the opportunities people presented to him. In one instance, he told a hiring manager over the phone, “In all honesty, the role and compensation you’re describing is simply far below anything I’d consider, so I don’t want to waste your time by getting together.” The hiring manager responded that he would be more than willing to come up significantly if he could find someone of such high caliber…and basically pleaded for him to come in and meet.

He went in and opened some further doors for himself, but that’s not the point. What matters is that when he “de-desperatized” himself — removed all neediness from his conversations and demeanor — the world responded immediately. His internal sense-of-value shift caused an external awareness of value shift. He called me to say he finally understood what I had been trying to impart for so many months. Without need glaring through everything he did, and by simply focusing on building authentic relationships, the world was practically begging him to come out and play.

A quote from Franz Kafka sums up this principle nicely:

“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”
However, though I believe that whatever we seek is seeking us at the same time, we have to get out and connect with it. No sitting at your table here.

The way to stay completely outside the crowd of job seekers is never to enter it — even if you really need a job.

Rather than write cover letters saying, in effect, “I need a job,” or setting up meetings to discuss your need for a job, turn your outreaches into something less “me”-oriented.

How about setting up meetings to explore and get answers on areas of your passionate interest? What about becoming a thought leader in a specific field?

Guess what? The folks in jobs right now have to focus on those jobs. So they won’t be as up on everything going on in the industry as you could be, with all of your time to research and gather information. What if you became so knowledgeable and informed that people want to meet with you to get the skinny on things they are too busy to keep up with themselves? What if you went into meetings bearing gifts (knowledge or information) rather than only because you want something from them (a job)? Do you think it might create a different feel for your meetings?

Understand that if you are branded well and fly a “flag” of who you are when you meet people, you never need to ask for a job. If they see value in you and are attracted to the flag you’re flying, they will find whatever they can for you automatically. Simply find reasons to connect and ask for a few minutes. Meet people in a memorable way (personal brand) and maintain those relationships to stay top-of-mind. You’ll have so many members of your “career net” attuned to you that nothing will slip through without your hearing about it.
——
DARRELL W. GURNEY (www.CareerGuy.com), executive/career coach and 15-year recruiting veteran, supports people at all levels to make profitable transitions or create thriving businesses. He is the author of Headhunters Revealed! and a personal and business brand strategist. His Backdoor Method for networking has helped many individuals expand their reach within both careers and new client circles. Hear them speak for themselves at www.CareerGuy.com/Testimonials.htm

You’ll find Darrell Gurney TheLadders –
where you can Search 8016 New $100k+ Jobs This Week!

[TaxMama note: Volunteering is one of TaxMama’s favorite suggestions. Pick something you’re passionate about. Not only will you do something important to you – you’ll make great contacts and friends, too. Incidentally, for singles – volunteering surely beats online dating and singles bars or even coffee bars. ]

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Volunteer Work: The Ultimate Interview

2009-02-05 by

by Barbara Safani

If you think doing volunteer work is just “filler to pad the resume” while you are looking for a “real job,” then think again. It can make or break you during a job search.

Pro bono work can include anything from nonprofit projects to community service and even religious or alumni events.

No matter what you invest your time in, its all a lot like an extended behavioral interview. These experiences are a great way to shine, build credibility in professional circles and get your name out there – if you have the right attitude.

The bottom line is: People talk. And people are more likely to refer someone based on past successes. In other words, your volunteer resume should be just as outstanding as your professional one.

Here are some tenets to remember during your pro bono work. I’ve seen them all, and I know that people who demonstrate these behaviors end up on the “short list” when organizations are looking for people to fill paid positions.

1. Have the attitude you would have at the office.
Yes, we know they don’t pay you to do this; that’s why it’s called volunteering. Go in with the attitude that, for the short term, you will give more than you receive. Nevertheless, you are volunteering to give back to your community, and this will build long-term trusting relationships.

2. Lead, even if you’re not the team leader.
Volunteer appointments are a great way to showcase your leadership, organization and communication skills. If you can help take some of the burden off the team leader, your efforts will be noticed. If the decision that needs to be made falls within the responsibilities of your role, make it and keep the team leader informed. Don’t send 200 e-mails a day asking for guidance or permission. Doing so makes you appear indecisive and unsure of yourself. These are not great qualities to display in front of people who may be in a position to refer you somewhere down the line.

3. Showcase your management style.
It is equally damaging to make decisions that are not within your role of responsibilities, which could potentially damage or muddy the relationship you have with the team leader. There’s a fine line between being supportive and being power hungry, so make sure you don’t cross it. Your actions will reflect how you might go about managing a team or staff in the business world, so treat volunteer teams as such.

4. Endure as you would in a real-world role.
Sometimes volunteers make commitments to projects with the best of intentions and then “stuff happens,” and they fall off the face of the earth. This puts an extra burden on teammates and causes resentment. And if that’s not enough, it damages your professional reputation. It is unlikely that you will be trusted with a paid role if you can’t deliver on a volunteer project. Stick it out as you would a turn in the market or an unanticipated business need. If you volunteer for a project, stick with it to the end – even if it means doing some juggling.

You’ll find Barbara Safani TheLadders –
where you can Search 8016 New $100k+ Jobs This Week!

[TaxMama note: Volunteering is one of TaxMama’s favorite suggestions. Pick something you’re passionate about. Not only will you do something important to you – you’ll make great contacts and friends, too. Incidentally, for singles – volunteering surely beats online dating and singles bars or even coffee bars. ]

Ask TaxMama
Where taxes are fun and answers are free
www.TaxQuips.com
The number ONE free tax podcast online
Job Advice of the Week
Find the best employees in the financial industries - tax, accounting, insurance...
TaxMama's Career Bank
Jobs paying $100,000 and up - Are YOU earning over $100K? WHY NOT?
TheLadders.com
A recession-proof career. And no degree required
TaxMama's EA Exam Review Course
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