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Sunday, November 26, 2006


Check Your Resume Verbs

Liven up your resume by making it as active as possible. Instead of such phrases as "responsible for . . ." or "performed the duties of . . ." use active verbs: wrote, sold, answered, operated, filled, cut, folded, styled, assembled, organized - whatever actually describes what you did. If you have trouble finding the right verbs, use a thesaurus (there is one on all word processing programs). Instead of trying to write a stiff, overly formal document, describe your duties as you might if a new acquaintance asked about your job.

Would you really tell a friend "As the manager of the department, I'm responsible for budgeting, supervision, and productivity"? You'd be much more likely to say "I have my fingers in everything. I balance the books, run the machines when we get behind, keep the boss happy, and review the work my staff does to make sure that it's accurate and mistake-proof."

You know your industry and the work you performed so list out the active verbs that describe that work and make sure that you strew them liberally throughout your resume - and then see how much livelier and human you appear.

Friday, September 01, 2006


Is the Internet a viable alternative to a job?

We have all heard about those who quit their jobs and are now making a fortune working at home on their computers. After reading the seemingly endless marketing messages, one reaches the conclusion that millions can be made with only a few hours of effort a week.

If you have nothing to sell, become an affiliate, we're told, and market someone else's product for a percentage of the profit. But do you realize that more than 90% of affiliates never make a single sale?

While there are undoubtedly some individuals doing very well, they tend to be either talented and experienced salesmen, have invented something unique and in demand, or have a large social circle to involve in their sales campaigns.

Before you invest any money in "get rich" schemes, or get excited about how much you can earn from home, get yourself a "throw-away" address on Yahoo or Hot Mail and join a few groups and safelists. Your bulk inbox (tabbed as spam by your Internet host) will soon be bursting with thousands of emails all promising that this opportunity is the one that can't fail.

As you empty the bulk mail without bothering to read it, remember that everyone else is doing the same thing! Millions of enthusiastic email writers disappear into the electronic ether without even a poof of smoke.

If you're convinced that you're different and have what it takes - go for it, as an adjunct to looking for real work. And watch the expenses that can devastate an already restricted budget.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


Ask For Feedback

Often, after an interview is over, we spend days mulling over what the interviewer may have liked or disliked about our background and how well our skills stacked up against the competition. We remember all the details we forgot to bring up and wonder if that was the decisive factor in our not getting an offer (if we got the job, who cares about the interview?)

At the end of any interview, you are likely to be asked if you have any further questions. So go ahead and ask how you did!

You might try something along the lines of: "I believe that my skills and experience fit the position you have open but I would really appreciate some feedback from you regarding how you see my strengths and weaknesses and if there is some skill or specialized knowledge I need to acquire to be really competitive in this field."

After the initial surprise (applicants rarely ask such a question), the interview will tell you what they liked and also any concerns they may have about some deficiencies. This gives you the opportunity to add some information to overcome those concerns, if you can. Then, if you are not offered the position, you have the chance to figure out how to address those perceived deficiencies before your next interview.

Monday, August 14, 2006


Follow Instructions

No employer wants to hire someone who can't take the time to read directions. Even if a position requires management or leadership qualities, duties are still performed within set company procedures and a defined corporate culture. Show your abilities throughout the application process by reading the fine print before jumping in.

If you are applying on line, study exactly how the company would like your information submitted. Some prefer that you cut and paste your resume into their form. Others prefer that you enter basic demographic information and then use your resume as an attachment. If the instructions request plain text, be sure to remove any bolding or bullets before your resume is attached.

If you are filling out an application, read over each section before you start to enter information. Too often, we wade right in and then realize we have put the wrong information in the little boxes and end up with a messy-looking document with words crossed out and arrows drawn from line to line.

If follow up directions are given ("You'll hear from us within 5 business days"), abide by them. If no specific information is given ("Mr. Smith will review your application and will call you if you fit our needs"), try to establish a guideline: "May I call you in 3 days to find out if I'm going to be considered?" Then follow the timeframe given by the company.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


Stay Physically Active

We all know that unemployment and job search are depressing and energy-devouring. With all that worry about the future and the intense mental activity centered on finding work, we tend to neglect physical activity.

It has been proven, in several different studies, that exercise is every bit as effective as medication in alleviating depression and related mood problems. Maintain regular physical activity to ward off that depression before it has time to descend on you to smother your enthusiasm and optimistic outlook.

If you don't play games or workout, make sure you walk, walk, walk - everyday. It will keep you more alert and focused than coffee or cigarettes or however else you self-medicate (and it's free!)

Sunday, June 04, 2006


Initial Voice Impressions

Often the first contact you have with a potential employer is by telephone. How you project yourself in those first few minutes can be critical in creating a receptive mind set in the employer.

If you are initiating the call, try to watch a short television comedy first or quickly read some funny comics or cartoons. After a burst of good laughter, your voice is upbeat and relaxed. When you talk on the telephone, always stand and move around as much as possible, even if only in small circles. Your voice will be clearer and the energy level projected will increase, vital in demonstrating that you are the positive, enthusiastic worker that every employer seeks.

If you receive a call from an employer, make sure that your organizer* is close at hand so you can quickly find which job is being discussed and any details about it that can make your responses pertinent to the specific skills and experience sought.

* See "The Job Search Organizer" at

Friday, April 28, 2006


Defusing The Anger

Along with the fear and internal humiliation of losing your job, there is always a degree of anger: anger at fate for dealing you a lousy hand; anger at a company that took your long hours and hard work and threw them away without a second thought; anger at coworkers who played the political game more deftly and kept their positions while yours was eliminated.

Some of us are so angry that we get stuck in our emotions and become almost paralyzed, unable to move on with any degree of enthusiasm or energy.

Recognize that anger is a natural reaction to being marginalized and devalued. Give yourself some alone time to lick your wounds. Pound a punching bag, cry for hours, run for miles, or clean the house from top to bottom - whatever best works for you to burn off that adrenaline pouring through your system.

Take at least a few days to wallow in the injustice of it all. Let your jumbled emotions wear themselves out until you feel drained and empty. It is only when the fires of anger have died down that you can start to think rationally about the future and the opportunities that may arise out of being forced to change your life's direction.

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