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Listening for Interview Success
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 reasons:
? 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 situations, but in the interview it could cost you the job you really wanted.
With his background of over 25 years running businesses, and as a Career Coach and Consultant in many sectors, Peter Fisher guides job seekers through the steps needed in order to achieve that all important new position.
As Managing Director of Career Consulting Limited, and previously MD of three recruitment companies, he has personally coached thousands of individuals to career success.
His distillation of these years of experience is all the essential facts and actions you must complete in order to achieve your own success. He is very clear that you shouldn't be misled by others into thinking of "acing interviews" or "finessing" your way into a business; the most sustainable and fulfilling roles are gained through understanding your own specific needs and creating your strategy accordingly.
You can learn more about his dynamic and comprehensive approach to career change, with every page dedicated to helping serious career changers if you go to http://www.your-career-change.com/index.html
Seven Steps to Better Networking
If published statistics are accurate, employment agencies and search firms fill about 20% of all jobs in the US. Job boards fill anywhere between 2% and 8%. So how do the others get filled?
Resume Writing Dos and Donts
Do these things Include your full name - don't use nicknames or abbreviations Use a telephone number that you can always answer - use a cell phone if possible or make sure there is an answering machine at the listed phone number Use bullet points to highlight information - it is much easier for an employer to absorb relevant information while scanning your résumé Print your résumé and cover letter on high quality paper - when printing your résumé you should use paper with at least 50% cotton content Be concise and get to the point - say what you need to say and nothing more Use action words and descriptive phrases - be creative when trying to get your point across using as few words as possible Target your résumé - address your résumé to the position you are applying for to show that you are really interested in working for that company Focus on relevant facts only - list skills, accomplishments and personality traits you know the employer is looking for List quantitative support for statements made - back up your skills and experiences with real scenarios, facts and figures Begin statements with action verbs - action verbs demonstrate your importance to the achievement or experience being described Don't do these things Have any grammatical errors - always have someone else proofread your résumé for errors and flow Have any spelling mistakes - always spell check your résumé, your contact's name, and the company's name Misrepresent your background or experience - employers oftentimes verify this information and can fire you if it is discovered that you were dishonest Fill in employment gaps with unrelated information - wait to discuss this information in person to put a positive spin on it Use lengthy paragraphs - employers notoriously skip over paragraphs in résumés Use long sentences - just like paragraphs, the reader easily skips over long sentences Use personal pronouns - keep your résumé impersonal for a more professional image Forget to list basic skills - all employers want to see that you are a team player, take charge of situations and are reliable
Job Interviews: Answering Whats Your Greatest Weakness?
Many interview guides advise candidates to answer the common "What's your greatest weakness?" question with a positive trait disguised as a weakness. For example, "I tend to expect others to work as hard as I do," or "I'm a perfectionist."
Tips for Handling On the Job Setbacks
If you've chosen a business career, you will inevitably experience some type of setback. And whether your pet project is canceled, your performance review is a bust, you get turned down for a promotion, or you're asked to leave the company, setbacks hurt big time. Nevertheless, if you start thinking of yourself as a victim or allow yourself to lapse into prolonged negativity, you won't be hurting anyone except yourself. Worrying until you get sick, abusing drugs or denying that you've reached an impasse won't help either. The best strategy for making a comeback is to recognize the reality of the situation, acknowledge your feelings and find a way to cope productively. Here are some other tips you might find helpful:
Resurrecting the Perfect Resume, Part One
Is your resume dead? Don't be so quick to say, "No way!" Of the hundreds of resumes I've seen written by job seekers of all backgrounds and educational levels, easily 95% qualify to be labelled as dead-but-not-yet-buried.
Self Describing Skills - Key Strengths
You need to be the best you can at describing your best qualities; particularly your key strengths. In my coaching practice I generally, at some point, ask my client: "What are you good at?" purely as a means to establish if they have already thought through this most important question.
The Six Figure Job Search
Before we start discussing how to search for a six figure salary job, let's set a goal. The goal I suggest is to double your income every five years. That may sound like a stretch. Well it is? but it is a doable stretch goal.
Ten Courses Of Study If You Want To Be Your Own Boss
For many Americans, an important component of the American Dream is the possibility of hard work turning into financial fortune. The career exploits of such self made magnates like Andrew Carnegie, Lee Iaccoca and Donald Trump are examples for many.
In a Rut? Ready for a Career Change?
Are you unhappy at work? Tired and lacking energy and drive? Don't worry, you are not alone! Studies in the US show that up to 70 percent of the workforce is unhappy with their job at any given time. We all feel dissatisfied and frustrated with our jobs at times. So, how do you know when the feeling of dissatisfaction and frustration means it is time for a career change? There are a few key signs which point towards a need for change:
The Background on Background Checks
In one of my past lives I held a Top Secret clearance as a Civil Service employee working for the Air Force. So I am familiar with background checks. But many job seekers are not. Here's a little background on background checks...
How To Take The Pain Out Of Performance Reviews
The Painful Approach
A Look At Some Out of the Ordinary Jobs
What do you want to be when you grow up? Chances are if you ask that question in any third grade class, your answers will include at least one fireman, one policeman, one cowboy and an assortment of other jobs that are glamorized on television and books.
Marketing You and Your Career
Imagine if a business invested years into the research, design, and creation of a new product, and then failed to tell anybody about it. What if the company assumed (even expected) that consumers should discover their new product, just because it was â??greatâ??? Flawed logic, right? Yet, thatâ??s how many people treat their careers! They spend years learning a trade, gaining education, and writing resumes - but do nothing to promote themselves. In fact, they assume others should recognize them just because they show up and do a good job. What they donâ??t assume is accountability for their own career.
The Network Within
When you hear the word "networking", what comes to your mind first?
American Idol Syndrome
I like Simon, one of three judges on American Idol. I find his feedback refreshingly honest. And while his words startle me with their ego wounding potential, the traditional feel-good, let-you-down-easy, sugar-coated feedback is not much of a gift. It's hard to tell someone they're not good enough and their dreams are not going to happen, at least in this venue. But not telling them is no gift either. Some contestants rise to the challenges he throws at them. Some don't. And, some can't. Which one are you? The people who influenced me most in my career were those who gave me the hardest critiques. Stricken with a bruised-ego for days, or on occasion for months, inevitably their feedback helped me make the right life choices to improve, change direction, or stay the course with intensity. In fact, the boss who was the hardest on me is the one I thank the most. Good was not good enough if I was capable of better, and she was quick to point out when that was. No sugar coating from her. And the funny thing? When I was honest with myself, I knew she was right. Being honest with yourself is one of the challenges to winning at working. We all have talents and abilities, but they're not always in the areas we pursue at work. Too many people I've run across in my career have American Idol Syndrome (AIS). Like Idol contestants auditioning with little or no singing ability, these people believe they are good at what they do. They can't understand why they don't get the promotion, the outstanding review, or the highest increases. They view themselves as varsity team material, but they play with junior varsity skills. When I was a freshman at Stanford, I got a D in biology. Stanford graded on a bell-curve, so an 84% that might traditionally put me in a B category, was near the class bottom. Accustomed to A's, first quarter grades woke me up. At first, I rationalized a D at Stanford was an A or a B at most any other school. But, reality prevailed. I wasn't at another school. If I was going to compete at the school I was at, it was time to use more than high school skills to bring results. Are you applying yourself? Are you as good as you could be to get the raise, the promotion, or the more interesting work? If these are things you want, don't suffer from AIS. Give yourself some Simon-esk feedback. Ego aside. A Simon-esk answer to the questions, "how good are you?" and "are you in the right field?" offers you a chance at becoming happier and more successful at working. The answers give you choices: you can stay the course; find a playing field at your skill level; improve your skills to compete where you are; or change directions. (c) 2004 Nan S. Russell. All rights reserved.
When and How to Say I Just Cant Do It!
We naturally hesitate to tell our boss when we can't do something or are feeling overwhelmed in our job. Bosses don't want to hear that, right? Well, it depends. In many situations, your boss is so busy that he/she doesn't keep track of how much work you're doing. When your boss gives you a new project, he's not thinking about all the other projects you're already working on. And here's the kicker -- unless you speak up and tell your boss that you can't handle the workload he's giving you, he'll assume everything is fine. This can have bad consequences for you AND your boss. You know what will happen. Eventually things will start falling through the cracks or you'll rush through tasks and start making mistakes. You can only do so much in a day, and deadlines will be missed. While you're stressing out, work that your boss needs you to do is NOT being done. When this happens, your boss will not appreciate your excuse: "But I had too much to do, I was overloaded with work!" Saying that AFTER the fact will be much worse than telling your boss up front -- before mistakes occur or deadlines are missed -- that you're having trouble with your workload. It is your responsibility to tell your boss when you are overwhelmed, and there's nothing wrong with doing this. Of course, you don't want to tell your boss, "I can't do that; I'm too busy." But you can say, "I'll be happy to take that on, but I need your help with prioritizing the other projects you've already given me. Which jobs can I put on hold or delegate to someone else while I work on this new one?" That's way better than keeping your mouth shut, trying to do too much, and failing miserably.
Are You an Ex-career Woman Living In a New Country?
Were you once a successful, professional woman who had a significant status level and received adequate remuneration for your work?
Multiple Skills for the 21st Century
(excerpted from The Weekend Seminar - Skills for the 21st Century 1999 Version)
5 Resume Mistakes Telecommuters Often Make
Finding a legit telecommute job can be difficult. Telecommute jobs are in high demand and hundreds if not thousands of other people are competing for the same position.
Hot Business Trends for 2006? And Beyond: Maybe One Will Turn Into a Creative Business Idea for You
I always look forward to the December issue of Entrepreneur magazine. That's the issue that features the publisher's annual pick of hot businesses, markets, and trends for smart entrepreneurs ? or those who aspire to be. Some of the high tech businesses cited like mobile gaming or online learning tend to require six and seven figure start up costs. This can seem daunting (although not impossible) for the person just venturing into self-employment. So I've decided to focus on the markets, trends, and businesses that speak to someone operating on a somewhat more limited budget. Let's start with hot markets: HOT MARKET: Middle-Aged Women Since I've recently entered my last year in my 40s, I thought it only appropriate to start with this group (although like most boomers, I still have a hard time thinking of myself as anything close to "middle aged"). Not surprisingly, products and services for women in their 40s and 50s that center around anti-aging and menopause are hot. The magazine cites such promising areas as counseling, exercise spas, yoga, smoking cessation programs? any product or service that helps women stay healthy and feel good about themselves ? both inside and out. The reference to smoking cessation got me thinking? Residential treatment facilities for other forms of substance abuse are common- place, but I've personally never seen a retreat, spa, or other residential-type place specifically aimed at people who need help quitting smoking, and who would benefit from doing so outside their home environment. I'm picturing morning walks, meditation, massage, support groups, good food, and of course, lots and lots of punching bags! HOT MARKET: Toddlers/Tweens/Teens According to market research firm Packaged Facts, last year 5 to 14 year olds spent $10 billion on food and beverages. Other favorite product areas for kids are sports, fashion, music, and technology. And apparently home décor and remodeling isn't just for adults anymore (who knew?). Stores like IKEA and Pottery Barn are starting to selling home furnishing products aimed at teens. With baby boomers having more discretionary income with which to spoil their grandchildren, babies and toddlers have also become hot markets. Online start-up ELittle Luxuries offers designer baby furniture and more than 600 other upscale baby items. (http://www.eLittleLuxuries.com) HOT MARKET: Overweight People After reading how much kids spend on food and beverages, it's no surprise that 15% of children and teens are overweight. But we adults have them beat. A whopping 64% of Americans are considered obese or overweight. Businesses that offer products and services to help people slim down and develop more healthy habits are the most obvious. But entrepreneurs willing to think outside the "solve the problem" box by looking for ways to make overweight people's lives easier verses trying to fix them, will also do well. HOT MARKET: Metrosexuals With the enormous appeal of stylish soccer super star David Beckham and shows like Bravo's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy where gay men help straight men with fashion, grooming, home décor, and social skills, a growing number of heterosexual men are allowing themselves to tap into their fashionable side. One enterprising guy who jumped into the metrosexual market early has seen phenomenal growth. With $20,000 and a dream, Tom Granese launched Regiments, an online store that sells high-end grooming products for men. Less than two years later, Tom opened his first storefront in Dallas with a projected $210,000 in first year in-store sales. HOT MARKET: Hispanics The Hispanic market is certainly nothing new ? in fact it's made Entrepreneur's list for many years now. The magazine cites opportunities in anything from food and entertainment, to financial services and Web services. Now let's look at two of Entrepreneur's picks for hot trends in 2004? HOT TREND: Outdoor Living Spaces Into gardening or design? According to Joanne Kostecky of the American Nursery & Landscape Association, and president of her own garden design company, the concept of outdoor living rooms that is so popular in the south and some urban areas is beginning to reach the rest of the country. The fact that more consumers are investing in courtyards and elaborate gardens means the gardening and outdoor design businesses are bound to grow! HOT TREND: Fast-Casual Food Health and taste conscious consumers on the go are turning to fast- casual restaurants and chains. In my own small town of Northampton, two of the more popular joints are benefiting from the fast-casual boom. One serves upscale burritos (my favorite is the Thai burritos) and the other is a hip soup, salad, and sandwich joint that opened in a greatly remodeled former Taco Bell restaurant. Idea: Back in my old softball days I always wished someone would cater to all those hungry players and fans by starting a high quality food wagon. Other Hot Trends? Boating and water sports, the hunger for low- carb foods (a trend being taken seriously by restaurants, grocery stores, and food manufacturers), oils and sauces, and multiculturalism which includes the gay and lesbian markets. Hot markets and hot trends lead to hot businesses. Here are some of Entrepreneur's picks? HOT BUSINESS: Children's Enrichment Programs With so many parents in the workforce, more kids than ever before are engaged in extracurricular and after school activities. If you like the idea of working with kids, you can opt to open a physical location like a gym, dance or art studio, or camp, take your program into the schools, or provide private lessons. If you think opening your own place is financially out of reach, think again. While $12,000 is no small sum of money, it's a lot less than a lot of people might expect they'd need to shell out to start their own dance studio. But that's how much former dance student turned instructor Archer Alstaettter dug up in cash and credit cards to found Dance Emotion in Irvine, California. That was five years ago. Today Archer's studio has 500 clients and expects 600-plus to be enrolled by spring. You go Archer! HOT BUSINESS: Home Improvement Remodeling, refurbishing, and redecorating are all the rage. There are some 30 cable shows on home improvement alone. And home improvement isn't all about décor. Worth noting are businesses that help home owners maximize the space they have as well as those making homes more accessible to an aging population. (To read about a unique, highly successful, and legitimate home business opportunity that matches home owners with reputable home repair contractors go to http://www.ChangingCourse.com/hrnsuccess.htm) HOT BUSINESS: Yoga & Pilates According to Entrepreneur, companies are bending over backwards to cater to the growing market of people practicing yoga. Clothes, mats, DVDs, music, and classes aimed at seniors, pregnant women and children as young as three are just a few products and services aimed at this growing market. And with a reported 47 million Americans taking Pilates, a work out that builds abdominal muscles, opportunities abound for gym owners and instructors alike. If you like the idea of teaching Pilates, studio owner Maria Leone recommends starting out by keeping overhead low. She suggests renting space for one-on-one sessions from a small gym or chiropractic office. Fees for a typical Pilates session range from $50 to $70 an hour. Meditate on that! HOT BUSINESS: Upscale Pet Services According to the American Pet Product Manufacturers Association, Americans spent an estimated $31 billion on pets in 2003. A few of the luxury services cited include pet hotels complete with heated floors, limousine rides, day cruises, and personal shoppers. And apparently the spa trend has extended to the pet world with exfoliating treatments, aromatherapy, liposuction (I kid you not), and chiropractic services. HOT BUSINESS: Outsourcing Outsourcing is one of those good new-bad news things. If your job is being eliminated because it's cheaper for your company to outsource functions like HR, accounting, and network security, then outsourcing is a bad thing. Outsourcing is particularly hot in IT ? and when it comes to outsourcing jobs overseas, it's also controversial. The good news for freelancers is the federal government plans to open 850,000 jobs to outsourcing, with $85 billion in federal IT contracts to be awarded over the next three years Other Hot Businesses: Spas, organic foods, online matchmaking, senior care, wireless, tech security, and voiceover IP (VoIP). If you believe as I do that it's better to be the boss, than to have one, why not make 2004 the year you start putting your entrepreneurial plans into action? You don't have to quit your job or mortgage your home to get the ball rolling. You might resolve to do some research, start putting together a business plan, take a course on marketing, glass blowing, woodworking, web design, or whatever sparks your fancy, get certified to teach yoga, buy a book on how to launch a successful on-line business, start a Barbara Sher style Success Team? or just order a subscription to Entrepreneur. If you don't already subscribe to Entrepreneur you can do so at http://www.Entrepreneur.com. The site also features a ton of free resources for anyone who already is ? or dreams of ? working for themselves. For other free resources for people who want to start their own businesses visit http://www.ChangingCourse.com/newbiz.htm Okay, but what if you don't see a trend, market, or business here that speaks to you? Then find the one that does! I had a client who is crazy for horses and photography. It took me all of 30 seconds on Google.com to find a group called the Equine Photographers Network. In addition to their conference this February in Florida, the group offers a free public online discussion group with over 700 members who range from top-of-their-field working pros to amateur photographers to magazine editors and writers to horse owners, all interested in improving their equine photography skill and knowledge. Learn all about the Equine Photographers Network at http://www.EquinePhotographers.net. The way to find the "hottest" business idea for you is to get in touch with the passion that burns the brightest in your heart. Then make 2004 the year resolve to you take those first bold steps on behalf of your dream!
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