Keeping Confident to Ward Off the Workplace Vampire

April 4, 2012


“Workers are drawn to those with an upbeat attitude, especially when challenges emerge, and it can start with you. It’s contagious.”
– Lynn Taylor, author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant   

When you think of a person who is effective and successful at work, likely one of the prominent characteristics that individual possesses is confidence.

Confidence suggests a sense of self empowerment and self-love that is steady despite life’s ups and downs.  Of course, this inner core of self-efficacy in the workplace does not start and end there. Rather, confidence is something a person carries within and is a key ingredient not only in work but in life.

When people are confident in themselves, they contribute to making the workplace a positive environment.  People who are confident bring infectious energy to the workplace, as opposed to workplace vampires – those who suck the energy out of the workplace by negativity and drama and can make the workplace tedious.  Workplace vampires tend to blame others for making them feel the way they do instead of taking responsibility. They have little self-reflection towards their poor attitude, and focus on what is wrong rather than what is going well ( as they tend to find fault in everything).  Workplace Vampires tend to be judgmental while lacking insight into themselves. Despite the insensitivity such people display to to others, they are exquisitely sensitive to injustices done to them.

But the paradox does not end there.  Rather, the confident and righteous persona is underscored with emotional fragility and confusion.  To add insult to injury, the individual is so well defended that they have no clue they are that way.  And if they do have a shred of insight into their problems, they are masterful at shifting responsibility and blame their problems on others anyway!

It is important to note that workplace vampires are not bad people – they are unhealthy and no one really means to be unhealthy.  Such individuals lack insight into themselves and spend more time judging others rather than understanding themselves. Ironically, despite their insensitivity, they are often indignant that they do not feel supported at work and their lack of emotional sensitivity and insight puts them on the defensive.

Obviously, the humanly tragic plight of a workplace vampire  does not start and stop in the workplace.  Rather, such behavior is an extension of a greater emotional crippling in the fabric of their personalities, and their real victims are themselves.

So even though the general reaction to the workplace vampire is one of avoidance and anger, remember that no one means to be a workplace vampire. No matter how old they are chronologically, emotionally they are young and stuck in a more emotionally primitive state.  Their own immaturity prevents them from being more positive and “spreading the love.” Keep in mind that workplace vampires are really human – and unhappy humans at that. People who are filled with judgmental and negative thoughts are not happy campers. They are caught in a spiral where problems beget more problems!

Confident people, on the other hand, are more solution-focused instead of being problem-focused.  They remain positive even in face of adversity, and take responsibility of what they can change rather than focus on what they can’t change. Rather than tending to blame others when things go wrong, they size up a situation and focus on what they can do to make things better. In essence, confident people are more resilient and bounce back better from setbacks at work and in life.  All too often people think that being positive means you follow the mantra “Don’t Worry – Be Happy!”  That is far from the truth.  You can still be positive even if you are expressing dissatisfaction, with the goal to find a solution in hopes that things can get better.  Expressing concerns (and even feelings of upset and anger) with the hope that things can improve is positive – not negative.

Thus, keep in mind that expressing negative feelings is not vampire-like if the goal is to be an agent of change to make things better. But keep in mind that you must direct change not through complaining. With this type of attitude, you will not only be an agent of change and a role model for resilience to others, you will also increase your own confidence and sense of empowerment no matter what comes your way.

Improving your own confidence and self awareness will make you more resilient to the workplace vampire and will ensure that you will not get bitten with those fangs and become one yourself!

Article is by Judy Belmont

Now, Do You Have Any Questions?

March 28, 2012


“Who is that hot babe in the picture?” isn’t the type of reply an interviewer expects to hear when he or she invites you to ask questions near the end of an interview. In fact, the way you approach the Q&A session will have a direct impact on the interviewer’s perception of you. Based on the questions you ask, a judgment will be made in regard to how interested you seem to be in working for the company.

For this reason, when you are forming questions ask yourself, What do I need to know about the company in order to determine if this is the workplace for me? How you answer this question depends on the career values that are important to you, and therefore, there isn’t a right or wrong answer. That said, make sure that you do not ask the “What’s-in-it-for me?” type question. Though questions regarding salary, benefits, and vacation time are valid, the place to broach those topics is when an offer is on the table, not before.


Are there any plans for a corporate merger or outsourcing initiatives?

When a merger or outsourcing happens, layoffs follow. Before you accept a position, you should inquire about the direction the company is taking. Many candidates are under the misconception that only failing companies downsize. In truth, no matter how stable they are, companies are always looking to cut costs.

How closely do my qualifications match the requirements for the open position?

Two things can happen when you ask this question. (1) The interviewer can affirm that your experience, skills and abilities are a perfect fit. Needless to say, if that is the interviewer’s response, you have a good shot at landing a job offer. (2) The interviewer may divulge that the company is looking to hire someone with more experience in XYZ. Believe it or not, if this occurs it can work out to your advantage because you have another opportunity to sell yourself.

How long has this position been open?

If the interviewer reveals that the position has been open for three months, you can ask a follow-up question such as, “It is obvious that the company is taking its time in finding the right candidate, and there must have been qualified candidates that have interviewed. What would you say they were lacking that an offer wasn’t extended?” In asking this follow-up question, you will find out exactly what the interviewer is looking for and you can adapt your responses to meet the company’s specific needs.

Are promotions based on seniority or accomplishments?

Some companies still hold on to the old-school mentality where old-timers, no matter their accomplishments or lack thereof, are offered an opportunity to move up the ladder before a new hire gets the same opportunity. You deserve to know that if you put 110% in your work, you will be rewarded accordingly.

If you could change one thing about how this company functions, what would it be?

Just as you are not perfect, neither is a company. Interviewers are aware of this fact and therefore, during the interview process they do their best to sell the organization as a great place to go to every day. It is part of your job to uncover everything about the hiring organization – the good, the bad, and everything in between.


Well-thought-out, clear, and intelligent questions are the ones that leave a positive impression with the listener. Take the time to evaluate what is important to you and form questions around those issues.

Article by Linda Matias

Your Resume Should Have Character

March 20, 2012


The notion that employers are only interested in where you have been and where you are heading is pure nonsense. Experienced hiring managers take into account both your experience and your character. After all, in the end, they are hiring a human being, not a robot. Still, many believe that personal attributes just take up space and make the resume “fluffy.”

After reading countless job descriptions that make it a point to mention personal characteristics and speaking directly with hiring managers on this specific topic, I’ve come to realize that it’s not the inclusion of personal attributes that make resumes superficial. It’s how the characteristics are presented that is the cause of concern. In this article, I will focus on the top three characteristics employers seek (good communication skills, honesty, and a strong work ethic) and discuss how you can seamlessly integrate them into your resume. Now let’s get started.

Print out your resume and take a look at it. If you find that you carelessly threw some of the characteristics mentioned above in your resume without making supporting statements to back them up, then the reader will question the sincerity of your claims.

Here’s an example of a superficial sentence: “Possess a strong work ethic and recognized for the ability to deliver results.” Although the sentence covers attributes employers seek, the sentence needs to be spiced up.

For example, a more compelling sentence is: “Demonstrated record of consistent performance and ability to establish strong presence within global markets (e.g. China, Italy, Sweden), generating 6- and 7-figure revenue gains.”

Notice the difference? In the original sentence, the declaration didn’t carry much weight. Simply stating you have certain characteristics doesn’t make it so. The reader will be scratching his or her head and thinking, “Oh yeah? Prove it.”

The revised sentence takes a different approach. Instead of stating personal characteristics outright, the sentence demonstrates results; therefore the reader can deduce that the candidate has all the right characteristics. This will leave the reader thinking, “Interesting stuff. I’ll put this candidate in the must-call pile.”

Presentation is Everything
The way the resume is structured, organized, and written also alludes to your personal characteristics. Using actual client stories and the top three characteristics employers seek, I’ll discuss common mistakes jobseekers make in the presentation of their resumes.

Poor Communication Skills Are a Real Killer: Bryan was extremely qualified for all the positions he applied for, but he was receiving no bites. After careful review of his resume, I noticed that although he claimed to be an excellent communicator, he failed to communicate his value. It was obvious the resume was homespun and lacked the finesse needed to garner the attention of hiring managers. He was under the impression that once he received an interview, he would be able to communicate exactly why he was qualified for the position. Unfortunately, he never received that chance.

Lesson learned: Simply writing “strong communication skills” isn’t going to be enough to convince a decision maker that you can successfully interact with others. A hiring manager is going to look to your resume as verification of your claims; and if you aren’t able to effectively put two sentences together, they are going to question not only your communication skills but also your ability to do the job.

A Question of Integrity: During a client-intake session with Amanda, a recent college graduate, she told me her current job title was “Director of External Public Relations.” I couldn’t help but think that was an impressive title for a 22-year-old. After prodding a little, I discovered the real story. It just so happens that this particular client worked for her aunt in a two-person office and there were occasions when she wrote press releases and spoke to reporters regarding the latest company happenings.

Though she did participate in public relation activities, the title of Director of External Public Relations was a bit of a stretch. An employer would have had the same reaction I did. He or she would have doubted her claims and as a result, wouldn’t have bothered calling her in for an interview.

Lesson Learned: Your resume has to be believable. If an employer has any inkling you are being deceitful, your resume will go in the trash. And even if you are able to get through the resume review and interview process with half-truths, be warned: once hired, you will be expected to deliver.

When a Strong Work Ethic Doesn’t Work: Even though he had five different jobs within three years, Patrick insisted on including that he had a strong work ethic in his resume. He claimed that his job-hopper image was unjust since he left each job because it wasn’t the right job for him. He insisted that when he found the right job, he would definitely be committed.

After careful review of his personal characteristics, we agreed that there were other personal characteristics he could use that would make him just as employable as the phrase “strong work ethic;” phrases that wouldn’t leave the reader with the feeling that he was trying to pull one over on them.

Lesson Learned: In a resume, leverage what you have to offer and don’t try to sell yourself as something you are not. Your resume should answer questions for hiring managers, not leave lingering doubts.

Final Thought
Integrating personal characteristics in your resume will make the resume reader-friendly and allow the reader to visualize you in the position.

Article by Linda Matias

The Three Cs to Getting Any Job

March 13, 2012


There are three Cs to getting the kind of job you want and earning the kind of money you want to earn. These three Cs basically remain constant throughout your working career.

They are contacts, credibility, and competence.

First, the more contacts you have in the marketplace, the more likely it is you will find the job you want. The more people you know and who know you, the more likely it is you will uncover one of the 85 percent or more of job openings that are never listed anywhere.

This is why it is so important for you to network continually. Join clubs and associations. Ask people for referrals and references. Tell your friends, relatives, and associates that you are in the market for a new job. Make sure that everyone you know is aware that you are available and looking for a job.

Nothing is more important than your circle of contacts. The great majority of jobs that are filled in the hidden job market are filled because someone knows someone. And you can expand your range of contacts just by telling people that you are available and asking for their help and their advice.

Your Reputation Is Important

The second C is credibility. This is made up of your reputation and your character. Your credibility is the most important single quality about you in terms of getting recommendations and referrals from your contacts.

Make sure that everything you do is consistent with the highest ethical standards. Make sure that you never say or do anything that could be misconstrued by anyone as anything other than excellent conduct and behavior.

Remember, people will only recommend you for a job opening if they are completely confident that they will not end up looking foolish as a result of something you do or say.

Be Good at What You Do

The third C is competence. In the final analysis it is how good you are and how good you have been in your previous jobs that will determine, more than anything else, how good you can be at the job under consideration. Next to your character, your level of competence will be the single most important factor in determining your success in your career. This is why you must be continually working to maintain and upgrade your levels of competence through personal study all your working life.

The Seven Qualities Most in Demand

Every employer has had a certain amount of experience with both good and bad employees. For this reason every employer has a pretty good idea of what he or she wants more of. Here are the big seven:

  1. The first quality that employers look for is intelligence. In every study, it has been found that fully 76 percent of the productivity and contribution of an employee will be determined by his or her level of intelligence. Intelligence in this sense means the ability to plan, to organize, to set priorities, to solve problems, and to get the job done. Intelligence refers to your level of common sense and your practical ability to deal with the day-to-day challenges of the job. The key to demonstrating your intelligence is for you to ask intelligent questions. One of the hallmarks of intelligence that is immediately evident is curiosity. The more you ask good questions and listen to the answers, the smarter you appear.
  2. The second quality sought by employers is leadership ability. Leadership is the willingness and the desire to accept responsibility for results. It’s the ability to take charge, to volunteer for assignments, and to accept accountability for achieving the required results of those assignments. The mark of the leader is that he or she does not make excuses. You demonstrate your willingness to be a leader in the organization by offering to take charge of achieving company goals and then committing yourself to performing at high levels.
  3. Integrity is the third quality sought by employers. It’s probably the most important single quality for long-term success in life and at work. Integrity begins by being true to yourself. This means that you are perfectly honest with yourself and in your relationships with others. You are willing to admit your strengths and weaknesses. You are willing to admit where you have made mistakes in the past. Especially, you demonstrate loyalty. You never say anything negative about a previous employer or a person whom you have worked with or for. Even if you were fired from a previous job, never say anything negative or critical.
  4. The fourth quality that employers look for is likability. Employers like people who are warm, friendly, easygoing, and cooperative with others. Employers are looking for people who can join the team and be part of the work family. Men and women with good personalities are invariably more popular and more effective at whatever they do. Teamwork is the key to business success. Your experience in working as part of a team in the past and your willingness to work as part of a team in the future can be among the most attractive things about you in applying for a job.
  5. Competence is the fifth quality sought by employers. We spoke about this earlier. Competence is terribly important to your success. It is really the foundation of everything that happens to you in your career. In its simplest terms, competence is the ability to get the job done. It is the ability to set priorities, to separate the relevant from the irrelevant tasks, and then to concentrate single-mindedly until the job is complete.
  6. Courage is the sixth quality that employers look for. This is the willingness to take risks. Courage also means the willingness to accept challenges, the willingness to take on big jobs or even new jobs where there is a high degree of uncertainty and the possibility of failure. Courage also means the willingness to speak up and say exactly what you think and feel in a difficult situation. Employers admire men and women who are not afraid to speak their minds. And you demonstrate this in a job interview when you ask frank and direct questions about the company, the position, and the future that you might have with the organization
  7. The final quality employers look for is inner strength. Inner strength means that you have the determination and the ability to persevere in the face of adversity. Inner strength means that you have the quality of persistence when the going gets rough. You demonstrate inner strength when you remain calm, cool, and relaxed during the job interview. If you are calm and cool during the interview, it is a good indication that you will be calm and cool in the inevitable crises that occur during the day-to- day operations of the company.

Above all, it is your character, which is the sum total of all your positive qualities, that will have the greatest impact on whether you get the job you want. Your job now is to continue working on your character by practicing the behaviors of top people at every opportunity.

Article by Mike Vardy

(Editor’s Note: The above article is an excerpt from Brian Tracy’s new book, “Earn What You’re Really Worth: Maximize Your Income at Any Time in Any Market”. Brian Tracy’s extensive personal studies in business, sales, management, marketing, and economics enabled him to move up to become the head of a $265 million company before he turned his attention to consulting, training, and personal development. For more information on the author, please visit his website and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.)

Are You Cut Out for Management?

February 29, 2012


If you’re offered a promotion to manager, you might be tempted to shout, “Yes!” with visions of bigger paychecks and more power dancing in your head. But not everyone has the qualities of a good manager and not everyone would enjoy being in a management role. A rigorous self-assessment can prevent you from becoming an “accidental manager,” which is why management experts suggest asking yourself several questions before pursuing a management job:

Can You Plan, Organize, Lead or Control?
You should excel in at least one of these management areas, according to Jill Brown, professor of management at Lehigh University. “Those who are good at planning are proactive, critical thinkers who can view multiple aspects of something,” she says. “Those who can organize can delegate the correct mix of decentralized and centralized decision making. Those who are good at leading tend to be extroverts with good communication skills and an ability to manage group settings. But it’s the rare person who can do it all.”

Do You Have an Open Mind?
If you can view things from many angles and constantly deal with change, experts say you have one of the most important (and hardest-to-teach) management skills.

Can You Support Company Goals?
Experts agree that a good manager internalizes the mission of the organization and encourages others to get behind it.

Can You Help the Company Change?
Rigid compliance to company rules can do more harm than good if the rules no longer make sense, says Michael Greaney, director of research at the Center for Economic and Social Justice in Washington, DC. “The response of the good manager is not to break the rule, but to get it changed and, in the meantime, help others comply with even the ridiculous rule as far as humanly possible,” he says.

Are You Good at Tasks and People Management?
“If a manager is too heavily focused on tasks and goals, their team members become disillusioned; too heavily focused on people and everyone feels rudderless,” says Barbara Roche, executive coach and lecturer in leadership communication at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

Can You Listen?
Great managers don’t just dictate orders. “Great managers learn to listen first — and that means learning to resist imposing an opinion until several views are heard,” says Atlanta-based leadership and workplace coach Darcy Eikenberg.

What Is Your Temperament?
Experts agree that many types of temperaments — reserved, outgoing, detail-oriented, big picture — can all succeed in management jobs. However, consistency in how you interact with others is important so employees know what to expect, experts say. And because you’ll have to deal with conflict on a regular basis, a hot temper or a compulsion to be loved by everyone will hurt your chances of success in management.

Don’t Have What It Takes (Yet)?
If you’ve surveyed your abilities carefully and find your management skills lacking (but you still want the job), there are several things you can do:

·         Get On-the-Job Training: Test the management waters and stretch your own skills by volunteering to lead projects in your current job. This can be as simple as asking to lead a small, undesirable project or taking the initiative in organizing department members to reach a specific goal.

·         Undertake Some Self-Study: Kathi Elster, co-author of Working with You Is Killing Me, says you can learn many managerial skills in university or community-college classes or even in weekend seminars. “You don’t have to have all of the skills and traits of a good manager,” she says. “You have to have the desire to learn how to be a good manager.”

·         Find a Good Mentor: A mentor can honestly tell you how to improve your skill set to land management jobs or advise you on channeling your skills into a more fulfilling career that may or may not involve management.

If a management job is not right for you, that doesn’t mean career stagnation. Experts say if you’re very good at what you’re doing and want to keep doing it, you should politely decline an offer to manage others. But you can — and should — ask for raises, learn new technologies and expand your skill set.

Article by Larry Buhl


Adjust to Your New Job

February 21, 2012


Your first week at a new job is supposed to be exciting — the start of the next adventure in your career — and you’ve been looking forward to doing something different. Perhaps you’ve made a shift into a new kind of business, leaping from law to finance or from a technology firm to a medical practice.

Whatever the case, starting a new job means you may be confronted with a range of challenges that might include new software or a fresh operating system. You’re sure you’re up to it, but suddenly you’re faced with a learning curve that seems as steep as Mount Everest.

Don’t panic. Remember those first days on your last job. You probably felt just as nervous, but after awhile, all those intimidating tasks became second nature. Here are some tips to get you over the mountain.

Ask Questions
Bosses sometimes expect employees to be psychic, but it’s best to ask about expectations up front. In today’s work world, with more and more workers reporting to multiple bosses, remember that different people may have different preferences.

You also may be assigned a particular person, a supervisor or coworker, to whom questions should be addressed. However, in many offices, no one person holds all the answers or is always available. Therefore, it pays to identify your best sources for questions on different topics. If you’re on a team where each person’s tasks are similar, you may have lots of people to choose from. Other information sources could include IT specialists for computer matters, mailroom clerks for shipping instructions and human resources personnel for protocol questions. Let everyone know you’re the new kid on the block, and ask them to take the lead and guide you.

But Be Sure the Time Is Right
In a really busy office, you may begin to feel like your constant questions are becoming annoying. Pay attention to what others are up to before you interrupt with a question. Consider their body language and tone of voice. Does your coworker or boss appear harried or in the middle of something? If yes, can the question wait? Can you drop that task and work on another until a more convenient time? Consider going to another source or accumulating multiple questions so you only have to bother the person once. Ask for a convenient time to set up an appointment, or email questions so they can be answered easily when convenient.

Take Notes
This may seem like a no-brainer, but the trick to ramping up at a new job is accessing information when you need it. Make sure your how-to instructions and various lists are well-organized. If your job requires some moving around, it’s no good to have a helpful Post-it back on your bulletin board. Use a portable notebook or accordion folder with labeled dividers that you can even take home for review.

Ask for Examples
If you’re not sure how to fill out a form or craft a document, ask for an example you can keep on file. File these samples in your notebook or folder as well.

Sign Up for Classes
Many companies offer complimentary courses to help employees get up to speed on a variety of tasks, from software to customer service to specialty skills such as medical coding. Ask your supervisor for a list of available classes, an increasing number of which may be online or on CD-ROM for independent study. Many large firms post class descriptions and schedules on their intranets. Also, check software for tutorials, explore “help” sections and sift through manuals.

Finally, don’t forget to take a deep breath. Your new workplace has factored in time for the learning curve. When filling a key spot in a fast-paced environment, you may feel pressured to catch up quickly. But if you do new tasks too fast, you’re liable to make mistakes. If you’re concerned about taking too long, talk to your supervisor and communicate your appreciation of the importance of getting tasks done correctly.

Article by Anya Martin


Three Questions to Ask Yourself About A New Job Offer

February 8, 2012


The offer letter hits your email or your desk. Panic washes over you. You sit for a moment and hope that the grass will truly be greener on the other side of the fence and that the new job will more than deliver on all the things you want to get out of it.

For many of us, deciding to leave an old job and moving on to a new one can be terrifying. Despite doing the homework on the company, many times you’re still walking into a lot of unknowns. What can look good on paper can be a pain in real life.

While we’ve covered the topic of things to consider when looking for a new job, I wanted to break it down a bit more on the specific things to think about when deciding whether to accept the offer, begin negotiating or stick it out in your current position.

Let’s assume that if you’ve gone through the hoops of looking for a new job, applying and going on interviews, you’re not terribly happy where you currently work. But sometimes restlessness can lead to reckless abandon when your job-search strategy is based on “Get me the hell out of here” versus true career advancement.

For some people, accepting the offer is a no-brainer. But these three questions can help you logically (and non-emotionally) evaluate the position:

1. Does this advance my skills/knowledge?

The new position you’ve just been offered is great. But it’s a lateral move – same money, similar benefits, similar position with nearly identical responsibilities and tasks. Oftentimes we’re so blinded by just wanting to leave a place that we don’t see we’re accepting the same role we currently have. In some cases, just looking for a clean slate in perhaps a different industry or work environment is acceptable, but be careful about starting a pattern of job-hopping when you get restless in your role.

If you’re not moving up or advancing in some way, is the job worth taking? Think about it – all the on-boarding, getting up to speed to learn new company nuances, having to earn your way into every meeting and project all over again. Some get excited about the promise of starting fresh, but if you have invested years into your current job and find yourself bored, I suggest you start thinking about what you can do at your current company and presenting projects you care about to your boss or senior leadership. By taking control of the situation, you’ll be more invested in the outcome. And let’s face it – it feels good when other people start recognizing your initiative and great ideas.

In the case of you wanting to get out of a bad work environment, don’t just abandon the time you’ve invested in a current position. If you’ve been there two-three years or more, consider exploring internal opportunities if you just want to move laterally.

2. Will this match my current lifestyle?

Once you address whether or not the new job advances your skills, often the next step is seeing if you’ll get a significant pay increase or a better title. When those factors come into play, you need to consider what the unwritten agreement is in accepting the offer. Chances are if you’re ready to move up in your career, you know that you’ll be dedicating more time toward your job. That means your hours may extend beyond the typical eight-hour workday.

If you roll up into management, you become an agent of the company and are therefore more accountable and responsible for your actions and the actions of your team (assuming you oversee individuals). If you’re used to just being responsible for yourself and being a rock star, the transition to management may be more challenging and something you’ll have to diligently focus on in order to succeed.

In some instances, the offered salary may be less than what you make now. You’ll need to weigh whether that will affect your bills, groceries, transit, etc. It’s also important to consider whether the new position will impact your overall commute: Is the job farther away? Do you have to pay for parking? Will you have to travel more, and what implications does that have on your family and personal relationships?

There are many things to consider, and it comes down to a personal choice of what small sacrifices you’ll accept in order to advance in your career.

3. Does this fit my long-term career path?

If the position does offer advancement opportunities and is a match for your lifestyle, the last thing to consider is how this role fits into your overall career path. The reason I bring up this point is because sometimes we can’t see the forest through the trees. If your goal is to get into IT and be the CIO of a company, then make sure the offer on the table can be a stepping stone to achieving this goal. If you are taking a job that’s partially IT and partially customer service, understand how that will impact your career goals and whether it’s worth tackling.

As in point number one, sometimes it’s best to stay in your current role but make a better situation out of it. Have a one-on-one with your manager and bring a list of ideas and projects that you want to work on that extend beyond your role. If you’re passionate about your career, you’ll do the work upfront with the knowledge that it’s going to pay off later, versus trying to find a better-paying job today that may lead you astray from your career goals.

This is always a good question to end with, because it makes you come back to the idea of, “What is my career path?” By posing this question to yourself, you’ll be more proactive in your career decisions during each and every job.

by: Justin Thompson

Holiday Job Hunting: No Better Time Than Now, Really

November 30, 2011


Ask around. Most of the incumbent career coaches are going to tell you that job hunting gets tough in December. They say that decisions don’t get made, recruiters are slacking off, budgets are slamming shut and interviewers are glazing over. The ‘end of the year slump’ is like most of the other down times in the hiring cycle.

It’s an illusion. Believe it and you’ll relax your efforts. That’s the very stuff of which self-fulfilling prophesies are made.

It’s an illusion. Refuse to believe it and you’ll discover a world of decision makers with a little bit of time on their hands. There are openings if you’ll just take advantage of them.

Great executives lead by example. That means that the exact kind of people you’d love to work with are in their offices on days like the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Most of the people in their organisations are working at half speed so they are alone in the office with time on their hands. They’re busy setting examples and have no scheduled meetings.

There is no better time to get your story in front of them.

As always, the only trick to a successful job hunt is knowing what you want. As you reach out to the leaders you hope to work for, keep the following things in mind.

  1. Keep your message short and clear. Practice describing your goal until you can say it in under a minute. When you get your next boss on the phone, you need to be flawless.
  2. Find their phone number in advance. Use LinkedIn to identify the people you want to talk to. They are the managers of the groups you hope to work in. Find their phone numbers by calling into the company and asking for them by name (preferably after hours).
  3. Send your resume, on paper, in advance. Address it to the attention of the person you are going to call.
  4. Begin your call with a solid value opener. “I know you are working on X and I am in a position to really help”. You’ll know what X is by looking at their LinkedIn profile.
  5. Tell them what you want to do. 60 seconds. Max.
  6. Offer a money back guarantee. “Let me come into the office. I’ll work for a week. Then, let’s talk about whether or not you want to hire me. If you don’t, I won’t charge you.”
  7. Be persistent.

The holiday season can be the perfect time to look for work. They’re not so busy, you’re not so busy.

Article by John Sumser, founder and editor-in-chief of HRExaminer


Frequently Asked Questions by Job-Seekers

November 15, 2011

Every day we receive numerous phone enquiries from job seekers of all ages and nationalities. Out of all the questions asked, we have noticed some questions which are asked on an almost daily basis. In this blog post, we will list down the most commonly asked questions and answer them for you!faq

Some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that we have received include:
- I’m looking for a job. How can I start?
- What happens after I have registered with Adecco?
- I applied for a job online. Why hasn’t the personnel consultant contacted me yet?
- If my resume is being presented to a client, am I guaranteed an interview?
- Can Adecco apply for a work pass for me?

First and foremost, you will need to visit the Adecco website at and register yourself as a candidate. This will ensure that your resume goes into our system and is viewable by all Adecco personnel consultants in Singapore – so you may be considered for any suitable opportunities that we have based on your profile.

 After the registration process, you can look through the job postings and apply online for any jobs you are interested in. For iPhone/iPad users, you’d be glad to know we have a free iPhone App which you can download here – The Adecco Singapore iPhone application is a premier tool to search for jobs in Singapore, locate branches and get the best career news content on the web!

Once we have found a job match for your profile, we will give you a call and brief you about the job opportunity. After which you are agreeable, we will send your CV to the potential employer and arrange for you to attend an interview with them if you are shortlisted.

Due to the large volume of applications received each day, please note that only shortlisted applicants will be notified within 14 days. While we present to our clients the profiles of candidates that match closest to the job description given to us, our clients make the final decision on whether they will like to grant you an interview or not.

If you are a foreigner and require an employment pass to work in Singapore, you/your employer can apply directly to the Ministry of Manpower to obtain a work pass via this link:

Do you have any other questions? Send them to!

Tips on Interpreting Job Postings

November 9, 2011

Article by Nathan Newberger, Managing Editor of


Job postings are available in many formats and if you are not careful, you may eliminate yourself as a possible applicant by not interpreting the job posting for what it really conveys.

This career article by Nathan Newberger offers four tips on finding the deeper meaning of job advertisements. Learning how to interpret these four components of job postings is the first step to successfully applying for them:
1. Experience Required
2. Salary Required
3. Organisational Skills Required
4. Proficiency Required

The single most common requirement stated in job advertisements is experience. Some positions require no experience at all, while others might require 1-2 years of experience, while the most senior positions might require 10 or more years of experience! These numbers can be very intimidating, but the right approach can make a difference. When thinking about the experience required by a job, consider these three options:
• Work experience is NOT just typical jobs. Internships, volunteer work, and clubs are all valid forms of experience. Any learning opportunity is considered work experience.
• Tailor your resume to fit the job description. If an advertisement says that a position requires 3 years of experience in sales, make sure your resume highlights the fact that you have 3 years of experience in sales.
• Not meeting experience requirements does not take you out of the running. More than anything, companies want good employees. Between your resume and your cover letter, if you can persuade a company to think you are diligent and quick to learn new skills, you have a good shot at the job.

In addition to a resume, many job advertisements ask that you submit your “minimum salary required.” This request strikes fear in the hearts of the timid. If you give too high a salary, a company may not be interested in you. If you give too low a salary, you may not be able to make ends meet financially.

When you are caught in this dilemma, you have two options:
• Many times you can get by just saying that your salary requirement is “negotiable” without giving a specific number. Putting off salary negotiations until you actually have the job is a good stress reliever.
• Call the employer anonymously to get information. If a specific number is absolutely necessary, provide a salary range.

Anytime a job advertisement makes a point to mention “organizational skills” or “communication skills”, the employer actually wants to know three things: do you get the job done on time, do you do the job correctly, and do you work well in teams. Now if employers were that direct, job hunting wouldn’t be so difficult.

• Since life just isn’t that easy, you have to be sure to answer the secret questions you are being asked:
• Be sure to incorporate your ability in working with deadlines and working on team projects into your resume. Your resume creates the first image an employer will have of you. That image must be what the employer is looking for.
• Employers love multi-tasking. Convey the fact that you had many responsibilities at previous jobs, and you always succeeded.
• Don’t beat around the bush. Explicit examples are always good. If they do not fit in your resume, work them into your cover letter. Otherwise, be sure to mention them in your interview.

Besides the generic traits that employers like to see in applicants for any position, job advertisements will make statements about specific skills related to a specific job. It seems that the most favorite description to use is “proficiency in”. Other popular descriptors are “command of” and “working knowledge of”. These phrases might be used to describe understanding of software, industry expertise, etc. They all mean the same thing, but many people don’t realize what that is.

Whenever you see specific skill requirements and wonder whether or not you meet them, consider these issues:
• Certain skills have official certifications. If you have an official certification, be sure it is on your resume.
• Being proficient means being comfortable using something on a day-to-day basis and being able to answer simple questions about it.
• When it comes to languages, there is a difference between being fluent and understanding most things. There is no shame in saying you have a “conversational” understanding.
• If the same skills continue to pop-up in job postings, it may be time for you to acquire them.

Perhaps job advertisements are not as direct as they should be. Nonetheless, there is now an industry standard on how to write them. It’s up to you to be able to read them correctly. The language may be a little tricky, but it is not impossible to understand. These tips should give you a good starting point for tackling new job advertisements that come your way. Keep them in mind, because deciphering the language of a job advertisement will put you a step ahead of everyone else.

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