I love my job and my boss can be a hard charger, but also a mentor. I had drinks with her a few times after work and she is very interesting. I enjoy her company outside of work (by the way I am also female no intimate issues), but I am wondering, can this hurt me in the long run?
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Clean Closet Creates Choice. That’s right Ladies and Gents. It’s that time of year when spring cleaning becomes the dreaded and daunting task we think it will be, unless…you de-clutter your surroundings. Statistics show that a clean an uncluttered environment is a key factor in being able to concentrate and create a more stress free life and I couldn’t agree more. Each season I de-clutter and organize my closet. I pack up clothes and shoes from the previous season and put the shoes in plastic lid containers and the clothes in space bags and then in plastic lid containers to keep them free of odor and mildew. When I store the previous season, I take out the new season and it feels like going on a shopping spree! My closet is organized by size, color and category e.g. work suits and blouses, casual, etc.
The advantage is that I can get ready quicker, with virtual ease because the colors and categories are in order and it reduces the redundancy factor that most people feel when they think they have nothing to wear. For instance, if I have two pair of black slacks and I’ve fluctuated in size, I typically have one size bigger (or smaller if you’re a glass half full type) to accommodate the change in size. When I travel this is also very important so I can pack light and have the variety I need to adjust fire according to the weather.
For items that I may never use again, I give them to charity and I also created a program called, My Sister’s Closet. It gives me a chance to share my fashion sense with other women, reduce debt from shopping and AGAIN, it’s like a shopping spree with an added bonus of spending time with my girlfriends.
Gentlemen, a note here for you. Whether you have a $99 or $500 suit, please have it tailored. Purchase multiple shirts and ties to accommodate the suit and keep your shoes freshly soled and polished at all times. There is nothing more attractive and beneficial to your career than your appearance, so take pride in it.
Clean. Closet. Creates. Choices. So, go shopping in the comfort of your home and in the endless possibilities of your own personal boutique, your very own closet.
Ok, so you’ve tweaked your resume to fit the positions you are applying for and you have changed it from chronological to functional and back again. You’ve continued your education in your field and received additional certifications and accreditations. You’ve had several other people lay a second set of eyes on your resume and you’ve even had a few, yet far in between telephone calls from HR indicating employers are interested in you. But, wait. Where are the follow-up phone calls, or an interview or two, why aren’t you being selected as THE candidate? What do employers want? Why isn’t it you? How are they qualifying applicants? Is it you? Is it the system? Who is to blame that you are not being offered positions? What more can you do?
Probably nothing when it comes to your resume, but you may need to go the extra mile and start taking your resume on the road. Statistically, more employment opportunities are found when applicants take the resume, along with a curriculum vitae (CV), a shorter more specifically targeted biographical resume on the road, even to networking events. Talking to recruiters, HR personnel and people who have hiring decision-making authority or have access to decision makers, may in fact be a more effective way of identifying, sourcing and finding the positions you’re seeking. It cuts the middle programs, (aka keyword search systems via Applicant Tracking System-ATS) out the middle to some extent, by allowing principles to directly qualify and quantify your skill set and become an intercessory on your behalf to sell you as an eligible and much sought after candidate.
Gone are the days when you should spend countless hours on the internet and job search engines looking for work. Looking for work now means go out and “look.” Many people aren’t comfortable going out to events and telling people they are looking for work, but studies show that many opportunities are not announced, so these chances are lost because people looking do not want to go out and let anyone know they are looking for work. It’s neither smart nor practical to stay behind the keyboard, if you want results, go beyond the resume, get out there, and let everyone and anyone know. I’m here. I’m looking for work. I’m available and ready!
How many of us know someone who is great at “playing the game of work?” These are the people who socialize, high five, stand at the water cooler, keep the coffee brewing so they can stir up trouble, keep up or start the grapevine and the only thing they excel at is getting nothing done while earning the benefit that comes with plying the game of work. These people MUST be called out! For all those people who come to work, TO WORK, get it done in 8 hours only to have more stuff to do tomorrow because the chatty and ever unaccounted for non-working folk aren’t pulling their fair share, I APPLAUD YOU! But, that applause is on the condition of speaking up and out regarding these types of people. This is not high school where being cute, or popular or most likely to succeed is the order of the day. It’s time to take it to human resources and put it on the record that if I have to perform my duties to get paid, they do too! I challenge you to shake up and shake out the people whose sole purpose is to show up and do nothing every day. Work is a privilege, as well as a right and it is wrong to stand by and talk about it, moan about it and do NOTHING about it! So, show up and show out and let these worker slugs know that their success at “playing the game of work” is over! Check and mate!
The Basics of Resume Branding is very important, so to demonstrate my mantra, here are a few quick facts about the resume and how some HR professionals see it.
1. Resumes are living documents and should be tweaked to the position for which you are applying.
2. Most organizations use some sort of automated Applicant Tracking System (applicant processing), translation…resumes are read by computers looking for keywords within the resume to qualify the candidate.
3. Once the resumes have been placed in a repository for selected candidates, most HR professionals don’t start by looking for the most qualified because that’s always a much smaller pile. We start by looking by ruling out the least qualified to decrease the pile to simplify and decrease the time spent reviewing the candidate pool.
4. Simply ways to rule you out? From top to bottom.
a. Email addresses of a sordid nature.
b. Spelling and grammar errors.
c. Unreliable (or soft) information (e.g. personality traits in lieu of skill and proficiency).
d. Changing fonts.
e. Job Jumping (can’t hold a position).
f. Sketchy or unclear information.
g. Tense changes. Past stays in past, current in present.
h. Inconsistent format. What you start with (e.g. bullets, fonts, periods) end with so the resume format is strong.
5. Resumes should be two pages in length and should only contain relevant information that is applicable to the position you are seeking (see related article “Another Resume Story). We do not need to know that you went to beauty college if you are applying for an IT position (unless you worked on an IT system as a part of the job).
6. Please send a cover letter with your resume and nothing else unless asked.
7. Bring the cream to the top. Translation, what have you done for your employers? Have you developed, created, designed, implemented, achieved, supervised, managed, etc.?
8. I use something called CQTR, Cost, Quantifiable Data (metrics), Time and Result. Have you saved the employer any money? Did you streamline a process? How long did the process take and what was the result? Don’t make the employer guess why you are an asset; tell them how you will be an asset!
9. Know what type of resume you have and what type you need. Chronological is the most commonly used, but may not be the best fit.
10. Summarize your qualifications out the gate. If the bulk of what qualifies you is on page one, chances are page two is just icing on the cake.
Got it? Good. Class dismissed.
Another resume story
A professor recently said to me that the least savvy consumer, (“I’m being politically correct, he actually said the dumbest) is the one that believes in branding with no substantive corroboration and those are the ones business owners typically target in the beginning. Wow!
Nowadays, everyone is an expert and many “professional” resume writers expound on how great they are when writing resumes for their clients. There is an art to resume writing and for the person who can’t afford to have their resume written professionally, it’s something you should definitely try for yourself because if obtaining employment or advancing within an organization is your goal, you need to delve into the primary task of at least tweaking your own product. First of all, I know that not everyone writes well and for those who are ok, decent, fair to middling or straight up bad at it, that’s the point of paying an expert. You wouldn’t build your own house if you were not a competent and licensed building contractor. A resume can fall apart in the wrong hands just as an ill constructed home can and there are a slew of self-made organizations who claim to be the authority on resume writing, even certifying people as professionals for a fee. I know a few agencies and business owners who are making a killing on the fact that anyone can say that they are an expert even if the field in which they claim to be skilled doesn’t even exist. Some people thrive on the ignorance of others. They are counting on you being naïve (if not stupid) enough to believe that because they forked over a couple of bucks, you should entrust your future employability to them. Some have been so clever, that they’ve designed, developed and decreed that if you aren’t using their services, you’re the idiot. That’s the core of many successful businesses today and I get it, but when people are homeless, unable to sustain a livelihood and desperate to support their families, I become angry at the fakers. I find that I may be too honest with my clients because I take the time to teach them how to fend for themselves. I began doing this because so many of them would bring their “professionally written” resumes to me and some would even argue with me as I pointed out the problems. So to those clients, I ask, “How’s that working out for you?” Clearly not so well if you haven’t gotten the job and by the way if you’re gonna come to me for help remember this before you argue with me…I don’t come to your job and tell you how to do it, so grant me the same respect. After everyone has calmed down I get down to the business of showing them in a matter of seconds why they were scammed. As I point out redundant phrases, irrelevant experience (i.e. proficient in Microsoft Word 2003 or certificate in dictation in 1985), many of my clients become dispirited, then happy I pointed it out and finally….finally, angry! Yes, sometimes anger is good! You should be angry with yourself for not conducting their own research into the expert, not asking for testimonials, success stories and data proving the experts’ prowess. Some people just want a quick fix or the quick, fast and in a hurry hook-up (see related article), and in that case, you get what you paid for.
Resumes are living documents that should change as your applications change. They are not “one size fits all” and should be modified accordingly. If you are applying for a position of a logistician and you’ve highlighted 15 years of budget work with the logistics expertise barely mentioned on page 2, shame on you. Realize that chronological is not the only resume out there and double shame on you if you don’t know what a chronological resume is or what type of resume you have currently. I always warn my clients of having someone else write a resume product that you will use as the basis of your interview. Sometimes to further demonstrate my point of “know thy resume” I will switch places with my clients and ask them to interview me with their resume that I’ve written. Many are surprised at how well I can articulate the resume, some even asking if I could go in their place (umm not likely Bob). That’s a true sign of an expert, they will stand by their product or service and believe me, I do. So, the next time you consider a resume writing expert, ask yourself…better yet ask them to “show you the money!”
I’m all for creativity and individuality, but people please consider your child’s future when you decide on naming your child after your second cousin plus your grandfather’s middle name and favorite pet. What’s in a name? I can tell you what’s not supposed to be in a name, a way to identify a candidate and assume their education level, capabilities and success quotient are limited by their name. We all have biases. Show me someone who says they don’t and I’ll show you a liar. So please point these folks out because I can guarantee you what they deny is stuffed in their closets and hidden in their history.
When you look at polls of HR professionals, you will note that names are a factor for consideration, especially if the clients are typically conservative. That’s not meant to be a general statement by any means, but it is a factual one.
EEO law prohibits organizations from rendering a qualified candidate unqualified based on race, gender, nationality or sex, but we live in the real world. In the recruiting world, I can assure you that clients walk a very fine and tight line as they try to explain to the recruiter (as sensitively and politically correct as possible) things like “our office is full of women and they keep up a lot of drama, can we look for a male candidate?” Your name should not be your adversary. Someone loved you and hopefully you were named based on that love, so you should be proud of your birthright. Although some of the names I’ve seen make me think the parents must have hated their children to be so cruel.
Your resume is the key to unlock the door. Your screening call or interview should win the potential employer over and open the door further. The only time you should be judged in attitude or demeanor is when you walk through the door not based on some predisposed misconception. I used my middle name my entire life and didn’t appreciate my first name until maybe 10 years ago and I thank my mother everyday for it. It affords me the advantage of not wincing when the person calling me struggles to pronounce it and the embarrassment the person must feel when they can’t.
Again, I live in America and you can’t tell me race is not still a heated and weighted issue in this country. HR professionals will scream from the rafters, “I would never do such a thing” but be careful because we all have biases. Our country is programmed that way whether those biases are purported based on our belief systems on race, gender, sexual orientation, creed, culture or religion. If it’s not true, why would we need legislation to protect those rights? Why does it make the headlines when the latest celebrity names their child after a fruit or a season or exotic plant? Why do political pundits always go back to the POTUS middle name (Barack Hussein Obama) and insist we as Americans need to look closely at his background because his name makes him an Islamic conspirator? Anyone with a brain knows this is nonsense, but it is how Americans are programmed.
So, do yourself a favor. If you have a difficult name to pronounce or spell, use your initials on your resume, voicemail and email address. And for future generations be free and open to naming your child based on your feeling and right to do so, but give your children the freedom to enjoy it rather than the angst of having it.