Tag Archives: humour

Out of Office Notification

No career/job/networking blather today – I am too busy writing thank you notes.glass2

I hope you have fun and at least slightly indulgent plans for New Year’s Eve.

When you are making all those resolutions, don’t forget your career!

All the best for 2o17 – may it be one of growth and success for us all!

Laura

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Interview like a Star – Don’t make these Mistakes

I polled a couple of colleagues today and was surprised at the rapid pile of responses I got to “biggest interview mistakes”.

These are real life examples.  I am not making them up.  Promise.

  • leaving your phone on during an interview
  • taking a call on that phone while you are in an interview
  • forgetting to do up your middle button
  • having lettuce in your teeth
  • arriving late
  • not knowing who you are meeting
  • wearing clothes that don’t fit
  • being drunk
  • interrupting the interviewer
  • sweaty palms
  • speaking too quickly
  • rambling – if you can’t remember the question, you have talked too long
  • offensive jokes
  • asking about other possible roles in the company
  • using LinkedIn to connect with the hiring manager or president before the interview

All of these can be avoided with two simple steps.  Prepare the day before and do a 360 review with a mirror before you get to the interview location.

In fact, these steps are pretty sensible for any meeting   Go ahead and practice.  You will be happy you did.

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What would Gaga do?

I once saw Anderson Cooper interview Lady Gaga on the venerable CBS show 60 Minutes.  She is a pretty interesting character.  Anderson was asking her about how she handles the way the press hang around waiting to catch her in an embarrassing situation.

“Well, Anderson, I am just not a barf in the bar kind of girl”.

Love it.

Love it.

Love it.

This is the kind of authenticity that everyone needs to bring to an interview.  It does not matter if it is a telephone interview with a recruiter or a face to face meeting with a hiring manager.  Confident, direct and truthful is the way to go.

This does not give you permission to be rude or disrespectful.  If you are asked how you got along with your former boss, you really shouldn’t say he was a jerk or he couldn’t read financial statements to save his life.  It is okay, however, to explain that you made decisions differently or you had different approaches to customer service.

An interview is like the nice pair of shoes in the shop window.  You go in to see if they have your size. You try them on.  You walk around for a while, thinking of outfits that will work with them.  You think about whether you can afford them.  You see if the salesperson will give you a deal and together, you decide if they are the right pair for you. 

If they don’t feel comfortable in the shop, don’t buy them, no matter how good a deal they are.  They will mock you every time you see them in your closet.

Lady Gaga wouldn’t settle for ill-fitting loafers.  Why should you?

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Now this is street art…..

Last week, I discovered one of the drags of walking to work.  I don’t walk all the way, just from the train station to my office.  It’s a pretty crowded walk.  Not exactly like New York City in the movies but kind of close.

As a person who has driven to work for the last 10 years, I have enjoyed the privilege of singing in the car. By singing, I mean wailing.  Heck, it’s a private space.  Why not?

Now I walk amongst the masses and when I wear my ipod, I have to purse my lips together to prevent myself from breaking into song.  On Friday, I had particularly good music on and honestly, I thought my lips were going to cramp up. 

I was standing at a red light with my lips zipped when I heard a strange noise poking through my tunes.  I glanced sideways, and realized that the girl beside me was singing “Desperado” at the top of her lungs.  I am not kidding.  Eight o’clock in the morning and she is laying it all out for us while we wait for green.  Sheesh!

I got to thinking.  Would she be the one in the meeting who is looking out the window and not listening to any part of the conversation?  Or is she the one who appears to be listening but then opens her mouth with something completely irrelevant?  Here’s a thought:  perhaps she was a recording artist on her way to an audition/interview.  We could give her the benefit of the doubt.  Or not.

Regardless of how she might behave in a meeting, what do you think of her behaviour on the street corner? Rude?  Inconsiderate? I just chalked it up to bizarre sightings of random singing and moved on.  Although, I realized later that when I was waiting at the next red light, I was tapping my foot.

Could a full out plié be next?

 

Eagles – Desparado

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So…..are we exclusive?

I was talking about LinkedIn with a group of people on Monday evening.  One of the big questions seemed to be about invitations. When someone invites you to connect, should you accept?

Some people only accept invites from people they know. Others, like people in my profession, accept all invitations.

The answer lies in why you got on LinkedIn in the first place. Is it a place to hang out with former colleagues?  A place to develop your consulting reputation?  Maybe you want to grow your community of influence, so that when you throw a highly pithy comment out there – you get lots of feedback.

Most of us keep our profiles current and polished so we can get noticed. We want prospective employers or clients to find us and look us over. The way we get “found” is by broadening our networks either by accepting invitations or joining groups.

Here’s a possible strategy:

  • Take a look at your invites once every week or so. You don’t have to do it right away. They will not evaporate.
  • If you don’t know the person, click on their name. Maybe that will jog your memory or you will realize that they know a lot of the same people you do.
  • Decide if you want to accept, ignore or procrastinate a little longer.

So, when you are deciding whether your network is going small and exclusive or open and diverse, think about how you want to be treated. When you reach out to someone, you want to be acknowledged, right?

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The most romantic occupations

I took a moment to read the Globe and Mail this morning and came across this gem:

After analyzing 15,000 Harlequin books, neuroscientists Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam came up with a list of the top 10 most popular professions for heroes in romance novels, reports Mediabistro.com. They are: 1. Doctor, 2. Cowboy, 3. Boss, 4. Prince, 5. Rancher, 6. Knight, 7. Surgeon, 8. King, 9. Bodyguard, 10. Sheriff.

Let’s just take a look at the top five.  I know they come from romance novels that are meant to help us escape the trials of everyday life but I’m just not sure these are the right kind of occupations.

  • Doctor – smart, rich but never home
  • Cowboy – fit, tanned but always smells like horses
  • Boss – not sure about this one.  Boss of whom?  Is there such as thing as a generic boss?  If there is, he is probably underpaid and a little on the dumpy side.
  • Prince – I’m not sure that having a kingdom is all it’s cracked up to be.  Good if you like attending “functions” and always fake-smiling.
  • Rancher – see cowboy above except substitute cows.  On the upside though, he could be the Marlborough Man. 

 How come you never see these titles in romance novels? 

  • Teacher – steady income and summers off.
  • Candy Maker – creative and might have a test kitchen in your basement.
  • Massage Therapist – do I really need to explain this?
  • Pirate – exotic destinations and lots of gold.

 

I would much rather date a teacher than a cowboy but that’s just me.  Maybe I need a richer fantasy life.

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New tools, new rules

Social media, social shmedia…..it’s everywhere.  And it’s a tremendous tool for job seekers and for hiring managers but as with any new tool, there are safety rules that need to be followed to prevent a career ending injury.

It’s okay to find someone on linkedin and to invite them to connect with you but give them a reason.  Don’t just send the canned invitation.  Personalize it with a note about why you want to connect.  Remember that popular people are inundated with invitations and may be selective.  Also remember that some people do not check linkedin often, so there may be quite a delay. 

It’s okay to argue about bedtime with your sixteen year old on facebook chat. (This is actually surprisingly effective)  It is definitely not okay to “friend” the hiring manager you just met so you can check out their weekend plans.

Use the level of formality as your guide.  A new relationship should start out pretty formally – like a first date.  An email and maybe a hand written note after the first conversation or meeting.  Once relations are established, then voice and emails are effective.  When the relationship has moved into the very familiar, (think: going steady) then the texting and facebooking can begin. 

Also, be mindful of the organization’s culture when you are deciding what kind of communication will get you to the next level.  Most engineering firms will squint and crinkle their noses if you try to connect by pinging them through facebook but at Zappos, the hugely successful online shoe retailer,  it’s absolutely the best way to connect.  If fact, their employees are encouraged to interact with customers and potential employees via facebook and twitter.  Different audience, different culture, different rules.

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