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Wishing you and your family a Happy Holiday-

In December of each year I generally take time to reflect on the previous year’s goals and milestones as well as take time to plan for the coming year.  It is something I have done for the past 10 years now and every year there is always a mix of relief and hope: relief that I have my family, my health and so many other blessings- even amidst the tougher years, there were always so many things to be grateful for, as well as hope for a better year as we tear off the last sheet of the calendar.

I know there are many people who are still looking for work after many months; I know there are many people grieving over the loss of a loved one; there are many people wondering how they will get through this holiday with health problems and a host of other issues. My wish for you and your family is simple: take a few minutes to get quiet from the world’s noise, give thanks and to be grateful even for small things.  It is only when we are living within a state of gratitude that we are lifted above the pain and suffering.

Happy Holidays…. Joy, Health and Happiness for the New Year

 

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Living like The Jetson’s

Last week I upgraded my ‘smart phone’ to an Android phone.  As I sat there playing with my phone it occurred to me that I was living in an age that would have seemed unimaginable even ten years ago.  I spoke into my phone and asked what the weather would be later in the day and a  very polite voice responded to my request.  Wow.

When I go to the airport I simply type in a code and magically print a boarding pass to get on a plane.  I swipe a credit card and push a button to have a Redbox video dispensed.  I wave my cell phone over a barcode to get information on a product in my favorite magazine.  I stand on my Wii-Fit balance board and a pleasant voice says, “Welcome back Juli, it’s been four days since you last checked in.”

The wave of the future is here and we are now living what many of us Baby Boomer’s saw on the Saturday Cartoon, The Jetson’s.  As we head into the second decade of the new millennium, the products that we don’t know that we can’t live without haven’t been invented yet.  Who will be the next Steve Jobs to bring previously- unheard-of- but- now- indispensable items into our lives?

How will the future of the Smart Grid impact our energy use and our water use?   The new developments also come with risks.   In an article in the New York Times this morning warns of the new terrorist attacks on our internet and infrastructure citing a report by the National Intelligence Council.  The report warns of small radicalized groups now gaining the ability to impact and disable our everyday lives with cyber weapons and the growing need for the world’s superpowers China and the United States to be able to work together.

As we get used to the “coolness” of being able to access everything and anything via the internet could we be creating our own demise in a ‘David and Goliath-esque’ manner?  It will take global cooperation on a massive scale and hopefully cooler heads will prevail.  Perhaps the fiscal cliff is merely a training exercise in learning how to compromise and play nice in the sandbox on a broader, more global scale.

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To use a headhunter or not to use a headhunter…

I remember being asked this question by a candidate during the crazy days of 2006.  Our country was in the middle of an economic boom.  The 9/11 economic hangover was fading and dot-com bust was a memory.  I made a recruit call one afternoon and a candidate asked me why he would use a headhunter when he could walk across the street and get an offer at pretty much any firm he chose.  After I squelched the urge to hang up on the egotistical candidate with the holier-than-thou attitude, I realized it was a fair question in his mind even if it sounded arrogant.  Why would you use a headhunter?  The old what’s in-it-for me…

 

  1. Hollywood personalities and Sports Stars have an agent negotiating their contracts while they do what they do best- why wouldn’t you want someone negotiating to help you get the best offer while you are focusing on your job?
  2. When you go on an interview on your own, you are walking in blind.  A good recruiter will give you the inside scoop on the personalities of the people you will meet, the hot buttons of the hiring managers and more information than you can glean from a corporate website.
  3. A good recruiter can help you mentally prepare to nail the interview.  We always get such positive feedback from our candidates on our interview prep because the comfort level increases with knowledge.

 

The key component to all of this is the phrase “a good recruiter”.  It is very important to work with a recruiter that you like and more importantly that you trust.  As with all industries, there are professional and ethical recruiters who know the marketplace, who are masters of their niche, and will look out for your best interests…..and there are those who do not.

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Are the holidays a bad time to look for a job?

With fourteen full Holiday seasons under my belt as an executive recruiter, I always hear this from candidates who are under the impression that the Holiday season is not a good time to look for a new position.  In fact the opposite is true.  Many companies are evaluating end-of-year staffing requirements and preparing for the New Year.  A mental slow down at this time in many companies makes it easier to get multiple hiring managers together to interview and make decisions which allows the new hire to give their notice and start after the holidays.  Now is a great time to spruce up you resume and put feelers out there.  The economy is heating up and companies are hiring in the Engineering and IT sector.  Are you ready to upgrade?

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Thank a veteran if you see one….

 

We are fortunate to have a strong military that protects our borders and the way of life the pioneers dreamed of and for which they fought.  We are fortunate that when we hear a loud boom walking down the street, we most often think of a car backfiring, not a bomb.  With the election still fresh in our minds we are reminded just how  fortunate we are to have the ability to voice our political opinions in a safe and civilized forum without fear of repercussions or fear for our lives.  We are fortunate to freely choose to worship where we like and if we like.  We have the fortunate ability to freely go to a store and buy the goods our families need without fear.  We are Americans.   We are fortunate.  Thank a United States serviceman or woman.

 

Remembering all those who served and currently serve our country…

We salute and your families this Veteran’s Day

 

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Please vote tomorrow

No matter what your political leanings are, be it left or right or somewhere in the middle, tomorrow is your chance to let your voices be heard.  It is also a chance to honor those before us who went through great sacrifice to insure the rights for every woman and every African American have the right to vote.  I encourage all of you to go to the polls and cast your ballot.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnLJwCX5c38&feature=youtu.be    

 

 

 

 

“It’s our basic duty as citizens of a Democracy.”  James Taylor, November 5, 2012

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Thinking of those hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy

Take some time today to count your blessings and say a prayer for those who were hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy- not only in our country but also the Caribbean.   Having lived through Hurricane Andrew back in the 80’s in South Florida, I recall the news called attention to it during the storm and for the few days of aftermath, but the headache and heartache of losing your home continue on for weeks and months, long after the rest of us have moved on with our lives and forgotten.

My son said to me last night, “Mom, I hope the kids in New Jersey and New York went to stay with someone at their house so they can go trick or treating.”  We hope and pray that you your lives return to normal sooner rather than later and our thoughts are with you.

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Interview Tips: Mastering A Video Interview

With the price of airline tickets skyrocketing, many companies are choosing to utilize video conferencing and Skype to interview potential new hires.  There are many pro’s to this method but there are also just as many pitfalls to avoid.  A few things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure the lighting is good in the room that you will be sitting- bad lighting can make you look like a shadowy sinister figure
  • If you have a wireless router that handles your internet, reset your router and modem so that it is running smoothly before the “call”

  • Make sure you look directly into the camera on your laptop or desktop and not the person’s face on your monitor- this gives a shifty impression.  It takes a little practice so I always do a practice Skype run with my candidates to make sure they see the difference.  Call someone you know on Skype and do a practice run
  • Your backdrop is very important as well- sit in an area of your house or office with no distracting objects or pictures in the background- you want them focusing on you and not the funky wall hanging you’ve had since college over your shoulder
  • Make sure there is no background noise such as children playing or dogs barking
  • Dress appropriately- if this is with a professional organization, men wear a dress shirt and tie and women wear a plain blouse with a jacket- (think “headshot” photograph)
  • If you are inclined to wear only your boxers or underwear around your house it isn’t a problem unless you decide to stand up during the interview

 

Video interviewing is going to become much more common than telephone interviews and many people do better “in person” than on a telephone so you could also suggest a Skype interview to the person you are interviewing with.  If you don’t have a video camera on your laptop, Logitech makes a great inexpensive video camera that plugs into your computer with a USB cord.  Once you get over the pain of seeing yourself on camera, they can actually be fun!

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Top 10 Ways NOT To Get Hired On Your Next Job Interview

 

10.  Lie on your resume

9. Arrive 20 minutes late to the interview and yawn repeatedly complaining about how late you were up last night watching Jersey Shore episodes on TiVo

8. Continuously check your pager for important “pages”

7. Ask about how soon you can take vacation after you start

6. Ask if there is a policy against naps during business hours

5. Chew gum and blow bubbles

4. Bring your spouse to the interview and have them ask their own questions about how soon maternity benefits are effective

3.  Ask about the company smoking policy letting the interviewer know you will be A LOT more productive if you are allowed to smoke at your desk

2. Announce that you hope this interview goes better than the one you had yesterday with the police being called to remove you from the building

And the number one way to NOT get hired on your next job interview…….

  1. After shaking hands with the interviewer, take out your Bath & Body Works Hand Sanitizer and vigorously coat your hands with it stating, “ I am very careful about who I touch.”

While this is obviously a tongue-in-cheek list, there are many do’s and don’ts when seeking your next job.  Common sense appears to have been retired and as a recruiter, I hear and live some of these “off-the-wall examples.  The obvious ones are turn off your cell phone or better yet, leave it in the car.  Don’t ask questions about salary and benefits on the first interview and show up a few minutes early in professional attire.  Read as much information about the company on their website, LinkedIn pages or blogs so you are prepared to comment on a recent accolade and be prepared to ask thoughtful questions about the company and the position you are interviewing for.  Send a thank you (email or handwritten note ) after the interview and you will be head and shoulders above 70% of the other applicants.

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What information should be left OFF your resume

In the United States we are not accustomed to seeing loads of personal information on a professional resume as is the case in Europe and other parts of the world.  It is not atypical for a candidate to put a photograph in the corner and include marital status and birthdate including***GASP*** the actual year.  With the laws we have in place to discourage discrimination in the workplace based on race, age, gender, etc., it is not necessary to include this information and in fact, I recommend against it.

So what things should you leave OFF your resume?

  1. Birthdate including year of birth:  Sorry folks, this just isn’t relevant information.  Don’t put it on your resume.   Period.
  2. Objective:  Want to rule yourself out of a job?  Then go ahead and put an objective.  If a potential employer reads that you want a challenging and fulfilling position that utilizes your critical thinking and recent MBA, they may think that you will not be happy long-term in their Analyst role, even if all those things are true and possible.  Exchange Objective for Skills Summary and you have a better chance of getting a call based on a key word that matches with the employer’s needs.
  3. Marital status and children: please refer to number one.
  4. Hobbies and Interests: Again, this is just another area that is not relevant to the job and if anything, the fact that you travel and compete in Texas Hold’em Tournaments every weekend  could imply to a hiring manager that you may have a hard time coming in to work relaxed and ready to work on Monday morning.
  5. High School: Really?  Do I have to say why?

A resume needs to have enough relevant information to display your career experience.  While personal chemistry plays a very large role in the hire, the best place to let your personality shine and connect with a hiring manager is during a personal interview.  As Sargent Joe Friday,  the old school detective once said, “Just the facts, ma’am.”

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