Ok, so... January is almost over and you are struggling with continuing to get in shape and pay off the holiday credit. (You're in good company! I'm right there with you!) Have you taken a few moments to figure out how to make yourself a better candidate for a new job opportunity in 2014?

Whether or not you are currently employed, take a moment to think about self improvement. What did you do in 2013 in order to make yourself more valuable to the company you work for, your manager, or your future employer?

Many people expect that they have the right to be promoted/hired while doing nothing out of the ordinary. Those individuals getting promoted are doing quite a bit out of the ordinary of their everyday job. Some ideas may be:

-Take a class in your field. Better, enroll towards a higher level degree than what you currently have! In my years of recruiting, I have never heard someone being passed over on a promotion for having too much education. It's never too late, and there are many online courses to assist older students with families and careers in completing collegiate degrees.

-Start a blog. Get intricately familiar with your subject of choice! Your writing and communication skills are sure to improve! Talk to them. Maybe even help them too! You can start a local networking event if you know enough people from various industries.

-Get involved in your community. Becoming a more well-rounded person makes you a better employee.

-Most importantly, make sure your attendance is impeccable! Nobody likes a pilot who cancels at 3 am before a flight! Stay until the job gets done. Put in 100%, consistently, every day.

Let's set the bar higher for 2014! No more mediocrity. Let's show the world how it's done and all get promoted!!!
 
 
Don't worry: I didn't put a picture on this blog article!

A few weeks ago, a dear friend posed a metaphorical question: How much douche could a douchebag douche if a douchebag could douche douche? And I texted her immediately, asking if she was responding to an email from our prior head honcho.

So...I posed the question to my loyal facebook fans: How do you know your manager is a "big fizzy douche" (to coin a musical number in Chuck Lorre's ingenious and always entertaining show, "Two and a Half Men"? The response was overwhelming, and emails are still coming in.

So, with no further ado, are you, or do you have, a DOUCHE BOSS? Here is a Top 10 Get Hired and Beyond Exclusive List!

10. You take no accountability for your team, point fingers, and blame others for your disinterest and inadequacy.
9. You treat your employees as objects, rather than humans. This is especially true and especially disgusting at termination time. 
8. You lie or make false promises, including (but not limited to): promises of raises and promotions which the company cannot back up (and you are well aware of the carrot you dangle.)
7. Instead of focusing on employee accomplishments, you nitpick the 3 minutes someone is late because they are stuck in traffic, commuting half an hour or more, to get to your stress-filled crap zone of despair. (Ok, maybe that's one of my personal contributions.)
6. You speak to your subordinates as though they were minions. Or small, stupid children. Or small, stupid minions. Being demeaning and demoralizing is a very douche way to talk to individuals you personally hired for skill and expertise.
5. You don't delegate work appropriate for the staff you hired because nobody will do it as well as you do, thereby making very intelligent people fixate on mediocre crap.
4. You devalue anything in your employees' lives besides work and expect them at your beck and call, at minimum wage, around the clock. (Right, Boss from #7?)
3. You are too self absorbed to notice that morale has gone down the toilet, faster than your team can say "Douche!"
2. You rule through a culture of intimidation, rather than a culture of respect. Yeah, that sucks on the receiving end!
1. You ask a minimum wage employee for a personal loan, then threaten to penalize the person since they did not provide you with said loan. (I actually heard that from someone this week, and think that takes the KING DOUCHE CROWN!)

Sorry to have offended anyone with the repeated usage of the word "douche'. Please feel free to take creative license when sharing with others, and change to ass-hat, crap-nozzle, jerkoff, or any other term that truly encompasses the ultimate douche-ness of a prior (or current) boss. 

Feel free to share in comments or privately how your boss has been a huge douche to you! Your anonymous quote may make it into an upcoming blog!

I shall now go burst into the musical number made famous by Walden Schmidt and Alan Harper! And...I can't sing!
 
 
Picture
No, my loyal readers, this is not a pornographic post! Your cover letter should be no more than 3 paragraphs. 3 short paragraphs! You really don't want to lose your audience before he/she opens your resume.

And speaking of resumes, there is various discussion of whether a resume should span 1 or 2 pages. Based on your level of experience, I am fine with a resume spanning 2 pages, going back no longer than 10 years. Please, any longer than that, and you are not going to captivate your audience in the 20 seconds or less it takes to scan said resume. A full CV is not required for most positions, but is helpful to have on your hard drive to discuss talking points which may be over 10 years old but remain relevant. 

When to follow up after an interview? More than a day is too long! A brief thank you email, including an opening to have the interviewer contact you with questions should be in his/her inbox no later than the morning after you interviewed. Too much time goes by, and your follow up skills may be questioned, especially if a competing candidate emailed sooner! 

Good luck and happy hunting!



 
 
Picture
Why are you waiting to update your resume? Are you thinking you are stable at your job? That can only update your resume right before you send it out? Are you waiting to practice interviewing until you have an interview time on your calendar?

If so, you are too late!

Let me explain...

If you wait until you are laid off or actively seeking a job, you are selling yourself short in a variety of ways. First, you are not adding valuable information to your resume in real time, thereby forgetting important details, such as the topic you presented, the old and new software you worked with, and the training you completed. You are missing portions of valuable work experience which set you apart from other employees. A company knows what your general job description looks like. Yet, they have no idea how you have made the position yours, by adding the personal touches only you provide to personalize your role. Secondly, you are not tapping into the hidden job market, networking, thereby passing up what could be your dream job. Everyone is always in the market, unless you own your own company. Even then, there could be enough of an offer to potentially interest you. You cannot explore opportunities if you are not refreshing on paper, thereby reinforcing, your strengths to yourself. Think about it.

Like anything else, interview practice takes time. It takes a lot of effort, rehearsal, and practice. You won't get the luxury of time, if you are scrambling to meet with a job coach the day before your interview. You are already going to be nervous, and are not going to be focused enough to absorb all the information about the company, the position, and how to most effectively answer questions.

I have seen people from entry level to C-level make the same mistake, time and time again.

The last minute is too late! If you wait until the car is empty to fill up with gas, you're going to be pushing it to the nearest gas station. And where I'm sitting, in South Florida in July, that just doesn't seem pleasant. Refuel. Give yourself a little bit of time. Stop scrambling. You will make a better impression!

 
 
Picture
"You're a temp. As long as you don't poop yourself, you'll be fine...Even if you
do, they'll probably keep you"
"We are being paid minimum wage. That means minimum work"

If you have not seen this brilliantly written show, it is about 2 working girls aspiring to own their own cupcake business. And these 2 girls get into some funny stuff together! 

In the episode, Caroline wants to be the star temp, and be what a company would look to hire. Max, the "bad girl" of the show is going in to collect a paycheck, and unfortunately, what too many people think of temp work.

In many cases, temporary work is the doorway to a future long-term opportunity. If a temp is good enough, has the work ethic a company seeks, and the right attitude, there is a strong chance he/she will be hired. Companies create positions for the right hire more than they advertise! Also, when the company calls an agency, they don't know if their employee is actually in the Bahamas, or whether he/she is interviewing! Always be the right candidate.

And whatever you do, don't poop yourself on the job, even if Max says it's ok!

 
 
Please pay attention to what you are doing if you are responsible for the care or life of a person or animal! I cannot stress enough how important your role is as a healthcare or helping professional. Someone's LIFE is in your hands and it is up to YOU to ensure that you do everything it takes to be responsible and accountable for your actions.

A true example: A couple of years ago, my toddler son was in the Emergency Room for croup, a severe breathing issue for an asthmatic child. His nurse, who had not been paying the attention that was required, provided him with an adult dose of the wrong medication! Thankfully, he was okay, however delayed 8 hours for monitoring in the hospital. The outcome could have been, but wasn't, life threatening.

Take control of what you are doing. Make sure that with responsibility comes the attention to detail required to care for the life of another. The same is true if you choose to care for an animal when their owner is not home. To you, it may be just a dog or cat, but to the family, it is a loved one and as much a family member as anyone else.

If you choose not to do so and get fired, it is nobody's fault but your own, and that is a rough one to explain away in an interview!
 
 
Due to some recent unexpected and tragic circumstances, I had to take a bit of time off of writing here. However, I am back! And today, I am going to share with you why you need to stop complaining and stop making excuses about being unemployed and underemployed.

Life is going on all around you. People ARE getting jobs every day. How? They network. They apply. They do not complain to people who they meet about how bad the market is, but sell themselves as assets to a hiring company! Therein lies the difference between the career unemployed and someone who is on the verge of the next great opportunity!

The difference between success and failure is the level of activity and effort you provide to your search. Nobody is currently sitting in their executive office wondering when your resume will work its way across your desk. You are your own priority and no one else’s! Take accountability for and control of your search! Take responsibility and ownership, because no one, not even your recruiters, care as much about your livelihood as you do. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but it is a fact!

Yes, I am angry right now. I am depressed and frustrated! But I am still working, still providing, still doing what I need to do to ensure my family is fed and that there is a roof over our heads. Do the same!!! Work some magic. Apply to 2 more jobs than you really feel like. Get dressed professionally and head to a job fair or networking event.

Or don’t. But when you don’t, the only person to blame is you!

 
 
If you do not reach a deadline, get tangled up in a great deal of minutia, or simply dropped the ball in an area, man (or woman) up! Let the boss know what happened in a humble and professional manner, and take the initiative to resolve the issue via a proactive approach. Come up with solution prior to meeting with your supervisor and offer it in a confident and friendly manner. Nobody is perfect, and nobody expects you to be. However, being a responsible employee involves accountability for areas you may fall short.

I am not saying if you are a pilot and land the plane nose-down that there will not be more drastic consequences! (For my pilot friends who regularly read the blog). However, in the normal course of a non life-threatening day, take accountability in areas and ask for help when you need it. That is why teamwork exists: to assist, to delegate, to offer help to a colleague.

Conversely, when up for a promotion, identify areas where you succeeded. Highlight to your boss the big wins within the organization, and discuss the bottom line results (financial profitability, savings, new customers, long term customer retention, etc.) These are great areas to showcase when you are in an interview as well. Be aware of and proud of what you contribute to the organization.