A Lesson Learned About Social Media

This week I joined a referral network on the recommendation of a friend. Right after joining, it asked me if I wanted to increase referrals by connecting with my LinkedIn network. They said it was a “simple, 20-second process” and without thinking, I spent the 20 seconds doing what it asked.

WRONG! Before I knew it, all 883 of my connections received a “generic” email from me that was flagged as a “phishing” or “spam” email. And that is exactly what it was! I received close to 100 emails from my friends warning me that my account may have been hacked, or simply wondering if it was really me who had sent the emails.

As someone who promotes personal emails above all else when communicating with valued colleagues, again I was mortified.


How to prepare for a phone screening interview

Phone screening interviews are usually a necessary first step to graduate to an in-person interview with a hiring manager. How can you make sure you are selected to move on?

Be Prepared!

1. Have all information about the contact and position in front of you, water in case you have a dry throat, your calendar, questions you’d like to ask the company, and answers to questions you may be asked.

2. Pause when necessary between questions to give yourself time to prepare an answer. Rephrase the question if you need to.

3. Walk around, smile, use hand gestures, or whatever you can do to make you feel you are in the same room with the interviewer.


How to get a job? Think from an employer’s perspective!

A small business owner recently told me about an opening she was trying to fill. She posted the position on Craigslist and received 60 to 70 resumes. After weaning down the list, she interviewed five people but none of them seemed to click. Then she heard from the following applicant. Even though she admitted, “Usually I don’t read cover letters,” this one captured her attention.

Here’s an excerpt from that letter: “Please do not discount my résumé because I am overqualified. I am NOT looking for a supervisory or management position. I want to get back to the basic grunt work of payables, researching invoices, matching them to purchase orders, and preparing the check run. If you hire me you will get experience, maturity, dependability, and a team player with no personal drama ready to hit the ground running.”

The employer heard all that she needed to hear. This person pointed out exactly how she could meet the employer’s needs with enthusiasm. Needless to say, the employer called her immediately, interviewed her, and hired her on the spot. Her new employee even offered to come in and work a few hours for FREE before her official start date just to convince the employer of her skills and determination. The employer was delighted and couldn’t wait to share the news with me.

What are you doing to capture the interest of your next employer? Find out exactly what they are looking for, and let them know how you can fulfill their needs.


Overwhelmed by emails? Practical strategies to help you get organized during your job search.

How many emails do you get in a day? Tens? Hundreds? More? If you are like many of us, every day you are bombarded by mounds of emails, many which are totally junk. Have you gotten emails like this?

  • Gifts under $10 plus FREE shipping!       
  • Claim your birthday gift from ABC Company. 
  • Prop 100: Be informed!

You delete one email after another, and if you miss a day, an important email may have gotten buried under the junk and could get deleted by accident.

If you are in a job search, missing an important email could be missing out on an opportunity.


So tell me about yourself…

Starlet Dance Studio Ginger lower leftWhere do you begin when asked that all-important question during  an interview? Let me share a recent experience that illustrates how  you might respond when it happens to you.

Recently I reconnected with a dance teacher I had not seen in 30 years; I found her daughter though a social networking site and she told me that her mother was still working in her dance studio in New Jersey at the age of 80! When I reached her by phone, she immediately asked “So tell me about yourself, how are you doing?”

I first felt at a loss for words; where should I begin?


What I think about “generic” cover letters

Often people who ask me to write a cover letter for them tell me they want the letter to be “generic” so they can use it to apply for many positions. Why is this not a good idea?

First, many employers don’t even bother to read cover letters. They know from experience that most cover letters are glorified form letters that simply state the job seekers qualifications without referring to specific company needs. I wouldn’t want to read one of those letters myself.

However, if someone has taken the time to find out exactly what would help a potential employer’s business grow, expand, or save money, that letter will get attention.

Here are some tips to make sure that your cover letter will get noticed.


Embarrassing your kids can reap unexpected rewards

Last week while shopping with my daughter for a homecoming dress, I began to talk with the sales associate outside the changing room. How did she like her job? How did she get hired? What did she enjoy about working there? My children hate it when I approach perfect strangers like this, but we had a great conversation, and I found out that she was friends with my other daughter’s boyfriend. One thing led to another and the next day my daughter met with the manager for an interview.

How to find a job when you have a job

You are nervous. You have seen the news and realize that long-term security with any company is no guarantee. Perhaps your own company is undergoing a belt-tightening or you have heard rumors of “company restructuring.” In any case, you believe that now may be a good time to investigate potential opportunities with another company.


Do employers still offer severance packages?

In the past, many if not most employers have offered some sort of severance when laying off employees, particularly if companies have gone through restructuring or downsizing. Although not legally required, it has been a general practice of many employers to offer at least one week of pay for every year of service. These days, I am finding that more employers are often handing an employee one last paycheck for days already worked, then escorting them from the premises.


Should I lie on my resume?

Today I learned about a new website which for a fee, will fabricate job history, degrees, and references for a résumé. Their justification? “A résumé is not a legal document.” They even provide an answering service if a potential employer wants to follow up with a phone call. I was astonished that any company would be so brazen to attempt this outright illegal activity, and even more astonished that people are actually buying it!