12 Lessons Learned from the Recession

1)      Jobs.  Jobs come and go.  Is your identity attached to your work?  If your job goes away, will you have a life after your job?  Have you developed other areas of your personal and professional life for balance?

2)      People come and go from our lives.  Who are the people who are really there for you when you need them?

3)      Money.  Living on credit is not as solid as having cash in the bank.  Most of us have significantly pulled back on spending to live within our means and to save.

4)      Local businesses.  If we don’t support the small businesses in our community, they go away.  Do we really only want to work with and shop at the mega stores?

5)      The federal bank bailouts are not helping Main Street.  The middle class is eroding. Self-sufficiency is necessary today.

6)      If we don’t bring back manufacturing and re-establish a significant manufacturing base, the jobs that have left the state and the country will be gone forever.  As a country, we need a significant commitment from the government and private sector to fund manufacturing.

7)      New jobs.  Finding a job in today’s economy is all about who you know.  More people find jobs through their personal networks than by submitting résumés into online databases.

8)      Ask for what you want.  It’s easier to negotiate, barter, and deal as everyone is eager to move things forward.  Credit card and mortgage companies are now willing to negotiate more than ever.

9)      Step up your personal and corporate marketing efforts.  Staying visible both personally and professionally online and in the community will continue to create new opportunities.

10)  Volunteer.  Look for ways to give back.  Volunteering will make you feel good, as well as give you the opportunity to help others who are less fortunate.

11)  Appreciation.  Appreciate and be grateful for what is important and already in our lives.  It’s nice to have nice things, but many of us realize that materialism is not what makes up happy.  We don’t need to collect more to have more.

12)  Stay positive.  Stay focused on what’s important in your life and let the rest be background noise.  Everything is a cycle and this too shall pass.

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To see more of Stuart Rosen’s work: www.gurustu.com

Are Handwritten Thank You Notes Outdated?

Thank you notes are never outdated. Sending a thank you note is an excellent way to express appreciation for advice, gifts, and job interviews.   In today’s technology driven world, an emailed thank you note is acceptable.

Thank you notes are best sent within 24 hours of your interview. If you are working with human resources or a recruiter, the correct protocol is to forward the note to your primary contact, who will then send it along for you.

Thank you notes are second opportunities to establish a touch point with a hiring manager or recruiter, as well as restate sincere interest in the position. They keep you in mind after your interview and everyone has returned to busy work lives. A thank you note will always set you apart from other candidates, as most people don’t write them.

When you write a thank you note, briefly reiterate how your skills and background fit the position. The focus of the note should be how you will make the hiring manager successful.   And if you’re not seeking new employment, thank you notes are an excellent way to stay in touch with prospects, clients, and referral sources. A thank you note with a token gift card for coffee or juice will always be remembered.

We all feel guilty over thank you notes not written. It’s best to forget past guilt over things not done and just start fresh.   Start writing your thank you notes today.

 

 

 

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To see more of Stuart Rosen’s work: www.gurustu.com


 

 

Advice on Dealing with Hostile Interviewers


Have you ever been on a job interview and felt the situation spin out of your control, maybe to the point where you even felt the interview turned hostile?

Hiring managers are more cautious now about hiring and ensuring a match for the team.   In addition, they want to know that your skills, background, and interests will make THEIR projects successful.

With this mindset, hiring managers’ interview looking for reasons to disqualify candidates. Hiring managers may not know what questions to ask you, as interviewing may be a skill that is used infrequently. Or large corporations, nervous regarding discrimination issues, may ask every candidate the same question and rank the answers for comparison between candidates.

Typical interview questions regarding your background, particularly transitions regarding reasons for leaving companies, are salary history, past projects, manageability, and more. It’s your responsibility to make sure that your interview highlights your strengths.

It’s easy to get frustrated during an interview. You are doing your best and the hiring manager is looking for reasons to disqualify you.

It’s your responsibility to make sure that your background is conveyed as succinctly as possible to everyone involved in the interview process.

Look at an interview as a sales call. When the interviewer asks a question that makes you feel uncomfortable, answer the question to the best of your ability and then add information that brings the conversation back to your skills and background fitting the position.

For example, you quit a job where you didn’t get along with your boss. Instead of describing the situation at length, gloss over your history in one sentence or less. You can say, “I left because there really was no room for growth and this is very important to me at this time.”

When new people are brought into the room during your interview, don’t assume that they are familiar with your background or have even seen your résumé.

Bring new arrivals into the conversation. You can say, “I know I said this before… I’m currently working at XYZ Company as a project manager working on enterprise wide systems. I’m PMP certified. My project is ending soon and I’m looking for a new opportunity in the healthcare industry.”

Take charge of the interview. Answer questions, ask questions, and, if appropriate, bring samples of your work.

An interview may seem hostile as not everyone knows how to be a gracious host to a guest in an office. Or the interview may follow a tangent for which you’re not prepared. Studying lists of common interview questions and have prepared answers are helpful.

Just know that even if you don’t get the job because the interview turned to what you perceive as hostile, this probably isn’t an environment in which you want to work.

Just chalk up the interview to one more sales call that brings you one step closer to your next position.

Downtime at Work During a Recession

Downtime at Work During a Recession

Some employees are finding that with sales down in this economy, they have fewer projects to keep them busy.  This doesn’t mean that their jobs are at stake, but that there is a lull in a normally fast-paced business.

It’s anecdotal, but we’re hearing more stories of workers taking on side projects, playing video games, job hunting at work, or leaving early.

Joyce, a marketing director at a leading healthcare company, said that her normally frenetic schedule has lightened up recently.  She still has plenty of work, but her skill level allows her to finish her work earlier than most on her team.  Joyce spends the extra time at the office researching a side Internet marketing business she’s getting ready to launch.  She said she’s careful not to leave evidence of her personal work on the company’s computer.

Scott, a Web developer, left a job, even during this economy because he was no longer challenged.  Scott said that his colleagues are all busy playing video games at work as there just isn’t enough work to keep them in a hectic pace all day.

Annie, an administrative assistant, was fired for job hunting at her desk. One quick look at her Web browsing history showed the activity.

When employed and seeking a new job during a down economy:

  • Put your personal cell phone and email on your résumé
  • Avoid using your corporate email account for personal business
  • Don’t job hunt at the office

In most firms, there is always work and projects to create that can move the business forward.  Ask how you can help. Seek out new projects.  Or volunteer for a professional association where you can learn new skills.

A down economy and less work at the office mean this is a good time to maintain and expand your professional network, take classes, and create better balance in all areas of your life.