Joyce’s Blog

“I’m confused. What’s more important to include in a resume: an objective or a summary? Is it better to include references or say they’re available upon request? Is it smarter to name prominent people (I know a few) as my references or list people who really know me? It is wiser to include all my years of experience or just my best years?” No wonder you’re confused, you’re all options and no answers. Let’s sortRead More
The best of intentions can result in unintended consequences. For example: Mister Fixer: You may be their manager but they think of you as the company handyman. You encourage them to come to you with their problems because you can fix anything. You wear your tool belt to work, at home, and in public gatherings. No matter the situation, you have the solution. What can go wrong? It’s not much fun when your co-workers, friends,Read More
When you’re conducting a job search you need to combine a variety of skills and abilities. Some you have, others you’ll want to learn. For example; you’ll want to think like a visionary, plan like a strategist, operate like a tactician, write like an advertiser, research and revise like an editor, persuade like a sales person, deliver like a distributor, and follow through for all you’re worth. Skip a step and you’re back to squareRead More
Last week’s column focused on an unhappy, conflicted employee who feels unappreciated and undervalued. She wants to quit her current job, hoping to get more of what she needs somewhere else and she’s afraid that if she leaves, she won’t succeed. She dislikes being invisible even as she stands in the shadows. She wants more pay and promotions yet is satisfied with a no-risk job in a low risk setting because it allows her to “notRead More
“I’ve had it with this company. They don’t appreciate me. This may be a dumb thing to do because I don’t have another job to go to, but I’m leaving here and everyone knows why.” It may be a dumb thing to do. Before you get all riled up at my response, I didn’t say you’re dumb. I’m just repeating what you said to me. Here’s what else I heard you say: You give considerablyRead More
When preparing for interviews, focus on what works: Research works. Going on line, reviewing web sites, learning content, outlining questions, works. Reading business news and trade papers, learning who’s expanding and consolidating, hiring and firing, competing and winning or falling behind are essential need-to know because research works. Practice works. Field questions from anyone willing to help. Answer questions that come out of left field. Answer out loud, from your head and your gut, andRead More
Want to be the best at what you do? “She’s the best boss I’ve had because she’s as open-minded as she is clear about expectations. I always know where I stand with her because she’s willing to tell me the truth in ways that I understand. She’s never hurtful, always constructive, and trusts my ability to learn and grow on the job.” “He’s the best manager I’ve had because he keeps us informed and encouragesRead More
Q: I’ve heard that I’m supposed to send a thank you note after every interview. I think that’s nonsense. Interviewers don’t give me anything so why should I thank them? A: You’re not the only one who questions the notion of sending thank you letters to prospective employers, so this is a good opportunity to reframe the issue. The purpose of the letter is to move the interview process forward. Open with a “thank you forRead More
In Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Health tell us that memorable stories, stories that stick, are simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, and emotional. The Heath brothers may not have consciously applied that perspective to the art of interviewing, but its well worth the effort. An interview that works is memorable. It is complexity simplified; a conversation between equals that is grounded by unexpected clarity and purpose. It’s concrete; the speaker succinctly describing a learning experience inRead More
Q: What’s the best way to answer the “tell me about yourself” question? Should I start with where I’m from? Where I went to school? Or what my work experience has been? A: Answer with how you can make a difference to the employer who’s sitting in front of you. . That’s what she wants to know. If she wants something more or something else she’ll promptly say so. Q: I get the feeling thatRead More
Thanks for your calls, emails, and the questions you’re asking. Here are a few examples: Q: I have a question about my resume. I’ve worked for many companies, held both hourly and salaried positions, volunteered for countless committees, and traveled to every state in the US. Because I’ve accomplished so much I can’t possibly include it all in a two- page resume. I figure it’ll take about five pages if I use small type. HowRead More
You’re rocking along, loving life, your job, your co-workers and ka-bam, you read the morning paper and find out your company’s been sold to a competitor. You bolt from the house, hair on fire, tear into work, the place is spinning, phones are ringing, rumors flying, and the sky is falling. After frantically searching for someone who ought to know you corner your boss who tells you, eyes averted, (long pause)… don’t worry. Yes! Momentary reprieve. I’m safe.Read More
“I love this company. The people are great and I really like what I do. Everyone is friendly, smart, and considerate. And I’m worried sick. Why? I think our jobs are going to be outsourced and no one’s going to tell us until the day the doors close.” What are your options? “I don’t have any because it hasn’t happened yet, so I can’t do anything. I’m sure something bad is around the corner andRead More
Whether you’re looking for a job or just thinking about it, you have work to do before you head out to your first interview. Here’s a quick list of gotta-do’s before you get going: Self-assessment: This is your starting point. You need to clarify what you do well and enjoy doing before you start interviewing. Validate your perspective with those who know and can assess your performance. If they give you a thumbs-up, ask themRead More
You are the language you speak. If you talk about can’t and don’t, you won’t. If you talk about go and do, you will. You are the language you believe. If you focus on limitations, you’ll operate within and be constrained by the assumptions you have about yourself and others. If you presume that you can do no wrong you’ll be insensitive to the negative impact of your best intentions. If you believe there isn’tRead More
You are the language you speak. If you talk about can’t and don’t, you won’t. If you talk about go and do, you will. You are the language you believe. If you focus on limitations, you’ll operate within and be constrained by the assumptions you have about yourself and others. If you presume that you can do no wrong you’ll be insensitive to the negative impact of your best intentions. If you believe there isn’tRead More
Successful job applicants know how to ask good questions. Good questions let interviewers know that you’re curious; you’ve done your homework; you’re listening to what they’re telling you; and you want to find as good a match as they do. Good questions focus on the future and explore ways that applicants can contribute to the company’s goals and objectives. Good questions keep the discussion energized and positive. Bad questions sound critical, cynical, confrontational, and close-ended.Read More
If you’d like to improve your working life with a job that’s a good match to your skills, abilities, and temperament but the thought of interviewing has you stuck in neutral, work hardest on what you fear most: If you don’t how to respond to open ended questions, get a list of them and get to work on your responses. Get them so grooved that you can’t wait for a chance to answer them, inRead More
Respect, honesty, and loyalty are value- laden words that mean different things to different people for different reasons: “My boss doesn’t respect me”, she said. “He’s hurtful, he makes me angry and I don’t want him anywhere near me.” He doesn’t respect her. From what she said and how she said it I assumed he used foul language and called her demeaning and humiliating names. I asked her for some examples of what he hadRead More
Just when you thought the three R’s were Reading, wRiting, and ‘Rithmetic, I have three more for you: Resumes, References and Research. Resumes: The key to writing an effective resume is to focus on your objective. When you figure that out, everything else falls into place. What’s your objective? It describes the job you do most naturally, dedicate your free time to, and requires the least amount of energy from you. The job should beRead More