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How to Give Job-Winning Answers at Interviews

Human Resources personnel, professional recruiters and various other career experts all agree: one of the best ways to prepare yourself for a job interview is to anticipate questions, develop your answers, and practice, practice, practice.

Success at Work : People Skills : Networking

Getting along with your co-workers is critical to yourhappiness and success at work. You may find yourselfspending more time with your co-workers than with yourspouse and family. Each individual in an organization isjust a small cog in a big wheel. Without the assistance ofco-workers, you will find your assignments much moredifficult.

Creating Your Own Luck

Losing my job in the last recession of the last century, I discovered first hand the power of creating your own luck. A week later, I decided to locate an interim position while I looked for a "real? one. Accepting a temporary position at minimum wage in an industry I knew little about, I decided the way to enjoy the position was to learn everything I could and contribution all that I could. I poured over manuals in my down time, developed processes to expedite the work, trained new employees, volunteered for additional assignments, and did anything that needed to be done. Four weeks into a ten week job, I was unexpectedly offered my first management position.   If I had listened to my friends cautioning me that taking a minimum wage position was career suicide, if I had been concerned about accepting a job "beneath? my education or experience level, or if I had only done what was expected, I would have missed an opportunity that led to five promotions in the next seven years.   It has been my experience over the years, while climbing the corporate ladder to Vice President of a multi-billion dollar company, that opportunity is everywhere and anywhere. Often, it?s in unexpected places for those who differentiate themselves in the workplace. People who do what is expected of them, do it very well, "and then some? have opportunities arise that others never do. And people who set their ego aside, contributing everything they can to the task at hand, often create their own luck. That?s because initiative is a powerful commodity in the workplace.   People offering to do extra work only if they get paid for it, or take on extra responsibility only if their salary is increased first, have it backwards in my book. My advice: do the work, do it well, and then do it even better. Higher pay, greater responsibilities and increased opportunities follow individuals who are contributors. Anytime I looked to hire people, offer permanent positions to temporary employees or interns, start up new departments or businesses, or promote individuals, I looked for people doing their job well ..."and then some.?   (c) 2004 Nan S. Russell.  All rights reserved.  

American Idol Syndrome

I like Simon, one of three judges on American Idol. I find his feedback refreshingly honest. And while his words startle me with their ego wounding potential, the traditional feel-good, let-you-down-easy, sugar-coated feedback is not much of a gift. It?s hard to tell someone they?re not good enough and their dreams are not going to happen, at least in this venue. But not telling them is no gift either. Some contestants rise to the challenges he throws at them. Some don?t. And, some can?t. Which one are you?   The people who influenced me most in my career were those who gave me the hardest critiques. Stricken with a bruised-ego for days, or on occasion for months, inevitably their feedback helped me make the right life choices to improve, change direction, or stay the course with intensity. In fact, the boss who was the hardest on me is the one I thank the most. Good was not good enough if I was capable of better, and she was quick to point out when that was. No sugar coating from her. And the funny thing? When I was honest with myself, I knew she was right.   Being honest with yourself is one of the challenges to winning at working. We all have talents and abilities, but they?re not always in the areas we pursue at work. Too many people I?ve run across in my career have American Idol Syndrome (AIS). Like Idol contestants auditioning with little or no singing ability, these people believe they are good at what they do. They can?t understand why they don?t get the promotion, the outstanding review, or the highest increases. They view themselves as varsity team material, but they play with junior varsity skills.   When I was a freshman at Stanford, I got a D in biology. Stanford graded on a bell-curve, so an 84% that might traditionally put me in a B category, was near the class bottom. Accustomed to A?s, first quarter grades woke me up. At first, I rationalized a D at Stanford was an A or a B at most any other school. But, reality prevailed. I wasn?t at another school. If I was going to compete at the school I was at, it was time to use more than high school skills to bring results.   Are you applying yourself? Are you as good as you could be to get the raise, the promotion, or the more interesting work? If these are things you want, don?t suffer from AIS. Give yourself some Simon-esk feedback. Ego aside. A Simon-esk answer to the questions, "how good are you?? and "are you in the right field?? offers you a chance at becoming happier and more successful at working. The answers give you choices: you can stay the course; find a playing field at your skill level; improve your skills to compete where you are; or change directions.   (c) 2004 Nan S. Russell.  All rights reserved.

Resume Tips To Take You From SAHM to WAHM

When looking for a telecommuting position, it is very important to have your resume in tip-top shape. This is often the only thing that a potential employer has to base a hiring decision on since they most likely will not be interviewing you in person, your resume has to make that great first impression for you.

Any Job is an Honorable Job

Seeing your job as an honorable job, adds more meaning and peace to your life. Also, seeing the honor in what you do now, creates an ideal foundation upon which a career change can be built.

How To Get More Interviews In Your Job Search

Richard Bolles, job search guru and author of What Color Is Your Parachute? predicts that you can expect to search for work 1-2 months for every $10,000 you hope to earn. So, if you?re looking for a $40,000 a year position, you may search for 4-8 months to land it. Back when the economy sizzled, that job search length would have seemed outrageous, but now, many people would be thrilled to only search for 4-8 months.

12 Steps to Targeting Success in Your Career or Job Search

Is your job search sagging? Are you still looking for that ideal next job? Or are you about to begin looking for new work and are not sure of the best way to go about it? What you need is a way to evaluate your job search strategies to see whether or not they are working effectively for you.

Handling the Dreaded Why Did You Leave? Question

If you left your last job under less-than-ideal circumstances, you probably dread the "Why did you leave?" question that almost always comes up at job interviews. Here's how to handle it.

Seven Steps to Making a Successful Career Change

My first job was secretary to Moses. Having to transcribe and make 2,430 copies of the Ten Commandments convinced me I was on the wrong career path!  OK, maybe I'm not quite THAT old. But I did start out as a secretary.  While I didn't mind the work, eventually I decided it wasn't very satisfying. I often felt like a "tool" that helped others contribute to the organization's success. I wanted to make my own contributions, to find creative ways to make a difference. It took me about 12 year to come to that conclusion, decide to do something about it, and change my life.

175 Power Verbs and Phrases for Resumes, Cover Letters, and Interviews

While you?re revamping your resume or cover letter or constructing your proof-by-example stories for interviews, you?ll find you need to watch your word choice. Why? Communication is powerful if the words we use to communicate are powerful. That?s not all it takes, but the right words make for a good beginning.

What To Do When Your Boss Is a Butthead

I've never worked for a boss I didn't like or respect.  Sure, some were better than others, but I never considered quitting my job because of a bad boss.  Unfortunately, many employees aren't so lucky.

Reinvent Your Career In Five Simple Steps

The phrase ?reinventing yourself? seems to be popping up all over lately. Just a few days ago a friend asked me how he could do it without starting completely over. His concern was, ?How do I move in a new career direction without sacrificing all the skills and experience I?ve worked so hard to achieve?? The underlying question is, ?Is this even possible??

No Experience? No Problem!

Are you a new graduate with little or no work experience?  Sometimes it can be tough to get a job without experience, and how do you get more experience if you can't get a job?

Five Powerful Tips for Interns

Interning is about more than earning money during summer break.  It's a wonderful way to gain work experience and lay the foundation for your future career.  But to get the most out of it, you have to do more than just land the job, show up for work and collect your paycheck.  Here are some tips that will help you get the full benefits of interning:

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