Updates from CPCC Institute for Entrepreneurship

Free Seminars


Start Your Business Now SBX 7525
What do you really need to get started? Much more than luck! This
popular seminar is packed with valuable information to help you start off
right and increase the odds of your business being successful.

5:30 – 7:30 p.m. 1/12 (Sec. 501) TH University City Library
6:30 – 8:30 p.m. 2/23 (Sec. 502) TH Central Campus
6:30 – 8:30 p.m. 3/19 (Sec. 503) M Merancas Campus
5:30 – 7:30 p.m. 4/19 (Sec. 504) TH South County Library

Am I a Leader or a Manager?

As Leader of the Charlotte Empowering Today's Professionals Networking Group, I often ask myself do I have the qualifications to be a leader? Do I have the qualifications to be a manager?

So How do I Describe Myself? Am I a Leader or a Manager?

So I turned this around and said what would an interviewer ask me? Mrs. Sherman how
would you describe yourself, are a leader or a manager (or a follower).

Now in order for me to respond to this question I need to understand the difference between a leader and a manager.

Management and leadership have very different meanings:

Your Confidence Glass Needs to Runneth Over….

Every day we need to start the day with extra confidence. Especially during these times, your clients and prospects need and take some of your confidence so if you don’t start your day with extra, they will know it and the chances of them doing business with you are less than if you have enough to give away to all that need some of your confidence during each day.

Is Finding a Job a Game to You?

By Thomas E. Kenny, Software Engineer
Empowering Today's Professionals Senior Faculty Leader and Founder, ETP Jersey Shore Networking Group

Many of us know that the 7 step job search process from "Win The Race for 21st Century Jobs" requires time and effort but in my experience it's very effective. Some of you may think the process is hard work, that is necessary, but not necessarily fun.

Well I've recently learned of a new beta web site named jobtactoe.com which tries to turn your job search into a fun game. Their slogan is "Putting Play into Finding Work" TM.

I believe the premise of this job search web site is for you to establish and enter your job search goals and get support from your network who is also on this web site toward achieving your goals. It also provides tips along the way and you can obtain points as you complete tasks to compete with others on the site. The pages of this site have a cartoon-ish theme which I guess is suppose to add to the fun.

Although I think the web site leverages some good principles such as, setting and tracking goals, accountability to your network, and trying to have fun. I do wonder who these job seekers are that need a game to motivate them to obtain a job. Sure job seekers are in a race to find a job, but cartoons and peer pressure by competing for unaccountable points doesn't seem to add value to a professional's job search. 

Networking- Have you made it part of your job?

An interesting point was made during my networking group’s recent discussion about how to stay in touch with people in our network. As I was offering some techniques I personally use to stay in touch with my network, someone blurted out: “But that’s your job!”. Her point was that as a coach, it was my job to keep in touch with people that could assist my clients, it was my job to stay in touch with people that could provide industry insight, and it was my job to stay connected. I think you can catch the drift here. Others in the room began to giggle a bit and someone else retorted: “Networking is a part of all of our jobs!”

To many, networking has been viewed as a mandatory activity for sales people but perhaps as an extracurricular option for others, or an activity only to be pursued when a person is in between jobs. Somewhere the paradigm has shifted and many people now recognize it has become a mandatory part of everyday life for anyone in the workplace. Others have jumped on the social media bandwagon believing that “exposure” is the answer to unemployment or career development. Exposure isn’t the entire answer. Networking for effective results is really not that simple.

Social networking has prompted the medium for getting connected, but there is still a need for coaching around the concepts of why we need to be connected and how to develop or nurture new or existing relationships. Using social media to build exposure is one approach. But simple exposure does not develop relationships and does not develop trust. Relationships develop over time, not with a click and a connection. Developing relationships requires an awareness of a purpose and having an objective, followed by thoughtful communications that will support that objective.

It seems many jobseekers are under the impression that having mass visibility will not only get them a job, but that they will also automatically be happy with it. My assessment is that much like the rush to use career databases to post resumes years ago, the mad rush to use social networking sites to build visibility with the assumption that a passive approach leads to “happy ever after”, is just as unrealistic. Vast exposure with no plan or strategy is no more effective in developing rewarding results than the popular method of shot-gunning 500 resumes to random businesses was in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s.

The belief that visibility is the answer is misguided, as it is only a piece of the puzzle. Visibility means others can find you. It doesn’t mean that you will be prepared for the conversation when it is initiated, or that you will have the faintest idea of what you might be getting into when invited to interview with a company you may not have heard of an hour before the contact. Social networking can be a recruiter’s dream; easy access to more and more candidates. Conversely, the candidates that are contacted are at the mercy of the person reaching them. They are more likely to be caught off guard, unaware, unprepared and put in a position to act on something they had not enough time or information about to consider a reasonable approach. Flattering? Perhaps. Productive? Not necessarily. Certainly not as much as one would hope for.

There is a connection between the “job” of staying in touch with your network and making yourself visible through social networks. It is important to ensure your visibility creates the kinds of opportunities that are consistent with your goals. And, that your visibility is supported by the strength of your trusted relationships. By staying in touch with people that are able to share insight about your areas of interest, you are much more likely to have some semblance of composure or clear context the next time you are randomly contacted by an unknown recruiter.

Posted by Sherri Edwards - Money Wise Women

What Does Your Mentor Look Like?

Have you ever had a mentor that has made so much of a difference in your life either personally or professionally that you are forever grateful to that person? Someone that cared, took an interest or believed in you? If your answer is yes, then you know exactly where I am coming from. If the answer is no….go find that person now. Okay, that might be easier said than done.

Finding a mentor will happen but first you need to determine what that person looks like to you. I have been very fortunate to have had mentors both personally and professionally and unless you are lucky enough to have one fall in your lap, it might take a little more effort to clearly define what you are looking for and then to go out and find that person. Find a quiet place with a pad and pen and think about answers to the following questions:

1) What is your ultimate goal? Are you looking for a job, advance in a current job, learn how to manage some of the day to day challenges at work. Do you want to change jobs or even better, change careers. If you are a student, are you trying to find direction after high school or college? Do you want to make changes in your personal life? Whatever your ultimate goal is, it will help determine the type of person that you should seek out.

2) What qualities are important to you? Do you prefer a male or female? Do you want someone in a specific profession? Does the person have the ability to give you honest feedback? Are they ethical? Are they outspoken or soft spoken? Are they very serious or can they be silly? Have they had similar experiences that you have had? Are they caring or very reserved? What qualities in a person absolutely bug you? You should ask yourself all of these questions and more.

3) Identify your own values. Are you honest and have integrity? What are your thoughts about family and friendships? Is money important to you? Do you work hard, love to travel, value education? Understanding who you are and what is important to you is key.

4) Once you have been able to define the type of person, make a list of the places where you might find them. Are they in the corporate environment? If so, what type of profession are they in? Do they work in a school? Are they a teacher or administrator? Do they work for a non-profit? Are they a doctor, lawyer, vet, construction worker, day care provider, travel agent? Do they live in another part of the country? The more specific that you get with this question, the better.

Finding a mentor can happen in a variety of ways. There are many corporations that have their own formalized “mentorship” programs. Within these programs, you will be paired up with a senior person in the company that has expressed an interest in being a mentor. The second way seems to happen very naturally. There is a natural connection to a person and you may not understand why but this person just happens to come into your life and has a very powerful impact on you. This person can be anyone, an older family friend, a teacher, boss, acquaintance, administrator and they can come from any walk of life. However you meet this person, there will be something about them that will resonate with you. Often times your mentor will have a very similar personality and values as you have, maybe they have had similar experiences, or are in a position that you would like to be in some day. However you find your mentor and who ever this person might be, enjoy the journey and cherish the relationship because it is one that can be life changing for you

Cheryl Friscia

Cheryl Friscia is a Certified Coach and Entrepreneur. After 15 years in the corporate environment she launched her own business to share her coach training, corporate experience and 23 years as a mother, with other professionals who want to catapult their lives into something great. Cheryl spends a significant amount of time working with young men and women in navigating through all of the choices available and guiding them to determine a positive direction. Cheryl's job as a Coach is to inspire and work with you to align your passions with your core values.

Negotiating: Making the Interview Process Work for You

A candidate’s ultimate goal from an interview is to receive an offer of employment. The employer’s goal is to select the right candidate. Contrary to how candidates have approached interviews in the past, waiting for the interview to learn what you need to know to determine if this is the right decision, is much too late. Many employers have figured that out, too, and that is why they research candidates’ backgrounds in advance of the interview, or prefer to work with candidates referred by a trusted source. The employer will typically know what they need (not always) and what they are willing to pay (a range) in advance of an interview. If they truly don't have a range, then it could be red flag. It may mean they haven't researched to know what is reasonable, or worse, don't have a budget, which means they may not be fiscally prepared to add to staff.

Regardless of how prepared or ill-prepared either party might be, every interview potentially ends with an offer and subsequently a negotiation. To retain a position of power throughout the process, the candidate’s negotiating strategy begins with their advance preparation, the resume they send and the first conversation. Contrary to popular belief, a strategy cannot begin after the offer is made. Any attempt to negotiate without a strategy is only a reaction or response. The person without a strategy is in a less powerful position than the one with a strategy.

The following examples illustrate how easy it is to lose your power prior to or during an interview, when there has been little preparation and no strategy developed prior to the first conversation. Immediately following are recommended actions to help a person maintain a position of power and to reinforce the ability to get what they want.

Ways to Lose Your Power:

1.Reacting to an opportunity without goals and a strategy. If you are unclear about what it is you really want, why and how you are going to accomplish it, it is impossible to present a compelling case for why you are a fit for the role or the company.

2.Not preparing for the call before you speak with them. Without preparation, it is too easy to get side tracked with tough questions. People say things they shouldn’t say, and say things in ways that can be easily misinterpreted.

3.Talking about money before an interviewer knows anything about you (other than what’s in you your resume). Until you have presented a case for why you are worth anything, suggesting you should have more than what they might be offering will typically close the door on the opportunity. Yes, recruiters ask what you want. Just because they ask, doesn’t mean you need to tell them. (I’d like a home in Mexico. Anybody going to pony up?)

4.Disclosing current or previous compensation. Don’t compare apples and oranges. The employer wants to know they are not wasting their time. If you are changing roles or moving from an area with a different cost of living, this information is irrelevant. There are many ways to assure them you are fine with what they may offer.

5.Making demands or setting boundaries about what you will consider before a formal offer has been presented. If they haven’t decided they really want you and absolutely have to have you, then it is premature to discuss what you want. It can tip the cart and actually prevent an offer from coming forth.

6.Assuming who the decision maker is. Don’t take any conversations lightly. A receptionist or support person may not be listed as a participant, but they certainly may be in on the hiring decision. At the very least, information they pass on about you could make a difference in the outcome later.

7.Not knowing what the interviewer’s needs are. If you over speak when talking with any interviewer (trying to sell yourself by addressing issues that are not of interest to the person in front of you), you may completely miss the opportunity to move forward.

8.Making assumptions about the interviewer’s viewpoint or company’s position on key points without clarifying their needs. Expanding on your opinion about something without being absolutely certain it is in line with their thinking leaves too much to be wrongly interpreted.

9.Emailing communication that can be interpreted badly or will lose translation. Conversation about any conflict, money or a concern of any kind should not have a permanent trail.

10.Asking questions about “what they can do for you” before you have presented value to them. Don’t imply you will have special requests before they are clear about “what you can do for them”.

11.Talking beyond the business at hand before it is a done deal. If an offer hasn’t been presented for the role that is in front of you, then changing direction midstream without fulfilling their initial need can take you completely out of the game. Discussion about future options can be interpreted as if you are not interested in the original position or are overqualified. Even though the conversation seems pleasant enough, the reality of what is still left unfilled may resurface after you have left, and you could be dropped like a hot potato.
12.Assuming any discussion is a formal offer when none has been made. You can’t assume that because one person loves you, and says everything is a go, that it is a done deal. Talk is cheap.

How to Maintain or Build Your Power:

1.Be clear about your goals and how a particular role or company will contribute to your being able to achieve them.

2.Know what you need to know about an industry to be competitive before you begin any conversation.

3.Research a company and be as aware of important information about it before you have a conversation with a recruiter or hiring manager.

4.Set the stage that money is not your highest priority, but the fit and contribution to the company’s needs are.

5.Deflect questions about current earnings. Don’t be pushed into comparing apples and oranges. Research the current market range and suggest it. Certainly finding out from inside sources prior to an interview is optimal if the range isn’t posted.

6.Find out who the real decision maker is.

7.Make sure you know what is important to every person you interview with.

8.Don’t take a stand about anything. Rather than discussing your “opinion”, tell them what you have done in the past so they don’t need to guess what actions you might take when given a tough scenario to maneuver through.

9.Ask open-ended questions to learn more about the role, department and company. Let them talk! Ask open ended-questions to build your awareness of their motivation before coming to any conclusions.

10.Discuss complex issues in person (or by phone if that is the only option other than email).Create a positive impression with all communications.

11.Save discussions about “future advancement” until they have confirmed their immediate need has been met.

12.Ask for a formal offer. Get it in writing.

Negotiating what you want after you understand their position, you are clear of what you need and an offer has been presented is much more likely to end in a win-win.

Posted by Sherri Edwards - Money Wise Women

Where Employees Are Worshipped & Why

What retailer pays their employees 50-100% more than average?

What company figured out that it only takes one great employee to do the work of three good employees?

What business holds up to 8 interviews before making a job offer?
What retailer trains new store clerks for 262 hours, in the first year, while the rest of the industry spends an average of 12?

You would only be correct if you answered, The Container Store. The business was started with one store in TX in 1978. Today, they have 41 stores. Early on the partner/principles figured out that if you want outstanding customer experiences, the path of least resistance is outstanding, loyal, dedicated people who love coming to work every day.

So, what has the creation of this culture/business proven after thirty three years of using this mode? CEO Kip Tindell will be the first to tell you that the model is very dynamic, never static and always changing. The chain of stores has made Fortune Magazine’s list of ‘Best Places to Work” year after year for the past eleven years. Perhaps that’s why they lead the industry in low employee turnover.

CEO Kendall reminds us not to create a culture like this for altruistic reasons. However, the evidence suggests that with an average growth in value of more than 26%, year after year, The Container Store is a place that I can’t wait to experience as a shopper. With their plan to open their 42nd store in Charlotte, NC, I won’t have to wait much longer.

By the way, cultures this refined and successful are not limited to B2C.

If you’d like to know what it takes to move a business from being good to being great, contact me, I’d be happy to explain how it can be done.

Submitted by, Alan Adler. Author of Getting the Fish to Swim to YOU & Keeping Them in YOUR Boat.

Alan Adler

An award winning, results driven strategist; a consultant/coach specializing in leadership, change, marketing & customer service. In addition, Alan is a speaker, author, columnist and CRM, (Customer Relationship Management) pioneer. As the former owner of a business with 90 employees, plus 30 years of experience; Alan brings “fresh eyes,” providing strategic solutions to for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. Alan's approach combines the passion of intuition with the rigor of evidence

Achieve Your Goals Utilizing a Coach

Achieving goals is nothing more than finding out what has been holding you back and the habits and perceptions that need to change in order to get you where you want to be. Accountability coaching helps you identify those negative aspects and transform them into positive ones so you can achieve the goals you desire.

Seeking the guidance of a professional accountability coach is not a sign of weakness, it is quite the opposite. Even the very best Olympic competitors and professional athletes cannot become champions without professional coaching – and it is the same for you. The most prominent success comes from exploring your true self and identifying the self-sabotaging habits and perceptions that have been holding you back.

The Law of Effect simply states that behaviors that are reinforced are most likely to be repeated. Believing in yourself is vital to your success.

Written by Anne Bachrach - Posted in Coaching

Anne Bachrach

Anne M. Bachrach is known as The Accountability Coach™. She has 23 years of experience training and coaching. The objective is to work less, make more money, and have a more balanced life. Anne is the author of the book, Excuses Don’t Count; Results Rule!, and Live Life with No Regrets; How the Choices We Make Impact Our Lives. Go to http://www.accountabilitycoach.com/landing/ and get 3 FREE gifts including a special report on 10 Power Tips for Getting Focused, Organized, and Achieving Your Goals Now. Join the FREE Silver Inner Circle Membership today and receive 10% off on all products and services, in addition to having access to assessments and resources to help you achieve your goals so you can experience a more balanced and successful life (http://www.accountabilitycoach.com/coaching-store/inner-circle-store/).

7 Tips for Overcoming Procrastination

I know how busy you must be so I’ll get right to the point. Here are 7 simple and practical tips to help you overcome procrastination:

1.Realize that people procrastinate for all sorts of reasons… so dig deeper and try to understand the real reasons why you are procrastinating and that will help you find the right strategies to overcome it.

2.Do your best to get started. The simple act of getting started with a small piece of your big project is often enough to break the inertia. It doesn’t matter what you do, pick something and get started.

3.Pick a simple, easy task to get started. Just answer this question: “What’s the easiest way for me to get started with this project?” … Then DO it.

4.A great way to help you get started is to make a commitment to spend just 30, 20 or even 15 minutes working on your project, then you can stop and take a break without any guilt. You’ll often decide to keep on working and let your momentum carry you through.

5.To make this even more powerful, schedule your 30, 20 or 15 minute block right into your calendar and use it as an ‘implementation intention’ to take action

6.In a recent study, researchers found that simply using ‘implementation intentions’ (like scheduling a time block in your calendar) makes it much more likely that you WILL take action, so just do it!

7.Examine the way you think about and talk about your projects and tasks. We often make a task or project seem far worse than it actually is, which can encourage procrastination

If you want more resources to help you overcome procrastination, check out the LaserFOCUS Success System Larry D. is talking about. For more information send an email to: mrdynamicspeaker@gmail.com

Have your best day ever and remember, “It All Starts With You!”

P.S. Is PROCRASTINATION Costing You a Bundle? Do You Struggle to Complete Major Projects, Challenging Goals, or Difficult Tasks? Are You Stopping Before You Ever Start? Now There is a Simple, Quick and Easy Way To Get a Handle On Procrastination Once and For All!

For a free report with all the details send an email with Breakthrough in the Subject window, do it now, you’ll be glad you did!

Best Wishes,
Mr. DYNAMIC Himself
Larry D.
Business: 708.261.3589

Host of: Revealing Secrets Radio Show. Creator of Do t Now Coaching and Self-Improvement Expert for Self Employed Professionals
Attract More Clients, Work a Lot Less and Make More Money..

Connect with Larry D.

The Importance of Personal Values

Values are the key to success. Values help you get motivated.

Values help you get and stay motivated. Values relate to our purpose in life and are used as guiding principles, rules if you will, to make your life easier. What is important to you? What is important about your business? Do your personal and business values align?

Values provide you with a strong foundation; a method for living your life to it’s fullest. Values will also help you in finding your purpose in life. From the list of values provided, choose your top values and live by them. If you already have values that you use, confirm that these values are in alignment with your business goals, and mission and vision statements.If your business values and personal values are in alignment, great. If they are not, you will be dissatisfied, unhappy, and you will definitely not generate the results you want. Difficult to be a bank robber and think you can save the world. No alignment there.

Values help you gain real clarity about what you stand for.

1. Choose ten words from the following list that appeal to you.

2. Select the top four of these words and place one on each line as your Top Four values.

3. Choose to live by these Top Four values for at least the next thirty days.

4. At the end of thirty days, review these Top Four words to see if they still work for you. If not, substitute as needed.

You will not be graded; this is not a test. You are looking at what works for you, not someone else. If you want to change your values, do it.

Use Your Values Daily: How values can work for you.

Say you chose the word “generous” from the list of Values. It could mean that each and every day, you were helpful to others or shared more of who you are with others. With practice, being “generous” becomes a familiar aspect of who you are and you would start attracting other people who were “generous”. You would look for reasons to be “generous” and you would be “generous” to yourself”.

Choose 4 Values from this Sample List:

Accepting, inspire, accomplished, intelligent, kind, aware, knowledgeable, beautiful, leader, brave, loving, calm, motivated, compassionate, observant, organized, connected, original, cooperative, passionate, courageous, patient, creative, peaceful, decisive, perceptive, devoted, persistent, disciplined, playful, discriminating, prepared, receptive, energetic resilient, enthusiastic, respectful, excited, responsible, expert, risk-taker, satisfied, flexible, sensible, sensitive, fulfilled, spiritual, generous spontaneous, graceful, strong, grateful, happy, thoughtful, harmonious thorough, humorous, trusting, independent, willing, insightful, wise.

Reminder: First choose ten from the above list. Then, choose your Top Four Favorites. Use these Top Four values to live your life and your business by.

1. _________________

2. _________________

3. _________________

4. _________________

When you live by your four chosen values, your business and personal life will have more purpose, more focus and more possibilities. Now make it real.

Joanne Victoria, co-founder of Gemma & Bixley and a Professional Business Intuitive, has been a business practitioner for over 25 years as a Real Estate Broker/Owner, CFO of an investment company, CFO and Sales & Marketing Director of a home-building company and CEO of her former business, New Directions. Joanne provides insights into Big Picture outcomes for clients and offers action steps essential to make dreams come alive. Victoria guided numerous organizations from insecure financial circumstances to increased levels of success.

Joanne is the author of 5 books including: Vision With a Capital V- Create the Business of Your Dreams, Lighting Your Path-How To Create the Life You Want, How To Achieve Your Dream Business and Pushy For a Moment-Instant Solutions to Everyday Challenges. Joanne’s observations on what people can do to succeed have been reported in the San Francisco Chronicle, national Business Journals, Success Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, Marie Claire magazine and national television and radio programs. Joanne‘s ability to see the big picture allows her to leap over logic presented by circumstances and individuals. Joanne’s philosophy cultivates methods for identifying commanding life choices, then trusting those choices to promote growth.

Main Library - Programs - Charlotte

****These classes are available at no charge****

Introduction to the Internet

Event Type: Computer Skills/Technology
Age Group(s): Adults
Date: 9/21/2011
Start Time: 2:00 PM
End Time: 4:00 PM
Description: Learn about the Internet and the World Wide Web. Class will cover web browsers, what you can do on the internet, Internet searching and search engines. Email will not be covered. Participants should be familiar with using a mouse.

Library: Main Library
Location: JHC- Computer Lab A
Other Information:Registration Required.
Contact: Job Help Center Staff
Contact Number: 704-416-0500
Presenter: Job Help Center Staff
Status: Openings (4)


One-on-One Computer Tutoring

Event Type: Computer Skills/Technology
Age Group(s): Adults
Date: 9/27/2011
Start Time: 12:00 PM
End Time: 3:00 PM
Description: Need more attention than you can get in a class? The Job Help Center will have volunteers on hand to assist job seekers with resume writing, setting up an email account, applying for jobs online, or improving their computer skills.
Library: Main Library
Location: JHC- Computer Lab A
Other Information:Sessions are first-come, first-saved. Call 704-416-0500 for more information.

Contact: Job Help Center Staff
Contact Number: 704-416-0500

Event Type: Computer Skills/Technology
Age Group(s): Adults
Date: 10/25/2011
Start Time: 12:00 PM
End Time: 3:00 PM
Description: Need more attention than you can get in a class? The Job Help Center will have volunteers on hand to assist job seekers with resume writing, setting up an email account, applying for jobs online, or improving their computer skills.
Library: Main Library
Location: JHC- Computer Lab A
Other Information:Sessions are first-come, first-saved. Call 704-416-0500 for more information.

Contact: Job Help Center Staff
Contact Number: 704-416-0500

Event Type: Computer Skills/Technology
Age Group(s): Adults
Date: 11/8/2011
Start Time: 12:00 PM
End Time: 3:00 PM
Description: Need more attention than you can get in a class? The Job Help Center will have volunteers on hand to assist job seekers with resume writing, setting up an email account, applying for jobs online, or improving their computer skills.
Library: Main Library
Location: JHC- Computer Lab A
Other Information:Sessions are first-come, first-saved. Call 704-416-0500 for more information.

Contact: Job Help Center Staff
Contact Number: 704-416-0500

Master the Behavioral Interviewing Method
Event Type: Jobs/Careers
Age Group(s): Adults
Date: 9/20/2011
Start Time: 1:30 PM
End Time: 2:30 PM
Description: Behavioral interviewing asserts that the most accurate predictor of future performance is past performance in a similar situation. Library HR specialist, Julia Lanham, will teach you how to present yourself in the best light.
Library: Main Library
Location: JHC-Learning Studio A
Contact: Job Help Center Staff
Contact Number: 704-416-0500
Presenter: Julia Lanham, Library Human Resources Professional

Practice Interviewing

Event Type: Jobs/Careers
Age Group(s): Adults
Date: 10/13/2011
Start Time: 12:30 PM
End Time: 1:30 PM
Description: Join us for a 30-minute, one-on-one mock interview session with a human resources professional. You’ll be asked some of the most common interview questions, then get constructive feedback and tips on how to improve.
Library: Main Library
Location: Job Help Center
Other Information:Registration is required. Sign up online or call 704-416-0500 to sign up. Please bring a printed copy of your resume.
Contact: Job Help Center Staff
Contact Number: 704-416-0500
Presenter: Grace Mar Services Inc.
Status: Openings (6)

******Please Note*******
Attendee MUST give 24 hour cancellation notice to allow others on the waiting list to attend.

How to Decide if a Career Change is Right for You
Event Type: Jobs/Careers
Age Group(s): Adults
Date: 11/3/2011
Start Time: 4:00 PM
End Time: 5:00 PM
Description: If you are considering a career change, you'll want to join us for this informative webinar. Topics include questions to consider if you are contemplating a career change and how to create and execute a successful career change plan.
Library: Main Library
Location: JHC Learning Studio Full
Other Information:Registration is not required; this is a drop-in event.
Contact: Job Help Center Staff
Contact Number: 704-416-0500
Presenter: Tutor.com Webinar

10 Ways to Find Meaning in Your Work

Do you have a meaningful job? Are you doing something you find fulfilling? Here are some practical ideas to help you find the meaning in your work life.

Many people have a difficult time finding meaning in their work. They bounce from one job to another in hopes of finding fulfillment but they forget that finding a great job is about figuring out who we are and what we love doing. Here are some practical ideas to help you find out what it means to you.

1.Get to know yourself first and understand what really interests and motivates you.

2.Don’t look on the outside for meaning, it’s inside you.

3.Meaning is the same as fulfillment and fulfillment is doing the things you were put on this earth to do.

4.You’ll find more meaning if you’re willing to look deep inside yourself and improve your thoughts and actions.

5.Don’t let other people tell you what work is meaningful, you decide.

6.Spend conscious and deliberate time doing things that speak to the deeper part of you. In other words, do the things you love each day and include them in your work life.

7.Listen to your heart. It will tell you if you are moving toward a meaningful career or not.

8.Meaning seldom comes from money.

9.Try not to fight against the stream, go with your natural talents.

10.Remember that living a meaningful work life may not be easy but it is deeply satisfying because you get to be yourself.

Think about these ideas the next time you are searching for meaning in your work. You’ll find that you already have many of the answers inside you if you’re willing to listen.

Take care,


Guy Farmer

I provide unconventional team building, effective communication, leadership and diversity training for enlightened leaders who value self-awareness and practicing positive behaviors

(Still) Waiting for Validation?

Recently, somebody said to me in a matter of fact tone, as if imparting a universal truth:

“Oprah said the other day that we all need validation.”

I asked “Who should validate you?”

“Well– he cleared his throat– I guess it’s me. I will validate myself.”

Really?) If we were able to validate ourselves we would not have to ask for validation from others (fans, friends, family, readers, etc).

“If so– I asked– will you validate yourself even when others do not validate you?”

“Well, I need others, I want to connect, I don’t want to be alone, I am not one of those people who want to do it alone.”

Validation implies acceptance and appreciation. Receiving validation, we know that we are needed, loved, appreciated. Receiving validation shows that others find us “Valid.”

Connection, support and feedback—yes, we all need them, we should cherish them as great gifts, and we should offer them generously. They are not the same as validation.

You just started a new business and it’s hard; you’re writing a new book and it’s confusing; you are building a new house and it’s expensive; you quit your job to travel the world and your friends think you’ve lost your mind; you are excited beyond words, and frightened beyond words. Will it work, will it not work? Will I lose money, time, or friends or family over this amazing new adventure? Am I right? Am I wrong?

You are well on your way with a new project — suddenly, you don’t know, anymore. Are you seeking inner or outer validation at this moment?

In each instance, you give yourself truly to the endeavor of creating a new experience, business, book or house– without knowing the final result. When you don’t receive approval or you feel you are not validated– will you go ahead anyway?

William W. Purkey’s words were quoted so many times that they became common place. Still, who truly lives their life accordingly?

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.”

Rejection (overt or implied) can be such a healthy mechanism. It can help you focus and clarify your thinking, it can increase your inner ardor and strengthen your resolve, it can show you the path not taken, it can show you that something is not working in a present incarnation spurring better efforts, and it can help you find a new product/service that otherwise you would have not considered.

Validation may come later when you are already successful (people will say, “I knew it all along, I knew that you would be successful”). Or not!

Either way, by the time you are done with your work, you would have validated yourself simply because you could NOT not follow your heart– so strong was the inner call. On the way, you will get plenty of feedback and support. Joseph Campbell, the great American mythologist, wrote “I feel that if one follows what I call one’s “bliss” — the thing that really gets you deep in your gut and that you feel is your life — doors will open up. They do! They have in my life and they have in many lives that I know of.”

Working with young entrepreneurs who are excited to play, and enjoying every minute of the game of discovery, I see less need for validation. It’s quite interesting to me since kids need a lot of guidance and encouragement while they are in the process of developing identity, particularly when we support them to become powerful leaders.

Kids are so involved in the game of starting a new project or a new venture, that the pleasure of doing and playing overrides the fear and the need for validation.

Could we all play the game of “this- is- so-important- to –ME- that- I- will- go- ahead and –do- it- even –if- no- one- validates- me?” It can be a new business, a new book, a new job, a new anything—anything that forces you to come out and play as if nobody is judging.

Can you validate yourself today?

Written by Ligia Buzan, Ph.D. -

I am a strategist who helps entrepreneurs of all ages to develop and build successful businesses! I also work with young adults and teens to guide them to best play the game of "I-am-a-detective-in-search-of money-making-opportunities!." I give young entrepreneurs tools to assess ideas and and start a new venture. If you know young people interested in learning business, life skills and starting a venture-- there is more information at www.kidzbusiness.com

Don’t Blow The Interview; Manager Pet Peeves

The other day a job seeker named Bill came to my workshop carrying a newspaper article from the Boston Herald titled: “Be prepared for [the] unexpected at [the] job interview.” I had two reactions as he handed me the cut-out article with certain sentences underlined with red ink. My first reaction was to say, “Wow, people still read newspapers?” My other reaction was to thank him for the article.

I was grateful for the article Bill brought me because much of what was written confirmed what I tell job seekers about the interview process. Not what questions to predict; not how to successfully structure their answer to a behavioral question; and not how to negotiate salary. The article talked about the simpler acts interviewees sometimes take for granted.

Two of the do’s some job seekers take for granted, according to this article, are maintaining eye contact and arriving on time. Weren’t we told many years ago that these faux pas are unforgivable? Reading that these interview mistakes still occur is almost incomprehensible. In the worst economy of our time, I can’t see any room for even these minor mishaps. Sweaty palms, a bit of hesitation, some “umms” here and there, are borderline acceptable.

So what goes wrong after job seekers zip off a great résumé and cover letter, pass the phone interview, and head for the all important face-to-face? Some of it can be attributed to nerves and downright fear, and some of it can be because the interviewee doesn’t have the common sense of a Labrador Receiver.

Marvin Walberg, the author of this article, writes that a survey was conducted by Accountemps to see what the kinds of silly mistakes are made at interviews. The mistakes go beyond not maintaining eye contact and being late; we’re talking about other more serious mistakes, definite interview killers.

Of more than a thousand hiring managers, six blunders stood out more than others. The percentages indicate which mistakes came to the managers’ mind first.

1. Little or no knowledge of the company: 38 percent
2. Unprepared to discuss skills and experience: 20 percent
3. Unprepared to discuss career plans, goals: 14 percent
4. Lack of eye contact: 10 percent
5. Late arrival: 9 percent
6. Limited enthusiasm: 9 percent

The first three failures point directly to unpreparedness. What more can job search professionals tell jobseekers? Prepare, prepare, prepare. It’s that simple. If you’re not prepared for the interview, your raw intelligence, good looks, and charm will probably not get land you the job.

Questions about the job: Expect questions regarding the company and the job. Interviewers want to know why you want to work for them, what you know about their plans and goals, what understanding you have of their products and services. And they also want you to sell their company to them.

Knowing the company’s competitors will be an added bonus. Going to the interview loaded with all this knowledge can solve the employers’ last most common mistake, failing to show enthusiasm.

Be able to discuss your skills and experience: “Know thyself” is such a well known cliché, but it’s true. You have to know what duties you’ve performed, how well you’ve performed them; and it all has to relate to the position you’re seeking. As we’ve read hundreds of times, quantified accomplishments sell.

People with good recall usually have no problems recounting their experience, so those whose memory isn’t that great need to study their résumé before going to the interview.

Know your goal plans: Where do you plan to be in five years? Who the hell knows? At least show your ambition by telling employers that you reach for the stars and won’t be a clock puncher—in at 9:00 out at 5:00 on the dot.

If you want to be an individual contributor and are tired of the management route, demonstrate your desire to accomplish great things in your new role. Let them know you want to help the company’s bottom line. This is providing the role doesn’t have management responsibilities in the future.

The last three, my friend, are simply common sense. If you avoid peoples’ eyes, are constantly late, and show no enthusiasm, it’s time to do an about face and change your ways. I’m glad some people still read the newspaper and are thoughtful enough to bring in the cut-outs.

Bob McIntosh is a career trainer at the Career Center of Lowell, where he leads more than 20 workshops on the career search. He is often the person jobseekers and staff go to for advice on the job search. Bob has gained a reputation as the LinkedIn expert in and around the career center. As well, he critiques resumes and conducts mock interviews. Bob’s greatest pleasure is helping people find rewarding careers in a competitive job market. These he considers to be his greatest accomplishments. Please visit his blog and connect with him on LinkedIn.
While You’re Getting Bitter I’m Getting Better

There’s a club out there I like to call the bitter club. It’s got a lot of members and is growing stronger every day. Their mission? To look around and see what everybody else has that they don’t have, blame everything else for their circumstances, and create a colossal list of excuses why their path to success is blocked by all those other pesky people taking all the opportunities.

In the bitter club we say things like this:

(Conversation in my head)

Look at miss thang over there, strutting her business like she owns the place. Thinks she’s so great because she gets all the good jobs. Thinks she looks so hot swinging her hips like that. She isn’t any better than me. In fact, I’m sure I’m better than her. I should be having those jobs. They belong to me. It’s just because she’s got the exposure – got ‘em right in her pocket. That’s the only reason she’s successful. I would be successful too if I sucked up to everyone the way she does. Good grief, this is high school all over again. I suck. I’m going to go eat chocolate and find someone else who will agree with me that she doesn’t deserve this.

The bitter club is a very popular club that anyone can join – as you long as you carry the bitterness flag. And it’s about the only club that actually thrives in a down economy. I know. I wasn’t just a member, I was their president. Until I realized that while extremely gratifying to have an entire network of people to wallow in my bitterness with, it wasn’t getting me anywhere. I was no closer to reaching my dream than I was before – in fact, I found myself further away. And at the end of the day I didn’t feel better about myself, I felt worse. So I made a decision to quit the bitter club, ditch the excuses, stop looking around, start looking ahead, and commence training.

I decided while everyone else was getting bitter, I would get better. And better. And better. I would create opportunities for myself or die trying. I would be the one in the dark gym after everybody has gone home, practicing my jump shots. I would work and sweat and push myself out of comfort zone – over and over and over. I would laugh in the face of rejection, and no matter how many times I was knocked down, I would get back up again, more determined than ever before. (Insert Rocky theme song here). And no matter how tempting it was to join the bitter club again, I wouldn’t do it. There is no place for me there.

And one day, miss thang, I’ll pass you. Though I have a feeling it won’t matter to me at all because I stopped watching you a long time ago. One day I just might become the featured topic of the bitterness club – who knows, maybe I already am. Doesn’t matter. I’m no longer a member. I just leave the club with one last message as I run past: This too could be you. You deserve it. You can have it. Do you want it bad enough? So what are you waiting for? Stop getting bitter and start getting better. And I’ll see you at the finish line!

One Of Your Favorite Wacky Dysfunctional Motivational Speakers
Kelly Swanson

Kelly Swanson

Kelly Swanson is an award-winning storyteller, comedian, motivational speaker, and author of "Who Hijacked My Fairy Tale? How to hang on to humor when life doesn't go the way you planned." She uses hilarious comedy and powerful stories to make people laugh, refuel their passion for who they are and what they do, show them how to see beyond their obstacles, and teach them how to stand up and stick out in life and in business.

Financing Your Retirement Without a Money Tree

When you retire from your job, you may receive a lunch or dinner in your honor, the stereotypical watch or plaque in appreciation of your service, and some assorted gift cards, but never what you really need to finance your retirement – a money tree. Aside from any pay off you may have from accumulated vacation or sick leave, you are pretty much on your own. Ideally, you also have a pension and savings, plus Social Security to serve as the core of your retirement. Will it be enough?

You need to start thinking of how to finance your retirement from the time you start your first steady job, but most people are too busy handling the present issues in life to plan ahead 50 years. When layoffs and emergencies come, your retirement savings may have gone by the wayside. And you may even have dipped into your retirement savings if times were hard, you got laid off, or your withdrew money to buy a home or send your kids to college. If life got in the way of planning, you need to get serious about how your retirement finances will play out.

One thing you must consider is how much of your income you will need in retirement. You might not need some funds tied to work expenses (lunches, clothes, extra driving, parking), but how many of your other payments will continue into retirement? Is your home paid off? Do you have a car payment or other debt? Do you hope to travel? If so, you will need a high percentage of your current income. As you get older, you will need more money to cover health costs.

Regardless of your past savings patterns, you need to do some quick but thorough math before you decide to retire. CNN, MSN, and many other websites have calculators to assist you. If you enter in your age, income, current savings, savings rate, and expected pensions and social security, you will receive an estimate of how much income this will yield when you start withdrawing the money. If you have saved money through retirement plans, don’t forget to account for tax payments you must make on the withdrawals.

If you come up short, you have choices.

•You can increase your savings rate to fill the gap in your remaining working years. This is a more workable idea if you have 10 years left before you retire than if you have one year.

•You can try to have your home and credit cards paid off, if you can do this and still put away money for retirement. Having fewer expenses in retirement will make it easier, but don’t forget to budget in home and car repairs. Unless you plan to drive your same car for 20 years, you may even need another car at some point.
•You can postpone retirement from your current job – a great option if you like what you are doing. If you can work out an arrangement to go part time, this may even give you the ideal combination of money, benefits, and free time you want.
•You can plan for a new career. Whether you plan to start a business or work part time at the local Walgreen’s/WalMart, you can bring new income into the home.
•You can downsize and live more frugally as time goes on. There is nothing wrong with down-scaling your expenses, but if you want to enjoy your retirement, you probably don’t want to take a vow of poverty.

Before you make drastic decisions about financing your retirement, contact a financial advisor to help you develop a workable financial plan. Even if you don’t have all the money you would like to have, you can still finance your retirement through careful planning.

Tracey Fieber

Using the very principles she teaches, Tracey Fieber went from a corporate executive in a financial institution to a retirement filled with adventure, passion and purpose, in less than 8 months at 44 years old! Tracey Fieber is the founder of NewFaceOfRetirement.com and creator of The Secrets to Retirement Success System™, the most complete one-on-one Retirement Transition training program for corporate executives and small business owners in North America. Tracey is known for combining a unique blend of innovative, straight-shooter, nofluff strategies that really work, with an endless compassion for corporate executives and small business owners that are rarely seen together. Her high-energy, get-down-to-business style keeps her audiences interacting and taking numerous notes. Tracey’s motto about planning one’s retirement quickly is, "Why take a long time, I’ve got a life to live: places to go, people to see!" and her unique ability is getting people who’ve never had real success in planning for life stages to take immediate action on a systematic basis to produce a full retirement life they want to live, with more fun, in record time, every time. She is a well known and respected expert on retirement coaching for small businesses and speaks internationally to audiences whose members are looking for more fun, in record time, every time.

If You Lost Your Job, Do You Have a Backup Plan?

If there is one thing that most of us stress about, it is the fear of losing our jobs, because this in turn would mean that we will not be able to afford the current lifestyle we are living. Sometimes, it is easy to find a new job, but there are also times when it becomes almost impossible to find a job, and this is where life can become even more stressful. But do we really have to be in this situation? If you lost your job, do you have a backup plan? This is what we really should be thinking, as it is far more constructive than worrying.

Ultimately, every one of us has the possibility of losing our jobs, and in fact, the same goes for those who own businesses. In other words, whether you own a business or work for someone, there is a chance that you will be in a situation where your business goes bankrupt or your boss lets you go, so worrying about it is not going to solve anything, because if it happens, it happens. You see, whether you worry about it or not, you will still be out of funds, which means that things will go downhill. So, the best approach is to utilize the time you spend worrying to rather find a backup plan. In fact, you will see this type of mindset used a lot amongst investors. The idea is that you should diversify, because putting all your eggs into one basket will only put you at risk of losing all of those eggs if the basket happens to drop.

By diversifying your sources of income, you are in turn minimizing the risk of having no funds if one particular source dries out. That source can be stocks that you purchased in a company, your day job, or the extra night job that you took to make ends meet. If you look at most successful people, they do not only have one source, because they understand just how dangerous this way of living can be. So, always ask yourself this: If you lost your job, do you have a backup plan? You can even take this question further; how many backup plans do you have?

It all starts with the type of mindset you have. If you are living to simply survive, then you will find that it becomes difficult to think constructively, because you will see yourself as a person that is unable to live life according to your own rules. You become a machine of someone else, and in fact, that someone else is utilizing you as one of their backup sources. A better mindset would be to always want more, and to believe that you deserve having more just like anyone else. This approach will allow you to find as many ways as possible to ensure that you do not only become financially successful, but that you will have multiple backup sources to ensure that you never do run out of funds at any point in your life.

Written by Andy Pitt

July 29, 2011

Building Employee Trust – What Does It Mean?

by Leslie Allan on Jun 11, 2011

When we want to build employee trust in our managers, what exactly do we mean? This post examines the various components of employee trust so that we do not miss aspects that our employees consider vital in nurturing a productive employee-manager relationship.

In my earlier post on Employee-Manager Trust: How Do Employers Rate?, I recounted the results of Right Management’s recent survey. That survey put a spotlight on the alarmingly low levels employee trust in today’s organizations. It revealed that three quarters of all employees mistrusted their managers.

The kind of trust the survey authors were researching into was trust in managers’ ability to make the best decisions for their organization. However, that is just one component of the trust equation. When we say that we trust another person, what does that mean? Well, it may mean that we believe that they:

1.have the requisite skills and knowledge
2.accurately judge their own strengths and limitations
3.not act primarily from self-interest
4.maintain confidences
5.follow through on their commitments
6.are being truthful

To round out this definition, we can put each trust component into one of two bundles. The competency bundle includes the first two components. Right Management’s survey touched on this bundle only. The second bundle is the integrity bundle and includes components 3 to 6 above. This bundle is about the person displaying their true character and intentions; being who they say they are. Stephen Covey calls people who fail in this respect “duplicitous”.

In engaging the hearts and minds of our employees, it is this second bundle, the integrity bundle, that is as important, if not more important, than the competency bundle. If a manager is lacking in skills or judgment, but is sincere, his or her employees are more likely to work with them in mutual problem solving and goal attainment. A manager that is highly skilled but seen as manipulative and deceitful by his or her employees will quickly find employees checking out at the gate. And once this kind of trust is lost, it will be difficult for the manager to regain, if not impossible.

What examples can you think of in your work where your manager lost your trust? What aspect of your trust did they lose (look at components 1 to 6 above)? In a future post, I will gather all of your contributions and summarize them into a list of examples of how managers can lose the trust of their employees

Leslie Allan is Managing Director of Business Performance Pty Ltd, a management consulting firm specializing in people and process capability. He has been assisting organizations for over 20 years, contributing in various roles as project manager, consultant and trainer. Leslie is also the author of five books and many business articles. His company's Business Performance web site is a rich source of information, advice and tools in a variety of management areas. Visit today to download trial versions of products, free templates and introductory chapters. While you are there, subscribe to their informative monthly newsletter and join the blog discussion.

The Ten Worst Things to Put in Your Cover Letter

It's never too early to make a bad impression.

A cover letter or introductory email is often the first thing a potential employer sees when reviewing a job applicant. It's the first opportunity to impress recruiters and hiring managers and, therefore, the first opportunity to disappoint them. Everything from copy mistakes to inappropriate jokes in a cover letter could derail an application.

Here are the top ten worst things to put on a cover letter:

1. Next to Nothing

While writing something that's too long is a common cover letter mistake, what can be even more damaging is a cover letter that's too short.

Bruce Hurwitz, President of Hurwitz Strategic Staffing, Ltd., a New York-based staffing firm recalls a cover letter he received a few months ago for an entry-level IT sales position. It read simply, "Here's my resume. Call me. [Phone number]."

"I cracked up," Hurwitz says. "This person had only just graduated with a Bachelor's degree. It was ridiculous."

A good cover letter should be somewhere between 200 to 250 words, Hurwitz says, and should answer the question of why a recruiter should look at the resume. "The key is to highlight one success," Hurwitz says. "For example, 'I successfully increased sales 500% over two years, resulting in increased, sustained revenue of $25 million.' Once I read that, I look at the resume."

2. Criticism of a Prospective Employer

Thumbtack.com, a San Francisco-based site that connects customers with small business services, asked potential employees to submit in their cover letters feedback about their website. One candidate, a contender for an entry-level position in April, didn't pull any punches.

"The engineering of your site looks lazy and ineffective," the applicant wrote, proceeding to describe the color scheme of the site as "disconcerting to my eyes."

Needless to say, he was not considered for the position, though not before the hiring manager got in some laughs around the water cooler at his expense.

"We forwarded the cover letter to our managers sort of as a joke," says Sander Daniels, co-founder of the site. "It was the most caustic feedback we received. But we responded kindly to him -- we didn't suggest any improvements to him in approaching other employers. We don't see it as our role to counsel failed candidates."

Daniels observed that while many strong candidates turn in well-written cover letters, some have let the demand for engineers get to their heads, as Silicon Valley romances them with six-figure salaries and other job perks.

"Maybe they think they can get away with it -- but in our company, culture is a very important factor." Daniels says. "Even if Facebook's best engineer came to us, we wouldn't hire him if he was a jerk."

3. Personal Stories

While employers are sometimes interested in personal stories, especially if they give some idea about work ethic, it's best to save these stories for the interview, says Lindsay Olson of New York-based Paradigm Staffing, who specializes in recruiting communications and marketing professionals.

"I think my favorite of all time was the salesperson who poetically told me about how he decided to run a marathon, climbed to reach glaciers to have a taste of pure water, ran at heights of 5,000 meters in Peru, and biked down the world's most dangerous road and survived (over 300,000 have not)," says Olson, of a candidate who was applying for a business development position at a recruiting firm in June last year. "All this in his opening paragraph."

If you are asked in an interview about your hobbies and adventures, be prepared with a strong answer, says Olson. "What a [job candidate] likes to do outside of work might show how they are in their job," she says. "As a hiring manager, what you don't like to hear is, 'I just like to sit around at home and read books all day.'"

4. Awkward Language

Rachel Levy, director of marketing at Just Military Loans, a Wilmington, Del.-based personal loan service for military personnel, got a letter last week from a candidate who seemed to be expressing lukewarm interest in an IT analyst position.

"My name is xxx. I am pretty interested in the IT analyst position at Just Military Loans," the letter began.

Levy says she sees many applications, especially for IT jobs, to have grammatical and other language flaws. "What I've noticed is that there are a lot of people applying to these jobs, for whom English is a second language," Levy says. "So the connotations of certain words and phrases may not be clear to them. Which is fine, but they should get someone to help word their intentions correctly."

In this case, Levy thinks the applicant meant "very" instead of "pretty," but she'll never know because that applicant didn't get an interview.

5. Someone Else's Words

Frank Risalvato, a recruiting officer for Inter-Regional Executive Search Inc., is deluged with cover letters from different candidates that all obviously use the same template from the same career coaches.

"Some of these [cover letters] we see are very obviously not written by the individual," says Risalvato. "We get 15 to 20 of these a month, and it sounds disingenuous and insincere, seeing these cover letters from Seattle one week, Chicago another, and it's all the same style."

Some career experts also warn against the tired stand-by opening lines in a cover letter. "Opening a letter with a passive and clichéd statement such as 'Enclosed please find my resume highlighting my experience and skills that would help your company to grow and succeed,'" is a no-no, says Ann Baehr, certified professional resume writer and president of New York-based Best Resumes. "It's best to use something catchy and more specific such as, "If your company could benefit from the expertise of a hard-charging sales producer with a flawless record of success for closing tier-one Fortune 500 prospects in the healthcare technology market and capturing millions of dollars in revenue, please take a moment to review the attached resume."

If you're uncomfortable with that approach, make your cover letter unique to you with insights about the company you're applying to, advises Darrell Gurney, Los Angeles-based founder of career coaching site Careerguy.com and author of Backdoor Job Search: Never Apply For A Job Again!.

"Put in a note saying something like, 'I've been following your company's progress in the last year and in February and I noticed your company was mentioned in the Journal of such and such,'" Gurney says. "That's the amazing thing about the Internet. You can spend 15 minutes online and look like you've been following them for a year."

Gurney reminds applicants to do their full research on the company if they do get called in for an interview after.

6. Irrelevant Experience

As noteworthy as an impressive Girl Scout cookies sales record may be, it's not worth trumpeting that experience when trying to break into a field like software sales. Rich DeMatteo, co-founder of Philadelphia-based Social Media Marketing firm Bad Rhino, remembers a candidate who did just that when he was working as a corporate recruiter at a software company.

"I was recruiting for a software sales position and one candidate was sure she was qualified because of her success selling Girl Scout cookies when she was a young girl," DeMatteo says. "I think she was young and didn't realize how important it is to state the right experience. Younger applicants tend to reach for skills, and try to find them anywhere in their life."

Some candidates take it even further, acknowledging they have no relevant skills, but pushing to be hired anyway.

"I read one for an IT analyst position that says, 'Although my qualifications do not exactly match your needs, the close proximity to my home is a big bonus for me,'" Levy of Just Military Loans recalls. "You have a lot of underqualified people just out of college just throwing resumes at the wall, and hoping something sticks."

DeMatteo suggests trying to focus on specifc sales figures or experience in relevant projects. "A lot of sales, for instance, is numbers-based. Stick to that."

7. Arrogance

It's one thing to promote yourself favorably in a cover letter, but watch that it doesn't degenerate into overt bragging.

This is especially true when it comes to ambiguous skills, says Jennifer Fremont-Smith, CEO of Smarterer, a Boston-based tech startup aimed at helping IT applicants improve their resumes.

"People claim to have things like, 'superior Internet skills.' What does that even mean?" says Fremont-Smith. "I saw an application from a Web developer about a month ago where he described himself as a 'rockstar in design tools,' and an 'expert in developer tools.' That kind of inflated language doesn't really tell your employer much about your skills."

Fremont-Smith recommends carefully personalizing your cover letter to the employer and listing the most relevant of skills for the job you want, and why you want it. "The cover letter is the place to tell your story about why it is that you're the right person for the company," she says. "It's about really crafting a narrative that answers the question of why the employer should talk to you."

8. Wrong Company Name/Wrong Cover Letter

Talk about mistakes that are easy to avoid.

"The biggest mistake I see on a regular basis is that candidates either misspell the name of the company or get the name wrong," says Gary Hewing of Houston-based Bert Martinez Communications LLC. "If it's a small misspelling like 'Burt' instead of 'Bert', I'd be willing to overlook that. But the big, unforgivable mistake is when someone copies and pastes a cover letter without the name or address to the correct company. That, to me, is someone who's lazy and not paying attention."

Hewing says sometimes it's hard to tell if a cover letter was meant for a particular job, even if the candidate got the company name and position right, if they talk about disconnected experience without explaining themselves.

"We're a sales organization, but at least twice a month, we'll get a cover letter with someone talking about their banking background instead of sales," says Hewing. "It's a complete disconnect to the job description and it doesn't even explain if the candidate is seeking a career change. It tells me that they're just not paying attention."

9. Cultural Preferences

Job hunting is often compared to dating: It's about finding the right match; and success hinges on staying cool under pressure and masking anxieties to appear confident instead of desperate. But a few candidates take the dating analogy too far, subjecting hiring managers to long lists of personal likes and dislikes in cover letters.

"This one guy wrote the first part of his cover letter talking about his interests like it was an ad for an online dating site," Olson of Paradigm Staffing says, about an applicant trying for a PR job. "He likes all types of music, but 'never got into country.'"

While potentially charming to a possible mate, those tidbits are not helpful in a cover letter.

10. Jokes

Breaking the ice with humor isn't necessarily a bad idea, but jokes in cover letters are usually a turn-off for busy employers, say recruiters. It might be better to save them for the interview, if they are to be used at all. Olson recalled a candidate for a communications executive position who rubbed an employer the wrong way with an off-color joke.

"She decided in her interview, for some reason, to compare kids to Nazis," says Olson. "She thought she was being funny, but the interviewer happened to be Jewish and didn't think she was very funny."

Recruiters agree that it's best to stick with tried-and-true unfunny, but effective conventional pitches about your education and work experience.

"The thing with trying to be chummy and funny is that you lose credibility," says Gurney of Careerguy.com. "It looks desperate. And the worst thing you can do in job-seeking is looking desperate or needy."

By Sindhu Sundar
The Wall Street Journal

Giving Back to Your Community

By giving back to your community, you are not only helping your community grow stronger, but you are also helping yourself become stronger. Keep in mind that no matter where you live in the world, you are not alone. Therefore, in order to truly succeed in life, it is crucial that you work with those around you. By working with people around you, it means giving back what you have taken directly or indirectly. I know that a lot of people see the idea of giving back to the community in a different light. The most common idea is that it is a charitable gesture or simply doing a good deed. This is not completely correct.

The best way to explain this is by understanding what goes on when you take any type of action. No matter what you do in your life, you will indirectly or directly be using other people to help you achieve a particular task or goal. So while you might think it is only you that is doing all of this, there are actually many other forces that are working around you in order to help you reach that particular task or goal. Therefore, when you give back to your community, all you are really doing is showing your appreciation for what the community was able to directly or indirectly do for you. This even includes giving back to people who you have had no direct dealings with; because you will find that in some way there is some type of connection, even if that connection occurred with another person that just happened to cross your path in order to help your dreams become a reality.

When you look at it from this perspective, you will soon understand the real importance of giving back to your community. It is your way of showing how grateful you are. In fact, a great way to make better sense of this is by taking a look at the law of attraction. One of the important factors that comes with the law of attraction is to be grateful. In other words, you have to be grateful for everything you have or would like to have, as this in turn will help the forces within the universe to help you make that particular thing a reality. So when you are giving back to your community, you are indirectly showing that you are grateful, which in turn will instill upon you a more powerful sense of positive thinking, which is essential to reaching your goals and staying at the top.

Written by Andy Pitt
June 09, 2011


I place quite a bit of emphasis on LinkedIn because it is widely regarded as the most appropriate social networking site for developing business and professional connections.

LinkedIn is a social network made up almost entirely of business professionals. It is not really about social interactions; rather, it’s designed for networking between people within the same industry and across industries. As social networking sites go, it's not very glamorous but for business purposes, it's got the best practical advantage since it allows anyone to build a network.

LinkedIn’s Features and Advantages:

You can:

· Maintain online resumes and link with friends, colleagues, and business contacts

· Find experts that can help you with career or job search problems

· Connect directly with any LinkedIn account holder without the need for an introduction (provided you have a premium membership).

To really appreciate the power and value of LinkedIn, you first need to appreciate the concept of “six degrees of separation.” This principle states that if we are each one step away from every person we know, then we are two steps away from every person they know. That means everyone on Earth is, at most, only six degrees away from every other person.

A simplified illustration of six degrees of separation might go like this:

You probably know Clint Eastwood!

Well, not directly. But you know David Jones (someone you know directly, called a “LinkedIn Level 1 connection”); David knows Melissa Stone (and therefore has access to her network); Melissa knows Julie Smith, a media consultant in Los Angeles; Melissa knows Mike Simpson, a talent agent for many Hollywood stars, and Mike, of course, knows Clint Eastwood. If you trace the path of these connections, you’ll see a pattern in which you are never more than “six links” away from someone you’d like to reach.

LinkedIn’s Popularity Trap

Some LinkedIn users get trapped into thinking that the name of the game is to gather as many Level 1 connections as possible. They put themselves in an undeclared popularity contest, proclaiming that they have, for example, "8,477 Level 1 connections." While their Level 1 numbers are certainly impressive, they regrettably miss both the point and the power of LinkedIn.

The real power of LinkedIn lies in the linkages that feed into your Level 1 connections, that is, the Level 2s and 3s that are available to you via your Level 1s. It is here in the “2/3 Zone” that the magnitude of your network becomes far more quantifiable; for example, 297 Level 1 connections balloon out to possibly tens of thousands of contacts at Level 2, and perhaps hundreds of thousands (or more) at Level 3.

This is an important point because research shows that the vast majority of LinkedIn users who are actively engaged in a job search find their next job through their Level 2 and Level 3 connections, not their Level 1 connections.

LinkedIn’s Biggest Benefits

There have been many books written about LinkedIn, most notably I’m On LinkedIn – Now What? by Jason Alba. Jason uses a no-holds barred style of writing to explore all the good points about LinkedIn and to expose its weaknesses, too. It’s a well-written and balanced analysis of the application by a man who truly understands how online applications are best engineered to serve the needs of users.

The biggest benefits of LinkedIn are as follows:

· Use connections to explore a treasure chest of hidden opportunities: The Hidden Job Market – (Chapter 6 in my book).

· Get your name and brand circulating right from your computer.

· Build your database of connections to strengthen your network.

· Quickly attain expert status.

· Get instant feedback.

· Network 24 x 7 x 365. Unlike traditional face-to-face networking, the Internet never sleeps.

· LinkedIn Groups give you access to individuals who are passionate about what you’re passionate about. This makes for easier, faster connections.

You now have the basics. Frank and I will cover the advanced LinkedIn techniques this Sunday!

I'll see you on the radio this and every Sunday morning at 8am (EST) on Your Career Is Calling on 107.7 FM and online on www.1077TheBronc.com. We look forward to taking your calls at 877.900.1077. This Sunday our topic is “LinkedIn – The Untapped Oasis for the CEO of ME, Inc”.

Best wishes and own your career,



Rod Colón
Master Connector, Professional Development, Executive Coach, Speaker, Author
Weekly Co-Host of Radio Show "YOUR CAREER IS CALLING".


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Win the Race for 21st Century Jobs

In these days of modern technology, job search candidates are looking toward Twitter, My Space, Linkedin, and similar sites for job leads. Have they helped? Yes they have. Does that mean that traditional job search methods are no longer valid? No.

In fact, modern technology has dramatically enhanced the traditional job search method known as networking. When it comes to results, probably the leading job search method continues to be networking. But what is networking? Do you have a network? How do you tap into your network?

Networking means to directly communicate with people. Whether it is to renew a friendship with someone, take someone out to lunch, or communicate via the Internet, networking is the most viable and most effective job search method.

Why? Because decision makers hire people they enjoy being around.

And if you were a decision maker you would do the same thing: It is a natural human need to interface with people we like, we enjoy being around, people we can easily communicate with, folks with whom we can develop a relationship.

But you say, “I don’t have a network!” Unless you are a hermit and have been living alone in a cave since you were born, you have a network.

As proof that you do indeed have a network, grab a pen and pad and answer some of the following questions. Write down as many names as you can think of. Do not consider at this point whether you will contact them or not: The purpose here is simply to compile a list of potential networking contacts.

At your present or most recent employer, who was your immediate supervisor? Did you have any other supervisors? Who reported to you? Or, if you were on a team or in a project, or in a department, who else was there?

Who were your colleagues or co-workers? Peers? Friends at that company? Spouses of co-workers. Did you have any special assignments, or were you on any company teams (quality teams, sports teams) on which you interfaced with others. Did you ever attend any meetings? Were you on any committees? Who else attended those meetings or were on those committees?

At that same company, who were your customers or clients? Suppliers? Competitors. Vendors or sub-contractors?

Who was on the sales staff? Operations staff? Human Resources staff?

Who was the company president, or chief executive officer? Who was in charge? Who was the chairman of the board? Who were the board members? Who were the other officers of that company? Department Heads? Who did you hire, train or mentor at that company?

Now go through that round of questions for each of your employers.

Answer as many of the following questions as possible: Do you know any bankers? Anyone at a credit union or finance company? Do you know any financial planners? Accountants? Bookkeepers? Who does your taxes? Do you know any accountants? Auditors? Who is your Bookie? (Joke).

Do you know any lawyers or attorneys? Judges? Other professionals? Who do you know that owns a business? Who do you know that owns real estate? Who do you know that owns a boat, RV, yacht, classic car, or has a hobby or special interest similar to yours?

If you belong to a church, synagogue or mosque, who are the other members of the congregation?

Past or Present business associates – does anyone else come to mind? Do you know any politicians, city or community leaders, someone on the city council, or someone that belongs to the chamber of commerce?

Who was your favorite teacher, instructor, trainer, or professor? What other educators do you know? Who do you know that is on a school board? Does volunteer work?

Write down the name of any college or trade school you have attended, then write “Alumni List.” Anyone who at any time has attended that school realistically could be part of your network.

Who were your roommates? Who lived in the same dormitory? Did you belong to any clubs, organizations, or sports while you were in school? Who were the other members?

Who is the best sales person that you know? What other sales people do you know? If you were in the military or Reserves, whom do you know in conjunction with that?

Who is your medical doctor, other doctors, specialists, dentist, optometrist, pediatrician, medical technician, nurse, chiropractor? If you belong to a Health, Gym or Exercise Club, who else have you met there? Are you active in any sports? Do you coach? Do you belong to any Clubs? Tennis? Country? Golf? Surf? Bike? Yacht? What are your hobbies? Crafts? What do you collect? What are your special interests, and whom do you know in relation to those?

Who is your insurance broker? Do you know any real estate brokers or sales people? Stock brokers? Escrow officers? Probation Officers? (Joke) Speakers?

Who is your best friend? Other than you, who is your best friend’s best friend? Without getting into trouble, who is your spouse’s or significant other’s best friend?

Write down the names of adult relatives who work: parents, in-laws, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters. Who are your neighbors? Who is your barber or hairdresser? Auto mechanic?

Can you think of anyone else?

If you faithfully answered the above questions, you should have a list of names that are part of your network. Now you should develop a verbal résumé, and systematically meet with each of these folks. Let them know that you are looking for a job, and ask for any assistance or referrals they could provide for you.

by Richard M. Knappen
San Diego Reader

Richard M. Knappen is the president of Chessmen Career Movers, an outplacement, career management, and consulting firm that is one of the oldest and largest locally-owned companies of its type in Southern California