Career

How to Really Mess Up a Sales Letter

I was recently cleaning out some old emails and found a couple of emails from a vendor that got me thinking. Before we get to the actual email, let me tell you the situation. A few years ago, I had downloaded a trial version of a piece of software. Many companies require you to provide some information prior to allowing you to download, so I had provided whatever info they had requested. It’s not uncommon for companies to have someone in their sales group follow up. In this particular case, this vendor was in the same city as me (I’ll refrain from sharing the name of the company or sales person) so a salesman emailed me requesting a meeting.

Here is the email I recieved, with the subject being “[his company name] visit – [my company name]:”

Three Ways to Close Gaps in Your Resume

As any job seeker that has been unemployed for an extended period of time will tell you, the biggest challenge they face is dealing with gaps in their resumes. These gaps could happen for a number of reasons: unable to find work, raising a family, caring for sick relative, taking time off for various reasons, etc…. The problem is that despite many employers having gone through these situations themselves, many see these gaps as liabilities and view them differently from when they were on your side of the desk.

Do You Need a Job to Get a Job?

With the United States having its highest unemployment rate in several decades and several other countries facing similar economic challenges, more people are looking for work now than ever. I was listening to a radio show this week and a caller raised the question of whether it’s possible for people who have been unemployed for over a year to find a job in this job market. So the question is does having a job help when you’re looking for work or is it a necessity?

While I don’t think it’s impossible to find work while you’re unemployed (I’ve found work twice while unemployed), there certainly are advantages to being employed while seeking a new job. Being employed helps you with the perception of looking like you have more value – even though that’s not necessarily true.

Don’t Be a Squirrel

It seems like practically every day I drive by a dead squirrel in the road. I never thought much about it until yesterday when I slammed on my brakes to avoid hitting one. At first, I figured that it’s because there’s a lot of squirrels and a lot of cars where I live. But there are a lot of other animals too, and I rarely see them lying dead in the road. But watching this squirrel dart back and forth clued me in on the problem, and it’s a problem I see with a lot of people.

In my many years of driving, I’ve seen probably thousands of squirrels darting across busy roads. Most of the time, they could have escaped doom by doing one simple thing – being more decisive. A typical animal will start crossing the road, and if it sees a car coming at it it’ll turn back, otherwise it will continue across the road. Squirrels on the other hand dart out and then turn around when the see a car, then think they can beat it so go back across, then get almost to the other side and then turn back, and by then the car has stopped and they continue to other side. While this zig-zag pattern of unpredictability has its place in the world – this is what makes a ride like the Tower of Terror in Disney World exciting and unpredictable.

How A Bad Reference Can Harm You

Whether you’re looking for work or looking for new clients, people want to make sure that you are who you say you are and you’ll do what you say you’ll do. One way to assure those considering you or your services is to provide a list of references – satisfied customers or employers that can vouch for your character and skills. But even though this seems like a no-brainer, many people lose out because they choose the wrong people for references.

The wrong reference can make you look unprofessional, unethical and unprepared – and all of this can be done unintentionally from someone who is trying to help you. Yes, this has happened and I’ve seen it. Remember that these days most employers are doing their homework and checking references – ditto on the consumer side when working with a small business. So there’s a good chance the people you list will get called so you’ll want to make sure that these people will represent you well. So let’s start with how to choose the right people as references. Here are some tips:

Five Tips For College Seniors

It’s unfortunate that this year’s group of college graduates are facing one of the most challenging job markets since the great depression. I’ve had a number of college seniors contact me in recent weeks for career advice regarding this unique situation. Here is the advice I’ve passed on to them.

Enjoy the time you have left:

Interview Questions – Why did you Leave Your Last Job?

So you’re sitting there in your interview and things are going well. But then you’re asked a common question, one that you know the answer to – why are you leaving your current job (or why did you leave your last job). But how do you answer it? Truthfully? What they want to hear?

For some people, why they left their last job is pretty straightforward while for others, it’s a more sensitive issue. In either case, you want to be careful as to how you answer it. Saying you hated your job raises issues about how good an employee you are. Complaining about the commute and lack of family time may make your potential employer wonder if you’ll be able to put in the extra time when needed.

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