Posted on: June 16th, 2020 by
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Here are some random facts when thinking about changing your career.  It provides trends that give you the direction of jobs that are popular now, but will fade into oblivion within the next 2 to 10 years.  Alternatively, some jobs are accelerating faster than the supply of talent.  Still other jobs require skills and knowledge that we can only guess, and at present are not prepared.  Where is it all going?  As we say:  Knowledge is power.  Here’s just a sampling:


  • Some car manufactures are phasing out gas vehicles, replacing them with electric cars. Gas engines have thousands of parts. Electrical motors have only about 20. What that means is gas cars, gas pumps, service stations and many car mechanics will be eliminated.
  • Gasoline producing companies (exploration, drilling, production, processing and distribution) will also be significantly diminished.
  • Airbnb doesn’t own any real estate, yet it’s a large “hotel” organization globally
  • Brick and mortar retail locations are closing, while on-line shopping is increasing. Free delivery of orders improves the convenience of an on-line purchase
  • Computers, cell and smart phones keep getting out-of-date with newer models. There is currently technology that takes your mental questions, then answers them displayed on a screen
  • Four million retail salespeople in the U.S. make about $25,000 a year, with computer skills that have increased 22% in 10 years: Inventory, check-out systems, and shelf-scanning
  • With an increase in the aging population, personal health care nurses and aides are in short supply, but their level of digital skills have increased over 150% in the last decade
  • Medical Assistants need 25% more computer and tech skills than they did in 2009
  • Technical skills for software developers have not changed very much over the past 10 years. However, the demand for open positions have far outstripped the supply
  • The cost to train/re-train the workforce is a multi-billion-dollar problem. Large companies are better positioned for the task, while smaller companies will have a competitive disadvantage.


So, what does all of this have to do with you.? If you haven’t figured it out yet, you’re already behind the curve. In the coming years you’ll be affected by transformations in your industry, company and profession; a fluctuating economy; life-style changes; social and political confusion; mergers, acquisitions, new competitors and failed business, plus many other unforeseen events.  Look what chaos the coronavirus has caused over the past year.


The rate, content and implications of change is accelerating, while our ability to understand, manage and apply that change to the benefit of our lives, have not.  Get ahead of the curve whenever you can through a new degree, certification, application, system, or special training or development in your field of expertise.  Become an expert in something.


Seek information that tracks trends and needs over the next 5 to 10 years generally, and in your job category specifically.  Find out what the future may bring.  Prepare yourself before the winds of change overwhelm you.


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Posted on: June 9th, 2020 by
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Fraudulent communication has become a way of life during the past few months, from which we must protect ourselves.   Words like phishing, hacking, phreaking or bluejacking all generally mean the same thing:  Someone is trying to get into your computer and access or manipulate your information.  Spoofing on the other hand, means someone is trying to trick you by deceiving your computer into thinking they are someone else, hiding or faking their identity so you think they are another user.


Dishonest or fake electronic communications may take many forms.  Basically, it is unauthorized actions from a third party.  Phishing or spoofing is becoming more common and bold, as unauthorized users may present themselves as a legitimate company, using their logo, brand names or offers.  These frauds may use the U.S. Mail, emails, texts, telephone or social media.  The most malicious is through social media because you may think it’s someone you trust, while in fact it’s someone who plans to do you harm.


Here’s some information that may help you sort out the bad players from the good:

  • No responsible organization will request personal information by email, telephone, fax, text, or through social media. This includes personal or financial information like banking, securities, tax, account numbers, Social Security identification numbers, passwords, or copies of invoices of a recent purchase.
  • If through email, check the sender’s address in the “From” line in the email. Usually a fraudulent email will have a bogus made up address that does not match the name of the legitimate organization.  In a recent article, a member of the “Shark Tank” received a bill asking for payment of an almost $400,000 invoice of a legitimate company.  It seemed real, except the name was purposely misspelled in the “From” line which should have been the tipoff.
  • Sometimes the color is off or the email format or attachment, if there is one, looks amateurish or slightly out of alignment.
  • If you get a phone call from a governmental agency or company that you do business with, check the number of the incoming call. First off, the government does not use the phone to do business, whether it’s the Internal Revenue or Social Security.  If your suspicious of the call, ask for a manager to get on the line, or better yet, ask for their name and phone number and you’ll call them back to verify that they are legit.
  • If you receive telephone calls asking for information or a solicitation, simply say, “I don’t do business over the phone. Send me the information.”  If they ask you for your address, hang up.


What to do about a fraudulent message or contact?  A few ides:

  • Send a screenshot and forward it to the legitimate company to research
  • If you receive a message from a fraudulent IPS, send a screenshot of the message to the fraud division for investigation
  • Learn more from the Federal Trade Commission: Google “FTC fraud complaint”

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Posted on: June 2nd, 2020 by
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How do you influence a hiring manager to at least consider you for a telephone screening interview?   Give him what he’s looking for.  What is that and how do I accomplish it?  The job description gives you all you need to know.


Focus on the top 5 to 8 items on the position description.  They are the key items that are the priority skills or experiences the hiring manager needs.  In order for your resume to stand out from everyone else, your skills and experiences should match those 5 to 8 items.  On your resume, back up your experiences and skills with specific measurable results that parallels the requirements on the position description.


Next, match the language used in the position description.  Some companies use a computer to screen incoming resumes.  The computer compares the words on the resume with the words on the position description.  Make sure your resume reflects the most commonly used words for your function, education and skills.  It sounds simple.  Hiring managers give you the answers to constructing your resume through the position description.


While hiring managers are looking for someone who can do the job, they also want someone who has both hard and soft skills.  Hard skills tend to be function-specific and technical. Hard skills are objectively measured, easy to demonstrate, and easily proven like:  Programing a computer, designing a flow chart, making as sales presentation or auditing the books.  Soft skills are a set of behaviors that are difficult to measure, subjective, and hard to prove, like:  Creative problem solving, collaboration, persuasion, an effective team member.


So, when you’re creating a resume or preparing for an interview, ask yourself, “How do I demonstrate or verify my skills?”  The best way is to provide concrete examples when describing a previous role, skills or experience.  Also, don’t use words that diminish or minimize your contribution.  Words like “maintain” tell the hiring manager that you don’t improve performance or add to results, you just keep the status quo. If you’re a hiring manager would you want someone to keep things static, or someone who will grow and accelerate your results?


Use words that sell and tie them to a result, like. “accelerated revenue by xx%, decreased costs by $xx, improved productively through xxx, or increased days cash on hand by xx.”  These words tell a story about your contribution.  Some words are neutral like created, delivered, analyzed, developed or organized.  Anyone can use these neutral words, but you need to tie them to some form of positive outcome.


Hiring managers can be influenced, but they need to see the connection between what you have done in the past to what the organization needs currently or in the near future.  They need to see solutions that you have achieved to their issues, or provide them with opportunities to improve their performance or productivity.


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Posted on: May 26th, 2020 by
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Today more interviews are being done by video conferencing instead of face-to- face.  Ever see a video of yourself or hear a recording of your voice and say, “Do I really look or sound like that?”  Usually it’s not very complementary.  The same goes for how you look and sound during a video conference call.  Here are some tips to consider when planning a video interview.


You need to look the part – Make the assumption that you’re interviewing in person at someone’s office.  Dress the part, be well groomed, and highly presentable.  Never wear a white shirt or blouse as it will wash out your features.  Also, plaids or confusing patterns will detract from your overall appearance.


Room arrangement – Place your computer at a location where the windows are in front or to the side of you.  If the window is behind you, you’ll appear in silhouette.  If possible, don’t have a busy background scene like a bookcase with knick-knacks to distract the interviewer.  They could be more interesting than you.  You want the focus on your face and what you have to say, not your surroundings.


Lights, shade and lamps – The position of light can make you look attractive or not.  A table lamp with a soft but moderately bright light on each side of the computer will illuminate your features in a pleasing way.  If the light only comes from one side it will put the other side of your face in shade, giving you an ominous look.  Remember:  Windows in front.


Type of devise – Desk top computers are easier to position as they have a built-in camera that is eye-level.  Laptops, webcams, and smartphones can be problematic if they are set to a wide-angle view.  If you get too close your facial features become distorted, as in a fun house, and you’ll appear clown-like.  Because your nose is in front, it could appear twice its normal size.


Angle to the camera – Always try to be at eye-level with the camera. This is more difficult with a laptop computer.  If the laptop is below looking up at your face, the view is very unflattering.  Actors will never allow the camera to be at that angle.  The camera should be at eye level or slightly above.  Look at the camera and not the computer screen so your eyes aren’t half closed.


Voice and sound management– Make sure you and your interviewer can hear and understand each other.  When people interview, sometimes it causes stress that raises the voice volume and tone.  Lower your voice so you don’t sound “squeaky”.  A lower voice is more pleasing.  Also, slow down your verbal pace so you sound more focused rather than rattling on without thought.


Other considerations – When getting ready, put small post-it notes on the computer screen: Questions, key points, position description or other important information for talking points.  The interviewer can’t see them, but they’re a great resource for you.


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Posted on: May 19th, 2020 by
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If you thought your boss was a micromanager when you were both at your normal locations, now that you’re working from home or on your own, the hovering boss may become more of a pest.  The boss may feel they have lost proximity to the work and therefore less control of performance.  Some may tend to increase the amount of contact with you to make sure the work is being done the “right way”.  Some insecure bosses may want to check up on you every 15 minutes, thinking it will produce better results and a higher level of motivation.  What do you do about it?  Develop a strategy to keep the boss happy while keeping your sanity.


Plan ahead – Based on past experiences with your boss, how often does he/she ask for an update or a briefing on what’s going on?  What are the usual questions that are asked?  Figure out a timeline that you can:

  1. Initiate the contact first
  2. Provide the information that you believe the boss will want to know

By being the initiator, you not only provide the necessary information, but you calm down any concerns the boss may have about your ability to do the job while keeping him/her informed.  Also, you may want to set a time-certain to communicate.  One alternative is at the end of the week to report on results.  Another is the beginning of the week to set expectations.  Determine which works best for you, but hopefully not both.


Overcommunicate – The preferred communication method is by email.  In this way, you control the right amount of information and timing.  The telephone is the least preferred method as the length and depth of information is controlled by your boss, with questions that go beyond an update and moves into steps and methods.  The frequency of communications is variable:  More than you think necessary but at least what the boss needs to feel comfortable.  Each boss is different.  Your objective is to lower their anxiety as they’re not immediately on top of things.  As time goes on, lengthen the time of contact.


Initiate an electronic meeting – Every once in a while, initiate a video conference call.  This is not imperative, but it does increase the comfort level of the boss, especially when the boss is communicating with their boss by saying, “I’ve had both written and video meetings with my people and everything is OK”.  It helps the boss with his/her boss.  Also, to increase your “brownie points”, pose a question or two where you are soliciting the advice or alternatives to a question like, “What do you think about….”, or “What is the downside of….”.  In this way the boss feels good about your engaging in problem solving or providing counsel, plus it increases the openness of your communications.


However, always contact the boss immediately when something goes wrong or a deadline won’t be met.  If you wait too long, your credibility will be in jeopardy.


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