Tuesday, October 31, 2006

What To Do Before and After You Lose a Job

Penelope S. Tzougros, Ph.D., ChFC, CLU explains it well as she brings up points that you might take for granted and may have ignored as part of living.

"No matter how secure you think your job is, every once in a while you should conduct a "fire drill" and go over your own safe exit strategy. Don't wait for rumors about lay off at your company. Be aware of the conditions of other companies in your industry and your state. Here are some ABC's for staying flexible like the trees that make it through storms.

These make perfect sense.
  1. Asses your job skills
  2. Asses your strengths
  3. Acknowledge your deficiencies
  4. Figure out which ones could get you fired
  5. Decide what to fix

I think it is easy to criticize oneself as we think we are perfect. I love "constructive criticism" but its hard to acknowledge your weaknesses...forget working on them :) But it sure becomes critical when you have a family to feed. So its best to follow the advice given by the experts in the field like Ms. Tzougros.

She also says that "Be aware of your spending habits. Before any crisis hits, you should know how much money you really need to live on. That must include saving for days when you have no work, and paying on your debts."

I think we should all do this - "Don't carry more credit card debt than you can pay off in three months."

When she mentions about staying connected with people I have seen that it REALLY WORKS. What works is to "NEVER BURN BRIDGES"....however much you feel that you want to get back after you have been let go...don't go around saying bad stuff about the people or company...remember if you were let go it was no a "good fit" for both.

I think this article is a good read. Link
Copyright ©2003 Wealthy Choices

Saturday, October 28, 2006

"The pen is mightier than a sword" - Resume Templates

"The pen is mightier than a sword", they say, so if you in the "battle" of finding a job start clicking on the keyboard to "write" the best resume there is. A well-crafted, custom-tailored resume can help you land the job of your choice. Writing a great resume does not necessarily mean you should follow a specific resume format. Every resume is a one-of-a-kind marketing communication. It should be appropriate to your situation and do exactly what you want it to do.
A resume is a tool with one specific purpose: to win an interview.

Stuck ? Its hard to start especially if you have not worked on one for a while. There are many Resume Templates out there. Here are a 3 resources.
  1. Quickstart Resume Templates by CollegeGrad.com has over 200 templates. I downloaded a few and found them very impressive. You have to agree to the terms and conditions and then you are able to download the template of your choice.
  2. At JobBankUSA.com I found several resumes which were industry specific. Scroll down once you are on the page to see the list.
  3. At ResumeTemplates.org I found an impressive number of high level job resumes as well as resumes for a disk jockey, camera operator etc. I think its a well managed site and has many helpful links.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Body Language & What do the signs mean?

This article written by Bud Smith tells you how to make body language work for you. Keep in mind that these are subtle yet strong indicators. So the next time you are conversing with your colleagues....not only observe them but also try and conscientiously improve on your body language.

Body language is fascinating. People rarely recognize how much information they give off and how noticeable it is to the human eye. Even to the untrained human eye. It is said that no less that 50 percent of information on a person's character, impact and credibility is conveyed through no verbal communication.
The following is a list of some common body postures and states the persons position.

  • Arms crossed: Defensive and cautious.
  • Resting chin on palm: Critical, cynical and negative towards the other person.
  • Dropping eyeglasses onto the lower bridge of the nose and peering over them: Causes negative reactions in others.
  • Slowly and deliberately taking off glasses and carefully cleaning the lens: The person wants to pause and think before raising opposition or asking for clarification.
  • Pinching bridge of the nose: Communicates great thought and concern.
  • Nose-rubbing or nose-touching: A sign of doubt, it often reveals a negative reaction.
  • Rubbing around ears: Performed while weighing an answer, commonly coupled with 'well, I don't know'.
  • Resting feet on a desk or chair: Gestures of territorial hegemony.
  • Swaying back: Weak ego.
  • Retracted shoulders: Suppressed anger.
  • Direct Eye Contact: Interested, likes you
  • Smiling Eyes: Is comfortable
  • Relaxed Brow: Comfortable
  • Limited or No Eye Contact : Lying, uninterested, too confined, uncomfortable, distracted
  • Tension in Brow : Confusion, tension, fear
  • Shoulders hunched forward : Lacking interest or feeling inferior
  • Rigid Body Posture : Anxious, uptight
  • Crossed arms : Can be just cold, protecting the body, or defensive
    Tapping Fingers : Agitated, anxious, bored
  • Fidgeting with hands or objects (i.e., pen) : Bored or has something to say
  • Leaning forward : Interested
  • Fingers Interlocked placed behind the head leaving elbows open and armpits exposed : Very open to ideas, comfortable
  • Mirroring you : Likes you and wants to be friendly
  • Still : More interested in what you are saying than anything
  • Eyes open slightly more than usual: Gives people the impression that they are welcome.
  • Breath faster: Nervous or angry
  • Inhaling loudly and shortly: Wants to interrupt a speaking person
  • Loud sigh: Understand the thing that is being told.
  • Twisting the feet continuously : A person is nervous or concerned, but can also mean that a person is stressed or angry and that he don't want to show that to everybody.
  • Legs wide apart or Sitting straddle-legged: Shows that a person is feeling safe, and is self - confident. Can also show leadership.
  • A big smile that goes on longer and disappears slower.: Unreal or fake smile
  • Crossed legs with highest foot in the direction of the speaker.: Relaxed and self-confident and they are listening very carefully.
  • Rapidly nodding your head : Shows impatient and eager to add something to the conversation
  • Slowly nodding: Shows interest and that they are validating the comments of the interviewer, and this subtly encourages him to continue.
  • Dangling the loose shoe from the toes : Signals physical attraction
  • Rubbing your collar: Nerves
  • Adjusting your tie: Insecurity
  • Pressed Lips: Pressed lips convey disagreement and disapproval. It communicates a desire to end the discussion. A raised chin implies aggression that may be acted on if the conversation is not ended.
  • Pursed Lips: This is also a sign of disapproval. It indicates that the person has fixed views that cannot be changed. This usually reveals an arrogant and superficial character.
  • Biting the Lips: The person expresses embarrassment when he bites his lips. He also communicates a lack of self-confidence.

Reading Hand Signals

People have been granted with two hands: the left and the right hand. The left has been dubbed as the "emotional hand" since an imaginary line can be drawn from the third finger leading directly to the heart. This is why the wedding ring is placed on this finger. The right hand, literally on the other hand. has been named the "proper hand" since it is with this hand that people communicate a blocking or stopping signal.

  • Open Hands: Open hands may be demonstrated by showing the palm of one's hand, especially in a conversation or an argument.. This expresses a trust in other and an interest in their opinions. It also offers an opinion and invites the sharing of the other person's view.
  • Covered Hands: This is expressed by raising the back of one or both hands against others. This indicates the setting up of barriers or the keeping of distance. It is an act of concealing feelings and covering insecurity
  • Clinging Hands: Those who cling to objects, such as handbags. files or tables. show a need for support. This action conveys confusion or insecurity. It expresses fear and difficulty in coping with the current situation.
  • Twisted Hands ( crossing both hands then clasping the palms together) : Expression of a complex personality. It may indicate a difficult emotional life. The way the palms are held together conveys a need to hide something.
  • Clasping the hands : indicates defence.
  • Shrugged shoulders: You can recognize stressed shoulders by the fact that they are a bit shrugged, which does make the head look smaller. The meaning of the signal comes from crouching in dangerous situations.The meaning of this posing depends on the combination. In combination with big eyes it means that someone is concerned about something that is going to happen. In combination with a face that is turned away it means that the person wants to be left alone. An introvert person has nearly always those stressed shoulders.
  • Difference in level of both shoulders: By most of the people the left and the right shoulder are of the same height. When they are not, it often means that someone is doubting about what he is going to do. With this movement we simulate (unconscious) that we are weighing the possibilities. Sometimes when someone makes this movement, his head will move a little like he is looking above.
  • Crossed arms: There are a lot of different explanations of the meaning of crossed arms. When someone has crossed arms and he is shaking his head it means that he does not agree with you. But he can also cross his arms when he is frightened, then his arms give him some protection. Another option is that he is feeling cold and he is trying to hold his body-warmth with him. When someone is sitting in a chair with his arms crossed, it indicates that the person is relaxed.
  • Making a fist from your hands: A fist is a sign for aggression. It comes from hitting someone. But it is seldom used with a threatening meaning. Most of the time it is used to indicate that you are angry or irritated.
  • Holding the hand before the mouth: Holding a hand before your mouth means that you are hiding something. In western countries it is impolite to belch or to hiccup. So someone can hold his hand before his mouth to hide that he is hiccuping. When someone puts his hand before his mouth when he is talking it indicates that he is saying something or has said something that he did not want to say.
  • Making the eyes look larger: The meaning of making the eyes look larger can be that someone is astonished. In that case he opens his mouth a little. It can also mean that he is happy or that he likes the thing that is talked about. And because it means that you like something, you can use it on purpose. It pleases people when you have your eyes opened a bit further.
  • When people open their eyes a bit further it can also mean that they are unhappily surprised. Then they will frown their eyebrows.
  • Raising the eyebrows: Raising the eyebrows shortly means that people are surprised. They raise their eyebrows to allow them to look better. But it can also mean that somebody is looking at you, and that he likes you.
  • Raised forehead: A raised forehead often means that someone is remembering something he has seen. This often happens very quickly. It can also be a sign of a certain emotion. It is a biological reflex that you raise your forehead a little when you are crying so the tears can move easier.
  • Pursed lips: When somebody purses his lips it means that he has to make a decision and is thinking about that. Sometimes he also moves his lips, like he is saying the possibilities. When somebody purses his lips, he often looks a bit upward.
  • Firm Handshake: The strong, firm handshake usually is given by a person who is sure and confident of themselves.
  • Weak hand shake: People who give these types of handshakes are either nervous, shy, insecure, or afraid of interaction with other people.
  • Cleared your throat: Nervousness.
  • Bitten your fingernails: Nervousness.
  • Wring your hands: Nervousness.
  • Paced the floor: Nervousness.
  • A person is bouncing their legs and their arms are crossed over or their torso is slumped: Closed off

Written by Bud Smith, a co-webmaster of http://www.infoweb.co.nz/. Infoweb is the place to go for information on musical instruments and creating websites.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Are business cards really necessary in this information age?

Are business cards really necessary in this information age? You better believe they are. There is simply no substitute for getting out there and networking during your job search. Handing out your business card is a great way to keep them remembering you.

As you make your way through the hordes of people at career fairs and trade shows or have meetings with various executives, HR staff and other career contacts you may have, you must always carry a fresh supply of business cards to hand out when the time is right.

There's nothing worse than making a great contact, searching for a pen and writing your number on a napkin - that they're sure to lose. Personal business cards project an image of professionalism and leave a lasting impression.

If you think that creating a personal business card is time consuming, expensive and you must have a design background and creative flair, think again. I have designed a lot of my cards from

VistaPrint. They offer complimentary business cards and have lots of pre-made designs to choose from. You just pay a small shipping and handling fee.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Sink Or Swim by Milo & Thuy Sindell

Sometimes I come across a book that really intrigues me. This one - SINK OR SWIM by Milo Sindell, Thuy Sindell really hit home. Some of my friends whose kids are about to enter the work place are full of enthusiasm but no real step-by-step guidance. After reading this book I thought I would share it with the newbies in the job market and with all of you who want to make that transition to a new one. It is one of the best resources for 10 bucks !

I have already kept it in my library for my daughter who will need this soon. I am a believer that "Forewarned is Forearmed" Some of the things highlighted in this book that I liked are the week-by-week resource to help you find and keep the job. Learning about and having the right tools under your belt makes all the difference. Most of all I loved their writing style. It is casual and yet goal oriented.

The 5 Sink or Swim skills that they highlight in the book you probably have heard or read about them in your career. But let me tell you they have really made the "job", of finding and keeping a job very.... strategic. Here ae their 5 Sink or Swim Skills.
  1. Goal Setting
  2. Time Management
  3. Knowledge Management
  4. Team Player
  5. Professional Image

Just like Milo said " Whether you are fresh on the job or a more experienced work force veteran, Sink or Swim offers you the resources and a week-by-week guide for how to apply each skill."

J. Levitt of CA writes "At last, a practical step-by-step manual for mastering the new job. Writing with energy, style, and conciseness, the authors have come up with a first rate guide for making a splash (pun intended) at your new company. Their advice is broken up into bite-sized pieces: a really doable action plan for each week of the first 3 months on the job. I wish someone had given me something like this when I was first starting out; however, I'm planning on using it the next time I change jobs. It really ought to be handed out in new hire orientations; it would be good both for the company and the newbie."

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Negotiation Tips from a Professional Mediator - by Kim Lankford

I have liked reading articles written by an industry expert Kim Lankford.

She has been writing about money for more than 10 years. Her articles have appeared in Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine, the Boston Globe, Reader's Digest, Bloomberg Wealth Manager, and Yahoo! Finance, MSN Money and Kiplinger.com, where she writes the popular "Ask Kim" column.

This is what she says about "Negotiation Tips from a Professional Mediator"

Good negotiation skills have a huge impact on your career -- whether you're a salesperson making deals or an entry-level employee trying to get good assignments or cube neighbors to quiet down.

In this article she points out how to be a good negotiator. Sometimes I use these tactics to get things done by my kids. ! Here she talks to Tammy Lenski, a professional mediator who helps universities and businesses nationwide with conflict management.

Tammy Lenski's tips are very insightful.
  1. Tactic Is Dictated by Situation
  2. Ask Good Questions
  3. Deal with Issues Up Front
  4. Do the Right Kind of Homework

Believe me these tactics can be useful in any kind of negotiating !

Monday, October 16, 2006

E-Business Opportunities - Starting out on Ebay !

There are tons of opportunities on the web to start new businesses. An online business is not so different from a "brick and mortar" business model. For your start-up venture; the same principles apply.

If its a product you want to sell, Ebay is a great starting point.

Set aside several hours to browse around the site. Click on all the different buttons to access and learn about eBay's various features. Read the news announcements, check out the help pages, surf the discussion boards, take the online guided tours, and study the listings. A great place to begin is with the eBay Learning Center, which offers free audio tours and online courses.

Learn all about eBay University They have sessions that are held across the country 30 weekends a year. One of those sessions of eBay University is likely to come to an area near you. eBay is a huge site, but it's well-organized and easy to navigate. Take the time to get familiar with it before you get started, when you're not under any pressure to buy or sell.

There are many Seller Forums on Ebay that you can participate in. Once you're familiar with ebay, you can start planning your business on eBay. Decide if your goal is a full-time operation or something you can do part time. Start with partime and don't be discouraged if you do not sell your product at first. There are many veterans of Ebay, so if you are just starting out then you have a lot to learn.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Career Planning Tips

The time has come for back to basics and candid and honest behavior in business. The days for the "stuffed shirt syndrome" are gone. Blogs have made this possible. Employers are looking for real people.

Here are 5 tips to planning your career

  1. "Do what you like and the money will follow." If you do something you like, you know you will take interest and try to be the best at it.

  2. "Planning is key". Planning your next move and keeping your ears and eyes open will make all the difference.

  3. "Big brother is watching". Remember you are being watched all the time at your work place. So if you are aiming at the manager's position, start taking that role in your mind and dress for success.

  4. "Research and conclude". The more research you do about your next career move, the more likely you are to end up in the right place. One advantage of having been in a job you dislike is that you know what to avoid.

  5. "Effective time management is an art form". Spending quality time on your next career move is essential. So if you are surfing the net make a word doc and start putting all your findings in one place. And PRINT IT ! The next time you want to find that great resouce, and in case the internet is down you have the list of important things right in your hand.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Carrer choices expand with knowledge - Free Online Resource

As you all know knowledge is power. If you feel you are stuck in a rut, taking an evening class at a local college. Pursue a new career or enhance your existing skills! Match your skills to the programs that are offered in the local college.

Nowadays all colleges have both online and local classes. Whether you would like to get a Professional Certificate, Associate's Degree, Bachelor's Degree or Master's Degree they will be able to help you pinpoint the best classes that meet your interests.

Another way to learn is by reading the free online tutorials. One of the best sources for FREE EDUCATION ONLINE is http://www.free-ed.net/free-ed/
There are tutorials and small lesson plans. The courses, tutorials, and skill-building activities are made for today's most important vocational and academic disciplines.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Is starting your own business bugging you?

Starting a business can be an exciting venture offering many rewards. However, you must be prepared and you must understand the basics. So while you still have that steady income, take the opportunity to read and learn about the opprtunities that exist out there.

You can
  1. Sell your product
  2. Sell other people's products
  3. Drop Ship
  4. Offer your experise and services

and more. All of the above can be achieved via the internet. Set up a website and go. first, you must choose and register a domain name. Keep your domain name simple. Because you would like as many people as possible to visit your site, use good judgment and pick a name that is easy to remember. Next, you must choose a web hosting company to host your site for you. Hosting prices vary from $10/month on up depending on the nature of your site and the amount of traffic you expect; extremely popular sites can expect to pay for a more expensive plan, or to pay extra bandwidth charges.

If you are going to build your Web site yourself, you might find that HTML (hypertext markup language) editors and WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) composers, such as the Microsoft FrontPage Web site creation and management tool, are extremely helpful. WYSIWYG editors let you create your site's look and feel while they create the HTML code for you.

Or go for the free sites with free hosting. The 2 that people use most are Yahoo Geocities and Bravenet

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

5 Blogs for Job Search and Career Advice For Today !

With blogs becoming part of our daily lives here are a few blogs that make it on my top list.

Ask Career Directions
A service to assist job seekers in finding the best possible career opportunity - Career Directions

Career Chaos
Mastering a Career Change - Meg Montford

Career Bright
California Career Coach - Shweta Khare

Find A Job Today
Resume and Job Hunting Advice - Otis Collier

Being Bold Blog
Be bold! Take charge of your career - Ian Christie

My 2 cents.....
Always keep up with what is going on in your industry
Keep up with your industry leaders and learn from them how they got where they are
Did you hear me say....Network ! Network ! Network !

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Mastering the Buisiness Lingo !

Learn the language of business. One of the tools that you have when you interview is your grasp of the English language. It does not matter what you have studied and where you have come from, it does, as a matter of fact - matter how intelligently you speak and converse.

Words do matter. Sometimes we hear what "we" want.
Haven't we all done that with songs we hear on the radio ? :)

Using the correct business language will show how much you know and how you can be an asset to the company you are trying to join. Here are a couple of great resources to brush up on your business lingo.

  1. Business Terms Glossary - Washington Post
  2. Translating Business Lingo
So get familiar with the terms and start using them.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Did You Know ?

According to a recent poll conducted by Salary.com the job of a FIRE FIGHTER was the sexiest job ! These hot hunks lit up the polls.

Working the Network !

Not all jobs are posted in newspapers or online. So how do you ...
1. Find out about these job openings
2. How do you apply for the jobs that are not advertised anywhere

Well the answer is simple. Network Network Network !
Its a matter of letting everyone you know what you do and that you are looking for a new opportunity. You will be surprised with the responses.

Don't limit yourself to business contacts.
Here is a list of people you can talk to :
  1. Family friends
  2. Local politicians
  3. Relatives
  4. Journalists
  5. Neighbors
  6. Business executives
  7. Professors
  8. Non-profit directors
  9. Alumni
  10. Your physician
  11. Former employees
  12. Your hair dresser
  13. Former co-workers
  14. Prominent community members
  15. Public relations officials
  16. Members of professional organizations

Now you ask where are you going to find these people
Well start with these places
  1. Local alumni association
  2. Conventions
  3. Class reunions
  4. Club meetings
  5. Cocktail parties
  6. Neighborhood parties
  7. Internet list-servers
  8. Fundraisers
  9. Volunteer opportunities
  10. Business conferences
  11. Continuing education classes

Make every opportunity count. Treat each meeting like a mini interview.

Make an impression that sticks !