All I Want For Christmas Is You… And Some Luxury Items, Too

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Two Kitties SleepingNot too long ago, on Facebook I reconnected with a former boyfriend after 35 years apart. It was the classic modern fairy tale—boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds girl on Facebook. While enduring a very long distance romance (he in Washington State and I in South Florida), all I really wanted for Christmas was him.

Finally, when we were together for our first Christmas, the reality of it was that I wanted a gift under the tree, too.

Guess what? There was a gift for me—a faux coyote fur blanket with the softest ultra suede lining. Would I have bought this blanket for myself? Nope. Do I love having it? Yes! It’s a little piece of luxury purchased for me by someone who cherished me.

I believe it is the human condition to desire those nurturing extras that touch us and make us feel special; and thankfully, I’m not alone. This holiday season, Tucson’s Grace St. Paul’s Episcopal Church partnered with Aveda Institute Tucson to provide free haircuts, manicures, and foot massages for anyone who was struggling. Everybody was invited and none were turned away. For a couple of hours, somebody cared.

Luxury doesn’t mean expensive. Luxury means something pleasurable outside of the routine of life. We all benefit from life’s little luxuries.

I still have that faux coyote fur blanket living on my couch, and guess who I think about every time I wrap up? We’ve been together for five Christmases, now, and every year there’s a little gift of luxury waiting for me underneath the Christmas tree. Some might say this makes me shallow, but I have to disagree. After all, it’s not the size of the gift, but the thought that counts.

Happy holidays!

Photo Credit Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_noppharat’> / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

 

In the Words of Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, Thank You for Following!

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34362569_sI just read a LinkedIn article that stated we are in the midst of a “narcissism epidemic” that is being fed by social media.  This was kind of a “duh” moment for me.  It seemed pretty obvious that narcissism feeds at the feet of any kind of media.

I get it.

We use social media platforms to inform, yes, but mostly to promote our brands, our businesses, ourselves.  That is, after all, the whole nature of this wiz-bang contraption called, “Social Media.” Even Rudolf, the red-nosed reindeer, knew that. His nascent sleigh-guiding start-up would have never gotten off the ground (pun intended) had he not learned how to promote himself above all the regular reindeer games.

But in the words of that old and famous commercial, “Where’s the beef?”  What are we giving to add value to those who kindly read our stuff?  Worse, have we at The Temp Connection succumbed to the narcissistic values of self-promotion?

Reading that article made me feel all artificial and commercial, like I’d missed the spirit and the reason for connecting and following.

I did a little survey of my own, examining the global community located right in our own LinkedIn backyard.  Amazingly, I discovered that instead of a narcissistic community lurking within the folds of our company’s contacts, I found amazing and giving people from India, Australia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the United States, and more, all willing to share and promote good will among our LinkedIn community.  I found LinkedIn Influencers, article writers, and groups all daily sharing their expertise—for free!

So, thank you Liz Ryan for teaching that “the future of work is human.”  Many felicitations to Greg McKeown for writing pearls of wisdom on how to be more with less.  To Lou Adler for his recruiting expertise; to Kumar in India, Alena in the UK, Mary in California, Pam in Arizona, and Sam in Florida. From OnlineBizSmarts, to Tauqeer in Pakistan, to Jorgen at Link Humans—many thanks for your global community kindness, and keep up the good work!

Happy holidays!

4 Essential Items for a Successful Job Hunt

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Job HunterHow do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! Ba dum bump (cue the laugh track). But, seriously folks, job hunting can seem as impossible as trying to consume the smallest elephant. Where does one begin? Here are a four essential starting points.

Become a member of LinkedIn. It is easy and such an effective tool for job hunting and being found. Be sure to upload a photo that includes your smiling face. Nature backgrounds are always effective. If you have any questions when filling out your profile, just do a little Google search and you’ll find scads of articles in answer.

Once you have a snazzy new profile, start connecting like crazy. The most important thing to do when connecting with anybody is to tell them why they should connect with you. Forget using the canned message provided by LinkedIn. Be personal and engaging. Why should I connect with you? Now, try it out. Let’s connect!

Your Resume. If you’ve been out of the job-hunting game for awhile, you’re going to need a resume that is reflective of current resume styles and formats. Your best bet is to find a cracker-jack resume writer to get you started.  

Two of the best resume writers I have met in Tucson are Ellen Hall who specializes in writing professional and academic resumes, including CV’s and biographies, and Carolyn Monjoi who specializes in writing upper and lower-level resumes and professional consulting. Carolyn has helped several of my candidates target their professional directions. If you’re seeking assistance from a distance, check out Dana Leavy-Detrick at Brooklyn Resume Studio .

Hint: You can find all of these ladies on LinkedIn, and I encourage you to practice your new LinkedIn skills by connecting with them.

Always carry business cards. It is very important that you have personal business cards to hand out at networking events. You can find nice and inexpensive cards at Vistaprint.com, and they arrive quickly to your doorstep. Your card needs to include your name, email address, phone number, LinkedIn address (Google how to get one), and areas of expertise. A word of caution: Never put your physical location on your resume because you don’t want crazy people following you home.

Which brings us to networking. You know what I’m going to tell you to do, right? Yep. Do a Google and a LinkedIn search to find networking groups in your area. You can also find networking groups specific to your business, gender, interest, etc. Recently, I attended a wonderful networking group here in Tucson called, Tucson Independent Small Business Owners. They meet every Wednesday at a neat little café, and I encourage you to attend.

There are tons of articles and books published on what to do at networking events. My favorite article, 20 Conversation Starters to Help Break the Ice at Networking Events, gives a practical and funny list of things to say and shows you that everybody feels slightly awkward at first.

When you go to any networking event, you’re going to take stacks of business cards with you to hand out. Remember, give a card—get a card. The cards collected are your future LinkedIn connections and partners in finding your next happy job.

I dare you to try out these four essential items for your job hunt and let me know how your job safari progresses. What do you keep in your job hunting arsenal?

3 Steps To Mastering the Mechanics of Resume Writing

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Dog StudyingWriting a fabulous resume is akin to holding the keys to the kingdom. But what, you ask, does that mean? How does one write, let alone possess, a fabulous resume? Impossible! Au contraire, my fine fellows.  Perfection is possible.

Content is king when writing a resume, but if the nuts and bolts holding that content together are faulty, your professional credibility will be doubted. In fact, if your resume is fraught with mechanical errors, I simply will not believe that you are detail oriented, no matter how much you protest.

1.  Quit Capitalizing

Resist the urge to bequeath unnecessary honor to job titles or positions. 

  • Don’t capitalize job roles and career titles if they are not part of a person’s title. This even holds when mentioning a president, manager, or supervisor. See? I didn’t capitalize those titles.  Unless you are listing your job title before your name (President, Patty Predictable), do not capitalize the title. 
  • If you’re not sure, give the person’s name, and then follow with the title in lowercase: Patty Predictable, president, was my first supervisor.  
  • If the job title appears in the text, it should be lowercase: I was an administrative assistant in my last position.  
  • Of course, to every rule there are exceptions. If you’re listing a job title that stands alone (as a heading or subheading), capitalize.  

If in doubt, find it out! Grammar Girl is known for her quick and dirty grammar tips. Her website is bookmarked on my browser as a quick resource and should be on yours, too.

2.  Remove the Superfluous

In other words, edit like an angry, well—editor.  Slash and burn, I say! 

  • It is okay to assume the reader will know that you performed your work, “efficiently,” and, “in a timely manner.”  Take that stuff out.
  • Ditch unnecessary adjectives and phrases. Let each entry be to the point.
  • Watch for common and tricky misspellings such as writing manger instead of manager, or using the singular form of possess when you should use the plural form possesses.

3.  Proofread, Proofread, Proofread

This is the “make-it or break-it” part of resume writing. You’ll be tempted to believe in your powers of producing perfect work, but don’t do it!  Follow each step:  

  • Read your resume. This sounds simple enough, but an initial reading will reveal unnecessary capitalizations, extra commas (I LOVE using commas), misspellings, and extra words.
  • Read your resume again, but this time read it out loud. Saying each word will make your brain clue in to errors.  
  • Have two people read your resume. This might seem like overkill, but trust me. Don’t miss this step! I skipped this step once and was embarrassed to find I had included double words in the title. Only one other person read my work and we both missed that glaring error. A third set of eyes would have caught that junior mistake. Oye!

Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, your resume will not be perfected with the first draft. Be calm and follow smart practices. Write for content, yes, but mastering the mechanics will produce perfect results–a job!

Don’t Sell Yourself Short

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Cow

You have to be in sales. I have been in sales for years. As a mother, as a wife, as an educator—I’ve had to “sell” people on eating vegetables, taking out the garbage, and doing homework. Now that I am in business development and recruiting, it is easy to see that, yeah, I’m definitely “in sales.” But you are, too! And, you probably don’t even know it.

Think about those times when you had to step outside your comfort zone in order to deliver a presentation, to teach a lesson, to speak on the phone, to go on an interview… or, how about the dreaded panel interview? I’ll bet you managed it just fine. Guess what? In every one of those situations, you were selling something.

Finding a job requires YOU to be able to sell yourself to prospective employers, but relax; you don’t have to be an extrovert to do this. While you might have to do a little bit of, “fake it ‘till you make it,” selling doesn’t demand that you become someone you are not.

Janet Choi, in her online article, You Were Born to Sell: Dismantling the Myths of Self-Promotion, writes that selling “demands […] you be true to yourself and your passions — and then reach out to connect from that core.” So, you’re not the classic used-car sales personality? That’s okay!

Most of us are a combination of extrovert and introvert, or, “ambiverts.” This means that we can put on that outgoing personality, if only for an hour or so, in order to tell someone about that project, experience, or resume. Being an ambivert means that you have the ability to speak and to listen. And that’s what it means to sell; you build a rapport and a relationship with your audience. Here are the steps:

  1. Listen to your audience
  2. Ask questions
  3. Move the conversation forward.

Anybody can successfully market themselves. Janet Choi says, “To not do so, betrays our creativity and our work,” Look up Dan Pink’s best selling book, To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others. Read this book!  It’s full of great ideas to use for selling yourself to a prospective employer and for everyday living. Then, keep an eye on yourself the next time you try to talk your special someone into bringing home a quart of ice cream, or taking out the trash. See? You’re in sales, too!

Video Challenge-You Need An Elevator Speech

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People in an elevatorTHE CHALLENGE:
Email me a video of you giving your 30-60 second elevator speech. For the next few weeks, I’ll feature the best ones on The Temp Connection website, Facebook, Google+, and YouTube. Remember, no longer than 60 seconds. Email entries to: diana@thetempconnection.com.

You must have an elevator speech!

Imagine finding yourself in an elevator with the hiring manager for your dream job—and you don’t know what to say. Gasp! For five floors you wrack your brain trying to work up the nerve to begin a conversation. The elevator doors open. The hiring manager exits, never knowing that the perfect candidate was standing tongue-tied right behind.

It’s called an “Elevator Speech” because you only have as much time to make a great impression as it takes an elevator to go from the top of the building to the bottom. In Tucson, where there are only a few tall buildings, that’s not a lot of time.

An elevator speech is handy for scoring an interview, making a sale, gaining a prospect, selling an idea, getting a referral; attending a networking event…you get the idea. The elevator speech is almost as important as your resume and needs to be regularly tweaked to fit the occasion.

A quick Google search reveals myriad articles on how to write an elevator speech. I recommend writing a 30 to 60-second elevator speech. Traditionally, I’m wordy and get excited when speaking in front of people, so mine is almost 60 seconds.

Your speech needs to:

  1. Be concise, clear, powerful, visual, targeted, goal oriented, and have a hook.
  2. Tell a story.
  3. Grab the listener quickly.

Salisbury University has great advice on crafting an elevator speech, and they even include a worksheet. Check out the worksheet and the article, How to Craft a Killer 60 Second Elevator Pitch That Will Land You Big Business.

What your “Elevator Pitch”must contain:

  1. A “hook.” Open your pitch by getting the Investor’s attention with a “hook,” a statement or question that piques their interest to want to hear more.
  2. About 150-225 words. Your pitch should go no longer than 60 seconds.
  3. Passion. Investors expect energy and dedication from entrepreneurs.
  4. A request. At the end of your pitch, you must ask for something. Do you want their business card, to schedule a full presentation, to ask for a referral?

An article on Forbs.com, The Perfect Elevator Pitch to Land A Job, breaks down the writing process into nine easy-to-follow steps:

  1. Clarify the target.
  2. Put it on paper.
  3. Format it.
  4. Tailor the pitch to them, not you.
  5. Eliminate industry jargon.
  6. Read your pitch out loud.
  7. Practice, practice, practice!
  8. Prepare a few variations.
  9. Nail it with confidence.

Take the challenge! Email me a video of your best elevator speech, and you could win a chance to shine across social media.

4 Tips for Totally Awesome Interviewing

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Pick Me!Let’s face it, interviewing for a job is sort of like going to the dentist—a necessary evil. For me, going on a job interview sends an instant message to my sweat glands:

“Commence overproduction.  Seep like drool from armpits.”

The biggest problem that arises from interviewing with jittery nerves is that we tend to wave off the nerves by saying, “Oh, I’ll just wing it. If I don’t get the job, it wasn’t meant to be.” No, no, no!

An interview is not the time to hope for the best. An interview is your moment in the spot light. It is your time to shine!  Of course you want to shine. Trust me, you really do. Truly. You, too, can interview less fearfully by following four easy steps.

1. Get a grip.  The handshake is your first step towards making that fateful first impression. Yes, the handshake. The type of handshake you use can actually determine whether or not you’ll get the job. Studies reveal that the handshake is one of the first non-verbal clues that speak to a candidate’s overall personality. It is what prospective employers remember. “A wimpy handshake can make you seem timid, while a firm handshake can make you seem confident.” So, put your back into every handshake. Shake it like you mean it.

2. Don’t be totally awesome.  Be professional, instead.  Let’s talk about words. Unless you’re interviewing for a social media or gaming company, park popular slang at the curb. Resist the urge to bond with your prospective employer by enthusiastically saying the company/the position/his tie/her hair is, “totally awesome.” Pretend you’ll be speaking to the President of the United States and speak accordingly. I know, I know this can be as uncomfortable as your interview suit feels, but this is interviewing 101.

One of my clients told me she quit counting my candidate’s, “totally awesome’s,” after number seven. Guess what? My candidate did not get the job. Why? My client didn’t feel that the candidate would be a professional representation of the company.

3. Ask every question except… Asking questions on a job interview shows the prospective employer that you are invested in joining the company—it shows interest. However, asking questions is hard. Good news, asking questions can be learned! I just did a quick Google search asking, you guessed it, “What questions should be asked on a job interview?”

The top big no-no’s included asking about pay, training programs, and questions easily found on the Internet. So, what should you ask?

  • What are the top 3 skills or experiences you are looking for that may not be mentioned in the job description?
  • I’m very self-motivated. How will you measure my success in this position after one full year?
  • Of all of the people who have worked for you, what are the characteristics of those who have stood out as great performers?

If you want to impress a hiring manager, and that is the point of an interview after all, write your questions on a piece of paper and fill out the answers during the interview. This shows that you are prepared, thoughtful, and thorough.

4. Prove your future worth.  In other words, sell yourself.  Recently, I sent a candidate to an interview for a position that stretched my candidate professionally, but not beyond her capacity. The hiring manager recognized this and gave the candidate every opportunity to state why she should be considered, given that her resume was light on experience. My candidate did not recognize the opportunity, and merely responded that she was, “totally right” for the position. She did not get the job.

What should she have said? Had my candidate led with relevant experience in the field and followed up with saying how she could attain the next step, she would have gotten the job. My client recognized the candidate’s potential and wanted the candidate to sell her future abilities.

Like going to the dentist, interviewing for jobs simply must be endured.  Give a firm handshake, use professional jargon, ask relevant questions, and sell, sell, sell your wonderful self.  Stop gritting your teeth, wipe the sweat from under your armpits, and knock your prospective employer’s socks off.

6 Reasons Why You Need a Recruiter

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By Diana Ouzts

I hear a continuous refrain from earnest job hunters, and the chorus goes something like this:

I have never had such a hard time finding a job
I have never been out of work so long
I do all the right things
But the phone never rings
I have never had such a hard time finding a job.

All together now…

It is a new day, job hunters. There are new rules for job hunting brought on by the advent of technology, social media, and this darned economy. More than ever before, job hunters are virtually (please notice the pun) jostling arms and elbows in the great race to find jobs. Gone are the days when one could genteelly present a resume directly to a prospective employer (the actual person for whom one would be working—not a website, nor an HR department manager) and expect to have an interview right then—just like that. Do you remember those days? Sigh. I do. Finding a job has been elevated to an art form.

And, this is why you need a great recruiter. I read a wonderful article about this very thing on The Undercover Recruiter website titled, “Why a Recruiter is Necessary in Your Job.” Recruiter Chadd Balbi writes, “Having a recruiter who has direct access to that hiring manager is the key.”

Balbi lists six reasons why working with a recruiter gives the job hunter an edge:

  1. Direct contact with hiring manager: We know the hiring managers; they trust us.
  2. They know the ins and outs of the job description: We know which points of the job description are the most important.
  3. Provide career advice: We know what does and does not work on interviews.
  4. Up-front honesty: We will give you honest feedback. Honestly.
  5. Interview preparation: We will coach you on how to interview well.
  6. Resume assistance: We will help you focus that pesky, and somewhat illusive, beast of a resume.

 

So, dear job hunters, find a recruiter who specializes in your field of expertise. For instance, if your niche is clerical support, working with a recruiter who specializes in staffing for IT management is a waste of time. As Balbi writes, “The recruiter/candidate relationship should be one of understanding what the two of you can do for one another. After all, this is your life we’re talking about.”

Ditto. Call me.

How To Prepare For The Great Job Hunt

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By, Diana Ouzts

I’ve written a lot about The Great Job Hunt from the hunter’s perspective. How to target the job and shoot true are vital components to bagging a job because one never wants to go on The Great Job Hunt without being armed and ready. But, let’s look at The Great Job Hunt from a different perspective, from the perspective of the game, in this case known as, “The Employer.”

What do prospective employers see when faced with a multitude of faceless job hunter resumes? How does The Employer decide which great hunter will score an interview? What kinds of questions do employers ask when the hunter sits across the desk, all locked and loaded ready to snag the job?

Every now and then, I come across books that really deliver value. Recently, I discovered a wonderful book that gives job hunters an inside look at the thought processes of prospective employers and what motivates them to, “Pick me!” In the book, This is How to Get Your Next Job: An Inside Look at What Employers Really Want, author Andrea Kay interviewed hiring managers and asked them one question: “Why didn’t you hire the last ten people you interviewed?”

The answers were unexpected. The overarching answer wasn’t that the applicants were lacking in skills or experience, but hiring managers based their decisions upon how applicants seemed during the interview. If an applicant told too many personal things, itseemed like the applicant would talk too much on the job.

I talk a lot when I’m nervous. Oops.

Typos on a resume make you seem careless. Being late for an interview makes you seemunreliable. Kay writes, “Before you walk into the interview room, think about how you’d like to be remembered after you walk out.” Applicant behaviors before, during, and after an interview absolutely affect job offers.

I had one very qualified job applicant not get a job because of her behavior after the interview. After the interview, my candidate did not realize she was standing outside the open window of the hiring manager while she talked on her cell phone in the parking lot. Her use of off-colorful language made her seem like she’d be rude to the company’s clients.

An interview is an evaluation process and everything about you is fair game, from your appearance to the very way you speak. This is How to Get Your Next Job actually helps to put the right words in your mouth. For instance, instead of saying you have good people skills, say instead, “I put people at ease,” or, “I speak and write in a way that makes it easy for customers to understand what I mean.” That’s an awesome replacement for, “I provide excellent customer service.” Don’t you think? I’m going to use that!

There are several great components to This is How to Get Your Next Job, including a “Would You Hire You” test, and “20 Things You Should Never Do.” Number nine is saying, “I won’t do that!”

I’ll make sure not to do that!

Job-hunting is just that—it’s a hunt, and it can be scary out there. The outcome will be determined by preparedness, awareness, and tenacity. Remember, to be forewarned is to be forearmed. So, load your hunting arsenal, wipe on the bug repellent and let The Great Job Hunt begin!  What’s your best job hunting strategy?