Email is Not a Form of Communication

Effective communication is never one sided, but that’s exactly what you get with email. One person writes and transmits; the receivers read and reply. These monologues are never, ever effective dialogues as there is a time delay that allows too much room for misinterpretation, misunderstanding, and miscommunication. Email strips away not only the tone, and too often the context, from the message, but it also removes the very essence of efficient and effective human conversation.

Is email bad? Of course not; it’s just poorly used by too many people. Salespeople, leaders, customer service staff, recruiters, and, for that matter, anyone in business can breathe new life into their relationships by simply picking up the phone or meeting with someone for a brief dialogue.

Email is not a form or communication; it’s a means of transmission and documentation.We’d all do well to use it just for transmitting a contract or proposal, or sending one to two sentences, at most, to schedule a meeting or confirm a time for a call. Otherwise, let’s all have real conversations, versus the fakery that poses for one in our emails inboxes.

When to Bring Up Your Baggage in a Job Search

By S. Ricker

Just like in dating, job searching can sometimes cause you to look back on your past at some of the baggage you’ve collected. But while your date may be forgiving of poor communication skills or your fear of commitment, hiring managers aren’t necessarily as understanding.

So when you bring baggage to your job search, such as gaps on your résumé or looking for jobs out of state, you’ll have to discuss the subject carefully and at the right moment. To help figure out timing, consider these tips for addressing your job-search baggage.

Save the cover letter for why you’re qualified
A cover letter may seem like a natural place to address any concerns a potential employer may have, but in a competitive job market, your first impression can’t be made up of reasons to doubt your capabilities.

“This weakens your application right from the start,” says Cheryl E. Palmer, career coach and owner of Call to Career, a career coaching firm. “My advice is to keep it positive in the cover letter and avoid touchy issues. If you have a strong résumé, the recruiter will follow up with you, and if they have questions about your background, they will ask those questions during a screening interview. But with the cover letter and résumé, you at least want to make the first cut.”

Addressing résumé gaps
If there are gaps of empty time on your résumé, an employer will likely be curious as to what you were doing. Palmer suggests waiting for the interviewer to bring this up — but be sure to have an answer ready. “The answer that you give needs to be clear enough so that it does not provoke more questions,” she says. “So if the company that you worked for closed, and you were unemployed for a period of time after that, you need to explain that the company closed and tell the interviewer what you did in-between jobs. Hopefully you can truthfully say that you were doing contract work or updating your skills by obtaining a certification.”

As Palmer mentions, employers want to know that your career was a part of your life even when you weren’t working, and they want to know how you stayed involved with your field. Whether it was volunteering, pursuing more education or simply reading industry publications, show how you made the most of your time.

When you’re overqualified
There are plenty of reasons a job seeker may be interested in a position that’s a rung lower on their career ladder. Just know that interviewers will want to understand your reasoning. Yes, you can bring your experience to the role, but if an interviewer believes you’re only interested in the job until you can find something better, he probably won’t take the risk of hiring you. Instead, point to why this match makes sense.

“If you have been in management but are being interviewed for a staff position with no managerial responsibilities, you may talk about how you realized that you prefer to be in a position where you can focus on being an individual contributor and do your best work. After all, not everyone is cut out to be in management,” Palmer says. “Or you might enthusiastically talk about your interest in the mission of the company that you are applying to instead of focusing on the fact that it is a step backward for your career. The bottom line is that you need to convince the interviewer that your taking the position will be a win-win for both parties.”

Bringing up relocation
By applying for a job that’s a significant distance away from you, you may think it’s obvious that you’re willing to relocate. However, employers can sometimes see this as a gray area in a candidate’s qualifications.

To help take away doubt, Palmer says, “Typically, when it comes to relocation, you are competing against local candidates. And not all employers are willing to pay for your relocation. If you are in a position to pay for your own relocation, and you know that the employer will not do it for you, it is appropriate to mention in the interview that you are willing to relocate at your own expense. This will put you on an even playing field with local candidates.”


GRADUATES – Avoid These Mistakes When Looking for Your First Job

Launching your first job search is both exciting and bewildering. You’re eager to impress potential employers with your newly gotten experience and degree, but you’re afraid that you might botch it. Here are some common job-search mistakes that trip up many new grads — and tips for avoiding them.

Mistake No. 1: Neglecting your network
Although online searches, campus career centers and career fairs all have their place, harness the power of professional networking when searching for your first job. Consider joining your school’s alumni network or a relevant professional association in your industry. Talk to as many people as you can — neighbors, parents’ friends, members of your house of worship — about your career goals, especially if they’re in the same or similar industries.

Mistake No. 2: Being sloppy or too clever
If you’re serious about the job search, you will not only carefully edit your résumé and cover letter, but you’ll ask someone else to take a look, too. Read your documents out loud to make sure they sound professional; this is also an excellent way to catch mistakes. Often, one typo can get your application tossed off the short list.

It also doesn’t pay to be cute or clever. Yes, your application materials might stand out that way, but not always in a good way. See Robert Half’s “Resumania” column for other good advice and best practices.

Mistake No. 3: Sending out generic documents
When you come across that cool job post, don’t make the rookie mistake of sending out a one-size-fits-all application. If you want to land your first job, you have to do your homework.

Start by clicking through the company’s website. Search for recent news articles. You may also want to like their Facebook page and follow their Twitter feed. Then, tailor your résumé and cover letter to show how your skills and experience mesh with the job description, as well as the firm’s corporate goals and culture.

Mistake No. 4: Being careless about your online persona

Just as you conduct a Web search on the people that you’re interested in dating, potential employers will do a search on you. If you haven’t already, sign up with LinkedIn, upload a professional-looking profile photo and write a polished summary.

You also need to comb through all your other online profiles and social media posts, and scrub what you don’t want hiring managers to see. Even though you may have set all the right privacy settings in the beginning, we all know how frequently they can change. It wouldn’t hurt to give everything a thorough once-over as you start searching for your first job.

Mistake No. 5: Showing immaturity
After sending out personalized application materials, you’ll start hearing back from a few companies. Don’t give them reasons to doubt their judgment with unprofessional phone or email manners. That could cost you your first job opportunity.

Start by getting rid of the quirky or brusque voicemail message. Instead, record a pleasant and neutral one that’s appropriate for a job search.

Don’t forget to give your email the same treatment by having an address that is a variation of your full name — not a nickname, your hobby, an alternate persona or something worse. And if you have a quote or cute graphic automatically appended to the end of each email you send, you’ll want to delete that or change it to just your contact information.

Mistake No. 6: Being unprepared for interviews

You got a call for an interview, but you can’t just show up and expect to ace it. Now is the time to study. Anticipate the possible questions and rehearse the answers. Practice with someone to make sure your delivery is smooth, confident and on point. Realize that the interviewer may throw you oddball questions like, “If you could be any animal, which one would you be?”

Also keep in mind that many preliminary interviews are now done by phone — and that not all hiring managers will set up appointments before calling. Be prepared for job-related calls out of the blue. And when they do call, try to find a quiet location where you won’t be interrupted.

You may wonder how to get a first job when there’s so much competition for so few openings. By avoiding these common job-search mistakes, you’ll greatly increase your chances of success and a long, fulfilling career.


Five Best Things to Say in an Interview

The best things you can say in an interview won’t necessarily get you the job on their own, but they can certainly pave the way. Keep these five things in mind as you go through the interviewing process to give yourself the best chance at landing the job.

Ask Good Questions

According to Howard Pines, founder and CEO of BeamPines, “the best thing a candidate can do at an interview is ask good questions.”

Doing so shows that you are thoughtful and interested in understanding the company. There’s usually a chance to ask questions at the end of your interview, so be ready with questions that show you’re engaged in the process.

Pines suggests several questions, including:
• What are the biggest short- and long-term issues I would need to focus on in this position?
• What would I need to focus on differently than the previous person in this position?
• What organizational issues should I be aware of?

 “I’m flexible.”

Whether it’s about possible job duties, a potential start date or simply timing for the second interview, stressing your flexibility makes you easy to get along with.

Hiring managers don’t like complications, and having to coordinate complicated schedules or haggle over a job description eventually just makes you look difficult. While you certainly don’t want to be a pushover — and “flexible” shouldn’t define your salary negotiation — show your potential employer that you’re interested in results that work for everyone.

The Company’s Own Words

Before your interview, become familiar with the company’s website and literature. Pay attention to the words used — what’s important to the organization?

“In your interview, hit key words that appeared on the company website or brochure,” says Olivia Ford of Adeptio. “These key words might include team, leadership, simplistic, culture or growth.”

Mixing these keywords into your answers can provide a subtle hint that you are plugged in to what the organization is looking for.

“That’s a Good Question.”

Use this phrase instead of blurting out “I don’t know” if the interviewer stumps you with a surprise question. It can give you a few moments to come up with an answer and, in the meantime, strokes the interviewer’s ego a little bit too.

Avoid the “I don’t know” answer when possible, but of course don’t lie about your experience or training.

Reasons You Want the Job.

Knowing a job prospect’s motivations is important for managers who are hiring.

During your interview, talk about how this position fits into your future plans and the ideas you have about your career, how it fits with your values, and what you would like to learn from it. Talk about how you see yourself in relation to the company and what you believe you can bring to the position.

These kinds of thoughts show who you are as a person, and go a long way toward giving the hiring manager an idea about how you might fit in the company’s culture and values.