Monthly Archive for April, 2009

Are You In The Right Career?

Career Counseling

It’s tough to find many things to say about good about career opportunities in today’s turbulent job market. But there is one: this is a good time to reassess where your career path is taking you. Are you in the career that best fits with your skills, interests and ambitions?

You can do this on your own, but understand that it is very difficult to be totally objective about yourself. You can retain the services of a pro, but that can be expensive. Or you can take advantage of some free career assessments services as a first step.

Here’s a list of such services:

Coach Compass Assessment (
CareerLink Inventory (
Rutgers University

It’s a good idea to take more than one of these tests. If you don’t get the information you feel you need to plan your future you can always consult with a professional.

It’s time to step back and take an inventory about where you are and where you are going. You may find that you should change careers or find a new employer. Or you may see ways to improve your performance and gain more career rewards where you are.

I wish you career success!

Ramon Greenwood, Head Career Coach
Common Sense At Work

How To Score With The First Impression

Career Coaching

There is no second chance to make a good first impression. That’s for sure when it comes to a job interview.

A first impression is the sum total of all the signals you transmit: verbal communications, sending and receiving messages; body language; self confidence without over-the-top ego; timing; evidence of preparation.

Be prepared to make your case with a “sales presentation” that concentrates on three of four key points from your career path. Drive home those points.

Be aware of timing. Don’t appear to be too eager. Don’t arrive too early for the interview…10 to 15 minutes is about right. Being late is a killer. Be sensitive to the interviewer’s signals that the meeting is over. Don’t hang on as if you are overly anxious to make the sale.

Mind your body language. If a handshake is indicated by the interviewer make sure yours is firm, neither crushing nor a dead fish. Sit up right, leaning a bit forward, feet firmly planted on the floor.

Focus on the interviewer. Maintain eye contact; don’t let your eyes wander around the room. No tapping of fingers, jiggling of feet or signs of nervousness.

Keep in mind that to be most effective an interview is a two-way conversation. Let the interviewer take the lead, but ask questions and offer comments that demonstrate your knowledge and develop information about the opportunity.

Keep your troubles to yourself. Your personal woes have no place in the interview, nor do criticisms of your past employers and negative stories from your career path. Be upbeat, but don’t cross the line between interest and enthusiasm and eagerness.

Differentiate yourself from other applicants, but don’t go overboard to be different. No stunts in appearance and presentation. Strive to be memorable. Customize yourself for the position. Show the reasons you are a strong fit for the position. Offer examples of career successes, not just the responsibilities you’ve held.

Demonstrate that you have prepared for the interview by showing that you’ve made an effort to gain at least some basic information about the potential employer’s business. (Study news reports and annuals reports, Google the company and the industry, and consult with people who have knowledge of the company/industry.)

Be prepared to handle the question of compensation. Let the interviewer raise the issue of salary and perks. (A recent survey shows that about two-thirds of interviewers discuss the subject in the first or second interview.)

If asked, be honest about your compensation package in your present (or last) job. If you are asked to discuss what you expect, respond by saying that is difficult because you don’t know the prospective employer’s pay scale; express confidence that the compensation for the position would be competitive for the industry and the market. Know ahead of time the average pay scale for the job.

Most people do not feel comfortable discussing the subject of compensation. Expect too little and leave money on the table; expect too much and scare away the potential employer.

But the fact of the matter it is not unusual for an employer to have as much as five percent “wiggle room” for direct pay when making the first offer. There is often some flexibility in benefits and working conditions.

The key is to be reasonable and to stay within bounds of what’s happening with the interviewing company and the industry in which it does business.

Follow up after one week. Express appreciation for the opportunity to interview and convey your interest in the position. Inquiry as to the state of your candidacy and the schedule for a decision.

Winners know that good first impressions translate into reaching their career goals.

I wish you career success!

Ramon Greenwood, Head Career Coach
Common Sense At Work

How To Take The Stress Out Of A Job Interview

Common Sense Career Coaching

I think anyone going in for a job interview will find this article to be solid career counseling. I agree with Mr. Rosenlicht’s advice with the exception of his suggestion about injecting humor into the situation. Humor is so subjective that it should be left to the interview, in my opinion.

Job Interviews–Top 5 Ways To Tale The Stress Out Of A Stressful Job Interview
Joe Rosenlicht

When people merely hear the words “job interview,” they start sweating, their heart races and they begin to shake. OK, that may be a slight exaggeration, nonetheless it can be a very stressful situation for many job-seekers. As a career coach, I help my clients reduce their anxiety so they can put themselves in the best light possible.
Here are just a few very effective ways to lower your stress during a job interview:

1. Don’t allow yourself to be interrogated. A great way to reduce the stress is to think of the job interview as a conversation, rather than an interrogation. The interviewee has some power to create a conversation by interjecting questions throughout the interview, vs. waiting until the end to ask questions. Simply ask the interviewer at the beginning if it’s OK with him/her to ask questions in this way. 95% of the time they’ll be fine with it. Just by doing this creates a significant shift in the “balance of power” and puts the interviewee on more of a level playing field.

2. It’s a 2-Way Street. Also, it’s important for anyone going into an interview to remember that they’re interviewing the company as much as the company is interviewing them. With this mindset, it helps to reduce the stress since the interviewee has a new sense of control and decision-making power.

3. Smile, inject humor and find a connection. Smiling releases endorphs into the body and naturally elevates your mood. Inject humor (if appropriate) into the interview. Also, try to find a personal connection with the interviewer (sports, hobbies, travel, pets, etc.) by looking around his/her office for photos that could provide clues to making this connection. Remember, a job isn’t all about your experience and skills. It’s also about your personality and fitting well with the organization.

4. Don’t forget to breathe. It’s perfectly OK to pause before answering questions to gather your thoughts in order to give clear and concise responses. It also gives you some control in setting the pace of the interview, slowing it down a bit if you’re feeling rushed. All of this contributes to a lower stress level.
Above all, be prepared! Research the organization beforehand – what they do, their mission, history and direction. I also do mock interviewing with my clients, which really helps them get comfortable with some of the more challenging interview questions, increase their confidence with the process and belief in themselves. One caveat: don’t over-rehearse. You want to come across naturally.

5. Above all, be prepared! Research the organization beforehand – what they do, their mission, history and direction. I also do mock interviewing with my clients, which really helps them get comfortable with some of the more challenging interview questions, increase their confidence with the process and belief in themselves. One caveat: don’t over-rehearse. You want to come across naturally.

The beauty of these techniques is that they’re so simple, yet so powerful and effective in reducing the stress associated with job interviews! They’ll help you view the interview with less dread and more optimism and enthusiasm!

Visit Joe at to get his free monthly bonus report containing more valuable insights, tips and resources about job interviews and other career topics, and to arrange a complimentary consultation. Also, find outhow to receiving a free coaching session and about his coaching guarantee. What’s your career IQ? Take Joe’s free career self-assessment at>

Article Source: Rosenoicht.

I wish you career success!

Ramon Greenwood, Head Career Coach
Common Sense At Work

Career Advice: Stick To The Truth In Your Resume

Common Sense Career Coaching

No doubt about it. These are tough times. Jobs are hard to come by and to hold. It is not surprising, then, that job seekers may be tempted to pad their resumes. That is, be less than truthful about their skills, experience, even their references.

Don’t, don’t do it; stick to the facts. There may appear to be benefits to lying on your resume in the short term, but in the longer view it threatens ultimate career rewards.

While only 8 percent of applicants admit to fibbing about their career path in their resumes according to a survey conducted by, nearly half of hiring managers surveyed say they have caught candidates lying on their resumes.

Those who make hiring decisions are more apt than ever before to check references. The smart applicants get the approval of references and make sure they will be positive before including them in their resumes and covering letters.

Human resources people are better equipped and more alert than ever to spot transgressions such as grossly inflating accomplishments, positions and salary to the extent they don’t jibe with age and education/training; being inaccurate about dates to cover gaps in a career path; overstating compensation.

At the same time, they are flooded with a growing number of applications for a shrinking number of openings, so they have less time to review resumes…sometimes only minutes for each. Therefore, even the hint of lies and exaggerations is enough to consign an application to the trashcan. Nearly six out of ten in the survey conducted by said they automatically dismissed the application.

Even if a dishonest resume leads to a job, the fact that it exists will be a source of stress and distraction. Worse case, it can still come back to haunt you if the truth comes out, as is likely currently or in the future. Overstating experience can also lead to failure by putting an applicant in a job he can’t handle.

Hiring managers expect applicants to put the best face on their resumes and covering letters. At the same time, they demand facts to support claims. This leaves plenty of opportunity to make the case for getting hired with a concise resume that reflects an understanding of the employer’s needs and showing a convincing story of how one’s qualifications serve those needs.

“The vast majority of people facing career changes are immensely better qualified than their self-written resumes”, says Bryan Newman, Certified Professional Resume Writer.
“…a successful resume (tells) the reader what you have accomplished that makes you a better candidate for the job than others in the field. Recruiters look for candidates whose resumes are crafted around a solid list of career achievements.”

By the way, the fact is that some employers may lie also, promising opportunities and rewards they can’t deliver. (But that doesn’t excuse your falsifying your career path.) Check them out before spending time and effort in making applications.

I wish you career success!

Ramon Greenwood, Head Career Coach
Common Sense At Work

Your Body Language Speaks Volumes During an Interview

Common Sense Career Advice

I think you will find the following article by Garry Gamber to be well sound career counseling.

You are excited to be going for a job interview with the company of your dreams; or maybe it’s just an interview with a company that is on the way to the job of your dreams. No matter; you have checked out the company and you are prepared for what types of questions they may ask you. You know their history and their future plans and you can see yourself in them. You even know what the people that work there wear so you’re dressed for success for your interview. Even though you live in jeans, you will be wearing khaki slacks because that is the dress de rigueur for this business.

You may think you are ready for the interview but have you given any thought to what your body language is saying about you even before they scope out your clothes or hear your answer to their first question? There is evidence that suggests that a first impression is made within 3 to 7 seconds. That’s not a whole lot of time to make a favorable statement, so what you do needs to really count. And according to Carmine Gallo in a recent Newsweek article, 55% of communication is visual, meaning body language and eye contact.

You want your body language to present the picture of a confident, interested and enthusiastic candidate for the job. So here, then, are some tips on what your body language is saying about you.

Let’s start with the handshake. First of all, look at the person. Yes, you may be nervous but you don’t need to telegraph that info right off the bat. So make eye contact with the person whose hand you are now shaking. And please, if you need to, shake hands with a friend beforehand and let them give you some constructive criticism. What to watch out for? Avoid the dreaded “dead fish” syndrome. Just as bad is the handshake where it feels like every bone in the hand is crushed beyond the possibility of reconstruction. Wait for the other person to first extend their hand, otherwise you may come across as too aggressive.

OK, now you are seated (and if it is not obvious where you should sit, ask politely). You would think that once you are in a chair that you could relax your vigilance about your body language but that’s not how it works. Slouch in the chair or list too far to one side and you give the impression that you don’t care very much about the whole interview. Sit ramrod stiff and the interviewer will know just how nervous you are. Try to sit back in the chair but lean just slightly forward. This indicates an interest in what the other person is saying. What about leg and foot placement? If you’re female, crossing your feet at your ankles works and if you are a guy, feet planted straight ahead is a good idea. If a woman wears a short skirt to an interview she should cross her legs at the ankles, not at the knees. Crossing her legs at the knees would not be considered to be modest enough. The same goes for a man who sits with his legs in a flagrant vee.

By the way, wiggling your foot, swinging your leg, and tapping your fingers is better left to when you want to do the Hokey Pokey with your nieces and nephews. All of those mannerisms indicate that you are not as confident as you would like your interviewer to believe.

What do your hands say about you? You can either fold them loosely in your lap or if your chair has arm rests, they can rest there. Just watch out for a white-knuckled grip. If you have a tendency to “talk with your hands”, you may want to first check out if the interviewer does the same thing. If she doesn’t use her hands to make a point, then you may want to curtail your normal flailing. On the other hand, if the interviewer uses her hands quite freely and you never use your hands, you may want to loosen up a little bit. You don’t want to mirror what the interviewer is doing but you do want to at least be in the same field of motion.

One more tip that bears repeating: make eye contact with your interviewer or interviewers. These are people you hope to be working with, so it would be a good thing to be able to recognize them the next time you see them.

For more good information about the interview process you may want to listen to a show on the subject, “How to Dress for an Interview,” on Twenty Something Style. It’s a lively interview and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.
Garry Gamber is a public school teacher and entrepreneur. He writes articles about politics, real estate, health and nutrition, and internet dating services. He is the National Director of Good Politics Radio and is a charter member of the podcasting network,

Article Source:

I wish you career success!

Ramon Greenwood, Head Career Coach
Common Sense At Work