Monthly Archive for May, 2012

The Art of Body Language: How to Land a Job without Saying a Word

It can be challenging to find a full-time job in today’s tough global economy. While proof of education from advanced degree programs can be helpful, it’s essential to understand how body language can impact a job interview. Social interaction, not just a good education, can make or break a hiring manager’s decision. The following guide provides simple tips and tricks on how to land a job without saying a word:

No Sudden Movement

It’s essential to avoid fast body movements when in an interview. Fast body movements can include jerky hand motions, tapping a foot and walking too quickly. All these actions may indicate that an individual is uncomfortable during an interview. A good way to prevent this is by using one’s imagination. Imagine that an interview is taking place in a large tank filled with maple syrup. It’s impossible to move quickly in this thick, sticky liquid. All movements are slower than normal. While it’s important to not move too slowly, this can be a great mental trick for ensuring good body language.

Make Polite Eye Contact

In addition, it’s a good idea to make eye contact with an interviewer. While making eye contact is important, it’s also essential to avoid staring at a potential interviewer. A good rule of thumb is to make eye contact with an interviewer only when oneself is speaking. However, it’s important to give the appearance paying attention. A great way to do this is by varying one’s gaze every few seconds. For example, try staring into an interviewer’s eyes for three to five seconds at a time. When not staring at an interviewer’s face, try to glance past him or her. This will help one avoid awkward staring habits.

Slow Talkin’

It’s also important to make sure one speaks in a smooth and relaxed fashion. Rapid speech can make one hard to understand. In addition, excessively rapid speech can indicate that an individual is nervous. It’s a good idea to pace oneself when talking. As a rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to avoid talking at speeds above 120 words per minute.

When it comes to properly interviewing, sometimes what you don’t say can be just as effective, if not moreso, than what you have to say.  Your body language says multitudes about you, and while that degree in criminal justice may make you a prime candidate for the police or counseling position you are interested in, if your body language suggests a weak or timid temperament, you may not be selected for the job.  So before you interview, be sure to practice your body language skills right along side your social skills to have the best chance at getting the job you seek.

Guest Post by Anna Hicks

Resumes Lie

Resumes Lie

By Phil Rosenberg

According to Steven Levitt, University of Chicago professor, and one of my personal favorite authors (Freakonomics and Superfreakonomics), over 50% of resumes contain lies. SHRM (The Society for Human Resource Management) studies showed 53% of resumes lie. Other studies have shown that somewhere between 30-50% of resumes contain mistruths.

I’m not describing taking credit for the value you’ve provided past employers – that’s not a lie. I’m not including covering employment gaps through truthful methods, or describing your experience from your target employer’s point of view – these are ethical. Listing a local number and/or address can also be done ethically on your resume. I only support ethical job search methods – not because I think I’m Dudley Do-Right, but because ethical job search is much more effective than lying.

These studies looked for bold-faced lies, showing that they are rampant among job seekers. I suppose as the job market became tougher, more competitive, while employers became more dysfunctional in their hiring, candidates were driven out of desperation to lie on their resumes.

The biggest problem with these desperate actions is … they don’t work very often.

When there are all these studies and articles floating around the HR world, it becomes common knowledge among recruiters and HR reps that a great number of resumes contain lies. So guess what happens – Recruiters, HR reps, and small company admins charged with prescreening resumes start to look for lies.

Screening out liars is one of the major functions of recruiters and HR reps. It’s one of the reasons you get the feeling that HR departments job is to find resumes to reject. In the case of resume lies … you’re entirely correct in what you feel.

It also became much easier for recruiters and HR reps to catch resume lies … just at the same time as desperate candidates started to lie more often on their resumes.

Here’s where candidates lie most often on resumes:

1. Education: Many companies will confirm university degrees and technical certifications in their background checks.

2. Dates of employment: Don’t try to stretch your tenure to cover up gaps. While excluding months isn’t a lie, tacking on additional years employment to your resume is a big lie that can be easily caught by a basic reference check.

3. Job title: Don’t embellish to give yourself fancy titles. This lie can be easily caught by a reference check – companies can and will give your official title as part of the reference process.

4. Criminal records: Criminal background checks will uncover felonies or misdemeanors. An increasing number of companies are using outside companies to do criminal background checks, even for non-financial jobs.

5. Inflated salary: Salary inflation can be caught by a thorough reference check – often using a service specializing in salary confirmation.

6. Professional license: Companies may confirm licensing with the appropriate state agency as a part of their background checks.

Today, companies don’t even have to do extensive background checks to catch you lying on your resume. That’s why over 90% of companies search social media and Google as a part of their hiring process. Because social media inconsistencies uncover a large percentage of resume lies.

So why not just scrub your Facebook timeline? While it’s a wise move to take off things you wouldn’t want your Mom or boss to see, it won’t keep your resume lies from being uncovered.

Why not?

You can thank your friends for that – because on social media, you’d also have to lie to all your friends. Do you think that when you put on Facebook that you “graduated” from Harvard in 1990, that you wouldn’t have 10 of your buddies crying “BS”? Or that you suddenly got a CPA?

The truth is more powerful than lies

If you are applying for jobs you are qualified for, rather than lying to try for jobs you aren’t, then the truth is more powerful than lies. I’m not just referring to the truth about you – but if you can get to the truth about what’s happening inside the company, then you can express your experience to show you’ve solved similar problems, met similar goals.

When you can get to the truth inside the company and can adapt your resume to what’s happening about the company, your resume will be much stronger than lies, and you don’t have the risk of getting caught in resume lies.

Phil Rosenberg is President of ReCareered, helping great people break through the challenges of modern job searches. Phil had managed the Chicago suburban Financial and Technology consulting practices for recruiting industry leader, Robert Half International.

This posting was borrowed from Ivy Exec Blog


How To Effectively Manage Your Time At Work

Of the roughly 40 hours a week or more that you may be at work, how much of that time, honestly, do you spend working? If I were to estimate my actual time spent working, not the time I get paid to sit at my desk. I’d say I am probably productively employed 15-20 hours. Of course, hardly any job expects you to be working every single hour of those 40 hours, but it wasn’t until I really took stock of my mismanagement of time at work that I realized how much smarter and better I could organize my day.

Here’s how I did it

1.  Always do one thing at a time.

In a world that often trumpets multitasking, the truth about the matter is that most people can’t effectively multitask. The more stuff you put on your plate simultaneously, the less effective you will be on each individual task. Work on each task until you have completed it or reach a logical place to put it aside for the time being.  This tactic will improve the quality of your overall performance.

2Do the most difficult task whenever you are most productive.

Everyone has a specific type of task that they find the most taxing in terms of attention and brain power. For me, the most difficult work task is responding to emails. Even thought they only take a few minutes to respond to, the sheer volume of emails often overwhelms me, and makes me put them off. In terms of productivity,

I’m most awake and alert in the late morning, right before lunch. As such, I start my day with something easy, and once I’ve warmed up, I tackle all my emails right before lunch. It’s an incredible feeling to be finished with what you dislike most so early in the day.

3. Take discrete, productive breaks.

Contrary to common sense, breaks are an important part of remaining productive. But breaks can be tricky—they can be your worst enemy, derailing your workflow, or they can bring renewed focus to work that’s been draining your brain. The most important thing about breaks, however, is that you need to take them the right way. Don’t ever bring your work to your break; take that time to relax and think about other things. About three or four breaks a day is a good rule of thumb, each lasting about 10 or 15 minutes. Instead of grabbing a snack or a coffee, how about going for a brisk walk outside, which helps you completely clear your mind? Once you return from your break, you’ll find all your tasks become much easier.

Of course, effective time management isn’t something you’ll accomplish overnight. I still have days when I get practically nothing done. But practicing time management daily, being aware of how you are spending (or, in some cases, wasting) your time, will enable you to check off your to-do lists every day. Good luck!

Alvina Lopez is a freelance writer and blog junkie, who blogs about accredited online colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: alvina.lopez