Monthly Archive for July, 2012

Don’t Miss A Blog Posting

You can receive an email alert every time I provide a new posting re career success. It’s easy. When you are on our blog go to the Feedburner box on the right and enter your e-mail address. Going forward you will receive an email to let you know each time there’s a new posting.

If you have a RSS reader, add our feed to your reader. Just click on “Subscribe to a feed in a reader” beside the orange icon in the right hand column and follow the steps to add the feed.

Facebook and Twitter Are Up and Running

Become a Facebook Fan and receive career advice reminders on your Facebook homepage news feed! Simply search for “Common Sense At Work” to find our Facebook Page and click the “Like” button at the top of the page.

Do you Tweet?  Follow Common Sense At Work via Twitter at receive free tips and blog posting alerts.  You can also get updates via SMS texts by texting follow CommonSenseWork to 40404 in the United States.

I look forward to continued conversation about your career success.  I hope you’ll follow Common Sense At Work regularly with the help of blog alerts, Facebook, and/or Twitter.

I wish you career success!

Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach, Common Sense At Work


Don’t Let Negative Feedback Derail Your Job Search

Posted by Maciej in Executive Job Search

 We all love to get positive feedback when we do something well. It makes us feel great about ourselves. But when it comes to looking for a job, you sometimes get more than your fair share of negative feedback.  And that can be hard to deal with. We often tend to hone in on the criticisms others offer.  These criticisms can seem to outweigh and overshadow the many positive things people have said with virtually the same breath.

At Ivy Exec we bring resources and talent to help individuals with their job searches.  While you’re searching for a job you receive feedback on your resume, interviews, and/or your overall job search. We have definitely noticed that if you’re in a prolonged job search, the negative feedback can add up and weigh you down. It can make you lose that spring in your step, procrastinate over applying for positions, hesitate to work your network, and overthink your next interview so much that it goes flat.

While the details vary for each job seeker, we’ve found a number of overarching themes that will help you process and overcome negative feedback.  Here are some specific ways to deal with feedback during your search so you can fully focus on getting that dream job without breaking your stride:

Who gives the feedback matters!- If a hiring manager or  recruiter is giving you advice, their comments  carry extra weight with regard to a particular position and your overall job search. However, if the person giving the feedback does not know your industry, or hasn’t searched for a job for a long time, then be cautious about implementing their advice.  It just might not be as relevant for you.

Do not take feedback personally… – If you do get “constructive” feedback on your search, do not let it affect you negatively and burst your bubble. Searching for a job is only one aspect of your life.  It does not define the whole YOU.  In these times it is the norm, rather than the exception, for people to go through multiple job searches over the course of their careers. The important takeaway is to discard the unhelpful feedback, absorb the useful input, try to implement it, and keep moving forward.

Ask questions…many questions! – This will help you obtain more specifics on areas that need work, clarify any input that is “murky,”  and will clearly demonstrate that  you are interested in improving. Actively asking questions will also help you probe and assess the validity of any criticisms. When you actively engage in questioning, the person giving you feedback may be more willing to work with you to implement the feedback, and to provide more input in the future.  By questioning, you may well add a fan to your following, if not a mentor.

Counter the negative feedback with positive action… – You can prevent negative feedback from overwhelming you by focusing on things that are going well –either in your job search or in other parts of your life. Make sure that your job search doesn’t define your life and YOU.  Keep it in perspective and make sure it isn’t the only thing you do, but just one of many. A great addition to your schedule would be adding regular exercise to your routine. Or, take that photography class you’ve always wanted to take, but couldn’t find time for.  Invest some time and effort in your outward appearance to give yourself a boost of confidence.  A haircut, a new suit, or even focusing on your posture will help you feel more confident when facing any negative feedback that may come your way.

Every one of us has had to face negative feedback in our lives. If it is merited, use it as a springboard to become even better at your job search. The next time you receive negative feedback, if it’s valid, meet it head on and make the most of it. Remember, it’s not what was said that matters in the long run.  It’s what you did with it.

This posting created by

I recommend this blog as a great source for career advice.

Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach

Common Sense At Work




Career Advice: Looking For A Job, It’s Important to Always Look Presentable

Guest Blogger: Mariana Ashley

When I was a teenager, I could’ve cared less how I looked to others. My hair was typically wound up in a messy bun. My shirts gave me no shape. Eventually my mother started telling me, “Mariana, a woman should always look her best. You never know who you might run into.” Granted, her advice was relationship driven—she wanted me to finally get a boyfriend, but her words would later impact my career in a big way.

It was 1999 and I just graduated from college. I was frantic: all of my friends had landed jobs already and I was the only odd man out. For weeks I sobbed, not sure why I hadn’t received the call for an interview at any of the school districts I applied to. One morning I planned to go to the local coffee shop to scour the classified section for alternative employment opportunities. But as I stared at myself in the bathroom mirror with my frizzed out curls and smeared mascara, I couldn’t help but chuckle. My mother would not be pleased with this “look” at all. So while I was certain none of the avid coffee drinkers would care seeing me wearing my famous bun and baggy sweat pants, I decided to clean myself up in the hopes that it would lift my spirits. I polished my nails, brushed my hair until it regained its luster, and put on some makeup. I even put on a cute outfit. I looked alive and most noticeably “presentable.”

Later that day as I sipped my large cup of java, I overheard a man sitting at the table behind me discussing, “She’s going to retire this month, we need to find a replacement English teacher quickly.” I was floored. What were the chances? Typically a shy person, I mustered enough courage to introduce myself, apologized for eavesdropping, and inquired him about a job. He was the principal of one of the schools I had previously applied to. We chatted for a little while, and he told me to send him my resume directly.

I landed that job. But I can’t help but wonder: would everything have gone so smoothly if I showed up to that coffee shop in my sweats? Would he have even given me the time of day? The answer, realistically, is probably no. Your appearance is the first thing a potential employer notices. Even though you outfit of choice may not exactly represent who you are as a person, it can show an employer that you seem careless or lazy— and those aren’t traits employers are looking for in an employee. So even when going to job recruiting agencies, you need to look your best.  Don’t wear flip flops or anything of that nature. Look presentable every time so they know how/where to properly place you.

While you may make an effort to look your best in job interviews be aware that may not be enough— after all, as my mother always told me, “You never know who you might run into.”

Mariana Ashley is a freelance blogger who primarily writes about how online education and technology are transforming academia as we know it. Having spent a good portion of her professional career trying to reform high schools in East St. Louis, Mariana is particularly interested in how online colleges in Missouri make higher education a possibility for students of all backgrounds. Please contact her at if you’d like to discuss this article or education in general.

I wish you success!

Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach

Common Sense At Work


Resume Advice: Avoid Gimmickry In A Job Search

There is a strong temptation in today’s highly competitive job market to go for gimmicks to make one’s resume stand out from the crowded field. The urge is particularly strong after a number of rejections.

Avoid gimmickry like the plague.

There are rare occasions when a really creative tactic works, but most of them will backfire while making a resume stand out for all the wrong reasons. Still some applicants–especially entry and mid-level professionals– resort to outlandish devices.

“It’s really disheartening when you send your resumes out and get nothing in return,” says Cynthia Shapiro, a career coach for those searching for jobs. “It just makes people feel like they have to do something crazy to get noticed.”

Here are some examples of the more off-the-wall gimmicks.

A junior marketing professional attempted to send his resume by a homing pigeon. The bird never returned.

In another instance, a resume was cut into pieces and enclosed in a Russian stacking doll.

An electronic key chain and note were attached to a resume, saying, “The only noise you’ll hear out of me are the ones generated by this letter.”

A candidate thought it was a good idea to bring a Rubik Cube to an interview to demonstrate problem-solving skills.

A job hunter dressed as a gorilla, accompanied by balloons, hand delivered his resume with a song explaining his qualifications. (In fact, personal delivery of resumes is fairly common, but they usually fail because they convey a sense of desperation.)

Some resumes include jokes, nutty photographs, “cute” gifts, or free tickets to ball games.

Slang or funky language and spelling are to be avoided, as are industry and professional jargon. So are shorthand symbols and decorative symbols in emails.

Dale Winston, CEO of Battalia Winston International, an executive search firm once received a resume with two Pepto-Bismol tablets enclosed along with a note that read: “I’m one candidate that won’t nauseate you. However, since I don’t know how the rest of your day is going, accept some relief, compliments of me.”

Job seekers sometimes will send their cover letter inside an unsealed envelope without a resume. The idea is to make it appear the resume fell out with the idea that the recruiter will reply by asking for a resume.

However, there are rare instances when creative tactics to grab attention are in order, such as advertising, public  relations and marketing. But good taste as to subject matter is always required. Also, avoid costly gimmicks lest you appear to be attempting to bribe the recruiter.

It is far better, of course, to make one’s cover letter and resume stand out from the crowd by simple, straightforward communications that present qualifications that “fit” the position.

Appropriate follow-ups to keep the application in the recruiter’s mind are also highly desirable. The rules for cover letters and resumes also apply for notes that express appreciation for the opportunity to interview and state positive interest in the opportunity.

Where once snail mail was required, thank you notes via email are now acceptable, even preferred. Make messages concise and personalized. No “smiley faces.” Texting, Facebook and MySpace are not to be used.

After all is said and done, it’s really very simple. Jobs go to candidates who do the best job in convincing the recruiter that he or she can serve the needs of the employer, not who can be cleverest with gimmickry.

For more advice on how to accelerate your career during tough times participate in Ramon Greenwood’s widely read Common Sense At Work Blog His e-book, How To Get The Pay Raise You’ve Earned” is available from Amazon and other leading e-readers for $1.99.

I wish you success!

Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach’

Common Sense At Work