Monthly Archive for February, 2013

5 Tips To Really Stand Out And Land A Job

By Vickie Elmer

Ivy Exec CEO and Founder, Elena Bajic, was interviewed by Aol Job’s writer, Vickie Elmer. Below are Elena’s thoughts on some of the ways to stand out from the competition to land a job.

Every time you apply for a job you have the chance to be a standout, a star, or at least a unique individual with a string of talents that may be a great match for the employer’s needs.

But many don’t see themselves that way or sell themselves that way. And they don’t find the ways they can really shine before they send off their resume. They need to assess how their talents and traits could really benefit the person who’s about to read their resume and hire someone crucial to their team.

So this year, give yourself enough time and many opportunities to stand out in your job search. This may mean cutting back on the number of resumes you send out a week or a month. But a few carefully crafted resumes and cover letters that connect the dots may do more to open doors than sending out hundreds of copycat CVs.

“It takes quite a bit of energy” to do some research and become a “standout candidate,” said Elena Bajic, founder and CEO of Ivy Exec, which offers targeted career advice and jobs for members. She agrees candidates need to be selective in applying for jobs; “pick and choose those that are highly relevant” to their skills and expertise.

Then follow these five tips to make yourself a standout as you apply for work:

Know the traits that impress.

Some will be written right into the job posting. Others may be in your future employer’s core values or mission statement. Sometimes they can be identified by reading a few blog posts or an in-depth profile of the CEO or senior executive in charge of the area where you hope to work. Look at industry trends and best practices, too. The American Management Association identified the four Cs as skills employers really want: critical thinking and problem solving; collaboration; communication and creativity/innovation.

Ensure your resume matches your job.

Anyone looking for a job in sales and marketing needs to promote themselves very effectively. An editor cannot afford misspelling or grammatical errors. A manager must show that they are organized and can engage people with their resume. An IT manager’s resume needs a different structure and look than an interactive advertising manager. Different jobs and sectors require varied approaches. So each time you send out your resume, take just 10 minutes to adjust it so it’s a closer match to the job posting.


After the resume’s gone out, send an email or make a call to promote yourself again. Then another one a week later. When one candidate did this with Bajic, she gave his resume a second look, which led to an interview. “I don’t receive may follows-ups,” she said, “maybe 5 or 10 percent” of job seekers connect even once after applying.

Speed your replies.

When she’s requesting an initial phone interview, Bajic sees those who respond in an email quickly, in a few minutes or so, as a high energy person who’s engaged.” Someone who does not reply for two or three days may imply that they are less energetic and engaged or not all that interested in the job, she said. Other employment experts say it’s important to show you’re energetic and a quick study especially if you’re a mature job seeker or one who has been out of the workplace for a few years.

Prepare for phone interviews.

Take care with this and don’t take it on the fly. When the HR manager calls for a phone screening interview, ask to schedule the next day–and use those 24 hours to research the company and the job you’re seeking. Take time to envision the job and what it entails, Bajic says. Ask yourself: What is the company trying to achieve here? That way your questions will be more in-depth and your impact better.

Remember too that what works to make you a standout with IBM may not be as impressive at Apple or a small start-up in Ann Arbor, Mich. Core traits that work for small entrepreneurial organizations may be miles apart from the ones that turn heads at a Fortune 500 corporation. The key is to draw on your list of strengths and best traits and bring up those that your future boss really values. It’s knowing what will stand out and shine in the galaxy where you’re hoping to land next that could lead to success.

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This is a guest post contributed by the Ivy Exec Blog. Ivy Exec is an exclusive site where pre-screened, high caliber professionals find relevant job opportunities with leading companies. To find out more, please see connect with them on Facebook <>  or read their company information on CrunchBase <> .

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

Career Advice: Are You Too Busy To Take An Aspirin?

Bosses who truly want to achieve career success delegate as much responsibility and authority to their subordinates as they can handle. Therefore, they have more time and energy to advance toward their career goals by shouldering duties of greater visibility and value to their employer.

 Effective subordinates take on as much responsibility and authority as they can carry. This is the way they can grow into more rewarding jobs.

This dynamic of career rewards is as obvious as the nose on your face. Then, why don’t more people do it?

First off, ambitious careerists rarely want to give up power. Egos get involved. Sharing of responsibility and authority–sharing of power–goes against the grain of what has propelled them forward on their career path. The ambitious manager who really wanted to give up turf is a rare bird indeed. But they do it because they know it is the only way to get ahead.

The Headache Syndrome

Then there’s what I call the headache syndrome, as in “I’ve got a headache, but I don’t have time to take an aspirin.”

It goes like this:

“I am swamped,” the boss declares. “I have to have some help. I’d like to delegate some of my responsibilities, but I can’t find anyone who is ready to take on more work. It would take me longer to find someone willing and capable to do the work than it does to do the job myself. And besides, I can’t be sure the job will be done the right way if I don’t do it myself.”

Down the hallway, subordinates have a different view. “The boss won’t delegate responsibilities.” They are resigned to the situation, so they stop offering to take on more work; their growth is restricted. “Why should I keep trying to help the boss,” they say. “I’ve got a easy thing of it. Let the boss do the work, if that’s what he wants. Just send me my paycheck.”

The Fortress Mentality

These conflicting and self-defeating views result in a fortress mentality where no one wins.

But hold on. This siege creates big opportunities for truly ambitious careerists at all levels of the organizational pyramid.

Career Tip: There are six actions you can take to capitalize on this situation if you are willing to act aggressively with common sense as your guideline.

1. Achieve 110 percent of your goals.

2. Make sure your boss is aware of your accomplishments.

3. Delegate responsibility to others who can do the job as well as you can.

4. Work diligently to improve your knowledge and skills.

5. Volunteer to take on more responsibility.

6. Never steal the spotlight from your boss.

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.

I wish you career success!

Ramon Greenwood, The Head Coach

Common Sense At Work



Career Advice: Turf Hogs Are Dangerous Beasts

Turf Hogs are dangerous beasts with voracious appetites for power. These marauders are easy to identify, but difficult to deal with.

Left to their own devices, they will run amok. They can disrupt your career path.

 Turf Hogs work hard at gaining credit for the ideas and work of others. They assume authority where none has been granted. They claim to be team players while invading the territory of others.

When confronted, their usual defense is “Who, me? I was just trying to be a team player and help others for the good of the organization.”

As you travel the road to career success, you most likely will have to deal with Turf Hogs at some point.

What’s To Be Done With Turf Hogs?

Career Advice: Dealing with Turf Hogs requires patience and a careful touch. Their I-was-only-trying-to-help rationale is hard and dangerous to cope with without appearing to be overly protective of your turf.

First of all, you must be certain that the Turf Hog’s actions are damaging the organization; and that you are not simply protecting your own zone.

When the Turf Hogs’ grabs for credit move beyond irritation to erosion of your responsibilities, it’s time to confront the culprit.

Invite him to meet with you in your office. Make it a closed- door situation. Be ready with a detailed list of his transgressions.

Cite more than one clear-cut example of your complaint with his actions. Be sure to document damage done. Fashion your position along these lines:

“I see by your recent memorandum to my boss explaining that you have some ideas about how I can do a better job. I appreciate your taking the time to offer suggestions about my job performance, particularly since I am sure you have a full time job just carrying out your own responsibilities.

“Don’t misunderstand me. I can use all of the help I can get. But I expect you to come directly to me with your ideas. I know what my responsibilities are and the priorities our boss has assigned to me. And I know what yours are.”

Chances are The Hog will fall back on the “Who, me?” dodge.

Restate examples of your point. Detail damage done. It’s a good idea to continue along this line: “As I see it, we both are charged with doing our jobs in such a way that we can achieve the objectives the boss has laid out for us. The best way to do that is to respect each others’ responsibilities and authorities as we work together.”

Don’t be surprised if your Turf Hog spreads the word to the boss and others that you are not a team player. Be prepared to make your case to The Boss if he asks you for an explanation. Demonstrate that you are a team player.

Career Tip: Don’t expect The Turf Hog to change, but you can keep the beast at bay if you take a strong, fact-based stand against his encroachments.

For more advice on how to accelerate your career during tough times participate in my widely read Common Sense At Work Blog. His e-book, How To Get The Pay Raise You’ve Earned is available from Amazon.

I wish you career success!

Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach

Common Sense At Work




When Your Silence Speaks Volumes: Successful Nonverbal Skills

We’ve all heard the saying “Silence is Golden” but what if it isn’t? When it comes to nonverbal communication, we speak volumes without ever saying a word; in job interviews and career development, sending the wrong message can be a deal breaker before there’s even an offer on the table. By investing a bit of time and energy into gaining an awareness and understanding of the things your body is saying for you, you can ensure you are that much closer to the career of your dreams. And although nonverbal skills (yes, they are skills!) can take a lifetime to master, here are a few tips to get you started on the right track.

The Eyes Have It

If the eyes are the windows to the soul, avoiding eye contact with others sends the message that you are hiding something. Even if you are just shy or nervous, do your best to hold your head up high (that “hangdog” look does not scream “confident”) and maintain eye contact for at least three seconds when you meet someone. Be aware of that timing, though, because confident and self-assured can turn into aggressive and even creepy pretty quickly. Thereafter, make a conscious effort to look into someone’s eyes when they speak to you and when you respond to any questions.

Service with a Smile

As much as I wish they were sometimes, people are not mind-readers. They interpret what’s going on in our heads based on the looks on our faces. Make every effort to avoid misperception by making a conscious effort to smile. It will do you – and your relationships, business or otherwise – a world of good.

Do you know anyone who “lights up the room” with their smile? Doesn’t it immediately make you want to like them and make you feel better? What about when you’re on the phone and you can just tell that the person on the other end of the line is smiling? It’s true! We use different facial muscles when we smile; exercising these muscles not only makes us more attractive, but it also causes a change in our tone of voice. So give it a shot the next time you walk into a room full of colleagues – by lifting the corners of our mouths, we also lift our spirits and the spirits of those around us.

Reach Out and Touch Someone

We all know how awful the “dead fish” handshake is, so, first, don’t be that guy! Perhaps more importantly, recognize that having a good, strong handshake conveys so much more than social courtesy (or rather, your awareness that nobody likes a limp handshake). Allow me to explain.

A firm handshake conveys a sense of confidence in oneself and instills a sense of trust in the person on the receiving end. She knows that she can depend on you to represent her in a positive way, no matter the situation. It’s not about being strong; it’s about revealing strength: strength of character.

Since nonverbal signals form the basis for over 90% of a first impression, make sure you are sending the right kinds of signs to those with whom you want to develop business relationships. Believe me, they, and your career, will thank you for it!

What are some of the things you have seen others do that put you off even though they never said a word? Have you observed nonverbal actions that resonated with you in a positive way?

This post was written by Erin Schwartz who manages marketing programs for, a leading provider of high quality customizable items like business cards, address labels, postcards, and other promotional printing materials for small businesses and solo practitioners.

I wish you career success!

Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach

Common Sense At Work

5 Healthy Work Habits for 2013

This is the time of year when some of us sheepishly and quietly give up on our New Year’s resolutions. This annual ritual has inspired the development of dozens of apps designed to help you be more productive and to develop and keep healthy habits. These apps can remind you to floss, eat more fruits and vegetables, exercise, or get more sleep. Here is my take on the five habits you should adopt to have a healthier year at the office.

Get more sleep. You may think that you can function on five hours a night, but most of you are wrong. Humans function at an optimal level on seven or eight hours a night, and getting less each night is the equivalent of coming to work drunk. Sleep deprivation can cause slow reaction times, slurred speech and lower cognitive functioning. Not to mention that you look like heck – hardly the way to impress your boss.

Stand up more. Getting up each hour (using an app like Healthy Habits can create a gentle alarm to remind you) to take a good stretch and perhaps a short walk around the office can help you remain alert, perform your job better, and may even help you live longer. In studies, workers who sat less than three hours a day actually improved their life span by over two years on average.

Drink on the job. Water, or course. Many Americans are chronically dehydrated, which can have effects on your digestion, blood pressure and overall health. If you’re not drinking enough water, chances are you are not performing at your best. That headache you get in the afternoon, or the case of the munchies that shows up after work? Could be that you’re just thirsty. (Hint: feeling thirsty is one of the last symptoms of dehydration.) Get a cup or reusable bottle, add a squeeze of citrus to add some flavor, and drink your eight glasses.

Wash your hands more.  Studies have shown that most offices are bacterial breeding grounds.  Shared bathrooms and kitchens present lots of obvious opportunities to pick up viruses and bacteria, but your own desk may also be a hazard. Buy some antibacterial wipes and wipe down hard surfaces. Make it a point to wash your hands with hot soapy water several times a day in addition to the times you use the bathroom or handle food. Or keep a bottle of hand sanitizer at your desk and use it.

Pack your lunch. Eating out is expensive and is probably responsible for those extra pounds you’re carrying.  Even healthier choices of foods may be served in portions that add lots more calories than you need. Making lunch at home allows you to save money, control your portions, and make healthier choices like including more fruits and vegetables. It doesn’t have to be hard to accomplish, either; cook a little extra at dinner and pack some of the leftovers in single serving containers for the next day. Or split your meal when you dine out and box half of it for lunch the next day.

Healthy is the new sexy for 2013. Try these tips on for a few weeks. You’ll feel better, perform better and may literally be able to run circles around the competition.

This posting was written by Candace Moody, a writer and career expert. Her background includes Human Resources, recruiting, training and assessment. Follow her blog at:

This is a guest post contributed by the Ivy Exec Blog. Ivy Exec is an exclusive site where pre-screened, high caliber professionals find relevant job opportunities with leading companies. To find out more, connect with them on Facebook <>  or read their company information on CrunchBase <> .

Thank you!

I wish you career success!

Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach

Common Sense At Work