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Have you ever thought about the answer to this question? Is your answer, “Because I can do it all!” Would you answer with a list of personal attributes like, “Because I’m punctual, dependable, have a great work ethic, and I’ll get the job done.”
What this question is really asking is — How do you stand out from the competition? What makes you different from others in your field?
When I interview clients to gather information for a resume many of my questions sound like interview questions. In a way they are. Because such questions have a way of making you delve into your memory to tell me why you’re good at what you do. What makes you stand out from the crowd?
For the first time in 15-20 years, job seekers have to write resumes for work they’ve done over long periods. You’re so used to doing what you do that it’s become second-nature. You don’t think about details of why you do what you do, how you do it, or what tools you use to gain the best results in the shortest time. You’re the master of the task, sought out by others for the intricate details, the expertise, the insight, the knowledge. But to explain how to do it without showing someone or just doing it escapes you. And that’s where it gets hard.
But when you say, “Because I can do it all,” it doesn’t tell an employer anything. It doesn’t pinpoint how you developed that business strategy that increased revenues by 15%. It doesn’t show how using root cause analysis helped pinpoint that glitch that caused 4 hours of critical downtime. Boldly show the employer why you’re the perfect match for the job.
Employers won’t assume anything. They won’t fill in the blanks. Your resume needs to enhance those skills used to accomplish the outstanding goals that positioned you above the competition. Create a skills-based resume that shows employers how your accolades and accomplishments are indispensable to the company’s bottom-line. To accomplish this, your resume content should be clear, concise and engaging, helping the employer envision a mental picture of you performing the work within that 4-8 second window when initially reviewing your resume.
Pondered your daily tasks before talking to your resume writer. During your conversation with your resume writer talk about what you do, think ahead to understand your tasks, your actions to complete those tasks, and the results of your actions. Consider the metrics to show how much you improved productivity, reduced waste, lowered costs, grew revenues. Be prepared to give examples showing how you contributed to the ongoing growth of your former company. As you do, the employer will see why you’re different, the value you’ll bring to the new company and what makes you stand above the competition to reach the top rung of success.
Most resume writers are magicians with words. Creating an outstanding resume for you is our greatest task. Being ready to explain why an employer should hire you helps you get a better return on your resume investment both from the writer and from your employment opportunities. You’ll stand out from the crowd when you can explain why the employer should hire you, because you won’t leave any room for guess-work.
What skills make you stand out from the competition?
You left the interview frustrated and confused. You got in front of the decision-makers, but you didn’t get the job. Again. What’s holding you back?
Hiring for “A” teams is a very hot topic in small business owner forums these days. A major concern is commitment of potential employees. Will they be committed to the business and share the company’s passion for the services and products provided? Another topic frequently addressed in these forums is one of employee longevity – is the person willing to put in time learning the way we do business or is it just a stepping stone? While it’s true that current jobs do not have the “30 year and retire with a gold watch” aspect found in the 1930s-1950s, employers still want to know that their time and effort put into training an employee is not in vain.
Before going to the interview do some homework and turn the tide in your favor to get hired.
The Cost of Hiring.. and Firing
Employers are becoming more selective of potential candidates for good reason. Hiring the wrong employee not only damages employee morale, it can damage business growth and cost them dearly.
The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that hiring the wrong entry-level employee can cost an employer between $5,000-7,000 after three months. Firing a manager that makes $20,000 per year will cost $40,000. Add the unseen costs of lower employee morale, employee burnout, lost business, dissatisfied customers, and the cost to continue interviewing. It becomes a human resources’ nightmare.
This doesn’t include possible costs that result from employee lawsuits. A detailed list of employee rights and possible violations are listed on the U.S. Department of Labor website. For these reasons, employers are careful to hire the right employee in the beginning to prevent the nightmares of terminating a bad employee.
Know the Company
This can’t be stressed enough. Before interviewing, take time to research the company. What is their mission statement? Understand its company culture. Learn as much as possible about its dress code and the dynamics of its management. Are you interested in its products or services? If you don’t care about the company, why should it care about hiring you? One line from the “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” movie is Part of the crew, part of the ship. The interviewer will recognize if you’re not interested in being a part of the crew; instead of letting you jump ship at the first opportunity, s/he won’t even let you cross the gangplank.
Do You Add Value?
When the employer asks you to describe one way you added value to a previous employer, what will you say? Can you provide qualitative or quantitative results for contributions you brought to a previous employer? Can you explain why s/he should hire you? Are you progressive and understand how to use social media to promote a company? Employers welcome new hires who are progressive and aware of current technologies. You want to keep the company flowing with new energy, not float in stagnant waters.
Dress for Success
First impressions are hard to change. Presenting a professional image can make it or break it for a new hire. Dressing like a professional, even if interviewing to flip burgers or push carts at Target, you’ll make a better impression and promote faster than if you assume it doesn’t matter.
Studies show that women who wear a fitted suit, a nice blouse and coordinated skirt are likely to be hired over someone wearing a coordinated pant suit, and definitely over someone wearing jeans–even if they cost $150. Guys do better if they wear sport or dress shirts that are pressed, wear a tie, and wear slacks with a pressed crease down the leg.
This brings me to a touchy area, but it must be addressed – so here goes! Personal expression that includes wild hair colors, body piercings, radical tattoos is fine, but some employers are fairly old school. What I suggest is go back to the original hair color, cover the visible tattoos, and remove the obvious piercings for the interview. The idea is to get your foot in the door and prove your worth. After that, an employer may not have a problem with your appearance but be far more concerned about how much you add value and contributre to the organization.
Body language and personal expression are key factors to winning a job. Most employers have determined whether they’ll hire you based on your résumé and possibly phone interview. But the final factor is determined within the first five seconds after you walk into the room. The way you walk and your appearance reveals your self-confidence, self-esteem and professionalism. If you’ve prepared for the interview it shows, will make all the difference in how you’re perceived and whether you’re hired or still desperate for a paycheck.
What interview preparations have you taken to get hired?
If you’re unemployed you’re heard of all the networking support meetings available to job searchers. Ever ask yourself, “Why do I want to spend my gas driving XX miles to meet with other unemployed people?”
Feel like it’s a waste of your time to meet with other unemployed individuals when you could be spending that time marketing yourself to prospective employers? Why spend time talking about missed interview opportunities when you could be smoozing with the pros?
As a sponsor to a group of unemployed workers, I’ve seen unemployed support groups shrink. When I first attended this group two years ago as a resume writer, the group was 30-40 people strong. The last meeting included me, the group president and two unemployed individuals. We spent the morning chatting and eventually got to talking about unemployment, personal experiences and potential job opportunities. When I asked what happened to the group, the president said many had lost interest.
Here are three reasons why networking with other unemployed persons is an important part of your job search. It can be a bridge to reaching that pinnacle of success and hearing those words, “You’re hired!”
It’s Not About You
Networking with fellow unemployed individuals isn’t about what you get out of it; it’s what you bring to the group. In return, you do end up gaining a lot in return.
Maybe that new guy just endured a nasty, cruel layoff from a cynical manager out for revenge. He’s lost his self-confidence and feels like the world has ended. Or that professional just laid off after 13 years with the same company now must look for a job; a totally new experience. How many newbies hide behind the facade of a smile, talking like nothing’s wrong, yet they need an injection of positive influence to help make sense of the stresses they now face?
When you smile and greet those newbies, you are the sunshine of their day. Hearing your story may tweak an idea that propels them to renewed confidence and higher energy. You become the catalyst of hope to a bleak horizon. That’s how you contributed to the meeting.
Nobody Understands Like You Do
People with jobs don’t understand the unemployment experience. It’s unique to the chosen few. Dropping from a six figure income to $1,800/month (the maximum unemployment payout in most states) is mind-boggling. Adjustments are the same for C-level managers and first level workers because suddenly the lifestyle they know is threatened.
If you’ve been unemployed for more than a year, you’ve “been there, done that.” Freshly laid off workers are stressed, their confidence levels sag below ground, and they walk around like deer in headlights at times wondering what to do. That’s where you step in.
Greet and meet them. Get to know, like and trust them. Share your tips with them. You may not become best buds, but your input encourages them. You’ve weathered the storm. They now know they can and will survive because you showed up and your presence brings promise.
You Are Needed
Just like your resume needs to show how you add value, contribute and what accomplishments and achievements you bring to the prospective employer, your attendance contributes and adds value to weekly unemployment support meetings. Nobody brings the same experience as you. Your input may click an “Aha” moment. You are the needed piece to their unemployment puzzle.
Few unemployed people want to stay that way. They want their salaries back, benefits and medical insurance. But to reach that goal requires self-confidence, self-belief, and motivation; all elements lost to the layoff pink slip. Your personal contribution to unemployed support groups becomes the biggest difference in someone’s day.
What benefits did you get from an unemployment support group? Want to share the difference someone made in your network meeting experience? Share your comment. If enough of the same appear, you might see a blog post about it!
Like the prospectors of the ’49er Gold Rush, job searchers leave most of the gold unmined at a job fair. Lately, I’ve heard many job searchers tell me job fairs
are a waste of time and they find nothing that appeals to them. What they don’t realize is that a job fair is a gold mine of job opportunities, but like the quest for the Mother Lode job fair employment requires exploration and prospecting.
It’s easy to spot obvious jobs. Like placer gold, they lay atop the surface, easy to spot and stake a claim. But the richest veins of golden job opportunities must be explored and discovered. Knowing how and where to find these rich job opportunities is the key to using job fairs to market your skills and strike it rich.
John Williams of Shadowstats.com believes the real unemployment rate in the U.S. is closer to 21.5% based on real Shadow Government Statistics. Meanwhile, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports current U.S. unemployment at 8.2%. The difference, according to Williams, comes from long-term discouraged workers, people who have dropped off the unemployment grid, and people no longer considered unemployed because they are working at part-time jobs or are unqualified for those jobs they currently hold.
Such statistics suggest digging deeper to find those hidden jobs that aren’t advertised. Using your job search skills, locate the golden job opportunities that hit pay dirt. This encourages finding jobs that match your skills, being more encouraged to find work, and securing a new job before unemployment benefits end or the need to find any job becomes critical.
Network with Employers
The best way to prospect a job fair for golden job opportunities is by networking. Visit each vendor and ask what is available. Bring your resume; you may get to leave it with the recruiter. Dress professionally, some vendors interview on the spot!
Take a business card, talk about available job openings, learn all you can, and write on the back of the card what you discussed and what job appealed to you.
Once you get home, write a thank you note and email it to the recruiter mentioning that you met at the job fair and appreciated his/her time. Not only is this proper manners, it gets your name in front of the vendor a second time. If you made a memorable positive impression, it could lead to an interview.
At all events, vendors always offer more than one job opening and not all are advertised.
At a California Central Valley event in March 2012, 18 vendors offered over 300 jobs; over 1,300 candidates sought applications. In the San Francisco Bay Area in late March 2012, 15 vendors offered over 500 jobs; 1,100 candidates sought work. At a Northern California in April 2012, 16 vendors offered over 400 jobs; over 1,000 candidates were prospecting those jobs.
A casino vendor at a Northern California event offered over 95 positions ranging from Hospitality, Sales Representative, IT Project Manager and Technicians, and Executive Account Managers.
A biopharmaceutical company had openings in Clinical Science, BioAnalytical Sciences, BioMetrics, Finance & Accounting, Facilities, Compliance, Legal, Medical Affairs, Regulatory, Research & Development and Validation.
Don’t Walk Away Empty Handed
Too often job searchers walk away from job fairs without digging deep enough, leaving a payload of job opportunities undiscovered. Like the ’49ers of old, they let the gold dust slip through the cracks without investigating to see what may surface.
Job fair opportunities require digging deeper than just looking at a company and assuming it doesn’t offer anything to match your talents. Learning how to network with employers seeking candidates, looking deeper than the obvious can lead to richer opportunities and following-up after the first meeting can help you strike it rich with an interview that rewards you with a new job.
Take advantage of each golden job opportunity offered at a job fair. You may find yourself laughing all the way to the bank with that golden paycheck.
At a recent networking meeting I met an employer who had been gun-ho to hire professionals with 30-years experience. She owned a frame shop and had just revived it through a website, growing social media presence, and on-line marketing that drove traffic to her website and her front brick and mortar store. To add to her excitement, she’d just hired a mature sales and marketing professional with 30-years exemplary experience. She figured she’d found gold.
But the gold mine lost its luster quickly. Within a month, she saw sales begin to slide. Within two months, they were lower, and by three months she’d lost 75% of what she’d held at the beginning of the quarter. The problem? Her 30-year veteran had poisoned a once productive staff with outdated sales methods that didn’t adjust to innovative technology.
Instead of adding value, the professional damaged customer relationships, micro managed staff in a power struggle based on youth, and didn’t understand the power of social media marketing. At the end of the first quarter, she terminated her mature worker and focused on regaining her lost market share.
Keep Your Resume Current
As a resume writer, I talk with a lot of workers over 50 whose resumes aren’t winning interviews. A closer look reveals they’ve listed experience dating back over 15 years, sometimes experience from 20-30 years ago. The logic is that career opportunities from Fortune 500 companies are important even if the experience was 20-30 years ago.
Liken this to saying you learned to type on an IBM Selectric typewriter. Although IBM is a large corporation, iPads, iPhones and text messaging replaced the now outdated Selectric typewriter. Staying in tune with today’s technology means keeping your resume updated with relevant, timely experience. While experience from 20 years ago is relevant in some situations, the norm suggests experience beyond 10-12 years ago is outdated.
Listing experience that dates back beyond 10-12 years opens the door to being overlooked. What matters is listing relevant accomplishments, if you’ve learned and implemented new skills, and do you know and understand today’s technology to stay connected through iPads, iPhones and real-time technology? If you haven’t done any of these, check out free services like SCORE, local city colleges and see if you can get training.
Networking is all about making connections and moving forward. Groups like Sunrise Business Builders focus on getting to “like, know and trust” professionals who may become colleagues, business associates or partners. SCORE workshops provide educational workshops to hone your skills and provide pools of professionals who connect and motivate each other. Active Job Seekers of America are groups of unemployed or under employed professionals networking to find work and move forward. Whatever group you join, make sure to interact with all age groups and all levels of professionals. Seek out your college alumni associations, join the Chamber of Commerce, but find a networking group-whether free or paid-that mixes age-groups so you brush shoulders with those who are always moving forward. Another key networking tool is LinkedIn. Lindsey Pollack, a LinkedIn spokesperson from the Greater New York City area, wrote a recent blog outlining ways over-50 job seekers can maximize this tool to find a job.
Know Your Strengths
What do you truly love to do? If you had your dream opportunity, what would it be? In his book, Strengthfinders 2.0, Tom Rath discusses how to find your personal strengths. By doing so, you can determine what jobs are best suited for you and what personal traits help you excel. Combining the book with an online questionnaire opened only with a key code found by purchasing his book, Rath helps people discover where they fit in best.
When you connect with a job that feeds your strengths, you focus on things you love to do and your passion will flow into it like a stream into open water. Pursue those avenues that you love and find a way to connect with professionals in that line of work. When you emotionally and mentally connect with work you enjoy, your productivity thrives, your performance skyrockets and your value and contributions push past the roadblocks to prosperity. Use the Internet to find groups that follow this passion and join in. As one of my previous blogs noted, never underestimate the value of a casual conversation. It can open doors to new career opportunities in unique ways.
Never Stop Learning
Above all else, learn new skills and keep learning. In his most current blog, Rod Ebrahimi notes that the best entrepreneurs never stop learning to stay ahead of the competition. Stagnating will leave you behind in today’s constantly changing global economy. Tenacity, intelligence and the ability to adapt are three factors critical to being a forward thinker that adds to your professional value.
Mature workers bring a plethora of ideas and knowledge to the work place. They remain a solid foundation to the work force. But instead of resting on your laurels, expand your offerings by assimilating to the new world of business and grow with the flow. Connecting your past with the future and conveying that in an interview, casual conversation or on your resume will open the door to new career opportunities and expand your future to new generations.
A new scam is circulating through free email carriers these days. With unemployment rates as high as 14% in some states, the out of work professional becomes perfect bait for a new identity theft scheme that becomes the perfect nightmare.
As one economic consultant stated in a recent article, Despite a national unemployment rate of 8.9%, more people are out of work today than at this time in 2010. This sets a stage for scam artists to con people out of personal information when they are think they are getting a job rather than becoming a victim of identity theft or a phishing scam.
Recently, I received three scams and out of curiosity allowed myself to interview for a position, to see what it was. Within the first few minutes the red flags waved and I knew it was a scam. But to share the experience I followed through for a while to see just what would happen.
Job Offer / Dear Applicant
The subject of the email reads JOB OFFER or DEAR APPLICANT. The offers appear genuine. Coming from corporations like Pfizer or AEG, they refer to your resume and cover letter submission for a posted job. If a link appears, clicking it leads to a real website for a recruiting site or job board listing corporations looking for new hires. It all looks legitimate.
The teaser is reading “You’re qualified” for a position, especially if you’ve been unemployed for a prolonged period. HR has reviewed your resume, scheduled an interview, and included your interviewer’s name and email address. You simply set up an email account with “mail.yahoo.com” or “messenger.yahoo.com”, or related services through other free carriers. You’re given an established interview time and all you have to do is show up online at that time. Easy.
Beware the Interview
When your interviewer introduces herself (or himself) at the assigned time, a picture appears alongside the chat box with the interviewer’s name. As an HR Consultant with a national corporation, you’re told that the company is offering remote positions to help reduce the high unemployment throughout the company. A noble gesture for a company life Pfizer. But when the questions came, the red flags started flying.
Should This Question Be Asked?
The first red flag came when the interviewer asked my age and later the year I received my first degree, also age-related. Age-related questions can be considered discriminatory and should raise red flags in your mind. In 2011, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received over 99,945 complaints; 23.5% related to age-discrimination. Age questions violate various laws; an interviewer should ask such questions only to ensure you can do the job. You can refuse to answer them or you may choose to give only your age. Giving your birthday is a perfect response for identity thieves.
If you want to know what questions are appropriate for an interview, use your search engine for “age related interview questions” and you’ll find several articles available.
Do Your Homework
My interview was for a Data Analyst/Accounting/Customer Service position through Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company. While I interviewed, I brought up Pfizer’s website and browsed the Careers tab. The position for which I supposedly was interviewing didn’t exist, nor did the website give any information about offering opportunities for remote positions to ease unemployment. Another red flag. So I began asking questions too.
The interviewer said a new location was under construction in my area and once completed I would move to the office site. When I asked the specific address, the interviewer ignored my question. Red flag #3.
I would earn $27/hr for training, then $20/hr for the position moving forward. When asked why training pay as higher, I got no response. Red flag #4.
After a few minutes, the interviewer said, “You’re hired,” I would earn $27/hr, receive all benefits, would be paid bi-weekly and could receive my paycheck via Check or Direct Deposit. Red flag #5. Direct Deposit meant giving my financial information via email, a practice never recommended due to security issues.
Red flag #6 came when told I would receive an HP laptop sent to me to complete my new position as an accounting / financial data entry clerk. Prior to receiving the laptop I had to purchase specific software that I must acquire through their private vendor for $350. I would provide my financial information, they would purchase the software and I would get the laptop. When I asked the name of the private vendor, I got no answer.
At this point, I personally called Pfizer’s Contact number from its website. After explaining what I was doing, I was immediately connected to Zack in their Security Department. He laughed when I mentioned the situation. “It’s a scam,” he chuckled. I’d known it earlier, I ended my interview without further conversation.
Reporting such scams can protect you if you’ve inadvertently provided too much data that could lead to identity theft. File a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov. IC3 is a partnership between the FBI and National White Collar Crime Center. If you did provide too much information, contact your local financial institution and take early steps to prevention. You can read about identity theft from one of my earlier posts, Identity Theft – Keep Your Name to Yourself.
Employers Connect through Email
Today’s employers use email to connect with applicants. However, those emails will reveal the employer’s name, address and the HR contact’s name, email address and other valid information. If in doubt about the legitimacy of the email, contact the company by phone to verify.
Don’t get caught in the scam. Never provide your birthdate, banking information, credit card or debit card information or social security number via email. Always find the website and call the HR department to verify first. Be cautious. Protecting yourself against such job offer scams and identity theft will be the difference between gaining a paycheck and living the nightmare of identity theft as someone uses your personal information for a vacation in Belize.
Recently, Lifetime channel broadcast “Home by Christmas,” a film starring Linda Hamilton, (she makes it nice to know what my name would look like in lights) about a woman who loses her job, she’s evicted, her husband leaves her then cleans out her finances, and soon finds herself on the street. An ugly situation with overwhelming circumstances. Yet with today’s economy and job market, it may reflect similarities to many lives.
But the movie shows the true resourcefulness each person has in facing and overcoming circumstances by keeping one’s wits and thinking outside the box. It is a movie of self-discovery that each person can experience. What most impressed me was that regardless of circumstances you have the inner ability to think it through, be resourceful, and change your situation. This may seem too Hollywood, but if you face an impossible situation, take a moment to consider alternatives. Something that can change for the positive. If you believe in God, draw upon your Faith, if you have other beliefs draw upon those inner options. You can and will find a way if you don’t stop trying.
Think Outside the Box
As the movie progresses, Hamilton’s character Julia Bedford turns to sleeping in her car until she is able to stay with a friend. While helping her friend, she begins to find herself, think outside the box, and find her way. Julia finds a desire to become a realtor. So through borrowed finances from a friend she studies at the local library and gets her realtor’s license. This leads her to work for a local realtor. She befriends a store owner who comes to her aid in many ways. And using her wits and common sense, she connects with others and her circumstances begin to change. By the end of the movie, she’s got a home, a job, an income, and great friends.
Be Tenacious and Creative
Although it was Hollywood, the point I saw was don’t look at the problem, look at possible solutions. Stop and think for a moment. Regroup. Make a list of all the things that you can do. Research local or county agencies that might provide assistance. Find a place to volunteer where you can gain exposure and network with people. Write them down in a list. Instead of looking at the circumstances, consider how to work through them one step at a time. How can you overcome? Find a sliver of daylight and walk toward it. Using imagination, ingenuity, tenacity and your wits, you can overcome any problem. Don’t settle for less. You have been given all that you need, the key is learning to find it and use it.
Remove the Mountain
It is not impossible to move mountains if you believe in yourself; if you believe in a Higher Power that gives you additional strength to do the impossible. Chip away at the mountainous obstacle with one tap of the hammer at a time…eventually it will crumble. Before long you’re reduced that mighty mountain to a pile of gravel. And then use the lessons learned while creating that pile of gravel to pave the pathway to success.
As the world economy struggles with the ongoing economic crisis, analysts talk about changing stock market investments and debt management? Applying hard lessons and watching world trends could be the best investments for your future. But with the volatility of the stock markets and growing concerns about hyperinflation or deflation, just want are the best investments?
I’m not a financial genius nor am I an investment analyst, but after reading a lot of articles about the global economy and proper investing, I’ve learned a little about fiat currency and the gold standard. As international economies slowly recover from the recent financial upheavals, it appears some financial analysts are looking at precious metals and a return to the gold standard as smart investing. The reason — money in the form of gold, silver and precious metals can be used internationally to make purchases if paper money fails. Paper money, also called fiat currency, is only as good as the faith people put into it and its relative scarcity, according to an article at Knaves.com. How you choose to manage your money could be the difference between having buying power in the future or struggling to pay fluctuating day-to-day prices.
What is Fiat Currency
Fiat currencies are another name for national currencies, according to Wikipedia, which include the U.S. dollar, the Euro, the Japanese Yen, Swiss Mark, German Mark, and the Pound Sterling. They are held in high quantities and used by governments for international trades on the global market for products and commodities like oil and gold. However, in 1971 the U.S. dollar moved from being backed by the gold standard and became a fiat currency backed by the government; other countries followed. Now, since the global economic crisis, questions arise whether the world will return to the gold standard or continue operating with fiat currencies. In response to this question, certain countries are educating their citizens in better debt and money management to ensure they are prepared for the future.
Are you Investment Savvy?
Becoming more familiar with stock market trends and money management means being prepared; the younger generation has become more investment savvy and many have learned how to play the stock markets to make and save money. Because of the economic crisis, many believe the return to the gold standard is coming, so they are buying gold and precious metal stocks, equities, or slowly building gold bullion reserves. Should fiat currencies fail, they will still have buying power by the strength and price of their hard money, i.e. gold bullion, silver coins, etc.
International investors can refer to the Kitco.com web page to view the daily international prices of gold, silver, palladium, platinum and rhodium. Resources like The Gold Report, The Energy Report or The Critical Metals Report provide insight on international mining, drilling, investment strategies and expert insight into where and how to invest in international markets. Information from varied resources state that sound investments take patience to payoff, but when done well could give the investor a 50% or more return in profits. Selling too soon could mean a huge loss.
What’s the Best Investment?
From all the information available on the Internet, investment experts suggest people use caution and be frugal in 2011. History shows various trends and while precious metals and oil are explored, discovered, and drilled, supply and demand play a huge role in determining prices, investment opportunities and affect the international stock markets and world economy. For those who can afford to invest, invest wisely after studying the markets. For those that can’t, don’t panic–instead, focus on getting and staying out of debt. Learn to live within your means. And don’t be frivolous by returning to bad habits that perhaps created financial crises in the first place.
Many see the global business and investment communities slowly recovering and positively moving forward. Others speak of impending gloom, hyperinflation and more economic woes. For the average citizen in any international community, the wise choice is be cautious. As the world changes through social media and social networking, the Internet has opened the world to international communication by a click of the mouse. Using this technology to educate yourself on international trade, prudent investing, and financial economics, you can take charge of your own finances. Becoming your own debt manager not only empowers you, but can be the lifeblood that may save you from future economic calamity.
Everyone needs to refocus occasionally during a hearty job search to keep perspective. To help with that moment, here are a few ways to bring a new spin on “Tradition” during the approaching Holidays! With Americans struggling to find work, juggling unemployment, and wondering whether they’ll get that proverbial pink slip in the next round of layoffs, looking at new ways to celebrate without high cost can actually make you more creative in other areas too. And as holidays approach, emails often circulate like wild-fire sometimes bringing content worth sharing. Like many others, I found value in the ideas shared below. Perhaps it will bring you a spirit of renewed hope and encouragement. After all, you never know whose life you might touch by breaking from old traditions and starting new ones.
Christmas 2011 — Birth of a New Tradition
This year can be different. This year Americans can give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands. Yes there is!
It’s time to think outside the box.
Everyone — yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local American hair salon or barber?
Gym membership? It’s appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some
Who wouldn’t appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates.
Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plunking down money on a foreign-made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.
There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants — all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn’t the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this isn’t about big National chains — this is about supporting your home town Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.
How many people couldn’t use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?
Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day.
My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.
OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes.
Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theatre.
Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.
Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another 10 thousand lights for the house? When you buy a $5 string of light, about $0.50 stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.
Christmas is now about caring about US, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn’t imagine.
THIS is the new American Christmas tradition.
The current news flash about Ted Williams, the homeless man with the great radio voice, should bring hope to everyone who is looking for work. While Ted’s situation is unique, especially since he’s now been offered a possible movie role opposite Jack Nicholson, the point is the visibility he got through the video made the difference.
The Importance of Visibility
Visibility is key to finding a job. Posting resumes on job boards, various Internet job markets such as CareerBuilder.com, Monster.com, Sologig.com, and Craigslist, is only one part of the visibility need. Network with your friends, tell people you know, join Linked In, create a video resume and post to YouTube for people to view. You never know who’s going to look in the most unlikely spot for a new hire.
I’ve read blog posts where many job seekers seem to think using Linked In or some of these other social media resources isn’t worth the effort. I disagree. The more places you post your resume the more visibility you gain, and that means you’re out there for the world to see. Ted Williams is proof that these social media systems work. It’s all about exposure. And the jobs are there.
Just Do It
A client recently told me that she heard about a job at an afternoon tea where she was meeting friends. The hostess’s daughter heard that the woman was looking for work and told her of a job opening at a local bistro. The woman checked it out even stopping by to see the place and talk to the employees. A week later, this same woman was looking for boxes for a friend who was moving. She walked into a liquor store asking for boxes and the owner said if she wanted to empty the ones that had just arrived she could have them. Having nothing better to do, she agreed and began placing the items on the shelves. The owner then offered her a job in his store as a clerk/cashier. He interviewed her on the spot, including talking salary and schedules. A third person saw a job advertised on Craigslist, submitted a resume with a cover letter via email and then interviewed and hired that afternoon.
Perhaps these are unique situations, but they are real scenarios. December’s national unemployment rate dropped to 9.4%, its lowest since May 2009, according to the U.S. Labor Department. Industry Week reported on January 7, 2011, that “employment rose in leisure, hospitality and health care sectors.” While other areas are still struggling, the positive twist is that people are beginning to hire. So it’s critical to get that exposure and continue the search.
A Determined Will Can Never Be Broken
It’s also important to get your resume updated and ready to present. Customizing it for the specific job is essential and presenting a cover letter that gives reasons why you’re the best qualified is also recommended. Make sure your resume shows how you added value to previous employers. What projects did you do and what were your results? How did you make a difference to the employer? These are the questions to answer. Sure, it may appear that you’re answering interview questions on the resume, but if five people with the same background are looking for the same position, why should an employer pick you over everyone else? How are you so different that they should interview you?
Be prepared. Post your resume to get visibility. Keep plugging at the job search. As our economy slowly recovers from The Great Recession, be one of those who contributes to a lower unemployment rate by finding work in the most unusual situation from a most unique opportunity. Your life could change overnight like Ted Williams’ did. You never know when you’ll be that one special person that stands out from the crowd because you gave yourself that extra visibility.