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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Last Minute Tax Tips

(Editor's Note) This year, Tax Day falls on a Saturday and April 17 is a Federal Holiday in Washington, D.C. So, you have until Tuesday, April 18, to file your federal tax return. This is just the kind of advice you need to complete your taxes this year. Use it to review before submitting your taxes online or if you haven't started yet - get busy! 

Here's a sample of the tips you'll get in this article from Kiplinger's Personal Finance, April 2017:

Contribute to an IRA. If you’re not enrolled in a 401(k) or other workplace retirement plan, you can deduct an IRA contribution of up to $5,500 ($6,500 if you’re 50 or older), no matter how high your income. You have until April 18 to make a 2016 contribution to your IRA. The IRA deduction is “above the line,” which means you can claim it even if you don’t itemize deductions. It will reduce your adjusted gross income on a dollar-for-dollar basis, which could also make you eligible for other tax breaks that are tied to AGI.
Read complete article here.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Is A Resume Embellishment An Exaggeration Or Lie? Confused?

You're writing your resume and decide to say " I was responsible for growing the business from 100k to 2 million dollars in 1 year." Impressive. But you didn't mention that your company bought another company with 1 million in sales; or that you worked with in a team of 10. you. Is this an embellishment or a lie?   

"When Do Exaggerations and Misstatements Cross the Line?"
When public figures are caught embellishing their accomplishments or qualifications, whether by exaggeration or misstatement, people everywhere express outrage. Indeed, as more and more politicians, CEOs and other big names these days try to make amends for fudging their resumes, incorrectly relating the details of a story or otherwise playing fast and loose with the facts, the general reaction from an increasingly jaded public is: "What were they thinking?"
As it turns out, what they were thinking isn't much different from everyone else. Embellishment is part of human nature, experts say, and almost everyone is guilty of it at one time or another.

Left unchecked, however, exaggerations that seemed innocuous at first could result in serious, potentially career-ending consequences. "[Getting caught] can be devastating; I think it can ruin a person," says Alan Strudler, a professor of legal studies and business ethics at Wharton. That's unfortunate, he adds, "because embellishment is just a human frailty. But once you're caught in a deception, even if it's a common deception, people won't trust you. And once the bond of trust is lost, it's terribly hard to recover."
Create a Better Resume     
    In today's work environment, where no one comes in for a job interview without being Googled first -- and where small talk in the elevator or comments made at a staff meeting are just a Twitter post away from reaching a global audience -- it's easier than ever to get caught in an exaggeration, Wharton experts and others note..
       But the temptation to embellish has also never been greater, they say, as recession-weary workers feel pressured to justify their worth and a 24-hour news cycle demands that leaders have an immediate, sound-bite-ready answer for everything. 

    "The questions come when something happens that breaks the social facade that we're all honest and we're all trustworthy," says G. Richard Shell, a legal studies and business ethics professor at Wharton. "When someone is revealed to have done something selfish, there's a crack in the facade and then everyone has to figure out what that means. Does the crack reveal some sort of venal person, or does it reveal the same sort of hapless person we all are underneath?"

    Finding the Line
    The type of self-deception that most people employ falls in the middle of a spectrum occupied at one end by those who are complete truth-tellers, and as a consequence are often considered "rude and socially inept -- think of a small child telling a dinner guest that she's fat," says Shell -- and at the other end of the spectrum by pathological liars, who occupy a fantasy world that they believe to be real.
    "Self deception is something that everyone is prone to," Shell notes. "There's a lot of research that says if we lack any positive illusions then that is a sign of depression.... We like to think of ourselves as being more important, more skilled and more experienced than we are. When a test comes, and someone asks what your experience is, or what your basis for stating something is, then it's tempting to make something up." Indeed, a 2003 report by the Society of Human Resources Management found that 53% of all job applications contain some kind of inaccurate information. 

    Although only 8% of respondents to a 2008 CareerBuilder survey admitted to lying on their resumes, nearly half of the hiring managers queried said they had caught a prospective hire fabricating some aspect of his or her qualifications. Almost 60% of employers said they automatically dismissed applicants caught making misstatements about their backgrounds.
    The challenge, experts say, is not to cross the line from harmless puffery to a more damaging form of elaboration. In some cases, the limits of what is accepted and what isn't are clear-cut -- few would condone amplifications that break the law, for example, or cause others serious harm. Equally prone to reproach are cases in which company executives or leaders within an organization are found to have included degrees they never earned, or positions they never held, on their resumes, according to Wharton operations and information management professor Maurice Schweitzer." 

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    To see complete article and listen to audio visit:The Wharton School

    Free List Of "49 Benefits Of Hiring Older Skilled Workers"

    14 Job Interview Problems & Solutions for Baby Boomers

    Those in transition do face uphill climbs in these troubled employment waters. One group particularly impacted dramatically is the “seasoned” worker AKA, the Baby Boomer.

    In life, perception is often reality and there are many perceptions of the mature candidate. Those who fall into this category must anticipate what they potentially are and be prepared to overcome them. Let’s examine these areas of concern, both spoken and unspoken, that many employers consider when interviewing the Baby Boomer generation.

    Perception #1: Baby Boomers are “overpriced”. Because of this, they are more likely to be made redundant in a bad economy. Younger workers are more “affordable”. Even if older workers are willing to take a pay cut or make a lateral move in regard to money to get the job, employers sometimes fear that their job satisfaction will be compromised at a lower or equal salary and that they won’t stay or be motivated.

    Perception #2: They’re settling. Employers fear that if the mature candidate has been unemployed awhile and previously employed in a capacity beyond that for which they’re interviewing, they’re only willing to take the position until something better comes along. In other words, they simply need a job.

    Perception #3: They’re looking for a retirement home. Motivations are attributed to having a place to hang their hat for a few years and get benefits. This is usually far from the truth, but can be a concern nonetheless.

    Perception #4: They’ve lost the “edge”. An underlying fear here is that older workers won’t have the same drive and determination (otherwise most often referred to as ‘fire in the belly’) as they once did, the belief being that their younger counterparts may be “hungrier”.

    Perception #5: Their credentials aren’t equivalent to those of their younger counterparts. Sometimes older workers don’t have the same educational credentials as younger workers. Baby Boomers more often went to the ’school of hard knocks’ as opposed to going the traditional educational route as is more common today. An education back then, though important, didn’t carry the weight it does today in many companies and organizations.

    Perception #6: They’re job hoppers. Older workers have more jobs on their resume, leading to the perception that they’re ‘job hoppers’ regardless of time frame involved.

    Perception #7: They have too many expenses attached to them. Health insurance costs are higher for older workers. It’s a practical consideration for employers who provide health coverage to their employees, maybe even more of a consideration today with the possible changes in the healthcare system being discussed.

    Perception #8: They’re limited in flexibility. Younger workers tend to be more mobile either to relocate or travel, whether now or in the future. In some careers, that can be a benefit to a corporation.

    Perception #9: They’re overqualified. This perception can be valid. Older workers often find themselves interviewing for positions with someone they could easily have managed themselves at some point in their careers. It can be intimidating to a younger manager.

    Perception #10: They’re likely to be dissatisfied. The longer a career, the more likely a person may have gone the entrepreneurial route at some point, leading to the perception that they won’t be happy in a corporate environment working for someone else.

    Perception #11: They don’t portray the right image for the company or fit with the culture. Appearance is a factor, especially in sales positions or any position where you’re meeting with the public. Older people sometimes face discrimination based on the ‘image factor’. Whether fair or not, it is reality.

    Perception #12: They’re outdated. Their skills may be outdated, especially in technical areas like computers. Older workers may not be able to keep up with the Gen Y’er’s in terms of computer social networking abilities. This is changing as the mature worker becomes more Internet-aware but it is still a reservation on the part of some younger managers.

    Perception #13: They’re rigid. The “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” mentality is a factor. There are concerns that mature employees won’t be able to adapt to new ways of doing things or that they are set in their ways and have preconceived views of how things are and should be.

    Perception #14: They’re not moldable. Employers very often like to ‘grow their own’. A younger worker is perceived as more trainable and moldable. Many companies like to train people themselves and older workers are sometimes perceived as coming with ‘baggage’ from their previous employers.

    A long list, isn’t it? It can be daunting and also a bit unsettling if you’re getting older. It would seem with all these possible roadblocks, a seasoned job hunter would never get hired. Let’s dispel that myth. It happens every day, but to bust that myth in your own personal situation, being forewarned is forearmed. If you understand the mindset of some employers and interviewers and the possible perceptions you’ll face, you can be ready to deal with and overcome them to your advantage.

    What do older workers bring to the table that can overcome these objections? A number of things:

    1. Life experience. This can not be bought or learned in a college. Traveling the road of life, you learn to deal with a myriad of situations and gain the ability to overcome obstacles. Common sense can’t be taught or easily gained without experience.

    2. Skills to overcome adversity. Mature candidates generally are more adept at problem solving and have a track record of doing so. Again, it comes with experience.

    3. Stability. An older person is actually NOT as likely to ‘job hop’ within a year or two. The younger candidate is far more likely to move from one company to another for a slight increase in salary, title, or opportunity.

    4. Commitment. Loyalty is usually highly valued by older workers. Their parents worked for decades at companies and had the “gold watch at retirement mentality”. That attitude is ingrained in the Baby Boomer generation as well to some degree. They tend to be very committed to the company they are employed with and have a strong loyalty to their manager. I have seen this many times in my recruiting career. The more mature a candidate is, the harder he is to woo and recruit.

    5. The ability to take on a mentoring role. There is research now that indicates that the Gen Yer’s who have a reputation for doing things in an ‘out of the box’ fashion are embracing the traditional as a ‘new way’. They value the input from Baby Boomers in the workplace. They often want to learn from them and use them as mentors in furthering their career objectives.

    6. Less conflicts. Older workers are not as likely to have family issues that interfere with their jobs. Their children are grown, gone, and established.

    7. High motivation on a practical level. Often the older employee is the sole or primary bread winner. The younger worker is often part of a dual income family.

    8. Connections. They likely have business relationships that have deep roots based on longevity. Younger workers have a web of contacts as well, but the nature of that network is different. An older worker’s network of contacts, friends and business associates is often deep, rich, and based on lifelong relationships.

    How can you, as a mature candidate compete in this marathon to the job offer?

    1. Bearing all of the above advantages in mind, don’t underestimate your value. Incorporate some of these concepts into your interview presentation, especially if you run into objections.

    2. Stay abreast of changes in the industry you have experience in. All industries evolve, change and adapt to the fluctuations of the market. Stay on top of the industry trends.

    3. Learn to be a social networking whiz. Okay, I never believed personally that I’d be a social networking devotee, but I am. It’s becoming essential in this world. Know that and decide to be aware and active.

    4. Take classes to enhance skills you lack. These might include computer skills, technical skills that are industry specific, or enhancing your public speaking if that’s a benefit. Keep learning!

    5. Learn to package your skills in accordance with the employer specifications. Past duties and functions are of value if packaged correctly and portrayed in the right way.

    6. Stay active in order to demonstrate the ‘fire in the belly’ attitude. Drive and determination are still highly desired in employees, and older workers who can show that they continue to meet and exceed their life goals have a better chance of finding gainful employment.

    Above all, keep a positive attitude and remember: you still have a lot to give.

    ~~Mark Ste. Marie

    Looking To Change Your Career. Free Skills Analysis here

    6 Lies We Tell Ourselves About Job Interviews

    How many hours did you spend researching that last car or flat panel tv you bought? How many hours did you spend practicing for your job interviews? We all know that many jobs and perhaps careers are won or lost during the interview process. You have a Great resume, Great cover letter, and Great attire. Win win win. Not so fast. If you did not prepare for the interview this will put you at a competitive disadvantage. So why not prepare? It really is pretty easy. Just requires some practice and time.(Editor's Note)

    Lies We Tell Ourselves About Job Interviews
    Guest Contributor: Michael Neece, CEO, InterviewMastery.com

    I present frequently to groups large (200+) and small on job interview skills, and I am constantly amazed at the harmful lies people tell themselves about job interviews.

    Few will argue about the importance of having a great resume; after all, it is the resume that generates job interviews. But nearly all job seekers minimize the importance of their own job interview skills. Minimizing the importance of interview skills reduces the probability of getting the job offer because it is only through an exceptional job interview performance that you'll get hired.

    17-to-one is the ratio of job interviews to job offers during a recession. During a recession, the average applicant will interview for 17 different opportunities before he/she gets one job offer. When job openings are plentiful and candidates are in high demand, the ratio drops to 6-to-1, meaning it takes only 6 interviews to get an offer during the good times. The lesson here is that without interview skills, you'll waste 6 to 17 job opportunities before you get good enough at interviews to get an offer. (Article Continued Below)

    Below are six lies (assumptions) we tell ourselves about job interviews:
    "I'll do great on my job interviews because…"

    1. I'm Great at My Job.
    The skills required to get the job are fundamentally different from the skills required to do a job. If you have ever looked for a job you know this all too well.

    2. I'm a Good Communicator
    Being a good communicator is a good start, but most of our business communicating is one-on-one or in a setting where you are talking about work. During the job interview, you are often speaking with multiple interviewers and responding to thought-provoking questions about you and your talents. Convincing an interviewer of your abilities is a unique situation in the world of business communications.

    3. I've Interviewed Hundreds of People
    Being an interviewer is different from being interviewed. Just ask anyone who has been interviewed recently. I consult internationally to organizations on interviewer skills. I also present to thousands each year on job interviewing for the job seeker. While the interviewer and the interviewee are in the same room, each is playing a different role that requires different skills to be successful. It's a bit like dancing. One person leads while the other follows. The skills to lead are very different from the talents needed to follow. When each partner does his/her part, they dance beautifully. When the job applicant has the skills, he/she facilitates a conversation and usually gets the offer.

    4. I've Had Many Practice Interviews
    Learning by trial and error can teach you a few things about effective interviewing, but it wastes a lot of great job opportunities. Besides, practicing the same unproductive job interview ritual will only make you comfortable with ineffective habits that can really hurt your career.

    5. Interviewers Have Interviewing Skills
    Having traveled internationally to train interviewers, I can state with certainty that over 95% of interviewers are unskilled and have had no training on effective interviewing. That is exactly why interviewers still ask totally irrelevant and bogus questions like, “Tell me about yourself,” and “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” When an interviewer asks you one of these questions, you know they are completely unskilled at interviewing.

    6. The Most Qualified, Get Hired Most of the Time
    Eleven years as a recruiter taught me one truth about the job market: the most qualified person never gets hired. The reason is that who is the most qualified is a matter of interviewer opinions, assumptions, and personal bias. Additionally, a job description is actually a collection of guesses as to what the prerequisites are for a specific job. A job description is a way for the hiring manager to say, “I want to hire someone who has already done, many times, what I want him or her to do for me.”

    To secure a great job, you can either continue lying to yourself and go through 17 interviews before you get an offer, or you can invest the energy to learn successful job interviewing and significantly increase your odds of getting a great job sooner.

    Whether you try Interview Mastery or another job interview program is irrelevant. What really matters, is that you improve your interview skills. Common advice is everywhere on the Internet, but this common wisdom will only get you common results.

    If you don't want to invest any money in yourself, at least make a list of the interview questions you expect and those that you fear. Then ask a former colleague to mock interview you using the questions you listed. Record the mock interview using audio or video. You may be surprised at how you actually sound.Remember, the job interview is the most important moment in your job search and in your career.

    While your resume may get you to the interview, it is your job interview skills that will secure the job offer. Preparation and practice make all the difference in your performance because the most qualified person rarely gets the job. It's the person who interviews the best who wins the job offer.

    Good luck on your next interview. You're going to be awesome!

    Do you need to improve your interview skills? Learn More Here.