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Saturday, May 13, 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."
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    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

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    How To Evaluate Your Career Resume's Strengths & Weaknesses (SWOT)

    SWOT Analysis:Evaluate Your 7 Strengths & 7 Weaknesses

    When speaking about a SWOT Analysis, this is a way of doing some serious self-reflecting and figuring out what your internal as well as external strengths and weaknesses are. Think of it as a pro and con list about you!

    SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. While we are hesitant to use the word “weakness” as it is very negative, using the word “shortcomings” doesn’t make as catchy an acronym (SWOS) as SWOT!

    Here are a few ideas when it comes to constructing your SWOT

    Internal Factors:7 Strengths - Internal positive aspects that are under control and upon which you may capitalize in planning for a new career. These would include:

    • Work Experience
    • Education, including value-added features
    • Strong technical knowledge within your field (e.g. hardware, software, programming languages)
    • Specific transferable skills (e.g., communication, teamwork, leadership skills)
    • Personal characteristics (e.g., strong work ethic, self-discipline, ability to work under pressure, creativity, optimism, or a high level of energy)
    • Good contacts/successful networking
    • Interaction with professional organizations

    7 Weaknesses - Internal negative aspects that are under your control and that you may plan to improve. These will include:

    • Lack of Work Experience
    • Low GPA, wrong major
    • Lack of goals, lack of self-knowledge, lack of specific job knowledge
    • Weak technical knowledge
    • Weak skills (leadership, interpersonal, communication, teamwork)
    • Weak job-hunting skills
    • Negative personal characteristics (e.g., poor work ethic, lack of discipline, lack of motivation, indecisiveness, shyness, too emotional)

    External Factors

    Opportunities - Positive external conditions that you do not control but of which you can plan to take advantage. Here are some opportunities to list:

    • Positive trends in your field that will create more jobs (e.g., growth, globalization, technological advances)
    • Opportunities you could have in the field by enhancing your education
    • Field is particularly in need of your set of skills
    • Opportunities you could have through greater self-knowledge, more specific job goals
    • Opportunities for advancement in your field
    • Opportunities for professional development in your field
    • Career path you’ve chosen provides unique opportunities
    • Geography
    • Strong network

    Threats - Negative external conditions that you do not control but the effect of which you may be able to lessen. These include:

    • Negative trends in your field that diminish jobs (downsizing, obsolescence)
    • Competition from your cohort of college graduates
    • Competitors with superior skills, experience, knowledge
    • Competitors with better job-hunting skills than you
    • Competitors who went to schools with better reputations.
    • Obstacles in your way (e.g., lack of the advanced education/training you need to take advantage of opportunities)
    • Limited advancement in your field, advancement is cut-throat and competitive
    • Limited professional development in your field, so it’s hard to stay marketable
    • Companies are not hiring people with your major/degree

    To further refine the SWOT, here are some other questions to ask about yourself:


    • What are your advantages?
    • What do you do well?
    • Why did you decide to enter the field you will enter upon graduation?
    • What were the motivating factors and influences?
    • Do these factors still represent some of your inherent strengths?
    • What need do you expect to fill within your organization?
    • What have been your most notable achievements?
    • To what do you attribute your success?
    • How do you measure your success?
    • What knowledge or expertise will you bring to the company you join that may not have been available to the organization before?
    • What is your greatest asset?


    • What could be improved?
    • What do you do badly?
    • What should you avoid?
    • What are your professional weaknesses?
    • How do they affect your job performance? (These might include weakness in technical skill areas or in leadership or interpersonal skills.)
    • Think about your most unpleasant experiences in school or in past jobs and consider whether some aspect of your personal or professional life could be a root cause.


    • Where are the promising prospects facing you?
    • What is the "state of the art" in your particular area of expertise?
    • Are you doing everything you can to enhance your exposure to this area?
    • What formal training and education can you add to your credentials that might position you appropriately for more opportunities?
    • Would an MBA or another graduate degree add to your advantage?
    • How quickly are you likely to advance in your chosen career?
    • Useful opportunities can come from such things as:
        • Changes in technology and markets on both a broad and industry-specific scale
        • Changes in government policy related to your field
        • Changes in social patterns, population profiles, lifestyle changes, etc.


    • What obstacles do you face?
    • Are the requirements for your desired job field changing?
    • Does changing technology threaten your prospective position?
    • What is the current trend line for your personal area of expertise?
    • Could your area of interest be fading in comparison with more emergent fields?
    • Is your chosen field subject to internal politics that will lead to conflict?
    • Is there any way to change the politics or to perhaps defuse your involvement in potential disputes?
    • How might the economy negatively affect your future company and your work group?
    • Will your future company provide enough access to new challenges to keep you sharp -- and marketable -- in the event of sudden unemployment?

    Explore your own self-perception of your strengths, but also put yourself inside a prospective employer's head as you consider your strong points. Avoid false modesty, but also be brutally honest and realistic with yourself. Start out by simply making a list of words that describe you; chances are many of these characteristics compromise your strengths.

    One of your greatest strengths can love the work you do. Learning to "follow your bliss" should be a critical component of managing your career. Some people know from an early age what kind of work will make them happy. For others, nailing down the self-knowledge that leads to career fulfillment comes from a process of exploring interests, skills, personality, learning style, and values.

    In assessing your weaknesses, think about what prospective employers might consider to be the areas you could improve upon. Facing your frailties now can give you a huge head start in career planning.
    As humans, we find it relatively difficult to identify the areas where we are weak. But this assessment helps to identify areas where we may need to improve. If you identify a skill that you know is in your chosen field, but you are weak in that skill area, you need to take steps to improve that skill. Past performance appraisals and even your grades and teacher comments from school provide valuable feedback.

    Doing a SWOT will not only help to guide you toward a specific career that you will enjoy, it will also give you an idea of how to market yourself so that you can get that dream job that you want. From this analysis, you will have a road map that shows you how to capitalize on your strengths and minimize or eliminate your weaknesses. You should then use this map to take advantage of opportunities and avoid or lessen threats.
    After you've analyzed your strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities, you should use that information to plan how to market yourself.

    The marketing planning process entails a three-step process:

    1. Determining objectives
    2. Developing marketing strategies
    3. Strategizing an action program.

    Objectives — define your career objectives. What is your ideal job upon graduation (or the job you would like to transition to from your current job)? What are some other positions you could accept? What is your five-year career goal?

    Marketing Strategies — a broad marketing strategy or “game plan” for attaining your objectives. What are the companies and organizations you’re going to target to obtain your objectives—your ideal job? How will you communicate with these firms? The strategies you identify should utilize all of the resources available to you, such as your personal network and a partnership with a mentor.
    Action Programs — according to marketing principles, marketing strategies should be turned into specific action programs that answer a number of questions, including: What will be done? When will it be done? Who is responsible for doing it? Your key task here is setting specific timetables and deadlines for getting the career and company information you identified in the marketing strategy step.

    So now that you’ve identified some key questions to ask when considering a career change, how do you know what the right career field is for you?

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    10 Tough Q & A's for Older Workers

    You have the "perfect job" interview tomorrow. Your skills and experience look as if they match the job description. But have you practiced your answers to potential questions? Guess what it is more than likely that some of the other potential job candidates did. So grab a mirror and do a dress rehearsal. It will help demonstrate to a potential employer a sense of mastery and confidence. (Editor's Note)

    "These 10 questions are examples of some you might be asked. Not all of them are overtly age-related. But each one gives you an opportunity to present yourself as a skilled, energetic worker who brings high value to an employer.

    1. Tell me about yourself. Make your answer short and sweet. Stick to experiences and goals that relate to the specific job for which you’re applying. Resist the impulse to stress your years of experience. It’s more important to talk about your skills and achievements that show you can deliver. Emphasize your flexibility and positive attitude.

    2. Why are you looking for a job? Keep it brief. A straightforward answer is best. For example, “My organization was forced to downsize.” Avoid negative statements about yourself, your work, or your ability to get along with others. Never criticize former employers or coworkers.

    3. You haven’t worked for a long time. Why not? You may have gaps in employment for many reasons. Be honest. Speak confidently about your experiences during the gaps. Some could transfer to on-the-job skills. For instance, if you were a caregiver, you managed complex financial issues. As a volunteer, you might have worked with diverse groups and on flexible schedules.

    4. What are you looking for? It takes a lot of thinking to be ready for this question. Don’t speak in generalities. Be prepared to name the type of position you think would be appropriate for you and how your skills would translate to a new employer.

    5. Aren’t you overqualified for this position? Even though “overqualified” can be shorthand for “old” or “expensive,” it’s important to stay positive. Express your enthusiasm for the job and pride in your qualifications. Explain what makes you interested in this position at this point in your career—such as wanting to apply your skills to a new field or to achieve more flexibility and work-life balance.

    6. We have state-of-the-art technology. Would you be able to jump right in? Show you are adaptable and tech-savvy. Give examples of projects you’ve done which required computer skills and familiarity with electronic media. Emphasize training you’ve taken to keep your skills up to date.

    7. We don’t have many employees who are your age. Would that bother you? Explain that you believe your age would be an asset, you are eager to learn, and it doesn’t matter who helps you. Describe recent experiences, whether at work or in other situations, where age diversity has been an asset. Federal law bars employers from considering age in employment decisions. Though it’s not illegal to be asked your age, the question could be a red flag about the employer’s commitment to age diversity. Know your rights under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

    8. What’s your biggest weakness? This is a reverse invitation to toot your own horn. Do it with an answer that puts you in a good light. For example, “I’m too detail-oriented, but I work hard to control that.” Keep it simple—and smile.

    9. What are your salary requirements? Try to postpone this question until a job offer has been made. Prepare by knowing the going rate in your area (sites like Salary.com can help). If you don’t know the range and the interviewer persists, reply, “What salary range are you working with?” The interviewer may very well tell you.

    10. Do you have any questions? Show your interest and initiative by asking specific questions about the organization and what you can expect in the job. Use your questions to demonstrate how your skills can contribute to the organization. Answering “no” to this question says you’re not really interested in the job."  More Information see: AARP.org

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    Sunday, May 7, 2017

    20 Ways Older Job-Seekers Can Sell Themselves


    Are you an older skilled worker who has been through a couple of decades of cyclical job expansion and contraction? Then you should be able to gain a few pearls of wisdom from this article. We sometimes forget the benefits that older works bring to a potential (or existing) employer. You do not have to be in sales to leverage you strengths. So how about selling yourself?(Editor's Note) 

    1. You understand recessions: Older workers have seen hard times before -- the bursting of the 1990s tech bubble, recession in the early 1980s, the oil crisis of the mid-1970s -- and they understand that businesses have to adjust. Knowing, too, that expansions always follow, older workers can bring a steady perspective to a jumpy workplace.

    2. You have a healthy fear of slowdowns: Sure, you've seen them before. Older workers' steadiness can be accompanied by a fair dose of worry: You know that downturns can last for long periods of time, and you've witnessed the obliteration of job security, so you know that you need to be increasingly ready and willing to do what it takes to keep your job.

    3. You're willing to work part time: Older workers most crave flexibility, according to a RetirementJobs.com survey. Many want to spend more of their time doing things they enjoy -- traveling, perhaps, or playing with their grandkids -- and they're often willing to accept a part-time schedule or reduced hours. As employers increasingly cut back on hours, a willingness to be flexible can make a job seeker more attractive to a greater variety of companies.

    4. You have real-life experience: Today, employers need workers who can hit the ground running, and older workers have more real-world, less theoretical experience, says John Challenger of Challenger Gray & Christmas. "They've been there before and seen more situations," Challenger says.

    5. You want to be challenged: Forget resting on your laurels -- a Penn State study found that challenging work is the thing that older workers want most.

    Click here to read part 2 of this article

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