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Mentor Blog

Welcome to our mentor blog. Here you will find posts from
industry professionals on such topics as:
  • Resume & Cover Letter tips
  • Interview Tips
  • How to succeed at work
  • How to get a Mentor
  • What every Mentee should know
  • I lost my job. Now what?
  • Healthy habits
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  • 29 Jul 2021 10:30 PM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    The One Thing That May Get You the Job Offer

    By Bruce Hurwitz

    Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it might get you the job offer.

    Years ago I attended a lecture at New York University by a former college president. She was having a really bad day. The first thing she said was that women were more philanthropic then men because of biology. (The consensus among the men was that the buffet was impressive so, even though there was probably more nonsense to come, it would be worth the wait. It was!)

    The third thing she said (and that’s not a mistake on my part; the second thing will come next), was that human beings are the only animals that show empathy, sympathy for others, and care about family. Every hand went up. There were stories about pets – dogs, cats, even birds. Instead of admitting she was wrong and had to rethink her hypothesis, she dug herself in deeper. (Rule Number One: When you find yourself in a whole, stop digging!) She said that individual stories reflected the prejudices of the pet owners. They saw what they wanted to see. (That did not go over well…) Then someone mentioned elephants and noted he did not have a pet elephant at home. Neither did the woman who spoke about horses. But it was to no avail. Then I remembered I had a copy of National Geographic with me and had read an article on birds sacrificing for the family unit. I raised my hand, stood up and, without being called upon, I said I thought that two short paragraphs from the article would end the discussion. The speaker let me read and then said she wanted to move on. (We, the men, now joined by the women, wanted to move on to the buffet!)

    But it was the second thing she said which stayed with me. The speaker informed us that what separates humans from other animals was that we human beings are the only creatures on the planet who are curious. I found that an ironic statement because she obviously was not curious enough to check her facts. (No one responded because of what came next!)

    This was the first, and only, time I can remember no one having a question for a speaker at the end of their presentation and everyone standing up and heading for the food as the moderator thanked the speaker. So why did her “curiosity” statement stick with me?

    Back then, when I was at NYU, I was a fundraiser. The topic of the presentation was supposed to be “Women and Philanthropy,” an extremely important topic at the time as it was estimated that trillions of dollars were going to be bequeathed to women in the coming years. I, if you will, was curious and wanted some insight into how to approach elderly women, widows, to ask for donations without sounding like a fool, or worse. Needless to say, from that perspective, it was a wasted evening.

    But the issue of curiosity always interested me. Why is it that we humans have always looked to the heavens and asked questions about those flickering lights in the sky? Why do we want to know why the sky is blue? Why do we want to know why men have nipples? Why… You get the idea. (And for the record, why do dogs literally stick their noses where they do not belong?) The answer is curiosity.

    Perhaps the best question an interviewer can ask a job candidate is, What are you curious about? And if they don’t ask the question, perhaps the best thing a candidate can do, when given the opportunity to tell the interviewer(s) about themselves, is to say, This is what makes me curious.

    It does not have to have anything to do with the actual job. In fact, it might be better if it were totally divorced from the job as that will show that the candidate is a “complete” person. I, for example, am curious about how one molecule can be in two places at the same time in the realm of quantum mechanics. I am also curious about why otherwise intelligent people would become engaged without signing a prenuptial agreement.

    Of course saying that you are curious about something is not enough. You also have to prove that you have tried to find the answer. For example, the two explanations for my molecular problem that I kind of, sort of, understand, is that it has something to do with gravity or it is a question of timing, when the molecule is observed. But I readily admit I am not intelligent enough to be able to explain either explanation or to know which, if either, is correct. But that’s perfectly alright. Admitting ignorance is a strength, not a weakness, and should help, not harm, a candidate in a job interview. The important thing is the search for the answer.

    So my advice, for what it is worth, is to tell potential employers what makes you think. What grabs your attention. What makes you curious. And they may make you a job offer!

    Oh, and as for the pre-nup question, it seems the reason is simply the person declining the pre-nup is focused on having a successful divorce, not marriage. (That one I could not Google; I had to ask!)

    The One Thing That May Get You the Job Offer | Employment Edification (wordpress.com)

  • 08 Jul 2021 8:22 AM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    The 3 Skills That Will Keep You Employed

    by Bruce Hurwitz

    In his book, Present Future: Business, Science, and the Deep Tech Revolution, Guy Perelmuter writes (p.55), "The use of subjective judgment, emotional intelligence, and adaptability to unexpected situations are emerging as important characteristics for the employees of the future since these are features that are quite uniquely human and will very likely not be replaced by a machine in the foreseeable future."

    This quote is important for two reasons: First, Mr. Perelmuter is correct. Second, this is a great example of why job seekers can better spend their time reading books by legitimate authorities on the future, especially scientists and engineers, than reading "how to" books about getting a job, with the obvious exception of mine!

    I have two rules about competitors. First, I never acknowledge anyone as my competitor. The minute I would do so, I would be telling potential clients that they, the competitors, are as good or better than I am. Why would I do that? Why would anyone do that? Second, I never try to build myself up by knocking someone else down. When I am asked about a competitor I always reply, "I don't know enough about them to comment. All I can do is tell you about myself."

    No one can possibly be offended by that response. And it will work nicely in a job interview. This is especially so given that employers are not going to tell candidates against whom you are competing. That being the case, candidates have to assume that their competitors may have more direct experience than they do or may be younger. The first is faced by some veterans (although many have far more relevant experience than civilians); the second by older workers.

    In either case, you never want to say, "I have experiences that no one outside of the military could bring to the table." Or, just as bad, "I have more experiences than some twenty-something." After all, you may be insulting the person who is interviewing you.

    So ignore the competition. Don't forget them; just ignore them. The inference will be that you have what the others don't.

    Which brings us back to Mr. Perelmuter. What are "subjective judgement," "emotional intelligence," and "adaptability to unexpected situations?"

    First, they are all connected, in one way or another, to something I wrote about some time ago namely, on what older workers/candidates should focus in a job interview. My answer was then, and is now, dealing with adversity. In my career I have had to deal with death, criminality, and technological breakdowns, to name but a few. I guarantee I can "beat" you on your example of your worse day on the job. Someone with, let's say, five years' experience just can't do that. They may have one example, but not enough to show that they can handle Perelmuter's third point, which I will deal with first.

    A good interviewee (candidate) politely takes control of the interview. They refocus the conversation to their benefit. Think about what talented politicians do in an interview. They answer questions by refocusing. (I think it was Churchill who said something on the line of, If I don't like your question, I'll respond to it; if I like your question, I'll answer it!) You, the candidate, should do the same. Answer the question you are asked but immediately add a caveat. Say something like, "But what is also important is to prepare for the unknown. We do that all the time. That's why we have insurance. That's why we have virus protection on our computers. But, of course, we can always be surprised. No plan is perfect and no protection is fool-proof. Let me give you an example."

    I promise you, a veteran and an older worker will have a much better example than someone who has never served in the military or who has an employment record that can fit nicely on half a sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper.

    Which brings me to "emotional intelligence." I have read a great deal on the subject and, with all due respect to the experts, I still like my one-word definition the best: maturity. People with emotional intelligence do not panic. If you will, they do not get emotional. So, when giving your above example add, "As always, when the unexpected happens, I take a deep breath, and then begin to calmly respond. If I panic, everyone else will panic, and a bad situation will only get worse."

    And that brings us to "subjective judgement." It's "subjective" because it is yours. You are judging the situation. If everything works out, you are a hero, if not... Of course, in the example you will give, you will be right. So the emphasis is on "judgement."

    Now that you have explained that you do not panic, that you are mature, you have to tell the interviewer how you reached that decision which proved to be correct. In this case it is important to emphasize two things: First, experience. Briefly recall similar situations you had and what you learned from them. You can even include a failure. Recognizing your failures is a sign of strength, not weakness and, as everyone should know, you can often learn more from failures than from successes. Second, and just as important, make sure to say that you consulted with your team prior to making the decision. Team members want to have their leader agree with them but, more importantly, they want to be heard. Explain to the interviewer that you always explain to your team members why you agree or disagree with their recommendations. By doing so, you gain their support and everyone should implement your decision without bitterness.

    Such a strategy in an interview should impress the interviewers and help you to secure the job offer.

    The 3 Skills That Will Keep You Employed | Employment Edification (wordpress.com)



  • 26 May 2021 10:10 PM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    We Are All Replaceable…But…

    Mothers lie to their daughters!

    Now they may also lie (Alright, it may not be a “lie-lie” but just a foolish statement said with the best of intentions) to their sons, I have just not heard or experienced it. And fathers may do it as well. For me it has always been daughters, young and old, and mothers, never fathers. They actually believed it when their mothers told them, “You are special. You are unique. You are irreplaceable.” And they are truly shocked when they discover that they are neither special, nor unique and are most definitely replaceable. We are all replaceable. But…

    The most difficult searches I have ever had have all been for what I call “second spouses.” Typically I am contacted by someone who says they need an “executive assistant.” They provide an accurate job description, which clearly lists the qualifications. I find candidates who meet all the mandatory qualifications and most, if not all, of the preferred. I interview and submit them. Then the phone rings:

    Bruce, good job! But there’s something missing. They’re not the right fit.

    The client is not being difficult. They simply cannot articulate that intangible quality they need. They are hiring a confidant. They are hiring someone they will be with eight hours a day, if not more, and maybe even on weekends. Thus my classification that they are looking for a “second spouse.” They are hard to find.

    But this article is not about my most difficult search, it’s about the second most difficult. Those are the ones where the employee being replaced, usually through no fault of their own, has been with the company “forever.”

    Allow me to digress, which I usually do…

    I just finished reading Malcolm Gladwell’s book, The Bomber Mafia. (Short read. Excellent read!) On page 47 he writes,

    “The psychologist David Wegner has this beautiful concept called transactive memory, which is the observation the we don’t just store information in our minds or specific places. We also store memories and understanding in the minds of people we love. You don’t need to remember your child’s emotional relationship to her teacher because you know your wife will; you don’t have to remember how to work the remote because you know your daughter will. That’s transactive memory.”

    (If you are thinking of Googling “transactive memory” add “psychology” or you will drown in a sea of [at least for me] incomprehensible IT babble. My advice, in either case, it to accept Gladwell’s definition/description and get on with your life!)

    Transactive memory is why trying to replace a veteran employee is so difficult. There’s no problem finding someone with the skill set. There’s no problem finding someone with all the qualifications, maybe even the preferred ones. But that employee, in one very important sense, is truly irreplaceable. Stored in their brain is history. Stored in their brain are all the things the boss did not want to store in his – the transactive memories. They know why you should never suggest doing A, and must always do B. They know why you never ask C about D and why you should always mention E to F, but never when G is around. They know why you must never use H as a vendor, and why I always has to be used.

    I could continue until I exhaust both the English and Greek alphabets, but you get the idea.

    The issue here, actually, is not the employee or the candidate, it’s the employer. They have to realize, and accept, especially if the employee who is being replaced is not available to answer their replacement’s questions, that the replacement will not, cannot, and cannot be expected to have their predecessor’s transactive memories. That person holds between their ears a vast depository of knowledge. What’s more, they probably don’t even realize that they know what they know.

    I once was hired to be the assistant to the director of a small children’s mental health center. We shared an office. One day, a donation arrived. I filled out the bank form and prepared the receipt for the boss’s signature. She watched me. When I handed her the receipt, she asked me, “What about the book? You didn’t record the donation?”

    I looked at her, puzzled, and asked, “What book?”

    She was shocked. My replacement had never told me about the book, the book in which all donations were to be recorded. So I called her. She apologized, told me where it was, and I updated it. She did not intentionally not tell me. (I know; a double negative!) For her, it was so obvious, that she simply and honestly did not think of it.

    That’s a simple and innocent example of what happens when memories are not shared. This was not a transactive memory. It was something she knew very well and had just forgotten to tell me. So just imagine how much information is stored in the brain of that veteran employee who, despite their best efforts, cannot possibly share it all.

    Why is this so difficult? Because the employer has to accept the fact that no candidate will have the knowledge base to replace the veteran employee. Skills, yes; knowledge, no. It is simply impossible. And, sometimes, the new hire does not last long because the employer is frustrated that the new hire does not know what they, the employer, wants or needs them to know. So, in some ways, some people are irreplaceable (at least for the short term).


  • 20 May 2021 11:14 PM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    How to Debate at Work and Maybe Get a Promotion

    by Bruce Hurwitz

    Whenever I am asked by a high school student what they should study in college, I always tell them that their major does not matter. What matters is that they take a couple of classes in English. No matter your profession, the only way to advance, to get promoted, in your career is by having, at a minimum, a good command of the English language. You have to be able to write well and, just as importantly, to speak well.

    In Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, Jon Meacham writes,

    [John] Adams said, "A public speaker who inserts himself, or is urged by others into the conduct of affairs, by daily exertions to justify his measures and answer the objections of opponents, makes himself too familiar with the public, and unavoidably makes himself enemies"

    To write public papers or to negotiate quietly, away from the floor of an assembly or even away from a largish committee, enabled a politician to exert his will with less risk of creating animosity. [p.108.]

    Put differently, if you have a problem with something at work, sit down, shut up, and put it in writing. Adams, as he was so often, was correct. And for one very simple reason.

    When you debate someone verbally, it is almost always viewed as an attack. The other person feels a need to immediately respond. Immediate responses can be emotional. Rarely does the person have time to think. However, if you write something, and take the time to proofread it, you'll also, literally, add oxygen to the equation (as in, taking time to breathe) and you may calm down. As the saying goes, "Calmer heads will prevail." Similarly, saying, "Let me think about this. I don't think it is as simple or clear-cut as it appears at first. I'll send you something later today," gives you time to properly think the matter through and, more importantly, to word you response carefully in a way that cannot be misquoted. A person can honestly, or dishonestly, misquote something that has been said, but not written - at least not for long.

    You don't want to be the victim of "telephone," the children's' game where the first child whispers something to the second child, who then repeats it to the third. By the time it reaches the fifteenth child, any resemblance between the original statement and the final one it totally coincidental. That does not matter when playing a game; it most certainly does matter when trying to create policy.

    Most people think that Lincoln won the debate again Douglas. Most people think they were debating for the presidency. Most people are wrong. But that's not what is important. What's important is that most people think the foolishness that we call "debates" today was what they did. They didn't. The first speaker spoke for an hour. The second spoke for an hour and a half. The first had a half hour to respond. Can you imagine any of the candidates who have recently run for public office being able to do that? And I am not talking about the physical stamina and dignity. To stand for 60 minutes and speak, and then to sit for 90 minutes and not say a word, takes more than physical strength. Both men, whether you agree with them or not, were as brilliant when they began as when there time finished.

    I'm no Lincoln. I'm no Douglas. And, respectfully, I doubt any of you are either. Our formal education is certainly better today than in ante bellum America, but not the informal. I just don't think we have it in us. But Socrates...that's a different subject.

    If you have to publicly debate, by which I mean to defend a proposal in the office, your responses may be seen as attacks, unless you follow Socrates (and even then, an immature opponent still will not understand). The Socratic Approach, as it is called, is to ask questions to cause the other side, and force the audience to think critically. Asking questions, instead of making declarative statements, appears to be less confrontational but, in truth, it is a far more effective strategy and can be devastating because it requires the person to logically, rationally and, most importantly, dispassionately, defend their position. If they respond with emotion, they lose!

    Being Lincoln or Douglas causes the audience to think but not, necessarily, to stay awake. Being Socrates, causes the audience to think and keeps them engaged, awake, because the "debate" is rapid fire. But this means that you, the questioner, have to be prepared. You have to understand what the other side is going to say. You have to appreciate their logic and know how to attack it not them.

    I have always found that a higher level of debate results in better decisions. Allow your staff to ask probing questions, in fact, let them know that they are expected to ask and respond to probing questions, and, most importantly, to do so respectfully. Do that and your decision making will be exemplary and the results exceptional.

  • 06 Apr 2021 12:12 AM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    How to Get Employers to Run After You

    by Bruce Hurwitz

    You may not know what mercaptan is, but you would probably be dead without it. I thought about this while watching a documentary on a boon town in Texas, during the Depression, which was literally the only place in the country with jobs. Sorry, green energy fans, but it was all because of fossil fuels. Now what I did not know was that natural gas was a biproduct of oil exploration. And I certainly did not know that they did not know what to do with it so they burnt it off, on site. Then they discovered that it could provide heat. So they pumped it into their brand new school, providing them with free heat. No good deed...

    The school filled with gas, someone lit something, and the school blew up, literally, and fell back down where it had previously been standing. Some 300 students, teachers and staff died. Mercaptan was the solution. It was safe, had no impact on the efficiency of the gas and, most importantly, provided an odor that people could smell when there was a leak.

    I have had two job seekers contact me in the last week or so. Neither understood why they were getting no calls, not even from recruiters.

    The first had what is called a "functional" resume. The "function" seems to be unemployment. Those are the resumes that don't include the names of employers or, if they do, they do not include the dates of employment. Two very large red flags. The first means that the applicant is afraid of what the employer(s) might say about them. But, as far as I am concerned, the second is far more serious: No dates means the person can't keep a job. I don't submit candidates who can't keep a job. So when I see a functional resume, I move on. And the few times I didn't, I should have. If you have a "functional" resume, please don't contact me.

    The second was as serious, but in a totally different way. He had a decent resume. He actually has had a few interviews. But he has had no offers. Why? I believe it is because he is running after employers instead of having them run after him. Put differently, he did not stand out. There was nothing special about him.

    Just as the presence of natural gas must be known, so too must your presence. And today, it's easy. It's called "social media." It is what we are doing right now. It can be what gets you found or what makes you stand out from your competition.

    Now let's be honest: I have been doing this for at least a decade and probably longer. (I was one of the first to sign-up for LinkedIn.) I actually track this: between my social media sites, my blog (www.employmentedification.com), and the blog on my website (www.hsstaffing.com) I have over 46,750 followers, and my posts on LinkedIn, which I share on all my social media sites, have been read over 430,000 times. I hide from no one. You may not always like what I write, but you know I write!

    Personally, I act identically on all my social media platforms. I have seen, blocked and rejected candidates/individuals who act professionally on LinkedIn, but like idiots on Facebook, lunatics on Twitter, and morons on Parler. How can I possibly work with someone like that or submit a client to them? Who will they be getting? The LinkedIn professional or the Facebook psychopath? I can't afford to take the risk and neither can any employer. Social media is a public forum and you have to behave properly in public at all times.

    So how do you get employers to run after you? Write long posts on LinkedIn. Write updates/comment/tweets/parleys on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Parler. Read what others post. Comment on them, but always be professional. Never be insulting. Don't argue; ask. Engage people, including those with whom you disagree, in conversation but always do so on a high level. Let employers see that you not only know your stuff, but know how to behave.

    And don't just share your own writings. Share articles. Comment on them. Explain what you like and with what you disagree. Become known as a source for important writings (articles, etc.) on your profession.

    I guarantee you, that 47,750 people will not read this article. I guarantee you, if you are an average person, you will probably get a couple of dozen reads on whatever you publish on-line. Who cares? All you need is the one person who will be so impressed that they will help move your career, or business, forward.

    One last point: Remember to share you articles, etc., with your LinkedIn and Facebook groups. Even if they are not, strictly speaking, profession-related, someone in those groups may know the person you will want to meet. Don't keep yourself a secret. Be the best known professional not the best known secret in your industry. Remember, in business it is always best to be the hunted and not the hunter.

    How to Get Employers to Run After You | Employment Edification (wordpress.com)

  • 01 Mar 2021 10:48 PM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    In Support of Conformity on Social Media | Employment Edification (wordpress.com)

    I had an interesting exchange with an acquaintance on LinkedIn. Basically, I asked him why he acted one way on LinkedIn and differently on Facebook. He explained that his persona, and these are my words, not his, consists of his professional self and his personal self. He also stated that he follows the rules of the various social media sites. I assume this means that what he does on one site may not be acceptable on another. He also mentioned that he has a significantly larger number of followers on LinkedIn than first-degree connections, stating that his followers like to read his posts, etc. (He did not mention the number of “friends” and followers he has on Facebook.)

    I do not subscribe to the school of thought that you should act one way on one social media site and differently on another. All are public and everything you do on them is in the public domain. My rule is simple: If you wouldn’t do it on Main Street, don’t do it on the Internet.

    Our personas have many components. There are things we do in public and things we do in private. Some we would do in both. Discussing a book. Watching a movie. Eating. But there are things we do not share in public which are best kept private. Political views immediately come to mind, not to mention family issues. True, millions of people post their political thoughts (it’s their right) proving them to be liberal loons or crazy conservatives. But why be like them?

    If you act like a consummate professional on, let’s say, LinkedIn, and go nuts on, let’s say, Twitter, what does that tell an employer or potential collaborator about you?

    I’ll use myself as an example. My articles on LinkedIn have been read, as of the beginning of this year, over 425,000 times. I must be doing something right! They are all, basically, business related. Or, just something I wrote for fun. (Silly has always been part of my persona.) I have never written anything purely political. The one possible exception resulted in only praise, public and private, mostly private. And all of my articles/updates are identical on all my social media platforms. The only time there is a difference is when I am responding to someone else’s posts which, obviously, cannot be shared on other platforms. But the style is the same. I have the nasty habit of asking people to share the sources on which they have based their views! I’m a “Prove it!” of “Show me the beef!” type of guy. And I am also known for providing links to facts disproving claims, which result, more often than not, in the original post, to which I was responding, disappearing.

    Look at it this way: The way you act on LinkedIn is likely the way you will act at work. That’s what most employers will think! The way you act on Facebook, Twitter, and the rest, will be the way you act outside of work. Again, that’s how most employers will think! But there is no “outside of work.” A woman was fired, for example, because of the way she acted at a bar. She was seen by a client. The client called her boss, reported the behavior, and said that she did not want to work with her any longer. She was fired. How do I know? She called me for career counseling. Sure enough, her LinkedIn profile was professional; not so much her pages on Facebook and Twitter. And this was far from the only time I saw this. It’s more common than you may think.

    For sake of argument, let’s say that LinkedIn, and I believe this to be so, is the gold standard for behavior on social media. (We have all seen the “LinkedIn is not Facebook” posts!) Well, what does it say about you if you lower your standards on your other social media platforms? And why would an employer want to take a risk and hire you. Who are they going to get, the professional on LinkedIn or the raving lunatic on Facebook? Why take the risk? And it’s not just employers. The same thing is true for someone trying to sell you their products, good or services. No one wants to work with someone who reflects poorly on them. “I know he’s an idiot, but he pays his bills on time,” is not the reputation you want to have.

    Social media platforms should not set the standards for your behavior. You should! On-line and off-line. That’s what I do and maybe that’s why I have over 46,000 followers across all of my social media networks – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Parler and my blogs.


  • 05 Feb 2021 12:28 AM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    Speak to the Gap

    Bruce Hurwitz

    Congratulations! Your cover letter and resume were effective. They did their job. The cover letter got them to look at your resume. Your resume got them to pick up the phone, confirm your interest and qualifications, and you got the interview – the Number Two Holy Grail of the job search process.

    And then, there you were, seated (virtually) across from the interviewers and you blew it. Sure, you did your homework. You knew the job description inside out and backwards. You memorized their website. You knew the professional, and some personal, details about the interviewers. You even knew about the person you would be replacing. You had a list of really good questions to ask, not the normal nonsense. And you knew exactly what you needed to tell them to convince them that you were the candidate for the job. And then you blew it.

    You forgot one little thing. Well, not so little a thing. You forgot the most important thing of all. You forgot to listen.

    Most – no, that may not be fair. Allow me to start again.

    Far too many employers talk to much. They are so desperate, literally and figuratively, to fill that empty chair, that they talk too much. They are so frustrated that they have to get the proverbial off their chests. So they talk too much. They tell the candidate, the interviewee, you, what they want to hear. What they need to hear. What they are longing to hear. What they want you (Stop eating!) to regurgitate back to them. And then…you blew it.

    What did you do wrong? You were so focused on sharing with them everything that you had learned about them as individuals, and about the company, to prove to them what a great researcher you are and how well you prepare for meetings, that you did not bother to listen. You were waiting for your chance to tell them what you wanted them to hear that you totally missed out on what they wanted to hear.

    It happens more often than you think.

    I had a career counseling client who came to me, totally frustrated. He was in real estate business development. Sales. And he was good. He was averaging an interview every couple of days. But no offers.

    His first mistake was that he was applying for the wrong type of jobs. He was the king of residential sales, but he was only applying for commercial real estate sales positions. Why? Because he wanted new experiences. He wanted new challenges. All very noble, but not what the interviewers, the employers, wanted. They wanted commercial and he only had a little commercial experience.

    After they lectured him for five or 10 minutes on their commercial real estate problems, they simply asked, “How can you help us?” And what did he do?

    At that point he took a deep breath, smiled, and lectured them for five or 10 minutes on his residential sales experience. They were not interested. Interview over.

    What should he have done?

    He should have spoken about the commercial real estate experience he had. Even though it was slight, he had some. And here’s another mistake he made: He forgot that they knew that. After all, he had not lied on his resume. They knew he was heavy on residential and light on commercial sales. Yet, there he was, virtually sitting across from them on the Zoom call.

    He should have talked commercial and then added, “This is analogous, of course, to my residential sales experience. We had the same problems that you described. This is how I overcame them.”

    By presenting, if you will, the painting of his residential sales career in a commercial sales frame, they would have listened. And, after a few mock sessions with me, that’s what he did, with positive results.

    Put differently, he spoke to the gap, in fact the gaps (plural): The gap between what the interviewers needed and what he had to offer, and the gap between what he had to offer (great residential sales experience) and what they wanted to hear (commercial).

    Just as in the London Tube the signs read, “Mind the Gap,” in an interview you should “Speak to the Gap,” the difference between the interviewers’ needs and what they have, and what you have to offer. Otherwise, you’ll fall in the crack! Granted, it’s a less deadly gap, but still, you don’t want to trap yourself.


  • 31 Jan 2021 10:54 PM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    Conducting an Agile Job Search

    Bruce Hurwitz


    First, I must give credit where credit is due: I am stealing from Mark Shead’s excellent (Well, let’s be honest. I’m not an IT guy so I really don’t know if it’s “excellent,” but it was great for my purposes!) video, What is Agile?.

    Agile, if I understand it correctly, is a framework for software development. Anyone who would be interested in hiring me to develop software for them, to oversee the development of software for them, or to test software that has been developed for them, should seek psychiatric attention. I make that clear from the beginning so that you will understand that what I write about Agile is as basic, fundamental and simple as possible.

    When I was first introduced to Agile, I thought the person was talking about flexibility. Given that one component of the approach is the willingness to change, I may not have been entirely wrong. After all, they must have called it “Agile” and not “Inflexible” for a reason.

    There are similarities between Agile software development and a job search:

    • There are some things you have to do quickly. In our case, the cover letter and resume. Get them out of the way. They are tools, albeit important tools, but only tools. The real work should be in networking, securing informational meetings, and honing interviewing skills.
    • You have to revisit what you have done to make sure it is working properly. If you are not getting networking and informational meetings, and if they are not productive, something has to change. If you are not getting interviews, redo your cover letter and/or resume. If you are not getting job offers, your interview skills need work.
    • And you have to keep focused on the end result. In our case, getting the interview and, ultimately, the job offer. That’s the test, the only test, of success. Yes, securing networking and informational meetings are important, but they are small successes on the road to the main success.

    Consider this article the presentation of another way to look at conducting a job search, this time with somewhat of a scientific basis, but really a moralistic one.

    Agile tells software developers to focus on, or stay true to, a set of values and principles, if you will, beliefs, they have decided upon at the outset of their work that they must follow. It also means that they have to be flexible, and change their plan if circumstances change. In a sentence, it’s not about what they are doing, but why they are doing it. (Perhaps some nice IT guys and gals would be so kind as to explain, in the Comments section, what values, principles and beliefs are when it comes to software development. A few examples would help. Thank you and have a nice day.)

    No, I do not mean why you are applying for a job. It could be for any number of reasons. I mean why you are applying for a particular job. And that brings us back to values, principles and beliefs. They should inform your decision not just about where you want to work but, more importantly, for whom you want to work.

    At the beginning of your job search you should decide on the type of boss you want to have. Most people search for the company. I have come to believe that that may be a mistake. After all, the Number One reason people quit their job is because of their boss, not their company. Look for the right boss, the person for whom you would want to work. The person from whom you believe you can learn. The person who you believe shares your values, principles and beliefs. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, they’ll be working for a company where you would want to work.

    So how do you find your next boss? Look around on LinkedIn, reading articles and posts written on topics of importance to you. See whose writing resonates with you. For that matter, see whose “likes” resonate with you and their comments on articles and updates. Read articles from professional journals and on websites. But don’t just concentrate on the authors. Pay close attention to whom they quote; those may be the people for whom you really want to work.

    After all, if you are interested in software development, would you rather work for me or Mark Shead?

    Conducting an Agile Job Search | Employment Edification (wordpress.com)

  • 25 Jan 2021 11:08 PM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    Let's look at the job search in a totally different way. Instead of being nice, and convincing the prospective employer that you are the person with whom they would most like to spend eight hours a day, convince them that you are someone with whom they cannot afford not to spend eight hours a day (despite the double negative).

    Now, just because there may be some fool out there in Readerland who does not understand sarcasm, exaggeration, or being figurative, I neither endorse blackmailing prospective employers, threatening them, nor being anything other than nice. Now that we have gotten the foolishness out of the way, let's get back to our subject.

    Every day I receive a resume that begins, front and center, with a paragraph fool (Sorry. Freudian slip) full of adjectives and self-praise. The individual is a "consummate professional." They are "well-respected." And, of course, they are "accomplished." But nowhere in the paragraph do they actually enumerate any of their accomplishments. A candidate can claim to have worked on a multi-million dollar project, but it could have been a complete and total disaster - because of them! So it is a misleading statement. Being misleading on your resume, will paint you in a corner, when you are interviewing, from which you will never to able to escape. Don't mislead! Don't misrepresent! Don't Mississippi! (I needed three "mis"es for the alliteration but could not think of a third one. Sorry.)

    Problem is, and please remember this, there is not an employer in the world who cares what you think of yourself; they only care about what you can do for them. Take a few minutes and reread the part in italics a few times until it sinks in. Excuse me while I go get something to drink.

    That was refreshing!

    So now that we have eliminated the paragraph that your mother wrote for you, or you a paid a "professional" resume writer to write for you (and, yes, I have received resumes with exactly the same adjectives and in the exact same format, from different candidates, all of whom paid a fortune for that nonsense!), let's get to the fun part: threatening and blackmailing.

    If you begin your resume with a bullet point list of your quantifiable, objective accomplishments, the employer (or their representative) will say, "I have to meet this person." Remember, the purpose of a resume is to get an interview, not to get the job. So you need to be nice in the interview, not in the resume. In the resume, you have to brag and get to the point. You don't have time to charm. The resume reader is tired. They will make mistakes. They will miss things. (Yes, me too!) So don't make them work. As journalists say, "Don't bury the lead." Get to the point!

    Front and center announce, without shame, what you have done for others. By so doing, you lower the employer's level of concern. You appear to be someone who can do the job because you have shown that you have done it for others. And therein lies the subliminal blackmail and threat.

    When the employer is finished reading your resume you want them to think, "If they don't work for me, they'll work for my competitor, and, unless they turn out to be a jerk, I don't want that. So let's bring them in QUICKLY!"

    And there's the blackmail. There's the threat. If I don't work for you, I'll work for your competitor. Or, if you prefer,if I don't work for you, I'll work against you! Or, if you don't hire me, your competitor will!

    The only way to achieve that result is by focusing on objective, quantifiable accomplishments, not adjectives and self-praise.

    Oh, and remember, be nice in the interview. No one hires someone with whom they would not want to spend eight hours a day.

    Two Keys to Getting the Job Offer | Employment Edification (wordpress.com)


  • 14 Jan 2021 4:05 PM | Garth Harding

    Ms.Maria Friedman  ,the President of NYC-PA,helped me in 2016 with my resume in very,very great detail to secure an interview ,breakfast interview,with a HR Director from Louis Vitton Legal.

    My Paralegal Dean at Queens Plaza College- originally from New York Career Institute- Dean Lazarus recommended me to NYC-PA.

    I am interested in securing P/T volunteer work to retrain my skills to a professional level.For example,Disability Rights Advocacy, DRA or such.

    After studying the LSAT and visiting law schools for 6 years via LSAC.org and obtaining almost 8 recommendations letters for law school-I wanted to be a Public Defender Disabiity Attorney for children and youth and young adults-I can adamantly admit proudly I am a Paralegal by trade. That is satisfying enough.

    Sincerely,

    Garth Harding 

    hartinggarth@gmail.com

    347-876-9181 





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