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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
  • 28 Dec 2021 5:06 PM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)


    By: Nikky Brown

    Knowing when to leave a company is a skill that many of us haven’t quite mastered. We always seem to have all the perfect reasons for not leaving a company, even when we truly aren’t happy with the company for a plethora of reasons. I remember back when I started my legal career in 2012. After obtaining my paralegal certificate, I landed a job at a law office as a Paralegal. It was my first real legal job outside of interning at law firms. I was so happy to have found this position and I felt as though I had to put in enough time there before I could move on elsewhere. I was getting paid minimum wage yet I had it in my mind that I had to stay there and deal with it so that I could have a certain amount of years under my belt before I could move on. I know now in my adult career that isn’t the case. A lot of us fall into this idea of having to stay and commit to a place of business so that we don’t look like we are jumping around from company to company. Even when there are so many things the company is failing to provide us, we still stay. While I am all for longevity and being loyal to ones company, there are just certain things that lets you know that it’s time to start looking for better. Work life balance is not a reality: There isn’t a great work life balance. You find yourself dedicating more time to work than to your family, friends and loved ones. You begin to neglect your body and/or your health because all of your time and energy is invested in work leaving you with no life. Work is work and it’s important to have some down time from work to not only give your body a break, but also your mind to rest and recover. If you feel as if you are forced to work around the clock, often staying late and even working weekends because there just isn’t enough time in the day to complete your work responsibilities, then you may want to start looking for other opportunities. That really is no way to live and there are places that actually believe in a healthy work life balance. They won’t run you into the ground until you’re completely depleted because they know how important it is to have their employees well rested and energized. You’ve stopped learning: Ok, you never really stop learning, but with some roles you get to a point where you’ve learned your position so well that you’re just going in day to day and executing what you already know how to do so well. You're not really taking in anything new. I don’t know about you guys, but for me, once the learning stops my mind tends to get bored and I start to crave something new. If you happen to be that unlucky one that’s in a company that has no opportunities for you to take on new tasks, or learn a new role, it may be time to start looking outside of the company. Lack of support and encouragement from management: It’s the absolute worst when you have a terrible boss. Like literally the worst feeling in the world! I’m speaking from experience. We spend more time with our co-workers than we do with our family members so for me it is crucial to have a drama free, stress free, hostile free environment at all times. I’ve come to realize that some people just don’t know how to manage a staff and they wind up making terrible bosses because of it. Crappy salary: You took the position because they spoke highly about the company and its work environment and it seemed like a good career move. You agree on a salary at the start of your employment with the understanding that as you learn, grow and contribute more to the company your salary would grow as well. You soon realize that isn’t the case. Often times a company is prospering, business is flowing, the company is expanding and doing very well, yet you are still stuck with the same salary, raises are hard to come by and when they do, it’s like pulling teeth trying to get a few extra dollars in your pay check, even though you know you are making a valuable contribution to the company. You can literally layout all you’ve accomplished for the company and can relate them to what you can achieve for them in the future, and they still won’t pay! It takes me about 6 months to figure out the likelihood of financial growth with a company. I am hoping some of you realize that sooner and make the decision to get out sooner, especially if you are working towards making a particular salary. Once you evaluate the situation and realize that your salary most likely will not grow at the pace in which you want it to, leave. It’s not worth waiting around and “sticking it out”. Little to no benefits: There are careers out there that require you to come ready with a Bachelors degree, “X” amount of years of experience, ability to do this, skilled in that, and the list goes on. They have a laundry list of requirements for the position but they are only offering a salary (pray that it is decent) with little to no benefits. The bare minimum that some places offer is medical benefits and 401K, be lucky that you end up in a company that matches in your first year of employment. Turn over rate: When a company is constantly hiring and people are coming and going and they aren’t staying for very long, it’s a bit worrying. Constantly having to adjust to new faces can take a toll on anyone especially in the workplace. There’s also that period of time where it’s very possible that additional tasks are temporarily tacked on to your work load from people who have left the company until the company has time to adjust and find a new hire. All of this can be draining especially when it’s happening constantly and in a short time frame. The fact that people are coming and not staying says a lot about the company in many different ways. Combine this with the fact that you’re underpaid, the benefits aren’t great and you get no support or encouragement from management— definitely time to chuck up the deuces beloved.

  • 08 Nov 2021 6:59 PM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    Here Are 15 Possible Reasons You’re Not Getting Hired—and How to Fix Them

    by Lily Zhang

    Job searching is a grind. And the longer you’re at it, the worse it seems to get. It can be so discouraging to put yourself out there and get rejected over and over again or be met with radio silence.

    But rather than keeping your head down and sending out another flurry of applications, you may benefit from taking a step back and considering why you’re not getting the results you want. What’s the real issue keeping you from landing your next gig? Accurately diagnosing the problem now will save you time in the long run.

    Here are 15 reasons you might not be getting hired and how you can fix them—broken down by when in the job search you’re running into trouble.

    If You’re Not Getting Callbacks or Interviews

    1. Your Resume and/or Cover Letter Isn’t Tailored to the Job

    If you’ve submitted a whole slew of applications and haven’t heard back from more than a handful, a likely culprit could be that you’re sending out the same generic resume and cover letter each time without changing how you present your experience to match the job.

    Employers are looking for someone who matches their job description—and since they’re probably getting hundreds of applicants for each open job, they’re not going to do the extra work to figure out how you measure up. You have to be sure to tell anyone reading your application how you’re suited for the role by tailoring your resume and cover letter. That means figuring out what skills and experience they want and then highlighting them in the form of accomplishments in your materials. You don’t necessarily have to do this for every single role. But at the very least you should tailor your application for every type of role—for example, you might have a software engineering resume and cover letter and a different product management resume and cover letter—as well as individual roles you’re especially interested in.

    2. Your Resume Isn’t Formatted Correctly for an ATS

    Maybe you’re doing plenty to tailor your resume and still hearing crickets. Your application could be getting trapped in applicant tracking system (ATS) limbo and never actually getting read by a human being. If you’re applying for jobs through online applications, your resume is probably being sent through an ATS—a computer program that scans applications, tracks applicants, and generally helps recruiters and hiring managers manage the search on their side. Hiring professionals can also use ATSs to search for resumes that contain keywords that are relevant to a given job.

    To make sure your resume is being read correctly by the ATS:

    ·        Don’t try to get too fancy with your formatting: Avoid tables, graphics, and columns.

    ·        Include keywords in the right context: Recruiters and managers are likely to use terms directly from the job description to search for relevant applicants, so scan the job description for the skills and experiences they’re looking for, then pick out the ones that you have and include them in your resume—using the same language.

    ·        Use standard section headings: Go with headings like “Experience” and “Education.”

    3. You’re Applying to the Wrong Jobs

    Look at the job description and honestly ask yourself if you have the skills you’ll need to do the job—or get up to speed quickly—to ensure you’re not underqualified for the roles you’re targeting.

    That being said, job seekers usually do a fairly good job of making sure they’re qualified before applying to a role. One thing they are less great at is being honest about whether they are in fact overqualified. Hiring managers obviously won’t hire someone who doesn't have the skills or experience to do the job, but they’re also hesitant to hire someone who has gobs of experience for an entry-level role. How will they keep you interested and challenged? Won’t you just leave once something more suitable comes along? The last thing a company wants is to have to fill the role again after you’ve gotten bored and quit. Make sure you’re targeting the right jobs for your background. (And if you genuinely do want that job that might seem too junior for you on paper, follow this advice.)

    Need to find more of the right jobs to apply to? You can search thousands of openings on The Muse.

    4. You’re Not Applying to Enough Jobs

    As a career coach, I’ll occasionally work with a client who only applies to dream jobs or dream companies, and then gets frustrated when their search drags. It’s fine to be extra picky about what roles you’re considering, but if you’re only applying to a job here and there, then understand that your job hunt will absolutely take longer.

    If your situation doesn’t allow for that, then you may need to be more open to “stepping stone” roles—jobs that are not exactly what you’re looking for, but could get you there someday. For example, you might apply for jobs that will help you gain the skills you’ll need to be a more attractive applicant for your dream role.

    5. You’re Not Telling People about Your Job Search

    You probably already know you’re supposed to be networking when you’re job searching. Some of what networking entails might be obvious. For example, if you know someone at a company that you’d like to work for, try to apply with a referral or at least use any additional insight you may have gleaned from your conversations in your application.

    What’s less obvious is that you should really be broadcasting your search as widely as possible, even to people who have no obvious way of helping you. Talk about your job hunt at non-work events or make a post about it on a private non-LinkedIn social media account. You probably don’t know everyone another person knows. First-degree networking—a.k.a., getting help from those you know directly—is great, but second-degree networking can be really powerful too! A fellow career coach once witnessed a student who groused loudly about her job search in class and found out that the classmate next to her had a close relative who could help. Networking!

    If You’re Getting Phone Screens or First-Round Interviews But Not Moving Forward

    6. You’re Not Fully Prepared for Phone Screens

    Phone screens can feel pretty informal. Some recruiters even tell you they just want to schedule a “quick chat,” but don’t be fooled. A phone screen is an interview and you need to be preparing like you would for a formal phone interview. Even though phone screens can be quite short and cover just the basics, do your homework. Research the company. Prepare your pitch. Know how much you want to get paid. Be as ready as possible. I say “as possible” because sometimes recruiters don’t even bother to schedule phone screens ahead of time. They just call. In this case, at least having your pitch and salary expectations ready to go at all times will get you most of the way.

    7. You Don’t Know Enough About the Company

    You might dismiss the common advice to research a company before an interview, because really why would a recruiter care if you know who their CEO is if you can do the job? Well, one thing employers evaluate before they extend an offer is your likelihood of accepting it. And a good way to show that you’re likely to accept is to show interest in the company. How do you show interest beyond simply saying you’re excited about the opportunity? By knowing a lot about them.

    Research a company’s products and services. Prepare to talk about how you’ve used them or similar ones in the past. Read up on their values and check to see if you have any contacts at the company via LinkedIn. If you want to go above and beyond, schedule an informational interview with an employee at the organization to learn more about what it’s like working there.

    8. You Haven’t Prepped Interview Answers to Common Interview Questions

    Job searches tend to occupy a lot of head space—even more so after you get an interview invite. But be careful you’re not spending all your time just thinking about the interview (or worrying about it!). You need to really prepare.

    You should be looking at common interview questions and practicing how to answer them out loud. The aloud part kind of trips people up, but saying the actual words before the interview is essential and will improve your performance quickly and significantly. If you can find someone to do a mock interview with you and give you some feedback on where you could’ve been stronger or when they started losing interest in what you were saying, even better.

    Don’t try to memorize your answers—you don’t want to sound robotic. Plus, your answers could change depending on the company and what they’re looking for. So practice answering the questions out loud each time you’re invited to interview with a new company. You need to prepare for each interview, not just interviews in general.

    9. You’ve Focused Too Much on Prepping Interview Answers and Neglected Other Interview Skills

    You don’t want to be the person who doesn’t greet the receptionist and only responds in single words to small talk with the recruiter. That person rarely gets hired. You need to think about interview skills like storytelling, active listening, eye contact and other body language, empathy, and small talk. Most of these abilities can be improved by just being aware that you need to be mindful about them and practicing. So by reading this, you could already be halfway there.

    10. You’re Not Passing the Technical Screen

    I’m using the term “technical screen” kind of loosely here. A technical screen could be a more formal technical interview, a copywriting test, or a coding question thrown in during a first-round interview—among other evaluations. In other words, anything that assesses your technical ability to do the job.

    Failing the technical screen usually means an automatic rejection, so it’s absolutely critical that you do well enough to move forward. Luckily a skills test typically doesn’t require flawless execution, but if you’re struggling with technical assessments every time you interview with a new company, then you probably need to spend some time buckling down. There’s no shortcut here. Find a relevant book or course and get to studying. And be sure you’re not making common mistakes you can easily fix—like not following directions.

    If you’re still falling short, then you may need to evaluate whether you’re applying for the wrong jobs. Maybe you need to get more practical experience with these skills in a lower-level position first, for example.

    If You’re Getting Multiple Interviews But Not Getting Offers

    11. You Have the Skills, But Not the Story

    You have all the right skills, you’re applying for the right jobs, you’re passing the screens and early interviews—and yet, no offers. What’s going on? You might not have the right story. The “right story” is kind of a fuzzy concept, but basically, you don’t want the hiring manager to walk out of the interview thinking, “Yes, they can do the job, but why do they even want it?”

    In interviews, you need to make the case for why a job makes sense as the next step in your career. Are you looking for a managerial role or are you hoping to be more in the weeds dealing with technical problems rather than people problems? In other words, how does this job fit into the story of your professional development? You can cover this straight on in your response to “Tell me about yourself” or “Why this role?” and weave it in throughout the interview.

    12. You’re Coming Off a Little… Strong

    It’s good to be excited about a job opportunity, but it’s another thing to come off as overly excited. The latter can sometimes (unfairly) trigger red flags for interviewers.

    So do show off your interest by having a lot of knowledge about the company and sharing it. Don’t show up an hour early to the interview, wait awkwardly in the lobby, and make everyone feel bad that they’re not ready for you yet. Do write a thank you note to your interviewers and include details from the conversation. Don’t call every day to see if there is an update on the role. Do check out your interviewers on LinkedIn to prepare for the interview. Don’t friend them on Facebook or other social media. You get the idea.

    13. You Don’t Stand Out Enough

    You don’t want to be memorable for the wrong reasons, but you do want to be memorable. When the hiring committee meets to discuss candidates, it’s not a good sign if no one really remembers much about you.

    To stand out in the right way, be ready to show that you’re passionate about something related to the job. You can also showcase an unrelated—but just kind of interesting—passion, like bread making or biking. Find things you can talk about with gusto and then do! For example, when you get a more open-ended question like, “What is the accomplishment you’re most proud of?” answer with a work-appropriate response and then briefly add in your latest sourdough triumph at the end!

    14. You Were Too Negative

    In general, hiring managers favor candidates who are positive and don’t always see the worst in everything—it’s human nature to not want to work with someone who’s overly negative.

    So, for example, when you get to later interview rounds, you may get asked what kind of suggestions you have for the company to improve a product or make a team more efficient. In these instances, be careful how you word things. It’s easy to accidentally get a little too negative and point out all the problems you see. You want to answer the question, but also be mindful that you’re not offending anyone. Be solution-oriented instead of only focusing on the issues.

    The no-negativity rule also applies to questions you may get about previous employers. No badmouthing former workplaces, managers, or colleagues. Even if their behavior was egregious, you won’t look good if you speak poorly of them.

    15. You Didn’t Prep Your References

    If your references are saying completely different things than what you said in the interview, that can be a huge red flag for hiring managers. To avoid having a reference accidentally contradict you, make sure you’re giving them adequate heads up that a call may be coming. Ideally, you should also let them know what role you’ve applied for and why you think you’re a good fit. Sending over your tailored resume and cover letter can be really helpful, too. In short, you want to make sure that their story and your story align.

    All this being said, sometimes you really can be doing everything right in your job search and the reasons you haven’t landed a position yet are entirely outside your control. Maybe you were competing with an internal candidate the hiring manager had in mind from the get-go or maybe they just defaulted to interviewing people with more years of experience to narrow down the applicants.

    Focus on the aspects of your applications that you can control and keep moving forward. Job searches take time, and it will be worth the effort once you land the right job.

    Lily Zhang is a career counselor at the MIT Media Lab, where she works with a range of students from AI experts to interaction designers on crafting their own unique career paths. When she’s not indulging in a new book or video game, she’s thinking about, talking about, or writing about careers. You can find her on LinkedInTwitter, and her website.

    Why Can’t I Get a Job? 15 Possible Reasons | The Muse

  • 04 Oct 2021 5:47 PM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    How to Write a Perfect Resume

    by Bruce Hurwitz

    A friend sent me an email he received from a resume writing company that boasted, in the subject line, that they create "perfect" resumes. More power to them. There are just a few problems with their claim:

    First, there's no such thing as a perfect resume. And perfection, in any event, is overrated. There is a debate over who said it first but, whoever it was, was correct, "Perfect is the enemy of good." If you are shooting for perfection, you will never finish writing your resume. Sometimes "good" is "good enough."

    Second, a resume is a tool. That's all it is. It's purpose is to get the recipient to invite you for an interview.

    Third, I disagree with those people who say that most recipients of resumes spend 10 seconds reading them. That's wrong. As I have written previously, they spend five seconds scanning them. Scores of resumes can arrive every day. Who has time to actually read them all? No one. And this is a good thing because...

    Four, since the recipient does not have time to actually read a resume when it arrives on their desk, their first impression is going to be visual. So the document needs to be clean, neat and well-organized. Unless you are applying for a job as a graphic designer, there is no need for graphics (which, by the way, can play havoc with some Applicant Tracking Systems). Infographics look great on a report but are a waste of space on a resume. They are just clutter.

    Fifth, since many initially scan the resume, not actually reading it, don't kill yourself when you discover, after you send it, that there is a typo. In a recent unscientific poll on LinkedIn, 75% of respondents, including yours truly, responded that they would consider a candidate whose resume had typos. (Of course, this is within reason. There is a limit! And when the company does a keyword search, the typo may become problematic if, and only if, it's in a keyword.)

    Sixth, the important thing is to grab the recipient's attention. You do that by simply starting the resume with half a dozen bullet points highlighting relevant professional accomplishments. For veterans, I always suggest, if it's true (and it usually is) that they write, "Highly decorated veteran of the US..." and then state the branch where they served. (I once had a veteran client who could not get a job interview to save his life. After two hours he finally told me that he was a Silver Star recipient! Once that became the first bullet point at the top of his resume, his phone started ringing! A resume is no place for modesty.)

    As for the rest of the resume, you want to show the recipient that you know how to prioritize. Don't list every responsibility you ever had, just the main ones. Think of the resume as a "tease," the trailer to a movie to get the recipient to buy the ticket and go and actually see the movie, meaning that they invite you for an interview.

    And forget about being perfect. Excpet for my humbal self, I no of know won who is perfekt. If the resume gets you the interview, it's perfect enough.


    While writing this article I came upon a survey/poll on LinkedIn asking the question if LinkedIn profiles will replace resumes. My response was to the effect that, while resumes are legally binding documents, LinkedIn profiles are not. Of course, people disagreed with me, which is their right. One person said resumes are not legally binding because they are not signed. In fact, they are. When you note on your cover letter that your resume is attached, since you "sign" the letter (even if it's an email) you are also signing the resume. And if you are attaching it to an online application, most have a warning that by submitting the application you are confirming that, to the best of your knowledge, the information is accurate - including the resume. As all resumes are part of a job application, I believe they are legally binding. (Not everyone agrees.) After all, you can be fired for lying on your resume.

    My view is that a LinkedIn profile is more like an ad. Not everyone on LinkedIn is looking for a job. I'm not. So if someone comes to me for my services, because they saw my profile, why should that be any different from my advertising my services, making the same claims as I make on my profile, in a newspaper or on a billboard? What's the difference? Why shouldn't "true in advertising" still apply? And an organization called "LinkedIn" even wants lies in profiles on their site reported! (One person who disagreed with me suggested that I do research before I express an opinion. I had to laugh!)

    Of course all of these questions will remain questions until someone sues their employer for firing them for lying on their resume or LinkedIn profile, or until someone is sued for "false advertising" on their profile. But here's a crazy idea: Don't lie!

  • 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 (

  • 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 (

  • 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 (, and the blog on my website ( 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 (

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

    In Support of Conformity on Social Media | Employment Edification (

    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.

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