Job Hunting? Make Background Checks Work to Your Benefit



Even though news headlines show employers are doing more thorough research in background checks, if you’re a job hunter don’t be too concerned.

There are reasons why.

It used to be that employers merely checked references. Then, many employers started doing credit checks. That was especially true for jobs related to finance.

Employers have expanded their research in background checks for more than a decade for very good reasons.

Michael KlazemaEmployers have expanded their research in background checks for more than a decade for very good reasons.

“They have also been a frequent focus of news headlines as of late, with every week seeming to bring about a new story about a major employer implementing new employee background check policies,” says Michael Klazema.

He cites the University of Illinois. Perhaps surprisingly, the institution announced a new background check policy for faculty members and other workers in 2015.

Mr. Klazema has been developing products for pre-employment screening and improving online customer experiences in the background screening industry since 2009.

                             Mr. Klazema


He is the lead author and editor for Backgroundchecks.com.

Reasons for increase


Why the growth in background checks?

“For instance, employers run background checks on their applicants to avoid hiring dangerous or unqualified applicants,” he says.

“They run background checks to protect themselves from individuals who might damage their organization – whether by stealing company assets, instigating workplace violence, or creating public relations problems,” he asserts.

If you’re not an embezzler or have anger-management issues, should you take it personally? No.

“Remembering that employers are running background checks not as a judgment of you, but as a means of combatting unflattering statistics, is an important distinction to make.”

“While some job searchers do take background check requests from employers as a sign of mistrust, you need to remember that employers are just playing a statistics game,” explains Mr. Klazema.

“They are just familiar with various facts and figures that make pre-employment background checks a necessary protective measure,” he says. 

Alarming statistics

He points out several statistics that alarm employers:

— According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, workplace violent accounts for 18 percent of all violent crime. Employers can use background checks to weed out known violent offenders and reduce the likelihood of violent workplace altercations.

— In 2003, a report from the Society of Human Resources Management noted that more than half (53 percent) of all job applications are inaccurate in some way. Background checks can help employers verify resume information and catch applicants for lying or exaggerating about their qualifications.

— According to Fortune Magazine, employers lose about 80 percent of all negligent hiring lawsuits. Background checks help employers catch employee red flags, dodge bad hires, and avoid negligent hiring claims in the first place.

— A 2014 report by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners stated that the average organization loses 5 percent of its annual revenue as a result of occupational fraud. Background checks can spot histories of theft, embezzlement, or fraud – helping to prevent such costly incidents from ever happening.

— In 2008, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration published a report claiming that more the 75 percent of consistent drug users are employed in some capacity. A company seeking to promote a drug-free workplace can use background checks to spot previous drug convictions and keep many substance abusers outside the walls.

Career advice

Mr. Klazema provides job-seeking advice:

“Remembering that employers are running background checks not as a judgment of you, but as a means of combatting unflattering statistics, is an important distinction to make,” he suggests.

If you recognize the importance of background checks as merely a tool in pre-employment screening, you will be more successful as an applicant, he adds.

“For one thing, it can encourage you to disclose any skeletons in your past so that you can explain them upfront, instead of waiting for employers to find those skeletons and make their own judgments,” he says.

If you have the slightest concern, he recommends running a self-check before you interview.

“Some background check reports do have inaccuracies, and you don’t want to be lumped in with the rest of the applicants getting red flagged by an employer,” he concludes.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are more career tips:

Seeking a Job? Your Rights in Background Checks — If you’re seeking a job, you may or may not be accorded the same rights in background checks as other applicants in the United States. Why? There isn’t a norm you can expect in background checks, according to an expert.

5 Personality Traits for Personal and Professional Success — Five personality traits are important for overcoming stress and achieving goals academically, professionally and in personal relationships.

Spelling Tips to Enhance Your Communication Skills — Good communication skills start with using proper grammar and spelling. They’re central for your career growth. People who communicate stand head and shoulders above their peers.

Looking for a Job? Get a Personal Web Site for an Edge — If you’re looking for a job and competition is tough, human resource professionals say a personal Web site can be a valuable asset. Sixty-eight percent of HR professionals are looking to assess personal qualities that aren’t perceptible from a traditional resume.

Are You Struggling to Write Great Cover Letters? Here’s How — If you want to write a cover letter that will entice employers to consider you, there are several precautions to take. Otherwise, you risk sending a letter that employers won’t want to read. Here are seven strategies.

“A spare tire is something that you don’t check until you have a punctured one.”

-Vikrant Parsai

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Looking for Your 1st Big Job? Think like a Boss



What do employers really want when they hire young college graduates? It may or may not be what you think.

The key for you is to think like a boss. So put yourself in their shoes to cut through the clutter of your competing applicants.

Intentional or not, employers are drawn to young grads who will help them make a dollar and fit into their culture.

Not to stereotype employers and they might not be consciously aware, but in general employees want new-hires who have at least five salient qualities.

ID-10089550 imagerymajesticTo land your first big job, here’s how to think like a boss:

1. The three A’s

Paramount to managers: Attitude, appearance and then ability. The bosses’ first inherent consideration is to recruit for the basics.

By way of explanation, they want to know if you have a positive attitude, which includes soft skills for teamwork and desire to perform well. Appearance-wise, they don’t want to be embarrassed by tattoos or poor manners. And, obviously, ability is important but isn’t as important as the other qualities.

2. Job experience and/or internships

By being able to list jobs on your resume, you’re demonstrating you know the ins and outs of workplaces. Employers don’t want to hire people who need training wheels to ride the proverbial bicycle of work environments.

Unpaid internships are good, but having earned a paycheck is often better received. The latter is preferred because it shows you were ahead of the pack in college.

3. Courses of study

Certainly a relevant major in many jobs is important in certain sectors such as technology or healthcare. However, in many other fields, employers will give you high marks for taking relevant courses.

If you find yourself seeking a job without a relevant major but you have taken a relevant course or courses, highlight the lessons you learned or skills you developed. Why?

Bosses often consider your other factors or attributes. Sans a relevant college major, employers are more impressed with your relevant work experience or even a variety of jobs.

Many employers put young graduates, who have demonstrated success in a variety of jobs, on a faster track in promotions and raises – as long as the employers feel the employee has serious career ambitions.

4. Volunteerism

Employers are increasingly concerned about their brand reputation. More and more, they’re engaged in cause-related marketing and helping their communities. Some even pay employees for time off in charitable work.

It demonstrates to your prospective employer that you’re a team player, not arrogant or narcissistic. If you volunteer your services for an organization related to your career goal, you’ll be miles ahead of your competition.

Volunteer work will improve your outlook on your life and career.  It is very satisfying.

5. Extra-curricular activities

The icing on the cake for your candidacy will be more appealing if you demonstrate your participation in activities and clubs. This also demonstrates you have the soft skills companies want.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related tips:

Career Advice for College Grads Facing a Firewall — Some lessons in the disparity between expectations and reality: Are university graduates overly optimistic about their career options? Yes. Apparently, they have mistaken perceptions. Worse, a major consulting firm is seemingly contributing to the problem. Increasingly, new college graduates are bewildered why they’re under-employed, according to research by Accenture.

Dress for Success in Job Interviews – Tips for Women, Men — First impressions are lasting impressions. They really count in your job search. This is especially true if you’re working your way up your career ladder to management or any other important position in a conservative or traditional business environment.

Praying for a Job? Key Questions to Ask Interviewers — Employers prefer inquisitive applicants. It shows their interest in a company and communication abilities. There are two benefits if you ask the right questions in a job interview. Firstly, you shine compared to your competing job seekers. Secondly, you get the right information to make the best decision.

Career Advice — Avoid Applying for Jobs Online — As a job-hunter you know that a significant number of companies, nonprofits and public-sector agencies use an online tracking system to accept applications and screen out applicants. It cuts down on their paper work and saves them time. If you must apply for jobs online, you can take steps to stand out from the competing applicants to sail through human-resources filtering systems.

Job Hunting? Tips to Land Your Dream Job with Style, Substance — Yes, the competition for jobs is ferocious. Here are proven tips to be hired for your dream job.

With a Mentor, You Won’t be Alone in Making Career Decisions — You don’t have to be alone in making career decisions. No matter what you do for a living, there’s one investment on which you can count to improve your career. Plus, it won’t cost you any money. Huh? Yes, you can get a mentor.

“Never say anything about yourself you do not want to come true.”

–Brian Tracy

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Photo courtesy of ImageryMajestic at www.freedigitalphotos.net

How to Get Great References for a New Job or Client



Whether you’re interviewing for a job or trying to entice a new client, don’t take your references for granted. They will be a big factor in influencing your success.

You need to spend enough time and energy cultivating and selling your references, too.

If you haven’t already, do a personal SWOT analysis of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

ID-100233979 (1) stockimagesYour resume or CV should, naturally, should market your achievements and how you provided value. That goes for the interview process, too.

No shortcuts

But to maximize your chances, make sure your references do the job, as well. Third-party endorsements are quite valuable.

So don’t take shortcuts with your references.

Make sure you have credible, quality references. Savvy employers will research the quality of your references.

See to it your references are very familiar with your achievements. Protect your turf.

Act as if you have outstanding competitors so you must take precautions to make sure they do an outstanding job in answering questions about you.

Before selecting references, write down your list of achievements.

Selecting references

Think about who is best able to verify each of your strengths.

You’ll need great communicators – people who are businesslike and know when and what to say succinctly.

Windbags won’t work because when they talk too much, they create more questions and doubt in the minds of interviewers.

Choose from your list of contacts from executives and bosses to your former co-workers and subordinates.

Show consideration – ask for an appointment before asking for their endorsement.

Then, be certain they know about your approach in marketing yourself.

Prepping references

Provide them a resume and illustrate your achievements so they know what to stress to your prospective headhunters and employers.

Quality people might be very busy, but they’re usually honored to be asked to be a reference in your behalf.

When you ask them for permission, be direct: Will you endorse my achievement(s).

Make certain your reference won’t provide too much information. Proactive interviewers will ask your reference for names of other people who know you.

Windbags won’t work because when they talk too much, they create more questions and doubt in the minds of interviewers.

You might not want them to suggest names of people who would hurt your cause – people with whom you’ve had a toxic relationship.

Even if there’s only a remote possibility, approach those people anyway. Admit the two of you have had fireworks and ask the person to consider being a reference for you.

Usually these people will agree to be a reference, which means you now have a workable communication. But don’t list the persons as references. They might be contacted anyway so take preventative action just in case.

Anticipating questions

Prep your references so they’re prepared to adequately answer logical questions by interviewers. Coach them if necessary.

Note: The person should be prepared for mostly open-ended questions, not questions requiring a yes or no answer.

They include:

  1. How did you meet the person?
  2. How well do you know the person?
  3. Why did the person leave the employer?
  4. Was the person put on an improvement plan? How’d it go?
  5. What are the person’s strengths?
  6. What were the greatest accomplishments?
  7. What are the person’s weaknesses?
  8. Would the person ever be re-hired?
  9. Who were the supervisors?
  10. Did the person meet expectations?
  11. What type of leadership skills does the person have?
  12. How was the person’s approach to working with co-workers? Was there mutual respect?
  13. Tell me about the person’s punctuality and dependability.
  14. What else would you like to mention about the person?

Stay in touch with your references. Keep them apprised. Be gracious in showing your appreciation. In addition to any verbal communication, a well-written thank you note is the right thing to do.

From the Coach’s Corner, here more comprehensive job-hunting tips:

Guidelines for an Effective CV to Land Your Ideal Job — If you’re pursuing a career in academia or research, you know a curriculum vitae (CV) is a basic requirement to get consideration for a position. It’s also applicable when applying for fellowships or grants. Here are best practices for a CV.

Job Hunting? Tips to Land Your Dream Job with Style, Substance — Yes, the competition for jobs is ferocious. Here are proven tips to be hired for your dream job.

Discouraged in Job Hunting? Powerful Tips for the Best Job — Whether unemployed or under-employed, a person needs two things: A sense of hope and the right tools to negotiate a job. Here are both.

Job Search: 15 Tips to Improve Your Odds — If you are unemployed, you are probably feeling desperate. But take heart. Here are 15 proven strategies.

Best 11 Tips for a Super Elevator Pitch — Whether you’re looking for a job or more customers for your business, one skill you definitely need is a great elevator pitch. Here are 11 tips.

Praying for a Job? Key Questions to Ask Interviewers — Employers prefer inquisitive applicants. It shows their interest in a company and communication abilities. There are two benefits if you ask the right questions in a job interview. Firstly, you shine compared to your competing job seekers. Secondly, you get the right information to make the best decisions.

Career Advice — Avoid Applying for Jobs Online — As a job-hunter you know that a significant number of companies, nonprofits and public-sector agencies use an online tracking system to accept applications and screen out applicants. It cuts down on their paper work and saves them time. If you must apply for jobs online, you can take steps to stand out from the competing applicants to sail through human-resources filtering systems.

“Make sure your worst enemy doesn’t live between your two ears.”

-Laird Hamilton


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy of stockimages at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Praying for a Job? Key Questions to Ask Interviewers



Employers prefer inquisitive applicants. When applicants ask questions, it shows their interest in a company as well as their communication abilities, especially if they ask the right questions.

Actually, there are two benefits if you ask the right questions in a job interview.

Firstly, you shine compared to your competing job seekers. Secondly, you get the right information to make the best decision.

ID-10091541For interviewing success, it’s best if you know how to differentiate yourself. If you’ve ever accepted an offer for the wrong job, you know it’s a pain.

Either way, it’s in your best interest to learn more about the company and the position before accepting a job offer.

Chances are you’ll be interviewed by more than one person. When in doubt, ask them each the same questions so you can compare their answers.

Here are key questions to ask:

1. What have former employees done to be successful in this job?

You’ll probably learn important points. For instance, you’ll learn the expectations of the company.

Moreover, you’ll learn something about the company’s culture. You might also learn how and why the previous person succeeded or failed.

2. How has the job evolved?

More than likely, you’ll learn whether it’s a dead-end position. If you’re not ambitious, OK. But if you’re ambitious, you’ll want to know if it’s a position offering potential — a catalyst for professional growth and promotions within the company.

For interviewing success, it’s best if you know how to differentiate yourself.

3. In the next three months, what are the priorities for this position?

Obviously, you’ll discover on what you’ll need to focus to get a good start. As a new employee, it’s important to make a great initial impression and on what you’ll need to accomplish.

If the interviewer paints a comprehensive picture of expectations, you’ll be able to gauge whether the job would be the right fit for you. If you’re a high achiever, OK. On the other hand, if the employer has too many expectations, you’ll readily see a red flag.

4. What do you think are the biggest challenges for this job?

You’ll get a quick dose of reality. Hopefully, you’ll sense transparency. If the interviewer paints a utopian picture – the job is a cake walk – you’ll want to be very careful about accepting an offer. Few jobs are that easy in this economy.

Also, a lot depends on your professional goals. For example, if you’re trying to work your way up your career ladder, you might be disappointed if the answer indicates you’ll get stuck working awful hours or mundane duties.

If you’re a manager, you might be told you’ll be given all the tools to succeed or you might be expected to accomplish the impossible with poor resources.

5. If I were to be offered the position, how would I be working with my manager?

The supervisor’s style will be revealed to you. This means, you’ll learn how the company treats its employees.  You might not like to be given marching orders all day long. You might prefer a more collegial, collaborative style.

You’ll find out the company’s reasons for its preferred management style and its culture. Either way, you’ll see if you’d be happy.

6. What do employees appreciate the most about working for the company?

If the interviewer hesitates in answering the question or has difficulty, it’s likely you won’t enjoy working there. Conversely, if you’re told the company provides great benefits, revenue sharing or bonuses, you’re getting a green light.

7. If you’re interviewing for a manager’s position, ask: What are the qualities of successful managers?

If the person can’t give you success stories, you’ll learn whether it’s a dynamic company, Otherwise, you’ll get a positive answer and an idea of what the company appreciates in a manager.

8. Do you have any reservations about my qualifications?

Employers like to hire people who are confident and communicative. Such a question demonstrates your self confidence and your openness to be coached, which is an indication of your soft skills.

If the person mentions any concerns, listen intently. Be direct and answer the questions as adroitly as you can. If you’re successful in overcoming any concerns, congratulations. If not, it’s a great learning experience for your next job application.

Either way, make sure you are prepared with a great elevator pitch.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are more career tips:

Career Advice — An Alternative to Applying for Jobs Online — As a job-hunter you know that a significant number of companies, nonprofits and public-sector agencies use an online tracking system to accept applications and screen out applicants. It cuts down on their paper work and saves them time.

7 Tips to Tweet Your Way to a Great New Job – Seriously — Surprise! If you play it smart you can take advantage of the 500 million Twitter account holders to get a new job or career. Really, it’s true.

Job Hunting? Tips to Land Your Dream Job with Style, Substance — Yes, the competition for jobs is ferocious. Here are proven tips to be hired for your dream job.

Increase Your Job Chances if You Have to Interview on the Phone — Face time, of course, is best if you’re interviewing for a job. However, headhunters and many companies schedule introductory telephone interviews. Pat yourself on the back. Even if it’s not an in-person meeting, a telephone interview is a good omen.

7 Steps to Become Great at Thinking on Your Feet — Have you ever been at a loss for words? For example, when asked a question, have you been tongue tied in a sales presentation, while speaking at an event, in negotiations, during an interview or a staff meeting? Getting tongue-tied is not a fun experience.

Let your faith be bigger than your fear. 


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is also a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




Photo by imagerymajestic at www.freedigitalphotos.net


Why Many College Grads Fail in Their Job Searches



Many college graduates fail in getting a good job because they’re not adequately prepared, according to a survey of job hunters and human resources professionals.

Both college grads and HR pros say higher education inadequately prepares them for the real world, say consulting firm Millennial Branding and career network Beyond.com.

Most of the 2014 study’s 2,978 respondents believe a bachelor’s degree is significant.

Young CoupleHowever, 73 percent of HR pros indicate the schools are only “somewhat preparing” grads. More than a third, 36 percent, said college grads aren’t prepared at all.

Fifty-nine percent of  the job hunters complain that college didn’t prepare them for the career practicalities they’re facing.

The study shows a college education isn’t sufficient by itself. Sixty-five percent of HR respondents said they don’t care where the applicants attend school.

What employers want

“You hire a person, not a resume – college graduates need to take this into account as they prepare for their career,” said Rich Miligram, Beyond.com’s founder and CEO.

“Corporations are looking to make a long term hire, preferably individuals that are flexible and can work well in a team environment. It is important to study a company prior to the interview, show them your passion and present yourself in the best possible light,” he added. “Recent college grads need to remember that there is still one test left – the one-on-one interview.”

Eighty-four percent of HR respondents said applicants need to show a positive attitude.

That includes soft skills — in communication and teamwork.

Forty-three percent of hiring managers said they want candidates who fit nicely with the organization’s culture.

In addition to soft skills, the ability to solve problems and make decisions is critical. That was obvious in a statement released by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

So, applicants must be able to analyze quantitative data, prioritize work and communicate well.

Why colleges and professors fail

The problem is that universities and professors feel it’s beneath them to include soft skills in their curricula. That’s because many educators lack real-world experiences themselves.

Some professors, however, do try. In my undergraduate experience, one professor was also a newspaper reporter and I was offered a job in my junior year. But I didn’t want a newspaper career. Broadcast journalism was the reason I invested in an education.

In my job application efforts, I was required to submit a resume. I was not able to get any professors’ help in developing a good resume. They didn’t even understand the process. I had to go outside of college to learn about it.

As a broadcast-journalism grad, a professor did his best to help me get a job when I needed a video-audition tape. He helped me record a terrific video tape. A problem arose when televisions stations weren’t able to view the tape — the professor used a system not used in the real world of TV news.

As a guest lecturer in business classes, I’ve witnessed the same pattern over and over again. So, after college, work to continue your real-world education.

From the Coach’s Corner, more career tips:

Career Advice for College Grads Facing a Firewall — Lessons in the Disparity between Expectations and Reality   Are university graduates overly optimistic about their career options? Yes. Apparently, they have mistaken perceptions. Worse, a major consulting firm is seemingly contributing to the problem. Increasingly, new college graduates are bewildered why they’re under-employed, according to research by Accenture in 2014.

Career Advice — An Alternative to Applying for Jobs Online — As a job-hunter you know that a significant number of companies, nonprofits and public-sector agencies use an online tracking system to accept applications and screen out applicants. It cuts down on their paper work and saves them time.

8 Tips to Boost Your Career with Shameless Self-Promotion — Some of the best tips ever given to me – at a pivotal point in my career – were given to me in the 1980s by one of the nation’s pioneers in radio and TV.

With a Mentor, You Won’t be Alone in Making Career Decisions — You don’t have to be alone in making career decisions. No matter what you do for a living, there’s one investment on which you can count to improve your career. Plus, it won’t cost you any money. Huh? Yes, you can get a mentor.

Job Hunting? Tips to Land Your Dream Job with Style, Substance — Yes, the competition for jobs is ferocious. Here are proven tips to be hired for your dream job.

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”

-Milton Berle

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Career Advice — Avoid Applying for Jobs Online



As a job-hunter you know that a significant number of companies, nonprofits and public-sector agencies use an online tracking system to accept applications and screen out applicants. It cuts down on their paper work and saves them time.

If you must apply for jobs online, you can take steps to stand out from competing applicants to sail through human-resources filtering systems.

However, admittedly, in my situation, I’m not in the job market. However, if I were, I’d never apply for a job online.  My preference would be to bypass the filtering systems. I’d capitalize on a self-marketing approach.

entrepreneur-593356_1280Applying for jobs online is too impersonal.

It’s tantamount to the entertainment industry’s audition cattle calls in which there’s one winner and dozens of losers. I believe in a proactive approach and maximizing my potential for success by minimizing competition from others.

Another important strategy:

No matter what you do for a living, there’s one investment on which you can count to improve your career.

It works for any situation and won’t cost you any money — get a mentor.

Bypass HR

When I was a young job-hunter here was my mindset:

Whenever possible, I’d want a presence in the hiring room before applying. In other words, I’d use strategies to make sure the hiring persons were already familiar with my work. At all costs, I avoided the human resources department.

As opposed to HR employees, executives more readily spotted my strengths and potential to help them save time and money while contributing to the welfare of their companies. That enabled me to minimize my competition from competing jobseekers.

As a college student, I often contacted executives to get advice on courses to take. Executives were delighted to give their opinions. The strategy worked better than expected. I’ll never forget getting immediate consideration for an announcing job by the executive at an ABC television affiliate station.

That’s probably when I first realized it was better for me to bypass the HR department. I would ask such managers to meet with me.

Boss’s boss

While job hunting after college, I used the same approach. I did my homework on companies. My practice was to contact a manager two levels above the level that I’d hoped to work — my prospective boss’s boss.

Such people were usually impressed by such an assertive approach when I asked for advice. Good executives were honored to share their opinions. I wanted to know their perspectives regarding their industry issues and what they wanted in talent.

In meeting with an executive, if it was obvious I wouldn’t get a job offer, I asked for two referrals – “Thank you for sharing your insights – who are a couple of your peers who wouldn’t mind sharing their insights, too?”

Whether or not the executives were considering me as an employee, I headed directly to the post office to mail a handwritten thank you note on my monarch-size stationery. The notes arrived the next day and created a favorable impression.

Sometimes, there were subsequent meetings. In the second interview, executives spent the first five minutes thanking me for my thank you note.

Another thing I learned:

It helped to have a relationship with my potential boss’s boss. Such managers would typically offer me higher wages than lower-level supervisors. It also accelerated my promotions. As the executive moved up, so would I.

From the Coach’s Corner, related tips:

Tips to Land Your Dream Job with Style, Substance — Yes, the competition for jobs is ferocious. Here are proven tips to be hired for your dream job.

15 Tips to Improve Your Odds for a Job — If you are unemployed, you are probably feeling desperate. But take heart. Here are 15 proven strategies.

Is Your Career Stalled? Turbo Charge Your Personal Brand — Perhaps you’re struggling in a job search. You’re ambitious but underemployed, or worse – unemployed. You’re not alone. Millions of professionals are trying to solve similar puzzles. The good news is that you can rebrand yourself for a rewarding career.

8 Career Tips to Unlock Your Potential as a LeaderIt’s important to note that leaders aren’t necessarily born. They develop themselves. They don’t settle or languish. They evolve by constantly assessing their progress to improve.

Career Strategies: How to Get a C-Level Job — If you’re climbing the corporate ladder and have designs on a C-level job, a noted Stanford University professor has some excellent advice.

“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”

Vince Lombardi

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.


Stand Out: Get a Job Interview with a Great Resume



More and more job seekers complain they don’t get acknowledgment when they apply for positions with prospective employers. It’s disappointing, especially if you’ve done your best to stand out in a crowd when jobs are scarce.

Worse for you, a significant number of employers use an online tracking system to accept applications and screen out applicants.  But there are alternatives to applying for jobs online.

Yes, it takes energy and resources for a employers to respond to applicants. The online application process cuts down on their paper work and saves them time.

ID-100263743 Stuart MilesIf you must apply online, you should resort to proven strategies to shine in your online job application.

Certainly, employers who don’t respond can hurt your morale. But it hasn’t always been the trend.

Besides, aside from being gauche, such companies miss an opportunity to demonstrate they have a heart as an employer.

Nonetheless, a 2012 blog for job hunters caught my eye – “Write a resume that gets an employer’s attention,” by Chad Bauer of New Grad Life.

Mr. Bauer suggested there are three qualities that good resumes must have.

They’re important to help you cut through the labyrinth of databases, human resources employees, and recruiters.

He says companies look for resumes to answer three questions – here’s an edited excerpt: 

1. Can the candidate solve the specific top problems I have today?

— Do your research to find out the specific problems, challenges, and goals a company has today

— Do more research to determine how those corporate challenges, problems, and goals affect the department and hiring manager

— Don’t just list broad industry skills, hoping it meets your target’s needs

— Don’t just say that you can learn – beyond entry level jobs, few companies will pay you for training or pay you to take time for a learning curve when they can find plenty of candidates who won’t need training 

… research to determine how those corporate challenges, problems, and goals affect the department and hiring manager

2. Can the candidate build shareholder value?

— Do your research to find out the type of value likely to be important to this specific company, department and manager

— Demonstrate your value in numerical results or percentages

— Translate your accomplishments to shareholder value

— Claim responsibility

— Don’t emphasize responsibilities

— Don’t emphasize your past company’s accomplishments over your specific achievements

3. Will the employee fit in with the company’s culture?

— Learn as much as you can about a company’s culture before applying for a position

— Be who you are, rather than trying to present a different persona

— Do research to find companies and positions who will value an employee with your personality

— Don’t fight ageism – embrace it

— Don’t waste your time – if you’re not a culture fit, apply somewhere else

From the Coach’s Corner, do you need more insurance?Here are more tips:

7 Tips to Tweet Your Way to a Great New Job – Seriously — Surprise! If you play it smart you can take advantage of the 500 million Twitter account holders to get a new job or career. Really, it’s true.

Job Hunting? Tips to Land Your Dream Job with Style, Substance — Yes, the competition for jobs is ferocious. Here are proven tips to be hired for your dream job.

Career Advice for College Grads Facing a Firewall — Lessons in the Disparity between Expectations and Reality   Are university graduates overly optimistic about their career options? Yes. Apparently, they have mistaken perceptions. Worse, a major consulting firm is seemingly contributing to the problem.

Best 11 Tips for a Super Elevator Pitch — Whatever you’re trying to sell – one skill you definitely need is a super elevator pitch. You need to prepare for any opportunities. Don’t be caught off guard.

15 Tips to Improve Your Odds for a Job — If you are unemployed, you are probably feeling desperate. But take heart. Here are 15 proven strategies.

“All our dreams can come true–if we have the courage to pursue them.”

Walt Disney 

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Elevator Pitch: Best 11 Tips that Will Push Their Buttons



Whatever you’re trying to sell — one skill you definitely need is a super elevator pitch.

You need to prepare for any opportunities. Don’t be caught off guard. Create an introduction describing the value you provide, be concise, customize it for your target audience, and really know it – so you can deliver a flawless elevator pitch.

To stand out in a crowd, you have to be prepared to quickly answer the basic marketing 101 “so what” question – that all prospects subconsciously ask themselves.

ID-100112271That’s the purpose of an elevator pitch – whether telephoning a prospect, seated for a formal appointment in an office, or actually riding an elevator when you suddenly come face-to-face with a key decision-maker.

For a super elevator pitch, here are 11 tips:

1. Know your talents. Take an hour or two to analyze and write down your strengths.

2. Forge a benefit statement or value proposition for each of you or your company’s strengths – a minimum of five reasons to buy from you. Then develop a succinct overall summary – less than 10 seconds – of the value you provide.

Set the table so you get another 60 seconds of dialogue – you’ll want a green light that shows the prospect wants to hear more.

3. Avoid trite, over-used buzz words (The Best and Worst Business Buzzwords, Jargon, and Cliches).

4. If you mention data or statistics, keep it simple. Very simple.

5. Rehearse your pitch but don’t appear robotic or wooded, as we broadcasters used to say. You want to have a natural, smooth presentation. How you introduce yourself is just as important as what you say.

6. Keep your branding fresh and up-to-date for the changing marketplace.

7. Be flexible. Be prepared to switch gears if your prospect divulges valuable information regarding a need you think you can fill. It’s all about problems and solutions.

8. Don’t focus on giving your ideas to the prospect. Focus on your value.

9. Do your best to have a presence in the room before your pitch. In other words, develop a strong image online and in the community. That will enhance your chances in making your pitch.

10. Watch for cues to listen. The most persuasive people talk 10 percent of the time and listen 90 percent. If the prospect says something, treat like it’s an event for you and listen intently.

11. If you get an objection, be sure to respond effectively.

If your prospect balks after your elevator pitch, here are the three steps to overcoming objections:

  • Get the person to restate her/his concern. Then repeat the person’s words, for example: “If I understand you correctly, you feel…?”
  • Empathize: “I can see how you feel that way”…or “You know, someone said the same thing last week.”
  • Overcome the objection with facts.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related resource links:

Job Hunting? Tips to Land Your Dream Job with Style, Substance— Yes, the competition for jobs is ferocious. Here are proven tips to be hired for your dream job.

Want More Revenue? Avoid the 7 Deadly Sins of Selling — Whether you are an established company or a startup, what you probably need most in this economic climate is a positive revenue stream. It’s possible with a higher-performing sales staff.

The Seven Steps to Higher Sales — Secrets for sales success – seven steps to higher sales, five value perceptions that motivate customers to buy, and the three-step process for overcoming sales objections.

You Can Get Bigger Corporate Accounts in 5 Steps — So your company needs to grow and you’ve decided to go after bigger fish. Getting bigger corporate accounts is easier, if you develop the right system. But not only must you have reason to be confident, you must position yourself and your company to instill confidence in your prospects.

The Lost Art – How and Why to Use Cold-Calling for Higher Sales — Are you lacking in sales? Do you get enough face time with the right prospects? Here’s how and why in-person cold calls will help you make sales.

Classic Red Flags You’re about to Lose a Sale – How to Save It — You’ve done your research about a prospective client, and you’re making a sales presentation. Here are red flags indicating you might lose the sale.

“Your premium brand had better be delivering something special, or it’s not going to get the business.”
-Warren Buffett


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry. 





Photo courtesy of imagerymajestic at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Job Hunters: Why The Mirroring Thing Won’t Work



With one out of six men aged 25-54 unable to find jobs and countless others under-employed, the average American workweek is on 34.5 hours. So many job seekers are panicking to find ways to get a job.

That includes using a technique to mirror the demeanor of interviewers.

However, psychological research confirms the people-pleasing tactic of  mimicking interviewers – in posture or gestures – is a bad idea. Don’t copycat the interviewer. Your reputation will suffer.

Shocked At The Man In The Mirror (http://www.public-domain.zorger.com)

Mirroring is an unproductive strategy, especially in front of two or more interviewers. That’s the advice from a 2011 University of California, San Diego study.

“Mimicry is a crucial part of social intelligence,” says the study’s co-author, psychological scientist Piotr Winkielman in a press statement. “But it is not enough to simply know how to mimic. It’s also important to know when and when not to.”

His research colleagues included psychological scientist Liam Kavanagh, and philosophers Chris Suhler and Patricia Churchland.

They conducted videotaped experiments of interviews. As a result, observers concluded the interviewees were incompetent, untrustworthy and unlikable.

Professor Winkielman acknowledges mimicry is considered acceptable in certain social settings. But not in the workplace.

Professor Winkielman acknowledges mimicry is considered acceptable in certain social settings. But not in the workplace.

“…it’s good to have the capacity to mimic, but an important part of social intelligence is knowing how to deploy this capacity in a selective, intelligent, context-dependent manner,” he explains. “Sometimes the socially intelligent thing to do is not to imitate.”

For job hunters, here are seven key traits:

  • Research your prospective employer
  • Be transparent in your answers
  • Demonstrate value, and in some situations remember employers want critical thinkers
  • Show your soft skills, and flexibility
  • Act with confidence, including strong eye contact
  • Dress professionally
  • Smile

From the Coach’s Corner, here are five job-hunting resource links: 

Discouraged in Job Hunting? Powerful Tips for the Best Job — Whether unemployed or under-employed, a person needs two things: A sense of hope and the right tools to negotiate a job. Here are both.

Job Hunting? Tips to Land Your Dream Job with Style, Substance — Yes, the competition for jobs is ferocious. Unless you’re in accounting, healthcare, mechanical-repair or proficient in sales, good jobs are hard to find. Hopefully, you’ve honed your networking skills and are getting interviews. But there are tips to considers.

Study: Best Way to Get a Job Isn’t by Networking — Job experience counts more than whom you know, according to a nationwide survey of job hunters by Beyond.com. Networking with contacts was cited as most-important by fewer than 20 percent of the respondents.

Career Advice — An Alternative to Applying for Jobs Online — As a job-hunter you know that a significant number of companies, nonprofits and public-sector agencies use an online tracking system to accept applications and screen out applicants. It cuts down on their paper work and saves them time. If you must apply for jobs online, you can take steps to stand out from the competing applicants to sail through human-resources filtering systems.

Multiple Job Offers? Ask the Right Questions to Win in Your Career — The words every job seeker wants to hear: “We want you.” You’re no exception. You’ve been on a nerve-racking job hunt, and at long last the search is over. Suddenly, you’ve got choices — several companies have said “We want to hire you.” It’s an enviable situation, but now your real work begins.

“Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it, for that determines our success or failure.”

Norman Vincent Peale

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry. 

Study: 10 Best Career Options for College Grads



Naturally, it’s a tough job market for everyone, including fresh college graduates. The edge most likely goes to the graduates who managed to intern or work part-time in their chosen vocations en route to their degrees.

With the possible exception of software engineers for which the job market exploded in 2014, my sense is a study will hold up for some time to come. The 2011 study by University of California San Diego Extension detailed the best career options for grads.

Young CoupleAccording to the school, here are the top 10:

Healthcare case management. Case managers are healthcare advocates who – through a collaborative process of assessment, planning, facilitation, and advocacy – help patients understand their current health status, what they can do about it and why those treatments are important.

In this way, case managers guide patients and provide cohesion to other professionals in the healthcare delivery team, enabling their clients to achieve goals more effectively and efficiently.

According to a January 2011 survey, the number of case managers working in hospital admissions offices doubled from 2010 to 2011.

Financial examination and internal auditing. Financial collapses and scandals in the last few years involving the banking and insurance industries means more companies are having the books scrutinized. Enter the financial examiners, the forensic accountants of the business world. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is predicting 41 percent growth.

Aspiring financial examiners and internal auditors can expect continued job growth as a result of changes in financial laws, regulations, and requirements. In addition, jobs in this field will become available as financial examiners retire, move into other positions, or leave the field completely.

The edge most likely goes to the graduates who managed to intern or work part-time in their chosen vocations en route to their degrees.

Mobile media. Today’s four billion mobile phone users outnumber both Internet users and land-line owners. Cell phones and other mobile devices are now multifunction devices that enable users to surf the Web, listen to music, download podcasts, use maps, access global positioning satellites, shoot and send photos and videos, and send text messages. With the countless new software applications, the number of ways to use smart phones is exploding.

Healthcare information technology. As technology increases, so does the need for health information technicians to use and maintain patient data that is vital for quality healthcare and to keep all medical records organized and confidential. Technicians are needed for emerging jobs, such as healthcare integration engineer, healthcare systems analyst, clinical IT consultant, and technology support specialist.

Note: Otherwise, my sense is that information technology is not a good college major. But computer science is.

Data mining. Looking for a needle in a haystack is a good analogy for data mining jobs. Data mining is the technique of extracting specific types of information or patterns from large databases, such as data warehouses. Advanced statistical methods sift through large volumes of data, providing answers to questions that were once too time-consuming.

Geriatric healthcare. The growing population of seniors continues to have a major impact on careers in health care. As the numbers of aging baby boomers increase, so does the demand for certain healthcare jobs and services, including nursing, personal care and home healthcare.

Occupational health and safety. Many employees are adding safety expertise as a “value added” skill to make them more likely to be hired or retained in a tight job market. Specialists are needed to cope with technological advances in safety equipment and threats, changing regulations, and increasing public expectations. Employment growth reflects overall business growth and continuing self-enforcement of government and company regulations.

Spanish/English translation and interpretation. For those completely bilingual in Spanish and English, these highly marketable language skills open doors to new careers. The key is to gain experience through practical internships in specialized fields such as law, medicine and business.

Sustainable business practices and the greening of all jobs. By the mid-21st century, all jobs will be green jobs. Organizations today must address potential regulation changes and look for business growth opportunities in the new era of sustainable environmental economics.

Teaching English as a foreign language. Interest in English teaching positions abroad continues to mushroom. College graduates can find teaching jobs abroad, with travel as an added perk.

My sense about career options:

Since graduating from college, I’ve experienced the challenges of six recessions. So I understand the difficulties. It was challenging for me even though I was one of the relatively few college students who obtained employment while in school – my occupation was on-air in radio. But periodically, I had to work in sales and worked my way up to management in different professions with profit and loss responsibilities. On the outside, I smiled confidently. But candidly inside, I felt uncomfortable because I knew of others who didn’t have to work in sales to earn an income.

But while working as a newscaster in Salt Lake City, I had an epiphany. It came, thankfully, after making a news-programming proposal in Los Angeles to a distinguished, iconic CBS vice president, George Nickolaw, who commented: “My, what a rich background.” He seemed impressed by a resume with experience in multiple fields, and recommended me to the network.

A few days later when I was back at my job on-the-air anchoring hourly newscasts, I realized I was bored with it – like the Peggy Lee song, “Is that all there is?”  Making sense of business developments and strategic planning was more interesting and was what really floated my boat. I grew proud of my experiences. I had been thinking that I might want something more, but it took comments by an icon to help me really feel it deep inside. I’ll always be grateful for the seeds planted by Mr. Nickolaw’s insights.

The moral: Whatever happens is a learning experience. Build on it.

Otherwise, jobs – in accounting or finance, or healthcare providing – are my two suggestions. They’re harder to outsource. Whatever you choose, be open to your planted seeds and enjoy your adventure.

Here’s the link to the career path study.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are proven tips on landing a good job:

“Happiness is an inside job.”

– William Arthur Ward


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.






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Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.