Photo Credit: Asif Akbar via sxc.hu
One of the most common grammatical mistakes I see people make it misusing “its,” “it’s,” and “its’.” I can understand the confusion and honestly it is sometimes hard to determine which one is correct so I hope this brief overview can help clear up the confusion.
Photo Credit: Maxime Perron Caissy via sxc.hu
Everyone wants to sound smart. Being smart can help you get ahead in the world but being smart and using big words do not necessarily go together.
Take a look at the previous short paragraph. The longest word was “necessarily” and I would argue that nothing in those two sentences was very fancy. You can find all of those words in normal conversation. Using common words makes the reading easy to understand and quickly gets the point across.
Let me try to re-write that first paragraph in a way that tries to “sound smart”:
We have all heard the saying “addition by subtraction.” I propose a new saying here; “addition by simplification.” Complication is sometimes just that and ends up confusing the reader. Remember this simple rule: “If I need a thesaurus to find the right word, chances are the reader will need a dictionary to figure out my meaning.”
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Congratulations! You've finally landed yourself a new job! My last piece of advice is to keep updating your Master Résumé on a regular basis. Set a reminder for the first of every month or every six months and when the reminder comes up, pull out your master file and make sure everything is still accurate. Don’t stop preparing for interviews either. Put in a practice round every few months to keep your skills sharp. If you are lucky enough to be in a position to conduct interviews, pay attention to people that you interview and what catches your attention in their answers. You can learn just as much from being on that side of the table as well.
Don't forget to read the previous parts of this series:
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We've all heard the saying “practice makes perfect” but when was the last time you practiced a job interview? If you’re like most people, it was probably DURING your last job interview and you were sweating the entire time because you felt you were out of practice.
Don’t let that happen again. If you’re on the hunt for a new job and see yourself interviewing in the near future, set some time aside to do some practice interviews. It doesn't have to be anything too structured. Ask a trusted friend or mentor to be the interviewer and generate 5-10 sample questions. Make sure it’s someone that will not go easy on you since the actual interviewers sure won’t.
Practice this even if you are only looking at a phone interview to start with. Having possible answers lined up for questions that might come your way will make a better impression on the interviewer whether you are meeting with the face to face or just speaking with them over the phone. When you’re on the phone, you can also use any notes that you may have made prior to the interview. (I recommend NOT bringing a list of notes to a face to face interview however)
Finally, regardless of the interview being in person or over the phone, do jot down some questions to ask the interviewer. Keep them specific to the job and definitely avoid asking about benefits of the position like pay rate, vacation, and sick time. Those are questions for when you are signing a job offer or even when you start a training period. Asking what challenges the company or department face, the specific types of work that you’ll be doing, and what the goals are for the position are all good starting points.
Don't forget to read part 1 and part 2 of this series.
Continue on to part four.
10-15 years ago, when the economy was booming and companies were hiring at a rapid pace, job hunters would often receive calls for interviews within days or even hours of an application being submitted. Not so anymore. Because there are often dozens if not hundreds of candidates applying for jobs both in person and online, only people who are being selected for interviews are contacted. This often leaves everyone else wondering what their status is.
Some firms have sophisticated online systems that allow candidates to log in to websites and see the status of their applications but if you have applied for a position that does not have this luxury, what can you do once you’ve submitted your résumé?
Give the employer some time after your submission, but make sure you follow up with them. Find a contact name or phone number on the company’s website or networking site such as LinkedIn. Call the number you find and ask to speak with someone in Human Resources regarding your application. This will often force the HR representative to pull out your application and look at it if they haven’t already. Sometimes it can take more than one call to get to the right person, but stay persistent. Give the company a few days between calls so they can see that you are being persistent, but not pestering them.
Lastly, once you do reach someone, be sure to pay attention to what the timeline looks like for the hiring process. If they say that it will be 2-4 weeks before you hear something back, don’t call them three days later looking for an update.
Don't forget to read part one.
Continue on to part three.
One of the most common mistakes regarding résumés is to assume that one size fits all. In the competitive job market that exists today, updating your résumé and applying for jobs can be a full time job in itself.
I personally recommend generating a “Master Résumé” that has all of your work history. That includes the job you had at McDonald’s in high school or the overnight shift you worked at a warehouse on weekends in college. Put EVERYTHING on this document. Once you have this file created make sure to store it on a cloud drive like Google Drive or Drop Box or on a flash drive that you keep in a safe place. Better yet, use both!
Once you find a job that you want to apply for, open your Master Résumé file and find all of the job functions from your job history that apply to the job in question. Applying for a training position? You will probably want to include information on the Lab Assistant job from your college days. Never been a manager before but interested in a leadership position? Make sure you have a note about being the captain of your high school soccer team. Save a copy of the Master file with the name of the position you are applying to in the file name. That way you can go back and reference it as well as print out a copy when you go for your interview.
Finally, if you're done with your résumé and need someone to look it over, please visit my information page for résumé review services.
Continue on to part two.
Photo Credit: Martin Boulanger via sxc.hu
Are you on the hunt for a new job? Did your employer just post a promotional opportunity that is the role you’ve been waiting two years for? Did you pull out your old résumé and realize that it hasn’t been updated since you took your current job?
Now is the time for you to update your résumé so that it pops and gets your foot in the door for that critical first interview. Check out the information page for my résumé service for more information.
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Everyone has a story to tell. I’m sure something has happened in your life in the past year that you could write a story about. It doesn’t have to be as long and involved as Tolstoy, elegant as Shakespeare or even as funny as Vonnegut (yes, I know some people don’t “get” Vonnegut’s humor). But there is a story in there that needs to be told.
I hear you asking the question. “How can I write a story? I’m a terrible writer.” That’s where I come in. Don’t let your (perceived) lack of writing skills deter you from telling the story that you need to tell. Just get out a piece of paper or your favorite word processing program and start writing. Tell your story out loud if you have to and write down the story as you tell it. Don’t worry about it making sense right now, just get the basics down. Once you’re done with that, give me a call and let’s talk about polishing up your story and getting it ready for prime time.
Photo Credit: Bartosz Borecki via sxc.hu
Small disclosure, it was recently my son's birthday and he received a gift of a remote control car that is supposed to be able to drive on walls. I have yet to make it do this, but I'm hoping batteries might be the culprit.
But the point here is the absolutely horrid instruction sheet that came with the toy. I'm not sure where the person who wrote it learned to use the English language, but I AM sure that it was not in this country or any other where English is the primary language spoken by the majority of people. In probably fewer than 500 words that were printed on the instruction sheet, I found at least 15-20 grammatical errors and numerous sentences that didn't make any sense. There were spelling mistakes and information that if you followed it to the letter, would probably lead to permanently ruining the device.
All that being said, i had to snap a few pictures just to prove the point. I don't think I'm infringing on any copyrights with posting pictures of this document as I doubt anyone would want to publicly claim this debacle.
Just to clarify. This will probably NOT be a daily blog, but should post on a regular basis at least 2-3 times a week for the foreseeable future. Enjoy.
Jonathan Ytreberg is the owner of Best Word Forward, committed to providing the best resume advice and services to clients around the globe.