Updates from the Practical Gal
Don’t Douche Up Your Job Search!
Practical Advice to Get You Hired Today
Practical: Karen, a person can work for weeks perfecting their resume and cover letters. Shouldn’t you give them the decency of a response?
Karen: It would be nice to take a step back to the 1960’s and respond to every job seeker with a personal note, even if we feel they are not qualified for the position. We get, sometimes, two hundred resumes a week! HR is a small department, and does a lot more than just deciding who is hired. There is also the absurd problem of declined job seekers blaming the sender of the note and lashing out. What we like to do is send out a short ’thank you for your time’ note to everyone who is interviewed but not hired. Not every company does this, but their HR departments may be very small or non-existent.
Practical: Don’t you think you are being a bit of a douchebag when you interview someone and then leave them hanging for three or four weeks before you tell them if they’ve gotten the job or not?
Karen: No. When we place an ad we specify if we want to immediately fill the opening, or if we are accepting resumes for future interviews. Then, at the end of the interview, we tell the candidate when they can expect an answer. If we are looking for a quick hire, we may tell the person they will hear back in 7 to 10 days. If we are interviewing for a different type of position, we will tell the interviewee that the interviews will end on such and such date and they can expect a decision 10 days after that. Of course, I’ve worked for companies where the policy is to tell interviewees, if they don’t hear from us in 2 weeks they don’t get the job. I think both are acceptable. But, yes, I have talked to many people who tell me the interviews went great, the interviewer said they’d call and nothing ever happened. So, in those cases, I would say that interviewer is being every bit of a douchebag.
Practical: There are a lot of people sending out ‘hundreds’ of resumes. Tell me the truth, are you the douchebag who puts those resumes in the ‘circular file’.
Karen: Ha ha ha ha, yes. I receive some resumes that belong in the circular file. I suppose you would call them ‘Douchebag Resumes’. I question the sanity of the people who send them in and I never want to meet those people face to face.
Practical: What constitutes a Douchebag Resume?
Karen: That would be a resume that is totally inappropriate, and not just according to the job description.
Practical: Why don’t you name some of these ‘inappropriate things’?
Karen: Stickers, Facebook photos…ahhhhh….other photos.
Practical: Other photos?
Karen: Yes, people put pictures of their pets and food on their resumes.
Practical: And the stickers, do you mean …
Karen: ‘My Little Pony’ stands out as the most recent.
Practical: What douchebags! Can you tell me what you mean by inappropriate for the job description?
Karen: The firm advertised for an Administrative Assistant for a new department. Proficiency in 2 inventory software packages in addition to the complete Microsoft Office Suite, and be available from 7 am to 7 pm on a flexible schedule, 7 days a week. Out of 150 or so resumes I only received 10 I could reasonably bring in for an interview. And two of them were stretching it. The bad resumes, well, one was faxed in and it came through as totally black pages. Whoever sent it must have used black ink on a very dark paper. At least half showed they had no experience with any of the software, including basics like Excel and PowerPoint, and all of them, even the ones we called in, had spelling errors. A lot of people just ignored the ad. We got beautiful professional resumes from Registered Nurses, heavy equipment operators, an internet security expert with more degrees than letters in your name, and a horticulturist.
Practical: So you ‘filed’ them ALL???
Karen: No, I called in ten for interviews and I put the security guy’s contact info in my vendor file, so I can find out if he might want to consider a vendor-client relationship when my current contract expires.
Practical: So what about the interviewees, what was different about the one you hired?
Karen: None of them were hired.
Karen: Well, two lied on their resumes and had no knowledge relating to the job. But they were both ‘willing to learn’. One person was rude to the interviewer in the elevator, so when they both walked into the same office, well, you can imagine!
Practical: You had two lying douchebags and one rude douchebag. What else?
Karen: Oh, there was ‘pee-pee pants’, one guy came in with a list of sixty some days he needed off EVERY YEAR, and ‘too much perfume’.
Practical: Isn’t there some kind of law against discrimination that makes you hire those folks?
Karen: Not for Mr. Sixty Days!
Practical: Well, he’s a douchebag.
Karen: The other two reeked in different ways but it was no reason to totally toss them out. People have accidents. But, if anything, they were even more unsavory during the second interview and since there were two people better qualified, they weren’t hired.
Practical: You said you didn’t hire anyone.
Karen: That is true. The first choice turned us down; I think we were a ploy to get a raise from his current employer. The second choice lost her temper when she was called back a week later than she thought she should be.
Practical: That is so interesting! Now, would you sum up the five most and least douchebag things to do when Job Hunting?
Karen: Ok –
DO: 1- Spell-Check your resume, and then, pull out a dictionary and check again. 2- Use Word or a program like it and type in a clean clear font. 3 – Be nice to everyone at the interview site. 4 – Be on time for the interview, 5 – Read the job being advertised and apply only if you can reasonable meet most of the qualifications.
DON’T: 1 – Lie on your resume or application. 2 – Have a list of demands on the first interview. 3 – Wear too much perfume or aftershave (many people are sensitive to strong scents) 4 – Don’t be clueless about the job for which you are interviewing. 5 – Don’t be rude or worse to the interviewer. Oh – And turn off your cell phone during the interview!
Updates from the Practical Gal
Start An Internet Business Tonight
The Practical Gal says YOU have what it takes to run a profitable internet based business from home!
A personally inspired web based enterprise is the perfect business for you if both your time and investment funds are limited. Your location is on the web so you don’t need to worry about finding office space, and you set your own hours so you can work from anywhere and at any time. You simply carry your pad with you and you are always ready to start working.
No employees’ are necessary, so you can choose to operate as a sole proprietorship and save yourself a monthly accounting expense and certain federal taxes. If you have decided to use your web enterprise to transition out of your current job without giving up the income, the ability to work from anywhere is very important. If you currently own a franchise or work in a retail store, a web based business is perfect for your needs.
If you have limited familiarity with the internet, the prospect of opening an internet business may be both attractive and daunting. You need a business idea; a website; products; payment processing; domain name; web hosting and especially advertising. All of these things together can seem like a huge obstacle, but in reality, it is very easy to get started on the road to success. The best thing is you don’t need to pay either a business consultant or an expensive web design consultant to start you on the road to success. Everyone wants a shiny new website with interesting gimmicks, and there are companies that will do it for a fee. But if you follow this advice, you can save yourself thousands of dollars in startup fees and avoid the frustration of falling prey to one of those companies that are only available if you agree to an expensive contract.
You will have no trouble starting your internet business with an investment of under $300.00. Any person willing to use their head, and put in some time can be successful. The tools are all, right there on-line for anyone to use. For example Godaddy.com is one of the world’s largest domain registrars and web hosting providers. But what people don’t pay attention to is the fact that for a $9.99 domain registration fee, you can get the dot com you’ve always wanted. Then for only $120.00 a year, you get a 900+ page website, free web hosting, a 1,000 address battery of email addresses that can be established for your website and an SSL certificate for security. Even if you can’t think of what to do immediately with your website, they will broker your website as a ‘parking spot’ for advertising and this will allow your website to generate income while you decide on what to do with it. Finally, a well named website has resale value. So if you buy the domain and website, and you park advertising on it, and then you decide to do something else, you can usually auction it off at a profit. With careful planning, your website can be valuable for the name alone. You can click here to get started immediately![$1.99 .Com at GoDaddy.com!]
Choosing a Business:
The first thing you need to do is make a business plan and to do that you must decide on a business. Are you an advice column or an Entertainment magazine? Are you selling a product or an idea? Are you using the website as a portal to a brick and mortar business or are you using it to promote ideas? Below is a list of businesses that you can easily manage as an internet business:
Product Reseller: This is retail without having to maintain an inventory. There are many product resellers that require no up-front investment at all. If you do not already have a relationship with the supplier, contact product wholesalers through the numerous b2b business websites on line. Next, conclude an agreement for the supplier to ‘drop ship’ product directly to the customer for you and bill you on shipment for the wholesale cost. On your website you will list the full retail plus shipping and handling. Since your product expenses and income are occurring at close to the same time; your start up exposure is usually limited. Double check your contracts to further minimize your costs. Discover three suppliers of every item you stock and get a firm price commitment from them before you begin.
Information/Entertainment Marketer: You don’t need to know a Hollywood star to write about entertainment news. You only need to write well. Combine witty stories with public domain photos and you have an ‘on line entertainment magazine’. If your expertise is astrology, write about that and include pictures of your specific tools. If you are an adult with exhibitionist leanings, you can put that talent to work, too. The idea is to identify your areas of expertise and offer them up with a professional looking flair. Give people what they want: insights, entertainments and quips. Incorporate pictures, diagrams and an e-mail forum where you answer questions. ‘Tweet’ with them, and they will come back hourly. Advertise your primary business, that of a friend, or approach local merchants and offer a business card ad on your website for a pre-agreed amount per year. Create content around products you like and let those advertisers come to you for a per-click deal, or go through an advertising broker. Adult Sites, especially, make money from well-placed, click thru advertising.
Retailer: If you have been working on crafts for years, the great news is that you have enough items (inventory) to become an on-line retailer already! If not, you will need to decide what you plan to sell and then raise the money to purchase the items. If you want to start a retail business, like Mystic-Bazaar, then you will have to get the products and get pictures on the website. If you want to sell handmade soaps like Berry Towne Crafts you will need to purchase the soap making supplies, and if you want to start a jewelry business like Aquarius Custom Jewelry you will need to purchase jewelry making supplies. For every product you can think of, there are also many wholesale outlets that will sell you six dozen or more of an item at an incredible price. Business websites like http://b2b.thetradepost.com/ are a great resource for all businesses, especially those who want to buy wholesale. Virtually any item that your purchase, you can then sell on your website at a profit.
Planning Your Business:
The plan does not need to start with a complex document generated by an MBA or a CPA. You hire a business specialist after your company is making money. Right now you need a pen and a piece of paper. Go get these important tools because it is time to get to work.
Write the type of internet business you are planning to start; Resale, Information or Retail across the top. Next, write your first choice for a name for your business. Now underneath, write several alternatives to use in case your business name is already being used.
Write the type of product you have decided to market for income. If it is information, what type of information? Once you decide write it down. The same holds true if you are reselling a product or retailing a product. When you begin, try to limit yourself to one product line: Clothing, Electronics; Crafts; Food Items; Auto Parts or any item you feel you have enough experience with to sell to others.
Research the places you will use to get your product. If you are selling information, and you are not an expert, do you know someone who is? Can you do the research yourself to become an expert? Are you experienced enough to provide the information plus references to experts? Find this out and write it down. Similarly, if you are selling a product, do you have three reliable suppliers of that product? Do the product research, find the suppliers and write them down.
Putting Your Website Together:
Now that you have your website planned on paper, you have to put it together.
If you are creating an information website, you will need to assemble the information you plan to make public. You either need to write articles and stories, pay people to write them for you, or locate a company that will sell you pre-written articles for a fee. You will need pictures, and videos, so you will either need to create them, pay people to create them for you, or find public domain art that you can re-publish for a fee. Once you have your articles and pictures you need to decide which page of your website will be best for them.
If you are a retailer or reseller, your job is a lot easier. You just need pictures of your product and a description. Your supplier will usually be happy to provide you with jpeg files of the products you buy along with written catalog descriptions. You only need to decide where to put them on your website. If you are selling your own products, you will need to take a clear picture of each item you are selling, and write a catchy description yourself.
Launching Your Website:
This is the easy part of what you plan to do! You may have been lucky enough to get free website software with your computer. If you have it, use that free software to get your business started. If you don’t have easy to use, free software, or you find what you have is confusing, you do not have to worry. GoDaddy.com is one of the domain registration and Web hosting companies that make the entire set up easy with products like ‘Website Tonite. They provide free customer support for their products, and they can do your complete web design and set up for a reasonable fee.
Making Money with Your Website:
Flex your earning muscles and get yourself paid. Retailing and reselling have an easy cash flow to follow. If you had a storefront in a mall, people would walk in with money and walk out with their purchase. Instead you need to plan to do a little bit of internet advertising. Gooogle’s Advertizing is the best place to start.
You need to manage your funds, and a great way to do this is with a Pay Pal account. PayPal allows people to purchase what they want from you using a credit card, cash or check, but relieves you of the burden of tracking a lot of different payment types. If you have an Information and entertainment website, you will probably rely solely on advertising for income.
Go on line and set up a Pay Pal account that is connected to a bank account you plan to only use for business.
Once Your Pay Pal account is activated, they will provide you with ‘Buy Now’ buttons that you can add to the descriptions of each product on your website.
If you have an information website, or if you want to make extra income from your retail website, you can run advertising for other companies. It is easy to run a web search for companies that will place per click ads, or you can become a Go Daddy or Google advertising partner. Don’t forget to contact your local businesses. They may also be interested in paying you a fee for advertising.
For reasons unknown to even the best business professionals, even the best run and best funded businesses fail. It could be the location, it could be the employees, it could be the product, it could be the competition it could be all of those factors or none of those factors. This business advice is an outline for your to follow, but in no way guarantees success in your venture. Your success is 100% up to you. No Douchebags Allowed.com; And Whatever Concept Works, and all related individuals/entities are in no way responsible any type of failure, lack of income, loss of income, litigation, loss, misdeed, unfortunate incident or anything that results from your use of any kind of information, including business advice, and/ or any suggestions on this or any other related website.
UPDATES from the Practical Gal
Every Workplace has challenges: These letters show you how challenging it can be!
Our company merged with another and many staff were let go. The remaining work groups were placed under a manager named ‘Rosa’. Rosa has a personal assistant – ‘Rena’ who has been with her forever. On the first day Rena announced that we were very lucky that Rosa saved our jobs and she had organized a thank you party. Everyone was supposed to contribute for a cake and a card and a small gift. There are thirty of us so I put in a dollar because I am broke. So at the party Rena announced that We didn’t get Rosa the gift she wanted (an expensive Coach bag as it turns out) but she understood ‘hard times’ and suggested we do better next time. Next Time was the end of the third quarter meeting six weeks later. Then it was Rosa’s birthday, and then it was Christmas. Every three or four weeks Rena announces another excuse to pick our pockets in the name of Rosa. Rena stays locked in the big office with Rosa (who walks past us and never blinks and never makes eye contact) except when she is trying to ‘shame us’ into a bigger contribution for Rosa’s next ‘thing’. Rosa and Rena do no work that we can see, and somehow Rosa has taken twelve weeks of vacation leave in the fourteen months she’s been here. I’m out over $150.00 since Rosa ‘saved’ our jobs. I haven’t been able to find a job that pays as well, and the one guy who stood up and said he couldn’t afford to keep paying for parties had his job ‘phased out’ three weeks later. Did I mention that every ‘Thank You’ gift we have given to Rosa as shown up on Rena three to four months later?
………………………….Signed the Human ATM
This is an evil variation of the ‘Company Store’ scams run by the big industrialists at the beginning of the 20thcentury. To quote Allison Green from ‘Ask A Manager.com’ ..”It is wildly inappropriate to give your boss gifts in the workplace – gifts should flow downward and not upward. It is even more inappropriate for your workplace to pressure you into doing it.”http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2012/11/28/10-rules-for-holiday-gift-giving-in-the-office.
Follow this link for Rules of Office Gift Giving and I strongly suggest that you circulate it around the office. Then follow this link to find out legal ways to remedy your situation without losing your job.
I make almost $30K a year as a secretary in an office of 12 people. I have been here for 5 years and I like my coworkers and I save money by walking both ways to work on nice days. I live with the older brother who helped raise me and together we take care of our mom and his ten year old son of whom he has sole custody. I take night classes in Speech Pathology and will have my degree in two years.
I tell you this because what seemed at first like a lighthearted tease has become an oppressive ordeal twice a year.
Tess is the office manager, and she is also the daughter of the company president. When I started, she was on vacation in Fiji with her family. When she returned she told me that I should really vacation in Fiji sometime. I laughed and said that was my plan as soon as I finished college and had money saved up. She went to Paris for Christmas; on her return the entire office wound up sitting around her for a day while she showed off pictures and shopping. We each got a tiny Eiffel Tower. Six months later it was Hawaii, and three months after that it was the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Then she started in on me “Why don’t you ever take a vacation?”;
Practical: We get the regular Federal Holidays and 1 week paid every year. We get the option of cashing in our leave and working. I always do this because I use the money for school. Some of the others have racked up their credit cards for fancy vacations they can’t afford , and they complain about the bills but when Tess is around it is like they are in a private vacation club and I think I’ve been passed over for raises because I won’t give in to Tess and ditch my responsibilities and run up debt……Signed Growning up Responsible.
Congratulations for managing your life so well. From what you have told me there have been challenges and you have worked through them. Speech Pathologists can command high salaries.
Your job sounds convenient, and if the only problem is Tess and her vacation clique, and you have only two years until you graduate into a high paying career, then, unless you have an immediate line to a better job, suck in your gut and quietly check off the calendar days until you leave.
To manage Tess in the meantime, choose a date after your graduation, when you plan to resign in favor of that great job with your new skills. (Give yourself about four months to find that job, to play it safe.) Then tell Tess that you are planning a great vacation for (that date you just chose) and then ask her to help you plan the best two week luxury vacation you can think of. Give her thirty locations that you find attractive and go to work on that fantasy dream. Don’t make any reservations. You aren’t going anywhere except to a new job.
Tess, if I gauge her correctly, enjoys being the queen bee everyone goes to. Playing up to her will help keep you secure while you finish up your time, and give her something to distract her from you. Chances are she will absolutely HAVE to visit the places you’ve picked out for your ‘dream’, so she will be the expert…and that is fine.When you graduate and get that new job, feel free to give notice, and let Tess know you enjoyed letting her plan your vacation, and you plan to take that vacation...as soon as you have settled into your new job.
UPDATES from the Practical Gal
Tips for Job Hunting When Over 50
Job Hunting when over 50 is very challenging. Job ads feature terms like ‘vibrant’ and ‘perky’ in an effort to slant the ad towards a younger workforce. TV ads tell you to ‘cover up that gray’ and even the AARP commercial features a slim woman in spiked heels who looks 35 all the way to her perfectly black hair. Even though there are laws against workplace discrimination, it is almost impossible to prove that a company that is interviewing dozens of people daily is actually consciously discriminating against older workers.
So, what can a 50 to 80 year old do to avoid being labeled a ‘dud’ in the interview process?
Well, if you’ve been out hitting the job market, perhaps it is time to review your tactics and approach the interviews in a new and creative way.
Your old job skills are still valid, but if you go into any interview, and all you can talk about are job skills learned in the 1980’s (or before), the signal you send to the interviewer is that you are stuck in that decade. “I’ve been evaluating production numbers since I graduated from UCLA thirty years ago, that is why I am perfect for the job.” Yes, that says a lot about your strength, but it makes you seem stuck in a ‘my way is the only way’ mind loop. Think of something RECENT you have done with those job skills instead, and highlight that: “I joined Quirky.com so I can help evaluate production numbers during the start-up approval process. I’ve been doing this professionally for years, but I am really excited by the Quirky.com process.”
Many people in the workforce today are young enough to be your children and grandchildren. That shouldn’t matter, but in today’s economy, many of these young adults are still paying off college loans and living at home. In the past the idea of the ‘Office Mom’ or ‘Office Uncle’ was comforting. When you were younger, you could afford to be on your own and wanted an older role model. Now people want to get away from ‘Helicopter parenting’. Talk more about new learning opportunities at a new job. Talk about eagerness to participate in a new and dynamic group. Make them think you are wide eyed in wonder, not that you want to take over and run things your way. And do not talk about your adult kids past the “I raised a fine son/daughter who is successful, so I bring with me the skill of mentoring a successful person through life’s’ adversities.” Stop here, anything else is too much information. Get back to talking about the job and the company.
Dress well, but avoid trendy and over the top looks. The biggest problem with young people is that they don’t know how to dress. Flip Flops do not go with a business suit even if they cost $200.00 and are covered in crystals. However, the same can be said of that outfit you wore on that job interview in 1978. It might be fashionably ‘retro’, but you are interviewing for a job today and not a part in a throw-back TV series. Buy the latest issue of ‘In Style’ and look for what people your age are wearing, and try to put it together from your existing wardrobe. Better yet, and this goes for everyone, female and male, ages 15 to 85: If you do not have a classically cut Chanel suit, you cannot go wrong with a traditional navy blue suit, red, white or blue solid shirt, very, very simple jewelry, and closed toed shoes. If you wear a skirt, wear nude or tan stockings to match your skin tone. Please do not show the interviewer any skin below your collarbone.
Learn something about social media, web design, and blogging. Better yet, use one of the easy and fun on line templates and tools offered by GoDaddy, Vistaprint and a number of other companies to create a webpage of your own. Write several 300 to 400 word articles about things you are skilled in and put them on the website along with some pictures. While interviewing, point out that you developed this website to keep yourself up to date with new skills and media. A sixty–seven year old who has an active website (not about grandkids or cats) will seem more up to employment by a modern company than a thirty two-year old whose primary hobby is tweeting snarky comments.
Don’t go overboard covering up gray hair; most people over 30 have some. Instead, go to a hairdresser and ask them to do a professional job that will take out most, not all of the gray.
Contact someone at the organizations listed on your resume, if you can. Make certain that the contact person on your resume is still available, if not, get the name of a person who can be contacted and let them know they will receive a call. You do not want your job references to say ‘Never heard of him/her.
Best Budget Book Ever?....continued from page one
A certain billionaire was reported to have advised people – ‘Save part of your earnings first, then you spend what is left.’ When you think about that, then you will wonder why people will look at the act of planning a budget and saving like they are depriving themselves of something.
You know that isn’t really true, but the media has you so flooded with brand new and better goods, that you often begin to feel like you are missing something if you do not have that latest and shiniest current fad.
A well planned out budget can put that nagging feeling to rest while insuring that your basic needs are always covered. Having a budget means that you will know what is in your bank account and how much money you will have on a week to week basis for things like rent, food, transportation and, of course, fun.
Best Budgets for Success and Excellence in
Your Life by Excellence-Success could be the Best Budget Book Ever. This book gives you easy step by step budgets that area actually planned out for you on a weekly basis for up to 104 weeks. There are budgets for students saving to move from home, college graduates trying to pay off student loans, and professionals’ earning over $50,000.00 a year. This book has recipes, menu plans and even grocery lists to help you budget wisely and even a section on how to adapt each budget to any every specific need you have.
This kind of planning permits you to make a spending arrangement for your cash and it guarantees that you will dependably have enough cash for the things you require and the things that are critical to you. Taking control of yourself with a financial plan or spending arrangement such as a budget will likewise keep you out of monetary obligations or offer you some assistance with working out of debt in the event that you have creditors.
Best Budgets for Success and Excellence in Your Life gives you critical planning, which is the most fundamental and the best apparatus for dealing with your money. Yet, a great many people abstain from doing it on the grounds that it is extra work. This book takes the effort and angst out of budget planning. This is an amazing book for everyone who wants to learn to eliminate debt, save money and become wealthy.
Practical Gal's Updates
No DoucheBags Allowed