Category Archives: Uncategorized

When you’re replacing the interviewer

Jill had to interview with the person she was going to replace. That person was being fired. It was an uncomfortable situation. Let’s make it worse. That person thought he was irreplaceable. No one could possibly know accounting like he did. No one would work as hard. Jill couldn’t possibly win.

Jill didn’t pass the interview. She won anyway.

It was a chance to spy, do business intelligence and find out about the other leaders. A month later the managers who allowed this curmudgeon to reject her came back to Jill. They came on bended knees. It was a terrible mistake they admitted. But that terrible interview gave her insight to ask difficult questions of those managers. Jill quickly found out that she didn’t want to work for them. We found her a different job that was a much better fit.

If you are thrown into the lion’s den, take advantage of it. You can turn the interview around and find out about the company, the leadership and the rest of the team. You may be able to find out where the company is really going. Find out who the biggest competitors are. One of those competitors may want to hire you. The possibilities are only limited by the questions you ask. 

Take a hostile interview and turn it into a learning opportunity. You don’t have to let anyone beat you down. 

Later, if you are in a friendly interview, the same questions can show your interest in the company, job, and industry.

Something to do today

In your journal write down questions you can ask in an interview. What would help you in your job search? Showing interest in the company, competitors and industry will actually make you look better in the interview.

How to save your resume from getting deleted

Some people wisely ask, how can I hide my flaws? Others seem to ask, how can I hide my greatest strengths? 

Every resume I read is a mystery novel. For instance, an accountant dismissed in March is a lot different than one dismissed in May. March is the busy part of tax season, so, why would a competent accountant be sacked? May is a time that accountants cut back on staff. Is the firing a red flag or a red herring?

Is an 8 or 10 line “objective” on a resume a red herring? Do any of those 200 words really mean anything? A 300 word paragraph describing the last job is incredible camouflage for good and bad. 

A bullet cuts through all the fluff, just like in a murder mystery. Find the bullet, find the gun, find the murderer. I always read the first 3 bullets under a job in a resume. 

If those first 3 bullets are three red flags, then I will absolutely skip the rest. 

If those first 3 bullets are three red herrings, I may skip the rest. By skipping the rest, I may miss the one important bullet that would convince me to keep your resume.

My problem is that I am human. I am easily distracted. I have hours of work to plow through before I leave. If I see too many red herrings in your resume, I’ll push the delete key. I don’t have the time to carefully consider each bullet to see if it’s a herring or a flag.

How many pounds of red herring are in your resume?

Something to do today

Hand your resume and the job ad you are applying for to a friend. Ask them if they match. If it takes more than 15 seconds to say, “Yes!”, then you lose.

Super short resumes that work

Sometimes an extremely short resume is better than a long one. When? I go into that in this short video.

How to rewrite your resume in 15.01 minutes so you start getting calls.

I rewrite a resume in 15.01 minutes in this video. It was keeping a great candidate from getting hired.
You will see all the major mistakes made on problem resumes.



(Here’s the book, too.)

The first law of survival – corporate or wilderness

If your company or your job is falling apart, what do you do?

The first law of wilderness survival is:

“Strive to completely control that which you can control completely. Let God provide the rest.”

In a plane crash, once the plane is down, and everyone else is dead, you can’t bring them back to life.  You can’t fly the wreckage to civilization.  You can’t control the weather.  There is no way to control the rescue operation.

So, you set out to completely control that which you can control completely.  First you take care of your wounds.  Then you get to a safe location.  You have to figure out how to survive the weather.  Water is essential.  Food is important after a few days.  And how are the rescuers going to find you?

The same rule applies in a company disaster.  Strive to completely control that which you can control completely.  Let God (and the government) provide the rest.

Start controlling what you can completely control.  Use your energy on the most important things first.  Then expand your absolute control to things that are important but were not immediately necessary for survival.  Let God provide the rest.

The absolutely best part about using the first law of survival is that you will regain control.  You will feel better.  Your attitude will improve.  Stress goes down.  Creativity increases.  You make good use of all your resources.  You get help that will make a difference instead of panicking and investing in a $25,000 seminar that won’t help right now.

If you want help getting in contact with other people at your level to bounce ideas off of, let me know.  I have put together a few roundtables. I may be able to help.

Get complete control over what you can control.  You’ll survive.  Let God provide the rest.  You’ll feel happier and recover faster. You will regain control.

Need a job? Promotion? Rigged game. Play anyway!

Of course the game is rigged.  Don’t let that stop you—if you don’t play, you can’t win. (Robert Heinlein)

Need a new job? Promotion? Make a game out of it, keep trying

Games can be deadly serious

Winning is deadly serious.

Chess, poker, basketball and football are just games.  Some people study those games intently and never play themselves.  Others study the games and get into the competitions, contemplating victory and risking defeat. Those who watch from comfortable chairs and never participate, can never know the struggle and thrill of victory, nor the cleansing scourge of defeat.  The quiet careful critics will never grow a hundredth as much as the rankest loser grows.

Look at your job search like your favorite game or sport

That job or promotion you have applied for 5 or 10 times may really be out of reach for you.  That doesn’t mean you should stop trying.  At least you are in the game.  You will never win if you quit the field of battle.

Out of work?  Every job you apply for is a new game. Every time an employer calls you is a victory.  The next game is the interview.  Another game starts in the second interview.  Negotiating your salary is another game.  The day you start the job a new competition begins.

For a game you study techniques and practice them over and over. You also study the great winners and losers.  If you want to be great, you also study the mediocre masses because you have to find out why they are merely mediocre.  If you want to win, you have to know how to defeat each of your opponents. 

A coach is also essential. Your coach will be called a mentor, recruiter or friend. Find the most successful person you can and ask for them to give you advice on what you should learn, study and practice next. Practice, prepare and then execute.  If you lose 20 times it won’t really kill you.  Look at it as a game.  The only thing that really kills you is giving up and leaving the game for good.

If there is a job or promotion you want but just can’t seem to win, make a game out of it. Play. Have some serious fun with it.

Something To Do Today

Make your job growth a game.  How can you learn to play it at a Super Bowl level?  Who can be your coach?  Get back in the game. Play.

Out of work?  Job hunting?  Make it a game.

I don’t want to spend my money on training

Employers should pay for training for their employees, right?.  The employers get the benefit of employees being trained so it is only fair employers pay.

Books, Read, Learn, Literature, Old Books, Library

That’s true, except for one thing, you can leave tomorrow.  They cannot clean the training out of your brain and put it into someone else’s brain.  The fact that employers EVER pay for training is a tribute to their vision for the future.

I hear the excuse, “My employer should pay me to learn”, every week.  Many people won’t buy a book about their job. They won’t spend 2 hours a night studying for 3 months to pass a certification exam.  Some won’t even stay late at the company training center because they aren’t being paid to learn. There are many short sighted people.

When you get trained you have bettered yourself for the rest of your life. When you get a new job you get paid to keep your skills and your old employer loses out.  If you are in a hurricane and lose your house, computer and car, you get to keep your skills.  How much did you spend on your car and how much did you spend on your skills?  What will your car be worth in 10 years? It really does make sense to invest in your skills and knowledge. There is very little else that someone can’t take away from you.

Financial counselors say, “Pay yourself first.”  Make that first payment into your skills.  

Something To Do Today

Make a list of certifications, books, courses and seminars that would help you stay ahead of the gang in your field.  Why not start on one of them today?

Using new skills to re-enter the workforce

“I took 4 years off and started a business. It has been fun, but I want to get back into a real job. I programmed on the old mainframe computers. I don’t want to spend my money getting training. What do I do?”

Strategy, Chess, Board Game, Win, Champion

It is not hard for skills and tools to become obsolete in 4 years. There are a couple things you can do:

  1. Keep looking for a job that wants your legacy skill set
    1. Start at beginner level wages and learn a new skill set on the job
    1. Pay for your own training

Depending on what you do, the first option could be a sure thing or a miracle. ColdFusion programmers? That might be hard. Cost accounting? Easy enough. If you’re stable enough to wait a long time, go for it.

If you know how to market yourself, number one gets easier. Keep in touch with the companies that you’d like to work for if your skills aren’t used as much anymore. Talking to the hirers on LinkedIn in those companies every month is an easy way to keep yourself aware of any opportunities.

Number two is totally fine. If you’re okay taking the time to get up to your previous level, you will get there eventually. Learning new skills keeps boredom at bay.

Paying for your training will get you the most pay over the next several years. I’ve had people tell me “I’m not going to learn a new skill unless my employer pays me to learn it!” and then wonder why they never get a raise. Taking your own time to learn new skills and get updated certifications will get you a better job faster than other options.

Something To Do Today

Write a plan. What would you do if you were struck with an illness and took three years to recover?


What is a skill you’d like to learn to help you in your job hunt? Research classes to help you learn that skill.

Why I don’t care when you say you’re a fast learner

Two easy reasons: No one is ever going to say they’re a slow learner. Second, if you’re needing to learn to do the job, you’re not properly qualified.

That’s not to say being a fast learner is bad. It’s incredibly useful. But, it’s not going to get you a job unless you learn it to use the tools you need for that job.

Race, Track And Field, Running, Sport, Sprint, Olympics
The first person to the finish line is the person holding it

Instead of saying “I can learn quickly”, show what you learned, or what you will learn. If you can really learn quickly, it won’t be an issue to learn something to show. “What did you learn” is a lot better than “what can you learn” because a hirer doesn’t want to have to teach you to do a job.

“I’m a fast learner” is an easy save when the employer asks about a qualification or experience you don’t have. It’s almost expected to hear it. It’s so average they won’t really hear it when you say it.

So… don’t say it. “I don’t know much about that, but I’d love to spend a few days learning what I can and write a brief report on it for you. It seems incredibly interesting”.

That’s an engaging statement. “I can learn quickly” is a boring statement with no development. Better yet, it encourages them in the interview to talk to you again in a few days, further securing a second interview.

42% of people never read another book after graduating college. Read books and learn. It’s better to be a steady learner than a fast learner. Pick up new skills and knowledge every year, or the industry will move on without you, leaving you wondering what happened and why no one offered to train you.

Go and learn for yourself. It’ll help you more than being a fast learner. Once you learn the skills, you’ll get that raise or job you want.

Something To Do Today

Write what advanced or unusual skills you have picked up on a piece of paper. Learn the list well. If any are outstanding, put it on your resume. Keep track of any new skills you learn to brag about them.

Bonus points: pick up an educational book. Read it cover to cover.

How to job hunt in recessions, panics, and disasters

The best advice for job hunting in a recession is to not go job hunting. That’s not always going to be an option.

Unemployment has been near record lows for the last several years. The quit rate (leaving a job without another lined up) was near record highs at the same time. Is this going to turn into a recession? Maybe. We’ll find out over the next six months. That’s not what I know.

What I do know, is how to job hunt in recessions and panics like this.

  1. Try to find jobs where someone quit or was fired so there is an active, painful gap in the company
  2. Avoid openings that are looking for expansion, or are always open like a general low-level sales position
Success, Business Woman, Career, Jump, Risk, Reach, Job

It’s not necessarily bad to look for expansion positions or the like. However, they *will* waste your time if they’re not actively hiring. They might set up a couple interviews just to keep you warm and never hire you. If you’re truly an amazing candidate, they may still hire you.

Additionally, budget cuts and savings are going to be especially attractive on a resume for obvious reasons. Anything you have (even minor) in regards to that should be on your resume.

Last thing: Be prepared for things like background checks. Employers get far more nervous during a recession. This is doubly true when they’re not able to do in person interviews due to something like COVID19 shutting everything down. Employers want to be protected from a bad hire as much as possible.

Something To Do Today

Prove that you’re the best value for their buck. What shows that you would save them money compared to another candidate? Put that front and center on your resume.