Like your job search, even lasers have to focus

Careers and lasers are not naturally focused.  Your career focus will determine whether you have the career you want, or the one that is most convenient for your boss and coworkers.

Lasers, by nature, are also unfocused. A common misconception is that the light comes out of a laser in a tight beam.  It does not.  If you take a laser pointer apart you will see a simple lens just in front of the laser. Because of the light’s coherence and origin, the light can be focused into a tight beam. Coherent light waves all marching in step come from a laser naturally.  Focus has to be designed into it.

Most people laugh at the idea of a company president becoming a janitor.  I know two people who decided to do it.  They decided to change the focus of their lives.  Both make a lot of money as janitors because they are focused.

Do you need a focus for your career and job search?  You may be capable of being a manager, worker, company president, and janitor.  With 4 resumes you could apply for each job in a coherent manner.  You could also interview for each and present yourself as the perfect employee.  But should you?

What are your talents?  What do you do better than others?  What do you want to learn?

Inability to get ahead in a career is often caused by a lack of purpose or focus.  You are happy to float to wherever there is an opening today.  Everyone always tells you what a great team player you are.  The trouble is that your raises are small and you get passed over for promotions.

So you decide to get another job.  You apply for every job you can.  Your new job is outside of the field you were in before.  Once again you float into whatever needs to be done today.  Your career goes nowhere.

Do you WANT to go nowhere as fast as you can?

Stop today.  Focus on a goal.  What is the next job, responsibility, or promotion you want?  Turn down urgent requests to do something else.  Stop letting the minor inconvenience of other people decide what you will do.  Focus on a goal.

One way to tell if you are focused is to count how many people YOU ask to help YOU reach YOUR goal.  Ask for help.  Network.  Talk to people doing what you want to do next.  Get their advice.  Focus on one goal.

But what if you are unemployed?  It still works.  Decide on a specific job, title or assignment you want the most.  Find people doing that job.  Ask them to help you figure out how to get to that job.  That’s networking.  That’s laser like focus.


Something To Do Today

Talk to someone doing the job you want for your next job.  Ask them the steps you can take to get the same job.


Tomorrow:  Why lasers work – part 3

Later:  What time is it?

Put your feet up on his desk.

Sunshine collecting

What a laser like focus means in your job search (part 1)

Your job search and resume have to have a laser-like focus.  But what does that really mean?

Light waves first marched in step half a century ago.  The laser was born.  A 10 watt laser will burn you from a mile away.  A 100 watt light bulb will only burn you if you touch it.

Light waves marching in step is called coherence.  When light comes out of the laser it is one pure color.  Each bit of light created inside a laser merges into more and more powerful light waves.  The waves of light get stronger, more intense.  A simple lense focuses the light into a narrow beam of light.

Coherence, marching in step, and being only one color are keys to lasers.  In a resume and in an interview coherence is also a critical key.  Hiring managers always look for attitude and experience.  Let me give you an example of lack of coherence in each.

Attitude:  I love my job.  I give it everything I’ve got.  I will do whatever is required to get the job done.  Can I leave early on Wednesday and Friday?  You can just pay me for a 34 hour week.  Okay? (He’ll do what it takes? Why not work a full week?)

Experience:  I’m a pure manager.  I lead.  My people get the job done under my direction and I don’t have to do the work.  I installed the server software over a weekend myself.  I also designed and programmed the billing software.  I supervise 2 part-time people. (Pure manager? He’s a worker with a title.)

If something you say cancels out another thing you said, you lack coherence. If you apply for three different jobs, you should have 3 resumes.  Each should tell one story.  You need to drop information from your resume that is not important to the job you seek.

In an interview make sure you stay on track.  Talk about exactly what suits you for this job.  If the interviewer asks you a question that doesn’t apply, give an extremely brief answer.  Then ask her, “Will that be part of my responsibilities in this job?”  It is always a good idea to find out why a strange question is asked.

Hiring managers notice when your resume and your interviews all march in step.  It makes them feel safe.  Pay attention to what you say and how you say it.  Be coherent.


Something To Do Today

Do you give the same message on the job, in an interview and on your resume?  It may be time to change and get laser-like focus.  Do you need 3 different resumes?


Tomorrow:  Why lasers work – part 2

Later:  Why lasers work (3 part)

What time is it?

Put your feet up on his desk.

Ruling throws out some Noncompete’s in PA

if you are asked to sign a non-competition clause after you are hired. they have to give you a substantial raise, check, promotion, cash, or something valuable.  If not, you are free to go anywhere you want.

A court case in PA just confirmed that.  All the details are in this article.

Basically, if they threaten to take away your job and make you sign something saying that you waive the compensation, they have no contract.  The actually have to give you some compensation or they lose, no matter what they had you sign.

Make sure you check out the details.

If you want a general review of PA noncompete law, try this article..

Newspapers sell (like your resume should)  

Is your resume as interesting as this movie summary?

Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first woman she meets and then teams up with three complete strangers to kill again. (Marin County’s newspaper listing for The Wizard of Oz)

Headlines sell newspapers.  Short, bold, snappy paragraphs suck you in.  Then advertisers convince you that you will be inferior without their help.  Sounds like the perfect resume to me.

Grab a newspaper.  The columns are under 3 inches wide.  Paragraphs are short. They are written at a fifth grade reading level.  All of these things make them easy to digest.  They don’t challenge a reader’s skill.  They soothe your eyes and intellect.

Notice the headline in your newspaper, an attention grabbing subject.  Now just read the title of every story.  The titles entice you to read the first sentence.  The first sentence gives you enough information that your curiosity makes you finish the first paragraph.

Newspapers aren’t mystery stories.  Newspapers are written in a top down style. You should be able to stop after the first paragraph and know the critical facts of the story.  The next paragraph clarifies a detail.  Each succeeding paragraph clarifies another detail.

Is your resume written like a newspaper?  Can a secretary see in 10 seconds that you are qualified?  Can she pick it back up and see you have some depth with a 45 second read?  When she passes it to the hiring manager will he decide it is worth keeping after his 10 second review?

Your resume only has one job, to get you an interview.  Do the headlines and titles sell? Do short, bold, snappy paragraphs suck you in?  Does your resume convince the hiring manager that you alone can get him his next bonus?  Is your resume doing its job?


Something To Do Today

Grab a newspaper.  Notice how you read it.  Where do your eyes naturally focus?  What tricks do the editors use?  How do advertisers get you to focus on the ads?  Can you use any newspaper techniques in your resume?

Avoid the Rush Limbaugh job interview

My apologies in advance.  I like Rush Limbaugh.  He’s a great entertainer.

Can you imagine interviewing someone with Rush Limbaugh’s on-air attitude?  It might go something like this:

Q. What are your most current skills?

A. I not only have skills, I have abilities, insight and a keen intellect that will be focused with laser-like intensity on your problems.  You no longer need to think.  You only need to hire me and stand back.  I have come to save you with Talent on loan from God. (Translation: I will come to work.)


Q. What can you do for our company?

A. Do?  With the blazing brainpower you are blessed to see before you, I will revolutionize your company.  The darkest cranny and the most exposed pinnacle will be dazzlingly transformed and transmuted into veritable gold.  I have come to solve every intractable problem that has heretofore escaped resolution. (Translation: I will think while working.)


Do you say as little with so many impressive words?

I have half my brain tied behind my back, just to make it fair.  (Rush Limbaugh)

In an interview or on your resume do you embroider your answer with colors that confuse? Do you try to show your enthusiasm with concrete accomplishments, or do you camouflage with flowery verbiage?

I do interviews and read resumes every day.  I prefer facts simply spoken.  I enjoy examples plainly displayed. I delight in crisp clean thought.

Give an interviewer what he craves, and he will give you a job.  Simplify, simplify, simplify. Tell what you actually have done and can do.  You will stand out and be noticed.  Your accomplishments will be remembered.  You will be asked to accept a job..


Something To Do Today

Focus on what you do best and what makes you different.  Take everything else out of your resume.  Why tell a hiring manager that water is wet?  Tell him what sets you apart.


Tomorrow:  Newspapers sell

Later:                                      Why lasers work (3 part)

Resumes, prayers, and hymnbooks

Your resume must be set up for maximum impact to get you an interview.  To be chosen, you first must be seen, read, and understood.

You haven’t got a prayer of having your resume read unless you remember a hymnbook.

A resume should be created with a hymnbook in mind.  A hymnbook is created so that a singer may read the text and the music without shifting their eyes.  An organist can play a measure or two with one glance.  A chorus director can read all 4 singing parts and the text in quick glances.

So why is this important for a resume? Because most resumes are thrown out in 10 seconds.

From the top line of the top staff of music to the bottom line of the bottom staff of music is 1 to 1 1/2 inches.   The width of one measure is usually the same.  A trained musician can read two measures wide, or about 3 inches of music, in one glance.  Have you noticed that when there are too many verses, some are moved from between the music staffs to the bottom of the page?  If the line gets too wide, it takes two glances to read it.

Your resume must be set up for maximum impact to get you an interview.  It should be created in high impact sections.  Each section should be the same size and shape as two measures of music in a hymnbook:  1 to 1 1/2 inches high by 2-3 inches wide.

Most people look at a page in rectangular sections.  Go to some high volume internet sites.  They are arranged in small rectangular sections with high impact.  Pull down menus in computer programs are also sized about the same.  The reason is because you can read all that information at a glance.

Your resume has to sing to get you an interview.  A reader’s eyes will naturally pause in three or four places on your resume.  That is where the most compelling evidence of your attitude and productivity must be displayed.  Bullet points break up an unreadable paragraph into high impact, one glance sections.  Key words in bold become the center of focus.

Look at your resume.  Does it read like a hymnbook in one glance rectangular sections? Or does it look like a monotonous term paper with huge paragraphs strung completely across a page.  Time to get it into readable rectangular impact areas.


My free resume planner is available at .

Something To Do Today

Hand your resume to a friend.  Take it away after 10 seconds.  Ask them what they read.  That will tell you where your current high impact areas are.


Tomorrow:  The Rush Limbaugh job interview

Later:  Newspapers sell

Job and job search help I saw at the library

My email signature is, “The harder I work on me, the better my life gets.”  There is only one person I can control.  There is only one person I can manipulate into changing.  Me.

Years ago I decided I can work on “me” an extra 30-45 minutes a day.  I converted brain dead commuting time into learning time.

My local library is as large as an average two bedroom house.  Small.  So, I decided to go to a much larger library 10 miles away.  I expected to go in and find a few dozen books on tape.  That’s not what I found.

The library had thousands of books on tape and CD.  There were courses in physics, history, philosophy, music, foreign languages and a hundred other subjects.  Novels, biographies and non-fiction books that have been bestsellers filled bookcase after bookcase. I can even order them by inter-library loan from our little library.

Invest in yourself.  Your mind is the only thing the government can’t take from you.

I listened to a book on how to think.  What makes a genius like Leonardo Da Vinci a genius, different, and great?  Another series of books was on Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Napoleon, and others.  I listened to Freakonomics.  I’m learning.

“If you want to be truly successful invest in yourself to get the knowledge you need to find your unique factor.  When you find it and focus on it and persevere your success will blossom.” (Sidney Madwed)

I’ve got the next 30 years figured out.  I’m learning something. I’m going to invest in myself.


Something To Do Today

What is your dead time?  How can you most easily transform your dead time into head time?

Your job search: the poker game

If you look at every job search decision, action, and result as a measure of your worth, you are setting yourself up for massive failure.  In this article a world renowned poker player talks about evaluating decisions based on the information you had at the time you made the decision.

There may be absolutely nothing you can do to win a job you are perfectly qualified for.  If one of the other candidates is married to the boss’s daughter, you lose.

In survival, you control what you can control, and let God take care of the rest.  In job hunting, interviews, negotiations, and job performance, you control what you can control and let go of the rest.  You can’t win every hand.

This is a great article on poker and business.

Your job search is mortal combat: win every time

If you job hunt (or go to work) expecting mortal combat, where the other guy must lose, you will fail.  If you have a strong attitude that, “The company, my manager and I are going to win big,“ you will succeed.  In job search mortal combat you must defeat the real enemy every time. You will lose every time if you fight your allies.

I exhort you also to take part in the great combat, which is the combat of life, and greater than every other earthly combat.  (Plato)

Are companies idiots for not hiring you?  Is every interviewer prejudiced?  Let’s look at your job.  Do you assume that your workplace is run by fools?  Do you know more than your boss?  Do you hang around the complainers and whiners at work?  Are you the ringleader?  Are people out to get you?

People really may be out to get you if you have a bad attitude.  A hiring manager wants someone who will help and support him.  Promotions come to people who help raise team spirits and achieve goals.  Raises are given when a person is worth more than they are being paid.  The manager interviewing you for a job will get a feeling how you treat your current boss.  Your attitude will come through in the interview.

So how should you treat your current boss?

She should be your ally.  In mortal combat, you help your allies.

Often you have to train your manager.  She doesn’t have your perspective on problems.  You need to constantly bring things to her attention that she may not know. You need to train her patiently, the way you would like to be trained.

Would you like to get pats on the back for the good things you do along with the occasional pointer on how to correct a mistake?  Do the same with your boss.  Positive reinforcement sets the stage for your negative comments to be heard.  Take an attitude check today.  Are you saying 5 positive things for every negative you voice?  Keep track.

Are you job hunting?

Can the interviewer tell how you engage in destructive mortal combat?  Is that why they are avoiding you?  Do you treat your current manager as your best ally?  If the right attitude shines through, they will hire you.

Business really is mortal combat.  You have to plan on winning every time.  Are you going to defeat stupidity with perfect logic and rapier sharp attacks?  No, you will lose.  Do you plan on patiently helping everyone learn, grow and win?  Your victory is assured.

An attitude of constant improvement will win. Constant carping criticism loses every time.


Something To Do Today

Keep a notepad with you.  Make two columns.  Put a check in one column for every positive thing you say.  Put a check in the other column for every negative thing you say.  Do the positives outstrip the negatives by 5 to 1?

Every Friday document your week at work in your job journal.  What are your quantifiable achievements and failures?  Make an upbeat report for your manager in a format she can use.  Turn it in whether she asked for it or not.

The 7 highest demand job categories are…

After years hearing about the lack of IT professionals, you’d think those are the hardest jobs to fill. But a new report by human resources firm Manpower indicates they are not.

Electricians, welders, and other skilled trades professions are the biggest headaches to hire for in the US and globally…

Read the full list here.