Tag Archives: talents

Everyone judges a book by it’s cover

A woman teaching my daughters held up a copy of a magazine with scantily dressed women on the cover. She asked, “What do you expect to find inside?” The answer was, “Pictures and articles about sexy dressing and attracting men.” 

She handed the magazine to a girl and said, “Open it and read from any page.” Inside those covers was a religious magazine. The teacher made the comment, “If you dress on the outside like the women on the cover of this magazine, no one will bother to find out that inside you are a woman of character. They won’t even consider it a possibility.”

In the last article I wrote that perception really is everything. How you are perceived is always critical, especially to yourself. Over time your character is altered by all the little things you do. At first you act to give an impression, but eventually you act from the bone deep character you have developed while impressing others. 

Benjamin Franklin was brought up short one day when he realized he had developed a less than brilliant character. He was a smart, hard working man, and becoming successful. He had noticed that some people would cross the street to the other side when they saw him coming. He realized he had a poor reputation in many things. In his autobiography he describes his plan to improve his character. The simple device he used thrust him forward to prominence in the fields of writing, science, diplomacy and politics. 

As Benjamin Franklin started working on his character he wrote, “I was surpris’d to find myself so much fuller of faults than I had imagined; but I had the satisfaction of seeing them diminish.” He found that if he pretended to have a virtue long enough, he developed it as a part of his character.

I strongly recommend reading and re-reading Benjamin Franklin’s short autobiography.

Become the person you would admire.

Something to do today

What’s on your cover?

You can’t make a silk purse out of a buggy whip

A while ago I talked to a very good programmer whose skills are hopelessly out of date. She was hoping to get a job as an intern so she could upgrade her skills. She has only one problem in her job search.

Only antique collectors say, “I like things that are outdated, frustrating, inefficient and dangerous.”

Train, Railway, Old, Abandoned, Outdated

Luckily she knew she might only be hired as an intern. Some people think that they should be hired as rocket scientists even though they have outdated skills. I have people severely infected with archaic abilities approach me every week. They freely admit their problem and then tell me they deserve a great job, a raise and happiness without their own effort.

Bosses want to hire the best people they can. They aren’t social workers. Some companies train the people they hire, but they are going to try and hire the best worker who needs the least training. It is pure common sense; they hire the best person.

If you are a master of buggy whip technology, don’t expect a job at NASA. There will always be a few buggy whip makers scraping by, but you won’t get rich working for them. Invest in yourself. Get the updated skills you need to be employable. Get out of the buggy whip age and into the computer age. Leave the stone arrowhead tools behind and become an engineer. Learn to be an expert.

That means YOU need to invest in yourself. It may be as simple as asking your boss for training. More likely YOU will have to study on your own. Read a new technical, sales or business book each month. Subscribe to journals and websites about what you do. There are community and online colleges that you can use to get a degree or advanced training. 

You can’t make a silk purse out of a buggy whip, but with time and patience you can turn a mulberry leaf into a silk purse. It takes specialized knowledge and a silkworm. Learn the specialized knowledge you need for your job. Go make a silk purse.

Something To Do Today

Think about what skills YOU have that are outdated. What can you do to update those skills or replace them?

How To Be Imperfect and Highly Paid – 3 things 

unique girl in a crowd

What makes you stand out? Worth more?

What about you is unique? Amazing? Unemployable? Mediocre? Inspiring?

My daughter Merrilee has Down Syndrome and is low functioning within that group, but she is amazing.  My son James got a perfect score on the SAT Advanced Calculus II college entrance exam. He is amazing. Each can do things the other can’t.  We look at James and say, “He can do anything!”   No, he can’t.  He doesn’t have the patience his sister does.  They have different realities and infinite possibilities.

The highly paid people I recruit all know their strengths and weaknesses.  When I call up their references, every reference lists the same strengths and weaknesses the candidate lists.  Often the poorly paid people give me a list of strengths and weaknesses that bear no resemblance to what their references think.

Really knowing your strengths and weaknesses allows you to do three things:

  1. Play to your strength
  2. Get someone to cover for your weaknesses
  3. Turn your weakness into a strength

Man is equally incapable of seeing the nothingness from which he emerges and the infinity in which he is engulfed.  (Pascal)

Stephen Cannell flunked three grades in school.  He is severely dyslexic. He can’t write readably. He also won two Emmy awards for his writing. He created 40 television shows and 6 novels.  He has learned to compensate for his severe problem. He plays to his greatest strengths, creating fun characters and complex plots. His assistants translate his unreadable typing into the words he wanted to put on paper.

Figure out what your talents really are.  Do you have one or two real weaknesses that prevent you from exploiting that talent?  Find a way to compensate.  Get help. Find out what others have done to overcome that weakness.  You may have to adequately do the part of the job that the weakness prevents you from doing excellently. Better yet, can you get someone else to help with your weakness?

No one can do everything.  Figure out what help you need to achieve your dreams.

Something To Do Today

Take an aptitude test and a personality test.  Free ones are available at your local Job Center.  Some are available online. Do you know anyone who would dare to tell you what your real strengths and weaknesses are?  Ask them.

Make sure you know your strengths and weaknesses.  Are you exploiting your best qualities?

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Later:     The most common interview questions – about you

Other most common interview questions – traps, money, intimidators

Apaches – hiding inside your resume

Hide not your talents.  They for use were made.  What’s a sundial in the shade? (Franklin)

Walking on the flat, open plains, an Apache claims he can disappear from sight. There is no place to hide, so the Army officer backs off to a safe distance and turns his back for a minute.  Sure enough the Apache is gone, but there is no place to hide.  After the officer searches fruitlessly for awhile, the Apache erupts from the ground.

In the book  Life Among The Apaches, John Cremony gives example after example of Apaches hiding where it should be impossible to be out of sight.

Do YOU hide inside your resume?

Another example: Be honest.  Do you read every insert in every medicine package you buy?  Every word?  Why not?  You may open it up and take a few seconds to look for something obviously important, then you throw it away.  Critical information is on those inserts, but you don‘t read them.

Is your resume as bad as that insert?

You’ve got 2 or 3 sheets of paper for your resume.  How much do you hide in plain sight?  Are the most important facts about you hidden in long paragraphs?  Are they hidden at the END of bullet points?

In school you were required to write in paragraphs.  Opening sentence, 3 arguments saving the best for last, and a closing sentence.  Guess what?  It does NOT work for resumes.  No one reads paragraphs in a resume. No one gets to your best argument.

Use bullet points that are effective.

  • A bullet should be less than one line
  • Power words at the beginning
  • Never give the whole story
  • Make readers want to call you
  • Your most important word should be in bold in a set of bullets

A resume’s job is to get you an interview.  Nothing more.  It is not a job interview. It is not a medicine package insert.  It is not an essay.

Does your resume get read?  Does it get you an interview?  If not, change it.

Here is the QUICK FIX

This is an exercise that will help you fix your resume and get job interviews.

  • Make a copy of your resume
  • Cut your longest paragraphs down to three lines
  • Do not split paragraphs, mercilessly shorten them
  • Make every bullet in your resume less than half a line
  • Do NOT split paragraphs

After you have done this, look over the two resumes.

Which is most likely to be read?

Now that you have hacked with an axe, go in with an editors pen and make your resume more readable.  But don’t make it longer or you’ll be like that Apache again, hiding in plain sight.

One more idea?  Go to www.grab-me.us and check it out.

I want to be a fireman when I grow up. What about you?

Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.  (Aristotle)

I went to a Boy Scout camp where a fire company put on a rescue demonstration.  They had 3 cars.  One by one they ripped them apart using hydraulic tools.  Right then I decided that I want to be a fireman when I grow up.  I was 49 and ineligible, but I’m willing to dream.

A friend told me that he was the fastest machine operator at the plant where he worked.  They always put him in the job that would challenge him the most. If there was a bottleneck, he would clear it up.  He also cried at times because he hated the work so much.  He studied to take up a different profession for 8 years.  He struggled with very low paying jobs, serious health problems, and a wife and kids he solely supported.  This month he started working as a Mechanical Engineer at a major DOD contractor.

Why do people stay in jobs they hate? No one is legally bound as an indentured servant or slave anymore.  Why do people need help finding what they like to do?  There are a lot of reasons.  Fear, money, social pressure and unexplored possibilities can all be reasons.

You are a slave if you believe you cannot change.  You are free when you think about, study for and work towards a change for the better.  So take a little time today and write down a list of things you always wanted to do.  Make a list of jobs and careers you might enjoy. 

Need help? Every university has a department to help students discover what they would like to study. The internet has sites to help you choose a career.  Every state run job center will give you interest and aptitude tests for free.  Friends and family are always happy to tell you where to go and what to do when you get there.

You may want to consult a career coach like me.  I not only train people to get jobs, I can coach you along the path to getting the job that fits best.  www.agicc.com/my-best-future.htm tells a little more about it.

It is worth taking time to find out if you really want to be a fireman, mechanic, professor or plumber.  If you start working towards a career goal you can always turn back later and be better off for trying.  However, you will never get anywhere without taking the first steps to think about, study for and work towards a change.

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Something To Do Today

Make a list of every hobby you have attempted.  List every subject you have studied.  Rank them all as “liked”, “don’t care” and “disliked.”  Look for a pattern.  You may be surprised.  Take an interest test or two.  They’re actually fun.  Many are free.  Give me a call.  I can help too. Bryan Dilts 717-975-9001