Monday, June 8, 2009

25 Ways to Sabotage Your Job Search


You know the friend who constantly dates the wrong kind of person? The one who's endlessly frustrated that he or she is going to die alone because all the good ones are taken?

thank you

After enough venting sessions, you realize something your friend doesn't: He or she is the common thread tying together all of these -- let's just say it together -- losers. Someone needs to speak up and say, "You're doing this to yourself."

You'll find this same pattern can be true in a job hunt. Granted, we're in tough times and plenty of reasons out of your control can keep you from getting hired. But that's just one more reason to do everything within your power to be the best job seeker you can.

With that in mind, look over these 25 ways you might be unknowingly sabotaging your job search:

1. Assuming you'll never need to look for another job
You love your current job and that's great. If you're happy there and see a promising future, I hope you never have to leave. Nevertheless, you should always be prepared for the day you have to move on. Even if the boss loves you, things can change. Buyouts, economic disasters or changes in leadership can affect your employment. Continue to update your résumé while you're employed so that you have an accurate record of your accomplishments.

2. Burning bridges
We love the scenes in movies where the disgruntled employee finally tells off the boss and storms out of the office, only to live a happy, fulfilling life. In real life, these idols are probably unemployed because they don't have good references, and no employer wants to hire someone with a tarnished reputation.

3. Keeping mum on your job search
Most people aren't keen on being unemployed, and if you were laid off it's understandable that you don't want to spend all your time talking about it. But you need to network; it's one of the most effective ways to find a job. A friend of a friend of a friend often gets you the interview that lands you the job -- but that won't happen if no one knows you're looking for new career opportunities.

4. Looking for "The One"
Although you want to conduct a focused job search, you need to keep an open mind. With any luck, you'll land the perfect gig, but sometimes you have to take a job that possesses most of the qualities you want -- not all of them. If the pay is right, the requirements are in line with your experience and the opportunities for promotion are good, then you might have to overlook the fact that you have to wake up 30 minutes earlier than you'd like.

5. Not searching at all
This mistake probably seems obvious, but as anyone who's been on a lengthy job hunt can tell you, discouragement is easy to come by. A few weeks or months without a job and enough news segments on layoffs are enough to convince you that no one is hiring. Without question the market's competitive, but if you're not actively looking for work, don't expect it to fall in your lap.

6. No cover letter
Including a cover letter is an easy way to play it safe during a job hunt. Although not every employer wants one, surveys continually find employers who automatically remove job seekers from consideration if they don't include a cover letter. Why would you give any employer a reason not to hire you?

7. A generic cover letter
The only thing worse than no cover letter is one that could be sent to any anonymous employer. Starting with "To Whom It May Concern" and filling the page with phrases like "hard working" will signal the reader that you're blindly sending out applications to every job opening you see. Hiring managers are looking for someone who fits their needs, and their needs are different than another employer's. Don't treat them the same.

8. Typos
If you received a wedding invitation full of misspelled words and poor punctuation, you'd probably wonder why these two people didn't take the time to proofread the page. After all, it's an important event and a lot of people will be reading it. Employers will wonder the same thing about a résumé or cover letter filled with errors.

9. All "I" and not enough "you"
Your cover letter and résumé are definitely about you, but they're not for you. Employers are interested in you only in the context of what you can do for them. Whenever you reveal information about yourself, use it as proof that you offer something to the company that no one else can.

10. Giving bad contact information
When hiring managers like what they see on your résumé and cover letter, they're going to look for your contact information. If they see that your e-mail address is or that your current work number is the best way to contact you, they're going to think twice before reaching out. The only thing worse is forgetting to include your contact information at all.

11. Running late
Every boss wants an employee who is dependable and a good representative of the company. Someone who's tardy to an interview is neither.

12. Dressing for the wrong job
Appearances matter in an interview, and you should dress for what's appropriate in your field. Find out what the dress code is before you show up so you fit in with the company culture. Wearing a suit when you're told jeans are the norm can make you seem stuffy; wearing shorts and sandals when everyone else is wearing suits makes you look oblivious. You're better off erring on the side of too professional than too casual.

13. Griping about past employers
Keep in mind that you're not guaranteed to be with any company forever. When you talk trash about your last company, your interviewer's thinking, "What are you going to say about me once you leave?"

14. Not asking questions
One quintessential interview question is, "Do you have any questions for me?" Sitting there silently suggests you're not invested in the job. When you go to a restaurant, you probably have a few questions for the waiter. Shouldn't you be just as curious about a new job?

15. Not doing your research
Research for a new job involves two important subjects: the position and the company. Find out as much about the position as you can so you can decide if you even want it and so you can position yourself as the best fit for the job.

Knowing all you can about the company will help you decide if you like its direction and share its ideals. Plus, when it comes to the all-important "Do you have any questions for us?" portion of the interview (see above), you have plenty of material to cover.

16. Thinking the interview starts and ends in a meeting room
The formal interview occurs when you shake hands with the interviewer and ends when you leave the room. The full process begins when you're called or e-mailed to come in for an interview and it continues every time you converse with someone at the company. Were you rude to the recruiter or the receptionist? You never know what gets reported to the hiring manager.

17. Talking about money too soon
As eager as you are to land the job and cash your first paycheck, let the employer mention salary first. Broaching the subject first implies you're more eager about money than about doing a good job.

18. Acting cocky
You never want to beg for a job, but you should act as if you care about it. If your confidence level spills over into arrogance, you'll guarantee no employer will want to work with you.

19. Being so honest you're rude
Not every job will turn into a lifelong career, and you might have no intention of staying at the company more than a year or two when you interview. Still, hiring managers don't want to hear that you're taking this job just to pass time until you find a real job that you care about. You don't need to commit yourself to the company for a decade, but don't make yourself sound like a flight risk, either.

20. Forgetting your manners
Common courtesy can get you far, and in a job hunt you'd like to get as far as possible. After an interview, send a thank-you note (via e-mail or regular mail) to show your gratitude to the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you. This will leave him or her with a good impression of you.

21. Stalking the hiring manager
If the interviewer gives you a deadline for hearing back from him or her, go ahead and call to see if a decision has been made. Do not call, e-mail and visit every day until you finally get a response -- which will probably be, "You definitely did not get the job."

22. Not keeping track of your applications
Because a job hunt can be lengthy, you should have a running list of where you've applied and whether or not you've heard back. Although you don't think you'll forget where you applied, after a dozen applications your memory can get fuzzy. Sending multiple applications to the same employer says, "I'm either disorganized or I'm just sending out bulk applications."

23. Not learning from mistakes
You're bound to make a mistake here and there during an interview. If a question trips you up, think about what went wrong and prepare for it the next time. Don't forget mistakes from your past, either. Look back at jobs you hated and try to avoid landing one of those jobs again.

24. Assuming you got the job
Don't ever assume you have the job until you actually hear the hiring manager say, "You got the job." Several factors can complicate whether or not you get hired, so don't halt your job search until you receive an offer. Keep searching for work because the deal might fall through at the last minute or you might find an even better job.

25. Forgetting the lessons you learned during a job search
When your hard work pays off and you do land a job, don't forget all the trials and trouble you went through to get it. Just because you have a paycheck doesn't mean you've looked for your last job. Remember how important it is to maintain a network, keep track of your achievements and have good references. If you do find yourself looking for work again, you'll have a much easier time.

By Anthony Balderrama

Saturday, June 6, 2009


Уважаемый Сталин!
Мои друзья очень удивились, узнав, что меня выпустили из тюрьмы особого отдела. И я их понимаю: ведь многих рабочих расстреливали только за то, что они были простыми членами мусаватской партии. Я же был ее лидером. Но это чудо оказалось возможным благодаря Вам, именно Вы вспомнили о нашей прежней дружбе и вытащили меня из бакинской тюрьмы.
Эта дружба помогла мне и в Москве. Конечно, и мне пришлось испытать трудности, но не больше, чем остальным. Я даже пользовался некоторыми привилегиями, и все это благодаря Вашей заботе, за которую я Вам очень признателен.
Тем не менее, уезжая из Москвы, я не повидался с Вами, потому что решил бежать из России. Думаю, Вы меня поймете: я не мог спросить у Вас разрешения, потому что не верил, что Вы меня отпустите. И тогда мне пришлось бы навсегда распрощаться с мечтой уехать из России. Но я даже не мог думать об этом, потому что это означало отречься от того, чему я посвятил всю свою жизнь, обречь себя на вынужденное бездействие и роль стороннего наблюдателя того, что происходит сейчас в России.
А то, что сейчас происходит в России, практически ничем не отличается от того, что происходило здесь сто лет назад. Так же, как и сто лет назад, Россия вновь присоединяет к себе все новые и новые колонии.
История распорядилась таким образом, что пришедшая к власти коммунистическая партия, полностью отступив от своих прежних идеологических установок, решила вновь возродить российскую империю. Это произошло вследствие имперских амбиций правящей верхушки и ведет к вполне определенным результатам.
Замена великодержавного шовинизма рабочим космополитиздатом ничего не меняет по сути и тоже в конечном итоге приводит к уничтожению малых наций. Кроме того, вы подавляете силой своего оружия национальные движения на Кавказе и в Туркестане и говорите, что делаете это в интересах местного пролетариата. Но ведь пролетариат возник здесь вследствие царской политики русификации и составляет ничтожное меньшинство. И ради интересов этого меньшинства вы без тени сомнения растоптали законное право абсолютного большинства местного населения на самоопределение и независимость.
Итак, совершенно ясно, что провозглашенная в Азербайджане и Туркестане диктатура пролетариата есть, в сущности, та же диктатура Москвы, и ничего больше. Когда столицей империи был Петроград, все было точно так же. И говорить всерьез об автономии, которую якобы получили бывшие независимые республики, просто невозможно. Азербайджанские ханства при первых царских наместниках на Кавказе были не менее самостоятельны, чем нынешние кавказские республики при секретарях Закрайкома. Если и есть какая-то разница, так только в том, что нынешние республики были захвачены гораздо быстрее тех ханств.
Зная, что жесткий централизм - это основополагающий принцип для большевиков, я и раньше говорил, что, в сущности, эта партия - имперская и что в ближайшем будущем она кардинально изменит свою политику по отношению к малым народам. В дальнейшем это подтвердилось, но в то же время за два года, проведенных в Москве, я понял и другое: восточные народы, и в частности тюркские, все равно, несмотря ни на что, обретут, в конце концов, свою независимость. Поэтому я не мог бесстрастно наблюдать за тем, как, с одной стороны, национальные меньшинства приходят от периода национального самосознания к идее национальной революции, а, с другой стороны, вы пытаетесь подорвать веру народов в свое будущее.
Все равно вы не добьетесь того, что хотите. Народы Востока будут жить так, как захотят сами, а не по коммунистическим нормам и принципам. Они будут бороться со всеми, кто будет им мешать. И будут искать союзников, тех, кто смог бы им помочь. Именно поэтому они поверили вначале принципам Вильсона, а затем - вашей декларации. Но также как принципы Вильсона были похоронены Версальским, Тройским и Севрским договорами, ваша декларация обернулась оккупацией Украины, Туркестана и Кавказа. Поэтому у моего Азербайджана есть такое же право бороться против вашей оккупации, какое имела героическая Турция в борьбе против Антанты.
Хотя я и не изменил своим политическим идеалам и продолжаю свою борьбу, хочу Вас заверить, что никогда не забуду того, что Вы для меня сделали.
С глубоким уважением,
Расулзаде Мамед Эмин.
Стамбул. Декабрь, 1923 год.
(Это письмо было опубликовано в пятом номере журнала "Новый Кавказ" от 23.01.1924. Журнал издавался в Стамбуле).

Monday, June 1, 2009

Saying No to Your Boss

When you think back to your childhood and your mom said, "We'll see," it was always better than a flat out, "No." Much like "possibly" is sufficient when you ask your boss for time off and "I'll think about it" gives you hope when you ask for a raise.

Though all of these responses are really just a more polite version of "no," they're easier to hear than the actual word itself. While hearing "no" is hard enough, it seems that saying no is even more difficult for some people -- especially when it comes to their boss.

"Most employees avoid saying no to their boss because they fear it will ruin their relationship, cost them their job or appear disrespectful," says Joseph Grenny, co-author of "Crucial Conversations." "With the right set of skills, it is possible to be 100 percent candid and respectful when holding this important conversation."

The reality is, we can't say to yes to everything, so it's essential to position yourself in the best way possible if and when you have to say no at work. The trick, experts say, is not really what you say, but how you say it.

"Many of us won't say the word because we are afraid to, especially in this economy," says Mary Byers, author of "How to Say No ... And Live to Tell About It." "It's easier to say no at work if you don't actually use the word. That way, your boss won't feel like you're being insubordinate."

Elisabeth Manning, a human potential coach, recalls a time when she was an assistant to the president of a major company. The president wanted to make Manning her marketing manager at the same time -- and the same salary.

Manning, who knew that she would have too much on her plate if she accepted working both jobs, told her boss that she wanted to maximize her capacity for potential at the company and accepting the offer would not be the best, most efficient use of her time.

"I was neutral, not emotional and held my ground," Manning says. "I spoke as if it were already a done deal, without fear."

Here are five situations where you might find yourself needing (and wanting) to say no at work and how you can do so tactfully -- and without losing your job.

How to say no  to ...

Your boss assigning you too much work
It can be tough to tell your boss you have a problem with the amount of work he or she is assigning you, but it's possible if you can make your boss feel safe, Grenny says. Start with facts instead of harsh judgments or vague conclusions and let your boss know you care about his interests and respect him, he says.

"Strip out any judgmental or provocative language and be specific," Grenny says. "For example, 'Last week, you gave me two large projects to finish in a very short amount of time and I had to complete these on top of my regular responsibilities. I am afraid my large workload might be affecting the quality of my work.'"

Outrageous demands
If your boss asks you to do something like run his errands or work all weekend and you can't (or don't feel like you should have to), focus on what you can do, says Susan Fletcher, a psychologist,author and speaker.

"The next time your boss asks you to go pick up his or her dry cleaning, instead of saying no, say, 'What I can do is cover your phone calls for you while you are out of the office,'" Fletcher suggests. "Or if your boss asks you to start up a new company initiative, instead of saying no, say, 'What I can do is brainstorm with you on the strategy for the initiative and help get the proper team members in place who can execute the strategy."

Something you honestly can't do
Of course, it's always good to learn new skills, but if you truly believe you aren't the best person for the job, you should say no. Byers suggests responding with something like, "Is there another department where this project might fit better, or someone we can collaborate with?"

"If you know you don't have the necessary time, resources or knowledge for a given project, this is a good way to open dialogue about the best way to get an assignment done," she says.

Unrealistic deadlines
If you frame your response in a way that helps your boss to rethink his request, you'll be OK, says Beth Sears, president of Workplace Communication.

Be aware of your tone of voice and try something like, "I understand your need for this assignment to be completed, but I need some help prioritizing my other work. You requested me to complete 'A' by tomorrow, 'B' by Thursday and 'C' by Friday. This last assignment 'D' would make it impossible to accomplish all of these. How would you prioritize these tasks?" Sears suggests.

Anything illegal, unethical or that crosses personal boundaries
Say no to anything that will you get into trouble if you say yes. Meaning, if something will be detrimental to your career or goes against your integrity, you should always say no.

Jennifer Bergeron, an HR training specialist, recently said no to one of her bosses who asked her to lie to her direct manager.

"I said, 'I'm not comfortable doing that, because the result will be [X, Y and Z]. Please don't ask me to ever lie to someone," Bergeron says. "He said, 'OK, you're right. I didn't realize all that was going on.'"