In a patchy CV palaver? Here’s the remedy


You’ve got the swish suits, the bristling confidence and the conversational wit of an Oscar Wilde/Truman Capote mashup – but you don’t have the education. No matter what job you shoot for, and how dazzling you are in an interview, you’ll sink like a dumbbell in a lake if your CV isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. But you’re getting older – who wants to commit their life to studying when they’re on the other side of thirty? Well, there are ways to pack your resume full of goodness, and quickly. Here are just a few. Go the distance When you get past a certain age, heading to university seems like little more than a pipe dream. And the fresh-faced freshness of 18-year-old freshers is off-putting, to say the … [Read more...]

Tales from the interviewing trenches: Details matter! (Career tip #17)

Maybe should ditch the bowler hat and cane, but otherwise a finely dressed gentleman ready for a job interview

For want of a nail, the war was lost. For want of trimming your nails, the job was lost. That's right.  Go into an interview with nasty overgrown nails, and someone might notice, and not in a good way. What does that say about you?  It's a little details, but the job you're applying for might be all about details.  Don't do regular grooming, and who knows what else you might miss?* It's all about the basics: Wear a nice suit and tie, if it's a professional position.  Guys, that does doesn't mean a polyester-blend blue blazer with brass buttons, dockers and a garish tie.  A modicum of fashion sense might not help, but it won't hurt, neither.   Ladies, a well-tailored suit will always win the day.   If not a professional … [Read more...]

Don’t Misunderestimate the Salescallsiness of a Job Inteview (Career Tip Number 20)

CHEESY SALESMAN ALSO 443087220_a33182667f_o

That's right, salescallsiness [1]. Not entirely a proper word, but it conveys the urgency  and passion that candidates should feel when they're sitting across the table from *any* prospective employer, be it a company looking to hire, or a prospective customer looking to hire their services[2]. The listless salesperson will be vanquished by the one with zeal and passion.  The unprepared by the prepared.  And the indifferent by the one who engages the prospect and stokes their interest.  Remember  A=attention, I=Interest, D=Decision and A=Action? Picture this: a candidate travels all the way across North America to a job interview for a six-figure professional position.  Does she take notes? Does she ask thoughtful, … [Read more...]

Stupid Interview Questions (Career Tip #19)

"Leo Tolstoy Working At A Round Table" (and writing down rockin' interview questions) - Ilya Repin, 1891

  A long-running series on career tips for, well, for anyone. It started out as a series of advice to young people starting out in the workforce, from someone with more than a little gray in his hair.  And now, just observations and reflections on job and career.  Other examples can be found here and here. Stupid interview questions.  No, not open-ended saws asked by employers, like "Tell us about yourself". These are the questions that interviewees themselves may be at some point be prompted to ask, and which are most always flubbed. The unprepared will blankly stare and offer nothing.  The mildly prepared will let fly, for form's sake, with canned questions lifted from career websites.  The truly prepared will use … [Read more...]

Knowledge is Power. So are Ferraris.

fast-track career

Knowledge is power.  True.  And knowledge without practical wisdom is about as useful as a black highlighter pen. So, what better way to gain the knowledge and wisdom necessary for a fast-track advancement of your business career that to re-visit a few nuggets from the 101C archives (we'll get to Ferraris soon enough). Career Tip #13:  Bring Pen and Paper - Not necessarily in chronological or numerical order, but still crucial to come armed with an old fashioned pen or pencil and a scrap of paper.  Taking notes on an iPhone is cumbersome and silly. Understanding the small print… clauses, codicils and other buzzkills - RTFC!  If you don't already know what that means in engineering-contract-speak, you'll need to go read about … [Read more...]

Ten Things You Can Do To Impress People At Work

"Baking the bread" - Anders Zorn, 1889

Another in a growing series of tips for a decent career in the workplace.  Other examples can be found here and here. Working for the Man takes some doing. The workplace can be a political jungle, populated with hazards like vengeful Vice Presidents, ambitious underlings, and fearsome human resources trolls who are just waiting for a chance to eviscerate your career with razor-sharp talons. Fear not, here's the prototypical blog list of ten things you (yes, you!) can do to get ahead and impress people at work.  Some of them may require effort, some not so much. #1 - Get Up Early. Up outta that warm bunk and hit the ground running, soldier!  The early bird catches the worm, or at least orders up the Starbucks Venti Latte-to-go … [Read more...]

Be Rich. Then You Can Be Lazy.

Just how much do actors in Depends commercials make anyway?

While 101C is off to Amsterdam, tiptoeing through the tulips and tilting at windmills, here's a guest post from Nelson @ Financial Uproar. Let me tell you about a guy I know. Because it's not going to be very complimentary, let's call him Tony. mostly because the Tony Siragusa Depends commercial was on TV as I was typing that sentence. Tony is, by most accounts, a nice guy. He's gainfully employed, is generally pretty pleasant, doesn't beat his wife, and so on. He and his wife own their house and drive a reasonable SUV that's a couple years old. Like many young couples these days, they're struggling with student loan and credit card debt. I have no ideas what the balances are, but I'd estimate they owe $25k in student loans and an … [Read more...]

Seven Storefront Retail Ideas to Plow Your Inheritance Into

No customers for you... (that's the clerk's car)

So old crazy Aunt Nettie has passed on, and she's gone and left her favorite niece/nephew/godson a buttload of money.  A buttload to your broke self, anyways:  an inheritance of a couple hundred grand ain't what it used to be. What to do with this $78,452 windfall, or, what's left after the trip to Vegas, paying off the credit cards and student loans, buying the new car for cash and the online shopping sprees? Why, start your own business. Now is your chance to be your own boss, strike back at the Man, give him the finger, step up and out and grill some juicy steaks on your very own back deck (wrong phrasing, but I'm a little hungry right now). Time to open that little gift shop you've always dreamed about.  Or a consignment … [Read more...]

Coffee Break: Pajamas or Business Casual?

Serving up Buna coffee!

Time for a coffee break.  Find you an Ethiopian or Eritrean restaurant, and get you some tasty Buna coffee.  Better yet, travel to Ethiopia (a little more difficult), and have it served up in a nice Buna ceremony.  Buna is a bit like Turkish coffee, brewed in clay pot over hot coals.  Served by a comely Ethiopian lass in traditional dress, with some dates and sweet cakes.... lots worse things in life! Everyone is sounding off on the heresy (or bold move) of Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo.  Ms. Mayer recently revoked telecommuting privileges for Yahoo's employees. Control Your Cash and Weakonomics, two of the few blogs I follow on a regular basis, took positions on opposite sides of the field. CYC is of the valid opinion … [Read more...]

Internal Customer? Oh, you mean, “Welfare Recipient”

Buy My Fish, by David Burliuk

No shirt, no shoes, no service. Might add to this, bad attitude, irrationality, hatefulness and inappropriate behavior. All or any might lead the small businessperson to cut their losses and decline to bid, as it were. Potential and/or future customers some people might be, but the pain of their interaction outweighs the benefit of their business. "Right then, thank you Sir, there's the door, and don't let it hit you in the ass on the way out." The Myth of Internal Customers This clearly isn't possible with "internal customers" and internal markets. In a large corporation, you can't decline to bid. Neither party to the internal transaction has a vote on with whomever they can do business. A corporate accountant must reconcile the … [Read more...]