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#1 Thing You MUST Say In Your Cover Letter

Is there one thing you can say in a cover letter that will guarantee it accomplishes its purpose? Absolutely!

A cover letter serves as an introduction to your resume and to yourself as a candidate for employment. It's the place to show your interest in the position and make a personal connection between who you are and why you're a great fit for the opportunity.

Showing your interest and passion for the company is important in the cover letter. However, saying this one thing is almost an ultimate guarantee you'll get the interview...

Ask For It

You know that old saying, "Ask and you shall receive"? It's true. It may sound like common sense and obvious advice, but how many times have you sent a cover letter with your resume and not asked for the interview? It's easy to do!

Should You Ask For An Interview In A Cover Letter?

You may be hesitant to ask for an interview in your cover letter (or might just forget to do so) but you absolutely should. It shows confidence and enthusiasm for the opportunity.

How Do You Ask For An Interview In A Cover Letter?

In the closing paragraph of your cover letter, all you need to do is ask the employer for an interview. Statistics have indicated job seekers who ask for the interview in their cover letters are twice as likely to get the interview.

Below, we give you several examples that you can modify and use in your own cover letter.

Examples Of How To Ask For A Job Interview In Your Cover Letter

Ending #1

I'm excited about the Director of Sales position with XYZ Widgets and would love the opportunity to meet in person to further discuss my experience and the value I can offer you as your next Director of Sales. Please call me at 555.555.5555 to schedule an interview at your earliest convenience.

Ending #2

I would love a personal interview at your earliest convenience to further discuss my credentials with you. I can be reached at 555.555.5555 and will follow up as well to make sure you've received my information.

Ending #3

Thank you for your time reviewing my resume. I welcome the opportunity to discuss in a personal interview my qualifications and fit for the position. Feel free to reach me at 555.555.5555 at your earliest convenience.

Ending #4

Thank you for your time and consideration. I'd love the opportunity to further discuss the position and my experience with you. Please reach out to me at 555.555.5555 to schedule an interview.

Remember: You can ask for the interview with any wording you're comfortable with, whether that's with more direct language or not. The key thing is to close your cover letter by asking for the interview.

A cover letter is your chance to connect with an employer and explain your passion for what they do and how you believe you can help them achieve their goals as a company. If you do all that and ask for the job interview at the end of your cover letter, you'll be much more likely to get a call from the hiring manager.

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This article was originally published at an earlier date.

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 23 hours 19 minutes ago

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5 Benefits Of Working For The Federal Government

USAJOBS, the primary portal for federal job seekers, launched a streamlined application service for college students and recent graduates called Pathways to better assist them with finding government work. While this is certainly welcome news in a competitive job market, one might wonder why there is so much interest in government jobs in particular.

By way of an answer, here are five benefits of working for the federal government:

What Are The Advantages Of Working For The Federal Government?

Some of the most significant advantages of working for the federal government include job security, high compensation increases, more vacation and holidays, good health benefits, and generous retirement benefits.

1. Job Security

Increased job security is a valuable commodity, especially in an uncertain economy, and the federal government provides it. Compared to public servants, private employees are at a much higher risk of being terminated; in fact, they are three times more likely to be terminated by their private employer than employees of the federal government are.

2. High Compensation Increases

Federal employees receive competitive salaries with the added benefit of high compensation increases. From 1951 to 1991, the average state and local government employees received $1.37 in compensation increases for every $1.00 received by the average private employee. Federal civilian employees received $1.91.

Since 1980, the pace has increased, with average state and local employees receiving $4.78 for each $1.00 received by private employees.

3. More Vacation And Holidays

Over the course of a career, state and local government employees and federal civilian employees receive nearly 1.5 years more in paid vacation and holidays than the average private employee. The average state or local government employee has 9.9 more paid vacation days and holidays than their private counterparts, a figure that increases to 13 for federal employees.

Increased vacation time means that employees are properly compensated for their work hours and given ample time and resources to properly recharge to better function in their jobs. The government tends to offer its employees more paid sick and personal days as well.

4. Good Health Benefits

The Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) Program provides the widest selection of health plans of any U.S. employer. Though government health benefits tend to pale in comparison to those offered by private employers while an employee is working, most government health plans provide superior benefits to retirees than do private health plans.

5. Generous Retirement Benefits

Speaking of retirement, federal employees tend to have the option to retire earlier than their private sector counterparts and have access to superior retirement plans through the Civil Services Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS).

Under both plans, retired employees receive an annuity, complemented by Social Security benefits and participation in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), which offers 401(k)-type investment options. Retired federal employees also have the option of continuing health benefits at the same monthly cost that they paid before retirement.

If you're looking for a job with a lot of benefits, a federal government position could be right for you. There are pros and cons associated with every job, but the pros of a federal job are definitely something to consider during your job search.

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This article was originally published at an earlier date.

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 1 day 23 hours ago

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How To (Not) Talk About Your Job Search Stress During The Holidays

The holidays can be really stressful for job seekers, especially for those who are between gigs right now (I won't call it "unemployed"). It's stressful because you're with your family and everybody asks, "So how's your job search going?" or "Where are you in your job search?"

Family and friends also tend to give a lot of really horrible, unsolicited advice on how to look for a job:

  • "Well, you should walk right in and knock on doors."
  • "Are you sending out 100 applications a day?"

These are bad job search techniques, and yet these people likely haven't looked for work in a while or are super old school. And while they're trying to be well-intentioned, all they're doing is stressing you out.

Set Boundaries With Your Family During The Holidays

So, as someone who's been coaching people through this for many years, my advice is to be prepared to set your boundaries. When somebody asks about your job search, you can say...

"I love that you're thinking of me. I promise you, my job search is under control. I'm taking a well-deserved day off today to celebrate with family and just want to talk about other things. But I promise you, I'm working with a career coach and all is good.

By setting boundaries, you're shutting them down. You're letting them know you appreciate their kind thoughts, but you're not going there today.

It's important for you to set boundaries with family, friends, and anyone else in your life who is bound to ask about your job search. People have to understand that they are overstepping and being inappropriate.

They always say people treat you the way you let them. So be prepared. Have that answer, rehearse it, practice it in the mirror. Make sure you've got a smile on your face so you don't look angry or defensive—but shut the questions down.

If they ask you again, or they start to give you advice, or they don't listen to you, say, "You know, I really don't feel like talking about this right now. I'm just trying to enjoy my day." And if they still keep talking about it, turn on your heel and walk away. We've got to learn to stand up for ourselves.

Good luck with your holiday job search! Go get 'em!

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 2 days 18 hours ago

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How To Build A STRONG LinkedIn Profile

The job search process is always evolving.

It's not about going to the job boards, finding the job opening you like, and then applying for it. That method will only have you waiting by the phone for a call that's likely not going to happen. Today's job seekers need to take a more proactive and interactive approach called professional networking—and LinkedIn is a resource to help you do that.

Creating a strong LinkedIn profile will help you get in front of the right contacts (recruiters, hiring managers, professionals in the field, etc.) who can lead you to your next job opportunity. However, in order for that to happen, you need a LinkedIn profile that communicates and displays the right information.

Take a look at the LinkedIn profile checklist below to learn how to optimize and use your LinkedIn profile effectively.

The Basics Of An Effective LinkedIn Profile

1. Make Sure You Have An Appropriate Headline

The headline is what shows up for your LinkedIn profile when it comes up in search results. It's also what shows up when others look at you through their contacts' connections. By default, your LinkedIn headline reads your current job title and employer, but if you want to grab the attention of others it should say more than that. Think about keywords and highlighting your greatest skill sets.

2. Display Professionalism In Your Profile Photo

A LinkedIn profile that includes a headshot photo is more likely to be clicked on than a profile without a photo. In selecting your profile photo, go with a headshot that makes you look professional and approachable.

3. Personalize Your LinkedIn URL

Whether you choose to include your LinkedIn profile on your resume or in your email signature, personalize the URL. It'll come off as more professional and memorable. Example: or

The Important Details In An Effective LinkedIn Profile

1. Offer Your Value Statement In The "About" (Summary) Section

The "About" section on your LinkedIn profile should summarize what you have to offer and how that translates to value for the potential employer. This is where you'll include your personal branding statement. It should also contain a list of your key skill sets. Never write in the third person on your LinkedIn profile unless you want to come off as pretentious.

2. Make Your Work Experience Keyword-Rich

In your "Experience" section on your LinkedIn profile, use bullet points to highlight accomplishments and quantify your work experience. Think about relevant keywords to include naturally in your writing. The more keyword-rich your profile is, the more likely it'll show up in search results. It's also important to make sure the information you include in your "Experience" section on your LinkedIn profile matches the information in the "Work History" section on your resume, so you don't confuse recruiters and hiring managers.

3. Get Endorsed For The Right Skills And Expertise

Review the "Skills and Expertise" section to prioritize what's important. When you do that, your contacts are more likely to endorse you for the right skills, which in turn shows recruiters and hiring managers you have what they are looking for. What you want to avoid is including skills and expertise that don't relate to the jobs you're applying for or your profession. That will simply dilute your overall message, including your personal brand.

Additional Steps For Creating An Effective LinkedIn Profile

1. Don't Let Your Education Give Away Your Age

Your education, which can include specialized training and certifications received, adds value to your qualifications. When listing the information, take caution with dates. It's not necessary to indicate when you received your degree from college—that can give away your age in some cases. Also don't include anything that may be too dated. You want to show you hold current, relevant skills that are valuable to the profession, not irrelevant expertise.

2. Join Relevant Groups

LinkedIn offers a diverse selection of Groups that you can (and should) join—professional associations, industry groups, alumni groups, etc. If they're relevant to your profession or skills needed for the job, share their badge on your profile. It helps hiring managers and recruiters see that you're connected and active in networks that are important. You can also benefit by taking things a step further with LinkedIn Groups, like participating in discussions and sharing interesting articles to get your name out there. Many hiring managers and recruiters will look at discussions in relevant groups to pull out potential candidates for job openings they have available.

3. Make Your Profile Public

LinkedIn profiles that are made public allow others to view your information whether you're connected with them or not. This option is best when you're a job seeker.

Every professional—not just job seekers—should learn how to optimize their LinkedIn profile. Follow the steps above to build a strong LinkedIn profile today for job search and career success!

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 5 days 21 hours ago

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7 Vital Habits Of The Successful Professional

Who isn't a little curious about what a successful professional does differently than the average person? It's not about what they do with their money. It's how they approach their careers.

Passenger Or Pilot: Which One Are You?

It's easy to think we are all doing what we can to take control of our careers. However, this article points out a misconception some people have: thinking they lack control over certain aspects of their career. Or worse, not even bothering to try to take control.

In our careers, we are either a:

A) Passenger - an employee held hostage by golden handcuffs.

B) Pilot - a business-of-one who is in charge of their destiny.

I can see why being a passenger in your career might be attractive. You get to leave the scary, intense work of navigating to the pilot. But is that what you really want? Currently, I'm seeing a shift in our workforce's mentality.

More and more people are seeking professional emancipation as part of the natural evolution of the employee. They are tired of being a passenger and want to learn how to become the pilot of their career. That being said, here are seven tips for those seeking to become an ultra-successful professional...

1. Realize You're A Business-Of-One

Your career has equity. Recognize it and start to determine how to use it to your advantage.

Inventory your assets as a professional and determine who is willing to pay top dollar for them. If you don't have valuable skill sets that are in demand, start acquiring some.

2. Always Look To Gain An Advantage In Your Business Dealings

You must negotiate with employers. Don't take what is given to you without a discussion. An employer is a customer who is always looking for the best deal, and you're the business-of-one providing a service for them. You want to do business with a customer willing to pay for the quality of work you provide.

Learn to effectively negotiate salary, perks, and other benefits so you feel good about the partnership. You don't work "for" an employer. You work "with" an employer.

3. Do Things Well

Remember that doing things well is more important than doing new things.

Get focused on building your expertise and understanding how you are the aspirin to an employer's pain. You must be great at a few things, rather than okay at a bunch of things. What is your specialty as a business-of-one?

4. Work With People Who Are Smarter Than You

Look for the smartest people you can work with. Find companies you admire and respect. Not for their pay and benefits package, but for the kind of products or services they deliver.

You must seek your professional tribe and partner with them to up your career game.

5. Get Clear On Your Employer's Goals, Needs, And Business Intentions

Want to do better in your career? Don't be so self-centered. It's not about your needs and wants.

Instead, focus on the needs, wants, and business objectives of the people you are partnering with. You'll be able to offer more value and get more in return if you do. They are your customer. Exceed their expectations and you'll have them eating out of your hand.

6. Be In A Position To Walk Away When The Situation Isn't Right

Get yourself in a financial position that enables you to quit a job and survive without income for one year. Every job is temporary. You may lose a job. You may want to leave a job. In either case, having the security of savings will give you the power to make the best decisions for your business-of-one.

Who wants to stay in a bad situation just for the money? Ask anyone who held on to a life-sucking job only to get laid off how that worked for them. They'll tell you they wish they could have left at the first sign of trouble.

7. Realize You Need Experiences And Setbacks To Move Forward

There is no real failure. We experience, learn, and grow. Stop playing it safe and start embracing your fear. As the old saying goes, "Life begins where your comfort zone ends." You will not survive and thrive in your career if you don't constantly learn new things.

Making mistakes teaches us what not to do. That's a good thing! Stop worrying about what others think and start worrying about what will happen if you don't take control.

I hope these tips help you build good habits in your career so you can become an ultra-successful professional. How are you taking ownership of your career today?

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 5 days 22 hours ago

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What To Do When You're Not The "Ideal Candidate"

You've probably heard the term best fit or ideal candidate quite a bit if you've been applying for new jobs, submitting college applications, or simply sifting through your long-term career goals. Employers know who they want, and usually what they want, in the hiring process. However, sometimes that's not always clear on the other end and candidates can find themselves with many mixed messages.

Aspiring to be the perfect fit for a new position is a job in itself. After all, nobody's perfect, and everyone is unique. But what do you do when you've received the infamous rejection email for the umpteenth time? How will you possibly bounce back from not being the best fit after nailing the first or second interview, time and time again?

Here are a few ways to grow as a candidate and own not being the ideal fit:

Avoid Displacing Anger

If you can't express appreciation or thanks to the hiring manager after receiving the job rejection, then you need to take a step back and go for a walk.

Never communicate with a recruiter, hiring manager, or anyone else in the hiring process while under the influence of anger. You may say something that could damage your reputation and cripple your career. It's okay to feel hurt after putting in time for an opportunity you really wanted, but save those emotional feelings for close friends or family.

Learn About The "Ideal Candidate"

Following the job rejection, it's okay to ask the hiring manager for some feedback about what you were lacking as a candidate, and how you can improve for future job opportunities.

When asking a hiring manager for feedback, it's important to be professional and not too pushy about it. If they don't respond, or decline to respond, just let it go. Not everyone is comfortable with or has time to give feedback.

However, if they do provide feedback, the information could be invaluable.

Not only is it good to know who you're competing against, but it's also good to assess what other candidates have in common, and what traits your dream company looks for in candidates. Why? Because you'll be able to better understand if you fit in.

For example, if you have a hard time taking charge of tasks on your own but find yourself applying for jobs that offer little structure or support, you might not be the ideal candidate for the job.

Don't Let Rejection Stunt Your Growth

Let's say you didn't get the design job of your dreams despite having a portfolio with years of obvious hard work. So what? Use rejection as a way to perfect your skills and toughen your skin. Maybe you were just one year shy of the necessary job requirements, or maybe your skill set needs some fine-tuning.

This is all perfectly okay. Sometimes we don't get the things we want because we're not ready. Remember, the company isn't saying "No, not ever." They're actually saying "No, not today." You could re-apply to the same company later on and get the job. It's important to keep the lines of communication open.

Don't let your job search get in the way of your personal growth. There are always opportunities available for professional development and upskilling—you just always have to be open to those opportunities.

Just because you weren't the ideal candidate initially, doesn't mean you won't be in the future.

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 6 days 22 hours ago

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4 Signs That A Company Is Not Right For You

It can be hard to turn down a job offer, especially if you're currently unemployed. But just because you got an offer doesn't mean the job or the company is the right fit for you.

Even getting an interview in a competitive job market is an achievement in itself, but you need to be very clear from the start of the interview process what the most important aspects of the job are to you and then prioritize them accordingly.

Obviously, salary is important, especially if you're not working right now, but we're all looking for different things. For some, it might be the work-life balance that is the most important; for others, a culture that fosters innovation, or maybe location or opportunities to grow and develop.

Most of us have had an experience of the job not turning out to be as promised during the interview process. But how do you know if you've found your perfect company? How do you determine what the red flags are, which means that the job might not be a good fit for you long term?

Here are some signs a company might not be right for you:

Disorganized Or Disrespectful Interviewers

As much as you need to impress a prospective employer during the interview process, the employer also needs to impress you. If the hiring manager is half an hour late or rushing around, this can be a sign of what the work culture is like and it shows that bringing in new talent clearly isn't a priority.

You want to connect with your interviewer on some level during the hiring process. That will be impossible to do if they're disorganized and not giving you the time of day.

No matter what happens in your interview, if you're left with a bad taste in your mouth after interacting with your interviewer, that's a red flag that shouldn't be ignored.

You're Not Sure About Your Future Boss

If you're not going to get on well with your boss, chances are you won't enjoy your work. Ask yourself whether you have a good feeling about the person who will be your manager. Will they offer you good feedback and career advice when needed? Do they know how they will measure your performance on the job? Are they approachable?

If you don't feel your prospective manager is someone you want to work with, you might want to think twice before accepting their offer.

The Company Is Unstable And Lacks Direction

Even before the interview, there is a lot of research you can do to determine if the company is a safe bet for you. You might want to look at the changes the company has gone through in the last few years to get a sense of its stability and general direction. You might also want to research current and previous employees on LinkedIn to see what their career path has been and how long they've stayed in the job. You might even want to reach out to previous employees in similar roles to find out their reasons for leaving.

Also, have a look at what the employees are saying about the company on Glassdoor. I remember seeing a job posting that looked great, but before applying, I went to Glassdoor to read reviews of others who had interviewed with the company. Every single review was negative and provided specific details. Needless to say, I did not apply.

Layout Of The Workplace

We all have different work preferences. Some prefer to work in an open office space, which is probably noisier but offers more interaction between employees. Some companies have a lot of cubicles and separate offices. It provides quieter spaces to work but also less interaction with others. Other companies have a remote workforce, so could you handle working from home every day?

Does the layout of the company suit you? If you're social and like interacting with others during the day and you're stuck in a tiny office, you won't enjoy it.

It's easy to ignore red flags in the hiring process when you're desperate for a job. To figure out whether a company is really the right fit for you, make sure you consider the four points above before accepting any job offer.

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True Or False: Do I Need These Things On My Resume?

There are a lot of things job seekers add to their resumes that they don't actually need. In some cases, these things hurt a job seeker's chances of landing an interview.

If you're asking yourself, "Do I need these things on my resume?" take a look at the things job seekers should and should not include on their resumes.

1. Add An Experience Summary Instead Of An Objective Statement

An objective or mission statement used to be the right header for your resume. Today, it's obsolete.

Instead, utilize an experience summary. This is a list of your skills and requirements that are needed for a certain job. They're hard skills and transferrable skills, and they will help optimize your resume with keywords so it can get past the ATS.

Once it does that, it will be in the hands of the hiring manager, and they'll be impressed by your qualifications at first glance. It will also compel them to continue reading further about your successes and job history.

2. Leave Off The References

References should not be included on a resume. If a job posting requires you to submit a few references, create a separate document and add them in there instead. Then, attach your resume and references (saved as separate documents) to the job application or attach them to an email to the hiring manager.

In the hiring process, references are important. But how you distribute those references matters more than you think.

3. Ditch The Unprofessional Personal Email Address

Having a professional image and a great personal brand isn't just about your social media accounts. Your email address should be professional as well and easy to comprehend.

Consider creating a separate email account for job-hunting purposes. You will find it easier to track the applications you've sent and any potential leads and lessen the risk of accidentally deleting emails you've misread as junk mail.

4. Include Measurable Goals And Achievements

Your resume must contain quantifiable work experience and accomplishments that support the very skill sets you state you possess. Without them, you are simply providing opinions with no facts to back them up.

If you are great at driving explosive business growth or saving companies money, make sure that your resume contains monetary amounts, figures, or other numbers to display those skills. A good rule of thumb to follow is to make sure every bullet point contains at least one number. If you can't quantify it, it doesn't belong on your resume.

When crafting your resume, consider these four important tips. Remember, you have less than 10 seconds to get the hiring manager's attention. Make your resume worth those few seconds.

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The 1 Question I Asked A CEO In An Interview That Got Me The Job

Years ago, I was interviewing for a job. As many of you know, when you go through the interview process, you start with the recruiter, and then you meet with the manager, and then you meet with some of your peers—if you're lucky. Then, at the end of the interview process, you might meet with the highest-ranking executives. So in this case, I met with the CEO.

I knew I was doing okay because I was getting through each round of interviews. So, I go into the CEO's office. I don't know what to expect. It's a startup company. He's sitting there in a t-shirt and sweatpants. He's eating cereal and has his feet up on his desk. He says, "Come sit down." Then, he proceeds to interview me while he eats cereal, his feet still up on the desk.

There I am in my suit, answering all the questions, and, finally, he asks, "So do you have any questions for me?"

And I said, "Yeah. What keeps you up at night?"

"What Keeps You Up At Night?"

The CEO stops eating his cereal, looks at me, and says, "I'm sorry. What?"

I respond, "When it comes to this business, what is keeping you up at night about its success? And how will the job that you're considering me for, how will the job that I do, impact the ability to solve for that?"

His face goes blank, he takes his feet off the desk, and he puts his cereal down. My heart starts to pound. Then, all of a sudden, he turns and looks at me. He leans in and says, "Hmm, let me think about that."

Now I'm thinking, "Oh my gosh, I just blew it."

Then, he gets really serious and starts to explain how this job impacts that ability. Then, he starts singing. Eventually, the interview ended and I went home thinking, "What did I just do?"

I got myself a job.

He told them that I should be hired because anyone who understands that their job impacts every level of the organization—and that they should be thinking about that impact—understands the value of the work that they need to do, and would do a good job. That's what he told the hiring manager. And the hiring manager told me.

So that gamble paid off. It not only taught me how important it is to ask questions in an interview but also how important it is to ask the right questions to the right people.

If you want to stand out in the interview process and land the job, try asking this question in your next job interview. It's all about understanding and relieving an employer's pain points.

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5 Easy Ways To Make Yourself A More Attractive Job Candidate

With such a competitive job market, it makes sense to work on the way that you present yourself and come across to prospective employers. There are many different things you can do in this respect, but we have come up with five ways that should be easy enough for you to implement.

If you use the tips listed below, you should be on your way to making yourself a more attractive job candidate, and could even land the job you have been lusting after...

1. Give A Great First Impression

The first thing you will want to look at is your resume or CV, as this is the document that an HR team will scrutinize and analyze to get an idea of you and your skills. There are many resources online that can be used to improve your resume or CV, and there may also be clinics and seminars held in your local area or online. It is also worth asking your friends and family if they know any recruitment specialists as they may be able to provide you with some pointers.

2. Prove You Are A Safe Bet

Another aspect of becoming a more attractive candidate is showing that you are safe and trustworthy, and stay within the law. Basic disclosure checks are ideal for this; there is plenty of information available online about how to get one. As an individual, you can get a basic disclosure; however, in some sectors, an employer may be required to get a standard or enhanced check on your behalf.

Having good references is another way to prove you are as good as your resume or CV says you are, which leads us to our third point...

3. Provide Brilliant References

Many people only consider references once they have a conditional offer (meaning that you have succeeded in your interview but the employer wants to carry out checks before confirming a full job offer). However, this should be something considered at a much earlier stage as it means that you can ensure that your references fully understand you, your desired career path, and the important points to cover.

Ask whether they could provide you with a short version of a reference for your LinkedIn profile (aka a LinkedIn recommendation).

4. Demonstrate Extra Skills

It is always a positive thing if you can go above and beyond a job description, so get thinking about what extra skills you can add to the job. Whether this is a full and clean driver's license or an extra qualification, make sure that these are listed on your resume or CV and are communicated on your cover letter where appropriate.

5. Be Respectful

Finally, you should always ensure that you act professionally and respectfully when you are on the hunt for a job. Being too pushy, lazy, or hostile can get people’s backs up and will be unlikely to get you an interview or a job offer. Whilst it is acceptable to follow up on how your interview went and so on, remember to find the balance between getting feedback and being pushy—it is a fine line that you won’t want to cross.

Also, keep in mind dress codes and timeliness whenever you are attending an interview as these are easy boxes to tick.

In a competitive job market, you can't afford to make small mistakes or pass up opportunities to shine. Become a more attractive job candidate to employers by following the tips above.

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3 Ways To Improve Your Professional Happiness Using Your Career Decoder Results

The Career Decoder Quiz unlocks your professional strengths and potential. I'm going to walk you through three ways you can use your results to improve your own career happiness, success, and satisfaction.

I built the Career Decoder Quiz back in 2015 and, as of today, hundreds of thousands of people have taken the quiz. When I first shared it with our members and followers, I got a comment from someone on LinkedIn with a PhD in psychology who said their results were spot-on accurate. It truly made my day because I always knew that this information was important and accurate but it's very validating when you hear other individuals saying that as well.

How To Use The Career Decoder Quiz To Unlock Professional Success

The Career Decoder Quiz is all about your workplace personas. Your workplace personas explain how you like to add value and how you like to create value and results for your employer when you're doing work. And this is important to understand because you're not an employee. You're a business-of-one, and you're selling your services to the employer. You want to be able to sell services that you enjoy providing. That's how you find satisfaction in your career.

I've worked with thousands of people over the last 20 years. I've been a career coach for a long time, and I know that the number one reason people are so unhappy is that they're not internally motivated by their work. The technical term is "intrinsic motivation." It means it's work you desire to do and that's exactly what the career decoder results reveal. You're going to feel more satisfied naturally when you're doing the kind of work your results say you should do.

When we work with people inside the Work It DAILY platform, when our career coaches help our members, what we normally find is that they're doing work that is not leveraging their top two or three workplace personas. The Career Decoder Quiz is going to tell you you're top personas. When you get your results, anything that scores 20% or higher means it's a strength of yours. It's a persona that you prefer to leverage. Some people only have one. Some people have a couple of them. But you can't be all eight, so you're going to see what you prefer to do and how you prefer to deliver that value.

The first way (and probably the most important way) you should be using the results of the Career Decoder Quiz is to get very clear on the kind of work you want to do.

We had a client take the Career Decoder Quiz. He was a very successful executive. In his current role, he was known as an Optimizer. (That's one of the eight workplace personas.) He was very good at looking at problems in the company and fixing them. But he wasn't fulfilled in this work. When he took our quiz, it turned out that his top three workplace personas were Mentor, Visionary, and Educator.

What he preferred to do was coach others. He preferred to share a vision, help people connect the dots, and see things that they couldn't see on their own. He also wanted to close gaps in knowledge and information.

So what we did was work together to quantify his skills and abilities in these three areas—the ways he preferred to work—and then he went to his leadership team and expressed the fact that he really wanted to find work within the organization that allowed him to leverage these three areas. And, lo and behold, the executive team said to him, "We've been waiting for you to say this." He was shocked. They were very happy with him in the Optimizer role and he seemed to be happy in the Optimizer role, so why would they've changed things? It wasn't until he expressed his desire to do work that was in line with how he felt satisfaction that he was able to get results.

I see this every single day inside the Work It DAILY platform as we coach people on their careers, helping them better understand themselves, and this is just one of the ways that we do it.

The second way you need to leverage the results you get from the Career Decoder Quiz is to use them in all your career tools (resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, etc.).

As a business-of-one, you have to market yourself to employers, and the way you market yourself is with things like your resume, LinkedIn profile, cover letters, answers in your interview prep, and elevator pitch when networking. A lot of people tend to have the "everything and the kitchen sink" mentality where they put everything they've ever done in all of these career tools. They want to present themselves as a Jack or Jill of all trades. That is a fatal error. You need to brand yourself as a specialist, and, more importantly, as a specialist doing the kind of work you want to be doing. The Career Decoder results are what enable you to do that.

Now, a lot of people get their results and suddenly change their LinkedIn headline to "I'm a Builder, Mentor, Superconnector," or in their resume they write that they are an Educator or Warrior or Researcher. That's not what I want you to do. That's actually pretty hokey and that's not what this was intended for.

Instead, take a look at your top personas. You'll realize those personas are really verbs. So if you're a Builder, then you want to go through your tools and quantify your experience building things: "I've built X systems." Or if you're an Educator, "I've taught X number," or "I trained X number of people." Or if you're a Superconnector, "I've connected X number of customers/vendors."

You want to look at how you move the needle in your career. You want to quantify your accomplishments and work experience using the terms that align with your top workplace personas. Quantifying these things and branding yourself this way is how you're going to send the message that this is your specialty, this is how you like to create value, and you can prove it.

The third way you can leverage these results and improve your professional satisfaction is by understanding or getting familiar with your co-workers' personas.

It's important that you know how to leverage the strengths of other people. And let me explain why.

When you know what your strengths are, you're going to have more confidence, and when you know the strengths of others, you know how to tap into them and collaborate better. This is what companies are looking for—their top resources working well together and creating much better results.

By recognizing the talents of others and knowing to leverage them in concert with yours, you're going to gain a lot of trust, respect, and credibility within the organization.

I see a lot of people plateau in their careers because they get so focused on what they're good at and how they win that they lose sight of the fact that in order to get to the next level in their career, they need to partner with others. They need to be able to leverage the strengths of others. You can't be all eight personas. You're going to need all eight of those personas in the workplace. So if you want to get ahead in your career you need to put your ego aside. You need to leverage your own strengths, your own personas, and you need to leverage those of your teammates. Your credibility, the trust and the respect that you're going to get, is gonna skyrocket. And, of course, that's going to make you much happier on the job.

Those are the three ways you can leverage the Career Decoder results. Discovering your workplace personas is so empowering. And we don't just use the Career Decoder Quiz with job seekers and professionals. We also use it with employers. They use it with their staff to help them better understand their teammates. And if you're a leader, not only should you take this quiz, but you should also give it to all of your employees and learn their results so that you can tap into their strengths and make sure they're happy on the job.

I hope this free quiz helps you, your coworkers, and your leaders. If you want to work one-on-one with our coaches and learn more about your results, join us inside Work It DAILY today. Let us be your guide toward a happier, more satisfying career.

This article was originally published at an earlier date.

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How To Answer The "What Is Your Biggest Weakness?" Question In A Job Interview

Even though it's one of the most common interview questions out there, everyone hates being asked, “What is your biggest weakness?" in a job interview. It's hard enough to show your potential during an interview. How are you supposed to sell yourself to employers when they want you to tell them what's wrong with you?

Thankfully, answering this question isn't as hard as you might think. And you can actually use it to show your potential if you respond strategically.

How To Answer "What Is Your Biggest Weakness?" In An Interview

To successfully answer the "What is your biggest weakness?" question in a job interview, don't lie or come up with an answer you think might impress the interviewer (like "being a perfectionist" or "working too hard"). Instead, focus on a skill you're trying to develop.

For example, let's say you're interviewing for a training coordinator role at your favorite company. You love developing training materials and teaching others; however, you get very nervous when delivering your presentations because public speaking isn't your forte.

Instead of trying to sweep this under the rug, address it, but ease the interviewer's concerns by sharing what you're doing to overcome this challenge.

An Example Of How To Answer "What Is Your Biggest Weakness?" In A Job Interview

"I have to admit that public speaking has always been difficult for me because I'm an introvert. It makes me nervous to get up in front of people and talk. However, I've learned that this was an integral part of training others, which I love doing. So, I've been working hard to improve my public speaking skills by participating in monthly Toastmasters meetings as well as taking on volunteer training sessions for colleagues so I can get some extra practice. Since challenging myself to do this, I've noticed a big difference in my confidence level and have felt more capable than ever in my role as a trainer."

Essentially, you want to convey that you understand you're weak in one area, but to make up for it, you've been working hard to improve that area because you know it's important in your role. There's no need to give a long explanation for this question. Keep it simple and straightforward, and focus on the positives rather than dwell on the negatives.

Don't get stumped by common interview questions like, "What is your biggest weakness?" Instead, go in prepared. Be honest with yourself and tailor your answers so you can market your skills rather than detract from your potential. Remember: Every weakness is an opportunity to grow as a professional, so frame it that way in your next job interview!

Need more help with your job search?

Become a member to learn how to land a job and UNLEASH your true potential to get what you want from work!

This article was originally published at an earlier date.

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 2 weeks ago

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4 Ways To Take Ownership Of Your Career

Are you sick and tired of depending on other people for your career success? Good! The only person in charge of your success is you.

If you're feeling trapped by a job you hate, a bad boss, insulting pay, or all of the above, it's time you take ownership of your career. But where do you start?

Here are three things you can do to start taking control of your career today:

Take Inventory Of Your Skill Sets

What are you known for? What are your best skills? What accomplishments are you most proud of? What are your best qualities?

Take some time to list your best skill sets, and how you use those skill sets to add value to a company. Think of all the quantifiable examples of the times your skills have helped previous employers and other examples of your skill sets standing out from everyone else's.

Organizing all of this information will help you build your personal brand and organize how you want to market yourself as a business-of-one to employers.

Start Being Proactive In Your Career

If you want to take ownership of your career, you need to stop being reactive and start being proactive. Reactive activities include but aren't limited to the following: waiting for your boss to give you a promotion, waiting for recruiters to reach out to you with new opportunities, or waiting for employers to email you back about your resume.

Notice that all of these "job search activities" started with the word "waiting." Newsflash: Waiting doesn't get results. Taking action does.

Instead, set up a meeting with your boss to discuss advancement opportunities or make a bucket list of companies that you want to work at, and then reach out to employees at those companies to connect, and maybe even set up informational interviews.

It's also important to submit your cover letter and resume to an actual person when applying for a job, and following up with that hiring staff.

Build Your Professional Network

The old saying, "It's who you know," has never rung more true. Get by with a little help from your career friends! Focus your efforts on building your professional network. Meet new people within your industry and bucket list companies. Start conversations and build relationships with them.

Even if you're not ready to find a new job or change careers yet, having these people in the wings as references, mentors, and professional contacts will help you tremendously. They can provide tips and insight, act as a sounding board for ideas, and even hook you up with a job. Just make sure you help them out in return!

Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Part of your new, proactive approach is to step out of your comfort zone. Many people hold themselves back solely because they are afraid of what people might think. But remember, nothing will change if you don't!

Make an effort to put yourself out there and meet new people. Set up informational interviews with like-minded professionals, strike up a conversation with someone at a conference, and attend in-person or virtual networking events.

If you're ready to achieve career success, take ownership of your career today by following the tips above. What is your business-of-one capable of?

Need more help with your career?

Become a member to learn how to UNLEASH your true potential to get what you want from work!

This article was originally published at an earlier date.

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How To Use Informational Interviews To Land Your Dream Job

When there's a company you really want to work for and you've applied and applied and you don't get any results, the first thing I ask is how many informational interviews have you done with people who work at this company?

Informational interviews are not job interviews. They are interviews where you are asking that person for guidance or coaching by saying things like...

  • Can you tell me how you got your job?
  • What do you think it took to stand out?
  • What do you think it takes to be successful at the company?
  • What would you advise me to do to better prepare myself for job interviews?

You're not asking them to refer you to the hiring manager or help you get the job. You're asking them to coach you on being the best version of yourself so that you can be a standout candidate to get the job yourself.

Informational Interviewing Tips

At the end of each informational interview, say, "This was really helpful. Could you introduce me or recommend one person at this company that you think I could also learn a lot from?" What happens is the person always recommends one person, and that's how you get your next informational interview. And you do that over and over and over again.

Now why is this important? Well, they are going to start to give you all the information you need to help you understand what you have to do to stand out and get hired. Also, you're building up your networking connections so that when a recruiter comes across your LinkedIn profile and sees that you're connected to all these people, it increases the chances that you'll actually get a job interview.

Plus, when you're in the job interview, you can say, "I've had the pleasure of talking with so-and-so who works at your company, and they shared (blank)," or "I talked to so-and-so and they told me (blank)." This shows that you are connected to these people and you've listened to what they've said, and this can be one of the best ways to get a job with a company you love.

Let me give you a real-life example. I actually coached a young woman on this. She was a senior in college, and she wanted to work for a very well-known sports company. And so we started this process. We got her her first informational interview, and then she got another one and another one and another one. She graduated from college, applied for jobs, and didn't get any job offers. Then, out of the blue, while she was home, she got a call and it was from a manager at the sports company she'd never met. And this person said, "Hey, I'd like to interview you over the phone. I had a candidate lined up for a job and the candidate dropped out. I need somebody to start ASAP. So I sent a message out to all the managers saying, 'I need somebody with these skills ASAP. Can you think of anyone?' And three different managers messaged me back and recommended you. You clearly made an impression when you were talking to all these people. So I want to interview you." And that's how she got a job with them.

Informational interviewing is so effective when you're trying to get into a dream employer. At Work It DAILY, we teach the framework for informational interviewing. It is an entire module that is part of our interview prep course. We take you through the interview process from the eyes of the hiring manager so that we can prepare you to do the right things before the interview, during the interview, after the interview, and throughout the whole process. And part of that is also knowing how to do informational interviewing.

If you would like access to our interview prep course, become a Work It DAILY member today. Sign up for our 7-day FREE trial and see how easy it is to get the results you want and deserve.

Good luck, and go get 'em!

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4 Easy Ways To Be More Active At Work

Staying active at work can be a real challenge. It's easy to get sidetracked with projects and meetings and not even realize you've been sitting for a couple (or more!) hours. So, how can busy professionals be more active during the work day?

Thankfully, there are a few simple ways you can change your daily routine so that it is more active and you are less sedentary. We all know how important it is to be active throughout the day so we are expending energy, moving our joints, working our muscles, and staying flexible. With that in mind, here are four tips to be more active at work today!

Track Your Steps & Calorie Burn
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Our first tip is to have something to track your steps and calorie burn throughout the day. You can use an Apple Watch, a Fitbit, or just a pedometer so that you have something monitoring your activity level and telling you that you're moving enough.

Plus, it feels like a real accomplishment when you know you've met your goal of 10,000 or 20,000 steps!

Park Farther Away From Your Destination


It's all about squeezing more activity into what you already do. When you're running errands or going to work, for example, instead of looking for one of the closest parking spots, try to park as far from the door as possible (if it's safe!).

Just think how many more steps you'll walk if you do this all day long!

Take The Stairs


Our next tip is stairs, stairs, stairs. Wherever you are—at work or at home—always take the stairs.

It may take you a little longer, and you may be out of breath at the top, but it's worth it. Taking the stairs is so beneficial to your overall health and cardiovascular system. Make it a goal to take the stairs at least once a day, if not two, three, or four times.

Start now, and see how much easier it is to walk up the stairs in a month's time.

Add Activities To The Ones You Already Do During The Day


Lastly, try adding some type of activity to activities you already do.

For example, we all go to the bathroom. So, before or after every visit to the bathroom, do something. Whether it's squats, lunges, push-ups, or another body weight resistance exercise, you'll be sure to get moving if you make it a goal to do so!

We hope this motivates you to add a little more activity to your busy workday. If you don't have time to go to the gym, you can still incorporate physical activity into your existing daily routine.

Over time, making these small changes to your daily routine will make a big difference!

Like what you learned today? Be sure to follow Amber on Instagram @AccentuateWellness, or like her Facebook page to discover more fun workouts, healthy recipes, and helpful lifestyle tips!

Download her FREE at-home workout guide now!

Note: Individuals should always speak to their physician before making any significant dietary or lifestyle changes.

This article was originally published at an earlier date.

We hope this motivates you to add a little more activity to your busy workday. If you don't have time to go to the gym, you can still incorporate physical activity into your existing daily routine.

Over time, making these small changes to your daily routine will make a big difference!

Like what you learned today? Be sure to follow Amber on Instagram @AccentuateWellness, or like her Facebook page to discover more fun workouts, healthy recipes, and helpful lifestyle tips!

Download her FREE at-home workout guide now!

Note: Individuals should always speak to their physician before making any significant dietary or lifestyle changes.

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 2 weeks 5 days ago

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My Experience Working Abroad

I have worked in the tour guide business in Egypt for one year and consider it to be one of the greatest memories of my life. Packing your bags and moving overseas may seem like a big step. However, things fall nicely into place once you get your boots on the ground.

I was based in Cairo and shared a spacious apartment with a French woman who worked for the Coca-Cola Company downtown. Though the tour guide business in Egypt demands long and irregular hours, life was pleasant along the river Nile and I met some fascinating and wonderful people. The tour guide trade opens the door to new people and cultures, making this a fantastic long- or short-term working abroad experience.

The best part about a tour guide career is that no two days are exactly alike. This type of work is ideal for those who thrive on the adrenaline of the unexpected and can make friends easily under pressure. My day could usurp morning, noon, and night with guided tours and often required long waits at the airport for incoming tour group clients. The first step is to meet and greet the guests, get them through customs, and assist them at the hotel for check-in.

My college undergrad was in criminal justice; however, I took 18 units of hospitality management and some tour guide classes. I also speak, read, and write fluent German and have learned basic conversational Egyptian Arabic. Bilingual skills are necessary for foreign tour guide services; however, becoming a multi-lingual guide will increase your job prospects and send you to the front of the line.

My tour groups were usually about 15 to 30 visitors, and on a few occasions, I had only one small party traveling together. My clients received a written outline of their itinerary from the main office and they could expect a three- to four-hour tour of Cairo each day. The main events were always the Egyptian Museum, the Great Pyramid, the Sphinx, the Solar Boat Museum, and a drop-off at the Khan el-Khalili souk for a self-guided tour through the shops. In addition to the standard points of interest in the city, my clients were able to book additional sightseeing with me for extended tours such as a day trip to Alexandria, an excursion to Dashur, or a special night out on the town aboard a Nile dinner cruise ship.

Although being a tour guide appears to be a very structured line of work, it has its elements of surprise that require some quick thinking on your feet. I would give my cell phone number to my clients and urge them to call me if they had any travel difficulties, would like to arrange something special, or if they needed some fast facts on adjusting to life in Egypt.

To connect well and establish an instant rapport with foreign travelers, it is essential to possess a high level of people skills. Though the pressure could be intense dealing with late drivers, combative clients, or juggling last-minute reservations, I kept going with a smile because I knew I was appreciated and applauded by the majority of my guests.

No matter how hot and bothered some of my clients would be, I always remembered that they might have had to save their money for years to take a fabulous trip to Egypt, and my pride and joy was making their Cairo experience a pleasant one.

The academic side of training in this exciting field does not communicate the hard work and energy that the tour guide business requires. It may not be brain surgery, but it does require a quick and sharp mind to problem-solve for each unique individual on the tour and spin a lot of wheels to keep the group activities interesting and entertaining.

At the end of the tour in Cairo, most of my clients would be moving on to Luxor or Aswan to board a Nile cruise ship, then perhaps spend a few days on the beaches of the Red Sea. However, this was not goodbye as they would return to Cairo for the final one or two days of their itinerary.

My clients were briefed on the proper etiquette for tipping in Egypt, which was approximately 15 Egyptian pounds per person, per day. I knew I was not going to get rich working as a tour guide in Cairo; however, the base pay was decent and the tips were excellent.

The bonus to the job was having some free time in Egypt and exploring the country from top to bottom on my own. I was given drastically reduced hotel rates, low airfare, and train tickets, and was able to see Egypt at my own pace with two five-day vacations over the year.

My best advice to someone considering a tour guide position abroad is to choose a country that interests you and let your passion for travel lead the way. In addition, get the best education you can and get busy with one or more foreign languages. I got started in this line of work from hearing a friend rave about her tour guide job in New York City and decided to make it happen for myself in my beloved Egypt.

Since I left my job in Cairo, life has become more complicated with ties to the United States. This confirms that my timing was right to chase the dream, board the plane, and create some priceless memories overseas. If you are feeling the pull to do something different with your life, I say now is the time to make it happen.

This is a true story told by, the worldwide leader in providing online employment resources for Hispanic and bilingual professionals since 1997. With 95 of the Fortune 100 companies using its service, LatPro is the largest diversity employment site in the U.S. and the most complete personal career advancement service for Latino and bilingual professionals. Visit to find careers in your field specifically tailored for Hispanic and bilingual professionals like yourself.

This article was originally published at an earlier date.

Working abroad image paul prescott /

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My Job As A Sports Coach

For me, coaching is a passion. I've been an athletic coach for 18 years. My job description is to teach basketball and baseball, schedule, write game plans, attend clinics, hold camps, and general duties.

To have success according to my contract, I have to get my teams to win games. When people criticize coaches saying that we only care about winning, they need to understand that we have to win in order to keep our contract. If we don't win, our administration and our fans want us fired.

I rate my job satisfaction as a coach at 9. I have to deduct a point from a full 10 because of the outside pressure, which comes mostly from parents. Years back, I allowed myself to be concerned with their noise. Now I know every day that I walk into the gym or onto the field and impact my players, in a way, that doesn't matter to their parents. I know that I put my team together in the best way possible to win games. I know that I improved every athlete in some way.

What I can do with these kids is awesome. I teach them plays and fundamentals but I use athletic discipline to instill life lessons in them. First I teach kids to love the sport, and then I take kids who are below-average students and require them to better themselves academically to play the sport. When they want to quit, I ask them for more. I challenge them to work as a team with people they don't like in the hall at school. I require them to think smartly in an intense situation.

I do enjoy working with more mature teams, to an extent. The challenges are that bad habits have already been formed and I have to coach to win. I spend a tremendous amount of time with my line-up so that everyone who works hard gets to play, regardless of skill. It's important to me that I reward every athlete with decent game time.

Middle school teams give me the opportunity to work on solid skills and good habits. I can teach more and I have leeway to make certain that I develop every athlete by giving them game time. The pressure to win is not as intense as at the high school level.

When I entered into coaching as a volunteer in a recreation center for at-risk kids, I became hooked. I'm glad that I started the way I did. I see the big picture of what I can actually do for kids other than teach them to hit a ball. I still volunteer with young kids who eventually play for me on a school team. Sometimes I have to buy their shoes or pay for their fees. I always have to tutor them, but as I do so I see the high school diploma that they might not have gotten otherwise.

When I first became a paid coach, I was miserable. I had parents screaming at me. For a while, I tried to keep everyone happy. I wasn't having the impact on my kids that I wanted. I eventually got to the place that I am now. I know that I am here for these kids and no one else.

Without a doubt, parental interference is the most frustrating thing about coaching. Parents believe their kid is the star. I'm fortunate to coach team sports so that I can hide weaker players and get every kid in the game for a decent amount of time. It helps the athlete keep working and it keeps the parent quiet.

To me, coaching is not particularly stressful. There are definitely some intense moments, 11 seconds on the clock and we are two down, but it's not real stress when you look at the big scheme of life. Job stress in coaching comes from outside the gym.

The money is a supplemental income unless you make it to a college or professional team. I make around $2,000 for a six-week season in middle school, and $5,000 for a three-month season in high school. I only coach in small schools. Bigger suburban schools certainly pay more. I open the gym in the off-season two times a week and run two camps a year. Other than season play, my time off is up to me.

A degree in teaching or coaching is a standard requirement to coach at a school. I don't have that, but I do have the ability to put a group of athletes who are very diverse in skill, talent, and attitude together and eventually win games and titles. I would like to become a coach in a juvenile detention center or somewhere like that. I want to bring kids back to the world and I think I can.

I'm not getting rich in this job, but I am certainly enriched because of it.

This is a true story told by, the worldwide leader in providing online employment resources for Hispanic and bilingual professionals since 1997. With 95 of the Fortune 100 companies using its service, LatPro is the largest diversity employment site in the U.S. and the most complete personal career advancement service for Latino and bilingual professionals. Visit to find careers in your field specifically tailored for Hispanic and bilingual professionals like yourself.

This article was originally published at an earlier date.

Job sports coach image from Bigstock

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10 Little Things That Make A Big Difference To Hiring Managers

As a former hiring manager in several consulting firms, I often wondered if candidates were cognizant of the impression they made on employers. Even small things, such as the frown displayed by an applicant upon arriving at an interview, or the worn-out jeans of an applicant in a roomful of suits, gave me pause as I worked to screen candidates.

Ironically, many of the problems I spotted could have easily been fixed by taking care of seemingly minor issues. In some cases, these corrections would have made the difference between hiring the job candidate and taking a pass on the applicant!

Here are 10 “little" things that make a big difference to hiring managers in the interview process:

1. Your Digital Identity

Yes, recruiters and hiring managers will be checking out your LinkedIn presence and verifying that your Facebook and Instagram activity is not violating their corporate policies. But have you stopped to think about your tweets or the content you're creating on TikTok?

Even the most realistic employer will need to assess your liability as a potential new hire. Therefore, your online activity must be sufficiently toned down and presentable to a potential company—long before you enter the job market.

If you've kept up a website on your middle-of-the-night gaming habit or constantly tweet your distaste for political candidates, these items can offend hiring managers—and cause them to rethink bringing you in for an interview.

2. Your Honesty

Struggling to hide employment gaps in your work history on your resume? Failing to mention that new job you just took (that isn't working out)? White lies or sins of omission on your resume and in your interviews will come back to haunt you in more than one way.

If interviewers don't catch lies during the resume screening process, there's still a chance that your background check will reveal all. Even after you're hired, your record of impeccable service won't make up for less-than-forthright stories on your resume or LinkedIn profile.

Stories abound of high-profile executives, entertainment professionals, and sports coaches who attended college but didn't graduate—and who paid the price for fudging these resume details years down the road.

3. Your Accessibility

Are you open enough on LinkedIn that others can contact you? Or did you forget to make your email address (and possibly mobile number) visible to other users? Here are best practices for ensuring you're more easily reached on LinkedIn:

  • From the "Edit Profile" menu, look under the box with your name and headline for "Edit Contact Info." Here, you can fill in your email address and phone number.
  • Joining groups is also an important step in becoming accessible to employers. Sharing a group with another user means he or she can reach out to you for free (important to recruiters maximizing their LinkedIn budgets).
4. Your Job Search Follow-Up

Sent in a resume, but failed to take any action beyond pressing the "Send" button? If you didn't spend some time following up or identifying company insiders for further networking, your job search will take longer.

Doing some homework on the employer's business needs and identifying key people for personal follow-up (through LinkedIn or an online search) shows them you're truly interested in a career opportunity, and that you've given thought to solving their business problems.

Be sure to use formal channels when applying for a posted job. Then, reach out to your newly found contacts to reiterate your interest in joining the company. Better still, connect and network with employees at the companies on your interview bucket list well before you start your job search. That way, you'll already have connections at those companies when it comes time for you to apply for a job.

​5. The Tone Of Your Cover Letter Or LinkedIn Message

Cranking out LinkedIn messages or cover letters at top speed—with just a few adjustments here and there? Hiring managers can smell a "form letter" approach a mile away. Nothing says "I'm desperate and don't care about your needs" more than a disjointed cover letter or a LinkedIn message that simply asks for a job.

No matter how you're getting in touch with employers, take the time to write a brand-specific message of value to them—helping them discover who you are, what you offer, and why you're interested in a position with their company. This means customizing each LinkedIn message and writing disruptive cover letters.

You may not be able to crank them out as fast, but you'll be sacrificing quantity for quality. And, in the job search, quality is always better than quantity.

6. Your Demeanor When Arranging The Interview

When setting up any kind of business meeting, there's a certain amount of give and take required for coordination. No matter how in-demand your skills may be, you'll be expected to acquiesce to interview timing and location parameters set by employers. That can mean dealing with less-than-helpful receptionists or HR personnel, all of whom will be taking notes on your reactions.

Your phone etiquette and email communications will be watched closely; a courteous and respectful tone will go miles in reinforcing your personal brand and potential as a job candidate.

7. Your Appraisal Of The Interviewer

Feeling put out by the fact that your interviewer appears younger, more inexperienced, or otherwise beneath you in the professional hierarchy? Be careful how you convey this disapproval. You may believe you're hiding these feelings, but as one of those younger-looking interviewers, I often picked up on this tone very quickly!

Even if you decide mid-interview that you're not interested in the company, remember to display a high degree of professionalism. You never know how well-connected your interviewer might be.

8. Your Discretion

Polarizing, hot-button subjects such as politics or religion should make their way out of your resume, LinkedIn profile, interview discussions, and side conversations.

No matter how neutral or popular you consider your stance to be on these topics, there's bound to be someone who disagrees with you—and who votes against hiring you.

9. Your Post-Interview Actions

Yes, you should be sending a thank-you note to employers after your interviews! Whether a short, handwritten card, LinkedIn message, email, or even hard-copy letter, a thank-you note gives employers the impression that you're a gracious and appreciative job candidate.

A post-interview note can also be used to address lingering questions, counter potential objections ("Regarding our discussion on your new Western region, I can assure you that I'm accustomed to handling accounts in person for maximum effect—and therefore open to travel"), or mention a fond memory you have of the experience (a conversation, for example) to highlight a connection you made with the individuals at the company.

Be sure to address your notes to each person you've encountered in the interview process (or at least mention their names in the note), especially if you've met with a panel or group.

10. The Frequency Of Your Messages

Just because social media lets you send messages faster than ever doesn't mean you should pester employers. Following up once or twice after applying for a job should suffice to let them know you're still interested in the position. The same is true of the post-interview period.

Hiring managers have companies to run and customers to serve in addition to the process of choosing you. They may also have other candidates to consider. Staying on an employer's radar is important, but so is professional discretion. Aim for somewhere in between silent and stalker in your follow-up activities.

There are numerous ways employers can be put off by your job search practices or approach. Ensure you're taking steps to satisfy their need for information and put your best professional foot forward.

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This article was originally published at an earlier date.

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 2 weeks 6 days ago

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6 Tips To Make Your Resume Better Than The Rest

Recruiters look at dozens of resumes a day. If they see something they don't like, your resume could wind up in the “no" pile in just seconds.

Here are a few tips you should follow to make your resume better than the rest, standing out from all that competition!

1. Make Sure Your Resume Is Error-Free

We know that sounds like a no-brainer, but you might be surprised by the number of resumes that have a spacing issue, a punctuation error, or even a misspelling. The problem is that you have looked at your resume so many times, your brain knows what it is supposed to say, but in reality, it says something else.

Get several people to proofread your resume, and have them read it for different purposes. One person should read for grammar, for example, and another should read for punctuation and spelling. You cannot afford to send a resume to employers with mistakes. Any superficial error can severely hurt your chances of getting a call for that job.

2. Align Your Resume With The Description Of The Job You're Applying For

Too often people think that their resume is a "one-and-done" proposition. Not so! You should customize your resume for every job each time you apply.

Match up keywords from the job description with keywords in your resume. Make sure that your achievements and successes indicate that you are an excellent candidate for the job you're applying for. You need to tweak your resume for every single job posting. There are no exceptions.

3. Make Your Resume Sleek

Some people think the trick to a great resume is to stuff as many accomplishments into it as possible by using tiny font and stretching the margins to the limit. The result is a resume that is difficult to read and looks cluttered and clunky. Those resumes will wind up in the "no" pile because the hiring manager doesn't care enough to search the document for truly relevant information. They also don't have time to waste when there are dozens of other resumes to review.

Your resume should have a clean and contemporary look and feel. Use lots of white space and be as concise as possible. Also, use clean-looking fonts like Calibri or Arial.

4. Use Keywords Strategically

Check the job description carefully for each position you're applying for. Then, use keywords in your resume that match the keywords in the job description. Also, you may find it helpful to use free word cloud tools to identify the keywords that are used most frequently in the job description. Adding those keywords to your resume will make it easier for your resume to get past the ATS.

Recruiters and hiring managers are looking for individuals who are a good match for their job openings. Don't make them guess whether or not you have the required skills or experience. Your resume should get them curious to know more about your qualifications. At the end of the day, the goal of your resume is to get the employer to call you. It won't be the thing that gets you the job, but it will be what gets you an interview.

5. Describe Accomplishments, Not Responsibilities

Avoid using the word "responsible" in your resume. Instead, concentrate on specific and quantifiable accomplishments. For example, which sounds more impressive:

  • Responsible for manufacturing production with proven record of exceeding expectations.
  • Managed 5 different teams over the course of 10+ years resulting in $50 million in new sales along with a 30% reduction in waste.
If you said the second bullet point, you picked the right one. That's what hiring managers are looking for on a resume.6. Use "Power" Words

Demonstrate that you are a person of action. Rather than being "responsible for" something, use words like "advised," "led," "launched," "executed," "generated," "planned," "produced," etc. These powerful resume words (and others like them) demonstrate your ability to perform on the job and your specific role in previous jobs. Strong action words validate your capabilities and specific duties you have performed.

Consider which is better:

  • Responsible for launch of a new product.
  • Initiated and led new product-launch that resulted in $20 million in revenue.
Don't forget that your resume represents who you are and what you can do when you can't be there in person to explain all of that to a recruiter or hiring manager. Your resume is just one of hundreds that fly into a company on any given day. You need to stand out from the crowd, and it is your responsibility to make that happen. By following the tips above, you'll be sure to create a resume that's better than the rest.

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 3 weeks ago

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Why You Need Achievements On Your LinkedIn Profile

If you want to stand out from other job candidates, both your resume and LinkedIn profile need to have specific, tangible, quantifiable achievements.

We see so many resumes that are very "duty-oriented"—the candidate lists what they've done but doesn't mention anything about what they've achieved.

Here are a few tips on how to write an achievement-based LinkedIn profile...

1. Highlight Your Main Skills In Your LinkedIn Summary ("About" Section)

Your resume and LinkedIn profile are your personal branding tools, and first impressions are important. Highlight your skills in your LinkedIn profile just as you would on your resume. People often say generic stuff like, "I worked in marketing," but that doesn't tell recruiters anything about what they've done.

What powerful words can you use to stand out? What specifically have you done that would be relevant to the jobs you're applying for? Think about these questions as you list your hard skills at the end of your "About" section.

2. Include Accomplishments & Quantify Your Results With Numbers

Recruiters want you to tell them why you're the right fit for the job, so don't be shy about emphasizing what your skills are and how they'd help the company.

Quantify your results as best you can. Use examples that include numbers. if you've saved time or money—by how much? List your accomplishments as bullet points. If something can't be quantified (like job responsibilities), it won't impress recruiters and employers. Therefore, don't waste space on your LinkedIn profile by including them.

3. Prove That You're A Self-Starter

What is it that you've initiated in your job? Did you start any new projects or come up with new ideas? Highlighting projects you've set out to achieve on your own is a great way to show that you're someone who takes initiative, without always being told what to do.

Of course, you should quantify as much information about these projects as possible. This will catch the eye of recruiters and act as a great conversation starter with your network.

Writing an achievement-based LinkedIn profile is a great way to highlight why you're a good fit for the job. You'll stand out to recruiters as a qualified job candidate, one who could achieve great things at the company.

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 3 weeks 1 day ago

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