Sunday, August 19, 2012

Google Saves Nike

My Nike Air shoes started to squeak badly as I walked down the halls of my work.  It was terribly embarrassing when people started to make comments like, "Here comes the boss!" 

Now, how can I monitor my employees when they hear me coming? 
I did what I always do when I want to know something. 
 I Googled it!   
I entered "how to get rid of squeaky shoes" and received almost 38,000 answers in .21 seconds. 
Knowledge is what makes us powerful and Google is amazing.  I must Google different things 20-30 times a day.  
I'm very curious you see! 
I council many students every year on how to find and get jobs and Google is a very big part of that process.  Knowing what companies are out there is the first step and I teach my students use Google as a tool. 
In my book "Conquer the Losing Attitude of Job Hunters" I go into great detail how to use this information to find and meet the decision makers in your field.  Meeting these people before the job comes open is a much better way to find a job than waiting for an advertisement to appear in the newspaper.
Once you get an interview, Google is a valuable tool to use in researching the company you will interview at.
Don't go into an interview without knowing everything you can possible know about that company.  It always impresses the interviewer when you ask pertinent questions about their company.
Let the power of Google help you find a job!

BTW, you can stop your shoes from squeaking by applying hand lotion to the soles!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Plant More Corn to Get a Job

I have a small New Hampshire garden where I produce more summer squash, zucchini and tomatoes then I will ever eat.  Last year I tried something new and planted four rows of corn.

I spent a lot of time with that corn, weeding, watering and praying!

As harvest time came near, I could almost taste the succulent corn right from my garden into the boiling water and drenched in butter with just the right amount of salt!  There is nothing better to top off a beautiful summer day than a plate full of corn that you grew.

The day finally arrived when I thought I would reap my corn harvest.  To my astonishment, a family of raccoons beat me to it.   They were very dainty and peeled back the corn husks and ate every single kernel.

They didn't even have any butter and salt!

I spent this past winter reading different natural ways to keep the raccoons out of the corn.  I decided not to go with the six foot fence and finally chose to ring my corn rows with cucumber plants.  Evidently, raccoons don't like the smell of cucumbers and don't like to step on cucumber leaves.

I stopped by my local farm store the other day and asked the farmer what they did to stop the raccoons from eating all their corn and she said, "Plant more corn!"

Not exactly what I wanted to hear.  My corn is coming in very nicely this year and I'm a couple of weeks away from harvesting.  No sign of raccoons yet; they are probably waiting for the corn to get totally ripe before they decide to dine.

One day, this "Plant more corn" solution clicked in my mind with the advice I have been giving job hunters.  Too many times a job seeker will focus all their efforts on one job or one company only to be disappointed.  The reason they don't get the job might have nothing to do with anything they did.  The only thing they did wrong was to concentrate in only one place.

Plant more corn!

If you are looking for a job, you need to find more job openings, send out more resumes, and do more interviewing.  In my book, "Conquer the Losing Attitude of Job Hunters", I outline a job seeking method where you go out and meet the decision makers in your field (the number one way to find a job by the way).  If you choose to follow this method, then you need to get out more, go to more companies and meet more decision makers.

Plant more corn!

Professor Tom Laurie

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Looking for a Job is a Full Time Job

I just watched one of our US Olympic Archery hopefuls and he mentioned that he practiced 12 hours a day.  I thought, Wow, here is a young man who really knows what he wants.  He certainly is able to keep his eye on the goal.

How many job hunters only put in only 12 minutes a day rather than 12 hours in their job search?

Why do so many out of work people sit around doing nothing? You would think that the decision to put maximum effort into finding a job would be easy.

I think the answer is complicated.  Some job hunters  get discouraged, some don't know what to do.

If you don't have a job, you should get up in the morning, put on your work clothes and put in a good 8 hours every day looking for a job! 

You should be  working on your negatives.  Maybe you need to lose weight or maybe you need to improve your skills.  The worst thing you can do is just sit at home hoping someone will call - that will only depress you.

In my book, "Conquer the Losing attitude of Job Hunters," I outline what I call the aerobic plan to finding a job.  This plan gets you out of the house every day meeting the people in your field who have the authority to hire.  This plan is essential to not only find the people who can hire you, but it keeps you active in the job hunt which can be invigorating rather than depressing.

Bottom line.   Don't sit at home - get out and find that job!

Professor Tom Laurie

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fooling Yourself

On 7/7/77, the band Styx released its "Grand Illusion" album with one of my favorite songs, "Fooling Yourself."  With couplets like

" How can you be such an angry young man
When your future looks quite bright to me"


" Get up, get back on your feet
You're the one they can't beat and you know it"

it should be everyone's favorite!

I wonder how many of us are fooling ourselves with what we eat.  I know that I do.

How many times have you gone for a walk and then thought, "I must have really burned off a lot of calories.  I probably burned off enough so that I can have this Snickers Bar."  In reality, in a half hour walk, you probably only burned off about 110 calories and a Snickers Bar comes in at about 271 calories.

I know what you're thinking, "Thank God I didn't get the king size bar!"

Think some more.  You really are fooling yourself!

Another way to fool yourself is to avoid mirrors, especially when you have no clothes on.  I know that I look at myself after a shower and as long as I am facing the mirror and flexing a little I can say, "Not bad."

Heaven help me if I turn sideways an see the massive mountain formally known as my stomach that starts about halfway down my chest.  No amount of flexing will pull that baby in!

If you really want to lose weight, stop fooling yourself by knowing exactly what particular activities burn for calories and be sure to read all the labels of what you eat.  Hang a full length mirror in your bedroom and use it regularly.

Stop fooling yourself!

Professor Tom Laurie

Sunday, June 10, 2012

I Sent out 500 Resumes and Got NO Interviews

The old job search model was to run down to the store, pick up all the local newspapers, bring them home and send out a resume and cover letter for every possible job and then sit around waiting for the phone to ring.  This was a lousy model and had the great potential to make a person depressed.

With the rise of the internet, job hunters have been able to take this old model and multiply it a hundred fold.  The only trouble is that one hundred times lousy is still lousy!

How could a person send out so many resumes and not hear anything back?

A poor generic cover letter could be a problem?  Instead of just sending out the same cover letter to everyone with maybe the salutation changed, I suggest that you do the research on each company and craft your cover letter for each job.  It is better to send out one properly directed cover letter than 1000 poorly crafted ones.  after doing the research on the company, you may not even want to apply for a job there.

Did I mention that you should have your cover letter and resume proofed by some English language person.  There is nothing like misspellings to get your application thrown away!

Maybe you give away to much information in your resume?  Let's face it, there is age discrimination out there and if you list a job history of twenty five years or a skill that hasn't been used in the last three decades, your resume is really shouting "Old Man or Woman!"  The one exception here is if you are working through a staffing agency then your resume should have everything.

Every resume cam be changed to reflect the needs of the job you are applying for.  If the job advertisement has a little different wording for a skill they need then you should change the wording on the resume to agree with the job advertisement.  Many resumes are thrown right in the trash if the initial screeners can't find the skills they are looking for in the top one third of your resume!

Wouldn't it be better to be the first person a hiring manager thinks of when a jobs comes open instead of having your resume try to stand out among hundreds of other applicants?  In my book "Conquer the Losing Attitude of Job Hunters" I describe an aerobic approach to job hunting that takes you out of the house contacting or actually meeting the people in your field that make the decisions on hiring. 

A much better approach to job hunting than sitting at home getting depressed!

Professor Tom Laurie

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I Showed Up in Jeans and Didn't get the Job!

I was listening to the radio and a guy told a story about how he heard that there were a lot of oil jobs in North Dakota, so he put on his suit and drove 20 hours north and tried his luck in finding a new job.  He wasn't the only one with the same idea, but he was the only one dressed in a suit.  He got a six figure job that day.

Did wearing the suit get him that job?  No, but it was one of the factors that figured into his hiring!
I have a friend that runs a staffing agency.  He once told me that none of his clients ever called him back and said, "I really liked that candidate, but she was really overdressed!"  

Every time I talk to a group of owners and bring up this story, they always chime in with the times when a job candidate shows up inappropriately dressed. Always!   

I believe that job candidates do this because they have never been taught the right way to find a job.

Have you ever gone into a business and seen a teenager sprawled out across a counter filling out a job application.  Usually, they are not dressed well; this may be the first impression they are giving to the person who will be hiring - not good!

Here's a plan.  Dress up in business casual and go to the place of business where you want to work.  Ask for an application and ask who does the hiring (see if you can get contact information).  Also, ask when this person works.

Next, take the application home and take some time filling it out. Find someone with great penmanship and spelling skills to help if you can.  Dress up again and go in and turn in your application to the hiring manager, if possible.  Pick a time when you think the business is at a slow time of the day - don't go into a fast food place at noon.

If you are able to actually turn your application into the hiring manager, be sure to ask for the job.  After you leave, if you were able to get the manager's contact information, send a thank you note and again express your desire for the job.

If you do this, you will stand out!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hold the Cheese!

When I was a kid my mother always made my sandwiches the same way; two slices of Wonder bread, a slab of meat, and a slice of cheese.  Forget everything else.

As I have grown older, my tastes have changed, and I make my own sandwiches a little differently.  I now use whole grain bread and  I actually add romaine lettuce or alfalfa sprouts.  Sometimes I add a slice of tomato or avocado and I top it off with some designer mustard (never did like mayo).

Because of tradition, I still always add a slice of cheese.  Cheese is one of my favorite foods and I would never think of not adding it to my sandwich!

One day I didn't have any cheese (a national disaster) and made my sandwich sans cheese.  After I finished eating I realized that my sandwich didn't taste all that differently than it usually did with the cheese.  I guess the way my sandwiches have evolved over the years with all the yummy additions has really masked the taste of the cheese.

I thought, "Why not leave the cheese off from now on and save almost a 100 calories on every sandwich!"  So, I now just say, "Hold the Cheese, please!"

Professor Tom Laurie