Monday, April 30, 2012

When Does the Interview Actually Begin?

 By Amy Michalenko, Career Expert & Blogger

Have you ever been puzzled when you didn’t receive an interview for a job that you were completely qualified for?  What you might not know are your actions leading up to the point when it’s time to schedule an interview might have excluded you before you ever sat down for that one on one meeting.

When we hear the word “interview”, we think about dressing to impress, practicing answers to questions, sitting in front of a hiring manager striving to say all the right things. 

However, what many job-seekers fail to realize is, the minute you make contact with an employer you have begun the interviewing process and your actions can speak volumes about you long before you make it to an one-on-one conversation with the hiring manager. 

In a tough economy every little detail counts and as a job seeker you have to be on your game throughout the entire process in order to beat out the tough competition for positions.  With an increased number of qualified people looking for jobs, employers will use seemingly minor details to determine your fit within their organization. 

The following tips can help you be more successful and give you an understanding of how your actions can affect your outcomes:

•    Quality over quantity - Applying for hundreds of positions does not increase your chances.  Taking the time to apply for maybe 5-10 positions that you are qualified for and tailoring your resume and presentation to each will make you much more successful.  Sending out hundreds of form cover letters and resumes indicates to an employer that you are not really excited about their position but rather you will take any job that will take you – not so appealing!

•    Keep your search organized – There is nothing worse than an employer calling you and you can’t remember the position you applied for or you have to ask for the job description.  Again, this indicates to employers that their job was not really that interesting or important to you.  It also can speak volumes about your attention to detail and the organizational skills you will apply to your job.

•    Your communication must always be professional – Whether it is over the phone, through email or in person, you should always use the highest level of communication.  Be sure that things like your email address and voicemail are professional as well.  How you communicate throughout the process can indicate how you might communicate with their clients or other team members if they were to hire you. 

•    Treat every interaction like it is the first time you are making an impression – Don’t let your guard down, every time you interact with an employer you leave an impression.  For example, maybe you are stopping by their offices to drop something off, be sure to dress professionally; you never know who will see you. 

•    Follow directions – If you can’t follow directions in the interview process will you break the rules when they hire you?  For example, the posting says no phone calls please – don’t call!

•    Always do more than the bare minimum – Job searching is a lot of work and will require much of your time to do it effectively.  It can be tough sometimes but you must keep your job searching stamina up.  Take every step necessary to go above and beyond in order to make yourself stand out. 

•    Be available, at the right time – If you have been applying for jobs be sure that you are available to return employer calls or schedule interviews in a timely manner.  Calling them back a week after they called you can indicate that you are not that interested and in some cases taking a couple of days will make you miss the interview process.  Also, think about where you are before picking up a call, if you are somewhere that would not be appropriate to talk to someone professionally, don’t pick up your phone or be sure to remove yourself from distractions when calling employers. 

•    Always follow-up  - Every time you send a resume, have an interaction (career fair, networking event, etc)  or go for an interview, take the time to follow up.  A quick call to check the status of your application, an email that thanks them for their time or taking action based on a tip they gave you can demonstrate that you are the kind of person they want working for them – someone who gets the job done without being asked. 

Every action that you take can make an impression on a potential employer and quite frankly can make or break your chances.  So the true answer to the question – When do you start interviewing? - the minute you make contact.

Looking for more assistance with you job search?  Check out all the helpful and interactive courses on  

About the Author:
Amy Michalenko is the current Women's Resource Center Director at Fresh Start Women's Foundation in Phoenix, AZ.  She has over 10 years of experience in career services and human resources. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dealing With A Frustrating Co-Worker

By April Fischer

Difficult people exist everywhere, especially at work. What makes these people so much more frustrating than most is the fact that we can’t necessarily escape them. We have to spend our days sharing an office space with them or working with them on a project. So how do we deal with someone who makes our blood boil?

Fortunately, there are a few tricks to help make them less of a nuisance to you.

Be prepared to deal with this person. We want to be comfortable and happy at work, but when dealing with a coworker who belittles us, gossips, or is a general office whiner or control freak, we have to be prepared for the worst. Before you interact with this person, take a deep breath and know what to expect. Being prepared for these interactions will make you much less likely to be annoyed by them.

Know that you can’t control this person, but you can control how you react to them. Much of our happiness in life is determined by how we react to things and people. We can let our colleague’s pettiness anger us, or we can calmly observe and choose to focus on other things. Accept that no matter what you say or do, this person is unlikely to change. You don’t want to waste time and energy stressing over them.

Don’t fuel the fire. If this person is a gossiper, don’t make the problem worse by joining in on it. If you feel that they belittle you, exchanging cold words will get you nowhere. In fact, it will make you feel even more worked up. The oldest trick in the book is to kill ‘em with kindness. When you see them, smile and say something polite. Wish them a good day. Being friendly and kind when the situation is negative will result in them either becoming too bored or too frustrated to continue hounding you.

Move on. There is nothing you can do to change this person, especially if they are your boss or superior. Sometimes you simply have to deal with the cards you’ve been dealt in life. They may not always be pleasant, but focus on the positives of having a job and making an income in this dire economy. If the situation becomes one that affects you physically or becomes extremely harmful emotionally, then it’s time to take your complaint to someone in authority who can resolve the issue.

All in all, there isn’t much we can do to rid our world of difficult and frustrating coworkers. But by using the tips above, we can become happier people at work and make a change in the environment we spend our days in.

Want more tips on communicating more effectivley with people in both your professional & personal life? Check out our course - Communicating with Difficult People. Find out what style you are and how to communicate more effectivley to get better results!

About the Author:
April Fischer is currently attending Arizona State University. She is majoring in journalism with an emphasis in public relations and hopes to do PR for athletes after she graduates. She is currently a communications & PR intern for Fresh Start Women’s Foundation and is an active member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority. April also has written for a local teen magazine, AZTeen, and has articles published in ASU’s student newspaper, The State Press.

Monday, April 23, 2012

What to Wear to an Interview

By Diane McLelland, Our Resident Fashionista!

You’ve prepared for this important interview for months. You’ve polished up your resume, researched the company you would like to work for, and have prepared some thoughtful questions to ask of your potential employer. You’ve made certain you have information on employment dates, important phone numbers, and references.

The big day arrives. What do I wear to the interview?

Keep it Conservative

A good rule of thumb is to always err on the side of being conservative. According to the experts at, “The first impression you make on a potential employer is the most important one. The first judgment an interviewer makes is going to be based on how you look and what you are wearing. That’s why it’s always important to dress professionally for a job interview even if the work environment is casual.”

What’s the appropriate dress code for an interview? You’ll want that first impression to be not just a good one, but a great one. The candidate dressed in a dark business suit is going to make much more of an impact than if she showed up wearing khakis and a sweater. Jeans are never acceptable for an interview, even if the corporate culture is extremely casual. Think black, navy, or dark gray. A suit is preferable, but separate pieces such a skirt or slacks with a blazer in the same tone (or say a pin-striped blazer and solid dark slacks) would work well, too. Pair the suit or separates with a white, beige, or light colored (a muted stripe would work as well) dress blouse, ensuring it is neatly pressed. Hosiery or opaque hosiery may be optional when you land the position, but for the interview, it is a must if you choose to wear a skirt or dress (again, the emphasis is on a dark, preferable solid color). Shoes should be polished and free of scuffs. A pump is always a good choice, and there are so many styles to choose from. Stay away from the stiletto-height heels, as not only do they look non-conservative, but they may be difficult to walk in as well. You’re already nervous to begin with; you shouldn’t have to balance yourself as you maneuver through the parking lot, perhaps up stairs, and navigate through the building, only to repeat on your way out.

Another fashion mistake some women make is to wear darker hosiery or dress socks with slacks- with lighter toned shoes. As a rule, the shoes should be darker or the same shade.
As I’ve mentioned in prior blogs, great finds can be found at discount retailers, and also your neighborhood Goodwill and thrift stores (look for those that benefit non-profit organizations, too).

Skip the strong cologne, and leave the bling at home

This is not the day to splash on that little ‘extra’ body spray, or to attempt to impress the interviewer with your 7-carat pink cubic zirconium solitaire. A watch, simple necklace or strand of pearls (faux are easy to find and affordable!), small to medium sized hoop or stud earrings (preferably one pair, total!), and one ring per hand is a good general rule.

You’ll want to be sure to make sure that your nails are clean and if polished, no chips present! Again, you are striving for a neutral look. The latest teal polish is a fun look, but an employer could read that as being non-conformist, and read you as a potential ‘rule-bender’!
Any visible tattoos should be covered, and facial or excessive ear piercings removed, if at all possible, for the interviewing process. Companies have differing policies, and you may not initially be aware of what is acceptable. Again, it’s best to keep it conservative, and abide by what you might assume would be a corporate climate. It may well be acceptable, but unless you’re interviewing for a piercing studio, it’s best to be aware of that.

Your make-up should be kept to a minimum that day as well, and by all means, don’t try out a new hair color or style the day before the interview. If the color doesn’t turn out like you had planned, there are usually no simple solutions. It’s best to make any changes well in advance when possible.

Carry a briefcase or dark colored folder to carry two copies of your resume

Ladies, if your handbag is the size of a small suitcase, consider taking a smaller purse for just your wallet and keys, or skipping a ‘purse’ altogether, and slipping your car key into the folder or briefcase you carry to the interview.

Even if the weather is warm, keep in mind that you should wear a blazer for the actual interview. Slip it on before you get into the building. It presents that professional image that you are trying to convey!

So, polish up your resume and your shoes—and you’ll be set and ready to go for that phone call you’ve been waiting for!

Want more interviewing tips? Log-on to and check out our wide variety of job prep courses including behavioral interviewing.

About the Author:
Diane has been called a "fashionista" from a young age, acquiring her love of fashion after enrolling in Sears Charm School as a young girl. After earning her degree in fashion merchandising & business she gained experience by appearing in movies, commercials and magazine layouts. She also worked as a flight attendant for 15 years and wrote for a well-known travel publication. Diane currently works with students to provide career advisement and loves to act as a personal shopper on the weekends for her friends and family.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Take Your Menopause to Work Day

By E

When you enter perimenopause, every day is “Take Your Menopause to Work Day”. Menopause marks the complete cessation of the menstrual cycle for 12 consecutive months and is very often accompanied by unpleasant symptoms. Most are completely unaware that women may experience over 34 symptoms as they enter perimenopause, theLink six- to ten-year symptom-laden period before menopause, and that perimenopause generally begins between the ages of 38 and 48. Women of earlier generations suffered through these symptoms with little to no support inside and outside the workplace. Without a daycare program where women can leave their hot flashes and discomfort, the best step companies can take is to educate their employees and employers. This can greatly enhance a woman’s quality of life, productivity, happiness and well being in the place where she spends most of her waking hours.

A 2010 report by the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee states that “the number of women in the workforce has grown by 44.2 percent over the last 25 years, from 46 million in 1984 to 66 million in 2009” (6). It also states, “The role of women in the American economy is of indisputable importance. The future of the American economy depends on women’s work, both inside and outside the home” (1). More women are working longer and into middle-age. That women need to work to maintain the stability of the economy is undeniable; that those women will eventually enter menopause is inevitable.

In a study entitled Depression, Quality of Life, Work Productivity and Resource Use Among Women, Pfizer reported in 2011 that the most commonly reported symptom of menopause is hot flashes, which affect the majority of women over age 45 and 75% of women over age 50. They are linked to depressive symptoms. The same study showed that women who were experiencing depression in menopause had higher instances of absenteeism, presenteeism, and activity impairment (Page 1, Figure 2). It states:

For women experiencing menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, depression was associated with lower levels of mental and physical quality of life. In addition, women with depression had lower productivity and greater impairment in activities of daily living as compared to women not experiencing depression and greater healthcare resource utilization (1).

The University of Nottingham did a study in 2010 called Women’s Experience of Working Through Menopause, which examined many facets of menopausal women in the workforce. 84% of women agreed or strongly agreed that menopause is a natural stage of life, not a ‘medical disorder’ (38). Women were also asked to indicate which menopause symptoms were affecting their work performance. The top three symptoms were poor concentration, tiredness, and poor memory (41). The North American Menopause Society confirmed on March 18th that menopause is linked to poor memory. 78% of the sample agreed or strongly agreed their job performance had been negatively affected by their menopausal symptoms, or that their performance would have been affected had they not put in additional effort to overcome those symptoms (43). 70% of women had not told their managers that they were experiencing menopause, indicating that many managers may not know that their employees are fighting personal battles that may affect their work. Pages 50 and 51 show ways the women in this sample chose to cope with menopause, and many of them include talking with women who have experienced it, learning more about it, and making time for themselves. Finally, women were also asked how satisfied they were with the support they received inside and outside of work:

It can be seen from the table that outside of work, the majority of women were satisfied with emotional support from family and friends, and informational support from GPs and specialists. It is notable that emotional support from line managers and colleagues was valued (45).

The low ratings of formal support at work and the value women place on emotional support from colleagues show that businesses need a formal corporate wellness program to cater to the health needs of their female employees. Improving this system will increase awareness among workers, prepare them for or aid them in their struggles with menopause, and ultimately contribute to a more productive, more enjoyable workplace as these women are presented avenues to get the help they may need.

Insomnia, another very common symptom of perimenopause and menopause, has been linked to huge unnecessary spending, as reported by CNN in 2011. According to this study, insomnia costs the US $63 billion annually in lost productivity, an average of about $2,280 in salary per person. The head researcher, Ronald Kessler, Ph.D., a psychiatric epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School, said most workers didn’t miss work due to insomnia, but more often showed up too tired to do their jobs effectively.

Shmirshky Universal has developed the robust Corporate Wellness Program that employees find very helpful when dealing with or anticipating perimenopause and menopause in the workplace. This program is beneficial for men as well. Men are surrounded by women at home and in the office and appreciate the education that enables them to be increase the quality of their lives and relationships. Having gone through it myself, I discuss Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness and provide employees insight from an informed point of view. Talking about menopause helps dispel misconceptions, and motivates and inspires women to understand that they are not alone. It helps them to trust how they feel and to get the help they need and deserve.

Employees leave with a better understanding of how to deal with perimenopause and menopause, whether they are currently in it, anticipating it, or reveling in its departure. Employers experience a ripple affect of camaraderie and employee enthusiasm as they gain appreciation for the company’s commitment to wellness and preventative health.

Many women have forgotten what it feels like to function at 100%. By offering employees ways to improve their quality of life and functionality both at home and in the workplace, we come closer to breaking taboos and busting open the conversation about this inevitable stage in every woman’s life.

If you’re in perimenopause or if you’ve gone through it, you know you can’t leave your menopause at home. It follows you everywhere – to the bedroom, to the store, and even to the office. How do you think a corporate wellness program would benefit you in your workplace?

"E" is the pen name of Ellen Sarver Dolgen, author of Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness – a cut-to-the-chase book on perimenopause and menopause.

Monday, April 16, 2012

3 Things You Should Never Do If You Want a Raise

By Laura Browne, Author

If you want to get a salary increase, here are three areas you must avoid during your discussion:

1) Don’t Say You Need a Raise To Pay Bills
Your manager doesn’t want to hear that your rent is going up and your car needs new brakes. You need to focus on the business reasons you should get a raise not personal reasons. While your boss privately might be sympathetic to your money woes, that won’t get you a raise. Bosses don’t want to hear that you can’t handle your personal finances.

2) Don’t Hint That You Will Quit
Unless you are ready to walk out the door in the next hour, don’t hint that you might quit. Managers hate this and it could easily backfire. Even if you are looking for a new job, don’t use that as a strategy to get more money in your present job.

3) Don’t Get Emotional
If you get emotional, your boss will want to end the meeting and will be reluctant to discuss it in the future. If you are afraid that you might become emotional, you need to spend more time planning and practicing how to appear calm even if you feel upset.

So what should you do instead?
Talk to your boss about getting a raise in the same way you would discuss getting additional money for a project. Keep it non-emotional.

That’s not easy because salary is a very personal subject, but remember that it’s uncomfortable for your boss too. The more professional you are, the better it will be for both of you. And if you don’t get a raise this time, your business-like approach will make it easier for you to bring up the subject again so you can get the raise you want.

About the Author:
Laura C. Browne is a corporate trainer and author. Her books, Raise Rules for Women: How To Make More Money At Work and Why Can’t You Communicate Like Me? How Smart Women Get Results At Work are now available in paperback and for the Kindle on

Monday, April 9, 2012

Starting a Business: Is It Right For You?

By Renee Hanson, Certified Financial Planner

Is Starting A Business Right for You?

With unemployment high, many people are wondering if job security lies in self-employment. But how do you know if entrepreneurship is the right move? Before hanging out your shingle, evaluate your strengths and weaknesses with questions like these.

Are you self-motivated?
As a small business owner you are accountable only to yourself. Consider if you’d be able to develop projects, organize your time and follow through on details without any supervision or support from management.

Can you make decisions on your own?
Independent entrepreneurs are required to make constant decisions without help – often quickly and while under pressure.

Do you possess leadership skills?
Starting a new company from the ground up often means uncertainty and risk. If you are a proven leader, it will increase your chances of seeing a small organization through any trying times.

Do you have strong planning and organizational skills?
Business failure can often be avoided with careful planning. Effective organization of financial data, inventory and production schedules are keys to keeping an organization running smoothly.

Do you have good instincts?
“Street smarts” – or good gut instincts – are essential, but hard to quantify. Some also call it common sense, but however you label it, an owner with intuitive good judgment can help put and keep a start-up operation on track.

Remember…starting a business is similar to playing chess: your opening moves are critical to your success in the end.

About the Author:
Renée A. Hanson, CFP®, CEP®, CDFA™, CFS, is a private wealth advisor with Hanson, Ayala & Associates, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Her passion is in helping women achieve their dreams and financial goals, regardless of life’s many obstacles. Renée is licensed/registered to do business with U.S. residents only in the states of AZ, CA, CO, GA, IA, IL, MI, MN, MT, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, PA, SC, TX, VA, WA, WI. Please visit: to learn more.

Brokerage, investment and financial advisory services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC. Some products and services may not be available in all jurisdictions or to all clients.

© 2011 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Top 5 Reasons You Are Miserable At Work

Reposted from Huffington Post

As a women's work-life expert and career coach, I work with hundreds of professionals each year, giving me a birds-eye view into what contributes to career and work-life misery. And as a Forbes and Huffington Post blogger on career issues and trends, the comments I receive on my career posts offer a deep and revealing look at what thousands are feeling today about their jobs and careers.

Several weeks ago, a piece of mine about the 5 Core Steps to a More Satisfying Career landed on the front page of Yahoo, and the hundreds of comments received reflected such bitterness, anger, rage and self-victimization that I was truly taken back.

So many people today feel hopeless and trapped in jobs they hate. But the reality is whether you are a corporate professional, self-employed or in transition or need to find a different way to work, there are proactive and effective steps you can take to change your career and your professional life. You're trapped only if you think you are. I've helped people in far worse situations and conditions than yours make amazingly powerful life and career changes.

Below are the top five reasons I've found that so many women are dissatisfied and unfulfilled at work, along with concrete tips to revise your situation and change course today.

The Top 5 Reasons Women Are Miserable At Work:
1. Struggling and failing to balance work and family
2. Suffering from chronic financial distress
3. Using skills and talents that aren't "natural," interesting or easy
4. Feeling chronically undervalued and disrespected
5. Experiencing no excitement, joy or positive meaning in their work

If the above describes your experience, below are some key tips to help you create an internal shift away from feeling trapped and disempowered, to feeling more confident, courageous and committed to making positive career change today.

Tips for Shifting Away from Work Misery:

1) Fight for Work-Life Balance
I'm sorry to say that work-life balance is not going to just fall in your lap. Women today are still doing 2/3 of the domestic and child care responsibilities at home, even when both partners work full-time. You have to claim work-life balance, fight for it and commit to getting it. How? First, determine the three most important priorities you have in life and work. What are the three things that matter most to you in life and work? What will you give up anything for? Formulate these in terms of "to be" statements such as "to be a loving mother" or "to be a successful entrepreneur" or "to be an inspiring leader."

Uncover the three top achievements that you are longing to bring about in your life and work and that you will not compromise on. Then commit yourself to these 300 percent. Discover where you are over-functioning (doing more than is necessary, more than is healthy and more than is appropriate) in your life, your family and work, and let go of being perfect in the areas that don't matter as much to you. Once you take these steps, you'll find that balance comes more easily to you, because you are committed to doing what it takes to get what you want and courageous enough to live with the consequences.

2) Grow Stronger with Your Money
To get out of chronic financial distress, you must become intimately connected with your money and begin to recognize your real intrinsic worth. First, create a solid budget with strong financial goals, and stick to it. Examine your spending -- are you buying things in order to soothe your soul? If that describes you, find new ways to stop over-spending. Look at your beliefs around money that you learned as a child from living with your family. Are your beliefs about money positive or negative, expansive or constricting? Do you believe you don't deserve wealth and abundance, or are you ashamed of the money you have or don't have?

Overall, the key to overcoming chronic financial distress is to heal and empower your relationship with money through positive and healthy beliefs, actions, and choices. Once you create a supportive money relationship, you will no longer stay in jobs that create financial distress or drain you of joy and energy. You'll know your worth and begin claiming it, on your professional path and elsewhere.

3) Use Skills and Talents That Are Fun and Natural

It's vitally important to understand exactly which talents and skills are easy and fun for you to use, and then find a way (either in your existing job or in a new field or job) to tap these talents more frequently at work. To get more in touch with what you love to do and what comes easily, take my free Career Path Self-Assessment Survey. Figure out what you want to do more of, less of and never again. Often, what you love to do and what comes easily to you were apparent in your childhood, so start there. What did you thoroughly enjoy as a kid that people noticed, admired and praised? You might realize that just because you're great at a task or endeavor doesn't mean you like to do it. The key to an easier and happier work-life is to use talents that come naturally and are fun to you, so that each day feels more joyful and like less of a struggle.

4) Claim Your Self-Respect

If you're chronically undervalued or mistreated at work and want people to change their treatment of you, you must start with SELF-respect. How do you gain self-respect? Through courageous action that inspires your own self-esteem -- action that you know you should be taking, but haven't found the nerve to take. Now is the time to become more authoritative, powerful and commanding in your work. Speak up about who you are and what's important to you. Make yourself right, not wrong. If you know something needs to be communicated, figure out a way to do it as soon as possible. Find an advocate or mentor at work to help you speak up in the right ways so that you will be heard and respected for your viewpoint. Start enforcing your boundaries so that you know exactly what you will tolerate and accept from others, and what you won't.

5) Do More Work that Brings Joy and Meaning

It's a myth in our culture that we can't make money doing what we love. However, it takes grit, determination and courage to pursue a path that you love and to make it work for you financially. If you want more joy and meaning -- and financial success at the same time -- determine what endeavors and activities make you joyful in your life, and begin today to bringing these forward in your current line of work. The key is to understand 1) the essence of what you want, and then 2) find the right form of it that fits your life and your values and needs well.

Start by doing research, research, research -- interview people in the field, read all about the direction you're interested and shadow an individual in the role. Take classes, find a mentor and determine a way to "try it on' before you leap. If you want a different job than your current one, participate in a powerful networking and instructional program like Mediabistro's Job Search Boot Camp that will teach you (in a short four weeks) the core steps to landing a new job you'll love. Don't make any more excuses -- you CAN do this.

The Ultimate Goal: Career Satisfaction
True career bliss might be a high bar to achieve, but career satisfaction isn't. It's up to you to create a career that you love, and you deserve to love your work. Let the top five reasons most women are miserable at work be the catalyst you need to change your career and change your life. Trust me on this one ... once you step up to creating a new career that excites you, you'll reach new heights you never thought possible.

Follow Kathy Caprino on Twitter:

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Get Noticed at Work!

By Dolores Seright, Certified Professional Coach & Author of Shattering Barriers: Amazing Women's Journeys to Personal Empowerment

Are you ready to take the next step up your corporate career ladder or just position yourself to ask for a raise? Do you just want to feel more appreciated by your employer? Are you falling behind your peers, watching them receive the recognition and promotions, while you work hard without the rewards?

Getting noticed for the work you do and the value you bring to your team and your company is the key to advancing in your career, gaining your next promotion, or getting the raise you deserve. Taking the right steps to build your reputation requires planning. It requires making a decision to let your light shine and to market “you” and the value you bring to your company. Yes, you will have to market “you”. We are all salespeople, regardless of our title, and who is better qualified to promote the value you bring to your company than you.

Here are the steps you can take to get noticed at work:

Always Be Professional

Your attitude, your actions and your appearance will demonstrate to everyone at your company your readiness to move to a higher level of responsibility. Be observant of what you say and gain a reputation as someone who supports and respects others and the company you work for. Be certain that you would never be embarrassed to see your actions or activities on Facebook or YouTube. Dress for the role you desire to achieve and be recognized as a leader.

Take the Initiative

Observe and study company procedures and team functions that are within your area of responsibility. Look for opportunities to increase productivity or positively improve team interaction. Take the initiative to make suggestions that make the job easier and more effective for everyone, and you will get noticed very quickly as a person who brings value to the team and the company.

Constantly Increase Your Skill and Expertise

The internet makes it easy and inexpensive to keep informed about the changes and innovations in every field. Investing in yourself is one of the most important investments you will ever make. You will get noticed when your employer recognizes that your knowledge and expertise allows you to provide input and make suggestions that contribute to the success of your company.

Communicate Effectively

Getting your message delivered with skill includes both written and verbal communication. Take the time to review all written documents, including emails, for spelling and grammatical errors before you send. Organize your thoughts before presenting them in a meeting or a one-on-one session with your boss. Presenting your suggestions with confidence in a clear, concise way will help you gain respect and attention as someone who is serious about achieving more and bringing value to the company.

Meet People Outside of Your Immediate Team

The corporate world today seldom operates in individual divisions. Interaction between all areas is a key to corporate success, and it is a key to your personal success. Make connections with successful individuals throughout the organization and develop strong relationships with these people. As they move to roles of greater responsibility, they will be in a position to mentor and sponsor you.

Keep Current with Technology

Technology is changing daily. Research the new options available and develop a strategy to incorporate technology that can increase your productivity or bring some value to your team or your company.


Be the first to volunteer for special projects or committees. If you have the skills and the confidence, you will be appreciated and recognized as someone who contributes to the growth of your organization.

Document Your Accomplishments

Develop a file to record your individual achievements and testimonials. This simple step will be invaluable to you at performance appraisal time. When you set down with your boss to review your performance, you will be able to quickly establish the contributions you have made to the organizations and put yourself in the position of asking for a promotion or a raise.

Discuss Your Goals with Your Boss

Never make the assumption that your boss knows what you want. Make an appointment to discuss your career goals and get advice on developing an action plan for you to follow. Schedule a time to review your progress.

Observe and learn from the people in your organization who are achieving success and moving up the corporate ladder. As you develop your personal strategy to get noticed, take the time to write out your goals and constantly review them. As you implement your strategy, be confident in your actions and enjoy the success that will soon be yours.

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About the Author
Dolores Seright is a professional speaker, author and coach. She left a successful corporate career after facing devastating Stage III breast cancer diagnosis in 2005 and is now a cancer survivor. She is a certified professional coach and her passion is teaching women the skills to move beyond the obstacles holding them back from achieving their personal and business success. She is an experienced coach and specializes in personal success development and mastering sales strategies.

Dolores volunteers as a career coach and conducts training workshops at Fresh Start Women's Foundation in Phoenix, AZ.

Shattering Barriers: Amazing Women's Journeys to Personal Empowerment is her first book. This book is currently available on

Monday, April 2, 2012

Tips to Successfully Submit a Resume Online

By Sheila Nazari, Human Resources & Career Consultant, Management & Leadership Solutions

Lately, I’ve heard many people venting their frustrations about how employers make applying for jobs near impossible, thanks to the online application system. You have to create a username and password for every company you apply to and you have to upload your resume in the correct format and if you happen to accidentally press the ‘back’ button, you risk losing all the information you just entered.

Since I’ve helped companies implement applicant tracking systems, I was defensive at first, but I could sympathize with them. The advantage of applicant tracking systems is that they are designed to make the recruiter or hiring manager’s jobs easier, but the disadvantage is that they can make it more difficult for you, the candidate, to get the job or even to get your resume noticed.

The up-side is that there are many tips that will help make it easier for you to apply.

  1. Different applicant tracking systems can read different types of file formats so make sure you note what type of files can be uploaded and make sure that your resume is in an acceptable format. They usually can read DOC, RTF, and PDF files. If possible, save your resume, cover letter and other documents in the same type of file format to ensure effective uploading.
  2. Use spell-check on your resume and cover letter before submitting them.
  3. Check the job description for the key behaviors required and target your resume to demonstrate how you’ve displayed those key behaviors in previous jobs.
  4. Try to find out as much as you can about the position before applying so that you can better answer the pre-screening questions.
  5. If you call the company because you’re having problems applying, be specific about the issue. Saying that you just don’t know how to apply online or that the site is useless is not the best way to get on the recruiter’s good side.
  6. Take your time with the process. If you accidentally click “yes” instead of “no” on certain questions, it can have a significant impact on whether or not your resume gets screened out.
  7. Pay attention to the required fields (usually shown with asterisks). Other fields are optional.
  8. Don’t offer negative information such as: “Reason for Leaving” – I was terminated. Safe answers to that tricky question include better opportunity, advancement, career transition, etc. Look at it from the recruiter’s standpoint and how they may react to your choice of words.
  9. Store your username and password somewhere convenient so that you can easily sign in to edit your information or apply for other jobs with that company.
  10. If you don’ have a resume, you can use the Resume Builder in the system. If you choose to go this route, have all of the information you need at your disposal and be as thorough as possible, so that you don’t leave out important information.
  11. Most systems give you the opportunity to save your work and come back to it. If you find yourself getting frustrated or running out of time, use this option.
  12. If you know someone who works at the company where you are applying, ask that person if you can put him or her as a referral. There will usually be a field that asks if you were referred by someone.
  13. Use LinkedIn and other social networking sites to see where your connections work and if applying to that company, ask them what the company looks for in a candidate. Tailor your resume accordingly and ask them who you can send the resume to in addition to applying online.

Want more help with getting your resume online ready? Check out our interactive course - Getting Your Resume Noticed.

About the Author:
Sheila is a HR and Training Consultant and Career Coach who guide organizations and people in setting and reaching their goals. She has worked with Fortune 500 companies, medium-sized and small companies including Target, Apollo Group, University of Phoenix, Corporate Psychologists, Knight Transportation and Auckland Museum. Sheila received her Master's degree in Human Resources from the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management and her Bachelor's Degree from Boston University.