Friday, March 29, 2013

Age Gracefully Through Menopause

Forget youth. I want to get old.

It’s a gift that I added to my life’s wish list at the age of 13, after my father had his first heart attack. He was in his mid-forties.

Watching my father’s declining health—interspersed with medication and surgeries—caused me to be unusually concerned with illness and early death. My father passed away at the young age of 58 from heart disease.

But with the right perspective, I believe good can come from the hardships of life. For me, the good was learning to value the precious time I have here on Earth with the people I love—and doing everything in my power to ensure myself as many days filled with fun, love, and laughter as possible. As Ralph Waldo Emerson believed, “The first wealth is health.” And in striving for health, I have gained the wealth of vitality, happiness, and peace. To me, that is aging gracefully and wisely.

So when perimenopause came my way, I wasn’t going to lament the aging process. However, if hot flashes were going to be part of the gift of aging, then I wanted to hit the return counter ASAP. I took a proactive approach. I consulted with specialists, I read all I could on the subject, and I began to learn about the more than 33 symptoms associated with menopause—most of which I had never heard before. That was when the concept for my book-to-be, Shmirshky: The pursuit of hormone happiness, was born. Understanding my body—and all of the incredible changes it goes through—has allowed me to feel happier and healthier in my own skin. 

During menopause, many women become self-critical, striving to look like the prepubescent teen models you see in glossy magazines. Instead, I focus my efforts on my health and wellbeing. And while I have long ago banned horizontal stripes from my closet, and on occasion have looked in shock at the morphing skin on my aging knees, I know that expecting myself to look like I did in my twenties would just be setting myself up for disappointment. It would cheat me out of the joy I deserve. Every day we are alive, we age. Age and time provide us with more opportunities, not less! As we age we have more of a chance to love and be loved. The longer we live, the greater the opportunity to expand our vision of the “possible” and reach out and grab it.

Ready to feel your best? Here are my top tips for aging gracefully during menopause:

1. Be an information sponge. Remember that “knowledge is power” mantra? It’s cliché because it’s true. The more you learn about menopause and your health, the more power you have to control the way you look and feel. Find a menopause specialist near you to help you manage your health and symptoms. You can also sign up for my Menopause Mondays newsletter and receive a free downloadable menopause symptoms chart. I don’t care what you do; you won’t be good unless you first feel good.

2. Love yourself. You are beautiful just the way you are. So start telling yourself that! As Vivian Diller, Ph.D., a ballerina and model turned psychotherapist and author of Face It, recently told me in an interview, Women who maintain an internal dialogue with themselves and their mirrors that is kind and gentle can maintain high self-esteem at any age. They are less self-critical and more accepting of change.” I suggest keeping a gratitude journal at your bedside. Each night before you go to sleep, write down what you experienced and achieved that day for which you are grateful. By focusing on the positives of the aging process, you can start loving your aging self more.

3. Shed your inhibitions. “Women always try to tame themselves as they get older, but the ones that look best are often a bit wilder. Thinking about age all the time is the biggest prison women can make for themselves,” Miuccia Prada once said. And I don’t think that could be any truer. At this point in our lives, we have earned the right to go wild. So let your hair down and stop worrying what is “age appropriate.”

Reaching out is IN! Suffering in silence is OUT! Aging has become something of a four-letter word to women. Ask me what it stands for, though, and I’ll tell you “G-I-F-T!” Aging with our friends and family is the greatest gift for which we can ever ask. But unlike jewelry and flowers—a long life is a gift that only we can give ourselves! And now’s the time to start shopping!

Ellen Dolgen is a Health and Wellness Advocate, Menopause Awareness Expert, Author, Speaker, and health blogger. 
Ellen is the author of Shmirshky: The Pursuit of Hormone Happiness -- a cut-to-the-chase book on perimenopause and menopause that's filled with crucial information, helpful guides, and hilarious and heartfelt stories. Known for her humor, compassion, and sassy personality, Ellen has appeared on numerous television and radio broadcasts, including: the Rachael Ray Show, The Doctors, Oprah Radio, Playboy Radio, “Tell Me More" on NPR, Doctor Radio, and dozens of other regional and national media outlets. Ellen is a frequent guest on the popular radio show, "Broadminded," on Sirius XM Radio (Stars XM 107) and is a regular contributor on Huff/Post 50 along with blogging for many leading women’s health sites. Ellen has dedicated herself to women’s wellness through a wide breadth of activities ranging from being a founding board member of the UCSD Student Wellness Center, working with pharmaceutical companies in helping them to effectively address women’s health needs, serving on hospital advisory boards, and advocating for cardiovascular health.
Ellen’s motto is: Reaching out is IN! Suffering in silence is OUT!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Diagnosis: Pay Inequality in Healthcare

Dr. Linda Brodsky realized she was being paid less than her male co-workers in the medical world. She documented several other forms of gender discrimination in her industry as well. She has since become a poster child for workplace equality for women. Linda bravely spent ten-years in a federal legal battle with her employer setting important precedents in workplace gender equality for the rest of us.

Fifty percent of all medical students today are women, and 46 percent of graduating physician trainees are women. Notably, male doctors make more than female doctors. In fact, in 2009 the average male doctor took home $35,300 more than their women counterparts.

Inequality Is Everywhere

Unfortunately, Linda's story is one of many and it isn’t just the healthcare industry that is affected. Women everywhere face workplace inequality every day, it’s nothing new.

“…patterns of gender relations constitutes a gender regime.” ~ PLOS

Women experience myriad forms of discrimination from blatant sexism to reduced pay to being overlooked for promotions. Since 1980, there have been more women enrolled in institutions of higher education than men.Data from theCenter for Work-Life Policy demonstrate that while 47% of college-educated entry-level corporate professionals are female, women comprise a mere 21% of senior executives,17% of Congressand15% of board directors.

A woman earns only 80 cents for every dollar a man earns.

Research conducted shows that,

“…companies with significant numbers of women in management have a much higher return on investment than companies that lag on this front.”

Whether you are an engineer trying to get work through mechanical engineering staffing firms; an on-call Registered Nurse (RN) or ER doctor waiting for placement; or a woman applying at McDonald’s, you have a right to fair pay regardless of gender or any other discriminatory factor, but you also have an obligation to seek it.


The sociological factors involved in this issue are not surprising considering society has historically been shaped by men for centuries.

Ironically – as much as women want equal rights, a recent poll showed women still prefer male bosses and see men as better able to,

 “’Steer the ship,’ harder and (are) more driven, which makes of them better leaders.”

What Can You Do?

Gender equality is a nice catchphrase, but it has to be put into practice for it to have meaning and it starts with you.

  • Know Your Value
  • Know the Market
  • Understand Fair Compensation 
  • Discuss Expectations Regularly
  • Find Resources

Women who stay uninvolved with their pay process should not complain if they are slighted or overlooked. It is your responsibility to understand everything involved and to fight for and negotiate the best deal you can.

“Gender inequality in the workplace is an acute and persistent problem.” ~ World Economic Forum, 2011

Equal rights, all rights – for all people in and out of the workplace should be things we no longer have to fight for, but the fight is far from over. Women like Linda continue to stand-up for women’s rights around the world, but each of us has a duty to do our part as well.

This is a guest post written by Samantha Peters, who enjoys blogging on career and HR sites covering topics of particular interest to women in the workplace.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Your Job Fair Elevator Speech!

Following on from yesterday's post about how to get the most out of a Job Fair, Jamie Starner has put together a template for you to develop your very own elevator speech!  This is a short summary of your 'professional self' that you can use when you meet your next potential employer.  So get prepared for your next Job Fair and read on...
Written by Jamie Starner, Career and Program Services Manager at Fresh Start Women’s Foundation, VCED, OES, GCDF
An “elevator speech” is a short summary of your “professional self” or what you do.
.This term reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver the summary in the time span of an elevator ride, or approximately thirty seconds to two minutes

The objective of the elevator speech is to briefly answer the questions "WHAT DO YOU DO?" (if introducing yourself in a networking scenario) or “TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF” (in a job interview) and to get the person you're speaking with to ask..."tell me more."

It is recommended that you prepare two versions of your elevator speech, as follows:

1.      SHORTER 30-45 second version to answer the question “WHAT DO YOU DO?”

  • This version can have the general form, "I do (nature of service) for (client) so that they can (benefit to the client)".
  • If you are currently not working- it can be a short description of your interests, skills, and future goals.

2.      LONGER 1-2 minute version to answer the question “TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF?”

  • This is usually the opening question in an interview and it’s the perfect opportunity to show your enthusiasm and to briefly share your career highlights- NOT your life history.
  • To answer this question, give a short snapshot of who you are and why you are the best candidate for the position (qualifications and experience). Be sure to include your strengths/abilities, education, work history, recent career experience and future goals.
  • This is your chance to address all of the things you want the employer to know.
  • Answer should not contain personal or negative information.

The following are general tips regarding Elevator Speeches:

·         Practice your speech. Many experts suggest practicing in front of mirrors and role-playing with friends. Write and rewrite your speech, sharpening its focus and eliminating unnecessary words.
·         Make your Elevator Speech sound effortless, conversational, and natural. Make it memorable and sincere.
·         Be warm, friendly, confident, and enthusiastic. A smile is often the best way to show friendliness and enthusiasm, while a strong, firm voice the best way to express confidence. Do maintain eye contact with your listener.
·         Take it slowly. Don't rush through the speech, and pause briefly between sentences. Breathe. Try to project your passion for what you do.
·         Be easily understandable. Don't use jargon or corporate-speak.
·         Practice, practice and practice so that you sound completely conversational.
·         Be comfortable and familiar enough with your elevator speech that you can give it at a moment's notice, without hesitation, when someone asks, "What do you do?”





I am a… (One sentence that describes your current professional “hat”)



Some of my strengths/abilities/special interests are… (Further detail for the above statement)



My work experiences include…(Brief work history- list where you worked and what you did)




I have a… (Education and special knowledge)



Most recently… (“Flashes” about your most recent experience and accomplishments there)



I am now seeking… (Your current professional objective or goal)


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How to Successfully Work a Job Fair!

Incredible tips on how to prepare for a Career / Job Fair from Jamie Starner, Career and Program Manager, Fresh Start Women's Foundation.
Many people think that a job fair is a waste of time, but this is FALSE! Job Fairs can be a very productive way to spend your time. You will have the unique opportunity to meet face-to-face with hiring managers and recruiters which you may not have had the opportunity to do so before.

Imagine driving up to your selected employer, for example Banner Hospital and waltzing in requesting to meet with the hiring manager. I beg to say that they will not meet with you on a moment’s notice.

The first time you meet a recruiter is your only opportunity to make a first impression. Whether you are at a networking event, workshop, informational interview, job interview or attending a job fair your overall presentation is crucial! The morning of the event you should take a shower, avoid smoking, have an ample of amount of resumes printed and placed neatly in a portfolio, also bring at least two black pens. Please leave your shorts, jeans, tennis shoes, tank tops, flip flops, and hats at home. The only outfit you should be wearing is a coordinating suit. If it is warm the day of the event men should at least be wearing a long sleeve shirt and tie. Women need to be cognizant about how much skin they are showing, your skirts should be at least to your knee and it is important to wear a suit jacket or cardigan. Again, your appearance is crucial.

I often attend career fairs to pass out literature for Fresh Start. I was shocked after my last event. There were at least 30 fantastic employers available to connect with one-on-one but very few job seekers who were prepared. The most obvious concern I had was women who were carrying around their children! Yes, children! If you cannot afford nor have the avenues for childcare for a several hour event an employer is certainly not going to think you will have this barrier resolved prior to employment. The same rules of a job interview apply for a job fair; do not take your partner or friends. Out of the 400 persons I saw there, there must have been at least a dozen couples walking around holding hands. If you are carpooling with a friend/family member/partner separate ways prior to walking in. Do not lose sight of why you are spending your precious time there…….. to get a job!

Take note of the following do’s and dont's to make your experience a very successful event!

·         Research companies which will be in attendance.
·         Do not take children! If you cannot find arrangements for the event, why would employers believe you will have childcare if they offer you a position?
·         Set up a game plan for the employers you want to meet with in chronological order. This will eliminate time wasted.
·         Go alone! If you arrive with a friend or family member part ways immediately once you walk into the event.
·         Prepare and practice your elevator speech prior to attending the event. Your elevator speech is typically 15-30 seconds and should be slightly modified for each company depending on your skills.
·         Leave your cell phone at home or in the car. You should at no point have your cell phone out for the entire event.
·         First, after you have approached the table, shake the recruiter’s hand immediately and introduce yourself. You will next provide your elevator speech.
·         Do not go to the event for anyone other than YOURSELF!
·         Do follow through with the company after you have applied for the position, unless the job posting otherwise notes.
·         Remove your blue tooth piece prior to walking into the event, it is not jewelry.
·         Do approach each table with confidence
·         Do not ask “What do you do?” “Are you hiring?” You should have researched the companies prior to attending the event.
·         Double check your outfit before you leave your home.
·         Only bring the necessary items with you. which is limited to either a purse and portfolio.
·         Wear a professional matching suit. Men should be wearing at least a long-sleeve shirt, pants and a tie. Women should wear a coordinating suit. Be sure to wear panty hose and closed toed shoes.
·         Do not pick up on the free merchandise. You are at the career fair to get a job, not miscellaneous items.
·         Be genuine!
·         Do not wear a hat, large jewelry, flip flops, tennis shoes, or shorts!
·         Arrive early, career fairs typically have hundreds of job seekers in attendance. You should get there as early as possible to make an immediate impact and leave an impression on the recruiters.
·         Dispose of your gum prior to speaking with any employers.
·         You only have ONE SHOT to make a first impression.
·         Do not flirt with any other job seekers and especially not the recruiters!
·         SMILE!
·         Try to not repeat the same questions other job seekers are asking, if you listen while in line of what is asking you will be able to gain more insight with the recruiter.
·         Bring your fine tuned copies of resumes.
·         Do not forget to check your teeth and total package before walking out the door!

I hope these tips help you better prepare for your next job fair. If you can at least leave your children, pets, kitchen sink and partners at home, put away your cell phone and Bluetooth, ensure your appearance and prepare your elevator speech for the event you will be ions ahead of many job seekers!

Written by Jamie Starner, Fresh Start Women's Foundation Career and Programs Manager.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Tips to Help Improve Sleep

Sleep deprivation can happen at any time during our modern busy lives, and can cause a whole range of problems.  Take some time to today to review the tip list below from the EmpowHER blog and make sure sleep deprivation isn't holding you back!

Reposted from 

Sleep deprivation can cause no end of problems, and it’s a well-documented fact that most adults don’t get the proper amount or the right kind of sleep every night. Sleep deprivation can cause minor things like irritability, carelessness, slow reaction times and difficulty concentrating at work or school, all of which can drastically affect one's quality of life — and those are just the "minor" problems!
Long-term sleep deprivation can have serious detrimental health consequences, such as memory loss, metabolic problems, high blood pressure, obesity and a weakened immune system.

There is hope, however, for those who cannot seem to solve the sleep problem. There are some simple changes you can make to your daily habits that, taken together, can really help mitigate sleep deprivation and get you back on track to being more alert, healthier and happier.

1. Set (and keep) a regular bedtime.

One of the most basic changes you can make to your lifestyle that can help swing the needle back to "good night's sleep" is to set a specific bedtime and stick to it religiously. While a full eight hours of sleep is the ideal, most people can receive most of the health benefits and become well-rested with seven hours, as long as it's regular and high quality. A regular schedule is critical to programming your body and mind, and once you're in the habit, you will start to get sleepy at exactly the right time every night. Even those of us who are total night owls can still, with a little effort, reprogram to a more healthy sleep schedule. Just make sure that you don't "blow it" on the weekends or during vacations by flip-flopping back to a crazy sleep schedule. While a once-in-a-while 3 a.m. party night is perfectly fine, but don't make it a habit every weekend.

2. Wash your sheets and blankets regularly.

Sounds crazy? Not really: Blankets and pillowcases can accumulate a great deal of shed skin cells, oils, dust and other potential allergens, particularly when dust mites settle in to feast. When your bed clothes are dirty, you may not realize it, but you may be getting a much lower quality of sleep due to breathing problems or allergy-related issues. Plus, who doesn't love that fresh-washed sheets feeling? Crawling into a nice, clean bed makes it just that much easier to fall (and stay) into a deep sleep.

3. Try a high-quality white noise generator.

You may be surprised at how much better you can sleep with a white noise generator. These are machines that sit next to your bedside (like a radio) and generate some kind of constant, gentle background noise. Some are very high tech, and will analyze background noise and compensate with algorithmically generated opposites, while others play back a pre-recorded loop of sounds such as crickets, waves lapping against a shoreline or a gentle rain shower. You may want to be careful though, because some of the more inexpensive models have easily distinguished "loops" of noise that can actually cause a lot of frustration and annoyance once your brain finds the pattern.

4. Avoid reading or watching TV right before bed.

Diving into a steamy romance, action-packed adventure or tear-jerking drama right before bed can cause that runaway "My brain won't shut up!" thought train that can prevent even the most exhausted among us from sleeping well. Try to give yourself at least an hour of cool-down time from mental stimulation. Take the time before bed to do something calming and relaxing. Yoga or meditation before bed can be extraordinarily beneficial to sleep. Imagine how much healthier and calmer you'll feel after stretching and meditating quietly for 30 minutes instead of watching re-runs of ‘90s sitcoms. Besides, that stuff just rots your brain, like grandma always said.

5. Decaffeinate!

Caffeine is a fantastic natural stimulant, but many people are very sensitive to it and the stimulating effects can be felt for hours after consumption. While that morning cup of coffee is something that many of us require, having a caffeinated soda or latte in the evening is asking for trouble as far as Mr. Sandman is concerned. Try to give yourself a reasonable cut-off time approximately four hours before your scheduled bedtime and stick to it. Even one cup of coffee or other caffeine source at night can cause restless sleep or trouble falling asleep.

Sleep is extremely important. In our crazy, hustle-bustle world it can seem a dreaded inconvenience, but it's a simple basic human need that keeps us going at our best. Hopefully these tips can help you get a better rest, leaving you recharged to tackle each day!

Erica Moss is the community manager for Nursing@Georgetown:

Friday, March 22, 2013

You Deserve Good Things

A fantastic article from out blog archives by Dr Ellen Diana!

A big part of searching for the perfect job, asking for a raise, or applying for a promotion is feeling that you deserve to have it. Deservingness is the hallmark of healthy self-esteem. Feeling deserving means you have an expectation that what you need and ask for will be provided. This is harder than it seems since it involves several elements:

First, do you believe that there are enough good things to go around and are you entitled to your share? If so then you can set aside envy and jealousy because there is no need to feel either. Rather than looking enviously at others, instead, you would notice what others have and decide if you’d like it too. Would having whatever you desire – that great job, the corner office, a higher expense account, a raise - enhance your life and, if so, in what ways? For example, if you desire success, you could discover what leads to success and try it out yourself, using your own unique blend of traits and skills. Trying to be like someone else would not be necessary. Finding success your own way would be the key.

Next, can you accept good things? The January issue of Yoga Journal includes a “wisdom” article by Sally Kempton which encourages being a “wide receiver,” someone who can open their arms and heart to the gifts that life offers.  Giving to others is often easier than taking for ourselves, since no one wants to be labeled selfish. Sometimes even accepting a compliment is difficult because it means you feel deserving of the kind words. But giving to self is not selfish. It’s actually your number one job in life – to appreciate the gifts you’ve been given and to use them to gather good things to you, just because you want them, just because you deserve them. That’s not selfish. It’s being proud and grateful.

Finally, practice feeling deserving. Start with simple things like:

·         Accept compliments graciously;

·         Ask for help when necessary;

·         Speak up when appropriate;

·         Offer your opinion; and

·         Notice what you envy and ask yourself what holds you back from having it.

Remember, there’s enough good things to go around in the world and you’re entitled to your share!
Ellen Diana is a psychologist, author of the Lucky Dreamer Tip Series, and co-author of the Charge up Your Life series of self-help books. She has 30 years’ experience working with children, adults, couples, and families in schools and in private practice in Scottsdale, Arizona. Helping women to evolve into their best selves through personal growth and self-awareness is a passion of hers. Ellen raised three successful children as a single parent and so has special interests in mentoring other women in transition and helping parents to raise resilient children. Contact Ellen at or through her website

Thursday, March 21, 2013

27 Ways to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile

This is a fantastic blog article from Anna Runyan over at!

27 ways to improve your LinkedIn profile - a very important tool in your job search!


What does your LinkedIn profile say about you?

You can spend hours interacting in the LinkedIn discussion groups and connecting with your friends and co-workers but if you don’t have an awesome profile, all your efforts are wasted. It’s kind of like going on an interview (or first date) where you make sure that you are dressed to impress. With LinkedIn, you don’t want to start networking and searching for opportunities without dressing up your profile to impress the people that you meet. Your LinkedIn profile is your home base. Don’t confuse your LinkedIn profile with your resume because it really is so much more! You want your profile to be scannable by someone in a hurry and you want them to quickly get the most important facts without a lot of work.

Here are 27 ways that you can make your LinkedIn profile rock:

  1. Upload a professional photo of yourself with a nice smile.
  2. Spend some time creating an interesting headline. It should be concise, compelling and value-driven. Make it compelling.
  3. Add brief content for each job position in your work experience. Remember to show your ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND RESULTS. Don’t just list the tasks that you did. Ask yourself “So what?” to each task you list. Does it pass the “So what?” test or do you need to add more results?
  4. Create a personal branding URL – either your name, company or one or two word tag line summary
  5. Write compelling content on what you do and how you can help others. Write for the people who you want to find your profile.
  6. Provide all relevant groups or clubs of which you are a member in the real world and add the ones on LinkedIn that are important to you.
  7. Make visible the groups you want others to see, and change visibility if you don’t want the public to see your group membership
  8. Display awards and achievements to build credibility with industry members
  9. Include your contact information such as your email address and phone number if you want people to contact you. Also, include ways that you want to be contacted such as for job inquiries or career opportunities.
  10. Join groups in your industry, city, state, former university or in your other interests. If one is not available, create a group of your specialty.
  11. Send an invitation and add some value to the message by trying to make it more personal.
  12. Import your contacts and invite them to connect with you.
  13. Look for “Open Networkers”- you can join a group called LIONs or LinkedIn Open networkers. The more connections, the more likely you are to find what you seek when searching (as well as be found when others are searching).
  14. Build the foundation of networking – Become someone that others know, like and trust.
  15. A great way to build trust with your connections is to make introductions. Introduce people in your network that you think would make a great fit.
  16. When you see a new person join LinkedIn or even a new person join one of your groups, send them a note to get to know them.
  17. Once you join a group, take some time to browse through profiles and reach out to those who you find interesting.
  18. The best way to get accepted in a real world LinkedIn group is by becoming friends with the leader. Group moderators are the leaders of every group. Connect with these individuals by sending them a message explaining the passion you share for their niche.
  19. Make a recommendation for someone. When you recommend others, your name and recommendation show up on their profile. The more profiles you recommend, the more times your name shows up when others browse those profiles. Like giving a referral, a recommendation is one of the biggest compliments someone can receive. Do not wait for someone to ask you for a recommendation. You should take the initiative and write a compelling recommendation for a fellow connection.
  20. Ask group founders if there is any way you can help them. This can be an easy way of gaining acceptance from the rest of the members.
  21. Go to the “Add Connections” tab on your LinkedIn home page and see who has recently joined from your e-mail address book. Send them all invites to link up.
  22. Seek out friends or colleagues who are not currently on LinkedIn who could benefit from it. Send them a personal invite to join, and briefly explain to them the benefits of building their network online.
  23. Update your LinkedIn profile with rich key words and phrases to bring your profile to the top of the list when others search for those specific words.
  24. Ask compelling questions on LinkedIn-ones where you are bound to get a few responses.
  25. Add value to the questions others ask by providing insightful answers
  26. Add your blog, videos and social media information to your profile. You can even add the latest books that you are reading to make your profile more unique and personal to the viewer.
  27. Add your own skills and endorse others skills. If you want to be endorsed, ask for endorsements from people you trust.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

7 Tips for Acing the Phone Interview

Congratulations on your interview!  Did we mention that it’s going to be conducted over the phone?  The phone interview is a double edged sword.  You don’t have to fidget in a waiting room, worry too much about your hair and makeup, or worry about sweaty palms.  However, now you do have to fidget in your living room waiting for their call, try to convey professionalism and enthusiasm and gauge their reaction to you without the aid of seeing each other’s faces.  That’s not easy.  But being prepared can give you a way to avoid painfully awkward interview snafus, and let you use the situation to your advantage.

  • Create a quiet, interruption-free environment for yourself.  No pets, no kids, no radio or TV on mute. Sit at a desk, upright, not pacing or curled up cozy.  You can hear the difference in tone when someone is lounging and when they are communicating professionally.
  • Take organized notes on the company, the position, the industry and how your skills and experience relate to all of these.  Organize these notes in such a way that will be easy to refer to when answering questions but avoid reading your notes verbatim.  And don’t forget to note where you got this information.  While discussing the company’s mission, you may want to mention the article about them from that national publication, or what their culture looks like from their online presence.  You want them to know you did your homework on them, and you have both questions about what you learned and professional knowledge in this field.  Getting to have your notes in front of you is an advantage you shouldn’t waste.
  • Because you don’t have the benefit of non-verbal cues, don’t allow awkward, dead air happen (except of course for when they may be taking notes on your responses). Acknowledge each person when you are introduced to the panel, verbally indicate that you are listening, if you have difficulty hearing, it’s ok to let them know the line cut out and ask to repeat, or you can repeat their question or statement back to them.  In this same vein, because sometimes there can be a lag in the line, wait two or three seconds after they have asked a question before answering.  You don’t want to think they are finished prematurely and interrupt your panel members.
  • Have plenty of questions ready, and ask new ones based on the information they give you.  This indicates to them that you are really invested in the prospect of this job and will not be a passive team member, but an inquisitive, involved one.
  • Be present and do not zone out.  It helps to take notes on what they say to keep you in the moment.  Not being in the room with your interview panel is all the more reason to try and stay present and actively listening.
  • Let your personality show.  They can’t see your smile but they can hear it.  And showing a little personality goes a long way when they can’t shake your hand and feel your enthusiasm in person.
  • All the same etiquette applies, you still should send a handwritten thank you note to your interview panel members and follow up when appropriate. 

With preparation and professionalism, the phone interview can work to your advantage and help you get where you want to go.

Joyce Abbott Holds a BA in Anthropology and an MA in Library Science.  She has worked in for-profits, non-profits, and local government everywhere from customer service, to librarianship, to corporate records management.  She believes the point of life is to never stop growing and pushing yourself into something new.  You can connect with Joyce on!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Why Being Selfish Can Be Good For Your Career

This month we are exploring ways to get unstuck in your career.  Today's repost is an interesting article from all about the importance of looking out for YOU within your career, whether it comes to your pay or the work you do on a daily basis.

Article by Robbie Abed, reposted from

Who cares the most about your career: you or your boss?

Who cares whether you’re getting paid fairly: you or Human Resources?

Who cares whether you’re learning new skills that will guarantee job security in three years: you or a career counselor?

Welcome to You Enterprises. Sure, your boss, HR and career advisors play critical roles in your work life, but they aren’t the driving force of your career. They expect you to take control of your own professional life, and you should see things that way, too.

Being a team player is great and an important skill in the workplace. But for a few key issues, forget everyone else—you’ve got to be selfish if you want to see changes. That because at the end of the day, no one's going to look out for you the way you will look out for yourself.

Here are the three things you need to be the most selfish about:

1. The work you do on a daily basis

How often have you done a job that wasn’t part of your job description? Were you performing that job for more than a few months? Did that help or hurt your long-term career? In most cases, this “different” job hurt your chances of getting a promotion in your core job, because you were spending your time doing something else that another manager requested.

Pitching in is necessary, but sometimes you just have to stand up for yourself and say NO. Be nice, but give a good reason why you can’t do it.

Managers are always trying to create the best team possible, even if it’s not in the long-term interests of their team members. In other words, their job is to do what’s best for them or best for their team—and that’s not necessarily what’s best for you.

A lot of this has to do with personal branding. If you are known for doing X and you are doing Y, then you’ve got a serious issue to address.

2. How much you get paid

When was the last time someone from Human Resources came up to you and said, “You know, Jenny, I think you are being underpaid. Come to my office tomorrow morning and let’s talk about how we can adjust your pay accordingly.”

If that has happened to you, great for you. But if you’re like the most of us, it probably has not happened.

Unless you take an active role in how much you get paid, you will always be paid less than everyone else.

There are plenty of ways to take an active role in negotiating salary. Come prepared with evidence of how much everyone else is making through services such as

Often, HR or your boss will state that compensation is only discussed during your annual review. It’s a common tactic that is used over and over by employers. Yes, it’s true that there is a standard time to discuss compensation, but this does not mean it’s the only time to discuss compensation.
The stronger your case, and the more the company needs you, the easier it becomes to get a pay bump before the annual review. It’s up to you to push your case and timeline.

3. Who you work for

Depending on the size of the company you work for, sometimes you have a choice of manager. The problem is that nobody ever tells you that you have a choice—and being part of a bad group or having a bad manager could seriously hurt your career long-term.

Your manager will probably never tell you that a lateral move to another manager is a possibility for you. That could be because he needs you in his group, or because—as is so often the case—he has no idea he’s a terrible manager.

Thinking about requesting a transfer? Could be a great move, especially if you like the company you’re working for. The best time to ask to switch groups is when a big project of yours has ended or is near completion. The easiest way for a switch is to find the group you want to work for and approach its manager.