Happy New Year! Here's to 2012!

I'll wish you all a Happy New Year with one of my favorite Irish blessings:

"May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.”

Happy New Year to all! Let's hope for a peaceful and fruitful 2012.


Resume Website: Sections

We explained the importance of a resume website in previous articles. We gave guidelines for creating one too. Now, have a look at the different sections that should be included in the website. The purpose of having a personalized website is to provide your professional information to general public and the potential recruiters as part of brand development. Hence, make sure the information presented in the resume website is relevant to your career and future prospects.    
Sections of a Resume Website

Home: Write a brief introduction of the resume website. Present an overview of the details the visitors will get to see on the site. Make sure you greet and welcome your visitors at first.

About: Introduce yourself to the visitors. You can mention your key qualifications, qualities and skills as an introduction. Also, mention your hobbies and ambitions.    
Resume: Present your resume here. Concentrate mainly on your experiences and key skills as that is the main objective of launching your personal website.  

Portfolio: You can present samples of your work in this section. Portfolio can include designs, write-ups, websites, etc as relevant to your work. It gives the recruiter a general idea about you work.    

Achievements: Mention your awards and achievements here. Emphasize on the work performed and how it was better than the competitors. This is sure to catch the recruiter's attention.

Personal Details: You can put details of your personal life. Mention you family background, hobbies, extracurricular activities. Refrain from including too many personal details. 

Contact Us: Make columns to write contact details of people who wish to get in contact with you. You can ask them to leave their name, contact number and email id so that you can get in touch with them.   

There are no stringent rules about designing your site. You can add many sections to the website as per your choice. But make sure the extravagant appeal of the website does not defeat its purpose. Maintain a crisp and professional appeal to the resume website to ensure a wider audience.   

My 10 Rules on Christmas

I grew up in a large Irish Catholic family where Christian holy days were a big deal both for their religious significance as well as the secular celebrations associated with some of them. 

Let me be very clear on one point.  My parents always, always, always instilled in us the religious importance of each and every holy day.  However, they wanted us to celebrate the fun associated with some holidays such as the legend of Santa Claus during the Christmas season and the legend of the Easter Bunny during the Easter season.  It was enjoyable for us as kids and never overwhelmed the religious signficance of the holy days.

Personally, Christmas has always been a special time of year to me.  I still feel like a kid at Christmas and I hope I always do.  I'm sad and disappointed that political correctness has turned the Christmas season into the "holiday" season and a Christmas tree into a "holiday" tree.  I hope that people who disdain Christmas due to its Christian roots will one day realize that Christmas isn't intended as an afront to anyone, but rather a global celebration of peace, love and goodwill.  Perhaps I'm naive, but I don't understand why anyone would find a kind gesture offensive, regardless of its religious roots.

I have a few fundamental rules about Christmas that I'd like to share with you.  I hope no one takes offense to them, though that's certainly your prerogative.

1.  Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Christ.  I'm not ashamed of it, nor should any Christian be.

2.  I am not offended by the secular celebration of Christmas.  It is still all about the spirit of giving.  I don't think Christ would object to giving someone else a gift regardless of whether one's motivation is religious or secular.

3.  I don't care if someone else is offended that I celebrate Christmas.  And I'm surprised and disappointed if someone is offended that I wish them a "Merry Christmas".  Christmas is about peace, love and goodwill towards men.  Anyone who is offended by the celebration of these virtues, regardless of their association to a particular faith, really needs to reexamine their true motives. 

4.  I don't care if someone else is offended that I call my tree a Christmas Tree.  If you want to call it a "holiday tree", that's fine.  But don't tell me or anyone else what we should call our trees.

5.  I am not the least bit offended if someone wishes me "Happy Hanukkuh", "Happy Kwanzaa" or "Blessed Ramadan".  I wouldn't be offended if a Pagan were to wish me "Happy Winter Solstice".   If their intentions are good, regardless of whether or not I personally celebrate those holidays, why should I be offended?

6.  Christmas is about giving.  The size or expense of the gift is irrelevant.  I'm human of course and I like nice gifts, but honestly, I get more joy from seeing the faces of people to whom I'm giving a really great gift; something I know they will enjoy.  Why is there a need to set a minimum or maximum cost on giving someone something?  If a gift recipient is judging the value of the gift based on its cost, then shame on them.  That completely defeats the spirit of the season.  I know several people who approach Christmas gifts this way and I just don't get it.

7.  Those who demand respect for their non-belief in the spirit of Christmas, should at the same time respect the beliefs of others.  I was always taught that respect is earned, not granted upon demand.  I don't care if someone doesn't want to celebrate Christmas, but I do care when someone else says that my choice to celebrate it is somehow infringing upon their rights not to.  Don't celebrate.  It's that simple.

8.  Christmas lights are not optional.  They are mandatory during the Christmas season and the more lights you display, the better!  And none of those little tiny white lights.  I'm talking the big multi-colored outdoor lights that can be seen from the moon.  Garish is good.  Yup, that's an unbreakable rule.

9.  Give.  Others are not as fortunate as many of us.  If you can't give during other times of year, give at Christmas.  There are few things more heartbreaking than the face of a small child who thinks s/he's a bad kid because Santa didn't give him/her a Christmas present.

10.  Celebrate loudly and celebrate often.  Don't hide your appreciation for the good in mankind.  Shout it from the rooftops.  It brings joy to so many people.  Why should it be contained?

Merry Christmas everyone!  I hope that 2012 is a happy and peaceful year for you and for the world.

How to make a Personalized Resume Website?

Making a personalized resume website sounds like a big deal at first. However, once you take up the task and understand the nuances of it, you will begin to enjoy your work and take pride in what you have made. To help you in this task of building a website, dedicated towards your professional life, we have provided here a few guidelines.

Get a domain name – Choose a domain that represents you to the world. Preferably, it should include your name. You can add hyphens, dots or initials to your name. It is advisable to opt for a ' .com' domain.

Design the template – Design an attractive yet professional template for your website. Refrain from using harsh colors and decorations. Keep the format simple to allow users to navigate through the website and gather relevant information.

Make sections – Divide the website content into sections. Avoid making the website cluttered. Introduce different segments in the website.  Dedicate different segments for personal and professional information.       

Maintain sufficient content – Ensure each page in every section has sufficient information. It may disappoint the reader to find sparse information. Club two sections together in case you feel you do not have much to write about.    

Ensure Security - Make certain you do not reveal any private information that can put you in trouble. Do not give passwords, information about the security questions or any information that will invite hacking. 

Track Visitors – Design the settings to track the visitors who searched for information about you and went through your website. This will help you get a strong idea about your audiences.

Updating the website – Your work does not get over by hosting the site and uploading the content. It is important to update information on the site with time. It assures the reader about the authenticity of the information provided on the site.

These tips will work as a quick start while launching your personalized resume website. There are various things one can do to improve the appearance and reach of the website, after the website is launched. We will keep posting about the same in the future.  Till then, use these tips and launch your very own resume website.    

Marketing Trends for 2012

I love the team at eConsultancy who were once again kind enough to share their five key marketing trends for 2012.  I always enjoy reading them, and have added a few of my own at the bottom of their predictions. 

Let me know what you think will be the key marketing trends in the New Year and whether you agree with those listed.

1. Advertising-as-a-service
Traditional advertising must evolve. Recent research from Havas Media revealed that consumers are no longer enamored with the advertising they see, and feel that “just one in five brands has a notable positive impact on their quality of life.” The truth is, consumers are no longer interested in traditional advertising being‘pushed’ at them and are increasingly switching-on to communication channels that provide a service.

2. Connected devices
One of the most significant developments for 2012 is without a doubt the emergence of connected TVs and even more significantly, how consumers will interact via second screens. According to Nielsen's 2011 mobile connected devices report, 70% of tablet users and 68% of smartphone users use their device while watching TV, usually in a social sense and more often than not this social activity isn’t tied to the programme they’re watching. This is the untapped marketplace that savvy advertisers and brands in 2012 should create compelling content for.

3. Mobile
Over the past year, mobile devices have led both technological and marketing innovation. Google states that 79% of smartphone owners use their mobiles to aid in shopping and 74% make a purchase as a result. Smartphones have revolutionised how we interact with content on-the-go and in 2012 the mobile device will continue to play a significant role.

4. Multichannel Engagement
We’re now entering an era where almost any device or surface can have an internet connection, and as such, video can be displayed almost anywhere. So prevalent has video become as the preeminent communication tool of our age that Cisco's Visual Networking Index shows that by 2015, 1m minutes of video will cross the internet every second. Already brands are moving toward this kind of engagement, this is only just the beginning for multichannel marketing in 2012.

5. The Amazon Effect
While it’s not a trend per se, I wanted to highlight the growth of the dominant media force that is Amazon. Its platform is now utilised by many brands to boost their own e-commerce and the upcoming Kindle Fire is being heralded as the first serious threat to Apple’s all-conquering iPad. Effectively communicating with ‘switched-on’ consumers isn’t a stretch for Amazon and it’s already proven its agile organisational structure works. Amazon constantly evolves its business model to adapt to the marketplace and brands that look beyond their original heritage will offer customers unique and bespoke services.

I believe all five of the trends above are on the mark.  However, I'd like to add three more 2012 marketing trends of my own:

1QR Code-mania
As if we didn't seen this coming!  For the past several years, the primary question for marketers has been, "How to harness the power of social media".  In 2012, that will change to, "How to harness the power of QR codes"; and it's already begun.  A QR code is a low cost, low resource marketing channel that can effectively utilize existing content.  The biggest challenge for marketers will be identifying content that will entice smart phone users enough to scan the retailer's QR codes while keeping the consumer engaged.  Manufacturers are already developing and producing smartphones with default QR code scanners which will make the codes a much hotter information gathering tool in 2012.

2.  The return of cash driven CSR
This is great news for charitable agencies.  As the first 2012 marketing trend identified above by eConsultancy indicates, consumers are increasingly looking for some community benefit from their purchasing options.  However, this will extend beyond the direct to consumer purchase.  It will have a much greater impact on CSR initiatives.  For the past several years, businesses have been adopting a "spend less, volunteer more" CSR philosophy.  Unfortunately, those efforts haven't really produced the type of community goodwill that most businesses had anticipated internally or externally.  Why?  Because volunteer days don't generate sustainable results, everyone is doing it, and far too few charities can manage a deluge of 100 volunteers one day only to see them disappear the next.  A "day of service" sounds good, but simply isn't practical anymore.  What tends to have a greater and more sustainable impact on social causes is the infusion of cash, as a growing number of charitable agencies are forced to shut their doors resulting from the global economic crisis.  Financial contributions can produce good PR and measurable results.  Therefore, while investments may not be as strong as they were around the turn of the century, you'll begin to see an increasing number of businesses going back to a more cash focused CSR strategy.  However, their spending will likely target programs and services that can generate long term, self sustaining and measurable impact.

3. Greater government involvement in advertising and media
Sorry folks, this is the inevitable result of bigger government.  Over the past decade we've seen stronger regulations on advertising in schools, stadiums, digital; and on ads for tobacco and those targeting children, among others.  Now there are calls for government arbitration in private, marketplace negotiations between cable service providers and local TV broadcasters on retransmission consent.  Whether you agree with these regulations or not, they aren't going away and in all likelihood will only increase in 2012 and beyond.

Let me know what you think of the trends identified above and if you have any to add to the list.

Here's to a terrific 2012!!

*The opinions shared on this blog are solely those of its author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of Goodwill of Greater Washington, its affiliates or supporters.

Depression: The holidays and beyond...

Image:  seattlest.com
If the Hallmark holiday specials and "A Charlie Brown Christmas" are to be believed, the holiday season makes us feel connected, appreciated, loved, cherished, grateful, hopeful and happy, and reminds us of what's really important.  Getting together with family, donating one's time and money to those less fortunate, and exchanging gifts are ways to express this mindset. 

Want a competitive advantage on your next job interview? Just wear a suit!

A few months ago I interviewed a dozen young professionals for a mid level management position I was trying to fill.  Out of the 12 candidates I met, none wore a business suit and tie.  Zip, zero, zilch, nada!  Let me repeat myself - I interviewed 12 people looking for a corporate job and not a single one of them wore a suit and tie (or a suit, if a woman).  I was shocked!

Then just a couple of weeks ago, a professional colleague of mine who is an adjunct professor at a major university asked if I would help her out by conducting mock interviews with students in her 300 level marketing class.  Mind you, these are students getting ready to graduate from college who have been given the unique opportunity to meet with several business executives (there were three of us conducting the interviews) to hone their interviewing skills.  And out of 30 or more students in the class, only three of them wore business suits.  THREE!!

Needless to say, I pointed out this personal brand failure to every student I interviewed who was not in a suit. 

While I understand that the purpose of mock interviews is to try and help the students improve their interviewing skills, I was amazed at how many of them actually believed that their business casual, or in several cases, overly casual attire, was appropriate for an interview, even if only a mock interview.  Based on the interviews I had conducted several months earlier, this was not an isolated incident and appeared to be a trend. 

According to JobMagician.com, one of the top three ways to turn off an executive recruiter is to dress unprofessionally.

I was taught at a very young age that you dress for the part.  If you want a job as a manager, you need to dress as a manager.  If you want to be viewed as a professional, you need to dress like a professional.  I remember wearing a suit to my first interview at a fast food chain when I was 15 years old.

If the corporate policy at the company where an applicant wishes to work is casual attire, then the applicant can change his or her clothing once s/he gets the job.  But to assume that this type of presentation is acceptable during the interviewing process, when first impressions are critical, is simply ignorant.  The candidates and students I interviewed were not poor 15 year old kids or uneducated adults. 

Were they taught this by their parents, by the schools?  Did they make this flawed decision on their own?

Many of the students and job candidates I met had excellent credentials.  However, those who took the time to dress appropriately for their interviews were given stronger consideration.  Wearing a suit displays professionalism, respect and proper etiquette.

All things being equal, the candidate who dresses professionally for an interview will always win the job over the candidate who doesn't.

* The opinions shared on this blog are solely those of its author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of Goodwill of Greater Washington or its affiliates.

Need for a Personalized Resume Website

Paper resumes!! Online resume posts!! And now Personalized Resume Websites!!

The world is changing fast and you have to change with it. The means and manners of job search have gone through tremendous changes over the years. The need to stay ahead of competition and to earn opportunities has made it vital for the job seekers to reach out to the recruiters promptly and effectively. As discussed earlier, resume website plays a key role in helping you draft an impressive resume. But how about having a website or a blog of you own? How about a platform that reflects your personality and puts forth your opinions?

Brand development is the new mantra for job search. Brand development is not only about products, services and organizations anymore. It is about individuals too. Connecting with the general audiences by way of websites, blogs and social networking is important. It helps to make a nobody into somebody. Every individual starts his blog/website and expresses his views about a topic. It could be your opinion about every day affairs, about your personal life, something philosophical or some research analysis related to your area of expertise. One can even express details about their new hobby and how they are faring in it. Writing blogs as way of expressing your thoughts, talent, ideas and knowledge is referred to as brand development.
Whenever any recruiter scans your resume, he is interested in finding more information about you. He searches for information regarding your work experience, personality, interests, etc to judge the personality of the candidate and his suitability towards the organization. As is the norm, the recruiter researches on the search engines and finds out more about the social and corporate life of the candidate. Instead of giving others a chance for speaking about you and forming an opinion, why not do it yourself? This is where the websites and blogs come in to the picture.  

A personalized resume website gives a sneak peek into the thoughts of the candidate and acts as a medium of expression. Website is a good opportunity to present your knowledge, skills and research abilities to larger audiences. Recruiters get an idea about the candidate's abilities and the potential to bring laurels for the organization. It is obvious that such a candidate will get a preference over other applicants on the way to achieve the job.
So, gear up for the task and plan the strategies to develop your personalized resume website.  

Assertive or Aggressive...which type are you?

Many people confuse being assertive with being aggressive.  For the record, these are two completely different behaviors--one promotes positive, healthy self-esteem and mutually satisfying relationships, while the other promotes conflict and difficult relationships and destroys one's sense of well-being.  Being assertive demonstrates confidence and maturity; aggressiveness indicates insecurity

Beyond Textbooks and Exams: Learning Soft Skills on Campus

"Emotional competence is the single most important personal quality that each of us must develop and access to experience a breakthrough.  Only through managing our emotions can we access our intellect and our technical competence. An emotionally competent person performs better under pressure."  --Dave Lennick, Executive VP, American Express Financial Advisers

At the risk of stating the

Introduction to Resume Website


Most of us belong to the Google and Wikipedia generation. We approach the internet for any reason or purpose. In this scenario, can we leave the internet behind while taking the most prominent step of our careers? I am referring to the primary step of job search – resume writing.
While searching for tips and formats for drafting a resume, we come across several resume websites. These resume websites are launched with the aim of assisting the job seekers draft an impressive resume. Following this endeavor, websites offer assistance on all aspects of resume writing. They help you craft a remarkable template for the resume, present information in concise language and maintain a professional approach towards the job search.  Additionally, websites acquaint job seekers on the several resume writing formats that one can adopt, suitable to their career profile.
I believe referring to a resume website proves beneficial for all job seekers. Let’s face the real situation!! There is a good possibility that your resume and cover letter gets ignored by the recruiter owing to its monotonous presentation or irrelevant contents. It is important that your resume stands out from the hundreds of resume that the recruiter scans every day. Give a unique identity to the resume, adopt an impressive format, personalize it and add buzzwords within the resume to ensure it reaches to the top of the stack of resumes.
To avail the benefits of a resume website, it is important to choose the website and the resume that suits your requirements the best. And how do you do that? It is simple. Research for different resume websites and study its contents. Select a website that provides assistance on resumes as well as cover letters. This is vital as your application would be incomplete with both the documents. Search for websites that offer resume building services where a resume template is customized as per your career profile. Most important factor to check is the presence of information relating to your domain and profile. Otherwise in spite of finding a good website it will not be of any use for you.
We plan to provide further details to job seekers on writing a resume, choosing the right websites and planning their job search. So keep checking for our next post !