Girl Talk Career Blog

July 3, 2010

The Wordle on the Street…

Filed under: Resumes — lisalahey @ 4:02 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

By now you may have heard of wordle.  I would love to meet the type of brainiacs who invent this stuff.  Wordle is very helpful for job seekers.  Nope, its not a linkedin or a twitter.  It’s not a service where you post your profile (yawn) and try to catch an HR recruiter’s eye.  Among a number of things, wordle is a de-coder ring for tweaking your resume by targeting key words in job descriptions that are posted on the internet.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Log onto
  2. Select Create Your Own
  3. A window pops up with a huge empty box where you can paste text.
  4. Copy the job description from its site and paste it into the empty box in wordle.
  5. Hit Go.
  6. Wordle thinks for a few seconds and then it brings up the coolest-looking screen that blasts all of the keywords in the job description in colour with the most significant words (they occur the most often in the ad) appearing the largest on the screen. Now you know what the company is really looking for to fill this role.
  7. Go back to your resume and compare it to the keywords in the wordle decipher box.
  8. If your resume doesn’t significantly reflect the keywords in the job description wordle has identified for you then you need to change it.

Now in pics:  

This is the wordle box and the text is verbatim  from the site:

  here is the little ol’ go button you hit and then you get something like this:
The largest words here (obviously not a job description but anyway) are birthday  Mrs  day  year, meaning those are the words that occur the most often in that “description” or article or what have you.  Obviously then you would alter (but do it honestly!) your resume to reflect those words.  Cool. 
It’s another clever way to get your resume accepted and not rejected by HR resume-sorting computer technology and of course the HR human eye, each of which are equally important in getting that all-important interview.

June 21, 2010

Ghastly-Workers and How to Deal

Girlfriend we’ve all worked with difficult co-workers before and sometimes we’ve been stymied when it comes to maintaining a professional relationship with them.  Not fun but it happens and as long as you’re in the work force that will probably be the case from time to time.  Hey, that’s life.  Here are a few of my personal “favourites” and some suggestions as to how to deal:

1.   The Control Freak.  I worked with a CF once.  Her name was
       Gloria.  Gloria hated it when I had to leave the office and work
       next door for a different department.  One day she yelled loudly
       about it and told me I had to stay in our office and do some work here (my work was completed).  Gloria wasn’t my supervisor!  That was someone else and he had specifically requested that I work next door whenever I had the time.  How to deal:  I have no idea why me doing extra work for another department agitated this woman so much.  I told her she was not permitted to act in the capacity of a supervisor with me and I left the office to go ahead and work next door.  Now, I would handle it a little differently probably by meeting with her when she’d calmed down and telling her that I wouldn’t tolerate her tantrums and that she was to mind her work and I would mind mine.  I don’t know.  Inferiority complex perhaps?

2.   The Slacker.  It amazes me how many people take a job then exert a great deal of effort … at avoiding work while managing to look busy.  How about doing your actual job instead?  Most higher-ups aren’t clueless as to what is happening below and as soon as layoffs hit you know very well that the least productive among us are going to be shown the door firstHow to deal:  Unless that person’s productivity affects my work and my results with a project or with my daily tasks I wouldn’t interfere.  Of course if I’m her supervisor that’s a different story entirely.  Then it is my job to straighten her out.

3.  The Drama QueenEverything’s an emergency!  She’d suit the role of Chicken Little, running about and shrieking “the sky is falling!”  Of course most of the emergencies are about her and not necessarily her work responsibilities.  How to deal:  If she distracts you and tries to pull you away from your work you can’t allow it.  You’ve go to be firm with the DQ and tell her you’re unable to help her and perhaps she should speak to management?  Otherwise ignore her.  Actresses respond to an audience, so don’t be hers.

4.  Dazed and Confused.  Now I actually feel sorry for DC.  Sometimes this woman seems clueless when she’s not.  She’s intelligent enough or she wouldn’t be employed.  It’s quite possible that DC has a learning disability that makes it difficult for her to process incoming information, especially when it’s strictly verbal.  How to deal:  When you get paired up with DC to work on a project, break her role down into simple steps for her.  Assign her no more than 3 simple tasks.  Write them down for her so she can cross them off when she completes them.  Stay patient. She really is doing her best.

5.  The Bully.  Of all the office co-workers this is the one I believe needs to be put in her place and fast.  No one should work with a bully, whether its the boss, the boss’s boss, or your colleague. How to deal:  When she tries her attitude out on you stand up for yourself (literally).  Keep your cool. The more you lose control of your emotions the more she will bully you. When you are calm let her know you weren’t hired to be abused.  Document the encounter in writing.  If it happens again, document it and get yourself into the boss’s office.  Sometimes mediation is the only answer to the office bully’s tirades.

For a full, fun, frightful list of co-workers from hell click this link to a powerpoint presentation I put together all by my little self:  27 Ghastly Co-Workers and How to Deal with Each and Every One of  Them


June 20, 2010

Academy Award for Bizarre Interview Candidates

Filed under: career worthy — lisalahey @ 9:40 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

There are tons of blogs out there offering valuable advice about how to get a call for an interview then how to nail that job interview and walk away employed.  Many of them are written by HR recruiters so they must know what they’re talking about. 

My hunch is that the following candidates have not perused any of these articles.  Or perhaps they have since the utterly bizarre behaviours these candidates displayed were not mentioned in any of these blogs (understandably).  Hopefully the majority of people job hunting have never committed these gaffes and never will.

Now on to the awards.

Weirdest Email Application  …  and the nominees are … 
A woman submitted a link to her personal website where she posted nude photographs of herself. 
A man submitted his email name with the address
And the Award goes ….. to the woman with the nude pics.

Weirdest Apparel … the nominees are …
A gentleman showed up for a job interview dressed from head to toe as a clown.  A clown.  Fright wig, makeup, the whole scenario.  His reasoning?  He moonlighted as a clown at children’s parties and without having time to change he went straight from a party to his interview. 
A candidate stood up in the lobby to greet the HR recruiter and his pants fell down to his ankles.
A very attractive blonde woman showed up wearing a blouse with several buttons undone and a tight mini-skirt.
A male candidate wore an open shirt that revealed a hairy chest, wore a medallion and strong cologne.
A woman showed up in her housecoat and slippers.                                                                                         
A candidate wore a jogging suit to an interview for CEO.
And the Award goes to … the gentleman dressed as a clown.

Weirdest Hygienic Behaviour …  the nominees are …
A gentlman clipped his fingernails during an interview (at least he didn’t pull off his shoes and clip his toenails).
A gentleman smelled his armpits as he walked up the hall with the HR recruiter to the interview room.
A candidate admitted he wasn’t used to wearing dress shoes and proceeded to showing the HR recruiter the “bloody big blisters” on his feet.
A candidate wet himself.
A candidate vomited on the recruiter’s shoes.
A candidate removed his shoes and socks and applied medicated foot powder to his feet.   
And the Award goes to … the gentleman who applied foot powder to his feet.

Weirdest Comments … the nominees are …
A gentleman was asked why he was the best candidate for the position and he slammed his hand down onto the HR recruiter’s desk shrieking “because I get the job DONE!”
A candidate recited poetry.
A gentleman admitted he was terrible with numbers. He was applying for a job as an accountant. 
A candidate wanted to know how many young women worked at the organization.
Another candidate admitted s/he was not wanted in that state.
A candidate admitted he was fired from his last job for beating up the boss.
Another candidate challenged the recruiter with “I’ve never heard such a stupid question.”
A candidate discussed a conflict with a former work colleague and admitted the resolution was that they were both fired.
A candidate told the HR recruiter that she’d only had sex once in her life and the result was her 10-year-old son.
Another candidate asked the HR recruiter if she could pick him up for work in the event that it rained since he didn’t have a car.
Perhaps this was that candidate’s cousin but he asked the recruiter if she could drive him home after the interview.
A candidate asked the HR recruiter if he wasn’t hired could he take her out sometime.
A candidate asked the recruiter how much they paid her for doing the interviews.
When asked why s/he was leaving their current job the candidate revealed quite happily “I s–t my pants every time I enter the building.”
A candidate asked the HR recruiter if she could take a 10-minute break every 15 minutes as she worked.
A candidate told the recruiter that she often overslept and had trouble getting out of bed in the morning. 
A candidate admitted s/he went to jail for domestic violence but they wouldn’t get angry with the recruiter (unless they weren’t offered the job probably…I have a feeling the recruiter didn’t tell this person that to his/her face).
When asked when s/he could start the candidate stated they would have to ask their mom first.
A candidate asked the HR recruiter what the recruiter meant by “two weeks notice” since s/he had never quit a job…s/he’d always been fired.
A candidate admitted he didn’t have a fixed address since he lived in a gypsy camp at an airport.
The candidate wore her walkman during the interview telling the HR recruiter she could listen to both at the same time.
The candidate said her long term goal was to replace the interviewer.
A candidate offered the interviewer $5,000 for the job.
A candidate offered to have sex with the interviewer if she was hired. 
A candidate offered the HR interviewer cocaine.
And the Award goes to the candidate who admitted that he “s–t himself” whenever he entered his organization’s building.

Weirdest Overall Behaviour … the nominees are …
A candidate went into the corporation’s cafeteria after his interview and helped himself to a sandwich, then sat there and ate it.
A candidate asked the HR recruiter if he would meet for a drink afterward.  Since the recruiter was a man I wonder if the candidate was a woman? What the heck, if you don’t get the job maybe you’ll get a husband.
A candidate challenged the interviewer to an arm wrestling match.
The candidate fell and broke his arm.
The candidate ate a hamburger during the interview.
A balding candidate left the interview for a moment then returned wearing a toupee
A candidate fell asleep during the interview.
A candidate sang the national anthem.
A candidate tried to sell the HR recruiter a car.
A candidate did a Ben Stiller impression.
A candidate answered her cell phone then asked the HR recruiter to leave her own office because it was a private conversation.
A gentleman stared up at the ceiling the entire time he was interviewed.
A candidate did yoga during the interview.
A candidate stretched out on the floor to fill out an application.   
A candidate wouldn’t get out of the chair unless he was hired so the recruiter called the police.
A candidate tap danced around the HR recruiter’s office.
A candidate took out a copy of Penthouse and looked through it.
A male candidate’s brief case fell open and an assortment of ladies’ panties and perfumes fell out.
A candidate told the HR recruiter there was a bomb in  his brief case and if he wasn’t hired he would detonate it. He flipped the switch and ran.
And the Award goes to … the gentleman with the fake bomb in his briefcase.

Quickest Exit … the nominees are …
A candidate told the HR recruiter he had to hurry and leave since he had another interview to attend.|
A candidate fled the interview because his dog got loose in the parking lot.  
A candidate fled the interview when he heard there was a drug test.
And the Award goes to … the candidate who fled after learning about the drug test.

Weirdest Interview Bluff … there is only one nominee so this candidate wins by default.
A candidate answered his cell phone during the interview and had a prolonged conversation with an HR recruiter. He hung up and told the HR recruiter in front of him that he just received another offer with a higher salary and he wanted the recruiter to match it.  When the recruiter refused the candidate admitted there was no other offer and that he made it up to bump the salary higher.

Watch a youtube mockumentary of an interview with many of the blunders listed above.

May 14, 2010

Writin’ A Rockin’ Resume

Filed under: career worthy — lisalahey @ 11:36 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Where do I begin?  Just about everything that can be stated about the importance of a great resume and how to write one has been done.  However reiteration is important.  How do I know this?  As a teacher I know for a fact that seldom do we learn something by having it stated once and then repeated once.  Usually it takes a few times for new facts to sink in. When they do and we change our way of thinking about something or at least adjust it in a significant manner that’s known as assimilation.  I got that info from a psychology information series on  Cool.

At any rate today Girlfriend you and I shall examine some oft repeat truisms about writing a rockin’ resume just to recap.  Resumes matter.  They really do.  In fact once I learned a few tricks of the trade about resume writing from reading HR mags and watching youtube videos I adopted a few resume tips including one about a functional resume. This clueless HR administrator insisted that a functional resume, unlike a chronological resume, didn’t have to list jobs by most recent to last. So I took that advice and an HR recruiter contacted me to tell me my resume confused her.  She couldn’t tell if I was employed or not by the way I laid out my resume. Yet she took the time to email me and ask me to clear up the confusion and re-send it.  Incredible! I argue that my error caused this woman to contact me just to see if I was from Neptune.  That said, I have decided to put a spin on writing a rockin’ resume. I shall make up my own rules and Girlfriend it is entirely your call as to whether you intend to heed or ignore my ….er…. unique advice.

Thus far here is my own first unique rule for writing a rockin’ resume: confuse the HR manager.  Leave her scratching her head and thinking “huh?” Not in a grade school kind of way mind you. Don’t have an entire page of typos and lame grammar. That’s just overkill.  Use enough confusion to make that person stew over your information until she needs to pop a tylenol and go to bed early. 

Loads of people insist that a great resume uses key words from the job description in order to catch the recruiter’s eye and make it stand out.  Now it has occurred to me that if I’m taking this approach so is everyone else. How does that make your resume stand out?  It doesn’t. It makes it blend.  Hence have a thesaurus handy and come up with as many infrequent and non-keywords as possible.  For instance take this generic job description I happened across on David Alpin Recruiting the other day:

  • Reception including answering, transferring all phone calls, voicemail
  • typing,
  • coordinating meetings,
  • creating presentations
  • Invoicing
  • Filing
  • Copying/scanning/faxing documents
  • Ordering office supplies
  • Sorting mail daily

In response, unique rule number two is to include as many foreign, non-keywords in your resume as you can. In the meantime, let’s just see if I get a bite from David et al:

Reacted to people, including  come back and relocating and giving a ring, engaged in typography, synchronized summits, crafted productions, dispatched notes, maintained dossiers, duplicated and scrutinized manuscripts, bid for administrative centre sources and classified transmissions day by day.  PHEW!

I shall keep you posted.

Speaking of vocabulary another valuable yet in my opinion questionable piece of resume advice is to ban certain cliches from your resume vocabulary.  If you’d like to see the entire list, click here.

So here we go with unique rule number three.  Whatever you are supposed to ban from the resume, go ahead and ban it. However you must argue the opposite with all your heart.  To wit:

  1. I’m a team player.  Replace with  I’m terrible at team playing. I suck in sports. In fact physical education was my worst subject in school. I was always picked last and I am still traumatized over it.
  2. I have great communication skills. Replace with I can’t communicate very well at least that’s what my marriage counsellor said. That might be why my husband and I decided to split up again although personally I think me passing that STD to him last week might have had something to do with it.
  3. I have a proven track-record. Replace with Here we go with the sports thing again. Lookit, I told you I’m terrible at sports. The only proven record I’ve got is criminal.
  4. I’m a problem solver.  Replace with I’m a shit disturber.
  5. I assisted in X task. Add to it  and botched it all up.
  6. I have a strong work ethic. Add to it when anyone’s looking.
  7. I’m bottom-line focused.  Add to it  but I’m also a breast man.
  8. I’m responsible for X.  Replace with I’m supposed to be responsible for X but so far have managed to elude this responsibility.
  9. I’m self motivated.  Add to it when my boss insists on it.
  10. I’m accustomed to a fast-paced environment.  Add to it  I used to drive Formula One race cars.

And there you have it Girlfriend! Unique rules for writing a rockin’ resume. You probably won’t end up getting the job of course but then again, I never said anything about that at the beginning of this blog now did I?  Unless of course you want to work for Google.  Whole different ball game, Girlfriend. Then you probably should use the 3 unique rules of resume writing in this post. Happy Googling!

April 30, 2010

Anti-Social Media Will Cost You Your Job

Filed under: social media — lisalahey @ 9:29 am
Tags: , ,

Lately I’ve been reading a lot about people who are clueless about how not to use social media if they wish to remain employed.  Some of them actually have added their bosses to their list of friends, followers, network what have you and they actually diss the organization, their job or yep, the boss him or herself.  Consider some of these incredible yet true tribulations of anti-social media:
Astounding how clueless people can be.  Here are a few more common sense tips to keep in mind when announcing your job woes to the world:

  1. More employers are tracking their employees’ social media activities. That means calling in sick and then typing away at home on your computer is not a wise move. If you can use your laptop at home can’t you use your desk top at work?
  2. Keep your job dissatisfaction to yourself. If you really hate what you’re doing find new work.
  3. Don’t announce to everyone that you find ways to waste a lot of time at work without the boss finding out. It’s even more unimpressive when you’re blogging or tweeting about your “clever” time-wasting tactics while you are at work.
  4. Avoid discussing tasks and duties you hate online. Those hateful tasks are part of your job so if you want to keep that job suck it up buttercup.
  5. They say the blog is the new resume nowadays. That’s great.  Now make sure you don’t post that “new resume” while you are still employed yet “secretly” looking for new work.
  6. Ditto with announcing that you have just added more tags to your blog or your profiles to make sure recruiters can find you more easily.

Happy blogging!