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 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 15, 2010

How to Be Your Own Change Management Consultant (and a Little Help from David Bowie)

I’ve been a Bowie fan for years now. And lately I seem to be an Alexander Kjerulf fan but for entirely different reasons.  No, no. Penelope Trunk hasn’t been dethroned. But I also like what Alexander has to say about careers and I’m especially tickled about his self-annointed title CHO (Chief Happiness Officer). Cute. Alexander, like myself and Penelope, frequently gives career advice in a variety of areas. With the recession and plethora of layoffs many people are obsessed over employability, training for a new career and career transition.

David Bowie would probably agree with the benefits of change to a radical degree and therefore he’s more likely to side with Alexander and Penelope than me. Have you ever looked at his pictures from the earliest stages in his career and now? 

Wow.  He is unrecognizable (yep that’s really Bowie) and not merely because of his youth. (Personally I think he got better looking as he got older but that’s just my opinion). However in Bowie’s case constant change made an incredible amount of sense. He probably didn’t realize it then but he was the prototype for today’s worker and the elements of change in image, roles and career direction in order to stay current and keep employed (and maybe to have a little fun too). 

Now as I said in my previous post Jump Ship Before You Have to Build a Raft it’s always important to know if you’re in an industry or a job that will soon be made redundant then you can plan your career change accordingly. I’ve done some of the research for you in that post but of course if you’ve become inspired by the concept of career change or frightened by the notion that yes you are on shaky ground then by now you’re probably sifting through options to make that change. Interestingly Penelope and Alexander seem to have a common ground where I cannot tred: they are both obsessed with job satisfaction as opposed to security or salary. I can already hear you shrieking “Girlfriend! There is no such thing as job security anymore!” Well to a point that’s correct but at the very least you can improve your job security odds by investing in a long term career that seldom dips in terms of supply and demand (teacher or registered nurse for example).  See the Jump Ship post….

Let’s say for argument’s sake that you aren’t happy so much with your industry and your job as you are with your place of work. Now that’s a different kettle of fish entirely.  If you’re stuck with a bad boss, bad co-workers, bad reviews and a bad salary then perhaps you do have a valid need to pack up and head on out of there

Before you jump ship however you need to take a critical look at what it is you’re running away from and running toward. In other words figure out what it is that requires change. You know what they say “don’t fix what ain’t broke?” Well have you considered that it’s not the organization that’s the problem here but you? Check out this link and if you’re finding yourself harrassed on a fairly regular basis by your boss and co-workers it may be that you are indeed the fly in the ointment.

The only way you can figure this out is to get the input of a third party. Trust me you can never be completely objective about you so if you’re going to consider changing your career, your boss or your place of work you have to rely upon an outside source for feedback about you. Do you have a reliable confidante at work whom you can request some friendly feedback over lunch? (without you picking up an axe like the rather frustrated woman above).  Be prepared to hear anything because trust me some of it won’t be pleasant no matter how great a worker you are. In spite of that no matter what the feedback you should congratulate yourself because you have just become your own Change Manager.

So let’s say it turns out that you’re right. The organization does stink and your co-worker loathes the boss as much as you do. If that’s the case and you can trust her, enjoy lunch, enjoy the bitch fest then get back to work smug in the knowledge that you are indeed ready for a new employer and your loathsome boss doesn’t even know it yet.

Worse case scenario: your co-worker tells you that the boss is alright most of the time and she doesn’t mind the company. Now what? Now it’s time to consider a little self-change management. Become your own change management consultant in terms of your role at work and your attitude and you might find that your job becomes a lot more enjoyable and your boss a lot less loathsome as a result. Let’s apply some of the change management principles you’ve read about in the link above entitled “Change Manager“.

  1. Start from the ground up. Identify what you dislike about your current role. Too repetitive? Not enough promotional opportunity? You seem to get overlooked for the really interesting projects? Well. If you’ve been miserable at work then you’ve probably performed at half-mast so no wonder your boss is reluctant to offer you bigger and better projects. Take a deep breath, grab a notebook and pen and approach your boss, requesting an interview when she has time in order to give you some feedback on how you’re doing and how you can work to improve your work performance. Trust me, she’ll be thrilled to hear you say it.
  2. Meet with the boss and jot notes about how to improve (change) your work performance. Make sure you take notes because you will forget much of it later. You’ll have an emotional reaction which is normal and that will make a lot of information slip your mind. Try to remain composed and whatever you do DON’T get into an argument with your boss! You asked for the feedback and you’re getting it.
  3. Ask for suggestions about how to improve your work performance.  Don’t be in the dark about this part of your personal change managment. You need to be on the same page as your boss or you may end up making changes in ways that aren’t resolving any issues.
  4. Ask your boss is she will schedule another interview with you. Choose a specific date then and there. Don’t leave her office until she commits to another appointment for giving you feedback about your change management. An important aspect of change management is ongoing feedback.
  5. Your notes are your blueprint for your change management. Whichever areas your boss as stated need improvement you must begin there first. Is it your punctuality? Is your work a little sloppy at times and you have too many do-overs?  Are you sullen and grouchy much of the time? Time to change!
  6. Consider a career coach. If you find your boss’s suggestions too overwhelming to handle on your own get a career coach. Set out the boss’s objectives for you and discuss how best to go about them with a professional who is on the outside of the organization.
  7. Decide if you really want to change. How much does remaining employed with that company matter to you? How much does job satisfaction really matter? If you don’t give a hoot either way then stay exactly as you are and hope you don’t end up getting fired.
  8. Put your plan into action. Let’s assume you want to remain employed and you want to enjoy your job again (if you ever did). Alright Girlfriend it’s time to organize your notes from your career coach and your boss and download your plan into a template. If you ‘ve decided not to work with a career coach you may need to design your own change management template. Here’s a suggestion.
  9. Give your boss a copy of your change management plan. Give her time to look it over. She may want to re-schedule with you right away to assist you with your plan.
  10. Record the changes you have been putting into place. It’s important to document your progress, both for yourself and your boss.
  11. Record your feelings and your perspective on your job in a personal diary. This isn’t for the boss’s eyes so don’t type anything onto your work computer. Get a diary and write about how you’re feeling and any changes you’re noticing in the people around you. You’ll probably notice some positive changes right away. Make sure however that you aren’t silly enough to blog about your work situation! That’s an absolute social media no-no and believe it or not blogging about work could end up getting you fired.
  12. Follow-up with the boss. Ideally the two of you will have already chosen a date to meet again and discuss your change management plan during your first meeting. She will evaluate your progress and you will take notes about her feedback so you can put them into effect and for your memory’s sake. You still have a ways to go no doubt but I have a feeling you’ll be hearing some very positive critique!
  13. Evaluate your own progress. After all the changes you’ve made and the diplomatic criticism you’ve received from your boss if you still aren’t happy then perhaps you are ready to Jump Ship Before You Have to Build a Raft. 

 And while you’re managing change, here’s a little more David Bowie inspiration to wrap things up and motivate your Changes .