•  Home Page
   •  Resume Writing
Cover Letters
Support Letters
Internet Posting
Job Search Strategies
Resume Samples
Credit Card Authorization

   •  Employment Links
About Us
Frequent Questions
Online Resources
Privacy Policy

   •  Tell A Friend
   •  Resume Critique
   •  The Blog
Printer Friendly
   •  Contact Us

Friday, December 29, 2006
I’ll Do It Later
We all procrastinate. It’s natural to put off doing something that is unpleasant, boring, or seems unnecessary at the time. Many of you reading this have vacation at this time of year and you may be getting around to doing something that you’ve put off like cleaning out the basement or having the tires rotated and balanced on your car. Maybe you are thinking of taxes and have decided to try to get all your receipts together in one place. These are minor things that really don’t have a major effect on your future over the next three years. That said, there IS something that many people procrastinate on that does affect their future.

There are two things you shouldn’t be caught dead without – a will and a resume. The will’s function is obvious but putting off having a resume developed can mean you miss opportunities that come your way that you didn’t expect. So many people come to us in a desperate situation because an opportunity has arisen out of the blue and they are unprepared with a strong resume. We work fairly quickly but an effective, executive level resume cannot be written in 24 hours. Often, opportunities are missed because the client procrastinated having a professional resume developed earlier.

I was eating at a deli yesterday and was watching one of the workers. The lady was probably in her late twenties, maybe early thirties and obviously pregnant. She was wiping down the tables, sweeping, etc. She had been the one who had taken my order and I had noticed during that interaction that she was very subdued and kept her eyes down. I started thinking, “What makes for the differences between her life and mine?”

As I sat there, I came to the obvious conclusion at which most observers would arrive – socio-economic background. But the more I thought about that, I wondered if all the blame could be laid at that doorstep. After all, I was a product of the public school system, probably just like her. I worked my way through school, actually starting working at age 14 to pay for my clothing and other teenage incidentals. My parents were divorced and I was from a small town with few good jobs available. So what was the difference?

I came to the conclusion that it was not the opportunities that were presented but rather the readiness to take advantage of those opportunities. Add in the choices that are made and you have either a recipe for success or an outline for mediocrity. If you are not ready to jump at good opportunities as they are presented to you or come your way, you are making a choice for mediocrity.

No leader was ever a procrastinator. Leaders are always ready and prepared for whatever comes their way whether it is positive or negative. They have a plan – actually, they have several plans, some main plans and some contingency plans. They are proactive, not reactive.

So what are you going to be in 2007? Proactive or reactive? Isn’t it time to stop procrastinating and DO SOMETHING?

Thursday, December 21, 2006
Jelly of the Month Club
Some families have normal Christmas traditions like attending midnight mass or going caroling on Christmas Eve. In my family, we have a tradition of sitting down on Christmas Eve as a family and watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Okay, so we are a little weird. Some watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” – we watch Chevy Chase.

If you are part of the 1% of the US population that has never seen this movie, the basic premise for the main character (Clark Griswold) is that he has ordered a pool to be put in at his house and is expecting his Christmas bonus to cover it. When the Christmas bonus doesn’t materialize, he goes postal and his caring brother-in-law (played by Randy Quaid) kidnaps the CEO of the company and presents him to Clark so Clark can evoke his revenge. The CEO’s wife comes to the rescue after the SWAT team invades the house and makes her husband reinstate the Christmas bonuses for the company. All ends happily.

Where am I going with this? Yesterday, I was watching Fox News and they reported the average Christmas bonus for workers on Wall Street was over $100K this year with the chairman of Goldman-Sachs receiving a whopping $53M bonus check in his December paycheck envelope. Holy cow! Maybe I should have paid more attention in Business Math in college instead of thinking of how to get four people in my Honda CRX to go to Florida for the weekend.

Where did the Christmas bonus originate? I know most people expect one of some kind. Executives and six-figure professionals usually negotiate bonus structures during the job offer process. As someone who is self-employed and has been for many years, my idea of a Christmas bonus is for December to be crazy-busy rather than being its traditional slowest month of the year for our industry. A bonus to me is to have the opportunity to work my tail off during December.

Self-employed people and entrepreneurs understand that. We tend to see the concept of the Christmas bonus from a different perspective. Just what are Christmas bonuses anyway? Honestly, they are really some sort of profit-sharing mechanism instead of a reward for good work over the year. I say this because how many slackers do you work with who also get a Christmas bonus, maybe even a bigger one than yours? It’s not quite fair, is it? So a bonus isn’t a reward, it’s an accounting thing.

The majority of those who receive Christmas bonuses have come to expect them. As Clark Griswold says “It’s part of our salary. Families count on them.” Is that a good thing, though? We expect extra money just for breathing and being with the company?

Several years ago, I went on a month-long trip to Eastern Europe. We were waiting to board a train and already knowing what the facilities on the train were like, I decided to go to the restroom at the station before boarding. I went in and the worst Amoco station restroom you have ever seen had nothing on this in terms of filth. I held my breath and got finished as fast as possible. As I was leaving, there were two ladies sitting at a table by the door accepting tips. I asked my interpreter if I had to pay to use the restroom and she said no, but it is customary to tip the ladies who take care of the restroom on your way out. I told her “I’m sorry, but this capitalist pig from America believes in getting paid for actually DOING something. These restrooms haven’t been ‘cared for’ in months. I will not reward someone for poor performance or no performance” and I walked out without dropping any change in their bowl. My interpreter said something the two ladies but somehow I don’t think it was a translation of what I said.

My point is these two ladies were expecting a bonus regardless of performance. Their entire job consisted of sitting at this table all day accepting tips for just being there. No doubt they were drawing a salary from the train company, too.

This year, as you receive your Christmas bonus, think about what it means and what you have done to actually earn it. If you feel a little niggle of guilt in your heart, I’m sure the Salvation Army, Red Cross or USO would be happy to receive a guilt offering to make you feel better.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006
We Don’t Need a Life History
Resume length is a much-debated topic. Some outplacement firms stand firmly on the old “one page rule” while many job seekers feel “more is better”. So exactly how long does a resume have to be? Before I give you a number, let’s look at the purpose of a resume and how it is used.

In today’s employment market, a resume functions as a career brochure – a marketing document. It is designed to sell a job candidate’s assets to an employer to a degree which causes the employer to contact the job candidate for a telephone interview. Most first interviews are telephone interviews or screenings and it is VITAL to know how to get back that first step of elimination (but that’s a different blog for a different day).

Not only does a resume serve as a career brochure, but it also serves as a technical document that is processed by computers. Gone are the days of pretty resumes printed on nice Crane paper and mailed through the USPS. Resumes are delivered by email these days. They are uploaded into massive databases where they are stored. They are searched by search engines or Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS). They are downloaded and uploaded and pretty much open to anyone who wants to read them.

With these two issues in mind, length of a resume comes into play. I dislike saying a resume is too long or too short. It’s possible for a new grad to have a one page resume simply because he doesn’t have much information to put on the resume at this beginning point of his career. On the flip side, a senior executive with twenty-five years of experience might easily have a three page resume. The rule of thumb is to cover the information, make the persuasion to contact the job seeker, and do it in as short a length as possible. That will vary according to job seeker.

A two page resume is generally considered the average these days but we do many three page resumes for our clientele because we work primarily with executives. That said, someone who brings us an old resume that is six pages long is not accomplishing the rule of thumb I noted above.

Length, in-and-of-itself, is a SYMPTOM of a larger problem – too little information or too much information. A six page resume probably has redundant information and too much detail that will bog down the reader, thus the length problem. A one page resume for a senior executive will not have enough information to persuade the reader to contact the job candidate.

Managing length is most easily done by an objective person like a professional resume writer who is not emotionally attached to the information. A professional resume writer can see what needs to be included and what is not relevant to winning the interview. Making that distinction is very difficult for a jobseeker who is emotionally attached to the information surrounding his career and does not have an objective point of view. That objectivity and knowledge of what should be included/excluded is part of the value of a professionally developed resume.

Thursday, December 07, 2006
How Much Is Your Time Worth?
It’s the holiday season and time has become a valuable and short commodity to most of us. My Day-Timer looks like a bus schedule with appointments, clients, holiday events, end-of-year deadlines, and other things that just HAVE to get done. I’m sure you can relate to how hectic lifestyles are at this time of year.

Have you ever thought about how much your time is worth? It’s important to work smart and often working smart means outsourcing things that take a lot of your time or that someone else can do better. We outsource many things in our lives ranging from child care to things as complicated as dentistry. (You wouldn’t do your own dentistry so technically you outsource that to a professional.) Busy executives know how to delegate and choose other talented people to complete tasks and projects for which it makes more sense economically and efficiently to outsource.

Let’s look at some numbers. (I warn you, I’m not a numbers person so check my figures.) If you are targeting a salary of $150,000 a year, that works out to be about $75 an hour that you make if you were on an hourly scale. Throw in benefits, stock options and other factors like bonuses and that goes up. If you were going to rewire your house, you would hire an electrician, even if you happened to have an electrician’s license yourself because A) you make more money as an executive per hour than you would spend paying the electrician, and B) the electrician probably has more experience, knows the little tricks, and has a relation with the codes people – benefits you can’t bring to the rewiring job.

Let’s look at the numbers on this concept. Let’s say you are an executive making $150,000 a year (remember, works out to be about $75 an hour). You decide to rewire your house. That project ends up taking 80 hours of your time, a lot of stress, and a mess in your house that you have to clean up. 80 hours at $75 equals $6000. You could have hired an electrician who could have done a better job in a shorter amount of time for a lesser hourly rate, say $45 an hour. If the electrician did the job in half the time (40 hours) at $45 an hour, your cost would have been $1800. The SAVINGS to you would have been $4200 not to mention the hassle, the stress, and the mess.

Smart executives know that it is often more cost effective to have complicated, important tasks outsourced to someone who is an expert. The cost is less than the money saved so it’s a good decision. Additionally, the knowledge, background and objectivity that a different person brings to the process is a benefit.

As a busy executive yourself, you need to consider this when thinking of having your resume developed by a professional career services firm. It is often more cost-effective to outsource the development of your resume and some of the tasks involved in job search than to struggle with them yourselves and still not be sure that the end result will produce results.

The first of the year is approaching rapidly and many people are procrastinating getting their job search materials ready to go until January. That’s a poor decision. It’s best to get everything prepared now so you are ready to go immediately in January when the hiring rush starts. Think about it.

November 2005 / December 2005 / January 2006 / February 2006 / March 2006 / April 2006 / May 2006 / June 2006 / July 2006 / August 2006 / September 2006 / October 2006 / November 2006 / December 2006 /


We specialize in working with professionals in the high tech, engineering, and manufacturing industries to organize, direct, and accomplish their career goals. Our knowledge of technology and our expertise in these rapidly changing industries set us apart from all other career services firms and provides outstanding value to our clients. See how we can help your Career by reading our Blog.
                          < goto blog >




Copyright © 2005  Produced by i4market 

    about us  |  resumes  |  resources  |  cover letters  |  contact us  | free critique 345 Rt. 17 South Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 USA EMAIL:
CALL TOLL FREE: 1.888.277.4270 (1.201.934.4237) FAX: 1.800.206.5454 (1.201.934.9263)