In Reference of References

In Reference of References


Like everything else connected with your job hunt, coming up with references you can provide to prospective employers takes some preparation and homework.


Choosing your references

Choosing people to use as references can be confusing. Who do you use? Previous employers? People you volunteered with? Past teachers? Should you let them know they might be called?


Any of those people could make good references if they have something relevant and positive to say in regards to the job you’re applying for. And, anyone you choose to put down as a reference should definitely be called before hand. They need to be prepared so they can figure out what they’re going to say before the call comes.


Not sure?

If you feel strange contacting someone you’re considering using as a reference to let the know your potential new employer may call them, perhaps they aren’t the best reference for you to use.


The last thing you want is for the new job to call someone you put down as a reference and for that person to have no clue as to who you are. Or worse, remember who you are and still have nothing to say.


When listing references, it can be very tempting to just put down a bunch of people you worked with briefly and hope the prospective employer doesn’t actually contact them.


Take the opportunity to reconnect

That’s the easy way to avoid the awkwardness of ringing up former employers or professors or whoever else might be on your list and subtly imploring them to say nice things about you. By taking that route you’re also avoiding an opportunity to reconnect, exchange a few pleasantries and leave them remembering what an outstanding person you truly are.


The truth is, if someone is serious about hiring you, they’ll want some reassurance that you aren’t a simply someone who interviews well without the experience or know how, or the potential to do a great job. So they will take the time to call up at lest one of your references.


When they do call your references they won’t be looking for much more than confirmation that you are as splendid a person as they already suspect you are.


But if the person they’re calling is unprepared or caught off guard, they may not even be able to provide that most basic level of approval of you. You might lose an amazing opportunity because you got lazy or shy on the very last piece of your career portfolio.


Don’t Let Email Do Your Talking For You

Don’t Let Email Do Your Talking For You


Before the Bell

In the past if you wanted to communicate with someone you got yourself in front of that person and spoke to them directly. If you had time to wait you could also have sent them a letter. Then Alexander Graham Bell came along and the telephone was added to our list of possible ways to communicate.


When there were only three ways to communicate, in person, by telephone or by letter which do you think was the most effective?


Face to face communication was, because it included smiles and eyes which are windows to the soul. It also features facial gestures and body language attitude – which by the way is contagious, and all sorts of non-verbal cues.


A communication explosion

Fast forward to today and suddenly we’re bombarded with so many more ways to communicate, email, text message, voice mail, video conference. With so many different ways to communicate with each other it’s kind of tempting not to bother getting into a room with someone when we can just as easily stay right where we are and pick up the phone or send off a text or an email.


Put your best face forward

Phone, text and email are all great and convenient ways to communicate if that communication is straight forward and simply a way to pass on information. However if you have an idea or a request or something really important to say, the best way to say it, is the oldest, most tried and true way – face-to-face.


If you’ve got a great new idea that you want to present to your boss the last thing you want to do is explain it over email. Email cannot convey the details of the message the way you can in person. It cannot hold your boss’ attention the way you can. It cannot fill him or her with the passion and excitement you can.


You know when you come away from talking with someone feeling energized and excited by what they just said? That can never happen over a text or email. Face-to-face interactions bring ideas and concepts to life.


So if you have something important to say, use email or a text message or a phone call to set up a meeting, and then get yourself there and communicate your message face-to-face.

Together We Can Change The World – Bill Nye

Together We Can Change The World


Bill Nye is everyone’s favorite science guy. Coming from a mechanical engineering background, somewhere along the way Bill realized if he was going to change the world like he wanted to, the best way to do that was to share his passion and knowledge with kids. Combining his passion for science with his love of comedy, Bill Nye became Bill Nye the science guy.


Bill doesn’t just talk about changing the world, he does his best to do his part. In the early 2000s he helped develop a small sundial that’s now included on the Mars Rovers. He is the host of three shows on television, “The 100 Greatest Discoveries,” “The Eyes of Bill Nye,” and “Stuff Happens.” On top of that he regularly fields questions from people around the world for Big Think. He also still finds time to act as the executive director for the Planetary Society.

Be the change


Currently Bill lives in a solar powered house. “When you get an electric bill every 60 days for five bucks, that’s just fun,” he said. “We can do this, we can get this done. But I want you guys to do it better. I want you to change the world.”


Bill is an individual who does a lot because he wants the world to be a better place for all of us. Whether you want change or the whole world or simply your corner of it, you have the capacity to be that change. To make that change.


Networking Through Mingling

Networking Through Mingling


Whether we’re looking for a job, trying to get a creative project off the ground or have discovered the new greatest thing that’s going to change the world, we all know how important it is to build a network. Even so, if you’re starting from ground zero the thought of building that network can seem a little daunting.


Have you thought about getting yourself to events with like minded individuals and mingling?


Make Google your new best friend

Don’t even try saying you don’t know where you might find these individuals or these events because anything you want to find is as findable as your nearest computer. Google what you’re interested in and you will find seminars, events, lectures, meet-ups, all kinds of things you can join and participate in.


Pick three

Once you find a few of these, pick at least three you’d like to attend. Only going to one is the same as putting all your eggs in one basket. You’ll feel stressed out like it’s your only chance to build your network and you won’t be able to genuinely engage. By going to several different events you can relax and build authentic relationships without all the pressure.


Remember Rome

Don’t expect to come out of your first few events with an entire network built and humming with activity. These things take some time to build and evolve. Rome was not built in a day and neither will your network be.


A few people at a time

Concentrate on finding a few really great people to befriend, and go from there. If you keep up a healthy communication with them, you’ll eventually meet some of their colleagues and associates and your circle will grow from there.


Mix it up a little

Don’t just go to places where you’ll meet a bunch of people on your own level. These can be valuable, but much more so are places you can meet professionals who have been in the field for years.


Find an event with a speaker you really admire, or you know will have a large attendance of seasoned professionals. These are the people who can mentor you, and help you on your way now.


If you snooze you lose, but if you schmoose you can win!

Set Yourself Up For A Great Interview

Set Yourself Up For A Great Interview


On paper you might be the best candidate for the job you’re about to interview for but if you’re too nervous to get that fact across in person the interviewer won’t know it. It’s okay to be nervous during an interview. Everyone is. They key to getting past that nervousness so your best most competent self can shine through is setting the mental stage for it before hand.


Inspire yourself musically

Some songs simply make you feel great. They can have associations with previous happy times in your life, times when everything was going great. Create a playlist of songs that inspire you and make you feel like you can do anything and play that in the morning of your interview. If that music makes you want to dance, then go right ahead and take to that dance floor while you’re getting ready!


Lighten the mood

We’ve all heard laughter is the best medicine. You may not think of laughter as a remedy for nerves, but it certainly can be. Find some funny videos before you go into your interview and break up your pre-interview tension with a few laughs.


Do the interview in your head

Before heading onto stage, performers do a dress rehearsal in their head. Athletes practice their game in their head as much as they do on the field.


Ace the interview first in your head then ace it again in person. Don’t just do this in the car or on the bus on the way to the interview. The day before or the morning of, find a quiet comfortable place to sit and run through your brilliant, smiling answers with the attentive, impressed interviewer. Do it until you feel great about the interview!


Listen to the voices in your head

Pay very close attention to your silent words. Are you telling yourself you’re going to do a great job or are you telling yourself you’re not qualified? You may not think the words in your head have any impact on what happens outside of it, but they do.


Every time you catch yourself thinking a negative thought about yourself or your chances for success, immediately counter that with positive talk. “Jane,” tell yourself, “You are eminently qualified for this job and you are going to have an outstanding interview!”


Worst-case scenario

Even if you do the interview and you don’t get the job, well what next? You try again with another job and another interview.


No job is the be all and end all of your career. Each one is a stepping stone to a new place in your life and career. Put the interview into perspective in the big picture. Remind yourself that although it would be great to get this job, even if you don’t get it, it’s still okay. You’ll have had an interview experience that will help you during the next one.


Alleviate the pressure of perfection. You will do your best and if you’re successful that’s great. If you’re not that’s fine too. No worries.

How Do You Define Yourself?

How Do You Define Yourself?

When you think of Emma Watson what’s the first thing you think of?

Hermione Granger from Harry Potter?

Beauty from Beauty and the Beast?

What else are you?

What about as a U.N. Women’s Global Goodwill Ambassador? That’s not another role in an upcoming movie. Promoting education for girls worldwide is a role Emma Watson has taken on as part of her life.

For some people the glitz and glam of Hollywood stardom is the ultimate end goal. For Emma Watson it was simply one of her goals. She is not just a movie star, she is a person concerned with the rights of people, especially women the world over and in 2015 she was ranked 26th on TIME’s list of the Most Influential People.

What else could you be?

Are you happy with your current situation? Do you ever think you could do more with your life? Do you have dreams or ambitions sitting on the backburner? What we are is not the definition of what we can be.

Listen to Emma Watson talk about what’s in her heart and be inspired.

Are You Burned Out?

When you take time off do you really take time off or do you open the door to emails and calls and everything else that keeps you from fully relaxing?

By finding time and space away from work you’ll keep yourself from betting burned out and you’ll be better at work!

Finding The Right Words

Finding The Right Words


So often we hear It’s not what you say, but how you say it. Generally that’s taken in the context of tone of voice and body language, but oftentimes the specific words you use to express yourself are just as important.


Someone asks you if you’ll be able to get a project done on time. Yes you can – so you answer: Yes I think I can or Yes I can.


There may not seem like a huge difference between those two sentences, but one is an absolute affirmative, while the other still has question marks attached to it. Which one would you rather hear?


The words you choose speak volumes about you and at the same time influence how others perceive you.


Indefinite statements vs. definite statements

When you say things like I think or I guess, whatever follows is automatically on weaker ground than a simple direct answer. I guess I’ll go to that seminar implies and underlying unwillingness to do it and makes you seem wishy-washy.


I think I’ll go to that seminar implies a lack of commitment. I should be able to go. I’m supposed to go. The listener all of those statements will still not have any idea of whether or not you actually have any intention of going.


Yes I’m going is clear and decisive.


No I don’t believe this will be of benefit to me removes any ambiguity and provides a reason.


If you actually don’t know, give a reason why and a time when you will have an answer. I have to check with X, I will let you know by the end of the day.


Avoid negative statements

If you want someone to listen with an open receptive mind, you’ll have more success if you frame what you have to say using positive words rather than negative ones.


Rather than Don’t always hit reply all, turn the statement around to Only hit reply all when necessary.


Instead of I don’t like negative people go with, I prefer positive people.


By removing the negative words you’re eliminating a negative undertone you may not even realize is there.


Eliminate can’t

You may not be able to do everything you’re asked to do, however can’t is often people’s go-to word for won’t.


If you actually mean won’t then say so. It’s always better to be clear with your words and intentions. If what you’re being asked is outside of your skill set or knowledge then follow up with a solution. That’s not something I’m familiar with, I will call Sarah she can help. Or I have not done that before, I will find out how.


Your words are a reflection of who you are. People will be more inclined to listen to and follow someone who is direct, straightforward and positive. They will trust a person who is unambiguous in what they say.

Why Early Job Experiences Matter

Why Early Job Experiences Matter


You might think those early jobs you had like slinging burgers in a fast food location or going door to door with your lawn mower don’t have any effect on your long-term professional life. Maybe you should take a look at the things you gained from those early job experiences.


The Benefit of Experience

The only benefit from every job isn’t simply the potential is has to become a bullet point or paragraph on your resume. Sometimes it’s about the experiences you accumulated while you were there.


Obviously if you want to become a programmer, standing behind the grill won’t have taught you anything about coding, but it did teach you a few things.


What did you learn?

Working in fast food for example requires you to work quickly and efficiently and carefully. (You wouldn’t want to burn yourself!)


If you’re behind he counter, you’ll learn all about dealing with difficult customers, how to take ownership of your mistakes if you mess up. You also learn what it means to be a good co-worker.


If you did go door-to-door with your lawnmower you learned all kinds of things about scheduling, talking to people, taking control of your own destiny.


Every experience impacts the person you become

Sometimes it’s important to re-frame how you look at early jobs and recognize the benefits of the experiences you had there. Learning how to deal well with customers and co-workers, learning to be accountable to yourself and your job are experiences you can apply to everything you do for the rest of your career.


Every experience you have contributes to the person you become. Whether you’re conscientious or lazy. Whether you work well with others and are able to ask for help when needed. Whether you become the go-to person or there never-there person.


Pay attention to the shape your taking. Embrace what you learn in every situation.