Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Salary Requirements Part 1

Part 1 of 2 

Aside from "Why did you leave?" the question "What are your salary requirements?" is probably the one that causes job seekers the most discomfort. The company holds all the cards, and they're not letting you peek. You know that if they don't like your answer, you might easily kill any further discussion. 

As if the question isn't awkward enough at any time, it's usually asked at the beginning of the process during a phone interview or a quick intro screen by HR to see if they want to bring you in for an interview. Worse yet is when you're told to put the number in your cover letter. You feel as if you're walking through a minefield, because you're tossed if you don't follow their directions, and you're tossed if they don't like your answer. 

In actuality, the question isn't what's unreasonable, but rather when it's asked and how the answer is weighed. The purpose is to weed people out. Remember you're selling and the hiring company is buying. Give buyers a reason to say no and they will. People look for concerns, because that helps them believe they're eliminating problems. 

So although it's not a problem question, the sooner it's asked, the more of one it becomes. What the company is attempting to determine is if you're realistic about what you're looking to make in relation to their range and your experience. But when your number is unrealistic, however they define that, they generally remove you from consideration. Unfortunately, especially when they require the number in your cover letter, the number isn't taken in context with your skills, so your resume rarely gets even a cursory glance. 

To complicate that further, if a company were to glance at your resume to see if there might be a reason to set a phone interview and ask you if you're firm on that figure, almost every person's resume fails to communicate their skills as strongly as should be done. In those instances, the job seeker has further contributed to his own demise. Either way, the company ends up making a decision about you based on a number instead of your capabilities. 

But with so many people applying for one position, especially in the last few months, a company feels they need some way to cull it down as much as possible. As a previous recruiter for 22 years, I know well there are other ways to do this more effectively, but in the meantime, let's discuss how you can handle the problem, which is a far easier task.
Since that question is going to continue to pop up frequently either too early in the process or without being put in context, you're going to have to handle it. When you're told to put it in your cover letter, ignoring it will only result in your being eliminated for not following directions. The best way to keep yourself in control of the outcome is by answering the question, but without answering the question. 

Not only will this keep you from being pigeon-holed, but you have the opportunity to make a very sensible point, which one hopes will resonate with the hiring company. In any case, it's not a point with which they can argue and when your tone of voice is professional and respectful, you won't be viewed as contentious. 

The best stock answer, both verbally and for your cover letter is, "I'm interested in a fair and equitable offer for the right opportunity," or your own equivalent of that message. Salary requirements are only a part of the total picture, as is the salary offered. No matter from which side it's being viewed, a number alone doesn't - and shouldn't - define the full scope of what's being discussed. 

IN PART TWO: There's a catch to using that answer; something for which you must be prepared or it will backfire.
By Judi Perkins

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Pieces of Gold in Those Job Postings

Job Postings are "pieces of gold." They are your customer's wish lists. 

Any sales person would tell you that in order to sell someone something you have to know what they need.

Read through job postings to find out what your customer (the employer) is looking for - what is the need?

By familiarizing yourself with the language of the job posting you will be able to not only read the words and the content, but you will be able to read between the lines. 

Here's an exercise that will help you find the "gold" and make good use of it once you discover it.

Look at the job postings and the ads to see what experiences, skills and traits are in demand for the type of position you are seeking. In fact, look at several job postings that would be of interest to you. 

For this exercise, don't limit yourself to geographical location. Look at jobs of interest located anywhere. 

Your goal is to find key words and phrases. Some postings will be more vague about what it takes to get the job done and will require reading between the lines to determine what other skills are necessary. When you have several postings, read each word and sentence carefully, taking notes as you do. 

Read the job posting three times.
  • Read the first time for content.
  • Read the second time for words - vocabulary. What words appear consistently in almost every posting?
  • Read the third time and read between the likes - what would it take to get this job done? What are they looking for?
Now, take a piece of paper and divide it in half. On one side of the paper write, "What they are looking for," and on the other side, "What I have to offer." Each time you apply for a position, it will be invaluable for you to know how you stand against what they are looking for. This exercise will help you see how close a match you are and where you should focus.

Your next step is to add your uniqueness to the "What I have to offer" list. Some postings will list additional skills required, which make it easier for you to see what is important to them.

An example would be, "Must have excellent communications skills, strong organizational skills, and be a willing team player."

If these words appear in most of your posting examples, then make sure that these are a part of your focus.

Can you work these words and your five strengths into the interview to demonstrate your fit - and then some? It is your challenge to do just that to make yourself stand out in the crowd.

- Carole Martin

Friday, July 27, 2012

The 6 People You Need In Your Corner

Jessica Hagy

Nothing incredible is accomplished alone. You need others to help you, and you need to help others. With the right team, you can form a web of connections to make the seemingly impossible practically inevitable.

The Instigator:
Someone who pushes you, who makes you think. Who motivates you to get up and go, and try, and make things happen. You want to keep this person energized, and enthusiastic. This is the voice of inspiration.

The Cheerleader:
This person is a huge fan, a strong supporter, and a rabid evangelist for you and your work. Work to make this person rewarded, to keep them engaged. This is the voice of motivation.

The Doubter:
This is the devil's advocate, who asks the hard questions and sees problems before they arise. You need this person's perspective. They are looking out for you, and want you to be as safe as you are successful. This is the voice of reason.

The Taskmaster:

This is the loud and belligerent voice that demands you gets things done. This person is the steward of momentum, making sure deadlines are met and goals are reached. This is the voice of progress.

The Connector:
This person can help you find new avenues and new allies. This person breaks through roadblocks into finds ways to make magic happen. You need this person to reach people and places you can't. This is the voice of cooperation and community.

The Example:
This is your mentor, you hero, your North Star. This is the person who you seek to emulate. This is your guiding entity, someone whose presence acts as a constant reminder that you, too, can do amazing things. You want to make this person proud. This is the voice of true authority.

Thanks to Jessica Hagy / Forbes / Forbes LLC™ 


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How To Write An Amazing Cover Letter

Written By Jimmy Sweeney President of CareerJimmy 

There are average cover letters, and then there are amazing cover letters. Write yours to make a difference, to inspire, and to land the job interview. You can do this. Turn on your computer and get started now. Follow the suggestions below and double your odds immediately.

  • Write from your heart. Display the personality behind the words on the page. Be yourself and be enthusiastic. Keep it short and sweet.
  • Let the hiring manager know you are well qualified to fill the job opening. Provide specific examples of what you've done and what you can do now.
  • Mention being a team player, your ability to communicate clearly and to take direction, and your willingness to lead when given the opportunity.
  • Refer to the company's mission statement and how you will do your part to help the organization achieve its goals.
  • Close your letter with a warm thank you and a direct request for the opportunity to be interviewed for the job. This is key.
An amazing job-search cover letter can quickly translate to more quality job interview requests. The moment an employer reads what you've written, he or she will be able to see right away that you are a personal, professional, committed applicant looking to interview for the job.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Conquering Salary Question Fears

By Michael Neece  

Learn How to Get an Offer on Your Next Job Interview 

Today we're discussing how to confidently handle the most-feared job interview question: "The Salary Question." In this segment, I'll give you several different ways to respond to this question and tell you what to do if interviewers ask multiple times. By giving you several options, you'll be able to create a response that feels comfortable and effective for you. I'll also describe what to do before you're asked "The Salary Question" and provide specific examples of what to say. I'll not only give you the strategy, I'll give you some examples. 

Career advisers generally agree that it is best to not be the one to first provide or mention a salary number. The job-seeker risk is high when replying too early to the salary question because the salary number is used to screen candidates from further consideration. Stating your salary requirements before you know the company's salary range is risky. 

Your overall strategy is to delay stating a specific salary number until the company has decided to hire you. Any discussion of compensation before this time runs a high risk of eliminating you from further consideration. Companies ask "The Salary Question" to ensure that your compensation is compatible with what they are willing to pay someone for a specific job. The problem is that when this discussion occurs too early in the interview process, the interviewers do not know how your compensation requirements compare to the value you can deliver. In the end, it is all about paying for results. Through the interview process, you have the opportunity to discuss the results you can deliver. At the end of the process, you are in a much stronger position to discuss compensation because the hiring manager understands the value you can deliver. It is in your best interest to delay the salary discussion until the company has decided it really wants to hire you. 

Companies are much less aggressive using "The Salary Question" when the job market is strong for the job applicants. Job markets favoring the applicant force hiring managers to focus on getting the best value from an employee. During a weak job market, companies feel they have the upper hand and can be more aggressive screening job seekers regarding salary. 

Know the Salary Range Before They Ask You
Before the interview or phone screen, research the salary range for your occupation. Salary.com and Payscale.com are two web sites that provide salary range data. You can find out what companies are paying for your occupation in your industry and location. Corporations use data from these web sites to compare internal salary ranges against what other companies are paying for similar positions. When using the sites I just mentioned, you are researching salary ranges from many companies. The salary range for a specific company may be quite different, but it is likely to be similar to the broader salary ranges for your locale. 

Your Strategy for Handling "The Salary Question"
When you are asked "The Salary Question," your response strategy is as follows:
  1. Don't give them a salary number
  2. State your interest in the position
  3. Express your openness to discuss salary later
Here is an example of how this strategy might sound when the interviewer asks, "What are your salary requirements?" 

You smile and confidently say: 

"I'd rather not give you a specific salary number right now. I am very interested in this opportunity with your firm, and I'll be thrilled to discuss salary after we've mutually concluded I'm a strong fit for your company." 

I can hear you saying to me, "Hmm, that might work some of the time, Michael, but I'm not comfortable saying those words to avoid giving them a number." All right! Let's try another approach.
If you're already a user of Interview Mastery you'll recognize this strategy from the Interview Mastery module titled "Handling the Salary Question." 

Second Time They Ask: Salary Range
Sometimes interviewers ask about salary a second time or in a different way. They often ask, "What is your current or most recent salary?" This question is more specific and feels more difficult to handle without providing a salary number. 

Your response strategy remains the same; you don't want to state a number first. So your response to their second inquiry about your salary might sound like the following:

"I understand that you need to make sure my salary requirements and your salary range are aligned. Please share with me the salary range, and I'll tell how my salary fits in your range." 

This second response almost always works, and the company representative reveals the salary range. Then you respond by saying approximately where your salary requirements are within their range.
You're not going to let me off the hook this easy. You're probably asking, "What do I say if they ask me again to give them a salary number?" 

Third Time They Ask: Multiple Job Factors
If the interviewer or phone screener asks you a third time about your salary your strategy remains the same and you can say the following: "When deciding on a position, I consider the following factors: quality of the opportunity; quality of the company and the people I'd be working with; growth potential; location; and finally compensation. Compensation is the least important criteria I use to evaluate a position. So far, I'm impressed with what I have learned about this opportunity and remain very interested. What is the salary range you have established for this role?" 

Remember that the first person to give a salary number is at a disadvantage. You want to discuss salary only when they are absolutely convinced they can't live without you. It is at this point that you have negotiating leverage...and not until then. 

Craft a response that feels comfortable for you and practice saying it. Decide right now that you are not going to discuss salary until you are ready. Using this response strategy and the examples I've just given you could make the difference between you getting a job or being eliminated from further consideration. Your response to this frequent question will definitely influence the salary you are offered. You are worth it! So get ready to confidently handle "The Salary Question" and a few other difficult questions and you will secure a great job. 

Handling difficult interview questions can be uncomfortable unless you know how to best handle them and have practiced responding to these questions. This is why Interview Mastery was built...to help you be confident and ready to get hired during your next job interview.
The job interview is the most important moment in your job search. The career success you enjoy is directly related to your job interview skills. When you have interview skills, you control your career during the bad economic times and the good times. 

Good luck on your next interview. You're going to be awesome! 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Why Wasn’t I Hired?

Interviewing can be both frustrating and arduous because throughout the process, you receive little or no feedback except for the obvious: if they want you back, they contact you. If they don’t, frequently you never hear from them again. But after a first interview the reasons for not being asked back are numerous, and quite frankly, usually they’re about you: lack of experience, poor interviewing skills, inadequate preparation and research, or similar shortcomings. As a result, another candidate generates more excitement. 

But sometimes you are the candidate who’s invited back for a second or even a third interview. After that, though you’ve reached the final stages of interviewing and feel sure an offer is imminent, suddenly……nothing. 

Sometimes the process has stalled. Occasionally - and stupidly - a company finds the perfect person, but feels they have to interview a specific number of people first, and while they do, they’re under the impression you’re waiting happily in the background with your life and emotions on hold until they contact you again. 

Other times only a letter in the mail tells you it’s done. Rarely are candidates told why they didn't get the job. Unless you get this far in the process, usually you aren’t even told that much. Was it something you did? Maybe. But maybe not! 

Relax. While you’re busy wondering what went wrong or trying to convince yourself it had nothing to do with you...sometimes that’s the truth! You and that company just weren't meant to be, and nothing you might have done - or not done - would have made any difference. 

Consider these factors, all of which take place without your knowing:

  • A last-minute candidate appeared on the scene who was exactly what they were looking for. Maybe you were almost perfect, but for some reason, the last-minute candidate was just a bit more whatever they were looking for. If you experienced a delay in your interviewing late in the process, odds are very good your position as the top candidate was usurped at the last minute. 
  • An internal candidate entered the picture. Though many companies post positions internally first and go outside only after exhausting internal options, that doesn’t account for someone changing his mind - especially if it was the person they were initially targeting. 
  • The company decided to eliminate the position or put the hiring process on hold. Sometimes when a company doesn’t know in which direction they want to go, they run an ad to “see what’s out there” and then eliminate the position when their water walker fails to submit a resume. On other occasions, the process might be halted as a result of some event that changed the circumstances - and thus changed their decision about interviewing. 
  • One of the interviewers that came into the picture later in the process didn't like you. Perhaps you reminded them of a former employee that didn't work out. Maybe they were threatened by your expertise and skill. In any case, they carried enough weight or had enough of a valid point to get you jettisoned from the process.
Interviewing is the process by which you find a company you like, and by which a company hires you because they feel you’re the best person for the job. Everything happens for a reason, and if you missed getting an offer with one company, something better may be just around the corner.
So concentrate on what you can control and forget about what you can’t. If you mope around worrying about what you did or didn't do and wonder why they didn't like you or where you messed up - your attitude will bring about another negative outcome.
Look objectively at whether or not you can pinpoint something you might have done differently, and then learn from it. Otherwise, put it behind you and move forward with a confident and positive outlook! 

- Judi Perkins

Judi was a very successful recruiter for 22 years (15 contingency, 4 agency, 3 retained) and has now been a career coach for 3. The recruiter background, especially having been all three types, gives her deep insight into both sides of the hiring process. Now she teaches job seekers both the skill and psychological aspects of job hunting.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Beautiful letter written by a father to his children.

Following is a letter to his son from a renowned Hong Kong TV broadcaster cum Child Psychologist. The words are actually applicable to all of us, young or old, children or parents.

I am writing this to you because of 3 reasons

1. Life, fortune and mishaps are unpredictable, nobody knows how long one lives. Some words are better said early.

2. I am your father, and if I don't tell you these, no one else will.

3. What is written is my own personal bitter experiences that perhaps could save you a lot of  unnecessary heartaches.

Remember the following as you go through life

1. Do not bear grudge towards those who are not good to you. No one has the responsibility of treating you well, except your mother and I. To those who are good to you, you have to treasure it and be thankful, and ALSO you have to be cautious, because, everyone has a motive for every move. When a person is good to you, it does not mean he really likes you. You have to be careful, don't hastily regard him as a real friend.

2. No one is indispensable, nothing in the world that you must possess. Once you understand this idea, it would be easier for you to go through life when people around you don't want you anymore, or when you lose what/who you love most.

3. Life is short. When you waste your life today, tomorrow you would find that life is leaving you. The earlier you treasure your life, the better you enjoy life.

4. Love is but a transient feeling, and this feeling would fade with time and with one's mood. If your so called loved one leaves you, be patient, time will wash away your aches and sadness. Don't over exaggerate the beauty and sweetness of love, and don't over exaggerate the sadness of falling out
of love.

5. A lot of successful people did not receive a good education, that does not mean that you can be successful by not studying hard! Whatever knowledge you gain is your weapon in life. One can go from rags to riches, but one has to start from some rags!

6. I do not expect you to financially support me when I am old, neither would I financially support your whole life. My responsibility as a supporter ends when you are grown up. After that, you decide whether you want to travel in a public transport or in your limousine, whether rich or poor.

7. You honor your words, but don't expect others to be so. You can be good to people, but don't expect people to be good to you. If you don't understand this, you would end up with unnecessary troubles.

8. I have bought lotteries for umpteen years, but I never strike any prize. That shows if you want to be rich, you have to work hard! There is no free lunch!

9. No matter how much time I have with you, let's treasure the time we have together. We do not know if we would meet again in our next life.

Your Dad

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Are you tough?

 By Vinod Bidwaik
“You should be tough, ruthless and very assertive when you are in business. If managers are not tough, then their subordinate will not be tough and it is very difficult to sustain in the competitive world.” So-called tough manager was preaching the junior managers in the meeting. He then declared that there would be one sharing session where all managers would share their experiences on how they were tough in their personal life. It was year 2008. The indications of slow down were prominent. The business was down. All new projects and businesses were not doing well. The reasons for the failure were different, but the slowdown was the opportunity to conceal their failure.

“You should be empathetic with people.” Was his another preaching topic. He read it somewhere about empathy and started to preach people. If you are empathetic, you can achieve desired results. However he was literally spoiling the career of good employees by doing experiments about their profiles.

“There is a clause of termination in appointment letter, one month notice period. Ask employees to resign without any severance packages. You do not have any obligations. You should be empathetic; still you should be tough and ruthless.” He ordered in another meeting.  

Empathy means understanding other’s feeling, putting yourself in their shoes and deciding your strategy to deal with them.  Excellent fundamental! I personally use this tactic while dealing with different people.

CEO of the company decided to close one office at one location. So- called tough and empathetic manager was given the responsibility of this project. But this whole project was handled very unprofessionally where high profile and critical talent were treated like a contract and casual workmen. They started agitation against the management. The matter was referred to media and political leaders including ministers. Adverse reports and comments spoiled the reputation of the company.  CEO had to take the control of the situation to salvage where management had to agree to pay them heavy severance package.  

So-called empathic and tough manager failed in his strategies. He actually did not know the real meaning of empathy. He tried to be tough; but at wrong situation with wrong people.

After some days, management decided to be tough with him without being empathetic.

Being tough does not mean you miss the human dimension. Good companies focus log term goals. The hiring of talent is supposed to be for achieving long term goals. Good companies touch the talent cost at last when all the resorts fail; however bad companies focus cost reduction by reducing the talent at first site. You can be tough with situation. You also can be tough with people but before that you also need to understand the consequences and your capability to handle the consequences. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Out Of Work For Over A Year? How To Bounce Back

It happens to the best of us. You hit a bump in the rocky road of your career and find yourself out of work for longer than you'd like.Being out of work for an extended period of time does more damage than just a gap in your resume. It affects your self esteem, how you view yourself, and what you believe you can bring to the table. 

Everyone has doubts at some point in their career; this is your time. Know that you can and will get past this bump. 

So How Do You Bounce Back? Follow These 5 Steps Below.
  1. Remind Yourself That This Is A Moment In Time. Your career runs for multiple decades. That's a long period of time. What this means is sooner or later a setback will happen in your career. It's just the way things happen. All cycles have up's and down's and this is your down. The good news is it's all up from here. Remind yourself that a job will be there, and is waiting for you, right around the corner.

  2. Reacquaint Yourself With Your Accomplishments. When was the last time you looked at your resume? And when you do, does it seem like your accomplishments were achieved by someone else? Just because you have not performed a function in a while doesn't mean you can't perform it anymore. It's like riding a bicycle; you never forget how. Spend quality time with your resume. Read the bullets slowly. Remember the projects you worked on and the people you worked with to obtain these results. Remind yourself that these are your accomplishments, which are something to be proud of. Just because it's been a while, doesn't mean it didn't happen.

  3. Create In Your Mind What You Want To Happen Next. I believe that people get stuck in the day-to-day doldrums of life when they don't have something to look forward to. You may not know when your next job is coming, but you can get ready for it. Ask yourself what you want next. Where do you want to work? What location? What type of people? How much do you want to be making? When you can see what you want, clearly and powerfully, you can get it. I find that when people are out of work for a while, they can't see themselves in their jobs anymore. The amount of time that has passed only matters to you. Visualize what you want so you can get back to work again quickly.

  4. Don't Give Up. Most people don't take discouragement well. When they first lost their jobs, they had vigor and excitement. They got up everyday and had people to call and job search related activities to work on. Over time, the momentum and activities diminished. That caused them to stop or slow down. Don't let this happen to you. You only need one job and one person to give it to you. The work you put in now will bring results; you just haven't seen them yet. A job search is not an instant gratification pursuit. It's a process that brings results over time, on its timetable and not yours. So, you have to keep going.

  5. Believe In Yourself. Most of the time, we are our own worst enemy. We tell ourselves why something cannot be done before someone tells it to us first. This approach keeps you safe from rejection and failure, but it also holds you back. This economy may be forcing you to get out of your comfort zone and into new territory, all great for your personal growth. (Even though it does not feel so great most of the time.) Many people who come to me want to be challenged in their career. It's what's missing in their jobs and their lives. Well, this is your challenge. Will you rise to the occasion or let it get the best of you? You already have a track record of achieving great things. This will be another one to add to your list.
So, what do you say? You only have one life to live, so it might as well be a life you love!
- Deborah Brown-Volkman
Deborah Brown-Volkman, PCC, is the President of Surpass Your Dreams, Inc. a successful career, life, and mentor coaching company that works with Senior Executives, Vice Presidents, and Managers who are looking for new career opportunities or seek to become more productive in their current role. She is the author of "Coach Yourself To A New Career", "Don't Blow It! The Right Words For The Right Job" and "How To Feel Great At Work Everyday." 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Your Sweet Spot

Achieving a balance between confidence and terror as you anticipate a job interview takes some doing. You want to be well prepared and eager to make a genuinely good impression on the interviewer, but still the tendency is to be afraid—maybe even terrified. What if you don't know the answer to a question or you're so nervous you can't think straight, or you feel sick to your stomach and want to run from the room? 

Of course any of those scenarios can occur but they don't have to—and they won't—if you locate your 'sweet spot'—the place between confidence and terror. The best way to stay in the sweet spot, according to psychologist Jason Moser of Michigan State University, as reported in The Wall Street Journal (June 19, 2012), is to turn anxious thoughts into action steps. 

Following are some examples drawn from the experts who counsel athletes, businessmen and women, and other professionals.
  1. Challenge self-defeating thoughts. Stare them down and they'll shrink. Ask yourself if what you think about yourself is really true. For example, are you an incapable, boring person that no one will hire? Of course not. 
  2. Rehearse with a friend what you plan to say and do. Conduct a mock interview so you can hear yourself respond to practice questions. Such an exercise gives you plenty of time to change or modify what you'd like to improve.
  3. Feel the fear and go forward anyway. It's all right to have some apprehension. It can work in your favor by heightening your awareness of the people and situation around you, making you more responsive, more confident, and more interested in participating in the interview to the best of your ability.
Steps to Avoid
  1. Drinking alcohol before an interview. A drink or two may calm you momentarily but it also may cloud your mind and cause you to lose your focus. Interviewers read people well. They'll be able to tell by your eyes, your speech, and your mannerisms if you're in an altered state—regardless of how minor it might seem to you.
  2. Exercising vigorously ahead of time. It's good to be in shape and alert, but a hard workout could zap your strength and open the door for fatigue just when you need all the stamina you can muster in order to respond to the employer with a clear mind. Save the treadmill and weights for after the interview when you want to celebrate how well you did.
  3. Sharing too much information with others. Some people manage their fear by talking in excess to family and friends in either a negative or positive way. They prepare themselves for defeat by pretending they don't care one way or the other about the result of the job interview or they brag about how they're going to blow the hiring manager away with their experience and skills.
Keep yourself in check. Spend time alone before leaving for the interview. Relax with deep breathing, review your notes, and finally rest in that sweet spot between confidence and terror—where you know all will be well because you'll do your best and no one can expect more.
- Jimmy Sweeney 

Jimmy Sweeney is the president of CareerJimmy and author of the brand new "Secret Career Document" job landing system. Jimmy is also the author of several career related books and writes a monthly article titled, "Job Search Secrets." Visit our friends at Job Interview "Secret" and discover Jimmy Sweeney's breakthrough strategy that will have you standing out from the competition like a Harvard graduate at a local job fair… DURING your next job interview.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Inspiration: 15 facts about smiling

Forcing yourself to smile can boost your mood: Psychologists have found that even if you’re in bad mood, you can instantly lift your spirits by forcing yourself to smile. 

It boosts your immune system: Smiling really can improve your physical health, too. Your body is more relaxed when you smile, which contributes to good health and a stronger immune system. 

Smiles are contagious: It’s not just a saying: smiling really is contagious, scientists say. In a study conducted in Sweden, people had difficulty frowning when they looked at other subjects who were smiling, and their muscles twitched into smiles all on their own. 

Smiles Relieve Stress: Your body immediately releases endorphins when you smile, even when you force it. This sudden change in mood will help you feel better and release stress. 

It’s easier to smile than to frown: Scientists have discovered that your body has to work harder and use more muscles to frown than it does to smile. 

It’s a universal sign of happiness: While hand shakes, hugs, and bows all have varying meanings across cultures, smiling is known around the world and in all cultures as a sign of happiness and acceptance. 

We still smile at work: While we smile less at work than we do at home, 30% of subjects in a research study smiled five to 20 times a day, and 28% smiled over 20 times per day at the office. 

Smiles use from 5 to 53 facial muscles: Just smiling can require your body to use up to 53 muscles, but some smiles only use 5 muscle movements. 

Babies are born with the ability to smile: Babies learn a lot of behaviors and sounds from watching the people around them, but scientists believe that all babies are born with the ability, since even blind babies smile. 

Smiling helps you get promoted: Smiles make a person seem more attractive, sociable and confident, and people who smile more are more likely to get a promotion. 

Smiles are the most easily recognizable facial expression: People can recognize smiles from up to 300 feet away, making it the most easily recognizable facial expression. 

Women smile more than men: Generally, women smile more than men, but when they participate in similar work or social roles, they smile the same amount. This finding leads scientists to believe that gender roles are quite flexible. Boy babies, though, do smile less than girl babies, who also make more eye contact. 

Smiles are more attractive than makeup: A research study conducted by Orbit Complete discovered that 69% of people find women more attractive when they smile than when they are wearing makeup. 

There are 19 different types of smiles: UC-San Francisco researcher identified 19 types of smiles and put them into two categories: polite “social” smiles which engage fewer muscles, and sincere “felt” smiles that use more muscles on both sides of the face. 

Babies start smiling as newborns: Most doctors believe that real smiles occur when babies are awake at the age of four-to-six weeks, but babies start smiling in their sleep as soon as they’re born.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Vacate Siachen, already

The flight was approaching Skardu Airport. Cameramen in the C-130 plane were glued to its windows to capture the first step in the journey. From Skardu, we were supposed to travel by air to Goma base and from there, by road to Gayari, Siachen. It was there, ready to be touched and the next moment it was gone. Bad weather forced us all to go back and hence concluded the Inter-Services Public Relations-organised trip to Siachen, which was to be attempted again at another time. Of course, one point was made automatically. When it is so difficult to even make it there, imagine how taxing the rescue efforts must be in the minus 15 degree-temperature of Gayari.
But as our flight touched back on the tarmac in Rawalpindi, there was no end to my flight of fancy. In the Bizzaro World, we would have made it to our destination already. But then, in the Bizzaro World, the purpose of the visit would have been much more pleasant. The media has recently been bitterly criticised for its failure to cover the Gayari incident, where 138 jawans and civilians were buried alive due to an avalanche. Thus, the genuine sentiment was to brave the atrocious climate and express solidarity with the victims and their families. Meanwhile, I was asking myself what I would say to the camera once we made it there. If truth be told, I wanted to be silent, to weep, to cry and curse the stupidity of the South Asian Siamese twins who cannot live without each other and yet, never tire of fighting.
Of course, generals on both sides of the border have been so hell bent on showing off their machismo that they end up sending a huge number of soldiers to their deaths in Siachen. No, they have to show each other how their boys play games of life and death at these excruciating heights and build the world’s highest helipads and check posts. So to them this shouldn’t be a great loss. But wait a minute. Our side has not stopped its search and rescue efforts even when all hope of survival seems likely to have been lost. Could it be a bit of remorse and regret? Could it be that the same sentiment exists on the other side of the border, too?
As I said earlier, such tragedies are not new to the generals on both sides of the Line of Control and the Actual Ground Position Line, even if the magnitude this time was unprecedented. While some members on our side continue to hair-split and try finding evidence of Indian wrongdoing in the entire episode, the evidence of malfeasance of both sides is not hidden.
Is it not plain that both India and Pakistan have taken their forces to heights where they were not supposed to go? It is like invading the water storage tank of your own house and poisoning it out of fear that an enemy might also use the water.
It is no longer about your soldiers only, sirs, even though their suffering is unbearable too. You are destroying the future of your children, their future generations and the entire world’s population. Melting glaciers will one day inundate your homes and starve your children. It’s about time, then, that sane people slap some sense into their leaders and force them to vacate the region. No human presence there. Not even a peace park, please.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 18th, 2012.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Teacher

Author unknown

There was a story many years ago of an elementary teacher. Her name was Mrs. Thompson. And as she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children a lie. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same.

But that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard. Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he didn't play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. And Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X's and then putting a big "F" at the top of his papers.

At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child's past records and she put Teddy's off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise.

Teddy's first grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners, he is a joy to be around."

His second grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is an excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle."

His third grade teacher wrote, "His mother's death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best but his father doesn't show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren't taken."

Teddy's fourth grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is withdrawn and doesn't show much interest in school. He doesn't have many friends and sometimes sleeps in class."

By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy's. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one quarter full of perfume. But she stifled the children's laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist.

Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, "Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to."

After the children left she cried for at least an hour.

On that very day, she quit teaching reading, and writing, and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children.

Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her "teacher's pets."

A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life. Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.

Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he'd stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had in his whole life.

Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor's degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer --the letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, M.D.

The story doesn't end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he'd met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit in the place at the wedding that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom. Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what?

She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. And she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together.

They hugged each, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson's ear, "Thank you Mrs. Thompson for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference."

Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, "Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn't know how to teach until I met you."

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Six Essentials For Finding A New Job

Here are half a dozen essential tips for landing the right job -- in good economic times or bad: 

Try a Sales Technique
Be prepared during a telephone screening or a first interview to make the "60-second sell," a four- to five-sentence summary of your biography and career accomplishments, according to Robin Ryan, a career counselor and author of 60 Seconds & You're Hired!

"When they say, 'Tell me about yourself, why should I hire you?' you have a memorized statement about why you'd be good on the job," says Ryan.

Work Your Personal Network
Networking doesn't have to be confined to business contacts, especially when you're trying to break into a big company that may use automated software to screen applicants.

Ask everyone you know if they have a connection to a specific employer; the goal is to get your resume forwarded to a hiring manager via the company's internal network, rather than having it come from the outside and get lost in the shuffle of other applicants.

"Microsoft gets 100,000 resumes a month -- how do you think they're going to find you otherwise through that cyber hole?" Ryan says.

Expand Your Horizon

Julie Jansen, a career coach and author of 

I Don't Know What I Want, But I Know It's Not This, recommends attending professional association meetings in a related field as well as those in your own specialty.

For example, although your experience may be in marketing, add gatherings for finance executives or other fields in which you could apply your skills and experience to your regular schedule of ad and marketing group meetings.

Another networking strategy is to give it the old college try by tapping alumni -- even those you don't know.

"Most universities have online directors of alumni, so I'd go that route if possible," says Jansen. "If not, contacting the alumni office would be Plan B."

Check Your Skill Set
Although you may not have the time or financial resources to pursue an advanced degree, taking additional coursework in your field to boost specific skills can get you noticed by a recruiter. Also, don't forget to cite key experience gained from volunteering for community, school or nonprofit groups.

"Look at your transferrable skills, including project management, budgeting, supervising others and organizational planning," Ryan says.

Know Your Worth
Even during a downturn, it's a mistake to settle for less just to get the job. Before accepting an offer, consult asalary survey or online salary calculator to make sure the package is competitive within your field.

"It's an outdated idea that you should take anything to get your foot in the door," Ryan says. "It could take you 10 years to get a decent salary."

Do It Daily
Whether it's posting your resume in the common area of your apartment building, or sharing your job hunt with your doctor, dentist or dermatologist, you should incorporate your search for work into every aspect of your daily life.

"Do something every single day that is about looking for job," Jansen says.Thanks to Robert DiGiacomo, for Yahoo! Hot Jobs / Career Advice Monster / Monster