Monthly Archives: April 2012

10 Ways to be a Terrible Intern

Sometimes, to get your foot in the door, you have to do an internship to gain experience.  Here is a great tongue-in-cheek column about how to be a terrible intern.  That means DON’T DO THESE THINGS!!!

1. Ignore criticism and continue doing things your way. Why listen to professionals who are successful and know what they are doing? Instead, do things the way you—with no professional experience—think they should be done and assume everyone else is wrong.

2. Sit around and relax while you wait for your next assignment. Hurry and finish a task and then avoid your supervisor until he or she notices that you aren’t doing anything. That way you can get by with doing the least amount of work and have nothing to show in your portfolio.

3. Give half an effort—it’s only an internship. You might be an unpaid intern, whose work isn’t expected to be perfect. So why try? Sloppily get things done and show your supervisor you couldn’t care less.

4. Huff and puff over grunt work. Throw a fit when you’re given less meaningful tasks to complete. That way you will show your supervisor you can’t complete small tasks without having a tantrum, so you aren’t ready for larger, more significant assignments.

5. Don’t ask questions; instead, assume you will do it right. When you get an assignment that you don’t understand, just guess and never ask for clarification.

6. Constantly refresh social media sites on your computer and smart phone. Obviously, your social life is more important than anything else. End of story. If you are asked to complete an assignment make sure you refresh Twitter at least seven times before getting started.

7. Just get up and leave when it’s time for you to go. Never check in with your supervisor when you are about to leave because he or she might give you more work to do. Instead, the minute it’s time for you to leave, just charge out the door without saying a word.

8. Don’t make friends. Be mean to everyone and roll your eyes or ignore anyone who is nice to you. If you must communicate, be short and emotionless in your response. It’s not important to make friends, you are here to complete an internship and move on.

9. Talk all the time and share every detail of your life.
 Stop whoever walks by your desk and tell them about your friend’s sister’s cousin who recently broke up with her boyfriend. It doesn’t matter that you’re at work and trying to actually, you know, work.

10. Never say a word and sneakily linger around others. Sneak around the office without being noticed. If you are asked your opinion in a meeting, pretend you are mute. That way they will never know if you have a good thought or idea.

So, careless interns, if you wish to gain absolutely nothing from your internship experience, except for maybe a few gruesome recommendations, follow these tips closely. And don’t forget to scowl at your supervisor every morning.

[Editor's note: Unlike the people described in this article, Megan Skelly, the author of this story, has been described as a "dream intern" by her superiors.]

Megan Skelly is a senior PR and Advertising major at Ball State University and will be graduating this May. Megan served as the 2012 spring B2B PR intern at BLASTmedia in Indianapolis. A version of this story first appeared on the BLASTmedia blog.

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Finding Work When Moving

Moving to a new city or state can be an exciting adventure, but moving without a job is a terrifying prospect for many.  The reasons that you may want, or need, to move somewhere are numerous, but there are some resources that can make the job hunt in your new city easier.  Many times, you can start looking before you even pack your bags.

 

With job searching increasingly moving online, it has become very easy to scope out job listings ahead of time.  Websites such as Craigslist and Indeed allow job seekers to see job listing anywhere in the U.S.  On the right side of Craigslist’s main page you will see “Nearby CL” and links for U.S. Cities, States, and even worldwide.  Clink on these links to view jobs and housing anywhere you would like to go.  Indeed makes it even easier.  Simply put the city where you are thinking of moving in the “Where” box, and Indeed will search listings and companies near your destination.

 

Indeed and Craigslist are not the only places to look for work.  Most Chamber of Commerce sites have lists of major employers in their area.  Most major companies accept applications online, and many have a long hiring process that allows you to submit applications in advance of a move.  Most cities also have a free weekly paper that lists job and housing opportunities on their website.  Just search “free weekly paper” and your destination city to find it.

 

Of course another great option is to get involved with the Goodwill in the area that you are moving.  A Google search of “Goodwill” along with the city that you are moving will bring you to the website of the Goodwill covering that area.  Although all Goodwills are unique, most offer services to help people find work.

 

Looking for work can be stressful, especially if you are not living in the area you want to work.  Now more than ever, technology is making it easier to find work before moving.  These are a few ideas to get you started!

 

Jeremy Woolard

Career Connections Specialist

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Confidence vs. Shyness

Artwork by James Victore
As a design professor at the School of Visual Arts, each semester I do an impromptu survey of shyness in my class by simply asking who in the group believes they are shy. Inevitably, at least three quarters of the students raise their hands… albeit only shoulder high. I don’t believe this phenomenon is limited to students of the visual arts, but do other professions like accountants or TV repairmen suffer from this? Are we all shy?
Shyness is not genetic. At least it is not proven to be. There is no gene for it. It’s my belief that it’s cultivated within us, by environment, by family and just dumb luck. As a child, I was terribly shy. I don’t believe I was born this way. As the third of three children, I was always introduced as, “This is my baby, the shy one.” And thus I became shy. A habit was born. I was told by authority that I was shy, and I began wearing it around like I owned it.
Unfortunately, as an adult I found this habit does not serve me well. As a designer and lecturer I frequently find myself on stage or in front of a camera and have to “play” someone who is comfortable being there. Years of practice have lessened my fears, but I still have to summon the courage to walk confidently to the podium.

I was told by authority that I was shy, and I began wearing it around like I owned it.

I have come to believe that shyness is more a habit than a hard-wired personal quality. Similarly, confidence has always seemed like one of those ambiguous traits, like willpower or intuition, that can be practiced, exercised and strengthened, like a muscle. But just like any physical exercise, it’s always hard and takes constant work. And, more importantly, constant awareness.

My own definition of confidence is “being there.” This means being in the moment and acting with intention, not distracted by second thoughts or being “in your head.” Not listening to your inner critics or assuming what others are thinking of you, judging or presupposing “their” reaction instead of just moving forward—and confidently.

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In my own life, defeating my shy default setting is something I have to deal with every week. In my professional efforts to teach to a broader audience, to answer questions and give advice, I have had to take a big step out of my own comfort zone with weekly short videos called “Q+A Tuesday.”  Prior to each taping session begins a regular and tedious laundry list of inner-trepidation and self-doubt. My inner critics start in with, “I’m too dumb/ugly/ young… It won’t be good/work… They will laugh/not watch/cast stones….” You may be familiar with the conversation.

Confidence means being in the moment and acting with intention, not distracted by second thoughts or in your head.

Why do we get so caught up in this “too much thinking?” What’s the worst thing that could happen? The answer is failure. Most of us are so afraid of failing that we don’t even risk it. And what’s worse, risk and rejection become something to avoid at all costs. A habit is formed. We close doors that may lead to opportunities and stop putting ourselves out there for other people to respond to. This fear of rejection is normal. Everyone shies away and has moments, or extended moments, of self-doubt. But the fear is also a test, it means you are onto something and you should pay attention to it and not shy away.

The doubt comes not only from the inside, from your own personal critics, but also from without via our friends, family and well-wishers whose concern it is to keep you out of harm’s way and within your—or possibly their own—comfort zone. Here you need to trust yourself, lean into the fear, and resist the “be like us” mentality from a society that wants you to fit in.

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Your pursuit of personal greatness challenges others to fear for their own causes, their own battles and pursuits. Your freedom is a reminder of their own imaginary restraints and limitations. Yet, for others, your confidence will be a beacon. People follow conviction, assertive advice and brave leaders, and there’s nothing more powerful than a confident man or woman.

Trust yourself, lean into the fear, and resist the “be like us” mentality from a society that wants you to fit in.

The point is not to create a protective, alternate super-ego or some indomitable spirit within, but being conscious and in charge of the fear that tends to run our lives. To be comfortable with who we are, comfortable with the fear and comfortable with doubt. Confidence is accepting fear and self-doubt as part of our lives, and not living under it.

Confidence comes from a place of abundance and wealth. It gives us the courage and freedom to move forward, to ask for help, to ask for more, to ask for what you deserve. To be able to begin before you’re ready and have the willingness to fail. And to be cool with failure as well.

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This opinion piece comes from artist/designer James Victore, who has been ignoring the status quo and lighting fires under asses for 20+ years. You can learn more about him in this 99% interview, and follow him @jamesvictore.

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11 Things NOT to Include in Your Resume

Get rid of the objective - If you applied, it’s already obvious you want the job

Cut out all the irrelevant work experiences – If you’re still listing that prized shift leader position from your high school days, it’s time to move on.
Yes, you might’ve been the “king of making milkshakes,” but unless you’re planning on redeeming that title, it’s time to get rid of all that clutter.

Take a pass on the personal stuff: marital status, religious preference and social security numbers – This might’ve been the standard in the past, but all of this information is now illegal for your employer to ask you so there’s no need to include it. It will likely only hurt your chances of getting the position more than it would help you, says Catherine Jewell, author of the book “New Résumé, New Career.”  Another piece of personal information you should never include on your resume is your social security number, Sara Player, client support specialist for CareerBuilder.com, told us. Player isn’t actually sure why people decide to include their social security numbers, but she knows she sees it all too often and it’s unnecessary, not to mention, a little risky.

Don’t let your resume exceed one page – Yes, this might be difficult if you’ve had a lot of experience and you’re proud of all of it. But just because you’re proud doesn’t mean they’re necessarily relevant. Cut it down; employers don’t have the time to read two whole pages.  CareerBuilder.com’s Sara Player says: “Keep your work history short and to the point. When you describe what you have achieved while in the position, try putting it in bullet form and put what is most important first.”

Don’t list your hobbies – “Nobody cares — it’s not your facebook profile,” Player says. In other words, don’t put anything on your resume that’s irrelevant to your job. If it’s not relevant, then it’s a waste of space and a waste of the company’s time.

Don’t give them the chance to guess your age – Yes, your age is included in personal data, but if you don’t want to be discriminated from a position because of your age, it’s time to remove your graduation date, says Catherine Jewell. Doug Hadley of Mansfield, Texas, told MSN that he’s begun to leave out the fact that he’s a published author: “I don’t want to have to omit such things, but I feel as though I don’t even get considered if they are on my resume.” Sara Player advises to take out higher education if it’s irrelevant to the position you’re applying for or if you keep receiving rejection letters stating that you’re overqualified.

Don’t write your resume in the third person – Charlotte Beckett, head of Digital at The Good Agency, told Linkedin.com that it’s fine to write in first person in your opening statement, but the rest of your resume should be in bullet points, such as:
Developed and delivered marketing strategies for a range of products
You should not write in the third person since the recruiter knows you’re the one writing the resume.

Don’t include references – If your employers want to speak to your references, they’ll ask you. Also, it’s better if you have a chance to tell your references ahead of time that a future employer might be calling. If you say “references upon request” at the bottom of your resume, you’re merely wasting a valuable line, says career coach Eli Amdur.

Don’t include a less than professional email account - Make a new one. It takes minutes and it’s free

There’s no need to identify your phone number – Amdur says there’s no reason to put the word “phone” in front of the actual number.
“It’s pretty silly. They know it’s your phone number.” The same rule applies to email.

Don’t include your current business contact info – “This is not only dangerous, it’s stupid. Do you really want employers calling you at work? How are you going to handle that? Oh, and by the way, your current employer can monitor your e-mails and phone calls. So if you’re not in the mood to get fired, or potentially charged with theft of services (really), then leave the business info off.”

Read more at businessinsider.com

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10 Ways to Get a Better Job

So your job is a drag. You could resign yourself to a life of dull (or even miserable) days in the office or you could set aside some time and get a better job. Here are ten great tips to help you put together a great application, ace the interview, and ultimately work for a company you’ll love rather than hate.

10. Put Together a Resume That’s Actually Compelling

While I’m no fan of the resume—as they’re often documents skimmed rather than read—they’re still requested by the majority of jobs you’ll come across. You don’t want to reinvent the wheel, but a little creativity can set you apart and help you stand out from the pool. Online tools can be of great help when it comes to creating something a little less ordinary. Visualize.me can create an attractive infographic. Sites like Re.vu and Zerply help you create professional landing pages that can serve as digital resumes. About.me and Flavors.me can be tailored to do the same. Use the tool that suits you best and make sure your page or resume stands out. Often times it is just as simple as choosing the right font and color. It doesn’t take much to make a resume look nice, so put in that little additional effort to keep yours from ending up in the generic pile.

9. Ensure Your Resume Isn’t Filled with Common Words and Redundant Phrasing

When writing your resume, you don’t want to use the sort of language that’ll make you sound like everyone else. That means avoiding overused terms (e.g motivated, innovative, dynamic) and cliche phrases (e.g. detail oriented, team player, excellent communication skills). Also, terms like “references available upon request” are implied statements, waste space, and do not need to be on your resume. It helps to read your resume from bottom to top to help catch errors, and when you’re done you can run it through RezScore to find out where you can still improve.

8. Search Unconventional and Career-Specific Job Sites

If you don’t know where you want to work you’re obviously going to have to search for some options., but you’ll be looking for a needle in a haystack if you go to popular sites like Monster.com and Craigslist. That isn’t to say they won’t have a great job here and there, but you’ll find yourself wading through a lot of undesirable positions just to find the ones you want. Instead of going the traditional route, try an unconventional job site like OneDayOneJob.com, which sends opportunities to your email inbox every day. SimplyHired is a seemingly standard job search, but it aggregates listings directly from company web sites and other locations so you’re not just pulling directly from one big pool. TweetMyJobs will handle the searching for you. Just tell it what kind of job you want and it’ll text, tweet, and email options to you as they’re discovered. Even if you’re several years out of college, you may also want to look at any job listings provided to alumni. Even if overqualified for the jobs being offered, you’ll learn about companies that are friendly to graduates of your school. You can look on the company’s site for more suitable positions and apply for those.

Alternatively, you can focus on sites that target the specific kind of job you want. For example, Dice.com is a good option for tech-related jobs and Authentic Jobs is a great option for designers and developers. Conduct a web search for the type of job you’re looking for and the term “job search site” and you may find a tool that’s more focused on your specific needs.

7. Find a Better Job by Searching for a Great Company Rather Than a Position

Getting a great job isn’t just about doing something you enjoy, but also about working in a good environment. That means you want to seek out companies who have a reputation for treating their employees well. You don’t have to apply to Google or Zappos—companies well-known for their great benefits—but just seek out companies that interest you and do a little research. All you have to do is call them up and talk to pretty much anybody. Just tell them this: “I’m thinking about applying for a job at your company but I wanted to know what it’s like to work there. Would you mind telling me how you like it?” Most people will be happy to share their opinion, and if they’re busy you can always schedule a call later. If the company sounds good, you’ve likely just made a friend who you can call back when you’re ready to apply and get some additional help. It’s a double win. In the event this doesn’t work as planned, however, Glassdoor is an online resource that can help you learn about a specific company from people who definitely want to share.

6. Learn to Make Even Your Irrelevant Experience Seem Relevant

I’ve never gotten a job because my previous work experience was particularly relevant, but rather because I learned how to spin my past experience to make it seem relevant. This doesn’t mean I lied, but instead concentrated on tasks in previous positions that were applicable to the job I wanted to get. If your current job is much different from the one you want, think about anything and everything you’ve done at your current job that’s out of the ordinary. Often times you’ll find examples of things that relate to the job you want because you were always excited to do that kind of work if it presented itself where you are now. If not, you can always start creating relevant experience now so you can use it when you’re on your interview. For example, if you work in a non-creative field but want to become a designer you would have plenty of opportunities. If you make lots of graphs and flow charts, finds ways to make them more attractive. If your company is having an outing, ask to design the flyer. When I worked in customer support, I used to create posters about inside jokes in the office or images based on funny things customers said. Sometimes I’d show these at interviews if I needed to demonstrate my Photoshop skills. As silly as that sounds, it not only demonstrated my capabilities but also showed how close I was with my team. When you put yourself into you work, you’ll find that your seemingly irrelevant experience can easily be tailored to most of the jobs you’ll apply for. You may have to start lower than you’d like, but if you work hard you’ll work your way up pretty quickly.

5. Dress Well for the Interview

Dressing for the interview doesn’t necessarily mean putting on crisply-ironed formalwear. Depending on the company, they may prefer you came in your everyday attire or just wore something that shows you can look nice without overdoing it. If you’re not sure what you should wear to an interview, just call the company and ask to speak with the human resources department. Let them know you’re coming in for an interview and that you want to know the expected dress code. In most cases, they’ll be happy to help you out. If you have to go in uninformed, however, business casual is generally a good bet. While nobody really knows what business casual actually is, you’ll generally be safe in a nice pair of pants and a button down shirt or sweater. Your goal is really to show that you’re capable of grooming yourself and looking presentable. If your clothing fits, is well-ironed, and isn’t something you’d wear around the house you’re probably in good shape. For some extra assistance, the Dress Code Guide can help you figure out the proper attire.

4. Learn to Read Body Language for a More Successful Interview

Learning to read body language is helpful in a lot of situations, but understanding the cues you send out and reading cues from others can be immensely helpful in a job interview. It’s especially important that you come of as pleasant and charming right off the bat because many decisions are made on the basis of a first impression. The most important thing is to avoid negative body language. For the most part you just want to avoid nervous ticks like touching your face and letting your leg become restless. You also don’t want to slouch or sit to rigidly. Basically, your goal is to appear comfortable but professional. If you can do that, you’ll be in good shape.

3. Know How to Give Great Answers to Common Job Interview Questions

What’s your greatest weakness? It’s an obnoxious question but you’ll hear it on the majority of job interviews in your life, and there are many others where it came from. (There’s plenty of debate on how to answer this question. I’ve always found the best strategy is to pick a skill you are actually bad at that sounds relevant to the job but really isn’t. Then you come across as honest but your weakness won’t hurt you.) You have to answer the questions if you want to get the job, so there are two things you want to do: understand the motivation behind the questions and prepare your answers in advance. Understanding the motivation is generally as simple as putting yourself in the company’s shoes. Why would they want to know your greatest weakness? Probably more to know how you respond to a question that asks you to be vulnerable than to actually find out where you can improve. They may also ask because they want to know if you can realistically gauge your abilities accurately. Once you consider the motivation behind these common questions it’ll be easier to tailor the answers you want to give. You don’t want to script them out and memorize them in advance, of course, but developing a list of sound bites can help you go in prepared while still being able to provide natural responses.

2. Ask for a Signing Bonus

Congratulations, you got the job! But you might be throwing away an extra month’s salary if you don’t ask for a signing bonus before accepting the position. If apply for a competitive job, chances are the company will really want to hire you if you’re chosen and they may be willing to pay you a little bit extra to get you on board. All you have to do is ask if they offer a bonus. You’re not demanding one, but simply asking the question. Whether you’re considering other options or not, asking this question will make it seem that way and they’ll be more inclined to offer you that bonus if they really want you. If they can’t, they’ll tell you no and there’s likely no harm done. It’s one of those low-risk questions that can often yield a high reward.

1. Leave Your Current Job Without Burning Any Bridges

If you hate your current job, it can be tempting to let everyone know it when you leave. As cathartic as that may seem, it’ll cause you trouble down the line. You want to leave your current company on good terms. You never know when you may encounter a coworker again or need to call that company for information or a favor. Burning bridges simply isn’t in your best interest. If you hate your job so much that you’re afraid of saying the wrong thing, however, you can reference these sample resignation letters and read tips on how to resign gracefully. Before you quit for real, run your plan by a friend or two to gauge their reaction. It always helps to have a few outside opinions to help ensure you don’t make a mistake you’ll regret.

 

Original post found here

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Filed under Grooming, Network, Resume, Self-Improvement, Social Media, Tool Box

7 ways to change your life in the next 7 days

Life change may seem to take years to achieve but there are steps you can walk today and in the next week that perhaps can change your life forever.

Most are little steps, but when combined together they can create big and lasting change.

Here are 7 ways to change your life in the next 7 days.

1. Change your words and phrases

One of the most effective ways to change your life is to change your attitude and mindset. And the best way to change your attitude and mindset is to remove certain words and phrases from your vocabulary and to replace them with others that are more positive.

It might take some time to remove negative phrases and words because you’ve gotten so used to them. But once you start using new words and phrases that are more positive, you’ll be surprised at how almost instantly people around you react differently and how you look at the world around you in a fresh way.

Your entire life changes without you having to change everything.

Here are some words and phrases to stop using:

- “It’s just one of those days.”

- “Same s**t, different day.”

- “Same old, same old.”

- “Pretty good.”

- “What’s the world coming to?”

- “Kids these days.”

- “I can’t.”

- “I don’t know.”

- “The good old days.” (Suggested by Lyved reader Tyler)

- Hate – It’s such a powerful word that has become too common in our vocabulary.

- Retarded – I don’t know why people insist on using this word to describe something they don’t like or understand.

- Gay (Requested by Lyved reader Max based on the same negative use as “retarded”)

For some ideas on what you can start saying to improve your life and make lasting, positive change, please read our article: 50 things to say before you die.

2. Count your blessings

We all get caught up and forget to reflect on how fortunate we are. So in the next 7 days take an hour and think about:

What you’re glad to have experienced – sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s a bad experience, but it’s shaped who you are. For me, one thing I’m glad I experienced was poverty.

What you’re fortunate to have – family, food, shelter.

What you’re fortunate to not have – it could be sickness or debt.

3. Dust off your bucket list

Take out your list of things to do before you die and find something you can do in the next week. Or write something new down and do it.

4. Wake up claiming the Best. Day. Ever.

One day can positively change your entire life. And that one day needs to start with one good morning.

During the next 7 days wake up claiming that it will be the best day ever and try your hardest to maintain that attitude all day.

5. Try something you think you’re bad at

Perhaps you think you’re horrible at singing, writing, basketball, or some other talent. But perhaps you’ve just never really given yourself the time to attempt and if you do, you might find a new talent for yourself.

6. Declare your life’s purpose

It can certainly be done in a week with focus and a bit of work.

To help you, here are two articles you might be interested in reading:

5 easy pieces to piecing together your purpose in life

What do you want on your headstone?

7. Recognize change happens constantly

Every single day your life changes no matter what. Even if you go through the same routine over and over again, no two days are ever the same. Recognize this and even the days of adversity and pain will become bearable because you know that “good new days” lie ahead.

 

Cross posted from lyved.com

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Filed under Attitude, Hope, Self-Improvement

Uncommon tips for job interviews

If you’re serious about your search, I have “off the beaten path” tips for that first interview:

Be conversational with the receptionist or administrative assistant.

Might not seem like a big deal, but in some ways, the administrative assistant will be the most important person you meet at that interview. Later in the day, the hiring manager will walk by the front desk and ask the assistant what he or she thought of you. Make sure the answer is overwhelmingly positive.

Follow up … with resources

You’ll be ahead of half the competition if you follow up after the interview. You’ll be ahead of 99.9 percent of the competition if you follow up with resources.

What do I mean?

As a final piece to your follow-up note, send the hiring manager an interesting article you read in the last week around a topic you discussed, a recent case study that’s relevant, a new social media tool that might be of interest based on your conversation, and so on.

The useful information you share will stand out. You’ll position yourself as a resourceful employee and someone who takes initiative.

Ask your own questions—about the interviewer

Based on another insider tip: Always make a list of questions to ask the interviewer (another thing I’m always surprised more people don’t do in an interview setting).

I’d take it one step further. Develop questions to ask the interviewer about the role and company and add a few about the interviewer. Personalize the questions. Research the interviewer online before you meet and tailor questions to the person’s specific interests. The interviewer will be pleasantly surprised (as long as you’re not creepy about it).

Show confidence and humility

Employers definitely want confident young people. But they also want people who are humble and who know how to work well with others. Be confident, but don’t be afraid to show a little humility.

Write a post for the company blog

This tip might seem a little aggressive, but if you really want to separate yourself from the competition, consider writing a post for the company blog.

Pick a topic. If it’s an agency, maybe it’s a post about a recent social media trend. If it’s a corporate blog, you could address a topic they’ve already covered, except do it from your unique perspective. Writing a post for the company blog will demonstrate initiative, creativity, and critical thinking. All qualities they’re most likely looking for in an ideal candidate.

Make sure your leave-behind is memorable

Lastly, make sure whatever it is you leave behind after the interview sticks in that hiring manager’s memory. Whether it’s your résumé or a collection of clips, your leave behind is a big opportunity to carve out a place in the hiring manager’s brain.


Arik C. Hanson is the principal of ACH Communications, a digital communications consultancy. He blogs at 
Communications Conversations, where a version of this story originally appeared. 

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Filed under Interview, Network, Skill