Tag Archives: careers

Unlock Your Inner Memorization Abilities

Nelson Dellis was your average guy. He never had the best memory and frequently experienced trouble remembering names, places, and other information that was quickly presented to him. Does this sound like you at times? Perhaps you go to a networking event, trade show, or meeting and get so bombarded with names, faces, ideas, and other facts that it feels like data is going in one ear and out the other.

Nelson’s grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and eventually passed away in 2009. At that point, he became concerned for his future and took it upon himself to strengthen his mind. He started to research and discovered stories of people with average memory training their minds to do amazing things. Nelson became inspired to learn these techniques to see how far he could push his mind.

In March of 2012, Nelson’s hard work and determination helped him win the USA Memory Championship – for the second consecutive year.  He even set the new U.S. record for speed number memory.

The key to the story is that you don’t have to become a national champion to improve your memory at work or on the job search. Being able to retain information, especially facts given to you rapidly with little time to process the information, is a valuable skill to have in the workplace or job market. You can appear more competent and intelligent when you can quickly adapt to any terms, slang, or jargon being thrown around that you aren’t familiar with.

Improving your memory can also give you a boost of confidence when networking or interviewing because you won’t be focused on remembering the details, but enjoying the conversation and connection with others instead. You can also be better engaged with those you talk to because you’ll be better able to remember comments and information given to you, and then mention them in a later interview or conversation. This will help those talking to you know you are really paying attention and care about them.

Nelson summed up the benefits of improving memory when he said, “…names and faces. I’m very good at remembering just lists of things that I have to do. It’s very useful. And when I go out into, say, a meeting, an interview, or a social setting, I know that you can give me information and I can spew it back to you, if need be. And that’s a really comforting feeling and allows me to be a little more confident.”

What are some techniques you have used to help better remember names or other types of information? Sound off in the comments section below.

Interviewing for the Shy and Introverted

Shy introvert waiting for interviewThroughout the year, we’ve covered different aspects of the job search through the eyes of job seekers who are introverted and shy. From networking to searching, there are strategies and methods to help bring out the talents and strengths introverts have.

One aspect of the job search that can be the most dreaded for shy job seekers and the most draining for the introverted seeker is the interview. Taking 30 minutes or more to be asked questions, talking about yourself, and trying to promote how much better your skills and accomplishments are than the competition can be enough to make anyone shudder in terror. But, take confidence in knowing that introverted and shy job seekers can shine their brightest during the interview.

Embrace Your Inner Strengths
Outgoing and assertive job seekers may seem like they’re the total package, but the more internal and quiet job seekers have talents that are just as appealing to employers, especially in an interview. Introverts often give deeper and better answers to interview questions because they tend to be better listeners and observers. Instead of rattling off the first thing that comes to mind, you can internalize the answer and insight into situations and people that the extroverts don’t catch, which boosts your presentation.

Make a List and Check it Twice
It’s important to make a checklist of everything you need to have and do when interviewing. Having it written down will keep you focused without wasting time and energy storing it all in your head.

Make sure you have your clothes, résumé, company fact sheet, route to the interview, parking spot, and traffic and travel time ready. You’ll want to leave nothing to chance so you don’t have to rush. Feeling rushed can make an introverted person lose valuable energy quickly, or cause a shy person to stumble on their confidence.

Keep Expectations Reasonable
Shy people tend to put too much pressure on themselves when doing activities or actions most consider routine or normal. When it comes to an interview, especially for a highly desirable job, it’s easy for someone who’s introverted or shy to have a “do or die” mentality. Introverts can stop listening and focus more on trying to guess what the interviewer wants to hear instead of the honest answer. You’re trying to see if the employer is a good match for you, not get an instant job offer after every interview.

Two Heads Are Better Than One
Extroverts are generally more confident when they are out of their comfort zones. Confidence is a huge issue with shy job seekers and the insecurity can make your body language appear standoffish and cold.  Next time, take a good friend out to breakfast or lunch before the interview and then hang out after. Having someone providing encouragement can go a long way in helping you keep your nerves from fraying.

Out-Prepare Your Competition
A shy job seeker’s self-consciousness is often their downfall. One of the best ways to build confidence is to practice interview questions. There are several resources full of different questions that can help you prepare. Figure out answers that fit your goals, in your voice, and put them on note cards to help you remember and practice. It may feel silly, but knowing the material helps calm introverted and shy job seekers and helps you sound better than anyone else who could be winging it.

There is interview success for shy and introverted job seekers. What are some ways you have built your confidence or displayed your strengths as an introvert when interviewing?

Staying on Top: 4 Ways to be an Expert in Your Industry

Staying on TopWhether you’re looking for a new job, moving up the corporate ladder, or changing careers, staying on top of the current issues and trends in your market or industry can give you a competitive advantage. While experience can go a long way in your career goals, not having the expertise to back it up can influence employers and decision makers. If job seekers and workers aren’t learning about their industry on a regular basis, it may seem like they aren’t taking advantage of their experience.

The good news is that you don’t have to go to school to increase your knowledge base. There are several ways, including free methods, you can use to give yourself that extra knowledge to not only improve your trade but help you be more marketable. Here are a few easy steps to help you go from beginner to expert in your industry.

1. Follow and Network with Industry Professionals
Try attending meetings with professional organizations in your field. Not only will you get to watch a good discussion or presentation on current trends, but you’ll be able to converse and listen to your local industry leaders and experts. They generally have a great understanding of the latest developments in the area and the business as a whole. They can also give you good specific sources for news and updates about the industry. Asking them where the future of your industry is going is a great way for you to learn what to research on your own time and can help provide discussion points for interviews or other meetings.

Don’t stop with local talent. Social media gives you the ability to follow and connect with industry professionals all over the world. Sites like Twitter give you the chance to receive news and updates from leaders, experts, and organizations instantly. Twitter allows you to follow conversations and separate those you follow into lists so you can check in on particular groups without sifting through your normal feed. Facebook and LinkedIn also have forums and news updates for professional groups or employers for you to learn from.

2. Read Trade Journals and Blogs
Thanks to the internet, anyone can become a blogger. The good news is that you’re almost guaranteed to find a reliable blog for your profession. Blogs can be updated at any time, so they can be an excellent source for breaking news and the latest in your industry. Ask your peers and opinion leaders what their favorite blogs are and read their older stories to see if the writing style and content is something you’re interested in. If you’re worried about keeping track of them all, you can put their URLs in an RSS feed so you can be notified when your favorite blogs are updated.

While trade publications aren’t as fast-paced as blogs are, they typically have more detailed and in-depth industry studies and articles by experts. In addition to signing up for the printed publications, there are several online options for receiving trade publications. SmartBrief is a professional news aggregator site where you can sign up for daily emails with relevant news and information from a variety of industries. Entrepreneur also has a large database of trade publications that can be downloaded for free. Check them out to see if any can help keep you informed.

3. Attend Webinars
You may get invitations to attend seminars and events from all over world, but few have the time or money to trek across the nation to attend these conferences. You can find several webinars, which are online seminars, covering a variety of topics in your field. They are offered through some industry organizations, can be a valuable source of information, and generally inexpensive or even free,. Some webinars offer downloadable versions of the presentation for you to keep and study on your own time if you find the topic interesting.

Webinars do have some great benefits, but there are some drawbacks for students or those looking to change careers. Webinars are most useful for those who have background knowledge and experience in their industry. They don’t give you the basics, and they are limited on time and don’t allow attendees to ask many questions. Use your best judgment before signing up or paying for a webinar that you might not be equipped to take.

4. Go to Trade Shows
Trade shows have declined in the past few years due to rising costs and social media, but there can still be some advantages to going if you have the chance. Trade shows are excellent for deepening industry knowledge because you can visit booths to see the latest trends, newest products, who is well-established, and who is entering in the industry. You’ll also be able to meet several people and informally chat for a few minutes, which is much easier than setting up informational interviews and faster than sending a tweet or email.

Wanting to learn more demonstrates drive and motivation that employers and management will notice. If you have long-term career goals, striving to constantly improve is one of the best ways to get there. If you follow these helpful suggestions, you can become a better worker every day.

Own Up to Your Mistake

Ownup_march2012_webHas anyone ever told you that if you aren’t making mistakes at work you probably aren’t blazing any new trails either? While you shouldn’t throw caution to the wind in the effort of progress, there is a chance that no matter how prepared and organized you try to be you’re going to make a mistake at work. But it doesn’t have to ruin your day or your career. You just need to handle it properly.

Be honest and quick.

Nothing good will come from covering up your mistake, so it’s best to admit the error as soon as possible. And, unless running around screaming about the problem will save lives or dollars, you need to alert your manager and those impacted in a cool, calm, and collected manner. Depending on the timeliness of the error you may be able to schedule a meeting with everyone in a few hours or you may need to circle up in the next 15 minutes. Unless it’s absolutely necessary, try not to interrupt other meetings, it can just create more chaos

It’s important to remember that you need to admit your mistake and provide some explanation as to why it occurred. Clearly explain what happened and providing any additional support, research, or correspondence to clarify the mistake is a good first step in communicating the situation. Questions will arise around your mistake, so remember to answer honestly and, if you don’t know the answer, resist the urge to make something up. It’s better to say you don’t know rather than to lie. Now is not the time to lay blame elsewhere or dwell on elements outside of your control.

Have a solution prepared.

Be ready to move forward with a proposed solution. When you’re focusing on calmly presenting your mistake, take a moment to think through the problem you’ve created and what solutions you can offer. If you have time, check into details like availability times of others you may need to inform after you’ve discussed the problem with your manager, any expenses that may arise from the error, or past protocol if this error has occurred at the company before. Don’t stall gathering information and solutions, but try to be as prepared as possible so that you can have a productive discussion on a solution. Spending a few extra minutes to get answers to the questions you know your boss will ask is better than rushing ahead and having to go back in a second time with the answers.

The first steps you can take to rebuild trust within your workplace after a mistake is handling the situation professionally. As you’d expect, trying to cover up your mistake or redirecting blame will not serve you well. Do you have any examples to share on effectively moving forward after a mistake?


By Rachel Rudisill

4 Myths That Could Harm Your Job Search

Myths_march2012_webThroughout your job search, you’ve probably been given several nuggets of advice from research, friends and family, or expert opinions. While there are best practices when it comes to finding a job, many people have their own way, or style, of doing things. But over the years, some aspects of the job search have become assumed taboos in the job market.

There are certain actions that many job seekers believe will knock them out of the running. But little do they know, these things are not only acceptable, professional actions, but they are also what could make you stand out among your competition. Here are some common job seeking myths that could be holding back your job search.

Myth #1: Companies aren’t hiring during the summer or in December.

It’s true that hiring does pick up in the fall as most employers hammer out their next year’s budget and incorporate new hires, but giving up during the summer months could be a missed opportunity. The summer months are generally more of a relaxed time with fewer big projects and deadlines, which makes employers and other workers easier to approach.

In December, not only are employers still looking for help to bring in the new year, but workers are also in a more festive mood, which may give you more opportunities to network. They will be more relaxed and easier to talk to so you can connect with more people, which could result in more leads.

Myth #2: Don’t take notes in an interview.

You may think it looks rude to be writing down notes when you should be listening to the interviewer speak, but it’s impossible to remember everything without a photographic memory. If you’re in doubt, ask the interviewer if he or she minds you taking notes during the interview. There’s a lot to process and it can be in your best interest to take notes. Just remember to use abbreviations or short hand when applicable so that not taking doesn’t detract from the conversation.

Myth #3: Keep your résumé to one page.

The only time you should really try to keep your résumé at one page is when you’ve just graduated from college or are first starting out in the job market. Having a two or even three page résumé might not necessarily keep you out of the running for a job, just as long as you put your most relevant information at the beginning. Hiring managers take seconds to scan a résumé before keeping it or discarding it.

Myth #4: If interviewed by multiple people, you only need to send a thank-you note to your potential manager.

If several people took the time out of their busy schedule to help interview you, they deserve some recognition. Try to ask everybody you interviewed with for their business card and make an extra effort to let them know you appreciate their time.

Don’t let the stigma of hearsay stunt your job search. What works for some may not work for others. We are all a little different and have to find what works best for us. What are some job tips you’ve heard that turned out to be myths in the end?

How to Beat the Fear of Long-Term Unemployment

Longunemployed_march2012_webThere still seems to be a stigma in today’s society about those who have been unemployed for more than a few months. It’s hard for some to understand how anyone could fail to find a job for more than a year without being lazy or unreliable.  But, according to Business Insider, an online source of financial, media, and tech news for businesses, nearly four million American job seekers have been unemployed for more than a year, not including the millions of other individuals who gave up the job search, retired, or took part-time jobs.

Long-term unemployment is something millions of Americans still struggle with. Not only is it financially, emotionally, and physically straining, but it’s also psychologically taxing while dealing with the notion that your skills, talents, and attitudes aren’t good enough. It can be a difficult time in anyone’s life when going several months without work, but there are means to cope. Here are four ways to manage long term unemployment.


Meditation doesn’t have to be a religious or spiritual experience, and there are several methods and activities to help you lower stress and anxiety. If you let the tension of unemployment affect your life, you will start making rash decisions instead of making clear, educated decisions.

Whether it’s going out to a lake for fishing or spending an hour alone with good music and a book, there are things you can do that will be beneficial to your mental and physical health.  It can be difficult keeping a positive attitude during such a long transitional period, but taking time for yourself can go a long way to keep that positive feeling going forward.

Build Family Bonds

Game designer and president of Ozark Softscape, Inc., Dani Buten Berry, said, “No one on their death bed ever said ‘I wish I had spent more time at work.’” Use your time not devoted to the office to build better relationships with loved ones. Not only can family be a great networking avenue, but they can also be a strong support tool for you to lean on during the most difficult times of unemployment. And if you can help out the elderly, relatives, or care for children, it can bring a sense of purpose and routine to your day.

Join Social Clubs

Join something and really get involved. It could be a charitable organization like United Way, civic groups like the Kiwanis, or local choir, sports, or hobby groups. Just as long as you get active. Having a social footing outside of work is important support against the stress and strain of unemployment. When unemployed, it’s important to keep a sense of purpose and willfulness that you may have previously found in your job. Long-lasting stability in life comes from the relationships you make that serve something bigger or serve a bigger cause. Find your place in a local organization of some kind.

Do Work

Just because you aren’t being paid for a job doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be working. Start a project that could boost your résumé. Use your talents to help local charities fill needs. It could be something built in your garage, or a project that can help improve your community. Research local businesses and see if you can offer pro bono freelance work. You may be surprised at how many businesses will jump at the offer for free help.

Everyone faces tough times at some point in their lives. Even if you are dealing with long-term unemployment, it doesn’t mean you have to be in despair about the situation. If you follow these helpful hints on how to cope, it will only help your job search.

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Missing Job Search: Part 2

Holmes2_feb2012_webLast time, in the “Case of the Missing Job Search:”

World-renowned English detective Sherlock Holmes helped eager job seekers find clues in the text of his own detective novels to get one step closer to finding a job. His words helped us remember the value of our networks, consider all options, and appreciate the lessons learned.

But, Mr. Holmes isn’t finished. There is more to learn about job seeking from the thrilling detective novels about our beloved private eye. Here are some more quotes from Sherlock Holmes and how it can relate to the job market.

All information is useful to the detective.

In many cases, knowledge is power. The more you know, the more you can do in your job search. Even the little things can help. If you are networking, don’t just find out who is hiring, but get a sense of what is going on in the industry and how you can help others. When researching an employer, don’t just focus on the position and salary. Find out the small details and requirements so you can either market yourself better, or reconsider if it’s a good fit.

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment.”

One of the biggest mistakes when interviewing is not being prepared. Not just being prepared to answer questions about yourself, experience, and work history, but failing to have a real grasp and concept of who your potential employer is and what they are about. Never go into an interview with conclusions drawn from assumptions, opinions from others, or second-rate research. Get more assertive in finding first-hand information about your interviewers and the company they represent.

“What one man can invent another can discover.”

Do your research. There are countless numbers of job gurus and employment advice sites on the internet. Many of those gurus probably don’t agree on any single piece of advice as truth. The idea of best practices in certain characteristics of the job search may not result in a sensible list but rather a collection of advice. There are different methods and tactics to finding work, and you’ll have to find the ones that work best for you.

While challenging at times, the job search isn’t as mysterious as many make it out to be. With some head knowledge and a lot of perseverance, you can unlock the skills needed to crack the mystery and discover job opportunities for yourself. What are some other ways you think Sherlock Holmes would find a job? Let us know in the comments below.