Career Poker for Recent Grads

I was recently asked by one of our team members whether or not it is a good idea for someone who has recently gotten their BA or BS to go back to school immediately for a JD/Masters/MBA program OR if they are better off to get some work/life experience before pursuing a higher education. This is a really good question that I have never been asked before and thought it would be worth blogging about.

Based on the series of articles I am doing on “career poker,” I realized that knowing how to play your “career poker” hand starts immediately after you graduate college. If you are someone who went to a top school for your undergraduate degree AND you graduated at the top of your class (ie. top 10% or higher), going back to school immediately following your graduation could be your best option because you already have momentum scholastically and will be more likely to be hired/recruited directly out of a Masters/MBA/JD program.
However…if you are someone who did not go to a top school and/or graduate at the top of your class, you are better off to get work experience/life experience to pad your resume to make your “career poker hand” more valuable in the long run. Someone who pursues a higher education directly after their undergraduate program will likely have a lot of competition coming out of school and will have a much harder time getting hired (unless this person has an incredible network-an incredible network increases your “hand” value and makes up for a lower GPA or a degree from a less reputable school).
In short (your GPA) X (the caliber of school you attended) X (your network) = the value of your hand and will determine whether or not you should pursue a higher degree immediately after getting your undergraduate degree completed.

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Career Poker

How should you play your professional hand when it comes to career poker?

First you need to know what type of “hand” you are holding. 
For the sake of this example we are going to pretend that you are playing “Texas Holdem Career Poker” where you are dealt two cards with the potential to pair them with three other cards (the variables in the job market and the variables with the employers you are interviewing with are the “flop” or the other three cards that you can pair your cards with).
You can evaluate how good your hand is by your career history. 
In order to ascertain what your “hand” is, use this quiz below:
1) Are you currently employed?
 (give yourself 2 points for for this if you are currently employed in a full time position OR give yourself 1 point if you are currently working part-time or currently contracting)
2) Do you have recently stability/longevity on your resume?
(give yourself 1 point for every year of recent job stability that you have with your MOST RECENT position up to 5 points)
3) Do you have a Bachelors Degree or higher degree?
 (if so give yourself 1 point for a BA/BS OR 2 points for JD, MBA or PhD)
4) Do you have experience working for a Fortune 500 company or AM 100 law firm in a full time, permanent capacity?
(give yourself 1 point if the answer to this question is YES)
5) Are you at least intermediate to expert on all of the latest industry appropriate technology?
 (if YES then give yourself 1 point if intermediate or 2 points if expert)
Poker Scale-How strong are the two cards you hold in your career? 
0-2 points (unsuited 2, 10)
3-5 points (unsuited 5, 6)
6-8 points (suited 10, Jack)
9-10 points (pocket pair-non face card)
11+ points (pocket Aces or other pocket face card pair-leads to the best possible hand!)
Now that you know what type of hand you hold, how do you play it?
Stay tuned for future articles on how to play your professional hand…

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What are the top 5 reasons people get fired/don’t get hired?

The top five reasons people do NOT get hired and/or get FIRED:
1) Poor Performance- Attitude can make a big difference in people who are poor performers, but can only go so far if you are consistently making mistakes.
2) Complaining/sense of entitlement-I often hear from my clients that they are tired of hearing their employees complain about hours/salary/duties etc… The second biggest complaint from my clients is when their employees have a sense of entitlement.
3) Lying-Anyone who lies about their skills/qualifications and/or background is asking to be let go or have their job offer rescinded. EVERYTHING is verifiable in today’s market.  Even if you do get hired based on a lie, chances are you will be fired eventually.
4) Unprofessional/unlawful conduct-This includes everything from poor hygiene, being regularly late and/or missing work, sharing inappropriate/off color jokes, foul language, inappropriate emails etc…
5) Blaming others/not taking responsibility- You MUST be willing to be accountable for your actions. Employers cannot stand people who are constantly justifying their actions or blaming others. Sometimes just saying “I’m sorry, it will not happen again,” is enough.

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How employable are you?

As employers ramp up their 2014 hiring, the question is: are you the one who they are going to hire this year?

In order to make yourself the most desirable applicant in this market there are a few things that you can do:

1) Brush up on your technological skills. Websites like: lynda.com and youtube.com offer great tutorials, as do the Microsoft Store and recruiters who can often provide complimentary tutorials as well. They can all be a great resource for you in enhancing your preexisting skills.

2) Check your attitude at the door. Some of the best applicants I have come across on paper wind up being passed on because of their less than stellar attitudes. Check in with the people around you. Ask them how you occur for them and what their first impression was of you. This is a good way to get a sense of whether you are someone who others want to be around and work with or not. If you are not someone who others respect and want to be around, perhaps look into a self development class such as http://www.landmarkeducation.com or http://www.understandmen.com

3) Work on your presentation. You do not need to run out and buy an Armani suit to impress, but you certainly should have a pressed, polished and professional suit for any interview (preferably in black, navy or grey). Additionally, work with a buddy or coach on your physical presentation during the interview such as your body language and eye contact. Finally, practice those tricky interview questions in advance of the interview and most importantly, remember to breath and pause for emphasis. Toastmasters can be a great resource for enhancing your speaking skills or you can also check out other methods on increasing confidence in your speaking such as: http://www.vocalawareness.com/ 

Remember that it is your SKILLS multiplied by your ATTITUDE that will land you the job, but what you say or do during the interview, can just as easily cost you the job.

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30/30/30 Social Media Rule

I was recently asked how to be effective at interacting with people who you are connected to on your various social media accounts. Below is a synopsis of the 30/30/30 rule that will have you be more effective at interacting with the people who you are connected to:


The first 30% of your time should be spent sharing relevant articles in your field to set yourself up as an expert in your field.

The next 30% should be spent sharing personal information about yourself so that people feel connected and related to you.

The last 30% should be spent promoting yourself, your business and/or anything related to what you are up to in the business world that could be considered “self-promotion.”

Finally, the 10% left over should be spent commenting on, liking and sharing other peoples comments or status updates so that you are interacting and relating to your followers.

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A Picture is Worth…

Social media is quickly becoming more and more accessible to employers to do their research on you before you even go in for an interview. Technically, employers are not “supposed” to check you out on your various social media sites, but let us be honest, they do!

One of the first things an employer will do when they get your resume is Google you. Depending on how unique your name is (people with unique names are much easier to locate) and how many social media sites you are on, the potential employer can find out a lot or a little about you that can help or hinder your job hunt.
If you have carefully set up your social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc…to reflect your brand (ie. what you want your employers to know about you), then you are golden. Having a well put together social media site with appropriate pictures and links can be a great tool to get an employer interested in you.
HOWEVER…if you have not carefully monitored your content including: pictures, posts, friends, groups and so forth, then you can be blown out of a position before you even have a chance to interview. 
Below are the top FIVE mistakes I have seen job seekers make on their social media sites while job hunting:
1) Listing inappropriate groups or hobbies on their profile such as Interests: S&M (yes! that did happen)
2) Posting political content in tweets or articles that could be taken out of context
3) Having an inappropriate profile picture or other accessible pictures that include things such as: too sexy of a photo, partial nudity, a drink in your hand, a substance in your hand, an inappropriate gesture etc…
4) Posts that include anything related to illegal behaviors or substances on ANY of your accessible social media sites
5) Thinking that a profile, profile pictures and/or a profile’s content is private when it is NOT!
Remember, when job hunting, what you put out there is available for the world to see. One measure to prevent this from happening is by putting your settings to PRIVATE on all of your social media sites, but even that does not guarantee that an employer will not see something they don’t like. The best rule of thumb that I can recommend is:
 
“DO NOT post anything that you would not want your grandmother to see”

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Is December a good time to look for a job?

YES! Many people think that the holidays are the worst time of year to look for a position because everyone is on vacation and/or waiting for their holiday bonus. I have found the contrary to be true. Some of my best months as a recruiter have been in the months of November and December. I attribute this to not “giving up” around the holidays. By giving up, I am referring to the many job seekers and recruiters who give up because they think that it is a bad time of year to look for a new position. 

I find the opposite is true because so few people are looking that there is a much smaller and more select pool of candidates who are available to employers during this time, which actually makes it easier to find a job around the holidays. The employers are typically much more flexible about start date, salary etc… because of how hard it is to find good people around the holidays. If you are willing to be proactive and give up some of  your holiday parties, which are also a great excuse to get out of the office for an interview, the holidays can be your best ally for finding your next position.

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Top 10 Ways to Get Blacklisted

  1. Refuse to test
  2. Complain about the application and/or refuse to fill out the application
  3. No show for an interview without being in communication
  4. Lie on your resume, on your application or during your interview
  5. Complain to HR or complain to company representatives about anything related to interview process
  6. Not respond to phone calls and be hard to reach/only respond via email or text
  7. Walk out on an interview
  8. Make unwanted advances/inappropriate conduct towards people in the office
  9. Yell or scream or cuss at your recruiter or company representative
  10. Contact a company directly about why they didn’t hire you and/or pester your recruiter or the company for feedback

There are varied treatment options for divers diseases. Today, pharmacy is the fastest way to purchase some drugs for various appliances. For example Xylocaine causes loss of feeling in an area of your body. Given during dental work. Moreover treats emergency heart rhythm problems. One of the most famous drug is Viagra. Viagra is a medication prescribed to treat divers afflictions. What do you have to study about http://isviagraoverthecounter.com/over-the-counter-diuretic.html ? Did read something about cost of cialis? A scientific research about what does cialis do found that men’s most common sexual problem is erectile dysfunction. Today more than quoter of men aged over 50 reported some degree of erectile difficulties. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? Are you going to order remedies, such as Viagra, from the Web? Before buying this medicine, tell your doc if you are allergic to anything.

How can Evidence Make your Case Stronger?

If you have ever worked with an attorney or known an attorney, you are more than likely aware of how critical evidence is to an attorney’s ability to win a case. I have yet to meet an attorney who was able to win a case without strong evidence. So what does job hunting have to do with evidence? EVERYTHING! Just like an attorney would never base his or her case on a client being a “great guy,” you as a job seeker cannot rely on how hard working or fabulous you are if you are not willing to give evidence to support your claims.

How can a job seeker put together evidence to make their case stronger as to why an employer should hire them?

  1. A job seeker should begin by putting together a list of their top five to ten characteristics or traits that make them a good candidate for a position. These things could include: being hardworking, good at dealing with difficult personalities, analytical, loyal etc..
  2. Next, the job seeker should come up with a piece of evidence that substantiates each of those characteristics that would have an employer want to hire them. For example, if you say that you are hard working, give an example of where you worked straight through the weekend.
  3. Finally, these pieces of evidence should include examples of that job seeker’s PEP (Productivity, Efficiency and Performance-where have they increased their PEP and the PEP of their company and tie in their evidence of where they have enhanced it in the past). An example would be that in less than six months, you increased the company’s revenue by 10% in your region.
If you follow these three easy steps, you will be on your way to making a stronger case as to why an employer should hire you.

There are varied treatment options for divers diseases. Today, pharmacy is the fastest way to purchase some drugs for various appliances. For example Xylocaine causes loss of feeling in an area of your body. Given during dental work. Moreover treats emergency heart rhythm problems. One of the most famous drug is Viagra. Viagra is a medication set to treat divers afflictions. What do you have to study about http://isviagraoverthecounter.com/over-the-counter-diuretic.html ? Did read slightly about cost of cialis? A scientific research about what does cialis do found that men’s most common sexual problem is erectile disfunction. Today more than quoter of men aged over 50 reported some degree of erectile difficulties. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? Are you going to order remedies, such as Viagra, from the Web? Before buying this medicine, tell your doctor if you are allergic to anything.

Proper Preparation

As we all know, no attorney has ever won a case without proper preparation. In continuing our conversation of how being effective at interviewing is like being an attorney, we now touch on why preparation is one of the three most critical elements to making your case stronger.

Over the years I have prepared thousands of job seekers for their interviews. Their level of preparation has ranged from not preparing at all, to looking up a company’s 10k report. So how important is preparation? 
An attorney would say that he or should could not win a case without preparation. So why do so many job seekers skip this all important step? I think that many job seekers overlook the preparation part because they do not understand how critical preparation is on three different levels:
1) The more you know about the company, the more you can expound on why you want to work for them.
2) The more you know about the person who is interviewing you (ie. by looking them up on LinkedIn and/or Googling them in advance), the easier it will be to create that rapport and connection with them during the interview.
3) The more time you take to prepare by practicing your answers to questions and by fine tuning your talking points, the better you will be able to communicate your value to the company and what you are going to do for them to make their life easier.
If you spend a minimum of 2-3 hours preparing before each interview (if not more!), the less interviews you will have to go on and the more likely you will be hired.

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