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I had a client last week who was uncertain about a career change that she wanted to make.

She had been fascinated by real estate for years and had earned her accreditation, but still wasn’t sure if it was the right decision.

She still had a few questions:

“What if I can’t do it?”

“What if I don’t like it?”

“What if no-one gives me a chance?”

She was unsure about the future and wanted certainty before she took the next step.

So I asked her to imagine a deep swimming pool.

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I met a foolish man today.

Every week day between the hours of 9am and 5pm, he goes to an office and potters around.

He answers a few phone calls, responds to a few emails, does his best to look busy.

But he doesn’t know why he does what he does. He doesn’t feel as though it makes a difference if he’s there or not and he’s worried that one day the company he works for will realise how expendable he is.

He hates his job.

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Two Irishmen were working for the city public works department.

One would dig a hole and the other would follow behind him and fill the hole in. They worked up one side of the street, then down the other, then moved on to the next street, working furiously all day without rest, one man digging a hole, the other filling it in again.

An onlooker was amazed at their hard work, but couldn’t understand what they were doing. So he asked the hole digger, “I’m impressed by the effort you two are putting in to your work, but I don’t get it .  Why do you dig a hole, only to have your partner follow behind and fill it up again?”

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When preparing for a job interview, the obvious thing to focus on is finding a way to confidently and articulately respond to the questions that you suspect will be asked.

However, as in any other conversation between people, there are other, unspoken questions that hiring managers and recruiters are asking themselves at the same time.

If you can get the answers to these questions right, you are well on your way to being successful with your application.

So, what are the questions that hiring managers ask themselves?

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We’ve all had bad days at work.

Maybe a few people called in sick, leaving you with too much to do.

Maybe it’s a full moon and every second customer is cranky.

Maybe your boss was too hard on you for no apparent reason.

Maybe you’ve just had one of those days when you couldn’t get anything right.

The temptation is to think that every day is going to be like that.

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A Thanksgiving survivor

A Thanksgiving survivor (Photo via Wikipedia)

When the farmer comes to choose the turkeys at Thanksgiving he looks across the barn and finds the most suitable for the dinner table.

The ones that sit there all day and don’t move very much, making their meat nice and tender.

The ones who spend more time at the trough, gorging themselves and getting fatter.

Perhaps even the grumpy ones who aren’t nice to the other turkeys, making them expendable.

The farmer chooses turkeys that have, without knowing it, prepared themselves to be eaten.

Similarly, when it’s time for a company to shed staff, someone will look across the office or factory and find the most suitable candidates.

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As a professional resume writer, one of the important elements of our role is to sell the capabilities of our clients effectively.

With so much competition in the job market at the moment, it’s important that we find a way to positively promote our clients’ attributes so that they get more interviews and have an increased chance of success.

However, if you’re writing a resume for yourself, this can be a difficult process and it can be hard to put down on paper what your strengths are in a compelling way.

We often feel self-conscious and feel as though we are in danger of sounding arrogant if we are too extravagant in the language that we use to describe our capabilities, so there is a simple test that I use to measure the effectiveness of the resumes that we write.

I call it the “Best Friend Test.”

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Do you go to work:

  • because you have to earn a living?
  • so that you don’t get fired?
  • because you don’t know any different?
  • just to get away from the kids?
  • to pay off your massive debts?
  • out of a sense of duty?
  • because you’re counting down the days to retirement?

Or do you go to work: Read the rest of this entry »

Three university students with equivalent intelligence and backgrounds had appointments to see their career counsellor.

“What do you expect from your career?” the counsellor asked the first student.

“I’m a realist.  The best I can hope for is to get a job, any job, and slog away for the next 40 years until I retire,” replied the first student.

“What do you expect from your career?” the counsellor asked the second student.

“I’m a realist.  I think that I have the talent to find a reasonably fulfilling career and if I put my head down and work hard, I should be reasonably successful,” he replied.

“What do you expect from your career?” the counsellor asked the third student.

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Every now and then, we meet or hear about people who are extraordinarily talented.

They may be extra smart, ultra athletic, ridiculously good-looking or even worse, all three.

Life seems to come easily to them and it can be tempting to look at them and assume that they will get all of the good things in life and leave the scraps the rest of us little battlers.

Alternatively, you may be one of the talented few and life was going smoothly, until one day you looked around and noticed that less naturally capable people were passing you by.

But it doesn’t have to be like that.

Talent doesn’t always win and here are four attributes that always beat talent:

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