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Career-Life Times, Issue #17 -- Good News for College Grads
June 19, 2005

Issue No. 17, June 19, 2005

"Get Hired - Get Noticed - Get Ahead"

Welcome to the latest issue of CAREER-LIFE TIMES! Thank you for subscribing! I hope you find this little publication to be informative, useful and entertaining.

If you don't like it for some weird reason, there's an unsubscribe link at the end. And if you have any ideas on how I can improve it, please let me know -- I value your suggestions! My email address is also at the end.

In This Issue:

* Good News for College Grads
* How to be an 'A-List' Employee or Candidate: The Top 5 Qualities You Need to Advance Your Career
* How to Ace a Telephone Interview
* Don't Let Poop Ruin Your Day
* "I'll File a Grievance!"
* Resources
* Worth Quoting
* Just for Laughs
* Random Rants & Ramblings

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Good News for College Grads

Things are looking up for college graduates entering the workforce!

According to a study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employment for 2005 college graduates is expected to increase by 13% from last year.

New graduates with business, engineering and computer-related degrees have a greater chance of landing a job right out of college, according to the association's Job Outlook 2005 survey. Here are the bachelor degrees they say are most in demand:

Electrical engineering
Mechanical engineering
Business administration/management
Computer science
Computer engineering
Marketing/marketing management
Chemical engineering
Information sciences and systems

According to a recent survey by, 90% of companies with 10,000 or more employees are actively recruiting new college grads. Yahoo's HotJobs recently reported a 150% leap in the number of job postings targeting graduates.

But wait, there's more! Opportunities aren't the only thing increasing; starting salaries are, too! According to, about 33% of employers will offer higher starting salaries to new grads this year than last.

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How to be an 'A-List' Employee or Candidate: The Top 5 Qualities You Need to Advance Your Career

(This is a guest article by Ross Macpherson)

Hopefully, we all understand the importance of "marketing" ourselves in our careers - selling our skills, our rxperience, our education, our accreditation, and our professional value to our current and future employers. What we often forget, however, is the importance of the "qualities" or "attributes" that signal a Top Performer. In fact, in survey after survey asking managers and leaders what they look for in model employees, ATTRIBUTES are frequently the first mentioned - not skills, not education, not certification, but rather personal attributes and qualities that separate Top Performers from the pack.

Throughout all of these surveys, while many unique features appear, common themes keep coming to the surface. Below, you will find the Top 5 qualities that appear again and again. If you can demonstrate these qualities on the job, highlight them come promotion time, and communicate them in an interview, then you will definitely identify yourself as a Top Performer, separate yourself from the competition, and advance your career.

1. Self-Motivated / Lifelong Learner

Being self motivated refers not only to getting the job done without being told, but more importantly it means taking responsibility for doing whatever is necessary to get the job done, and making certain that you have the tools to get the job done. In other words, employers are looking for people with a "passion" for self-improvement; people who will manage their own personal and professional development, learn aggressively, and take the initiative to get the expertise required to add more value to the company. Hiring managers very often look to the Education section of a résumé to see if candidates have continued learning and growing as part of their career. So, take control of your professional development and growth.

2. Interpersonal Skills

Most people will agree that good interpersonal skills are important, but what do we really mean by it? Ultimately, it boils down to this: "getting along." Getting along with others, whether customers or colleagues, is at the heart of fitting in with the culture of a company, being a valuable part of your team, and being successful. Only in rare cases will a company reward the unpopular, unfriendly "lone wolf" who nevertheless delivers results - it may pay off short term, but in the long term, people just get tired of putting up with it, especially if it infects team performance. So, get along with those you work with, those you work for, and those you want to work for. "Fitting in" and "getting along" may not be in your performance targets, but it will pay off big time!

3. Think Strategically

Employers want people who not only focus on their areas of expertise, but who also see where and how it fits in with the big picture. Strategic thinkers are always looking to find out where the organization needs or wants to go next, and then they position themselves to help the organization get there. In other words, in addition to doing your assigned job, try to see your organization (or your division or department) as your customer, and then seek to meet that customer's needs.

The better you understand your company's strategy, and the more you can contribute to its value, the better job you can do in communicating YOUR value.

Communicating your value is ideally a matter of positioning your skills, experience, and knowledge in the context of what's important to the company - if you continue to think strategically and contribute strategically, you will start to stand out as someone who can really make a difference.

4. Inquisitive / Champion Innovation

Top performers are always looking for a better way to do things, and top employers are always looking for these people. You don't necessarily have to be the person to build the better mousetrap, but if you keep an open mind, question the status quo, and encourage innovation and out-of-the-box thinking from those around you, you may be the one who recognizes the NEED for the better mousetrap. So, be inquisitive and ask questions both of yourself and what you see around you. Whether you have the power to influence your organization or just your own desktop, if you can help it stay on the cutting edge, you'll stand out as a Top Performer.

5. Flexible / Adaptable / Open to Change

This is not a new concept, but it often remains the difference between those that move ahead and those that stay behind. Business is about change - those who embrace it will thrive, and those who resist it will not. It's that simple.

However, embracing or rejecting change really only differentiates the good performers from the poor performers.

If you want to take it to the next level, if you want to be the Top Performer among the good performers, you also need to be able to ANTICIPATE change.

This is especially true for managers and leaders, but still applies to everyone else. Just as I spoke of above with "encouraging innovation," the ability to anticipate change - seeing it coming and sometimes even going out after it - keeps companies on the leading edge, and separates the leaders from the followers.

[NOTE: Ross Macpherson is the President of Career Quest, a Certified Professional Resume Writer, and a Career Success Coach who has helped thousands of motivated professionals advance their careers. To receive more valuable career advice, sign up to join his monthly newsletter "Career Quest Café" by visiting]

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Six Steps to Acing a Telephone Interview

Telephone interviews are becoming more popular these days. Sometimes they’re used as a simple pre-screening technique; other times they are an invaluable way for companies to consider candidates who live far away. Some employers hope to catch you unprepared in order to see if you can think on your feet and if you have superior communication skills. So, if you are prepared for the call, you'll ace the test. If you are invited to participate in a telephone interview, here are six tips for acing it.

#1. Take the call when you’re ready. If an employer calls and wants to do the interview when you’re not expecting it (instead of setting up an appointment), excuse yourself politely (“I’m in the middle of something right now…”) and offer to call back in ten minutes. This will give you time to prepare.

#2. Turn off distractions. Take the call on a phone in a quiet room—away from co-workers, radio, television, family, roommates, or anything else that may make noise or take your attention away from your task.

#3. Gather your tools by the phone. These include:

• Your resume
• Pen and paper to jot down notes, including the interviewer’s name
• Company research (with relevant information highlighted)
• Questions to ask about the company and position
• A list of your selling points to mention, and items to cover as you talk about the position. These include your best qualities, specific experience and skills related to the position, and personal traits such as dedication, enthusiasm, and team-building skills.

#4. Stand up to talk. Your position affects the quality of your voice. If you are sitting down relaxing, you don't project the same enthusiasm and intensity as you do if you stand up. Also, smile as you’re talking. It will come through in your voice.

#5. Make a good sales presentation. You are selling yourself, so make sure you do it well. Ensure that you’ve covered all the selling points on your list.

#6. Let the employer end the interview. Then you should say "Thank you for your time," reiterate your interest in the position, and ask what the next step will be.

Follow these steps, perform well on the telephone, and you'll be invited to an on-site interview with the hiring manager!

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Don't Let Poop Ruin Your Day

I work for an agency that treats sewage (no, that's not the poop I'll be talking about in this article). We're located near a bay. That combination is apparently irresistible to all kinds of birds. There's tons of them. I'm not exaggerating. The local branch of the National Audubon Society conducts annual bird counts on our property because there are so many varieties and quantities of birds.

And they love to poop on my car.

Each afternoon when I leave my office, regardless of where I park (I avoid parking near light poles, trees or other perches), my nice red convertible is decorated with big, white splotches. (I never leave the top down.)

I used to find this extremely annoying. Especially when my car was freshly washed and gleaming, thanks to my hubby's efforts. I felt that I was letting him down when I arrived home with "gifts" from feathered dive-bombers.

But it doesn't bother me any more. I've told myself they only poop on the best, because they're attracted to beautiful cars. Whether that's true or not, it makes me feel better. Besides, birds are wonderful creatures. I love to listen to them sing and watch them soar. Overall, they provide more joy than frustration.

What's my point? It's this: We all experience a little bird poop in our lives. (I'm talking figuratively now, not literally.) Often the bird poop of our work lives comes in the form of inconsiderate or ungrateful supervisors or co-workers.

Have you ever worked especially hard on a project and done more than expected, only to have your boss criticize the results? Have you ever been insulted by a co-worker after you've gone out of your way to be friendly?

How do you react when someone annoys or frustrates you at work? When they poop all over your efforts?

While your initial instinct may be to immediately "poop" on them as they pooped on you, don't do it.

Instead, think of it in these terms -- they're targeting you because, like a shiny car, you get their attention. You stand out from the crowd. You are exceptional.

To stay that way, don't do what they did. Don't let their negative action cause a negative reaction from you. They really don't have power over your response, they can't "make you" mad. Only you can make yourself mad; or decide to respond in a more positive way.

As with the birds, try to think about things this person contributes. (If necessary, use your imagination!) Be cool. Be nice.

Here's an example. In my very first job about a hundred years ago, on my first day, I asked a co-worker how to do something. Instead of simply showing me what to do, he tersely replied, "Look it up!" and pointed to a shelf full of binders loaded with policies and procedures. Then he walked away, leaving me to figure it out on my own. My immediate reaction was to get angry. He couldn't be bothered to help me with a simple request? To heck with him! I'd never ask for his help again! If he hadn't walked away, I'd probably have said something nasty.

By the time I saw him again, I was busy with my research and no longer had the urge to say something nasty to him -- something I would have regretted.

Because this guy did me a favor. I didn't realize it at the time, of course. But by learning to read the policies and procedures whenever I wasn't sure how to do something, I quickly became an expert and advanced much faster than I would have otherwise.

And the guy turned out to be one of the nicest, most helpful people I'd ever met... we're still great friends today.

All of us are going to get a little bird poop on our car. Don't let it upset you.

Resisting the urge to retaliate in kind may earn you unexpected rewards!

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"I'll File a Grievance!"

I recently went to a retirement party with my husband for one of his co-workers. I worked at this same place six years ago (that's where I met my husband, but that's another story), so I knew most of the people at the party.

One person I didn't know (I'll call her Jill but that's not her real name) was talking about how bored she is in her current job. She's been with the agency for about three months and is doing administrative work. "I'm way overqualified for this position," she said. "I used to be an Office Manager. I only took this job because I heard this agency was a good place to work. I know I can get something better."

Jill told me she planned to apply for a new opening at the same agency -- a slightly better-paying administrative position. That position became vacant recently when that secretary retired. It's been filled by a temp for about three weeks.

"I know I'm way more qualified than that temp!" Jill said. "If she gets hired instead of me, I'm going to file a grievance!"

If she hadn't quickly disappeared, I would've given her some advice. If you've ever had the same attitude as Jill, maybe you can use this advice.

First, an employer is not under any obligation to hire the most qualified candidate. They can hire the least qualified candidate, as long as that candidate meets the minimum qualifications stated in the position announcement.

Second, employers are people, and people hire those they like and want to work with. As long as there is no discrimination based on race, religion, color, national origin, marital status, age, gender, sexual orientation or physical/mental disability, employers can legally hire whomever they want.

The fact of the matter is, a candidate is never hired based solely on her qualifications. A candidate is hired because she convinces the hiring manager that she can do the job and be a positive, enthusiastic, pleasant-to-work-with member of the team.

Someone who is blabbing to co-workers (and strangers!) that she'll file a grievance if she doesn't get hired is unlikely to fit that bill.

If you're thinking of applying for a promotion within your current company, please realize that more than your experience, skills and qualifications will be judged.

What's your reputation? If you're a dedicated team player, great!

But if you're a complainer whom your current boss and coworkers would not miss, you've got some reputation repair work to do first!

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Jobs By Fax. This is new and sounds VERY cool. Here's what one happy job seeker said:

"I want to thank you so much! I got so many calls, it blew me away -- over 387 calls for interviews and I was hired for $9,000 MORE per year! I loved the fact that employers were calling ME for interviews, and the response was immediate!" (Suzy Kramer, Chesapeake, VA)

What did Suzy do? She skipped the "monstrous" job boards online and faxed her resume directly to employers.

And she didn't have to lift a finger -- a new service automated the whole thing and made it all easy. They offer a substantial guarantee, too!

To learn how you can have 10 to 50+ gmployers that YOU pick, calling YOU to interview, in the next 72 hours, check it out at

"The Job Interview Success System." If you want to master the secrets to acing any interview and winning a new job whenever you want, then check out my System. It provides step-by-step instructions on how to answer tough questions, avoid disastrous mistakes, and win the job at your next interview--even f you aren't the most qualified candidate. Discover the strategies that will give you an "unfair advantage" over others competing for your dream job. Of course, it comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Here's the link for more information: Job-Interview-Success-System.

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Worth Quoting

"When I was a young man,
I observed that nine out of ten things
I did were failures.
I didn't want to be a failure,
so I did ten times more work."
(George Bernard Shaw)

"To laugh often and much;
to win respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;
to leave the world a better place;
to know even one life has
breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded."
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)

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Just For Laughs

20 Things Stressed Women Say At Work

1. You say I'm a bitch like it's a bad thing.
2. Well, this day was a total waste of make up.
3. Don't bother me, I'm living happily ever after.
4. Do I look like a people person?
5. This isn't an office. It's hell with fluorescent lighting.
6. I started out with nothing and I still have most of it left.
7. Therapy is expensive. Popping bubble wrap is cheap. You choose.
8. Why don't you try practicing random acts of intelligence and senseless acts of self-control?
9. I'm not crazy. I've been in a very bad mood for 30 years.
10. Sarcasm is just one more service I offer.
11. Do they ever shut up on your planet?
12. I'm not your type. I'm NOT inflatable.
13. I work 45 hours a week to be this poor!
14. Not all men are annoying. Some are dead.
15. Wait...I'm trying to imagine you with a personality.
16. Chaos, panic and work here is done.
17. Earth is full. GO HOME.
18. I'm not tense, just terribly, terribly alert.
19. You are depriving some village of an idiot.
20. If assholes could fly, this place would be an airport.

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Random Rants & Ramblings

Got Blogs? What do you guys think about Blogs? Do you read them? Would you rather I provided tips and articles through a Blog than this emailed newsletter? Let me know, OK? (My email is below.)

Never Assume. We've all heard that before, right? It makes an "ass" out of "u" and "me." Never assume you're the best-qualified candidate, never assume you've got the job until you receive an offer in writing, etc. It applies in all situations, but I thought this one was pretty funny: never assume at a party that the light-green "dip" is Guacamole. A friend of mine did that, scooped a big bunch onto a chip and tossed it in his mouth. He immediately fell down and started rocking back and forth on the floor, tears streaming out of his eyes while he groaning loudly. It was quite a sight to see, because this was a big, strong guy who never shows any sign of weakness. Don't worry, he was OK after a few minutes and a large glass of water. That "Guacamole" was Wasabe (a very hot light-green Japanese mustard)!

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So, what did you think of this issue? Any suggestions? Topic ideas? Questions? I really appreciate your feedback. Please send me a note at

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