Beware Of This Gmail Phishing Technique Used By Hackers

Word fence’s Mark Maunder’s Security blog is a timely warning on an effective technique being used by hackers to obtain your information.

Maybe time to change your password?

Check if your email address has been hacked in any major data breach, including LinkedIn’s of May, 2016. See: to check your status.


Meeting With Your Boss? Have A Plan.

Concept of vision in business

You’ve asked to meet with your boss to clarify expectations and goals, and you are feeling a little stressed with the additional projects that you have been asked to take on. Show your resilience and creative thinking under pressure. That all-important can-do attitude paves the way to a productive discussion. They believe you can solve problems, now is the time to discuss how.

This is a great opportunity to suggest changes because your boss wants to listen to what you have to say. Your views are important. He/she granting you the time to discuss your concerns and ideas is proof of this. A little preparation, with points on paper to serve as a context will impress him/her with your sense of organization, analytical thinking, and creative input.

Develop clear talking points to explore the issues and options.

Decide what your objectives are going into the discussion:

  • Being able to fulfill the company’s performance expectations
  • Managing the demands made on your time in different areas of responsibility
  • Ensuring that your work is completed on time
  • Deciding what the company wants to prioritize and in what order
  • Discussing the resources available to use or needed to complete objectives

Your boss is going to expect you to:

  • Outline the problems concisely and with clarity
  • Show a willingness to work through them
  • Propose a plan of action and bring forward ideas and options
  • Be receptive to constructive criticism if it is forthcoming
  • Suggest a follow up to provide feedback on changes that are mutually agreed on

You want to be solution focused in your approach. It is important that your boss sees your confidence in tackling the problems because every business has these challenges in one form or another.

Your intention is key to a successful meeting.

You want to come away from the meeting with a shared understanding of the company’s expectations and goals, and the part you play in making those objectives happen.

“Determine the thing that can and shall be done, and then we shall find the way.” – Abraham Lincoln

There Is No Substitute For Character.

Old oak tree on a green meadow

We have conducted thousands of interviews. Over time, we have learned that highly accomplished professionals, and beginners alike, may share a similar feeling of nervousness, going in to an interview. It isn’t something you do every day.

There are various skills of active listening, practicing empathy, and using open-ended questions as techniques to conduct a successful interview.

Beyond these learned abilities, there is something more important: the character of the person being interviewed.

A person’s genuine character needs to shine through the haze of questions and answers; when it does, there is a different kind of communication happening between the interviewer and the person being interviewed.

Character is a fundamental building block of career progress; it is difficult to counterfeit, and someone looking for evidence of it will readily recognize it in another person.

Key to any successful interview is to be who you are, make the human connection through being friendly, smiling, and engaged, listening actively, being positive, and asking good questions.

Character communicates to others through poise, confidence, empathy, and expressed values and principles.

It is evident in both a candidate’s track record and career accomplishments.

As with leadership, you know it when you see it.

“Character may almost be called the most effective means of persuasion.” – Aristotle

It’s For You…The Quality Of Your Telephone Voice.

Man giving an old red telephone to a woman

Customer service professionals know that how to project sincerity and interest to the caller creates trust and confidence in the listener.

Value judgments are made within the first 15 to 30 seconds of speaking to someone on the telephone based on attitude, style of the speaker and visualizing the person on the other end.

People have an inner radar which picks up on a person’s sincerity, genuine interest, and spontaneity. Your desire to communicate positively about your experience, skills and abilities projects on the phone.

It doesn’t matter how much experience you have, or how little, making the human connection is a process of the interviewer identifying with the person they are speaking to on a basic level.

The hiring manager pictures how you will sound to their customers, colleagues, and other team members, and your ability to project warmth and what’s referred to as a ‘smile in your voice’ often decides the next step in the hiring process.

Many companies train their front line customer service employees on effective telephone techniques. Rather than talking at the telephone, they are trained to visualize the caller, and create a sense of empathy and willingness to listen and serve.

To see how you sound to others, record yourself and playback, noting your attitude, tone, and the overall quality of your presentation. This is a very helpful exercise to identify where to improve your speaking style, while retaining the essence of who you are.

The Importance Of Being Focused—Sharpening The Tools.

In an interview, your focus or lack of it is picked up very quickly by the interviewer.
Many a career opportunity is lost through lapses of attention, or assuming that the
interviewer understands what you are saying.

This is a problem for people who are unaccustomed to interviews. Without practice and mindfulness, which means a heightened degree of awareness of your surroundings, you may miss a question or misunderstand it, and give a response which isn’t well received.

The best way to avoid this situation is to practice being interviewed with a trusted friend who plays the role of the hiring manager. Ask him/her to interject when they feel you are wandering off topic.

Some questions and topics you can expect will be explored are:

▪ So, tell us about yourself.
▪ Describe what you did in your daily duties.
▪ Give us examples of how you met challenges in your previous jobs.
▪ Why are you looking?
▪ Why do you want to work for us?
▪ Why should we hire you?
▪ How would you handle the challenges of this job?
▪ What strengths do you bring?
▪ What are your weaknesses?
▪ What are your salary expectations?
▪ Where do you see yourself in a few years?
▪ How long do you think it will take to get up to speed?
▪ Why did you leave your last employer?

Each one of these questions is a standard open-ended probe to gather information. You cannot answer them with a ‘yes’ or no’; more details must be provided.

Practice these answers until you are comfortable with them and their variations. You don’t want to sound robotic in your responses, you want your presentation to flow smoothly from one topic to another, and repeatedly answering these questions in a practice session helps you accomplish this.

“Give me six hours to cut down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln

Inertia – What’s Holding You Back?

African lion rests in tree

Inertia is a state of mind that’s the equivalent to having a mental flat tire. You’re stuck in your situation if you allow yourself to give up and avoid the work needed to pull yourself up onto your feet, and begin moving however hesitantly forward again.

Sometimes you need to kick-start yourself to regain a sense of forward momentum. There are various ways to do this.

Questions to determine if inertia is holding you back:

▪ Are you flying in a holding pattern, neither advancing nor regressing, treading water and feeling stagnated?
▪ Have your plans and forward movement come to an impasse, and you see no way forward?
▪ Have you lost sight of your previous goals and objectives?
▪ Does everything seem to be at a standstill, and do you have a listless feeling of apathy?
▪ Do you greet the day with the feeling that it isn’t worth the effort to put in efforts towards your goals?
▪ Do you find it difficult to sit down and plan out your daily tasks?

That feeling of standstill, if left to solidify eventually transforms into a complete stoppage of worthwhile efforts. It’s imperative to recognize these warning signs and take concrete steps toward reinvigorating your efforts and your attitudes.

Some ways to get yourself moving forward again:

▪ Realize that this state of standstill does not need to continue indefinitely; it only takes some honest effort and choosing to initiate positive action to start moving again.
▪ Forgive yourself for letting yourself down, and forgive others for letting you down; we’re all human, and we all make mistakes.
▪ It isn’t the falling down that counts; it’s how many times you can get back up, smiling.
▪ Develop the idea of wanting to appreciate the many benefits you have in life, and desire to share your good fortune with others.
▪ Accept the fact that your world does not change unless you’re willing to commit to the process of change, however discomfited that makes you feel.
▪ Accept the challenge to create something new and positive; life affirming and uplifting that moves you to achieve.

Be open to change because it’s the only true constant in life. In a life well lived, there’s little room for complaints, boredom and apathy. Every moment that we are alive is a gift, and we honour that gift by making best use of the time that we have while we’re here.

“Nothing happens until something moves.” –  Albert Einstein

Stand Out From The Crowd When Applying For Jobs.


Hundreds of people may apply for the same position, how do you stand out from the crowd and ensure that your application gets noticed?

Create a separate email account on Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail. Have this account for job search activities; gather all of your related correspondence for easy access and follow-up. Use your first and last name in the email address that you choose. Avoid using odd, cryptic and un-businesslike email addresses.

Note your telephone number somewhere at the top of your message for easy access.
The recipient appreciates this because you make it easier for him/her to contact you for further consideration. When emails move from one department to another, information from the text is often lost, especially if you’ve a large amount of introductory text in the message.

Tell the reader when you can be reached by telephone. Note a timeframe that is easiest to reach you: “cell # (000)123-1234 after 3:30 p.m.” –or– “(000)123-1234 after 5:00 p.m.; leave message, anytime.” People involved in the hiring process have busy schedules.

Indicate that you can be reached by text message, anytime. The ability to instantly communicate with you is both a convenience for the resume reader/hiring manager, and can give you a jump on the competition that may not check their email once a day or every day.

Identify the position that you’re applying for in the subject line of your email. If it’s a position number you are applying to, also include the title. You set yourself apart from those applicants who don’t take the extra time to ensure that their communications are clear and focused.

Edit and re-edit the text of your cover letter. Long, meandering cover letters or messages decrease the chance to move forward in the review and pre-selection process. Every sentence must create buyer interest.

Manually check both your resume and cover message for errors. Spellcheck features are not totally reliable. They can’t tell if you mean: ‘they’re, their and there’, for example.

Ensure that all online resumes match in dates of employment and jobs held. There is nothing that creates more confusion in a resume reader’s mind than finding that they have two different sets of dates of employment in a resume and a candidate’s online profile on LinkedIn or Indeed to compare with. Create consistency in your public information.

These simple steps taken increase the odds of being noticed when hundreds of applicants are vying for the same position.

You Know You Are Self-Motivated When…

  • You avoid taking the easy way out and apply yourself consistently to whatever it is you need to do.
  • You get up early in the morning fresh with energy to achieve the goals you have set out for that day.
  • You’re constantly thinking of ways to improve what you do and how you do it.
  • You don’t procrastinate; you attend to every task, no matter how small, building momentum.
  • You concentrate on creating order in your life, not cutting corners, or trying to evade responsibility.
  • You’re eager to make your contribution at home, in school, or at work, and people know that you give it 100% of your effort.
  • You don’t make excuses for why things aren’t done, or done poorly; you take responsibility and accountability, and resolve to improve yourself.
  • You look at every task as a learning opportunity, applying your talents and skills, to achieving present and future goals.
  • You keep in mind the idea of first things first; using your time and your energy for whatever will advance your interests, and create progress.
  • You refuse to allow yourself to achieve at a lower standard than you’re capable of.

” Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” – Benjamin Franklin

Make Your Skills Summary Statement Golden.

Most hiring managers and recruiters are sold on selecting a resume for active consideration in the first 10 seconds or so spent reviewing it. That’s not a lot of time to grab their attention! Make the time count by putting what you can do up front. The generic Job Objective on a resume doesn’t accomplish this and may limit your options in some cases.

A Skills Summary that sizzles hits the hot buttons of the reader and makes them put down their coffee and read on.

You are providing information on your skills and experience in a tightly worded introduction. It is a sales presentation that paves the way to a follow up call or interview.

A Job Objective might say: Sales Executive in a global freight forwarder.

A Skills Summary identifies what you bring to the table: Ten years sales development experience in international air and ocean freight. successful in identifying, pursuing and closing new business. Known for persistence and the ability to develop and retain profitable accounts.

The simple truth is that you need to use those precious few seconds when you have the reader’s eyeballs to make them sort you into the follow up folder. Remember that sorting through hundreds of resumes may well be the least favourite activity of the reader.

Call it a Skills Summary, Key Qualifications, Key Assets Statement, whatever term you use, make it serve your interests. Define in a few short sentences the essence of who you are, what you’ve done and what you can do.

The rest of the resume supports your opening statement. The Applicant Tracking software that companies use will scan your keywords for relevancy. Put this section in early in your resume.

Get noticed for the right reasons and you’re more likely to advance in the selection process.

Your Quiet Mind Gets Things Done.

Your goals are more easily achieved when you act from a quiet center, rather than allowing yourself to be governed by fear, doubt and anxiety. Restlessness as an enduring condition often leads to making impulsive decisions which aren’t in your best interest.

This is especially noticeable when you are making a career decision. When you wrestle with making this type of decision in an emotional state, you are less likely to make the decision that’s right for you. All sorts of considerations, second-guessing and indecision can paralyze the will to act.

There are many ways to arrive at a calmer state of mind to allow your perceptions and impressions to achieve that state of simple clarity, where options, risks and rewards become clearer.

Some things that help achieve a state of calm:

▪ Many find listening to calming music assists their thought processes
▪ Taking a walk in the park, in a forest or anywhere in nature helps release anxious thoughts
▪ Consciously choosing to let go of the problem, trusting that a solution will be found helps to disengage from circular thinking
▪ Playing with children or a pet breaks your mind’s focus and allows thoughts to settle
▪ Reading inspirational quotations or stories of people whom you admire helps balance your thinking

The answers often come when you stop focusing on not having them.

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine — and shadows will fall behind you” – Walt Whitman