Do These 6 Things to Make Sure Your Resume Gets Read

On average, every job opening in the corporate industry attracts around 250 resumes.  Only 4 to 6 candidates are called into an interview and only 1 is offered the job.

Seems pretty intimidating, doesn’t it?

It is.

That’s also why it’s extremely important that your resume portrays you in the right light otherwise you might not get the opportunity at all.

Let’s check out some statistics mentioned in an article on Undercover Recruiter:

Recruiters spend an average of 3.14 minutes reading a candidate’s resume and they have generally made up their mind within the first minute.

1 in 5 recruiters will actually reject a candidate before they’ve even finished reading their resume.

5% of applicants are dishonest when describing their previous roles or the time they spent in a job.

10% of job seekers have applied for 50 or more jobs without hearing back.

Sounds like some pretty intimidating stuff, right?

Buckle up because I’m going to show you 5 important and essential tips to make sure your resume gets read:

1. Use Correct Grammar

Oh, for the love of grammar!

Some people are going to go ahead and think that this is a no-brainer but trust me, it isn’t! When I want to recruit, you’d be shocked at the amount of people who submit their resumes without even double-checking their grammar.

Did you know that according to UR,

59% of recruiters will reject a candidate because of poor grammar or a spelling error. Though these mistakes seem small, they indicate that the candidate is sloppy and hasn’t taken the time to proofread their resume.

And I can’t agree with them more!

Before a company can ever even call you in for an interview, you failed to make a good first impression on paper.  That’s already a pretty big indicator to them about the kind of employee you could be. Present yourself on your resume as the same way you would in person.

Make sure you use proper language and correct grammar because there’s no excuse for handing in a sloppy resume to any potential recruiter from any respectable company that you want to work for.

Moreover, nowadays where we’re all exposed to the Internet and Google, there’s no excuse even if the language your resume is in isn’t even your first language.

2. Keep the Visuals Professional

Presentation counts. Yes, it’s important that your resume is attractive but only if it’s executed in the right way. Keep it professional and avoid ‘snazzy’ out of the ordinary decorations and colors.

44% of recruiters get put off from a resume because of the use of distracting borders and backgrounds.

42% of recruiters get put off from a resume because of the use of inappropriate or unnecessary clipart and emojis.

31% of recruiters get put off from a resume because of inappropriate use of fonts.

Imagine what would happen if you had all of the 3 big no-no’s on your resume but in reality you are the perfect candidate for the job. You wouldn’t be given a second chance just because of the lack of professionalism!

Yes, visuals can help, but make sure it’s within the professional criteria, for example, use all black colored fonts, capitalize at the beginning of sentences and for pronouns and use bullet points to keep the layout easily readable and consistent!

3. Avoid Clichés

Ever heard something so many times to the point where you find yourself rolling your eyes?

Trust me when I say this, whether a recruiter is reading resumes or an interviewer is asking you questions, they’ve probably heard a lot of people say the same things many times before.

Avoid saying clichés that make you sound unoriginal and no offense – boring.

According to Undercover Recruiter, some phrases that put recruiters off are:

‘I can work independently.’ – Most people can!

‘I’m a hard worker.’ – Yes, aren’t we all?

‘I work well under pressure.’ – Congratulations you tough cookie!

I mean, that’s all great but isn’t everyone?

Think about what sets you apart from the crowd and mention the things about yourself that a lot of people don’t have so that you’re not just another paper in the pile.

4. Tailor Your Resume

Make sure you tailor your resume to the position you’re applying for. According to Entrepreneur,

41% of HR managers look for whether or not the resume was customized to the open position or not.

Tailoring your resume doesn’t mean you’re going to change it up altogether, it just means you need to make adjustments to make it relevant.  The reason for this is because, as mentioned before, ‘1 in 5 recruiters will reject a candidate before they’ve even finished reading their resume’ so you want to grab their attention and make it relevant as soon as they lay their eyes on the first sentence.

Secondly, focus on the content. This means actually understand the job that you’re applying for and make appropriate changes to your bullet points about relevant information on there. For example, if you are applying for a managerial position, it would be important to mention more points on how you’ve thrived in leadership positions before and make sure you make it the first section of your resume.

5. Keep it One Page

Eliminate all the fluff.

Recruiters don’t have time to go through really long resumes, and it’s one of the things that actually puts them off and make them want to stop reading.  Your resume should be short, concise, to the point and relevant in all aspects.

If you have too much information going on it can also confuse them, and once you’ve confused them, they don’t make a choice so you’ve pretty much lost them.

Other ways through which you can make your resume more appealing, short and concise is through eliminating the use of unnecessarily big words, run-on sentences and random jargons because it can set hiring managers off more than impressing them.

Keep to the point – especially with an average of 250 resumes coming in for one open position, nobody wants to waste time.

6. Replace Your Objective with a Pitch

Don’t forget that when you’re sending out your resume, you’re marketing yourself.  A great way to catch the recruiter’s attention is through replacing your opening statement or objective with an elevator pitch!

It’s understandable that condensing your entire work history into a few short words (no longer than 25 to 50 words) can be difficult and challenging to say the least.  One of the ways to get around it is to make sure you have the right information. I always mention that whenever you’re addressing an audience, even if it’s on paper, you need to make sure you have three important factors covered, so ask yourself,

Is it educational?

Is it inspiring?

Is it entertaining?

Creating the right balance with each of these elements is what’s going to make you stand out from the crowd.

Seek gives a great example of an opening statement that leaves a lasting impression:

I’m a self-motivated, creative copywriter with five years of marketing and advertising experience, specializing in digital content with a keen interest in social media.

By making it short, precise and to the point, you ensure that you leave them intrigued by making a lasting first impression.

Sample CV

 

Download Sample CV

Conclusion:

Writing resumes is never easy, but no matter what level you’re in the industry or where you’re applying for your next career advancement, always remember that you’re trying to market and sell yourself.  You can be sure that you’d make a great fit for the company and the team but others don’t.

You owe it to yourself to make sure you have an above-average resume that’s going to ensure that you get called in for that interview.

Once you’ve made it through the door and you’re on to the next step, read my other article on ‘How to Ace an Interview’.

What Not to Say in an Interview

It’s totally normal to get nervous before an interview.  You never know what’s going to happen, what you’re going to be asked or how to prep for it.  Worse case scenario, your nerves get the best of you even though you know you’re fit for the job.

So, let me help you secure that opportunity by putting your best foot forward and understanding these 9 mistakes you should never make in an interview:

1. Anything Unprofessional

I mean, that’s a no brainer, right?

Wrong.

Common sense isn’t common practice and for that exact reason, let’s just get this one straight out the way.

Once, I had someone ask me where I get my hair styled from and what color I dye it, while I was interviewing them.  Another time, a candidate applied for an administrative role and kept on talking about how much she loves public speaking and how she wants to become a public speaker.

It’s important to keep focus for why you’re here because it’s a reflection on your character and a foreshadowing of how you can hold and carry yourself in the workplace and how productive of an employee you can be.

Keep to the point and remind yourself of all the great qualities you possess that would make you a perfect fit for this job!  You have to present your best foot forward, show them what you’re made of and why they would hire you.  One of the ways in which you can stay being professional, is to prepare so you can be more confident.

Keep from saying things like, ‘Sorry, I need to take this call‘, ‘Sorry I’m late!‘ (DON’T BE LATE) and ‘How long will this take?

I’ll answer those questions for you so we can get them out the way now.

Firstly, using your phone in the middle of an interview is highly unprofessional and there are a shockingly large number of candidates who actually think its OK to use their phones.

Secondly, it doesn’t matter if a half an hour interview turns into a one and a half-hour interview. Sometimes, if it’s running longer, it’s usually a good sign.

Lastly, just don’t be late.  The ideal is 15 minutes before your interview time is scheduled for.

2. Asking What the Company Does

When people ask me this question, it’s a no for me, straight off the bat.

It shows that you didn’t put in any time or interest before coming in to find out what the company you could be  working for does.  Neither does it show the interviewer that you’re prepared or if you even care about this opportunity at all.

Make sure to research the company that you would potentially like to work at before you head over to the interview.  Nowadays, we have social media and almost every company has a website, the resources are at your fingertips – it just takes a couple of seconds to pull the information up on your screen.

Otherwise, other than it reflecting on your lack of initiative, it just wastes the interviewer’s time.  No one wants to sit there repeating themselves about the company for each and every candidate.

Do yourself a favor, and do your research!

3. “It’s On My Resume”

The interviewer is aware of that it’s on your resume.  They’ve seen your resume.

Always be prepared to say something more beyond just a written word because your communication and social skills are most likely going to be evaluated to see whether or not you could be face-to-face with a client or not.

Usually when they ask you questions on things that are already on your resume, they’re trying to see your articulation skills or to go into more detail about that specific role/experience.

So, next time, instead of answering a question with an ‘I don’t know’, seize this moment to talk about yourself and express what a great communicator you could be and show how well-spoken you really are!

4. Don’t Jump the Gun

 

When you express questions related to what’s in it for you, this can give the impression that you’re not really passionate about getting the job that can look really unappealing and arrogant.  The interviewers want to know what you bring to the table.  Talking about your demands too early on can be highly damaging to your chances of even getting your foot in the door.

Some questions that can throw interviewers off are, ‘So what’s my salary?’ or ‘What kind of benefits will I get?’ – that all just makes sound like you’re only there to take rather than give.  Any job-role is a two-way street and in order for you to be able to considered for a position, avoid coming across as self-serving.

This might also show the interviewer that you’re in it for the wrong reasons – and they steer clear of employees who show any of those signs.

Now, no one’s saying that you don’t have a right to ask all of these questions, but there’s a time for it. Wait till you get a second interview or job offer to discuss these topics.

5. “I Don’t Know”

 

Points for being honest but it’s the wrong direction.

It’s always good to be transparent with an interviewer and show a bit of character while holding a professional stance, but just replying to a question with an ‘I don’t know’, just may give off the impression that you’re incompetent and think on your feet.

Trust me, sometimes, interviewers are going to throw questions your way that they know are difficult just to challenge you.

If you really don’t know how to answer the question, the way you present yourself on how you tackle that situation give off a good impression that you have potential to be practical in real-life situations that may require you to think fast.

So, instead of saying, ‘I don’t know’, you could say something like ‘you know what, that’s a great question, let me think about that!’

6. Anything Negative About Your Old Company or Boss

This is a big no-go-zone for a lot of reasons.

Firstly, it’s going to reflect badly upon you – not anyone else.  If someone you just met comes up to you and starts telling you all their life problems, you’re not going to feel bad for them, you’re going to be so put off to the point where you’re going to see them in a bad light, even if what they’re saying is true.

If anything, it sounds like you’re complaining and trying to get pity.

Are you going to say negative things about this company if they hire you?

Are you going to say negative things about your new boss?

All these things matter and speak highly on your character.  Not only that, but it might even make them think that maybe you’re the one with the issue and not the other way around.  No one wants to hire a troublemaker.  Besides, even if that is the case and your old company or boss was horrible to you, you should still have discretion towards them if ever brought up in topic.

Ultimately,

There’s not hard and set rule on how to prepare for an interview, but preparation is key.  Get to know the job that you’re applying for beyond just reading it and frame your responses according to that.

Secondly, get to know the company you’ll be working for as well as you can and build a strong foundation on everything you should know.

Check out their social media to get a better vibe of who they are and what they do.  Lastly, sell yourself! This is the best chance to talk about all your strengths and what makes you special for their company and always have a list of questions that you would like to ask them.

Read my other recent article on how to ace a job interview here.

6 Incredible Reasons You Need to Start Power Dressing

Every individual has a unique style and clothing is one of the biggest ways to express it.

The way we dress can influence their position or authority in the workplace.

Power dressing is a phenomenon that came about in the 1920s and started with the Chanel suit.

The suit was a representation of a turning point of the way women dressed as it had masculine elements in it that gave women an authoritative appearance in order to be accepted as equals in the professional world.

In other words – the way you dress can have a huge impact on the kind of message you want to send across.

Power dressing is extremely important with incredible positive influence that many look past.

Here are 6 solid reasons for why power dressing is an essential in the workplace:

1. You Make Your First Impression Count

 

According to research, you have around 7 seconds to make a first impression.

I know – crazy.

As soon as you walk in a room full of people you don’t know, they can make a judgment about you before you even get to say anything!

The time they spend after the first 7 seconds will be about validating that judgment. People have little to no control over first impressions because they are involuntarily driven by their subconscious to notice small details fast.

It’s up to you how you come across and whether or not you want to make that first impression count.

The way you dress and carry yourself will speak volumes about the kind of person you are and if whether or not others want to associate themselves with you.

Regardless of whatever job you’re entering – whether it’s entry level or CEO, you need to make an impact.

2. You Gain Respect

 

Notice what all people in power have in common: their way of dressing.

Whether it’s a celebrity, an influencer, a manager or a CEO, they all carry a unique style that shows their position of authority.

Power dressing can have a major impact on your career and as mentioned before, it allows people to see the best version of yourself.

In order to gain respect from your fellow colleagues or your audience, you need to ask yourself if what you’re wearing shows whether or not others can take you seriously.

Yes, there are exceptions – for example, how Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates.

However, their success and achievements speaks for itself.  Be conscious of the way you want to present and portray yourself. Be weary of your surroundings and understand what you can and cannot get away with.

If you’re working in the corporate world, you should be avoiding anything low-cut or mini like the plague.

If you’re presenting, make sure you’re dressed in a way that is appropriate for the mass audience.  Always be conscious of your surroundings and who’s watching.

3. You’re Prepared

 

Dressing well at work keeps you prepared for any unexpected meetings or important people you may run into.  Imagined you’re dressed sloppy and that’s the day you get called in for an important meeting with your boss – it’s never a good impression.

The way you dress is important for your appearance and to keep up with.

You never know the opportunities that you might miss by putting an end to your chances before things even start.

Don’t get me wrong – being uncomfortable is important.  Wear clothes that you don’t have to keep on fixing every two minutes, that won’t distract you or that aren’t too tight in order to maintain being well dressed and comfortable at the same time.

Some ways to keep prepared is by bringing an extra pair of heels and keeping them at the office or having a blazer on stand-by.

4. If You Look Good, You Will Feel Good

It’s incredible how much influence the clothes we wear have on us. Ever heard the saying,“if you look good, you’ll feel good”?

Even though a lot of people don’t believe it to be true, research has come out and shown that the clothes we wear, do in fact have an effect on our confidence, mood, attitudes and overall social behavior – which defines your body language.

When you look the part, you’re more likely to be the part.

Just think about the difference in your confidence if you put on some sweats and a pajama top compared to if you wear a well-tailored work dress in a board meeting.

Yes – you’re still the same person, you can express the same ideas and have the same knowledge but you’re definitely going to feel more confident in the latter attire.

There has been a lot of scientific research that backs up this psychology, in one by Peluchette and Karl on ‘The Impact of Workplace Attire on Employee Self-Perceptions’; it was found that participants felt most trustworthy, competent and authoritative when wearing business attire.

5. You Break Stereotypes

 

A lot of women have reported that they don’t feel heard or taken seriously in the workplace. This is usually because of many factors.

Certain women still feel discriminated against in some fields of work. Power dressing is a way to break through the stereotypes and to let your voice be heard.

It shows that you’re there to be taken seriously and respected.

Although this doesn’t mean that everything will change overnight, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

6. You Express Your Personality

 

Today’s power dresser isn’t afraid to express their personality through their clothes!

Gone are the days where there was a formulaic way of dressing for the workplace – just because you’re dressed formal doesn’t mean it has to be boring.

The clothes you wear can always express your nature in a certain way – you just have to find what compliments you.

Wearing something that can give you a distinct look can actually work in your favor.  Everyone has a ‘trade-mark’ – and that’s what makes them special.

A little creativity doesn’t hurt and can help you stand out from the crowd and appear more as an individual.  Showing your individuality is also an expression of power when done right and subtly. You can do this with your earrings, heels, your handbag or accessories.

However, avoid going overboard because you don’t want to look too distracting.

To Bring it Together,

Every individual has a unique style and the way they power dress can influence their position or authority in the workplace.

Put in the effort and embrace power dressing whether it’s for a special meeting, a quick lunch with your coworkers or when going in for a new job interview.

Why Job Title Means Nothing

In the past when it came to the business world, job titles were pretty simple and straight-forward.

You were either “the boss” or not.

Today, with the workplace continuously evolving and advancing, some people have been given much more fancier-sounding titles.

For example, what the heck is a “Dean of Pizza” or “Waste Management and Disposal Technician” (Bin Man)

But does it even mean anything?

I thought about it and came up with 4 reasons why your job title actually doesn’t mean anything

1. When it’s misleading

 

Nowadays, the job title is given out like candy but what does it really mean?

Consider the title ‘Manager’

A manager is someone who typically leads a team.  If you’re just managing one other person, yourself included, then your job title can be really misleading to someone who in charge of 15 people.

When you’re getting recruited for a potential job, you don’t want to mislead your employer – it builds expectations, makes you look more qualified than you are and is just a disaster waiting to happen.

When your employer sees that you don’t have a great amount of experience after you’re hired, it’s going to make a bad impression on you and you don’t want to start off on the wrong foot.

Similarly, other titles that are over-used and stripped of their true meaning are usually titles that include: consultant, director, analyst and engineer.

2. When you didn’t Earn it

 

 

Usually, the title that you’re given has to be earned and reflect on the skills you have.  Maybe you just started out and you’ve already been given an overly inflated job title.  Employers usually do this to make up for a low salary.

Although it might make you feel important, as mentioned in the point above it could be highly misleading for the next job you may be aspiring for.

Similarly to the previous example, the interviewer would be under the impression that you have the skills to perform all tasks under the title you claim and in reality, you possess no experience.

Maybe your employer gave you that title to compensate for the fact that they can’t give you a raise.  Maybe they gave you that title to ensure that you feel a little sense of importance.

There are various reasons for why employers give out job titles like candy on Halloween. if you’re planning on changing jobs, it would then be a conversation worth discussing.

3. When it’s limiting

 

Some job titles can be quite limiting to your abilities.

Maybe you have the skill sets to do so much more than what your title says and that can even affect your recruitment campaigns if you want to apply to a new company.

According to the Harvard Business Review, limiting titles can be deadly for when it comes to career progression.

The article mentions that employers need to stop waiting for the ‘perfect’ candidate and instead start creating one by training a quality applicant that has potential.

Some job titles can be limited to the point where employers would think twice about you for something even slightly outside that field. HBR also addresses the thought,

If you can only get a job by having that job, how can you move forward? It’s a paradox that companies can help fix.

4. When it undermines your capabilities

Maybe your job titles describe you as a “Junior Associate” of some sort, but you’re actually doing everything from the contribution towards managing the teams’ involvement in big projects and have a say in other company-related matters.

In instances like these, your job title can actually undermine your capabilities and it doesn’t do you justice!

Have a conversation with your boss about giving you a more appropriate title so that your skills set are more acknowledged.  Or, next time you go for another job interview, make sure you mention all the skill sets that you do have and how you’ve got more experience under your belt than just what your title says about you.

In essence,

In essence, job titles mean nothing if they are like any of the things mentioned above.

But yes, a cool title can sound great, but does it truly have any substance?

Even with that title, you’ll realize that your job and your salary remain unchanged.

Sometimes, employers may give out fancy titles to employees when money’s tight and salaries cannot be raised.

It’s okay to care about your title, but sometimes, it truly doesn’t define you or your skills completely.

8 things I learned from Richard Branson

Keep things fun and keep going – this is just one of the many simple, yet powerful ideas, that I personally learned from Richard Branson himself.  Imagine, for a man who is in his 60s and very accomplished, Branson still says that he doesn’t want to retire and that there’s still so much for him to do – he’s still happy to work, travel, and explore.

I’ve met and interviewed Branson on a number of occasions and all I can say is that this mega-entrepreneur man is always quirky, never boring, beyond inspiring, and limitless!

I learned so much from him and realized a lot, especially when it comes to managing my business and team.  So here are a few success tips from Branson that I’ve adopted:

1. Hire people that bring skills you don’t have 

 

I surround myself with people who have knowledge and talents in areas where I might not be so well versed.

One of the smartest things you can do for your business is hiring people who can turn your weaknesses into strengths.

For example, digital marketing and SEO are vital elements for client acquisition in my business. Since those areas require a specific skill set to handle such tech, I would hire digital-savvy people to specifically look into the optimization of our online efforts to ensure and generate higher rankings and traffic towards my business.

From a business owners perspective, you can’t be perfect.

A lot of people possess transferable skills that you as an owner could implement. So looking for those individuals who can fill in those gaps could be a great asset to the growth of your business.

Think about the potential problems you could come across in some of the areas in your business and recruit someone with the capability of abrogating those issues in order to make the necessary improvements. Your Business will definitely benefit from having people with diverse skills and ideas that will not challenge and develop the company but will also contribute to its building foundation in the future.

will definitely help build and develop your company

Your business will definitely benefit from having diverse people with diverse skills and ideas to challenge and develop the company into the future.

2. Make business fun 

 

If you’re spending most of your life at work, it should not be a chore, it should be fun.

Dedication to fun’ is one of Branson’s philosophies that successfully cultivated the brand image and culture of the multinational corporation venture capital, ‘Virgin Group’.  One of Branson’s recommendations is breaking down barriers in your business’ corporate hierarchy through team-building, marathons, events, parties, and other initiatives that will enhance social connections that will help in maintaining a comfortable vibe and atmosphere for the team to brainstorm and share ideas openly.

Every week, you spend more time with your colleagues than your family – which means, the office almost becomes your second home.  If the work environment is not fun and running on a cut-throat culture – not to mention the pressures, KPIs to be met, and frustrations from clients – would you be excited to come to work? Would you be creative and productive?

It will surely be depressing for you.

Create a culture where your team members would love to work and allow them to laugh. In my office, I always encourage my team members to play music, brainstorm over chocolate croissants and cheese sticks (because that’s what I love to eat), doodle on the whiteboard, engage in various activities/games during our sales meeting, capture their office moments and post on social media, laugh over crazy ideas, and so on – things that I know will trigger their creativity and positive energies.

When I see my team members enjoying what they do, it makes me proud, happy, and excited to work with them every day.

3. Marketing is key 

 

You can create business, choose a name, but unless people know about it, you’re not going to sell any products.

Imagine this – you can always have the best product in the world and spend so much time crafting the packaging and yet, no one would know or hear about it. If that’s the case,  your product isn’t going anywhere.  How you invest in marketing your product is so crucial, that’s why you should never take it for granted.

Just like Branson, I too believe in the power of marketing – especially, inbound marketing. Businesses could take advantage of marketing trends and venues to be ahead of the game. Some of these trends are; social media, live-streaming and influencer marketing that are growing rapidly in this continuously evolving world we live in today.

Having the craziest ideas and right strategies are the simplest way to draw attention to your business.Don’t think what’s the cheapest way to do it, the fanciest way to do it, or the fastest way to do it. You want people to remember your brand. You need to execute that WOW factor into your product and brand.

4. Your team is everything! 

 

Treat your team like family.

Making your team a top priority can bring benefits for both your customers and investors. As to how Branson further explains it,

It should go without saying, if the person who works at your company is 100% proud of the brand and you’ve given them the tools to do a good job and they are treated well, they’re going to be happy. Effectively, in the end, shareholders do well, the customers do better, and your staff remains happy.

The success of your business relies on your entire team.  When you care for and treat your team like family, your team will make the effort to go that extra mile and in turn becomes more productive. Additionally, you will establish mutual trust and respect whilst ensuring that the interest of the business is looked after.

5. Diversify

 

You should never be afraid to diversify if you are in a position to do so because nothing stays ever exactly the same.

Richard Branson is the prime example of a diversified success.  With the first launching of his first business, ‘The Student Magazine’ in the 1960s, to the launching of ‘Virgin Records’ and other ventures under the Virgin brand, Branson is a proof that implementing diversification as a business strategy really does work.

Don’t put your eggs in one basket.

As for me, I’m able to diversify by venturing into complementary businesses (example: an agency that supply MCs or hosts and an academy that teaches individuals or management professionals how to be good at public speaking), as well as in e-learning and e-commerce.

As an individual, you can also diversify by investing your savings in properties or small businesses.  Diversifying is good because if you lose one thing, you don’t lose everything.

6. Attitude and perspective is everything

 

Stay positive; attitude is everything.

I think, one of the most vital steps you can take towards achieving your greatest potential in life is learning how to monitor your attitude and how it impacts yourself, what you do, and the people around you.

Attitude and perspective are like the foundation and backbone behind personal success.  There will be tough times.  Things may not work in your favor.  Business may not be progressing as expected.  Projects may not be coming to actuality. But whatever happens, stay optimistic, stay focused, and stay enthusiastic.  It’s attitude and perspective that make tough times manageable.

Also, adopt an attitude of gratitude.  When you start the gratitude practice, not only you tend to exude and share that positive energy but also you’ll see that all of a sudden things start to fall into place for you and your business.

7. Perfection is unattainable

 

There’s an inherent danger in letting people think that they have perfected something. When they believe they’ve ‘nailed it’, most people tend to sit back and rest on their laurels while countless others will be laboring furiously to better their work.

Branson has the right attitude when it comes to perfection, and this point made is a truly genius one.  Many people think that once they believe they’ve perfected something, they can sit back and relax.  Whilst you’re slacking, others are working very hard and they will soon surpass you if you just lay back and let them.

So, I think it’s OK to never give anyone a 100% perfect review of their work.  I believe that no matter how brilliantly conceived something is, there is always room for improvement.

8. Be a leader, not a boss

 

Perhaps, therefore, it is odd that if there is any one phrase that is guaranteed to set me off it’s when someone says to me,

‘Okay, fine. You’re the boss!’

What irks me is that in 90 percent of such instances what that person is really saying is,

‘Okay, then, I don’t agree with you but I’ll roll over and do it because you’re telling me to. But if it doesn’t work out I’ll be the first to remind everyone that it wasn’t my idea.’

Admit it – at one point when you started your business, you’re so excited to be a “boss” and look into leading and managing people.  But, it takes more than just bossing people around to be a leader.

While a leader can be a boss, not every boss can be a leader.  Although leaders and bosses have nearly identical definitions, in effect, they are different in substance and approach.  As such, a leader motivates than terrify; a leader listens and speaks rather than command.

Each week, I sit down with my team and discuss their accomplishments and backlogs from the previous week.  I always take this opportunity to redirect their focus to their weekly goals and objectives, to help them practice self-awareness and gauge their performance on their own, and to motivate them to become more.  Knowing that I’m leading my team towards the right direction, that in itself is an achievement for me.

I hope that you’ll apply these simple yet very powerful ideas to your life and business.  Once you did, feel free to share with me the significant effects and changes that you’ve experienced.  I’d be delighted to read them!

Let’s keep things fun and keep going,

Shereen

How to Make a Killer First Impression

Did you know that the moment you meet someone new, they’ve already made an impression about you?  It just takes one tenth of a second.  Everyone judges, consciously or subconsciously – it’s human nature and uncontrollable.  It’s just the way our minds work.

I’ll give you some time to take that in.

Done?

I’m sure you realized the extreme importance of making a lasting and killer first impression and I’m going to show you 5 of ways how:

1. Dress to Impress

Take the time to put in thought and effort into your dressing.  Make sure your clothes are ironed and clean because you think we don’t notice – but we do.  More so, be aware and appropriate of how you’re dressing and for what.  For example, if you’re going into a business meeting, don’t wear short skirts that rise above the knee or wear a shirt that could potentially be showing your cleavage.

It’s not a good look.

Be appropriate and conscious of the message you want to send out to your boss and coworkers.

The colors you have different psychological effects on how other people perceive you too.  For example wearing red expresses power, black represents formal and blue shows that you’re a team player.

Check out my article here on power dressing.

2. Show Confidence

This doesn’t mean be arrogant or egoistic because that can switch people off quicker than you think.

It means be confident in the sense where you’re comfortable in your skin.

Show other people that you’re not nervous and that you’re perfectly content with yourself in the current situation.  It makes you look more approachable and reliable as well, it exudes responsible traits and in return.

If you’re not a very confident person, being conscious of all these things will psychologically start making you actually feel it.

A great way to show confidence is through smiling. Smiling is welcoming, makes the other person feel comfortable and portrays you as someone who is trustworthy.

I’ve recently written an article on the power of a smile and it’s incredible the effects that it can have on someone.

3. Be Conscious About Your Body Language

Similarly to confidence, make sure you’re conscious of your body posture as it speaks for itself.  The way you walk and hold your back can show confidence and gives off an authoritative vibe to others.

One example of this is keeping your shoulders square when you’re talking to someone new which makes you look natural and relaxed.

Avoid fidgeting as it shows that you’re either nervous or intimidated which will subconsciously and naturally give the other person a feel of power over you.

Another important aspect to remember is to keep eye contact when you’re talking to someone.  Be conscious about if you’re focused on the other person and what they’re saying but at the same time don’t make it look like you’re staring.

Match your eye contact with your overall facial expression.

4. Have the Perfect Handshake

Your handshake can say it all.

A lot of people aren’t conscious about their handshake but it’s surprisingly important aspect of making a first impression.

You may think that because it’s subtle it has little effect but in reality and psychologically, having a firm handshake shows strong character and portrays strength enhancing positive feelings in the other person.

According to Dr. Douglas Fields in an article called ‘The Power of a Handshake’, non-verbal and physical touch allows our mind to tap into the other person’s mind,

This communication through touch and body language conveys vital information through a rich unconscious and universal language that transcends spoken language.

Take politicians as an example, they exude power and all their campaigns and meetings start and end with a strong handshake.

5. Be Culturally Aware

Let’s take it a step further. In our globalized world today, we have the privilege of meeting people from all around the world.  It’s important to educate ourselves in being aware of other people’s traditions and cultures.

First impressions can differ greatly based on who you’re meeting.  Furthermore, when you’re culturally aware, the other person highly appreciates the fact that you took the time to actually familiarize yourself with their traditions – and that leaves a great impression.

Some examples of this is how in the West, a strong handshake symbolizes strength and authority while in some African cultures, a weaker handshake expresses the same message.

Another example is of if you’re in an Islamic country where there different culture to the West, men have to be aware about not giving out their hand first and instead waiting for the woman to initiate as some cultures are more conservative.

Bringing It Altogether,

In essence, body language and gestures can easily tell a person a lot about someone’s character.  When you make a first impression, that sticks with the other person and for the time that they talk to you, subconsciously, they keep trying to justify why they made that first impression through the way you carry yourself in the conversation.

Being conscious about your body, your words and your thoughts while expressing confidence can help you greatly in making a killer first impression.

There are no second chances in making a first impression.

5 Ways Smart People Deal With Difficult People

We all face difficult people. While some come across them every now and again, the unlucky ones have to deal with them on a daily basis whether it’s in the workplace or at home. It can be pretty easy to lose your calm and cool because difficult people can be very challenging to deal with. At times, it can go as far as affecting our perfectly good day.

I’m going to share with you 5 effective ways on how to deal with ‘energy-drainers’.

1. Realize and Set Your Intention

 

Some people may argue that your intention doesn’t really matter as much as the outcome; however, in the big scheme of things our intentions really do matter because they color our actions.  Your intentions have a big influence on the way you act – consciously or subconsciously.

When dealing with a challenging person, stop and think to yourself about what your intention is towards them.

Is it to hurt them?

Is it to understand them?

Is it just to get the job done?

Your intentions are a great guide for your thoughts and actions and setting them can stop you from falling back into old patterns of reactions or negativity that you may have had.

Your intentions come out to be a great ‘guide’ for what you’re thinking and for how you want to act.  Once you’ve identified what kind of a response you want out of the person, it can also help you from falling back into times when you let your negativity or reactions get the better of you.

Once you pinpoint what your objective is, that’s when you can start trying different means to reach that end goal.  Depending on what it is that you’re trying to get out of them, you have to understand what makes them responsive.

2. Listen to What They Have to Say

 

A huge part of being a good communicator is knowing how to listen.

Sometimes when we’re so busy reacting, we forget to actually listen.  Once you start listening to understand instead of to just reply, you might realize that there’s a reason why they’re being the way they are.  It could be because they’re just going through a breakup, a personal family issue or even something to do with at work.

A lot of people don’t feel comfortable voicing their problems to others, and some don’t feel like they have anyone to talk to.  By putting yourself in a position of wanting to listen to what’s bothering them, you’re already helping out making the situation better.

Allowing them to share their thoughts and opinions on things can actually go a long way.  Be open to have them say their part and show a genuine interest in what they have to say through making eye contact and even going the extra mile to ask questions.

3. Pick Your Battles

 

Personally, I’d call this a skill because not a lot of people know how to do it.

Picking your battles means that not everything deserves your reaction.  Sometimes even when you think you’re right, it’s wiser to keep quiet because not all individuals who are difficult require confrontation about their behavior.

According to Psychology Today, there are two situations under which you have to make a decision on whether or not to get involved.

For example if you’re dealing with a co-worker that you don’t get along with but is a good team member, you should take the high road.  If you’re dealing with someone temporarily, it’s worth not getting involved because this person won’t have any power over you later.

4. Be Relatable

 

It may take trial and error, depending on person-to-person and the ‘degree of difficulty’, however, it’s certainly not impossible.  Everyone has a trigger point or something that just makes him or her ‘tick’.

Based on whom it is you’re dealing with, you should be able to have close idea on what’s going to make them respond.  For example, if it’s a boss, talk to them about all the progress you’re making before asking for something, if it’s a sibling, do something that they like and enjoy to get them in a better mood and so forth.

By being relatable, you’re creating a genuine connection between yourself and the other person and you bring out the other person’s want to connect with you, too.

It creates a common ground for people between each other and makes others feel like they’re not alone.  For example, have you ever felt like you were the only one but then felt a genuine connection towards someone who shared a similar experience or opinion?

That’s what I mean.

5. Set Consequences

 

The last resort is to set consequences for their actions.  Respond with your actions rather than trying to discuss and talk out your problems.  Being able to assert consequences for others’ actions requires a lot of confidence and patience.

Similar to what you do with children, setting consequences can be a necessary response to unacceptable behavior.  People are more likely to repeat the behavior if you don’t draw boundaries of respect.  Drawing boundaries and sticking to them will force the other person to abide if they still want to be around you.

Above all, don’t feel guilty for setting boundaries and consequences.  You may feel the other person trying ways to make you feel bad for what you’re doing, for example, by trying to emotionally blackmail you and play the victim card but focus on the end result and rise above how difficult it might potentially be.

To Wrap it Up

Like I said, everyone comes across difficult people in their lives at one point or another.  It’s inevitable and that’s why it’s important to understand how we can deal with them.  Some are obnoxious, some might make you feel bad about yourself and some might actually get in the way of your growth.

Whoever they are or however they are, there is one thing they all have in common – that they have to be addressed and dealt with.