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What You Need to Do DURING the Interview to Guarantee Success

How to get a job, interview help, job advice

Now the final part in the interview series.  In case you missed the first two parts, you can read Part 1 and Part 2 here.

You know how to prepare for the interview and some of the behaviors to use during the interview.  In part 3 I’m going to teach you how to give a winning interview.

The Company

When you are chosen to interview, the company has already decided that you have the skills necessary to perform the job.  The purpose of the interview is to determine if you are a fit for the company and the team.

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To win over the interviewer, you need to convince them that the company has won you over.  Do your research.  Find out everything you can about the company.

You need to know who their competitors are and more about the industry.  What do they sell?  Who do they sell too?

Then you should learn about the particular group or division that you are interviewing for.

Once you do that, you will have a better idea of how this new role will fit into the company.

Tell Me About Yourself

After the interviewer introductions, the next step is to talk about your self.  The interviewer will typically ask you to take them through all of your experience on your resume.

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Your interview will be won or lost during this crucial period.

  1. First, you need to prepare for this question days in advance.  This is not something that you can just “wing”.  It will define how the rest of the interview will go.
  2. Second, you should spend between 3 and 5 minutes going through everything.  Any shorter, and it will seem like your experience is not as extensive as it should be.  Any longer, you will loose their attention and appear as if you’re rambling.
  3. Next, describe yourself as the perfect candidate.  Talk about the parts of your past positions that are the most similar to the one you’re applying for.  The interviewer needs to feel like you have already done the job they are interviewing you for.  Do not spent time going through the experience that does not apply to this job.  You should understand what the hiring manager needs so you can present yourself as the solution.

Tell Me About a Time

Almost every interview that I’ve done included one of these questions.  The interviewer asks you to tell them about a time you did something great and another time when you failed at something.

When talking about your accomplishments, you can mention something that may already be on your resume, but go into more detail.  Or you can take the opportunity to bring up something they may not know about you.

For your failure, they are looking for a few things as you answer this question.  First, they want to know how you handle acknowledging a failure.  Are you able to admit failure or are you full of excuses?

Second, they want to know how you solved the problem.  You need to demonstrate that you are resourceful, act quickly and intelligently.

Lastly, they are looking to see that you have grown from the experience.  What have you done to ensure that won’t happen again?

Ask Questions

At the end of the interview, you are given the opportunity to ask questions about the position.  The questions that you ask will help you make an impression on the interviewer.

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Job Interview

Asking questions, and asking the right questions, accomplishes a few things:

  1. It shows that you’re interested in the position.  It separates you from the people who just want the job for short-sighted reasons.  The interviewer wants to hire someone actually interested in the particulars of the job.  There are people who want a new job simply to escape their current job or make more money.
  2. Next, asking questions shows that you’ve taken the time to prepare for this interview.  It demonstrates your ability to plan and prepare for things that are important.  If you can’t handle this, why would they hire you and trust you to do a good job in the new role.
  3. Finally, asking the RIGHT questions shows your expertise.  In order to ask the right questions about the new role, you need to have some general knowledge about it.  This implies that you’ve already done your research.

This is where doing your research will pay off.  If you are familiar with the company and the department, you can have an informed discussion about them.  Being able to intelligently discuss them will make you more memorable and the hiring manager can already picture you in the role.

So remember…

Do your research

Practice your narrative

Prepare your accomplishments and failures

Ask questions

If you do these things well, you will have an effective and memorable interview.  That is the key to getting a job offer.

Don’t forget to subscribe for your free resume template and career outline, as well as more career advice and helpful tips.


3 Behaviors You Can Learn Today to Use During Your Next Interview

Career Advice, Career Intellect, Interview Tips
Two Successful African American Businesspeople Shaking Hands At Office

Welcome to the second part of our three part interview series!  In the first part to this series, I shared how you should prepare for the interview.  There are things you need to plan for leading up to the interview and on the day of the interview.

When you map these steps out and execute them, you set yourself up for success in the interview.

What happens during the interview is obviously the most important part of the process.  If you have been chosen to interview, the hiring manager knows you can do the job.  They are only evaluating how well you fit into the team.


The moment you meet the interviewer, you are being judged.  The idea of making a great first impression has never been more true.

The best thing you can do when you meet the interviewer is smile.  Your smile has a big impact on their impression of you.  It should be genuine and with teeth showing.

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As soon as you enter the building, you should have a smile on your face.  When you greet the security guard/receptionist, they should see a big smile on your face.

Be friendly with anybody in the waiting area.  First, starting off with a big smile will make it easier to maintain this mood throughout the interview.

Second, you don’t know what the interviewer looks like.  What if you start off with a scowl and the interviewer has been in the lobby waiting on you?  If you try to change a sour face to a smile, it won’t go over well.  The frown will have already done its damage.

When you meet each interviewer, give them a big smile and handshake.  Repeat their name back to them to help you remember it.  Give the usual “Hi ______, It’s nice to meet you”, etc.

You may meet multiple people so it is important that you give each person just as much attention.  It is easy to focus on the person with the highest rank.

Behavior During the Interview

When you get into the interview, your body language is going to speak as loudly as you do.  There are some important things that you need to do, and avoid doing.  According to Business Insider, body language can help “communicate your fit for the job”.

When an interviewer is speaking, maintain eye contact.  This sounds like common sense, however, the trick is to not make it awkward.  The key is your behavior.

While you’re making eye contact, maintain a slight smile.  Nod while they are speaking to let them know you are paying attention.  Don’t be afraid to add an “ok” every so often as you are following their question.  These behaviors make it more conversation-like and less like you’re being interrogated.

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Secondly, as you’re giving your answers continue to maintain eye contact.  If there are multiple people in the room, as you’re speaking consistently move your focus from one person to the next.

When you maintain eye contact with some one, it demonstrates your confidence.  It shows you are well prepared and believe in your answers.

Posture is just as important as eye contact.  If you deliver the answers and are slouched over, it gives the impression that you are not interest in the position.  Sitting up straight is a sign of intelligence, confidence and credibility.

Job History

The first two topics above are important in determining your personality traits and how well you interact with people.  However, the next part of the interview is going to be even more important.

You will be asked to talk about all of your prior positions, but how you talk about those positions is going to make all of the difference.

When talking about your prior roles, the interviewer is going to be looking at these things:

  1. Similarity of your old job to the new job.
  2. Your communication skills.
  3. Your confidence about those previous roles.

This is your opportunity to sell yourself to the interviewer.  Everything that the interview knows about you is from your resume.  You now have the opportunity to frame that experience is a positive light.

When you are going through your resume, you do not have to give every single detail.  Take the time and rehearse your response because you want to sound confident and be concise.

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The Balance recommends that you focus on your accomplishments at your previous jobs.  Specifically, you should focus on demonstrating that you have the skills required in the position you’re applying for.

The interviewer should leave with the impression that you have done exactly what they would need you to do in the new role.  Remember, they are looking for someone to solve a problem.  They should know that you are the exact person they are looking for.

You are selling yourself to the interviewers so your delivery is just as important as what you’re selling.  They need to know that you can communicate clearly and concisely.  This is why taking the time to practice will pay off.

You should be able to go through your entire resume in 3 to 5 minutes.  Any longer, you may be rambling and may loose their attention.  If you finish too quickly, it seems like you don’t have enough relative accomplishments.





Job History

These are the main components of the interview and you should prepare for them well in advance of the interview.  This will be your first face to face impression on the interviewer and first impressions are very important.

Please subscribe above so you don’t miss the final part in my interview series.



Use These Interview Tips Today to Get Your Next Job: Part 1

Career, Career Advice, Career Tips, Job, Job Interview, Resume

Interviewing is the most important step in the job search process, but also the most difficult.  You can take you time and create a great resume, LinkedIn profile and job application.  However, an interview is real-time and there are no edits so you must get it right the first time.

People spend little time learning how to interview, even though it is so important.  You need to take time to perfect your interview skills.  By the time you get an interview, you will not have a lot of time to perfect these skills.

In this series, I will go through how to prepare for the interview, what to do during the interview and what to do after.  What you have to learn are the behaviors you need to employ during this process.  The only way to ensure you have it down is to practice.

Scheduling The Interview

So, all of your hard work during the job search has paid off and a recruiter is calling you.  Now what?  Well, go ahead and answer the phone and then finish reading this article.

Let’s back up and pretend that your phone is not actually ringing.  While you’re going through the job application process, there are a few things you need to prepare for.  When you start to apply for jobs, you are now in the waiting game.  A recruiter could call you at anytime and you need to know what to tell them.

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This is an exciting time and you should already have an idea of how this first conversation will go.

There are a few things you should prepare for:

  1. Do not avoid blocked numbers
  2. Setup your voicemail with a professional message
  3. Know your calendar

Any call from a number that you do not recognize should be treated professionally, even if the number is blocked.  Some recruiters do not want you to have their direct phone number so it may appear as blocked or private.

Also, you should make sure your voicemail is setup and you have a professional message.  The company’s first experience communicating with you should be positive.

If you are currently employed or have other obligations during the day, you need to stay aware of the times during the next week that you have free.  At the beginning of the week, have a look at your work and personal calendar so you know when you will not be free during the week.

There are times throughout your day or week that are free of scheduling conflict.  Make sure you are aware of them during your job search.  This will make scheduling easier while you’re on the phone with the recruiter.  Having a good idea of your schedule will reduce the odds that you will have to contact the recruiter to reschedule the interview.

It is not a bad thing to have to reschedule an interview, but it is not ideal.  You do not want to appear unorganized and it can be difficult to get the recruiter back on the phone.

Taking Time Off

When interviewing for a new company, you still have to be mindful of the needs of your current employer.  If you do not get the new job, you do not want to risk losing the job you have.

There are a few things you need to keep in mind when interviewing:

  1.  Don’t pretend you’re sick
  2. Be creative with taking time off
  3. Maintain a good relationship with your current employer

You do not want to risk earning the reputation of being unreliable.  While most employers cannot fire you for calling in sick, the poor reputation is going to work against you in the future.

The right way to handle this is to schedule vacation time off.  Ideally you should give at least 48 hours notice, but more notice is preferable.  It is customary for a recruiter to allow up to 5 business days from the date they contacted you to schedule the interview.  The new company should know that and be ok giving you that much lead time.

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The obvious downside to taking vacation time off is that your run out of it.  You may have to be creative with your interview scheduling.  See if you can take half days off if your interview is not until the afternoon.  Or if it is in the morning, come into work after the interview.

This is one of the benefits of taking vacation instead of calling in sick.  There is a whole routine you have to go through when pretending to be sick.  Changing your voice on the phone, pretending you went to the doctor, trying to gauge when you should start to act like you’re well again.

Also, it is hard to pull off a half sick day, but nobody is going to question a half vacation day.  There is also no fear of being found out.  There is something more respectful about using your paid time off for a job search versus lying about being sick.

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Something else to consider is maintaining the relationship with your current employer.  If you start to take sick days off and then you get a new job, your current employer is going to know that you were interviewing the whole time.

When you are building your brand as a great employee, it is not good to have bridges burning in your background.  There has been a trend of recruiters asking for references when you apply for a job.  You do not want a bad relationship with a previous managers stand in the way of future opportunities for you.

What to Wear

Don’t worry, I’m not about to give you fashion advice.  However, I do want to talk about certain considerations that you should keep in mind when preparing for the interview.

First, you need to wear a suit.  For guys, this means slacks, a dress shirt, a tie and a jacket.  For ladies, anything with a nice blouse and a blazer.  Nice, professional shoes are also a must.

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Second, be mindful of the environment of the company for which you’re interviewing.  If you are interviewing at a company that is very conservative, you should tone down your outfit.  You do not want to come off as tacky or gaudy.

Do you remember the advice about giving 48 hours notice for the interview?  That will help you with the third tip regarding attire.  You should pick out and try on your entire outfit two days before the interview, down to the socks.

If you have an interview on Thursday, you need to know by Wednesday morning if you have to make any changes to it.  The last thing you want to do is find out the morning of the interview that your suit doesn’t fit or you can’t find the tie you were going to wear.

Your mind should be on preparing how you’re going to answer the interview questions.  These last minute issues will only distract you and ruin your concentration.

What to Bring

In an effort to appear organized and prepared, there are some necessary materials you should bring to the interview.

  1. Get a professional folio
  2. Bring resume copies
  3. Leave any extra materials in the car

You should bring a folio of some kind to carry your materials with you.  This would preferably be leather or some nice material.

Second, you should have multiple copies of your resume in the folio.  You don’t often get a chance to physically give somebody your resume, but this is a time where resume paper would be nice touch.

There should be enough copies for every interviewer plus one for yourself.  Most likely the interviewer will have their own printout of your resume, but showing that you have copies for them makes a good impression.

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Thirdly, you should have a printout of the instructions of what to do when you arrive for the interview.  The recruiter should have emailed you an address, name, and phone number of who you will meet with.

It is important to have this handy and to have a hard copy.  Don’t wait until you arrive to pull this information up on your phone.  You may run into data issues due to poor cell coverage.  Your phone battery may die, the phone could malfunction, you could lose the phone.  Yes, these situations aren’t very likely, but important days tend to be when the worst things happen.

Lastly, here is what not to bring.  When you’re wearing a nice suit, you don’t want to have bulges from your wallet and keys in your pockets.  Take out your drivers license and a credit/debit card and put them in the folio.

Leave the wallet and any extra keys or key chains in the car.  Take off the Fitbit and the smart watch.  The extra keys add bulk and noise.  All of these will also be distractions and take away from your appearance.  For ladies, use a smaller purse and remove anything you will not need or makes noise.

Logistics of Interview Day

How you start your interview day can have a big affect on your success during the interview.   The day of the interview needs to be planned very carefully to avoid unnecessary stress.

The biggest obstacle you have to overcome is timeliness.  Being late to the interview is going to seriously jeopardize your chances of being selected for the position.

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Why would anyone hire you if you do not take the interview seriously enough to be on time.  You are demonstrating that the interviewers time is not valuable.  You show them that you are not good with time management and are not well prepared.

Also, when you arrive late, you won’t have the composure and confidence you need during the interview.  You will be embarrassed and guilty which creates a tension in the room.  Tension is the wrong environment for a successful interview.

There are some things you need to do to keep this from happening.  First, you need to know exactly where the interview is and the best route to take.

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Google Maps and Waze provide the best directions (sorry Apple).  If you are not familiar with the area, I suggest mapping the route the day before, at the same time you would leave for the interview.

If you map the route at the interview time, you will know how long the drive takes in traffic and about any construction in the area.

Also, plan to leave 30 minutes earlier than the GPS suggests you to leave.  You may get to the interview well before you need to, but that is better than being one minute late.

Take this time to practice your answers to the interview questions.  Enter the building 10 minutes before your interview to allow time to go through security and get to the interview room.

To wrap up…

Know your calendar

Use vacation time

Dress appropriately

Only bring the minimum

Plan your route


I know this was a long post, but I wanted to go through as much detail as possible.  Be sure and subscribe so you don’t miss part two of the Interview Series.



5 Top Job Tips You Must Never Follow

Career, Career Advice, Career Tips, Job Tips, MBA, 401K

There is a lot of bad advice out there for people, especially regarding their careers.  We cannot go through all of them, but there are a few that I would like to dispel here. 

Passion at Work?

The most egregious example of giving bad advice is when you advise someone to find a job they are passionate about.  Okay, that statement sounds harmless, but it can have unintended consequences. 

Most of the time, this advice is offered to someone who is just starting out in their career.  If they are young and impressionable, they may value passion  above anything else.

A more experienced professional would understand that passion is a nice to have and a goal to work towards.  However, the priority for a professional is to find stable employment and then work their way into a career they can be passionate about. 

A Twenty-something straight out of college may not understand that trajectory.  They seek their ideal career and ignore other opportunities in the meantime.  Or worse, they get a job in the career they are passionate about only to realize they do not like it. 

According to 80000Hours.org ,  “Research shows we’re bad at predicting what will make us happiest ahead of time.”  Our interests do not translate well into real careers.

Also, you may not be willing to go through years of working your way up from the bottom to do what truly interests you.  For example, if you want to be a writer, it is not likely that you can just start writing novels and become famous.  It takes years of experience before you can get to the level of success you dream about.

Just Wait Until Review Time

Another piece of bad advice frequently offered is to wait until your performance review to express problems at work.  There is usually a time and a place for everything, but in this case the time is A.S.A.P.

However, that is the wrong opinion when it comes to expressing a concern about your manager or work environment.  Your company probably requires an annual review, maybe even a semi-annual review.  But waiting all year or 6 months to discuss something that is happening at work is a mistake.

Your review time should not be the only time to talk about issues at work.  Do not be afraid to schedule a meeting with your manager or a senior manager to address any concerns. 

If you are considering bringing this up during a review or formal meeting, then it is probably affecting your work daily.  Any manager will tell you that now is always the best time to solve a problem with a co-worker or a manager.  Nobody benefits from letting these problems fester and become serious problems.

Get Your MBA

An MBA has become the symbol of success for those of us in corporate America.  For a long time it represented prestige, expensive suits and corner offices.  This is not the case anymore.

The first problem was market saturation.  The majority of colleges and universities began to offer MBAs.  The MBA became necessary for anybody serious about their career in business. 

Then the economy crashed in 2008.  We had a generation of young people who were not able to find jobs due to competition in the labor market.  The answer…go back to school and get your MBA.

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Today, I can’t throw a stick without hitting 3 MBAs, and that’s just in my isle.  The job market continues to be just as competitive, but now you are competing with herds of other MBA’s.

However, companies searching for talent have also noticed this trend, which brings us to the next problem.  We have a generation of highly educated candidates who have little applicable experience. 

The promise of performance that the MBA symbolizes no longer persuades hiring managers and recruiters.  They look for experience and results.  They want to know how you have used your education to make a difference to your company. 

Before pursuing your MBA take the time to weigh the costs and benefits specific to you.  I review a number of considerations in an earlier article here.

Climb the Corporate Ladder

There is nothing new about the idea of progressing into more senior positions throughout your career.  However, I feel like we take the idea too literally. 

It makes sense that we start out as an analyst, become a senior analyst, then associate, etc. The more experience we have in a particular area makes us qualified to do more in that area.


Although, I do not think that progression is always so simple and following that path may hurt your career progress.  Obtaining experience in one discipline only prepares you to continue doing more of that discipline.  At some point, the more senior position will require a different skillset.

As you climb past the analyst/specialist level, you quickly realize that work becomes more complex.  You have to work with other groups, solve unique problems, or understand how your work affects other departments.  This becomes more difficult if your experience is only vertical. 

Often, senior executives have experience in numerous areas and even different companies.  According to The Musebroad experience gives you the type of perspective you need in a senior role.

What this diverse experience provides is Transferable Skills, which I go into more here .  This allows you to progress further in your career, and it will help you when you lose your job.

Stick it out for a Year or Two

It would be difficult to go through the process of getting a new job only to realize that it was a mistake.  When we decide to pursue a new opportunity, we are excited and hopeful about the new role.  It is not easy to admit that the job is not a good fit.

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The standard advice in this situation is … something about lying in a bed that you have made.  However, that is not good advice.  The decision to remain in a position that you are not happy with can have adverse effects on your career.

Your performance will suffer in this role if you are unhappy.  If you are not performing at your best, you will not get the full benefits of this job experience. You also run the risk of losing your job by not doing your best work.

When you are sure this role will not be a good fit, the best course of action is to start looking for another job. Make sure you have been in the role a month or more and have tried all you can do to make the situation better.

According to The Ladders, the best thing you can do is move quickly. Trust your instincts and begin to work on updating your resume. Be honest on your resume, and learn how to address the quick exit.

When recruiters ask why you are leaving the company so soon, express that it was not a good fit and you decided to leave. You do not have to go into detail and do not be defensive. Practice what you are going to say, because how you deliver this information is just as important as what you say.

So to wrap up…

  1. Passion is a goal to work towards, not a requirement
  2. Don’t hold your tongue until time for reviews
  3. An MBA is not what it once was
  4. The Corporate Ladder is crooked
  5. If things are bad, bail out

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Start Investing Now Using These Tips

Career Advice, Career Tips, Job Tips, 401K, Investment

So you’ve decided to start investing in your future, now what?  The investing world can be daunting at first, but some basic knowledge can go a long way toward understanding.

Where to Put Your Money


Disclaimer:  The information provided here is opinion and does not offer a guarantee on the success of the below investment strategy.

You may have been introduced to investing through your company’s 401K plan.  This is a great place to start for a few reasons.

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To be successful with investing, you need to make it automatic.  You should not have to decide every month how much to invest and in what.

The second benefit of a 401K is automatic diversification.  Diversifying your investments is very important and most 401K’s do not allow individual stock picking.  Your investment choices mainly consist of mutual funds, which are great for diversification.

Thirdly, about 42% of companies offer a 401K match.  Regardless of the match percentage, it is still free money they are giving you just for investing in your future.

Even if your company does not offer a match, the contributions are pre-tax in a traditional 401K.  A Roth 401K is an after-tax contribution option, but is usually offered in addition to the pre-tax option.

The benefit to a Roth 401K is that you are not taxed at withdrawal.  However, you can only make contributions after-tax.  These were created to provide tax relief to retirees.  Paying income taxes on your retirement income adds undue stress to a fixed income budget.

Other Options

If you’re really looking to maximize your savings, then you will need a stand-alone investment account.

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There are some great benefits to having a 401K, but there are also restrictions.  A 401K was created to assist people with retirement.  Therefore, you cannot freely access those funds until you’re 59 1/2.

Also, you are limited to how much you can save every year.  When 401K’s were created, pensions still existed and Social Security wasn’t in jeopardy.  It was great as a supplement to those things, but not the primary investment mechanism.

Saving money is always important, whether it be for your emergency fund or a vacation fund.  You should have a few months of your emergency fund in cash, however the rest should be earning a good rate of return.

Create a stand-alone investment account and begin to contribute on a monthly basis.  If you don’t have a cash emergency fund, continue to build that while building your investment savings.

Again, this account should be automatically funded every month.  Saving for your future should not be an option and you shouldn’t have to think about it.  Even if you can only afford $5, it is never too soon to start.

How Much to Invest

The more money you invest and the earlier you start ultimately determines what you will have at retirement.  The decision on what percentage to invest starts with your end goal.  Here are some examples.

Assume you start a 401K at age 30 with $0 and earn a 7% return and 5% employer match until the age of 65.  You receive an annual raise of 2% throughout your career.  If you contribute to your 401K at 5%, you will have $675K when you retire.

With the same set of assumptions, if you contribute 7%, that amount jumps to $855K.  To really see a million dollar nest-egg, contribute 10% to retire with $1.1M by age 65.

Diversification Strategy


The benefits of diversification are to ensure your assets do not loose value from market movements.  All assets have value and wealth is created when these values increase.  Within a group of assets, the more they are unrelated, the better the chance their values won’t all change at the same time.

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There are multiple types of diversification, but primarily you can diversify by Asset Class, Company or Industry.  Examples of Asset Classes are Stocks, Bonds and Real Estate.  Your 401K should ideally be diversified by Asset, Company and Industry.

The best way to accomplish this is through Index Funds.  An example of an index is the S&P 500, or the Dow Jones Industrial Average.  Index Funds are pools that contain the stocks from every company within that particular index.

You have to ability to invest in a portion of this pool, and you will not be affected much by the movement on 1 or 2 stocks or industries.  Diversification by company and industry is satisfied with investments in index funds.

The strategy of diversification by asset class can be accomplished by investing in REIT’s.  A REIT is a Real Estate Investment Trust and the fund consists of multiple income generating properties.  Whether or not the value of the property increases, the fund receives the benefit of cash flow from tenants.

Now that you have both REITs and Index Funds in your portfolio, you are diversified in types of assets and industries.

So again…

Start a 401K at work and contribute as much as you can afford

Open a second investment account

Make your contributions automatic

Establish this diversification strategy in both accounts


Follow these steps and you can live wealthy and retire rich.

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 What Do You Need to Ensure Job Security?


Transferable skills.  I know that seems to be the new buzz phrase everywhere you look on LinkedIn and with recruiters, but what’s all the fuss about?


So first, let’s define transferable skills.  They are “talents and abilities that can be used in different careers”. Pretty simple huh?

Ok, let me give you some examples:  Communication, Leadership, Listening, Time Management. These are some  general skills at which everybody needs to be good, whether you’re a Doctor or an Accountant.

The more relevant transferable skills are ones that are from your specific industry.  When you are applying for a new role within your industry, the recruiter is going to look for skills relevant to the new job.  According to Career Builder, transferable skills “are key to landing any new job”.

If you work in Finance and use Excel everyday, whatever new position you apply for will most likely also use Excel.  If you have developed project management skills, managing projects for a new company will be a very similar task.

Research Relevant Skills

Now that you have a better idea of what transferable skills are, you should figure out which specific competencies are relevant to jobs in your industry.  One of the best ways you can do this is to research job descriptions.

Search for jobs that you would want to transition into next or in the future.  Make note of the job requirements.  You’ll want to look for skills that frequently appear, even across companies.  The industry has deemed these important to have for someone performing this function.

Repeat this until you have a list of at least 4 or 5.  Now you know what you will need to learn to be more competitive for your next position.

Next, you need to separate the skills that will require additional education from those that require additional experience.

Knowledge Acquisition


When it comes to the skills that require education, there are a couple paths you can take.  These will differ based on the extent of the education required.

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If you noticed that all of the positions you have researched require a specific bachelors or masters degree, that is your next step.  If the job is in your long-term career path and it requires a degree that you don’t have, you need to enroll and complete the degree.  Now, this is no small task so I encourage you to research this extensively due to the time and monetary commitment involved.

For skills that are less extensive, make use of your online resources that are much cheaper, or even free.  Software skills, for example, can be obtained through Lynda, Udemy, Coursera or other similar teaching websites.  Even for the paid training, you may only spend $10 to $25.

As the training gets more extensive, so do the prices, so a flat monthly rate service like Lynda may be a smarter option.  They also have a wide range of courses that go beyond Excel and HTML, such as Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Writing, even Photography.

If you need some more formal coursework, consider your local community college.  They may even have some continuing education courses you can take to get the expertise or education you need.

Experience Acquisition

When you were doing your research, you may have come across skills with additional criteria.  You may need to know the skill and have so many years of experience with it.

That is difficult for you to acquire in a class setting.  One option is a work share program.  There may be departments in your company that use these skills/software and may need outside help at times.  Volunteer to assist so you’ll have the opportunity to be trained on that skill.

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An added benefit is you will be seen as someone who is eager to learn and help.  However, you must ensure everything with your current department/responsibilities is taken care of first.

There are many cases where you can obtain the experience within your own department.  If you lack Excel or SQL experience, find a way to use those products to improve your daily processes.  You’ll look like a hero for being innovative and you have something you can add to the resume.

To sum up,

  1. Understand what transferable skills are
  2. Research the ones relevant to you
  3. Acquire the knowledge
  4. Acquire the experience

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How to Execute an Internal Job Move Perfectly

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When you are ready to pursue a new job, there are a lot of benefits to applying internally.  The most obvious benefit can be summed up as Goodwill.

Goodwill is the value attached to all the good faith you have earned with your company.  It is the trust you have earned, the connections you have made, the company’s proprietary internal systems you’ve learned.  All of this makes you more effective and more valuable to your company.

Know Your Plan

Before beginning the search or application process, you should have created your short and long term career map.  I go into how to do that here.  Whatever position that you are considering should align with your career map.

When you begin interviewing for new positions, the first thing a recruiter will ask you is why you are leaving your current position.  This question is even more important when looking internally.

It is ok to look for a new position in another group, but the new role needs to help drive your career forward.  Switching to a new team because of a negative reason, aka, a problem with your current team, is a red flag to a new manager.  An internal hiring manager will have access to your previous performance reviews and may speak directly to your current manager.

Internal job moves are not afforded the same privacy as an external search.  You need to be comfortable enough with your reason for leaving to be able to discuss it with your current manager.  Having this new position as part of a long-term career goal will provide you with all the reasons you need.

Know Your Target

So the job that you are pursuing is on your career map…but are you ready for it?  You should be able to check off at least 70% of the job requirements on the job description.  If not, you’re not ready for this move.

However, that does not mean that you should not apply for it.  Expressing interest in a role that is firmly in your career map shows that you’re ambitious.

Even if you do not get it, the effort tells your current manager that you’re ready for more responsibility.

Preparing for the Transition


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There are a number of steps you should take to prepare for a move into a new position.  The first thing you should do is make sure that this is the right position for you.

The most effective way to do this is through an informal interview. Reach out to someone who is in the position or department that you are interested in joining.  Set up a meeting and prepare a set of questions to ask them about their job and their background.

Understanding the background of somebody already working there gives you an idea of the types of people working in those positions.  Also, hearing from somebody already doing the work tells you what to expect.

Another even less formal approach is to shadow this person while they are working.  Doing a job shadow gives you a chance to see what your target job is on a daily basis.  This “Life in the day” experience is the closest many people get to experiencing the position itself.

You will know what skills you need to sharpen to qualify for the role. Getting this advanced look gives you time to acquire or improve on any necessary skills so you can be competitive when the time comes to apply.

Mold Your Resume

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As always, you want to begin creating this resume based on your existing resume that has already been perfected. Follow my guidance here.  However, what is different now so the fact that you know your target audience.

When you are tailoring your resume to an internal position, you can be more specific. The internal hiring manager is going to be familiar with the systems you have used.  They are familiar with projects that you’ve worked on in the past.

Adding more specificity to your resume for these internal postings will give you an advantage over external candidates.  Your experience will likely be more relevant than the external candidates.

So, to recap

  1. Know your plan
  2. Know your target
  3. Prepare for the transition
  4. Update your resume appropriately

There are many benefits to applying to an internal job, but ensuring that you execute it correctly can make all the difference.

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What You Need Today to Start Achieving Long-Term Career Success

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One of the most important things that you can do to help you advance your career is to create a plan.  With any challenge, setting clear, and S.M.A.R.T. goals is the best way to ensure your success.

Having a successful career is surely a huge challenge for most of us.  The key to career success is to have both a short-term and long-term career map.

With anything you want to achieve, you have to have a clear end goal before you can map out the process.  Your career is not different.  So, you need to define what position you want to end up with at the height of your career.

According to CNN Money, Gen Xers and Millennials tend to change careers twice as often as baby boomers.  So I suggest you make this position something you can achieve within 20 years.  Going beyond that time-frame would not be a realistic goal.

Big Dreams

When you think about a new job, you may tend to pick a specific job title.  However, if you are mapping out your career plan, it is more important to define the characteristics of the target job.

Job titles tend to change and morph over time so the responsibilities of the job today may not exist in 20 years.  For your 20 year job, you need to list the things about that role that make it attractive to you.

What type of company will you work for?  What will your responsibilities be?  Will you have direct reports?  What will your work-life balance look like?

These are the types of things you should be thinking about for a 20 year time period.

Your Mid-Career Goal

In order to ensure success in your career, you career map needs to be very detailed.  Part of this level of detail is a 3 tiered goal.  You need to have a 5 year, 10 year and a 20 year goal.

The shorter term goals need to have more detail than the longer term goals.  As such, the 10 year goal should answer the questions we asked about the 20 year job with more specificity.

You should understand your industry enough now to be able to identify specific companies in your line of work.  Part of your 10 year plan should be to list 5 companies that you would like to work for within 10 years.  You can include your current company as well.

At 20 years, it was difficult to narrow down a job title, however in 10 years little may change in terms of the names of positions.  Identify a handful of positions that you would like to hold within 10 years.  Hint, don’t name a position that is only one level up from your current one.  These goals should challenge you and moving up one level in 10 years is not going to push you to make big changes.

Now, you should take into consideration the fact that this position should be halfway or more to your 20 year goal.  If you are a VP and your 20 year goal is in the C-Suite, there aren’t very many positions between the two.  So you may only need to move up 1 or 2 levels in 10 years.

The 5 Year Plan

The plan for where you want your career to be in 5 years should be the easiest one.  It is always easier to plan for the short term when the long term has been mapped out.

Realistically, you may only have 1-3 promotions within a 5 year span.  You may already have an idea of what your next move is going to be.  Hopefully you have already been networking and positioning yourself for the next promotion.  These are the types of things you need to do for a 5 year plan.

You should be thinking about who can you learn from to help you with your next move?  

What skills are required?

Is there some software that you can learn to help your career move forward?

Maybe there is a project in that department you can volunteer for to give you exposure.

This level of detail is necessary for a 5 year time-frame.  Many positions require 3-5 years of experience doing something similar to qualify.  That does not give you much time to prepare for that 5 year goal.


This brings us to the most crucial part of this whole process.  The first part of the process involves mapping out your desires and the goals for your career and life.  The next step is to ensure that you get there.

Within every one of these steps, you need to understand what is required to get from one step to the next.  What are the job requirements for the 5 year job?  Will you need to acquire additional education?  What will it take to obtain the experience needed?

Hopefully, your 5 year job is putting you in a position to meet the requirements of the Mid-Career goal.  The same thing applies to the 20 year goal.  This is the reason I feel it was important to start at the end of your career.  You should have naturally chosen jobs that all fall within some sort of progression.

However, it is still important to do the research across all jobs.  You may need a Masters degree to be competitive at the Mid-career role.  Maybe you need a certification at the 20 year level that you didn’t need at the 10 year level.  These requirements should not discourage your, but you need to be adequately prepared for them.

So, to sum it up:

Start with the end goal.

Get progressively detailed and specific as you move towards more recent goals.

Outline the steps you need to take in preparation for each move.


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4 Things You Need to Start Doing to be a Job Search Ninja


Like the majority of people in corporate America, you probably look for your next job while working for your current employer.  That is perfectly normal and the way that you should do it.  However, there are some things that you should be doing, or could do better, to make this process successful, free of stress and undetectable (like a ninja).

Make Use of Your Smart Phone

Most of you, if not all, probably have a smart phone.  You’re probably reading this on that phone right now.  That is good.  Your phone will be your best tool when it comes to job searching.

While we still may do job searches from our computers at home, a lot of the job searches will take place on our phones.  However, you should make sure you’re taking full advantage of what it has to offer.

The best way to perform your searches are through Apps.  My favorite one has been Glassdoor.  The app and the service are free, but they will ask you to divulge your salary as a cost of using the service.  That information is safe and is the reason behind one of the best features of the app.

Most of the jobs that you come across on Glassdoor include the salary range of the potential job.  This is a priceless feature.  You do not want to have to guess the pay range of a job based on its title.

Sometimes you can get a good idea of the salary after reading the responsibilities and understanding the industry, but this takes the guess work out of it.  Now, they cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, but it at least gives you a gauge of what to expect.

Keep Your Resume Handy at all Times

Another feature that is available from your smart phone is access to Cloud storage.  Now, whether this storage is iCloud, Google Drive or One Drive, you need to keep a updated copy of your resume saved in the cloud.

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There will be situations where you may have a recruiter call you at work and want to go through your resume with you.  The ability to pull  it up from your phone makes you look prepared and helps you speak confidently about your experiences.  You do not want to try to answer questions about your resume completely from memory.  Also, you don’t have to try and print out your resume at work or carry it around, trying to not look suspicious.  Not a good idea.

Another huge benefit that is available is the ability to apply for jobs from your phone.  Before recently, our mobile operating systems would not allow you to upload a resume from your mobile browser.  Now, when you’re on the employers career site and need to attach a document, your cloud drives appear as options.  You simply upload a recent copy of your resume right there from your phone.

There can be an urgency to some job applications so being able to submit your application while most of your competition is at work can be a benefit.  On average, the likelihood that you are picked to interview drops by 75% after 3 days from the date the job was posted.  So, the sooner you apply, the better your chances.

Take Vacation for Job Interviews

So, we’ve all seen it.  The guy who wears jeans everyday to work comes to work in suit pants, a freshly pressed shirt and his best pair of oxfords.  And then he needs to leave early for a ” doctors appointment”.  Yeah right.

Don’t be that guy.  Nobody should know that you are looking for a new job.  When you behave like this, it is clear what you are doing and then the rumor mill gets started.  You may not be in violation of any specific rules that would put your job at risk, but your reputation may be.

Imagine if you were a manager or part of a small team.  It’s difficult to be respected as a team player or as a manager when people assume you’re eyeing the exit.

If you’re in the process of interviewing, you need to officially request time off.  You may only need to take half a day off, which could be easier on you.  But it is a mistake to call in from work every time you have an interview.  You also shouldn’t wear any obvious interview attire into the office.

Both of these choices can risk your current job.  You do not want to put your current money in jeopardy to chase the possibility of a new money.

Update Your LinkedIn

Yes, people still use LinkedIn, and they use it regularly.  It is the go-to site for connecting professionals you know and those you don’t know.  However, not many people realize that recruiters search LinkedIn for potential candidates.

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That’s right.  Recruiters are looking at your LinkedIn without you knowing it.  If your LinkedIn profile does not grab their attention, you may be loosing jobs that you don’t even know about.

Making your profile effective and keeping it up to date is a requirement to be a competitive candidate.  Once you have updated your resume, use that as your guide to update your LinkedIn profile.  You can have much more information in LinkedIn, but the tone and language should match your resume.

Now, you should not wait until you decide to look for a job to make major changes to your profile.  You should update it now and keep it updated.  Major and sudden updates to LinkedIn make it clear that you’re in the market for a new job.  You should not be that obvious.

It is also smart for your to grow your network regularly.  Friend a number of your former coworkers and friends, but then befriend THEIR friends.  Having a large network will make you easier to find by recruiters.  This will also come in hand if you need a referral or an introduction to a hiring manager and you have a connection already.

To recap…

Make use of your smart phone

Be able to access your resume from anywhere

Request time off when doing interviews

LinkedIn is your friend


Use these tips to make your job search productive while preserving your relationship with your current employer.

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4 Books You Need to be Reading Now if You Want to be Rich

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Education continues to be the best way for you to achieve success, wealth, and personal growth.  Formal education has typically been the primary way for you to accomplish those goals.  However, self-education has become even more important due to the relatively high cost of paid courses and the lack of financial intelligence taught in traditional educational programs.

The good thing is that all of the knowledge that we require can be found in books.  For less than $20 in most cases, we have access to the knowledge of successful people and insight into how they became a success.

Here are 4 books that I’ve read recently that have helped me and will help you on your journey to being financially successful.

Think and Grow Rich:  Napoleon Hill

This Napoleon Hill classic continues to be a must-read if you want to be financially successful.  Although it was written in 1937, the ideas and mindset taught by Hill are timeless.

He takes you through what your mindset should be in order for you to build wealth.  People who are rich did not become so without a definitive goal and careful planning.

You have to visualize yourself accumulating wealth, but Hill goes beyond that.  He advises that you decide how much money you want to earn, when you’re going to earn it and exactly what you’re going to do to make.

This sort of specificity has proven effective, even today.  Entrepreneurs are encouraged to choose a very specific niche and demonstrate exceptional skill within that narrow area.  Narrowing your focus makes you more valuable once you have located your target audience.

Visualization plays a big part in Hill’s teaching, however, this psychological method can be traced back to DaVinci, who credits detailed visualizations for his ability to create his inventions.

Hill’s main point is to put all your focus into increasing your wealth.  With the right focus, planning and visualization, you will achieve your income goals.

Rich Dad Poor Dad:  Robert Kiyosaki

Kiyosaki first published this book in 1997, but a large part of the book focuses on the lessons about money that he learned as a child.  This was one of the first times that ordinary people got a glimpse into how the wealthy think about money.

The book was focused on highlighting the differences in how wealthy children are taught to think about money versus how middle class families think about money.  This financial intelligence is not taught in the school system, which is how it is only passed down through wealthy families.

Kiyosaki’s Poor dad in this case is his real father, and the Rich dad is his best friends father.  Middle class households teach their kids to go to school, get good grades, and go to a good college.  After college, you need to get a good, stable job and work for 40 years and then retire.

During your working years, you hope you can save up enough money to live on until you die.  By this time, you would have spent all, or most of your money and have nothing to leave to your kids.

This was Kiyosaki’s poor dad’s plan and he intended on Robert going down the same path.  However, Kiyosaki’s rich dad was a business owner and he had a different view of money and building wealth.  He taught Kiyosaki the principles of investments and the idea of your money working for you.

One of the most important lessons that you will learn in this book is the difference between Assets and Liabilities.  Kiyosaki’s rich dad knew the difference and understood the importance of buying Assets to generate money for you.  This additional cash flow is what would be used to cover your expenses.


Influence:  Robert Cialdini

When I first came across this book, I assumed it was a sales book.  However, as you get into it, you soon realize how much influence and persuasion plays a role in so many things we do.

The primary lesson in this book is the psychology around why people say “yes”.  Whether you’re in a sales situation, influencing a decision at work or trying to skip in line at the grocery store, there is something in here for you.

Cialdini takes us through the reasons why people generally agree to things and the psychology around it.  These lessons are backed up by studies that were done around them so we have real world examples of their implementations.

The most interesting things you will get from this book are the subtle ways you can change a no to a yes.  Cialdini explains how to taps into the triggers that we all have to make us agree to things that we would typically not.

Influence is a must read if you’re in business or looking to expand your career.  Use these techniques to generate more sales today and be on your way to building wealth.

Unshakeable:  Tony Robbins

If you’re familiar with any of Tony Robbins material, you know the quality of the information that you’ll be getting.  When it comes to his lessons about money, the story is the same.

Tony has taken the time to interview the wealthiest and most successful investors to get their secrets.  You will learn lessons from Ray Dalio and Peter Mallouk who have studied the market for decades and have proven to be very successful for themselves and their clients.

However, when you listen to the experts in the field of investing, you don’t hear what you would expect.  The average person would expect to hear some super complex, NASA type of formula to understand how to pick the right stock that’s going to make you a billionaire.

What you learn from the experts, is that making money in the market is much more simple than it would appear.  The bottom line is that the market as a whole continues to outperform any stock picking strategy you can implement.

There are many examples of cases where people have attempted to beat the market and have proven unsuccessful.  Tony drives this lesson home.  In fact, he really wants you to know that there is no huge secret to the accumulation of wealth.  Anybody can do it and this book is a good place to start.

Tony walks you through the best ways to take advantage of this knowledge.  He has specific steps that you can do to take you through how to setup your accounts.  He shows you how to pick the right company to open your investment accounts with, and really makes everything simple.


To conclude,

I recommend reading these books on your journey to financial freedom:

Think and Grow Rich

Rich Dad Poor Dad




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