Tell Me About A Time …

Okay boys and girls, it is story time, and I am not talking your magical fairy tale. I am talking about the interview question that forces you to find a concrete example to demonstrate whatever skills they are seeking. Your answers should detail your thought process, perhaps your decision making abilities, and of course, the actual question is looking at how fast you problem solve. Now if it something they are seeking that you don’t have, then it is going to be hard to fake. Okay for some old timers, like me, there was a movie back in the 80’s, called “Working Girl”. Loved it. Melanie and Sigourney Weaver starred in it, and one of the characters stole the idea/concept from the other. So, when confronted, the “idea” needed to be outlined, just to prove that it was HER idea. Oops.

If you headed up a project, an event, or something really big, you can easily talk about the process, the project time line, the critical path, the point of no return, … all those fun little challenges you were faced and overcame. If you had control over money, like say a budget, or fundraising, you should also bring this up in your answer. Why? You are there to prove what you did was beneficial for the company, and you can easily do it again. So if I can get $5k in sponsorships from local businesses for an event, chances are I can do even more for the next event.

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Many times you can outline your thoughts and ideas in an effective manner so they produce profits, simply by implementing a program awareness event. Okay back to my Walmart days, when I was a lowly hourly cashier I wanted to be part of the management team. When I applied someone else always got it. My store director said in order to be a manager, you need to be a leader. Not all managers are leaders, but I ONLY promote leaders to managers. I felt like I was sitting at the sphinx with some unsolvable riddle. I happened to be in a management course in college at the time, and using some of the things I learned, I started a stakeholders committee and recruited a few managers and friends to join. We/I found ways to save money, make money and increase store traffic with a meager $100 monthly budget. Eventually I did get promoted.

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Here is another secret in your interviewing arsenal. The more stories and examples you tell in your interview, the more likely you are going to be remembered. Some people try to use humor in the interview. Don’t. You are not applying to be a stand up comedian. Your sense of humor may mistakenly be misinterpreted. Impress that person with what you have done, can do, and will do. If that person is impressed, he/she will move you forward in the interviewing process quickly. Mostly likely there are dozens if not hundreds of jobs/interviews to complete. Think how many positions are open at Amazon. Wow. Hundreds, if not thousands worldwide. I always tell candidates that they need to tell the employer “Hire me. I want to work here. I see myself growing with this company. I want this job.”

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And as always, the job you are applying for RIGHT NOW, as you talk to that interviewer, IS your dream job. For now, all you can do is dream about being employed, and this might be it. So act like it, show enthusiasm, and ask for the job. And remember, 20k more boomers retired this weekend. Go get their job!

 

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Leaving the Job Market

So if you are are IN the job market, meaning you are actively working, you get a paycheck and you probably report to someone. As I was talking with a client yesterday I had to remind him that in addition to the thousands of people dying from COVID there is also that nasty little fact that every day over 10,000+ boomers are retiring and leaving the job market forever. That is a fact that has been happening for quite awhile, and you are already starting to feel the impact of that. PLUS there are a TON of “housewives” who are done working and want to go home and stay home. Thousands of nurses, cops, teachers, first responders who all said enough is enough. And as strange as it sounds, there is an entire generation that just wants a sugar daddy or sugar mommy. Who would have imagined that would be someone’s “career plan”? I personally can attest to the corporate bullshit you have to deal with on a daily basis. I left big business to work for a small company, of 4 employees, and sure decisions were made quickly, but laws were broken ALL THE TIME. Just so you know, it is ILLEGAL to pay someone in cash and not report it on your taxes. You may think you are doing your employee a favor, but it’s illegal. Oh sure I LOVED getting envelopes stuffed with cash. Who wouldn’t? Sometimes, many times it is a “I won’t tell if you won’t tell” situation. HR knows ALL the dirty secrets. Sometimes they play along, sometimes they act like the good cop.

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True story, I was hired once as a “temp”, meaning no benefits. I was told I was exempt, so they worked me to death. Until they found out I had kept track of every hour worked overtime, and was planning on using it as my own comp time for vacation since I had no benefits. OMG, do you KNOW how much trouble they would have been in if the DOL found out what was going on? Being “exempt” has special rules, and you can’t use a temp as exempt. They paid me the actual overtime rate, and then later terminated me as a “corporate downsizing”. Hey it wasn’t my fault. They lied to me and told me I was exempt. I wasn’t. I was an hourly employee, lied to, and ultimately lost. If I knew back then, all the HR laws that I know today, I would have sued them, AND Walmart, and I would have won. But I didn’t because I didn’t know my rights were violated. Being part of a “group”, in my case Asian American, I also have rights that potentially could hinder/help an employer. If you are not being “fair” and only hiring, say, Caucasian male workers, and have no colored people, you could find yourself in an affirmative action lawsuit. So, point of the story, chances are you are being abused by your employer and you don’t even know it. If you are clocked out then you can’t take back a return to your department on your way out, help a customer or answer a phone. Only the manager can work off the clock.

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It is a known fact that people leave jobs because of bad managers. Some of them leave and never come back. Some get early retirement. Others marry rich or find a sugar daddy/mommy. If you are unemployed, looking for a better tomorrow, there is hope. Millions of people don’t want to work, prove that you aren’t one of them. Millions are in retirement, so can you find an opportunity that will cater to that market? Travel and entertainment will always be an area of opportunity, if you can find a product/service in that market. Did you see AMC stock shot back up? It has a low of a $1.91 a share and then went as high as $72. Can you imagine if you bought say, 5000 shares when they tanked? You’d be well off now. Car rentals and hotel rooms are at a premium, so can you rent your car or extra spare room? Turo and air b&b have a booming business model. As a writer I always teach that people, with some skill, can write something; an article, a review, a blog, a book, a speech/presentation. If you write it, they will read it. You can publish your autobiography and publish it as an eBook and people will buy it if it is somewhat interesting and inexpensive. Your family and relation might be interested in your life from your perspective.

 

If you are working on your career plan, you actually have almost all the things you need to be successful. Be sure you check out LinkedIn.com and create a profile for recruiters to view. Sell your skills. Sell your talents. Join groups on LinkedIn that are relevant to your career. Remember that job data sheet you were supposed to create?

You now need to add 3-5 good references with their information so it will be ready when you are offered that dream job. Those references can be former supervisors, committee members, coworkers, customers/clients, vendors, owner of the company, … the list can go on and on. People who can speak to your work ethic, personality, attendance, are going to be advantageous. If you are a reference, do not lie for that person. Tell the truth. I had a “friend” ask me to be a reference and I said, “Well, I have never worked with you, but I can say you are always late, you never pay the bill, you sometimes call in sick when you aren’t and you stole a laptop from your past employer.” He said “Thanks, no thanks.” So, moral of the story, your “friend” might not be willing to lie for you. I adhere to the SHRM (Society Human Resource Management) code of ethics, so I will always tell the truth.

 

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In Between Projects

Don’t you just love it when you are in a social setting and that inevitable question comes up, “So, what you do for a living? Where do you work?” You may not recognize it at first, but it is also the “Tell me about yourself” opening statement in every single interview. I have also used this as the “So, who exactly IS (insert your name)? Sometimes someone will give you a brief introduction. Many times they are not actually prepared and just ramble on about their last job. Now if you are unemployed, like millions of people right now, you might have a hard time identifying with your job. Some people can’t remove themselves from their job and even when it doesn’t matter they tell you they are a ______ (lawyer, doctor, cop, etc.). You can also say you are an aspiring ____(YouTuber, influencer, artist, actor, singer, … you get the idea).

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So rather than telling new people you aren’t working, let people know you are “open to new clients/opportunities”. Ah, such a classy way to say that you are an independent kick ass sales person. I have also found that people who just choose not to work find all kinds of ways to identify themselves. Now you can come up with as many impressive titles, companies, or whatever you like to make yourself feel good about yourself. Most of the time, people are just looking for something interesting to talk about and to find some sort of a connection. This is true in social settings and true in work place hiring. Just remember, when you are in a social setting you might accidentally be talking to someone who is looking to hire someone … just like you. I can think of dozens of times where someone met someone’s friend, … or spouse, and the next thing you know they are working at the same company or as a vendor for that company. Dude, life is all about who you know, who likes you and who is willing to recommend you. That goes for working relationships and future business. You might be that self-employed ________ that is going to come to the rescue. When I was actively soliciting new website customers I would build the website that I was selling on one of my servers and present it to the prospect. For some reason people like to see what they are getting before they give you any money. Funny right? So sometimes when you say you are in between projects, that will open the door of conversation for you to actually talk about what those projects are/were. Projects like something that require a project manager, such as hosting a big event can leave you talking for days. Other projects like organizing your garage also count. They show hard work, organization … the list goes on. You should be able to think of the ways you have positively influenced the corporate objectives of the jobs you have held. Lots of things can never really be proven, but if you can discuss some of the highlights and details that your role had, that is all it takes to convince the interviewer.

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Your goal today is to get your notebook and fill it full of projects that you want to talk about in interviews, and in social settings. Talk casually but also discuss things like metrics. Employers want to hire people that are going to make positive contributions to the overall success of the organization.

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Eye Accessories

Say what? Okay, .. 4 eyes, spectacles, sunglasses, shades, … glasses. Oh, yeah, now you get it. We all have them in one form or another. If you are like me and have bad eyesight then you might be slightly attached to one of these items. So I am going to divert from resumes and hit up on getting your eyes checked. I had no idea just how bad my eye sight had gotten in the last few years. When you have plenty of glasses and over a years worth of disposable contact lenses, getting your eyes checked isn’t a huge priority … until you can’t read anymore. Signs on the road, text messages on the phone, even the digital speedometer is out of focus. Yeah, that doesn’t work with a cop as an excuse for speeding.

So I am a glasses guy AND a contact lens guy. The easiest way to change your look is to do it with some sort of eye accessory. Most people use sunglasses. Some of us use transition lenses that change our glasses into sunglasses. I know that is kind of nerdy, but I think it is genius. How many pairs of sunglasses have you scratched, lost or broke? Right, me too. And if you wear prescription glasses or sunglasses, can you say the same? Exactly. Why is that? Because those damn things cost more than a car payment. Why? Why do they cost so much? They are simply 4 screws 2 arms, the frame and 2 pieces of plastic lens (they aren’t even glass anymore). Total cost, less than $10. Yes seriously, I watched a YouTube expose on Luxicorp (the eyeglass giant) that owns most of the brands out there. So, you didn’t figure it out yet, I got my eyes checked, prescription updated, and new glasses and contacts on order. Big deal. Yes it is. And there are millions of people out there just like me. So, as a reader once told me, I do all the work and you reap all the valuable data .. i.e. WWAD or WWAB what would Aaron buy. I got my exam at Target, again a good experience, but I was not going to fall for their promotion. Buy $100 of contacts and get 40% off a full frame/lens pair of glasses.

Do you buy them at your local doctor, discount retailer, membership warehouse, or online? And if you do buy online, where do you go that is the best deal? It doesn’t matter what stage you are in life, everyone wants the best buy/bargain possible. So why would you pay more when you can find it less? Exactly.  So this is a shout out for Bausch & Lomb, for their Bio True disposable lenses that came out to a retail price of $90, so $1 a lens for a 3 month supply. Not bad, but I think we can do better. Wait, why do I like these lenses? Well, they are available as bifocal for starters. They get rid of the halo around lights at night, you an wear them for 16+ hours, they have a newer slimmer profile that allows more oxygen for the eye to breathe. They are super comfortable and I don’t notice I have them in. So long story short, (too late), I found them at contactlensking.com for $26.99 a box, instead of $90 a box. Wow. Of course dozens of other sites had them as well for a myriad of different prices. Same contact lens, totally different prices. I ended up getting the non bifocal version at half the price. It was $50 for the special contacts that I didn’t feel really worked for me.

Whew, so we got that out of the way, and I ordered 2 pairs of eye glasses. One pair is with the bifocals so I can see things up close. The other pair, not bifocals, only single vision, but with the new updated prescription. While the prices at Target and other eye doctor’s offices ranged from $300-$500 after options. Why? Mark up. Profit. They know you and other people will pay it. Most people use some crappy job vision insurance. It actually breaks out better to not get vision and pay for it outright.  So the first bifocal pair have transitions and blue light upgrades and came to about $200. The single vision, do not have transitions and came to $125. After I declined blue light for $49, they offered it to me right after check out for $19. Sold. So the thing that most eye doctors won’t give you, is the PD number. The pupillary distance between your eyes. I was lucky and it on my former prescription that I used at glassusa.com, which is ultimately who was the best value/money. How can you beat $145? So if you need new glasses, or an updated prescription, be sure you get that PD measurement otherwise your lenses won’t line up right and it will make seeing harder. I think I need a part time job at an optical store so I can get a discount and upgrade all my glasses. One time I lucked out and Europtics called me and said the tech who was working on my order accidentally made an extra set of lenses with my prescription and they wanted to give them to me at cost and just use an older pair of frames. So they HAD to tell me their cost. I joked that the tech must have been stoned or something and the manager laughed and said that actually was probably the case.

If you are working on a new resume, you need to start a page that lists every job you ever had. This is the page you never show anyone, but your copy of accurate dates, starting salary, … the things to be verified. Also list your supervisor, his/her phone number. Later you will use this as part of your work history (paid and unpaid).

 

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Dream Job

Ahhh, the dream job question. As a staffing person (you can use whatever title you like) there are some things that makes your job a little easier. For me I wanted to know what was that person’s dream … job. As simple as it sounds, some people don’t have one, don’t know what it is, and couldn’t begin to detail what is important in it. Why is this important? This secretly is reworded as “Where do you see yourself in the company in 5 years? Are you management material? Is this a stepping stone for you? Are you just using us for a paycheck until you get the real job you want? What are your career goals?” Damn. Yes, all these things are secretly hidden in this question, and how you answer it, what you say can either help or hinder you in the interview. Explain. Okay. I am hiring for a _____ at Best Buy, a retail electronic store. Candidate tells me he wants to open a restaurant bar one day and sing in the karaoke. How long do you think this candidate is going to stay working in retail? Exactly. Not very long at all. Next candidate please.

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Do you see how I just saved a bad hire? Karaoke guy has no intention on making a career and putting his best foot forward in helping our customers/business/sales revenue. He would be in the media department singing. If I DID hire him and 6 months later he quits or gets fired for a multitude of performance issues, he can always say “I told you when you hired me I wanted to run a restaurant, not work in retail. This doesn’t align with my career goals and I would never be happy working here.” Yep, he is right. Hey some people just want a temporary gig to get them by until the real job comes along. Great, that is fantastic. Go do it somewhere else. It is costly, expensive and time consuming to constantly train and retrain employees over and over again. Ideally, you hire an employee and they are there for 10 or 15 years. It does happen. It is okay to tell the interviewers that one day you hope to be part of the executive management team. It shows drive, goals and a career path. And unless you are looking to BE the interviewer, do not say “Your job.” If you want the job, you are going to tell that hiring/HR person “It has always been a dream of mine to work at _____, and one day join the ranks of management.” You do NOT need to tell them that you are secretly at _____ looking for work at one of your vendors/competitors or whatever. Seriously, do not tell them that. People are stupid and tell shit like this in interviews. Don’t be stupid. Answer with THE most impressive answer possible.

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Like most companies, many positions are promoted jobs, years of service, contributions to the company, things like that. I am sure you have heard of “getting your foot in the door” and “paying your dues”. This means you take a job you really don’t LOVE, but you are willing to do until you get promoted. Some people start working in the mail room, delivering and sorting company postal mail. Very boring. Remember Transformers? The kid had to work at some crappy job that his girlfriend’s boss got for him. For me, as you know, it was working at Taco Johns. Yeah, real fun scraping gum off the drive thru asphalt and picking up trash in the dark after close. No wait, it was cleaning the greasy, disgusting food prep pans for hours of dishwashing chores. Fuck I hated that job.

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It taught me that I will work hard, educate myself and never have to say “Hi, is this for here or to go?” Worst boss ever. Worst customers ever. Horrible hours. Drive thru stayed open until 1 a.m. Oh and not to mention my disgusting brown uniform would stink to high heaven. I had to rip it off as soon as I walked out the door so I wouldn’t stink up my car. All that grease and fried foods gets on you, your clothes, your face, hair. It was awful. So back in the days of running the drive thru, I would dream of a job where I sat at a desk, in clean clothes, not dealing with customers yelling at me for more hot sauce, … and it would be in an office. A real office. When I was being punished with cutting 100 pounds of onions, I would literally be crying for a new food free occupation. Sadly for me, when you are only 16 your only options are fast food or some retail slave service. Dream job. Not that. And for the record I was the asshole that dumped an entire bag of hot potato oles all over your already soggy tacos. Your sauce is at the bottom of the bag. Extra hot. And yes, my crappy $3.35 an hour job was still a real job.

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So, think about some of the things you hate about your current situation, and then what are some of the things you desire. Write them on a separate piece of paper. Once you define the “perks”, think about what actual jobs have those qualities. If no one will hire you, you can always hire yourself. It is called being “self-employed”. You create something or offer a service and you decide how much you charge. You choose your working hours. Your only boss is your current paying customer. Some people can start small and clean houses for $___ an hour, or build something, or cook something … Etsy is full of these people.

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James Ray taught me to create MSI’s. Multiple streams of income. Your spouse, … is a source of your income. Your rental property, Etsy store, Air B&B, Turo car, catering/baking, photography, …. whatever … are all sources of other income. Everyone has an extra room. Rent it out cheap online and make some extra money. When I build my dream home, it will have lots of extra guest rooms just for that reason. With that dream home, can build a dream job. Meet new people, get paid, make them an awesome gourmet dinner and bask in the gorgeous Florida sun. That would be … living the dream.

Keep working on your action statements, along with defining your dream job. What is impressive about what you just wrote. It that a steal from your job description? Shame on you. No one cares about duties. Write down something that makes you an asset. “I spearheaded an internal committee called Voice of the Employee to reduce turnover and increase job satisfaction.” Really? Oh yeah, we sat at Starbucks every week, expensed our lavish drinks and bitched about management. We loved it.

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Sales 102

Have you had any formal sales training? Like, you actually sat in a classroom with other students, an instructor (preferably a seasoned salesperson), did role playing and actually closed some sales? No? Okay, well, today in your training you are going to learn a few things in life that might actually help you … in your job, your finances, your relationships. I, on the other hand, have had years of training and mentored with some of the best sales guys I have ever met. In fact, when I was a sales supervisor at Best Buy I was in charge of the orientation/on-boarding/sales training for all new recruits. It actually was really cool as I did the screening, interviewing as well, so spending all that time with new hires helped to retain them. One of the first rules at Best Buy (for me) was if you don’t shop here, you can’t work here. What? Why? You need to already know the products, the industry, the store. You know, basic expectations out of a candidate. So I am going to start with some basics, BEFORE you meet your contact, you have to prospect to get them. I do not mean posting something on your social media that you are now selling the latest, coolest, best _____ product on the market and you need to be one of the first with your foot in the door. Unless you have some geeky kid next door in his garage starting some cool idea company, I would be very, VERY apprehensive in whatever they are selling. Chances are it is a multi-level marketing company, and let’s be honest, you are never going to make real money selling for an upline. I personally know of dozens of good people who fell prey to the “what if it’s you?” bait/marketing scheme.

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I wrote a kids book and most of my friends have kids. Guess what? A tiny fraction of those friends bought or even asked for an autographed copy of my book. Why? I never asked, and actually didn’t care. I have hundreds of thousands of fans/readers all over the world who don’t know me who DID read it. Trying to convince your friends and family to buy your product or service is hard. It is like trying to convince a muggle that you have magic powers or you are psychic. Read my mind. Not all psychics’ powers work like that. So how do you get new customers if your own circle won’t buy? You pay for them. It is called advertising. You see it everywhere. You also get someone to endorse your product … like an influencer or someone who has a lot of people who look up to him/her. What it all comes down to is … word of mouth/ willing to recommend. Sometimes it is simply exposure and marketing your product. A book, like any product needs a marketing plan, a launch date, and many different vehicles to let everyone know. I used Facebook business advertising and exposed my book all around the world until I found my sweet spots. Who knew Algeria and Egypt would be big on my book? As I instructed my clients, we need a minimum of six months exposure before you launch. Get people excited about it before it launches.  The artist I hired for the cover granted me unlimited licensing of my characters so I made bookmarks with their faces. Everyone loves free bookmarks. I actually designed the bookmark, but if you hire a graphic artist, they can easily do one of you and your product (a book). It was also clever as it had the launch date on the bookmark so for a lot of people they saw the book daily before it launched. I know this was key in the marketing efforts. If you want one, Venmo a dollar for postage and envelope (USA only). Put your address in the notes.

 

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When I was in sales at AT&T, the “willing to recommend” was HUGE and I had to drill it into every single one of my customers. It was even on the survey. Are you willing to tell a couple of trusted friends to have the same 5 star experience? Yes? Awesome, here are two cards, write your name on it and when they come in I will give you 2000 roll over minutes for free. Wow. I know right? Now that wouldn’t work. While your own circle of influence may not buy your _____ (for me it was book/websites), they might actually give you customers. Weird I know. As a website guy I also would go to networking groups and I was always hitting up new business owners who didn’t have a website on their business card. I didn’t always get paid actual money, but I did manage to get some awesome trades in return. Keep in mind that not every prospect/contact is going to be a mutual beneficial arrangement. I can think of many, many times I built a website for someone and never got paid. I know, it sucks. When I first started I had a client who tricked me into thinking I was going to get all this new business from her. After a year of no clients from her she moved her website back to WordPress.org and put it on a shitty blog template. She didn’t deserve me. I also volunteered on a church business networking group on the committee/board. I did the website and got “free” advertising and membership. Yeah, that didn’t quite work out as well as I had wanted, as I was donating my websites for charitable causes all the time. Now when people want me to do a “pro bono” website I send them to Wix.com. If you haven’t used/seen it, they actually host a ton of professionals websites. Those who are too cheap to invest have their branding all over it. Although it is somewhat easy to use, it is slow, clunky, can’t be customized how I build websites. I had a client who thought she could do it better and later confessed she had no idea what she was doing. Again, a website for “trade”, I got to read all her training manuals on her specific trade, as long as I promised never to compete against her. I was like, okay, I do websites, you do emotional healing. You’re safe. While I don’t advocate spamming your newsfeed with your product/service I do promote listing it so people can find more about it. You can list your Facebook business page on your personal page, and then when people click it, they can see your posts and website address.

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If are you NOT selling a product or service and you are simply looking for work, let me visit your employment profile for a moment. If you are unemployed then you definitely need to let all your contacts know you are looking for work. Text, email, post an update, snap it, meet friends for drinks and find out more about their companies. If I had to go look for a corporate job, I would hit up my network of colleagues to see what they had open and would recommend. There are lots of jobs out there if you look. Keep in mind that many companies will not post jobs on outside websites so you might have to do more work to find those jobs. Getting an employee referral is your ideal situation. When you do meet up, be ready to spit out all kinds of tactical experiences that you can easily transfer to another company. I’m a sales/marketing/HR kind of guy, so a job traveling for trade shows selling HR ____ would be my target job. Could I sell to HR colleagues? Easily. If I didn’t have any networking friends, I would use LinkedIn, theladders.com and I would target companies that I felt were desirable to work at, like, you know, Google, apple, Disney. What software are you an expert? Can you really use Photoshop or are you just using a fancy paid app like Khloe Kardashian? How fast do you type? As silly as that sounds, there are still millions who can’t type. I hate typing on a phone, so I use voice to text. But I am long winded so you might think I type really really fast. It is crazy when I go somewhere and I see the employee looking at the keyboard for the right letters. Crazy right? How are your organizational skills? What do you use to keep you on time, at the right place, and not forgetting shit? What apps do you use? As weird as it sounds, in this day and age, you really have to know how to use apps to work. Like, Slack for instance. It isn’t industry specific, but it is an app that I had to learn to use.

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I haven’t updated/visited my resume in a decade, and I bet there are a lot of other people who can say the same. So why don’t we start together and create something new, current and ready for today and tomorrows job market? The first part of the sales process is going to be selling YOU, your skills, experience (or lack thereof), your personality and what you can do for a company. Start by identifying WHO you are, and how you are going to market that. For example, am I a writer? HR guy? website guy? sales? trainer? You might have several resumes based on your skills, or you may just have one that you customize with each job/employer. Think about the “things” you can do now, and for your next job. Everyone has something that will make them unique, and highly desirable as a candidate. Having lots and lots of skills that multiple departments can benefit from will quickly advance a candidate. When I said I could train the staff on some different sales and closing techniques that would increase revenue and new business development, I was a “sure thing”. When I was asked if I knew the 4 “C’s”, I replied, “Cash, check, charge, credit.”

 

For your resume, start with your objective and/or your professional profile (or highlights). This will be the first section of your resume. I also like to call this the formal 30 second commercial. If someone only had a few seconds to scan through your resume, what are the things you want them to see immediately?

Share the wealth and forward/share this valuable information with someone you know needs it. If this was forwarded to you, hit up the website and subscribe to get your own blog updates.

 

 

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A Fairy Tale (For Real!)

Once upon a time … just kidding. I’m not telling that kind of a fairy tale. I am going to give a product shout out to Kamtron security cameras. At the recommendation of my brother I purchased 5. Two outdoor wireless stationary cameras and 3 rotating movable cameras. It was watching his demo on his smartphone that convinced me that I needed it too. Truth be told, my little nanny cam Minion that I got on Black Friday 2 years ago finally died. It wasn’t very fancy and I think it was only $40, but it was pretty handy watching the front door so I would know when my packages were delivered. So anyway, I had this one set up for outside as it uses a lithium ion battery so you can put it anywhere. The app is super easy to use and I also put it on my iPad. I can also get notifications on my phone anytime the motion sensor is triggered. The days of waiting for Amazon, UPS and USPS are over. I can also use it as an intercom, so when someone is at the front door I can tell them to hang on a sec, or let them know that it is unlocked and come on in.
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So a long time ago I put a bunch of artificial flowers in the window-well for the window in the mancave. (it is a basement window if you are wondering). Anything was better than the boring steel grey color. I thought it made it a little more cheerful. What I didn’t realize is I accidentally created a fairy garden, and a home base for thousands of fairies. With my brand new cameras they also have a really cool nighttime infrared feature. So they can see in the dark. They also can see things that the ordinary eye can’t see. At first I thought there were like a thousand fireflies outside. So I went upstairs, turned on the light and it was completely dark and empty. No fire flies. No bugs. It was quiet. I went back downstairs and the “bugs” were everywhere. So I put my iPhone on a stand and recorded a slow-motion, and that is when I discovered they weren’t bugs. They were invisible “fairies”. I also witnessed a glowing orb-like ball that appeared the night of the supermoon. It was invisible to my naked eye, but clear as fire in the camera. I am positive THAT was a UFO. There also was a dark glowing “orb” the size of the moon that reminded me of the evil eye in Lord of the Rings. Also, you could not see that with the naked eye. And tonight I watched as another glowing ball appeared out of no where and then shot up into the sky lightening fast. I am pretty sure that these magical creatures do not want to be seen. Just like ghosts don’t want to be seen. I also have witnessed orbs flying around the mancave. I always knew there was spiritual energy around me, and now I have actual proof.

And in case you forgot, this Sunday is Mother’s Day. So be sure you do something extra nice for mom this year. If you ARE a mom, just go buy something frivolous and unnecessary. You’re worth it. Evidently fairy gardens are a real thing, so I will be enhancing mine in the coming days.

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What Does “Aaron” Think?

The first time I can remember someone wanting to know MY opinion on a topic was back when I was a product manager in a marketing group working in Boulder Colorado. It was for a company you might know, GE. General Electric. Yep, the light bulb company. “We bring good things to life.” Cute little slogan right? I was only there for a year or so but it taught me everything I needed to know about the distribution chain and logistics. The year was 1999, and if you all remember, everyone thought the world would go into chaos with Y2K. What a joke that was.

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Anyway, I was in a marketing group of about a dozen people, and crazy thing I was the highest paid of them all. I found that out years later how my director had to go to bat to justify my salary. Hey, the power of negotiation is huge. In one of the many meetings I was required to participate in, my counterpart, the other product manager was not doing so hot, so the director asked what were my thoughts on the situation. I looked up from my Palm pilot (I know right?) and said they wouldn’t like my answer as I have a totally different take and perspective as a former IT, Windows NT network administrator. I was the guy who usually sat in silence listening to everyone else argue. Why join a pointless discussion if no one really listened? Well, my director listened, and for the first time in my life, someone actually took my recommendation and did something with it. Yep, it was me who started new marketing initiatives generating new revenue. When you prove you can make a company money, save them money, OR prevent potential litigation, you get noticed.

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In many positions I would spearhead a newsletter. I’ve always been a writer, and sending out communications on a timely basis has always been my thing. It’s funny, a lot of my readers actually know me personally. Many of them say they can actually hear my voice in their head when they read my words. Like in a movie … a letter on the screen is all of the sudden thoughts and sentences in your ear. When Sex and the City was on air I thought how cool would was Carrie Bradshaw? She had a sex column in New York City that made her semi-famous. I always wondered what writers were paid at a newspaper. Well, we all know that newspapers don’t really exist anymore. Most newspapers are all online subscription websites now. My blog/website is sort of like that but without the monthly cost. I did have a reader tell me he would be pissed if I started charging for articles/blogs. Don’t worry, I’m not going to do that. There are other starving artists who need your money before I do. Just like Ben Shapiro, I’m just another news commentary out in the big world wide web. But actually I’m mostly on people’s smartphones, … in their email. If you’ve been a long time subscriber then you should have over 90 different blogs that I have written. And since most blogs are at least 500 words or more, it would take hours and hours to read them all. I personally have only written some, and never read them. I have only read my book once, and that was when it was written. Many parents have read it so many times they can quote lines from it. Crazy right? I will have to sit down and read it before I can write a sequel. I was contemplating recording it and putting each chapter online on YouTube. I can’t be sued for reading my own book. But if I read say, Harry Potter, I think Warner Brothers would be after me for copyright. I actually had a reader ask/request that I read the book since it is easier to listen than to read. Most of my readers/fans get their info from me via the blog and not my other social media outlets. Facebook and Instagram are a joke with their stupid algorithms. Back in the day when the business page was new, I would post a picture or something and thousands of people would like it. Now, … nothing. Seriously if you go and look at the really old posts and the current ones you would be disgusted at the lack of likes. So it is better to just use my platform where I know people are reading my thoughts.  I am willing to bet there are a lot of kids who would love to see/hear me read my book. I’ll think it over and we will see what happens. I’ll ask my nephews and see what they think.

Mortal Kombat released on HBO Max and at the theaters yesterday, and I have to say I really liked it. I loved the final kill scenes … flawless victory. If you ever watched any of the movies you will like this one. But if you are not into fantasy fighting and killing you won’t like it. It is Aaron Approved!

 

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Self Defense

So let me ask you this question, “If you were attacked, by one person, like a fist fight, how or what would you do to defend yourself?” Do you carry any weapons? Keys? Mace? Perhaps even a pocket knife or even maybe a gun? Most people don’t carry a weapon, but with the way things are going these days it might be more than we think. When I was a kid my parents enrolled my twin brother and myself into a dojo to learn karate. They thought that we might get picked on since we were Asian and smaller than kids our own age. Yep, they were right. Fortunately for us, 2 against 1 usually wins. They did not anticipate us using it on each other. Remember the movie “The Karate Kid”? Super old movie, but a good one. I think there was even a spin off that is on Netflix. One swift punch in the bread basket will shut someone up real fast. And then while he is bent over gasping for breath, a knee to the chin will finish him off. Remember that when you are confronted in a fight.
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Depending on that situation, … the one where you were attacked, what would you do? Pull out your gun? Run? Whip out your Swiss Army knife and prepare for battle? Oh wait… some people might pull out their smartphone and record it or go LIVE. If you are being attacked by a police officer I am pretty sure I would do a livestream, on my business page, YouTube app, SnapChat, Instagram AND TikTok all at the same time. I think that if you say “Hey Siri I am being pulled over” it actually activates the video recorder. As we all know, you can be pulled over for almost anything and be doing nothing wrong and die for it. Scary world we live in. Or should I say, scary world we die in.  So if you weren’t online or connected yesterday, then you wouldn’t have been dominated by the George Floyd murder trial. All jurors voted guilty and the world celebrated. Yay. One down a thousand more to go. We still have to see what the sentence will be. Will the “system” slap him on the wrists and let him out in 5 for good behavior? Remember in 13 Reasons Why, when the rapist got off easy because he was white and rich? As long as the world sees us as colored people, we have to do things to ensure our safety. When I am pulled over I always tell the officer I am a children’s author. If they are going to stereotype me, do it right.

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On a side note, Vudu.com is having a sale on television series in HDX. I scored Nikita (a assassin show like Point of No Return) and Glee. The entire series for Glee was only $35! It is normally like, $375, so that is a no brainer. Hey I was in the swing choir in high school so I can totally relate to all the high school drama.  I still think the first season was the best. And sometimes the cover artist does it better than the original. [Not sponsored by anyone so no endorsements from any company]

AND I saw nothing on the Columbine shooting yesterday. Sometimes people forget. Loving thoughts prayers and healing to those affected by a mass shooting. I use Reiki, so I am sending those healing energies as well.

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Sephora, Ulta, or Discount Store

If you have ever walked into a Sephora or an Ulta store you know that it is full of highly priced beauty products. Women (and now men) spend thousands of dollars in these stores, all with the goal in mind of looking pretty, or younger. As you glance around the store, almost all the customers are pretty and the salespeople look like they walked out of a magazine. After all, if you are selling beauty products then it should look like you are using them. I used to think that these two stores were basically the same store, selling the same products. But after doing a lot of research, and shopping I have come to a clear decision on which one I like best. AND since a lot of people wonder what I think, telling them where I shop can be advantageous. After all, as one friend said, I have already done all the leg work of doing the research.
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Now if you don’t care about your looks, getting old, or attempting to be somewhat attractive to the eye, then you might just be a straight male republican. Hahahaha. Seriously, my twin brother doesn’t have a skincare routine, and he doesn’t even wash his face at night. And he wonders why I look younger. Kim Kardashian doesn’t just wake up looking gorgeous. So the difference in the stores, from which I can tell, deal with the kinds of brands each of them carry. As you may know, there are literally hundreds if not thousands of brands and products. How do you decide on which ones to spend your hard earned cash? You do want to look amazing for the rest of your life and you can’t do that without some help. As I told a friend, in all honesty, if someone is exfoliating, using a serum, moisturizer and spf, he/she is going to look good. Not knocking any brand, so if you got it at Target or at Sephora, something is better than nothing.
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Sephora is more high end and is going to carry more expensive brands. Ulta will have middle of the line, and maybe some luxury brands. Target, Walmart, Dollar Store all have make up and skincare but they may not be the highest quality. Of course, if/when you find a brand you love, you can buy directly from their website. BUT if you want to make life easier, you can buy online from Sephora and get free shipping, free products, and tons of free samples. They have a $35 minimum to get some of the samples, but if shipping is free, I just make multiple orders and get all the samples. They know what I am doing and combine them all into one box. Twice a year they have a beauty insider event. You give them your email and they track your purchases and then you get a special discount event. So that super expensive _____ that you wanted, you can get it on sale. Some of the skincare products are really pricey, so getting samples of those products is a bonus. If you aren’t signed up, head over there now and the next event for 10% off is this week. I am addicted to “Sunday Riley” skincare, which they sell on Sephora and Ulta. But you don’t get a discount or free shipping at Ulta.

Go pamper yourself with some skincare products. When your skin/face looks good, you feel good. And let’s be honest, no one gives a hoot how tan your face looks. You can use make up bronzing to give you a healthy beautiful glow without damaging your skin. I like to use Natasha Denona’s contouring powder to enhance my dark skin tan.

(I was not paid to endorse any of these companies). Sephora, Sunday Riley & Natasha Denona are “Aaron Approved”. 
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