You Pretend to Know Me – This is Why You Are Unemployed

Earlier this month, I received an unsolicited e-mail from a job seeker about an hour after posting for a specific job in New York City.  No problem – right?  I mean I’m trying to fill the job…so what’s wrong with that.  Nothing, generally…except for the fact that this job seeker pretended to personally know me!

Here’s the e-mail!

Hi Mike
Im not sure if you remember me, but I just wanted to say keep up the
phenomenal work. We should reconnect if time allows. I started grad
school, studying Psychology at Brooklyn College in my 2nd semester.
Im still in Philadelphia though, I commute to NY the nights I have
class, Its terrible driving 2 hours each way, but I decided not to
move without having a job in NY first. So Im in NY every Tuesday
Thursday, Lets get together soon if you are available and in the area.
email me here or my mobile XXX-XXX-XXXX Keep me in mind should you have
any HR related openings.

(- Hope the photo helps put a face with the email)

First – thanks for recognizing that my work is phenomenal!  Second – let me introduce you to the apostrophe! And ok – so the poor thing is doing a crazy commute to NYC from Philly for school.  I guess there are no schools in Philadelphia.  That’s gotta be tough.  It’s the last line in the paragraph when she really gets to the point.  “Keep me in mind should you have any HR related openings.”  And notice the last line – she posted a photo of herself to make it seem even more like she really knew me.  Here’s the picture with the head removed to protect her privacy!

I don't know you.

One of my weird skills is that I remember everyone.  Always name, usually face.  When I first got her e-mail I knew that I did not know her name – plus it is a somewhat unique name.  When I popped open the picture – I was absolutely sure of the fact that I had never met this woman.

So I wrote her back:

Dear XXXXX:

 Thank you for reaching out.  I apologize, but I do not recognize your name or photo – how do we know each other?

Best regards,

Mike

She wrote back claiming to have been an intern at a place I used to work about 8 years ago in Boston.   I asked her for her resume, and she sent it and of course the “internship” was on there.  But so was her high school, and dates of attendance of high school (2001 – 2005).  She graduated from high school in Philadelphia in 2005 and wants me to believe she commuted to Boston for an internship at a small no-name non-profit in Boston when she was a sophomore?  You have got to be kidding me.

Needless to say, that was my last bit of correspondence with this one.  To be honest, it kind of freaked me out and made me wonder if all this “sharing” through social media (LinkedIn, etc.) is a good thing – I mean – essentially, she was able to look at my LinkedIn profile (which she did) and completely make up a story about how we “knew” each other.

This is why you are unemployed!

6 Career Building Tips I Learned from McDonald’s

Yes – I am an alumnus of Mickey D’s.  I worked there for 8 months when I was 15 years old – it was my very first job.  While I knew from the moment I accepted the job that I did not want to work there forever, my experience taught me a lot and helped me develop my work ethic.

Today, McDonald’s is claiming that they are going to hire 50,000 people nationwide.  This would be quite a feat – and probably one for the recruiting record books. For those who seek work experience – either teenagers or new immigrants, McDonald’s can actually be a great place to get started.

Some of the key things I learned from my stint at McDonald’s:

  • Stay busy ­– I worked hard for my minimum wage!  We were not allowed to stand idly by waiting for customers.  There was always something to do – wipe down the counters, reorganize the walk-in fridge, or restock the buns.
  • Teamwork matters – I was a part of team that needed to work cohesively to service our customers – if the burger griller wasn’t pulling his/her weight – the sandwich maker couldn’t do their job.
  • Make the most of it – the job was not challenging, nor the work interesting, but every job has such components to it.  I had to find the importance in all of the work I did – and this has helped me keep a positive attitude about the less sexy aspect of every job I’ve had since.
  • Service with a smile – this was my first exposure to customer service.  And while McDonald’s is not renowned for offering world-class customer service, the restaurant I worked in brought a customer-centric approach to all roles within the team.
  • What makes a good manager – while there was one manager in particular who set an excellent example for her young staff, most of the other “shift managers” were young and in their first managerial role.  Power often went to their heads, and I learned a lot about what qualities a good manager has vs. a bad one.
  • Turquoise is not my color – my uniform was a turquoise polo with a matching baseball hat.  I’ve never worn this color since.

I didn’t love my job at McDonald’s, but I was able to use the experience there to leverage bigger and better work opportunities.  For that, I will always be appreciative of my time there.

What lessons are you learning or have you learned from your first job?  Post and help others be successful!

HR is Calling – Don’t Screw it Up!

Everyone knows the importance of making a good first impression. It’s why most people work hard to prepare for the first face-to-face meeting with a potential employer. They pull out their suit, iron their clothes, get the hair done, clip their nails, etc…all with the hope of leaving the hiring company with a positive feeling about your candidacy.

But the real first impression a candidate makes is over the phone. Most employers initially reach out to applicants through the phone. This may include a quick call to schedule an interview or an impromptu phone interview. A job seeker must survive this stage of the interview process to succeed in obtaining a position.

Here are some tips and tricks on how to handle the initial contact from a company:

Speak with enthusiasm – Don’t speak like you just got out of bed…even if you did! From the moment you answer the call to a cheerful goodbye, showing your enthusiasm about the position and the company will energize the company representative about your candidacy.

Know who’s calling – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called someone for an interview and they’ve said “Who is this again? I’m sorry I don’t recognize the name of your company…I’ve applied for so many jobs”. This tells me the job seeker has no real interest in my company and is just looking for a job.

Find a quiet space – It’s completely appropriate to ask the caller if you can call them back from a private area, especially if you are at work. One time, I was speaking to someone who was at work in their cube. They kept getting interrupted and whispered in response to my questions. They left an impression alright. Also, be careful of TVs blaring, dogs barking, and children crying in the background.  And don’t flush the toilet – YES – this has happened to me.  If you can’t hold it long enough to make through the call – flush later!

Get rid of ring back tones – While music is better to listen to than a ringing phone line, I would prefer not to listen to “My Humps” as I’m waiting to speak to a candidate for an accounting position.

Professionalize your voicemail greeting – Sound pleasant and confident in the greeting that awaits your unanswered callers. Don’t sound meek, sluggish or stern. And please please please don’t record music from the radio.

Remember that your first, first impression will likely occur over the phone. While a phone interview alone won’t win you the job, it is absolutely the first step to getting the coveted interview.

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