Thursday, June 30, 2016

Believe It or Not, America, You're in Good Hands...No Matter What the Doomsdayers Say

If you believe American young people are not as smart, as intelligent, as previous generations, it's time to reconsider. Our nation has more talented kids than you might suspect...

By Richard Kent Matthews

I had the privilege of presenting a leadership and self mastery class to a group of students recently at a local middle school here in Portland, Oregon.

It's been a while since I have presented to middle and high school kids so I was impressed by how sharp and dedicated to learning, growing, and reaching for the stars they are. All of them without exception maintain high grade point averages, and already have set goals and created vision boards to help plan their futures. From law to medicine to computer science, they know what they want to do. In fact, one of the computer geeks, as he calls himself, has set his sights on Google.

I wanted to make certain the kids all interacted with each other during the class rather than being forced to just listen to me lecturing them. We played this game: Each person will tell the

Sunday, June 26, 2016

How I Quit Smoking and Lived to Tell About It.

A martial artist woman breaking a cigarette with a hit Stock Vector - 21636022

By Richard Kent Matthews

Happy anniversary to me! Twenty-seven years ago, I took the cigarette out of my mouth, and never put it there again...

Addictions can be tough--REALLY tough--to overcome. But people are doing it every day. I did. So can you.

You get pressure from your high school crowd to 'follow along' and do what they do. Smoking was one of those things. But I didn't follow along. Until later.

How pot got me started
When I was 22, in 1967, my two younger brothers got me high on pot for the first time. Loved it, smoked it a lot for the next 10 years.

One night, at a bar in Los Angeles,

Friday, June 24, 2016

Your Job Interview: The Five Things They Really Want--and Need--from You

By Richard Kent Matthews

What your future employer actually wants from you, besides skill and talent

You hear lots of clamor about how much the job market has changed since 2008. And it has. 

Most employers are much more selective, even though the number of jobs is way, way up since the beginning of the Great Recession in late 2007. And even if you are quite skilled, so are a lot of other folks.

However, no matter the job requirements, your experience, or the 'economy,' employers still want you to have the same basic qualifications. 

According to Richard N. Bolles of What Color Is Your Parachute? 2016 Edition, fame, there are only a few questions the employer is really concerned about. 
  1.  "Why are you here?" (Instead of somewhere else?) Have you done your research on the company or business to know what they actually do and how they serve the community?
  2. "What can you do for me?" What do you bring to the table that can help them with the challenges they face? What are your relevant abilities and experience that can move them along? Can you give valid and valuable examples?
  3. "What kind of person are you?" This is key. Will you fit into the company culture? Are you a team player? Are you a people person? Do you know, understand, and share the company's values?
  4.  "What distinguishes you from...[all the] other people whom we are interviewing for this job?" What kind of value will you bring to them for the money? How are you unique, unusual, and at the same time, an asset? Examples, please.
  5. "Can we afford you?" This is tricky. They may try to bargain you down, let you know that the earlier or next candidate might be willing to work for less than you want. If they get too miserly, you most likely should move on. Thank them, and leave. 
These employers have often been burned by candidates who appear to have all the right qualifications. Then, after the time and expense of getting the new person introduced to the department, trained, and assigned, they up and leave, sometimes without any warning. 

Employers know that in today's job market, people are always looking for 'better.' They know that most people won't stay longer than a few years at best in any one position. They have to be prepared. And wary.

Authenticity and honesty on your part will not only be greatly appreciated, but even if you don't get, or want, the job, you will have established a good bond between you and the employer. 

That relationship might be very helpful later on, down the road.

No need to burn bridges. We're all more connected than ever. 

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Your Resume: Friend or FOE? You May Be Surprised!

By Richard Kent Matthews

 If you think your resume is your top tool, think again. It may actually be a hindrance in your search for the best job....

In days of old, the resume said it all. Your work and personal history, your education, your references. That was then.

You and I both know you were never 100% truthful on those pages.

Perhaps a new approach is in order. Since almost everything is going online these days, maybe less emphasis on your resume and more on networking, interview rehearsal, and salesmanship. 

Like it or not, you will be Googled. Turns out, you're an open book. To the world! Are all of your online profiles and playgrounds up for the scrutiny? Or are they negative dynamite? Google yourself to see what's up.

I found this interesting little list in a great book by Jeremy Dillahunt called F*ck Your Resume (2016 - Sonoma Press):

Top Ten Reasons Your Resume Doesn't Matter
  • You're probably lying, at least a little bit.
  • They say nothing about whether or not you'll be a good fit for the company. 
  • You can't explain gaps in work history.
  • Expertise can't be distilled in just a few words.
  • They provide little detail and no context.
  • They're prone to bias.
  • They're formulaic.
  • They're static.
  • You can't tell a story with a resume.
  • It's all about you.* 
The list isn't exhaustive but you get the point. Don't waste your money on expensive resume writers and services. In the event you actually need, or are asked for, a resume, you can always go online, get the templates, and do it yourself. Here's a good place to start:

You have skills, talent, and experience. But your resume will never do you justice. Besides, 99% of all resumes end up as mulch. 

Time for an online strategy. Create a LinkedIn account, hit the job boards, perhaps start a blog. And do yourself a big favor. Read F*ck Your Resume. It's an eye opener.
*Employers have been burned before, so they're wary. When you concentrate mostly on yourself and not what you can do for THEM, they turn off almost immediately.  

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