A bit of bathroom cellphone etiquette — A health disconnet

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From The Philadelphia Inquirer (Oct. 10, 2017)

By Mari A. Schaefer – Staff Writer

Next time you want to check your cellphone on the way to the bathroom sink after using the toilet, fight the urge.

You could make yourself sick, warns a microbiologist at London Metropolitan University.

“Toilet seats, handles, sinks, and taps are covered in germs such as E. coli, which can cause urinary tract infections and intestinal illness, C. diff.,which can result in diarrhea, and acinetobacter, which can cause a contagious respiratory infection,” Paul Matewele recently told the London newspaper the Sun.

Those germs could be transferred to the phone, which then might wind up on your table when you eat out.

There’s more.

A small study in the journal Germ looked at the mobile phones of 27 high school students. They found traces of E. coli and even greater amounts of “potentially pathogenic microbes” such as Staphylococcus aureus, Acinetobacter spp., Pseudomonas spp., Bacillus cereus and Neisseria flavescens.

The good news was that no antibiotic-resistant genes were detected on cellphone surfaces, according to the Germ study.

This news bears a resemblance to studies that found kitchen sponges are also teeming with nasty bacteria.

And it doesn’t stop there.

“Handbags, wallets, purses and tote bags often test positively for whole communities of germs, including norovirus, MRSA and E. coli,” said Matewele. He suggests taking a vacuum and wipes to those items once a week and keeping them off eating surfaces. mschaefer@phillynews.com                                                        

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How to answer tough interview questions

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This comes from the Courier-Post and The Job Network on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017

BY PETER JONES

THEJOBNETWORK.COM

We all know it’s good to prepare answers to the standard interview questions, plus the not-so-standard ones that might come up in a particular interview at a particular company. But often, we are so prepared that we forget to edit our answers down to their most surgical and concise form.

Here are six standard, but tough, interview questions and the snappy sort of answers you should start rehearsing right now:

 1. Why you left your last job

Maybe the answer is as simple as your company was downsizing, but if you left in order to challenge yourself further or pursue more meaningful work, try saying something that emphasizes some skill or experience you wanted to develop professionally.

Talk about how it wasn’t possible to do this at your former job, and so you are committed to mastering it, and you see the perfect opportunity to do so at this company.

Bonus points if you can prove you’re already well on your way to developing this skill, whether by having taken a class or earned a certification.

2. Your greatest weakness 

Step one: Pick a trait that won’t scare them off, and doesn’t in any way affect your ability to perform this job.

Don’t humblebrag. “I’m just too good at work!” But do try and pick something with a positive spin. Maybe you’re too much of a perfectionist or you go flat out until a project’s done without taking a break. Or choose a weakness that you’ve since worked hard to convert into a strength. Formula for the latter: “Well, I was noticing that I was x, so I took step y in order to improve, and ended up in situation z,” (which is infinitely better and makes you a stronger candidatefor the job).

3. Why you seem overqualified

Rather than agree with them and say how much this job is beneath you, emphasize why (and pick three or so specifics) this job is perfect for you right now, and how it fits into your career growth plan.

Your resume probably shows that you can do this job, so use this answer to prove that you want it.

4. Why you’ve changed jobs a lot 

It can be a red flag to some employers who haven’t gotten the memo that job-shifting isn’t necessarily a red flag anymore. Try telling the truth.

Either it’s as simple as, “For reason x, we moved around a lot and so I was forced to…,” or you have a unique opportunity to document your drive and your desire to learn new things and acquire new skills that make you such a stellar candidate with such passion for what you do. Emphasize how all this hopping has uniquely prepared you to land on their precise lily pad, and why you’d want to stay put for a good long while.

5. Why you’ve been unemployed for ages

If you’ve been out of the workforce for a year or more, you’re going to have to explain yourself. Either go for the “I took some time off to evaluate my career needs and wishes in order to come back refreshed and well-prepared and hungry to do this kind of work,” or the “I’ve just completed x course or accreditation in order to make myself more valuable in my field.”

They’ll eat either up.

6. Your age

It’s illegal to discriminate in hiring decisions based on age, but not illegal to ask. If you’re on the older end of the job market spectrum, use your answer to assuage their fears that you’re just in it for the drudgery and the paycheck.

Emphasize how much passion you still have and how much invaluable experience you bring to the table. You’re not done yet!

Peter Jones is a career advice journalist for TheJobNetwork.com, where this article was originally published. He investigates and writes about current strategies, tips, and trending topics related to all stages of one’s career.

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Tips to Succeed: Marketing yourself online

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From Larry’s More ABCs of Strategic Communication (check it out on the website)…

1. Don’t lie – Whether on a resume, application or personal website, make sure facts about you are accurate.

2. Be professional – For college or job applications, use a simple e-mail address with your name or initials that helps connect an e-mail to you.

3. Censor yourself, and friends (if need be) – If you know a college or potential employer might Google® you or search you out on MySpace®, make sure the content posted by yourself or others is appropriate.

From the Des Moines Register

There are nearly 300 Tips and Techniques in both The ABCs and the newer More ABCs Proceeds from the books’ sales go to the Public Relations Student Society of America and Parsons (Iowa) College Alumni Association.

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Techniques to Succeed: The 30-3-30 Principle

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From Larry’s More ABCs of Strategic Communication (check it out on the website)…

Copy should always be prepared using the 30-3-30 principle. Is your copy aimed at the 30-second reader, three-minute reader or the 30-minute reader? To be effective, write for all three audiences.

There are nearly 300 Tips and Techniques in both The ABCs and the newer More ABCs Proceeds from the books’ sales go to the Public Relations Student Society of America and Parsons (Iowa) College Alumni Association.

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How to get a job without connections

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We thank Thejobnetwork.com for this piece, which appeared in the Courier-Post on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.

BY PETER JONES

THEJOBNETWORK.COM

Networking is probably the number one way to get yourself a job if you are looking. Referrals account for nearly 40 percent of all hires — and referred employees often get jobs quicker and make more money out of the gate. But what if you don’t have anyone to refer you to a particular company or within a particular industry? If this is the case, then you’ll need to figure out how to get a job without connections. Luckily, we’ve got the right information to accomplish that.

Here are four steps to follow to help you get a referral even if you lack the relevant connections.

 

1. Find an influencer

Once you’ve determined there’s a job opening somewhere, find someone who has influence on the hiring process for that position. Search for the position you want and the company you want on a site like LinkedIn until you find your influencer.

 

2. Make contact

Find the contact information for that person and get in touch to set up a time to chat. This is just normal networking, remember? Keep it short, sweet and to the point.

Address the new contact by name, briefly explain that you’re interested in working in their company, but ask only for advice. Throw in some modest, subtle flattery to sweeten them up and politely request a quick coffee (your treat) to pick their brain. You can use “Quick question” as your subject line.

If you don’t get a reply, don’t badger them — and don’t worry. Just find yourself another influencer in the same company — or for a different job entirely, and try again. If or when you do get a meeting, make sure to do plenty of homework first. That means researching the company, the field, the contact, etc.

 

3. Prep your question

The absolute most important question you need to ask is this: “What is the biggest challenge your team is facing right now?” That question will make all the difference between awkward small talk and giving your new contact the opportunity to open up and talk about something that matters to him or her — and something that will be extremely informative and helpful to you. Dig in. Listen hard. And send a thoughtful thank-you note.

 

4. Strategize your solution 

You’ve heard from your influencer (and new contact) what their biggest challenge is. Now figure out their solution. Reach out, research, think inside and outside the box. Put yourself in their team’s shoes and consider things from every conceivable angle. Once you’ve got a great idea, make sure to test

it through all the possible hypotheticals you can come up with. Then craft a detailed and elegant proposal.

You’re going to send this proposal to your influencer.

Start a casual email, with an extra thank you for the coffee date, then say that you’ve been thinking about the conversation and mulling through their situation. Explain that you’ve come up with a proposal to help solve their problem.

It’s gutsy, of course, but if your idea is good — even if it isn’t perfect — it will show your value, and your influencer will most likely share it with his or her team.

If any or all of this goes your way, you’ll be able to follow up by inquiring about any open opportunities on this person’s team (knowing already that there is one). Best case scenario: instant referral. Worst case scenario: You’ve netted yourself a new contact or two.

 

Peter Jones is a career advice journalist for TheJobNetwork.com, where this article was originally published. He investigates and writes about current strategies, tips and trending topics related to all stages of one’s career.

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9 tips for a successful phone interview

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(Thank you to the Courier-Post for this. It appeared as an advertorial on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017.  It contains vital information for jb seekers.

BY PETER JONES

THEJOBNETWORK.COM

So you have followed all the best resume tips and land yourself a job interview. You’re prepared to interview, you’re just not prepared to do it on the phone.

Here are nine ways to adapt your interviewing strategy to the phone format, without losing your cool.

1. Be ready

Sometimes you’ll be notified to schedule. Sometimes the call will come straight out of the blue. If you’re not somewhere where it would be convenient or possible for you to chat, ask the interviewer if it would be possible to find a mutually suitable time. If not, don’t panic: You can do it. Once you’ve applied for a job — any job, make sure you start mentally preparing for the interview in case you find yourself thrown into one just by picking up the phone.

2. Be organized

Have a copy of the job description and whatever information you’ve gathered about the company at your fingertips before the call begins. While you’re at it, make sure to also have a copy of your resume and your application materials as well. Otherwise, the interviewer will be able to hear that frantic stalling and rustling around.

3. Be prepared

The phone interview is just like any other interview. You should be well versed in your answers to common interview questions, or questions you think will be likely to come up for that particular position.

The only difference is you’ll have to be charming without your knockout smile and friendly face. Try compensating with more vivid answers.

And cut the rambling and verbal fillers like “um,” which will stand out more over the phone.

4. Smile

Seriously. Not only can people hear the difference when someone is smiling over the phone, smiling will have a massive effect on your demeanor. You’ll sound much more upbeat and confident.

Keep a mirror by the phone if you need reminding.

5. Use the Internet

If it would be too complicated to explain something, or you want to be able to provide a visual, try directing your interviewer to your website, portfolio or LinkedIn page.

That way, you can talk them through it during your actual interview, narrating each accomplishment for them.

6. Be easygoing

Initial interviews, particularly over the phone, are not

the time to start making demands or asking very particular questions about personal time off, benefits packages or job duties. Make them want to talk to you again; hopefully that will score you a proper faceto- face interview where you can proceed with your usual interview protocol.

7. Be smooth

Just like in any other conversation, try and match the tone and speed and volume of your interviewer. Ask a friend to assess your telephone voice for you in advance and give you feedback.

8. Be firm

Don’t let your interviewer off the phone without scheduling another interview. Or the name and contact information of someone you can be in touch with at the company to follow up.

9. Say thank you 

Even though it’s a phone interview, the normal rules apply. That means a written thank-you, emailed or handwritten. Don’t be too pushy, but it’s always OK to subtly remind them of your strengths in your thank-you note.

Peter Jones is a career advice journalist for TheJobNetwork.com, where this article was originally published. He investigates and writes about current strategies, tips and trending topics related to all stages of one’s career.

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From a legend: these strategic communication principles

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Larry Litwin’s The Public Relations Practitioner’s Playbook for (all) Strategic Communicators contains dozens of important tips that assure effective persuasive public relations is achieved. Here is Play 2 from the books first chapter:

Ivy Ledbetter Lee professionalized public relations by following these principles: (ask yourself, Do you know any C-E-Os who do not follow these basic principles?

1. Tell the truth
2. Provide accurate facts
3. Give the public relations director access to top management so that he/she can influence decisions

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8 Red Flags employers see on your resume’

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Thank you to Jessie Liu from THEJOBNETWORK.COM for this. Jessie is a career advice journalist who investigates and writes about current strategies, tips and trending topics related to all stages of one’s career. Her entire article may be accessed via THEJOBNETWORK.COM. After reading the article, I ask these question:

  1. Why does your resume get recycled with the first five minutes?
  2. Is your resume too flashy?
  3. Is your email address NOT professional?
  4. Does your resume contain spelling and diagrammatic errors?
  5. Do you omit dates – causing suspicion?
  6. Is your information outdated?
  7. Have you changed jobs frequently?
  8. Do you use bullet points?

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Take advantage of the power of a great story

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From the National School Public Relations Association — of which I have been a long-time member — comes this information about story telling and its value:

  • Stories create trust
  • We pay more attention to a story
  • We connect stories to our own lives
  • Stories break down walls of misunderstanding
  • Stories help parents identify with a school’s challenges and solutions
  • Haring stories with your staff reinforces values and school culture.

Visit www.nspra.org for much more information and the opportunity to become a member.

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Landing your next promotion

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These suggestions come from CareerBuilder.com and Deanna Hartley

  • Start the conversation before even accepting a job
  • Have career-development discussions
  • Make the most of your performance review
  • Be prepared to show your expanding skills and value

Visit careerbuilding.com for details and many more suggestions.

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