Woman Around Town’s Editor Charlene Giannetti and writers for the website talk with the women and men making news in New York, Washington, D.C., and other cities around the world. Thanks to Ian Herman for his wonderful piano introduction.

job search

Get a Jump on Boosting Your Career


The state of working in America is abysmal for just about everyone. Complaints drown out positive stories. Most workers are dissatisfied about some aspect of their jobs. Owners are unhappy, management is unhappy and labor forces are unhappy. Those who remain without work—-7.75%, still high but down from 10% in 2008—-are the unhappiest of all.

Why so much unhappiness? Those lucky enough to have a job are working longer hours for less pay and, in many cases, with no job security. That’s old news to many yet at a time when technology should be transforming the workplace, making us more efficient and productive, as well as creating new jobs that can lead to better careers for so many, we are faced with nothing less than an employment crisis.

Should work make us happy? Freud might have argued in part yes, but I would qualify that. Work should bring us some form of satisfaction yet a job alone, no matter how exciting and lucrative, should not be responsible for our overall happiness. Family, friends, and what we do in our off hours should contribute to our sense of self worth. Still, our jobs should not be making us unhappy and, in extreme cases, sick. Unfortunately, that’s what we are seeing in so many industries. People are unemployed, underemployed or over-employed (those working multiple jobs and still not able to make ends meet). Change is needed but how to make those changes?

2014 is a new year and with a new year come new opportunities. There are reasons to be hopeful, even excited about the opportunities to come. So make that New Year’s resolution to do something about your job situation, whatever that might be.

Control Yourself

Collective thinking may be saying that the outlook for business is poor. Stop looking at the overall picture. Control what you can: your own situation. You don’t need the economy to be “good”, you need ONE opportunity. In fact some believe there are more opportunities for those just starting out in so-called “bad times” than in economic booms. Thinking as an individual is also going to be one of the foundations of the new economy so why not start by focusing on yourself?

Avoid the naysayers. Discontent breeds more discontent.
Vow to make five new contacts each month whether on LinkedIn or by attending a meeting or lecture.
Change habits, even seemingly harmless ones.

What's ImportantWhat’s Important

Finding out what’s important is the basis for your value system. Again, don’t let others dictate what you find important. Value systems don’t start with what others see in us, but with what we see in ourselves. What you really want in life is a hard question to answer but if you can identify what you need to lead a happy, productive life, you can begin to see how your job fits into that vision.

People who explicitly stand for something, whether the quietly brilliant characteristics such as integrity, honesty, or compassion, have advantages in the business world. Those traits inspire others. When your personal value system extends to your job, your career decisions will be made for you.

List three things you can’t live without.
List three things you could live without.
What business person/s do you admire and why?
Tune out. Most people who say they can’t decide what they want are simply distracted or entranced by their daily routine. Set aside time to do nothing but think about yourself.

The Challenge

The world is a much different place than it was ten, even five years ago. The technological revolution is doing what it should be doing: changing everything. Tasks that were once a full time job are now done in a millisecond. Entire industries are faltering, failing, or being completely reinvented in order to survive.

Education is the single most powerful tool in this new environment. What type of education someone needs today is less likely to be as simple as a degree. It more than likely may mean the learning of various skills separately while then taking those skills and assembling them together to create a unique resource within yourself that gives you tremendous value.

We see this over and over again in the computer sciences. The pace of change in that industry has much to do with it becoming a necessary way of working for many who learn all aspects of one discipline only to put it together with a secondary set of skills which in turn create an entirely new and productive worker.

Take a course, in a classroom or online, that will give you a new needed skill.
Again, read, read, read, whether magazines or books that add to your knowledge.
Stop thinking of math and science as…well, math and science. It’s not. It’s creative and flexible too.
Learn Microsoft Office software. If you already know it then learn Quickbooks or Salesforce. If you know those learn HTML. No I am not kidding.

Be the Mother of Invention

Once you have gained this new knowledge, find ways to put it to use. Have you ever been at work and wondered why there wasn’t a person you could call who could perform a specific task or handle a certain part of a job? Maybe that person is now you. Do you work in a job where waste and inefficiency are a problem? Define the problem and solve it, then bring that information to your supervisor. Do you work in a real estate development office and find people who would pay a consulting fee to get direction when dealing with all of the paperwork? You get the idea.

Invent solutions, answers, and even new ways to see old problems. Do not be shy about presenting your ideas and you may be surprised at your employer’s reaction.

If you are like many Americans you are facing part time work offers. My advice is to see this as a way to start your own business. Work those hours and then see if it translates to something else you can do on your own. Many times we have to piece together a living while we are building our careers so take advantage of part time employment.

List five things you could change about your job given the opportunity.
Practice presenting your ideas to your supervisor.
Treat everything as a trial and error process. In the new world they sometimes call this iteration.

Creative Thinking2Different Thinking

The best way to think differently is to doubt yourself. Approach the same material as if your past thinking was wrong. If you start to question things in a logical progression, you may find new ideas.

This way of thinking is so important in the new world economy that top schools are devoting millions in funding and resources to it. Take the now prestigious d-school at Stanford University also known as The Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. Launched in 2005 with no affiliation to any department, the program offers no degrees, yet could fill three times as many seats as there are openings.

The Johns Hopkins Business School and the Maryland Institute College of Art also have created “Design Leadership” courses that along with the d school are quickly becoming popular among recruiters from companies like Google, Nike, and JetBlue.

There is no one way to describe all of these programs and how they work but a glimpse at the d school shows people literally being trained to “reinvent” or re-think things they already know. This could include observing the checkout process in a supermarket, or attempting to discover new procedures for applying paint to an automobile. Students are asked to perform exercises based in evolving a hybrid talent of business and design skills. What this means for those of you unable to attend these classes is that a trickle down effect will shape the rest of the workforce until everyone is expected to think in a more adaptable manner.

Take just one routine task you perform each day and find another way to do it.
Study something profoundly. Headlights. Lipstick. A door hinge. Pretend you were asked to redesign it.
Guess more. Guess using information you have and then compare your guess to the actual solution. Smart guessing is a skill.
Find people who challenge you. You don’t have to agree with them, just hear them out, let them make you a little uncomfortable. It’s good for you.

The next few weeks can be a time of reflection but should also be a time of action. Many of the best traits in the new economy are not primary characteristics of past workers. People now have to work with less on the job training, but are expected to have the skills and training at the interview.

My advice is that if the corporate world wants the workforce to be responsible for their own training, then go one better – own it. If you own that skill not just from the expertise point of view but from the idea that you are now such a particular expert that you deserve high compensation and consideration then slowly every person will be their own best agent for their personal independent contracting. Even as an employee you may see benefits as the leverage you bring to salary negotiations alone can only enhance your standing. If your employer knows that you just might go out there and make a go of it alone they might give you the extra vacation weeks or the best parking space.

And as for those of you that may give more serious thought to taking that entrepreneurial spirit out there on your own, the near future may be something to keep your eye on.

Jason Veduccio, founder of In1Concepts, works with companies on marketing, technology, hiring, and workplace issues. He welcomes your questions and can be reached at jason@in1concepts.com.

Keep Your Head While Job Hunting


We don’t need studies to show us that being unemployed can affect you emotionally. When people aren’t working they tend to be depressed, even with no clinical history of depression. But this can make finding a job harder, especially if you’re not aware of how it is affecting your behavior.

Is there anything you can do to prevent depression when you’re unemployed? Let’s look at options that may help your mental state–even after you get that new job.

Without a doubt, unemployment can affect your mood. We’ve probably all been there, even if for only a short time, feeling discontented as we’re struggling to overcome a difficult situation. For a few, it can become more serious and lead to deep depressions. And for others, it affects confidence and outlook enough to put you off course if you let it.

What to do if you feel seriously depressed.

If you are dealing with work issues and you feel hopeless about everything, get help. I’m not going to give you a list of symptoms for clinical depression, let a therapist decide. Call your local hospital or doctor to find free or sliding scale clinics near you. If you are religious ask your local leaders, or contact your town or city hall for more information. It’s out there, don’t take no for an answer.

What to do if your job search is taking a mental toll.

For others who may not have a medical issue but certainly have a serious problem, look at these as a few options, however there are many more ideas and lots of great things to read about on this subject.

Talk to someone because there’s nothing wrong with you. If you’re not working then normal mental stressors are going to come up–that’s reality. A few people handle these stressors easily, while they can trip up most of the rest of us. You may not need therapy, but if you’re human, you may need to vent, talk, or just let it out once in a while. Do this once a week to a friend, community leader, or trusted source.

Hire yourself. After all if you won’t, why should they right? You now work for you. Your job is to get a job and your pay is a bowl of oatmeal and a mile walk each day. Sorry, this job doesn’t pay well but that’s your best offer. What I am saying here is to treat the search as if it is your job, set times you work and only take breaks as you would in a real position. If you’re entire job is to get a job you have one focus–go after it. How does this affect your mood? It gives your days a purpose. (And might help you find a job.)

Nourish yourself. I’m going to try to not sound all Self-Helpy here but here’s the deal: Science has shown that eating right and exercising, can make a huge difference. Eating right and working out on a barely-there budget? Are you kidding? I’m not, I know it’s hard but use what you have to buy only healthy foods and if you can’t join the gym, not to worry you don’t even need one. Walking is a great way to spend time thinking and working out without weights in your living space can actually be beneficial.

Give. Volunteer. It’s an amazing experience and does so much even in small amounts. And it helps you to meet people! Socializing can keep your mood stable but it also can lead to finding work. Volunteering can also give you a deeper gratitude about life in general, and that helps in many ways.

Am I trying to be blindly positive even when it’s not possible? No, I know there are some devastating stories that are not made for happiness. Those are the people we all need to come together to help. If you know someone like that reach out.

For the rest of us, there are ways to get through a job search without losing your mind. These tips may not make you a happy dancing fool, but they can give you just enough to get through to better times.

This is a topic that has many aspects. Being this was just a quick overview of some options, we need to revisit this to see how your mood and attitude can actually affect the job search itself. For now, try to relax.

How to Put This Article Into Action:

  • Contact a friend.
  • Drink a gallon of water each day.
  • Walk for at least 30 minutes.
  • Volunteer.

New American Small Jason Veduccio is the author of The New American Dreamer: How to Land That Ideal Job in a Nightmare Economy. Click to buy.

What to Do When You Need a New Job Fast


It may happen to you at some point in your career. There’s a surprising round of layoffs, or a merger leaves you on the outs, or you just got fired. Perhaps you are in a bad work situation and just feel you need to get away from it all.

You need a new job – fast!

In times when you must move quickly, be deliberate and thoughtful in your actions. We’re going to have some fun with the Pareto principle to help us along. (Pareto purists–please don’t write me!)

Developed by the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto in the early 20th century, Pareto’s principle says that 80 percent of the effects of something come from 20 percent of the causes. Let’s use this idea to help you get a new job fast.

Resume, Network, Interview

Eighty percent of the way to a new job is going to rely on 20 percent of your actions. Or think of it this way: you absolutely MUST have a good resume, a strong network, and do well in the interview to get a job fast. So make sure you have each one locked down. Other factors may include references, experience, and referrals which can all seal the deal, but you need that first 20 percent.

You’re On Sale

We can use the Pareto principle to make another point. A common rule of thumb in business is that 80 percent of your sales come from 20 percent of your customers. Picture yourself as a product and your network as a group of customers. Twenty percent of your contacts are your big fans, the most vocal fans, and the most aggressive fans. Identify those people and reach out to them often.

Time Management Means Success

Before we put the Pareto principle away for a while, how about we use it to look at time management? If you must continue to work at your current job while looking for a new one, you will have little time to waste. Get organized! Spending time on the right 20 percent is a must. Get a calendar and write down everything. Then highlight and do the things that are most important first.

Lastly, don’t panic

When you panic you cannot think clearly and the results will fall short. How not to panic? Celebrate small milestones along the way. Maybe making a new contact that will eventually lead to a new job. As long as you maintain the momentum, your efforts will eventually pay off.

New American SmallJason Veduccio is the author of The New American Dreamer: How to Land That Ideal Job in a Nightmare Economy. Click to buy. 

The New American Dreamer: Dress & Rehearsal


We have arrived. You got the call, you flew through the phone interview (see our previous story) and now they want to meet you. It’s time for the interview.

I want to make sure we emphasize the importance of this interview by taking two entries to cover it dividing this opportunity into the “pre-interview” phase and “the interview.” Ultimately the interview will decide whether you get the job because people hire people and not resumes, so take a lot of time to prepare for this meeting.

In the pre-interview phase we could say there are two main areas to address, the mental and the physical.

The physical aspects include not only your general appearance and outfit, but also your body language and eye contact. Research tells us that as much as 85 percent of communication is nonverbal. So make a task list and start with these tips:

  1. Plan out exactly what you will wear two days before (if possible) and when in doubt, go with something conservative unless you know otherwise.
  2. On colors—know the rules before you break them. Blue and navy are good choices, grays are also usually a good choice, and with a white shirt or blouse it always looks professional. Wear strong colors like black and red as accents to show your personality.
  3. For women wear closed toe shoes and plain hosiery. And for men, make sure your shoes are freshly shined.

This may sound ridiculous but if you can get a friend to help, ask them to interview you. Notice your body language and eye contact. Practice a few times until you can sit straight and look them in the eye in a natural, confident way.

The other part of your preparation is mental. This means preparing your mind to handle anything you might be asked about. Start by knowing answers to the basic questions always asked during an interview such as:

“Tell me a little bit about you.”

”Why do you want to work here?”

“Why did you leave your last job?”

“Do you have any questions for us?” (Street tip: Have one but keep it positive, extremely simple and related to a work aspect of the job – not a benefit.)

If you really want this job you must do research. On them and on you. Here is a checklist for further mental preparation:

  1. Know your resume by heart.
  2. Know all of your strengths and your ONE or TWO weaknesses.
  3. Know your life story.
  4. Know how to summarize your life story.
  5. Know how to summarize your life story using only the highlights.
  6. Know the history of the company you’re interviewing.
  7. Know what the company has interests in and what kind of image and marketing it does if any.
  8. Know what the company website and all of its social media tools look like.
  9. Know the job description.
  10. Know the person or people interviewing you.
  11. Prepare a basic thank you letter, note or email simply to have it ready to fill in with details and send the moment you get home.

I could make this list so much longer but I think it’s important for everyone to start here and then work out with a goal of gaining as much knowledge and practice at interviewing as possible.

Jason Veduccio is a hard-working entrepreneur following his dreams, and he wants you to dream, too. Drawing on his experiences working with companies on marketing, technology, hiring, and workplace issues, his regular column will demystify the job search process and identify strategies for moving up the corporate ladder. Founder of In1Concepts, Jason also knows the ins and outs of launching a new business. He welcomes your questions and can be reached at jason@in1concepts.com.

The New American Dreamer: Tell A Phone To Hire You


As many as one in six job interviews now begins on the phone. Companies looking to save time and money choose to pre-screen applicants on the telephone rather than with a face-to-face meeting.

For some, this development is good news. Imagine sitting at home in sweatpants and flip-flops, drinking coffee from a favorite mug, and still interviewing for that dream job. Other applicants who do much better in an actual meeting may regard this trend as a lost opportunity.

No matter your point of view, the phone interview may be a necessary step in your job search. See it as your chance to shine so that even before the conversation is over, you will be assured of winning that in-person interview.

My advice? Prepare for that phone interview as you would were it an actual interview – because it is! The goal here is two-fold: to impress the interviewer with who you are, and to get that face-to-face interview. (We’ll discuss this next time).

Do your homework. Learn about the company, the people, and the position you are applying for. What strengths will you bring to the job and to the company? In the days of search engines like Google and Bing, employers think it insulting not to know the basics.

You won’t have to worry about what to wear or bring to the interview, but there are important ways to prepare:

  • If you can, always use a landline. If you don’t have access to one, then charge your cell phone or plug it in. Yes, it’s a bad thing if your phone drops the call.
  • If you are on a cell phone, find a quiet area to sit and make sure the connection is excellent. One more time – yes, it’s a bad thing if your phone drops the call.
  • Get some water ready. You don’t realize how dry you may get when you are talking for a length of time and your adrenaline is pumping.
  • Get your resume out, your cover letter, notes, and any correspondences along with blank pieces of paper and two pens. Yes, two pens, you know one always runs out.
  • Tell anyone in the house or location not to walk in or disturb you. Pets should be out of barking distance.

Now comes the hard part. Stay focused and listen. Listening is as important to an interviewer as speaking. If the person on the other end of the phone feels you are interrupting or not paying attention, you are less likely to make it to the next round.

Speak confidently and be yourself. It does help to be conversational even when talking about your accomplishments. Rehearse beforehand and go through a list of possible questions. Be positive. You may find that you actually enjoy speaking to the person on the other end of the line.

Before you hang up, make sure you have the interviewer’s contact information so that you can send a “thank you” as a followup. (See my previous story).

Jason Veduccio is a hard-working entrepreneur following his dreams, and he wants you to dream, too. Drawing on his experiences working with companies on marketing, technology, hiring, and workplace issues, his regular column will demystify the job search process and identify strategies for moving up the corporate ladder. Founder of In1Concepts, Jason also knows the ins and outs of launching a new business. He welcomes your questions and can be reached at jason@in1concepts.com.

The New American Dreamer:
Jason Veduccio Tackles the Job Search


Whether you are seeking a new job or contemplating a job change, Jason Veduccio’s The New American Dreamer, How to Land That Ideal Job in a Nightmare Economy (WAT-AGE Publishing), can be your game changer. Veduccio’s book lays out the steps you need to take that are easy to follow and can keep you on track to reach your goal in a timely manner.

As he puts it, “Wherever you are in your career you need to be in a constant state of growing.” One of the most important points he makes is that all of us need to find our “compass.” And by that he means you need to focus on where you are in your career, where you are going in your career, and what makes you happy in your career.

He poses a series of questions to help the job seeker think about what he or she is looking for in a new role. The book also outlines some standard techniques and practices to use when searching for a job.

The New American Dreamer CoverJason does a good job of organizing and outlining key topics. For example, the section in the book on spotting job leads is particularly useful. And because they are useful, I’ve outlined them below from his book:

  • Network, network, and then network some more (Important statistic here: according to Jason, 80% of jobs are never posted.)
  • Join trade groups and other affiliated groups
  • Talk to college and alumni groups
  • Attend Job Fairs
  • Meet with Recruiters

Jason also emphasizes a point often overlooked: the importance of cover letters in the job search. Cover letters are a great way to synthesize one’s resume, outline one’s goals and thank the prospective employer for their consideration of the job seeker’s candidacy.

In a challenging economic environment — where the unemployment rate doesn’t fully capture the level of job seekers coupled with the massive underemployment in our economy — The New American Dreamer does a good job of summarizing the tried and true practices that can be helpful to anyone seeking his or her next “dream” role. Good Luck!

The New American Dreamer: How to Land That Ideal Job in a Nightmare Economy
Jason Veduccio

Go to the website for WAT-AGE Publishing for more information on publishing your book.

The New American Dreamer—Going For It


Imagine if you will, your resume is finished, looking as if it were written on parchment paper in gold leaf, and I tell you to take it, roll it up, put it into an old wine bottle and toss it into the sea. Maybe some of you would expect that from me, but more to the point, resumes alone are about as likely to be found by that one special person as that wine bottle bobbing around the surf.

Self-marketing tip: In poor marketing, actions are put into place without any thought about goals and strategy. In average marketing, generic actions are put into place as a one-size-fits all solution. In good marketing, no actions take place before you have a goal and a strategy. So before we get that resume “finished” you need to know what jobs you want (your goal) and how best to get them (your strategy). (See my previous article on what goes into a resume).

Let’s suppose you want to become a financial analyst. You have a resume ready and maybe it’s tremendously impressive but even within industries, hiring trends tend to change with the wind and what was in demand last year might already be SO last year. So do your research and be current.

To have your resume become known to the search engines that employers use and more importantly to make sure that when it is found it hits all the right “keys” and gets you an interview you will need to insert certain key words, which are simply words that the industry has deemed important and that allow your resume to be seen as “sufficiently qualified”. To find keywords go to www.indeed.com again and take a look at your competition. See words that are used over and over and how they are used.

Many keywords come in one of a few categories:

Job titles

Names of industry-specific tools or knowledge

Special industry descriptors or value items

Names of software or hardware that one needs training to utilize

Special certifications that are a pre-requisite

To show you an easy example if I were to make a bartending resume some keywords I might use would be: “wine knowledge,” “customer service,” and “T.I.P.S. Certification.”

The next thing to pay close attention to is the conversion of your past experience descriptions into strong verb terms and then if possible, quantifying it. Once again I say this with the caveat that it never implies anything untrue. By this I simply mean taking a term like “Helped customer sales for four months” and changing it to a phrase like: “Drove sales and customer service issues to an 8% increase in first quarter.” Make the verb important, at least as important as you were to the process. One thing I notice is that people tend to under-sell themselves and often have no idea that they are doing so. If you were part of a team that helped increase sales, then say it. If you can put a number on it, then do so, just make sure that you can also discuss it in an interview and that you haven’t misled anyone.

OK, great. Take a deep breath; this stuff is hard. Give yourself some credit. If you want to have a little fun with it, then visit www.rezscore.com a site that uses metrics measuring such things as keywords and gives you an assessment of the quality of your resume. Just promise me you won’t take it too seriously?

Jason Veduccio is a hard-working entrepreneur following his dreams, and he wants you to dream, too. Drawing on his experiences working with companies on marketing, technology, hiring, and workplace issues, his regular column will demystify the job search process and identify strategies for moving up the corporate ladder. Founder of In1Concepts, Jason also knows the ins and outs of launching a new business. He welcomes your questions and can be reached at jason@in1concepts.com.