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Tragedy affects us all at some point in our lives, whether it is personal, such as a death in the family or national tragedies like 9/11. In either case, it is important to know how to cope with the issue so that you can keep a well-balanced and healthy workplace.

The important thing to remember for both employees and management is that everyone copes differently. Some people are extremely open about the catastrophe in their lives, some keep their emotions locked up inside, while others resort to other outlets such as alcohol or drugs. It is crucial to deal with the event in a safe way and prevent any unhealthy actions. Having an action plan for events such as 9/11 or Katrina is just as vital as having a fire evacuation plan. The same thing goes for personal tragedies —people need to know where they can go for help and what they need to do.

September is recognized as National Preparedness Month, with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) promoting the “Ready” campaign. According to DHS, the campaign encourages Americans to be prepared for emergencies of any nature, at work, home, school or personal and national.

So what can you do when the unfortunate happens? Here are some pointers for a company as a whole and the individual:

Have a Plan and Practice It
This helps people know what to do and how to react when an emergency happens and can prepare you for steps you can/need to take when something bad happens.

Give People Information

In the case of a national emergency, it is helpful to have televisions and radios on hand to keep everyone informed. For personal emergencies, give co-workers and families contact information so they can get in touch in with you if something should arise.


Give Them a Break

People need time to grieve and overcome the tragedy in their lives. Allowing them to cope with the situation in a timely manner prevents mistakes and errors on the job and allows them to come back to work more productive. Don’t expect a co-worker or employee to come back refreshed as if they were on vacation.

Talk About It
Arrange a meeting, designate a time of day for group sessions or reserve a quiet room for people to go and share their thoughts.

Distribute Literature

Make Employee Assistance Program information part of your orientation, keep pamphlets in visible, easily accessible areas, hang posters, etc. Know what your options are and what’s available before an emergency happens.

Do Something

If a co-worker’s family member died, send flowers for the service, arrange a group to volunteer for a national crisis, hold a raffle for donations or charity — people like to help and being a part of something, and doing so often assists with the healing process.

Know the Signs
Tragedies can be an emotional rollercoaster for us. We typically go into shock at first, then a feeling of “unreality” kicks in. You might not sleep well, you have a loss of appetite, you are constantly in a daze — these are all signs that your body is trying to heal itself from the shock. Understand that these symptoms are normal and it is important to take time to grieve so that your body can get back to its old self.

Practicing these and other options helps everyone feel safe and prepares you for when tragedy hits. Being proactive and knowing what to do when your life is turned upside down helps you get right-side up without any more unnecessary burdens.

For more information on your company’s action plans, contact your Human Resources or security department. For additional information on the DHS plan and the “Ready” campaign for your business or family, visit and

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What do you do when Bob, your cubicle neighbor, brings in Ashley, his daughter, carrying a puppy dog pout, invoice sheet and cookie order form? She wants to know if you'd rather have the Caramel deLites or the "Do-si-dos." You say you'd rather just stick with the Thin Mints, the perennial best- seller? Well, of course you would. That's a given. Ashley wants to know what you'd like for your second box.

Uh oh. You forgot that Susan, the receptionist, has a cookie sign up sheet on her desk at the front door. Don't even bother trying to explain the ethical and personal relationship questions of why you'd buy from Bob's daughter but not Susan's. You did know that they are having an inter-office competition, didn't you? Along with Carl down the hall, whose daughter, Amanda, sold more than 1,000 boxes last year and got her picture in the local newspaper. But don't worry about that. There are bigger concerns.

What happens when Jerry, your boss, posts his daughter's cookie order invoice outside his door? Well, duh. You buy some more cookies. Are you an idiot? A little face time with Jerry, some chuckling over "kids these days" and some points for supporting his daughter's troop. Who wants to pass up a chance like that?

It's just that some people feel a certain pressure when the boss' cookie shop opens. You don't think Jerry, Susan or Carl will be miffed if you don't buy a box this year? Try again.

You soon find yourself rationalizing that freezer full of cookies with the fact that the process teaches young girls about responsibility, planning and confidence. Yes, it is true that selling cookies allows these young girls to interact with the public and raise money for worthwhile causes. But if you think about it, unless Ashley is there in the office with her cute pouty face, it's really the parents selling for their kids.

Because fundraisers inevitably cause corporate ladder and financial pressures on employees, some companies are starting to enforce a strict "no solicitations" policy. That way, they objectively don't have to explain why one fundraiser is fine while another is inappropriate.

According to Bill Truesdell, president of Management Advantage Inc., many more people these days are asking their HR department to adopt a "no solicitations" policy in their office. That way, they don't make little Ashley cry, Susan the receptionist doesn't accidentally mis-route their calls because she lost the inter-office competition and they earn points with Jerry for stellar reports, not a four-year supply of Thin Mints.

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You’ve heard the old adage, “Keep your work and social life separate,” but what happens when the two mix? The combo can be as great as chocolate chips and cookie dough, or it also can be a recipe for disaster. So where do you draw the line between playing with your coworkers or just playing favorites?

Making friends at work is actually not as bad as it is made out to be. Studies and experts have agreed — friendships in the workplace are a good thing. Not only do they benefit you, but also they surprisingly benefit the company too. Check it out!

How Friendships Benefit You

• They make your day more enjoyable (or in some cases, more tolerable).
• Friends can give you feedback on your work without sounding like the boss. Hearing praise or criticism has some cushioning when it comes from someone you feel is on “your level” rather than from a superior.
• You get the scoop on company happenings. Not to be confused with gossip, talking with friends can give you different insights on your work, other departments or important information you might have missed.
• Sing it — Money, money, money….MONEY!” A ton of businesses offer rewards and bonuses for referring someone to work there. Nothing beats getting some extra cash for bringing your gal pal on board!
• You can vent and not get in trouble. Sometimes your family or friends outside of the company just don’t understand, or there is too much politics to explain why you are upset. Having a friend to release your frustrations to without spending an hour in prep time helps you “get it all out” without getting kicked out.
• You meet new people. If you recently moved, it can help you find new friends, plus you can get outside of your comfort zone.

How Friendships Benefit the Company:

• Creativity, as well as productivity, is increased when employees form friendships.
• Workers do a better job — really! A poll conducted by Accountemps reports that 63 percent of workers said they turn out better results when they have friends to work with.
• Friends keep each other motivated and positive, thus helping calm distractions and emotions.
• Friends help recruit good workers. If an excellent, hard working, employee refers a friend, odds are they are going to be an asset as well.
• Forming bonds and sharing ideas boost group projects and increases teamwork.

Of course there can also be problems with forming friendship in the workplace. Too much play time can take away from work time. Also, if there is a disagreement, it can drastically affect the group dynamic. Other workers might feel as though are caught in the middle or your fight, or even worse, you may become completely ostracized. Other problems that can arise are favoritism, “backstabbing,” and of course the good old fashioned trash talk and rumors. Coworkers who aren’t in your circle of friends can feel like they aren’t treated like you, particularly if you are close with a supervisor or person of power. With all the possible drama aside and when the storm subsides, you can possibly end up miserable, and the once-fun times can turn into a 9 to 5 personal hell.

Nevertheless, here are five helpful things to remember to make your work (and your friendships) flourish:

1. Don’t lose your focus. Keep the time spent at work professional and business oriented.
2. Keep up with your responsibilities. Avoid taking on your friends’ work to help them out if it distracts you from your workload. Don’t miss deadlines, let tasks go or decrease your productivity for the sake of saving someone else.
3. Put a stop to favoritism. Don’t let your selection of friends affect group projects or team moral. Keeping people out of the loop because they aren’t your friends can not only hurt their feelings, but also can hurt the company as well.
4. Watch what you say and who you say it to. Remember that friendships can go sour quickly, and trust should not be taken lightly. Rule of thumb on this one: if you don’t want it getting back to your boss, then don’t say it.
5. Last but not least, remember the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as they would have done unto you.” This doesn’t mean you should lose your competitive edge, but be considerate of how you treat others and mind your manners. 

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For many women, work earns us a living as much as it defines our selves and shapes our lives. It can be a source of fervent pride and intense stress. Smart women know that by partnering with others, we can accomplish more in our careers. Whether your workplace is an office, a school, a medical facility or your living room – these are the five people you need to know.

1. Administrative Staff – In many offices, the hub for all people and tasks is the receptionist or administrative assistant. He/she can be a source of time-saving help and insider knowledge. A good relationship with a key administrator can get you on the boss’ calendar, ensure your UPS packages are out on time and help you tackle the nitty gritty of important projects. Moreover, the receptionist can be a valuable “gatekeeper” to screen your calls. As central communicators in the office, administrators plan important meetings and prepare for departmental changes , and they can pass along these insider tips to you. Not that we’re condoning office gossip, but keeping your ear to the ground can result in opportunities to advance your career!

2. Mentor/Mentee – The stress of going it alone in your career can lead to burnout. Recent college graduates, those who are recently promoted and women who have changed careers should consider finding a mentor. The advice and guidance of a seasoned professional can enhance your experience – and keep you from feeling like you’re losing your mind! An accomplished woman who serves as a mentor will find that she also learns a great deal from the relationship. Not only does she increase her confidence by sharing what she has garnered in her career, but her perspective on technology, on her industry, and even on her relationships with colleagues can be expanded by the influence of a fresh mindset.

3. Tech Guru – When your technical gadgets stop working, your productivity can come to a grinding halt. You need them fixed now, but you find yourself at the bottom of the IT department’s “To Do” list. Whether your technical support is in-house or through a vendor, take the time to develop a personal relationship with your Mr. or Ms. Fix-It. Not only will his response time to your S.O.S. dramatically increase, he can teach you many tips to avoid the problem in the future, or how to repair it yourself.

4. Food Service – Some of the most overlooked VIPs in the workplace can be found working in the company food service department. These folks work hard behind the scenes and are often ignored by their co-workers. To have a partner in cahoots with you at the cafeteria may mean the difference between getting a bowl of your favorite soup and being left with the mystery casserole. Go ahead and swap stories about children, pets, hobbies and great shoe sales. Not only will the social contact brighten your day, but he or she just may save you the last slice of chocolate cake!

5. Best Work Buddy – According to a 2004 Gallup poll, employees who have a best “work” friend are much happier and more productive in their jobs. They are able to work through stress and problems in a much healthier way. Just because we want to look like we’re completely in control at work doesn’t mean we have to put our emotional needs completely aside. A confidant in the workplace can help us deal with the emotional highs and lows of our professional and private lives … so that we don’t have to sob in a bathroom stall and hope no one recognizes our shoes! If you are self-employed or having a friend at work is simply not an option, develop a relationship with a colleague in a similar industry. She can be a sounding board for your ideas and can also offer realistic advice.

It’s important to develop relationships at work that help you excel in your job. Remember: everyone has an important role in making a workplace successful and should be treated with respect. Value their contributions and show them the genuine appreciation they deserve, and you will be treated the same way.

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1. Dump at the door: As you go into work, identify the personal problems/issues you need to "dump" while there. Work is stressful enough without carrying personal stressors too. You don't have time tend to these issues at work anyway. Get rid of your stresses by grabbing some index cards, writing down the issues and putting them away in a box until the workday is done.



2. Develop your plan: Take 15 minutes to plan your day. Know where you're going and how you're going to get there. Stay on your plan to help you focus. When you are focused, you are less overwhelmed. Less overwhelmed feelings equals less stress.


3. Focus, focus, focus: Though most people's tendency is to multi-task, it's often unproductive and stress inducing. Give your complete focus to one project or issue at a time. Once that is accomplished, move to the next.


4. Celebrate, celebrate, celebrate: Once you've focused and succeeded, don't rush to the next challenge. Take a few minutes to savor you success and let it sink in. It will make you feel good.


5. Stretch, bend and wiggle: While at your desk, do one minute of stretches, multiple times a day. It relieves tension and stress. Research will tell you short but frequent breaks give you the best "bang for your buck."

6. Move it, move it, move it: Don your tennis shoes, grab a colleague and walk during lunchtime. You'll come back reenergized and refreshed.


7. Quick—breathe: Do a 6/3/6, a quickie breathing exercise. Breathe in for a count of six, hold for three and release for a count of six. Works anywhere—in the elevator, at your desk or even before a stressful meeting with the boss.


8. Laugh it off: Keep cartoons, jokes and other humor inducing items near you. For me, it's Chuck. Chuck is a stuffed, wind-up hamster that sings "Kung Fu Fighting." No matter how stressed, hearing Chuck's squeaky little voice and watching him swing his nunchuck makes me laugh. Laughter's great because it sends stress busting endorphins throughout your body.


9. Reframe: Perspective changes what we view as stressful. What could you be happy about or grateful for? When the going gets tough, make the tough get going by gaining perspective.


10. Dump at the door, again: You know the drill. Leave the work at work. Unless you plan to actively do a work task at home, mentally leave it there!

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Get a Makeover, Honey

O.K., you may be thinking a makeover is every magazine’s solution to every problem, but if it is, it’s for a reason. Changing your appearance is one easy way to change your whole outlook. And when you change your outlook for the better, that in turn affects every other part of your life. Elementary, my dear Watson. So go out and get some splashy fall highlights and a few sleek wardrobe upgrades (think knee-high boots and anything romantic looking or street chic). Everyone at the office will be sure to notice you’re making the effort to take care of yourself, which will make them think you’re capable of the effort to pull off any project in any facet of your life, including work.

Evaluate and Share
A second great way to upgrade your career is to create a list of goals you have for the company and yourself with the company, and discuss these goals with your boss. Take some time and think about what you like and dislike about the company and your situation in it, and write your thoughts down accordingly. Sharing this goal sheet with your superior shows him or her that you’re not just zoning out from 9 to 5, you’re actually thinking, evaluating yourself and your surroundings in order to make you and the company as successful as possible. Your boss will be impressed by your initiative in making these goals, and may even reward your “get up and go” by making one or more of your goals a reality.

Company Picnic Time

Another effective way of revving up your career is to become more involved with your job’s extras. Have a company picnic coming up? Help organize it (and bring your famous potato salad). Any cause your company supports? Attend its next event. Putting your all into company-related, shall we say, extracurricular activities will again impress upon your boss that you are not only willing to put in the time during office hours, but also put in your extra time into the company as well. Your bosses are more likely to promote someone whose face they remember showing up frequently at company events rather than an equally experienced person who doesn’t socialize and runs to the car at 5:01.

Get Organized

It happens to all of us: we get caught up in a project or talking to a fellow employee and we forget all about that very important meeting that was set up the week before. To err is human, but erring in a very common way such as this can be career suicide. Avoid this problem by coming up with an organization system that works for you, be it a planner, text alerts on your phone or a desk calendar. Once an appointment has occurred, mark it off. Finish an assignment? Check it off. Color coding is another great way to organize — assign a certain task its own color, and you’ll be able to figure out what’s happening next in a glance. Never forgetting assignments or missing meetings will definitely impress itself upon your higher-ups, and again will do nothing but help when they’re deciding who will get that corner office.

Connect the Dots

Those who have been successful in the workplace will tell you that it’s all about who you know. And they’re right. Depending on the field, a person will often get a job based on who he or she knows instead of talent or expertise. So how do you get to know the right people and reap the “knowing someone” benefit? Go to places or events where you know there will be people who are influential or of some importance to your profession. Then, forge connections with these people. Even if you’re only an acquaintance of the district manager of the company you’re interested in working for, that’s still a foot in the door your competition doesn’t have.

Career success, just like any type of success, is assured if you’re willing to put in that extra effort and time. Your boss will know if your heart isn’t in your job, so invest yourself into your tasks and responsibilities, and the company will reward you by investing in you. (And you’ll reward yourself by investing in those Manolo Blahniks you’ve been dreaming about.)

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There is no face mask, wrinkle fighter or surgery that can help you now. Do you feel that your age shows? Well, at least in the workplace? Most women hope to age gracefully, but while we focus on how to stay looking young, we tend to forget how our career gets those fine lines too. The Generation X’ers (considered ages 19-34 in the workplace) are coming full speed ahead into the workforce, taking out anyone in their path. OK, so it might not be that extreme, but we are better known as the “me generation."

Generation X, Baby Boomers and Women

Women who have been in the workforce or at the same job, for 20 or more years have what the younger generations want — seniority. Whether it is raises based on longevity with the company or gaining rights because of loyalty, Baby Boomers have what Gen. X can’t have. However, the younger crowd has the technological skills and higher education that many older people don’t, but then again with age comes experience and knowledge.

The younger generation also has a completely different work ethic and belief system, making it that much difficult to breach the two generations. The older generation might wait to be told what to do, the younger generation tends to “just do it”. Where as Baby Boomers believe you get promotions for all the long, hard years put into the company, Generation X’ers believe you get paid for performance. The most common difference is education. Those from Generation X went to college, had accelerated classes in high school and for the better part of their late teens/early 20s, spent their time preparing themselves for careers. Baby Boomers worked their way up the ranks, sacrificing personal matters to keep their job, and had no pressure to obtain education after high school.

Being a woman in the mix of all this competition doesn’t help your cause either. Taking time off for having children or staying with them until they go to school can be a hard pill to swallow when entering the workforce again. An even bigger problem, numerous women in their 40s and 50s are entering the workforce for the first time. The statistic on divorce rates is scary enough, but women who are tossed into the dog-eat-dog world after ending a 20+ year marriage are finding themselves in uncharted territory.


Making the Change

Whether you are entering the workforce for the first time or have been loyal to your company for countless years, there are several ways to get noticed or keep your competitive advantage. Here are some helpful tips to give your career a face-lift:


Go back to school. If you already have a degree, enroll for a certificate program or associates degree. Try taking a class here or there to stay current in your field. There are many avenues to take with obtaining some sort of improved education, such as community programs, college courses or workshops offered by your employer. The Cincinnati area is great for continuing education with large universities, community colleges and fine arts programs.

Utilize the internet. If you are a stay-at-home mom and want to get a college degree before your kids get old enough for grade school, apply for online colleges. There are also an array of certificates you can obtain online from Microsoft applications to basic human relations skills.

Use the resources already at your fingertips. Many employers are now offering tuition reimbursement for college credits that can be applied to the business. Just keep a good grade and you can get a degree on the company’s dime!

See a career counselor. They can administer a personality test called the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a Strong Interest Inventory or a combined MBTI/SIT. Career counselors specialize in helping find the right career for you and can be extremely beneficial when entering the workforce for the first time or feel it’s time for something new.

Get to know the younger generation. *GASP!* Yes, that is correct, talk to the Generation X employees. They can offer helpful hints with computer software and programs or can share innovative ways to get the job done differently. It can also aide in understanding them better. Many qualified, excellent young workers leave a company because they feel as though the older generation doesn’t get them, which can actually end up hurting the company. Who knows, you mind up picking up a few pointers from them.

So ladies, give your career a tummy tuck, lift or just polish up your already good looks and show the youngins’ whose in charge — we’ll talk about changing that wardrobe later.

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Last night the club was hot and so were you, but this morning is a different story. Your head is pounding and you give the term “something the cat drug in” a whole new meaning. Aspirin, coffee and a shower might not be the cure-all for your wild night, but you still manage to make it to work. But should you have stayed home to recoup? Or was facing the blinding fluorescent lights of the office the better choice?

The Problem is Closer than You Think
Most people can agree that alcohol and work don’t mix, unless you’re a bartender. The surprising fact when it comes to alcohol abuse is that it is not the clinical alcoholics that cause the most problems for companies; it’s the social and light drinkers doing the most damage. New research by the University of California shows 87 percent of alcohol-related problems in the workplace are caused by light to moderate drinkers. The prime suspect of these problems? Hangovers.

Researchers say that while in a hungover state, a person’s ability to focus and concentrate is lowered. While some think they can focus just enough to get the work done, they’re actually more susceptible to making mistakes. While we’re inebriated, we can recognize our inability to function, whereas with a hangover, we think we’re hurting but sober, but actually the opposite is true: we aren’t fully aware, which leaves a gaping hole for errors.

The Costs of Alcohol in the Workplace
Another sobering fact? The cost to businesses due to alcohol abuse in the United States is the highest in the world. Measurable factors include absenteeism, loss of productivity, theft, health insurance claims, injuries and fatalities. Estimates by the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI) place costs at $100 a year, while other studies show it to be as high as $148 billion.

The NCADI and The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) show these staggering (no pun intended) statistics that drug and alcohol users:

  • Use three times as many sick days
  • Are five times more likely to file a worker’s compensation claim
  • Are more likely to have worked for more than three employers in the past year
  • Are more likely to injure themselves and others

Alcohol just doesn’t affect the one who consumes the brew. The DOL reports that one in five workers have been put in danger or injured, and have had to work harder, or re-do work, due to another employee’s drinking.

Family members are also affected by another’s alcohol abuse. A study conducted by the Hazelden Foundation shows that 26 percent of American workers surveyed reported abuse within their family. Effects on family members range from “drifting away” or distracted thoughts, missing deadlines, attendance issues to errors in normal judgment — one in seven even say that a family member’s addiction made he or she forget safety or security procedures.

What to Do If There Is a Problem
Alcoholism is recognized today as a disease, affecting no particular race or group from the lowest paid worker to the CEO. It is important to know your company’s policy on alcohol abuse. Some are approved to do on-the-spot testing, while others can suspend an employee until further notice up to termination. In some industries such as the FAA or the DOT, you can lose your license or ability to be employed until you can show proof you have gone through rehab and counseling.

Many companies offer substance abuse help through their Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Help is not just available for the abuser, but to their family members as well.

If you or someone you know needs help, here are a few sources:

  • The National Alcohol and Substance Abuse Information Center 1-800-784-6776
  • American Council on Alcoholism (800) 527-5344
  • Alcohol Abuse and Crisis Intervention (800)-234-0246
  • Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, National Treatment Hotline 1-800-662-HELP
  • National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information 800-729-6686

Or if you’re a social drinker and you plan on attending one of Greater Cincinnati’s fine entertainment establishments, think about where you’ll be in the morning. Try only taking $20 cash into the bar with you, or for every alcoholic drink you have, drink a glass of water to match. If it’s the nightlife you like and not the liquor, go for virgin drinks or non-alcoholic beer. Have fun and enjoy yourself; just be safe and remember the repercussions come morning!

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If you need to find your dream job before moving on to a better opportunity, you need to go back to bed and take up where you left off: dreaming. Careers, like relationships, are bred over time and rarely are created out of kismet.

My name is Ella Kallish and I am a career marketing specialist. I can help you define and successfully market your professional talents and skills to achieve better opportunity. When you are ready to look for opportunity, you will need to ask and answer a few important questions about yourself first: Who am I? What do I want? and How do I get there?

While these questions seem simple, their answers will provide the building blocks of a successful search. The creation of a resume is your cornerstone. It should speak to your work experience, skills, achievements, education and extracurricular and or professional organization achievements.

Your jobs, promotions and professional reputation often depend on the success or failure of your written and oral communication skills. One of the most important written tools in your professional life will be your resume. Consider the following six planning steps when constructing your resume:

  1. Define Purpose
  2. Know who your audience will be
  3. Choose the messages you want to convey
  4. Collect accurate and exact facts (dates of employment, etc)
  5. Outline and organize your message. The order in which you present your ideas is often as important as the ideas themselves. Disorganized writing reflects disorganized illogical thought processes or careless preparation. (Herta A. Murphy & Herbert W. Hildebrandt, "Effective Business Communications." McGraw-Hill, Inc. 1991)
  6. Edit message – proofread

To deliver a clear and winning message in a resume, you will need to structure, edit, revise and proofread a few times. Make sure that you are consistent in the format and word usage presented throughout your resume by following the Six C's of business communication principles:

  1. Completeness: Check for the five W's – who, what, where, when and why and also how.
  2. Conciseness: Shorten or omit wordy expressions, include only relevant statements and avoid unnecessary repetition. Example: "I was responsible for the development of an analysis group that supported sales and marketing" vs. "Developed an analysis group to support marketing and sales." Prune irrelevant words and get to the point. Drop bridge words like "a," "I," "and," "the," "it" and "also."
  3. Consideration: Think of your reader. Speak about your accomplishments and contributions – stay away from "we" where possible – a company is hiring you, not your group. Apply integrity and ethics when constructing information.
  4. Clarity: Be clear, choose words that construct effective sentences and paragraphs. Remember, complete messages save time and move the process along more quickly. Also, briefly define the business for which you work to establish context of your experience for reader.
  5. Concreteness: Use action verbs in stating achievements. Example: "Was part of a group" vs. "Led a group." Other common action verbs are: developed, directed, edited, implemented, transformed, published, analyzed, created. Compose strong sentences and choose vivid, image-building words.
  6. Correctness: Use the right level of language, include only accurate facts, words and figures. Use parallel structures; make sure that you are consistent in the format and word usage presented throughout your resume. Apply integrity and ethics when constructing information.

The Six C's sounds like a lot to consider, but consider this: In a competitive job market, the deciding factor between you or an equally skilled competitor getting the opportunity may very well come down to how well you have presented yourself.

Work on this exercise: Write or rewrite your resume and send it to me for review! You may e-mail me at:


Dear Ella,
I told my boss two weeks ago that I was resigning my position after I was given a verbal offer from a new company. Today was my last day at work, but I still don't have a definitive start date. What should I do?
– Out Of Work

Dear Out Of Work,
Well, it's a little late to close the barn door after the horse is out of the stables – but for the rest of my readers: NEVER give notice until you have an offer in writing from your new employer. This offer letter is legal and binding and cannot be canceled or pulled unless it was entered into fraudulently by you or was contingent on reference checks that ultimately did not prove acceptable. My advice to you is to contact the human resource director of your prospective employer and let them know that you are now out of work based on their offer and you need a formal start date faxed or e-mailed to you immediately.

If they do not offer you a start date within one week's time from your call (always follow up with a written letter recapping your conversation and snail mail it to them certified, return receipt requested), consult a human resource or corporate attorney. It is important to present your attorney with all written correspondence exchanged between the prospective employer and yourself (hopefully you have saved e-mail exchanges, faxes, letters and so on); this will help to establish a "meeting of the minds" or intent of parties involved. Good luck and let me know what happens.

Written by Ella Kallish
All rights reserved
Additional information on Ella Kallish may be found at



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How many of you just show up for work and that’s it? Do you only care about punching the clock and simply getting your job done? For some people, work is work. You show up on time, do what’s expected and go home for the day. However, for others it can be more. It is the sense of accomplishing something, completing a measurable task by the end of the day. There is a sensation that needs to be filled of worth and value—the desire to be wanted and needed by your coworkers.

In either case, it is very important to know where you stand in the company. When using the phrase "where you stand," you can cover quite a few areas. Have you been in trouble? Do you work well with others? Does your superior see growth for you? Is a raise in your future, or a pink slip? Knowing the answers to key questions like these can make all the difference in your workday, no matter what your philosophy is on getting the job done.

Important Things to Know

Most organizations complete monthly, quarterly or yearly reviews. These are not only tools to give you feedback on your work and help improve your job performance, but can also be used in determining raises AND whether retribution is needed. The reports should cover basic criteria, such as:

  • Attendance
  • Tardies
  • Rates
  • Percent of sales

Your review should also cover additional comments on:

  • Management observations
  • Individual goals
  • Company goals
  • Room for improvements
  • Quality suggestions

Businesses vary on what they “grade” an employee on, but you should always know the basics. There are many different methods for performance appraisals, but the most popular is a method known as Goal Setting, more commonly called management by objectives. There are several factors and requirements involved, but in a nut shell, the objective is to set a clear understanding of work to be done by the employee and establish action plans to achieve the objectives. This of course needs to be done on a regular basis so that your work and any other barriers can be discussed between you and a supervisor.

Things You Should Watch Out For

When there isn’t a clear-cut, documented source in front of you, there are things you can look for to gauge where you stand. It is important to keep a self-inventory of your own performance even when you aren’t being reviewed. This can help prepare you for future discussions of your goals within the company, as well as preventing those accumulated tardies from sneaking up on you.

Here are five easy tips for keeping tabs on yourself:

  1. Use an attendance calendar to track any absences, tardies or time off. Typically, an administrative assistant should have one for the current year with an easy coding system.
  2. Take a look around you. Does your desk look unorganized? Are there stacks of uncompleted work? Having your workload under control not only shows that you are completing the tasks given to you, but also that you probably know where everything is — a big plus in great time management skills. Both of which result in bonus points when proving you are worthy of that raise.
  3. Watch who and what you talk about. By doing this, you can maintain complaints from coworkers and keep foul talk at bay. Knowing you are ethical and abide by the code of conduct curbs any disciplinary action, or even worse — a trip to Human Resources.
  4. Compare yourself to your peers. Do you keep up with work flow and production? Do you step up to take on projects more than others? Recognizing your hard work (or lack of) can either set your mind at ease that you are doing or good job, or light a fire under your rear to put forth more effort.Remember old reviews, poor marks on your record, disciplinary actions, etc and simply change your actions! Making self-improvements keeps you out of trouble, and shows that you took corrective action (which will more than likely pop up on your next review).

If you are competing for a higher position, or looking for a promotion, take all the different things the business looks at into consideration. They can range from many factors including:

  • Seniority
  • Education
  • Skills
  • Experience
  • Age
  • Effort
  • Work historyLevel/difficulty of job
  • Responsibilities

Even if you don’t appear to be qualified by the listed standards, just showing interest and initiative goes a long way. Just because you have only been there one year and the other gal has been there ten, it's always good to let the company know your interests — so (pardon the cliches here) stick your neck out, go out on a limb or take a shot in the dark to put your best foot forward!

If there is ever a time where you are concerned about your job, talk to someone about it. Even though you might not get a straight answer, you can at least find areas of opportunity. Of course events like layoffs or business closings are out of your hand, but termination or getting rejected for that promotion is not. There is always room to improve; even when we think we are the epitome of perfection, or at least as close as it comes.