Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Overused adjectives may kill your resume. Market yourself by proving how great you are with concrete examples.

People who review resumes hate “fluff”, those that do nothing but fill space in a resume, particularly the self-assessment terms ones. A resume is an advertisement intended to attract the reader and make that person want to grab the telephone and call you. Fluff detracts from your purpose of creating the resume. Eliminate fluff. Sell the results of your work!

Replace Self-Assessing Adjectives

Replace terms that describe character with specific content to demonstrate how you accomplished or achieved something. Rather than saying “successful”, “dedicated”, “motivated”, “outstanding”, “results oriented”, etc., describe what you accomplished, the results of your work. Prove you are “results-oriented” by describing a results on your resume and how you achieved them. Which is more better: “outstanding customer satisfaction record” or “achieved 98% customer satisfaction rating with over 1000 customer responses.“ If you don’t actually have numbers, you can approximate percentages: “Introduced new procedures that slashed cycle times approximately 20%.”

Use Numbers and Symbols

Hiring managers are charged with achieving results usually measured in numbers. Numbers and symbols quickly jump out at them, so show them you are “results-oriented” rather than saying so; use numbers whenever you can. Dollars are always great to use, but percentages often are a good alternative because they show the impact of your efforts. They can be improved by showing the magnitude of the change as well. If I increased something from 1 to 2, I have changed it by 100%, but if I increase it from 100 to 101, I have only changed it by 1%. That’s quite a difference.

Although numbers are best, qualitative statements like “delivered results improvement  at less cost than budgeted” showcase your effectiveness even when you don’t have the actual numbers.

Get more help on this and other tactics by emailing me at or by visiting And leave a comment if you like this post.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

OK you are busy job searching, working or playing. What on earth are you eating?

Instead of writing about things that will help your job search, today I decided to write about 
something that is a wake up call to me.

Who among us has not known someone who had cancer? Maybe an acquaintance, a friend, a family member, or ourselves. When I was a lot younger I paid little attention to cancer news. It was too bad but it happened to others. I was immortal.

When cancer strikes close to home, attitudes about it change. Mine has. In our family it has caused us to read about causes. And what we have found has astounded us because, until now, we paid no attention to the things we have been doing with our food. I’m talking about plastics.

Did you know or pay attention to the warnings you hear about plastic. It is used in packaging in many foods we eat. And we store some of our foods in plastic containers or baggies. We drink out of plastic bottles and feed our babies that way as well. That’s safe isn’t it?

Well here’s the problem. When you ingest food that has touched plastic you are likely to be ingesting substances known to cause cancer or other bodily issues. One culprit, specifically, is a substance called BPA, Bisphenol A. BPA has been used in food containers for many years. It was invented in 1937. Some plastics are “safe” – but that’s probably really just a relative term. Fortunately today we can identify which of the many different plastic resins that come in contact with food by reading a code on the container. The plastics industry has a numerical classification for 7 different plastic resins used for containing food. See the list here and become familiar with it. It may save your life in the long haul.

And it’s not just the obvious plastic containers, bottled drinks etc., it is canned food too. Did you know plastic is used in the linings of canned food and drinks to prevent corrosion? How about those Styrofoam trays they serve food in? The applications seem to be endless and we’ve been consuming toxins from plastics our entire lives without giving a second thought about it.

To their credit the plastics industry has been substituting BPS, Bisphenal S for BPA in an attempt to rectify the BPA problem, but unfinished continuing research suggests BPS may be as bad or worse for you. The FDA is strangely silent about the problem (lobbyists working hard?). Thank you big government for looking out for us all these years (BPA was invented in 1937). See more at and if you are scientific, read this .

So what should you do? You decide. A sensible approach is to limit your exposure to toxins in plastics by not putting things into your mouth that are contained by plastic (baby toys anyone?). In our house we have thrown out, within reason, all plastic containers used to store food. We are using glass containers. We don’t cover leftovers with plastic wrap. We don’t heat plastics in the microwave anymore or your dishwasher (that releases the toxins). We now look at the bottom of all containers in the food store to see what numerical plastic they are made out of.

Here is what the experts say: "As far as possible we should minimize our exposure by:
● Buying and storing food in glass containers.
● Try not to buy items in plastic packaging, and take your own cloth bag to the market.
● Never microwave food in plastic of any kind, including plastic wraps and so called microwave-safe containers. Transfer microwaveable foods to a safe glass or ceramic alternative before heating. The term “microwave-safe” only means the plastic in question won’t become visibly damaged when heated, not that it won’t leach.
[And don't put plastics in  your dish washer. Toxins will leach out onto every other thing in the washer!]
● Avoid polycarbonate drinking bottles with BPA and aluminum bottles with liners containing BPA. (BPA-free water bottles almost always say so on the label.)
● When you buy food that already comes in plastic, take it out and store it in glass as soon as you get home.
● Get a water filter on your tap to avoid buying plastic bottles and save money.
● Shop around organic markets, they tend to use much more natural packaging.
● Most canned food liners contain BPA although many manufacturers are moving away from this, so avoid where possible."

The numbers, 1 through 7, have been established by the plastics industry. You will find them on the bottom of containers that food comes in. If you can’t find a number, don’t by it. If the label says “BPA free”, it may well have BPS, Biphenol S, in it. The jury is out on research on  BPS but it is the same family of chemicals as BPA.

1 Polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE) 
Used to make soft drink, water, sports drink, ketchup, and salad dressing bottles, and peanut butter, pickle, jelly and jam jars among other things.

GOOD: Not known to leach any chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer or disrupting hormones.
It is safe to consume the initial beverage from these bottles, but may be harmful to refill them; the main concern with reusing these bottles stems from the possibility that harmful bacteria will build up in the cracks and crevices.  Not as toxic as #7 or #3 but it leaches the element antimony which interferes with body’s ability to detoxify itself.
2 High density polyethylene (HDPE)
Milk, water, and juice bottles, yogurt and margarine tubs, cereal box liners, and grocery, trash, and retail bags.

GOOD: Not known to leach any chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer or disrupting hormones.
Alternative opinion: Safe, but not as durable as 5

3 Polyvinyl chloride (V or PVC) 
Most cling-wrapped meats, cheeses, and other foods sold in delicatessens and groceries are wrapped in PVC.
BAD: To soften into its flexible form, manufacturers add “plasticizers” during production. Traces of these chemicals can leach out of PVC when in contact with foods. According to the National Institutes of Health, di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), commonly found in PVC, is a suspected human carcinogen.
Alternative opinion: Researchers have not reached a verdict on containers that contain a number 3 or 6 on the bottom. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

4 Low-density polyethylene (LDPE)
Some bread and frozen food bags and squeezable bottles.
OK: Not known to leach any chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer or disrupting hormones, but not as widely recycled as #1 or #2.
Alternative opinion: Numbers 4 is safe, but not as durable as 5 and is typically used for food storage bags, milk jugs and other items. Low Density Polyethylene.

5 Polypropylene (PP)
Some ketchup bottles and yogurt and margarine tubs.
OK: Hazardous during production, but not known to leach any chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer or disrupting hormones. Not as widely recycled as #1 and #2.
Alternative opinion: Safe, durable and typically used for food storage bags, milk jugs and other items. Cloudy color, water bottles, yogurt cups, medicine bottles, ketchup, straws, etc. Polypropylene,

6 Polystyrene (PS)
Foam insulation and also for hard applications (e.g. cups, some toys, packaging ‘pop corn’)
BAD: Benzene (material used in production) is a known human carcinogen. Butadiene and styrene (the basic building block of the plastic) are suspected carcinogens. Energy intensive and poor recycling.
Alternative opinion: Researchers have not reached a verdict on containers that contain a number 3 or 6 on the bottom. 

7 Other (usually polycarbonate)
Baby bottles, microwave ovenware, eating utensils, plastic coating for metal cans
BAD: Made with biphenyl-A, a chemical invented in the 1930s in search for synthetic estrogens. A hormone disruptor. Simulates the action of estrogen when tested in human breast cancer studies. Can leach into food as product ages.

Alternative opinion: Plastic containers that have a number 7 on the bottom are the biggest cause for concern. This type of plastic contains a chemical called bisphenol A (BPA). According to the MSNBC news article "Plastic Bottles -- Are They Safe?" BPA could possibly cause brain problems in fetuses and children and prostate and breast problems in adults. Most manufacturers are coming out with products that say "BPA free" directly on the label---meaning they're safe for food and drink. It's wise to go through old containers and toss any with a number 7 on the bottom or use them to store non-food items (like rock collections? ;-).