bad bosses Blog Career job interviewing Uncategorized

How to Spot a Bad Boss

Looking back at previous job interviews, and then how my boss performed on the job, I know the following article from the Wall Street Journal is very credible. Had I known about these traits prior to accepting the job, it would have saved me a lot of grief. Although, the experience has been invaluable in helping my clients find the RIGHT opportunity. Read about it here before accepting any offers!

–Susan Geary, CERW / 1st Rate Resumes

Blog Career Freelancing Job Search Advice Relocation Uncategorized

Job Searching in a New Town

I’ve moved around a lot bit during my lifetime and racked up quite a bit of experience on how to find a new job in a strange town. Here’s what I’ve learned:

1. In a slow economy, many employers are not willing to pay for relocation expenses, so plan on paying for your own move. Mention in your cover letter you are already planning on relocation and give the reason. I found that if you have family living in your new town, or are returning home, you have a much better shot at getting noticed.

2. Read the local newspapers online, especially the editorial page to get a feel for the culture and collective mindset. Employers want to make sure you will fit in, and not move away 6 months after they hire you because you discover you hate the place.

3. If you’re moving to a big city, look at major online career sites such as and Also, don’t rule out Craigslist, which has some excellent opportunities throughout the country.

4. Find out what the average salary is for your occupation by searching, as well as your local government page, that should list census information and the median home value as well as salary info.

5. If your seeking to buy a home, utilize, a free site that evaluates the listing price and comps of recent sales of more than 60 million homes throughout the United States. I’ve seen FSBOs (for sale by owner) listed at thousands more than the zillow valuation. If you’re not aware of the area’s average value, you might end up paying too much.

6. Once you get settled, start networking immediately, with local clubs such as Toastmasters, the Chamber of Commerce, and organizations that share your interest. Many communities even have local job search clubs.

7. Have enough money set aside for at least 3 months rent and living expenses while you get settled.

Good luck in your move and your new endeavors!

–Susan Geary, CERW / 1st Rate Resumes

Blog Career hiring interviewing job interviewing Job Search Advice Uncategorized

The Job Interview as an Audition

Yet More Ways That Employers Control the Interview

When we read this in the April 2006 issue of Business 2.0 magazine, we knew you would find an excerpt interesting:

“You don’t just get interviewed when you apply for a job at Southwest Airlines. You get auditioned–and it starts the moment you call for an application.

1. When a candidate calls for an application, managers jot down anything memorable about the conversation, good or bad. The same is true when the company flies recruits out for interviews. They receive special tickets, which alert gate agents, flight attendants, and others to pay special attention: Are they friendly to others or griping about service and slurping cocktails at 8 a.m.? If what the employees observe seems promising–or not–they’re likely to pass it on to HR.

2. Even when recruits aren’t on the spot, they’re on the spot. During group interviews of flight attendants, applicants take turns giving three-minute speeches about themselves in front of as many as 50 others. The catch? Managers are watching the audience as closely as the speaker. Candidates who pay attention pass the test; those who seem bored or distracted get bounced.”

Wow! Interesting reading and good information to know! Good luck in your job search!

–Susan Geary, CERW / 1st Rate Resumes

Blog Career gaps in resume job jumping Job Search Advice resume writing Uncategorized

Why I don’t write functional resumes anymore…

Functional resumes were all the rage in the early 1990s thanks to resume pioneer Yana Parker. These skills-based resumes helped job seekers transition into new careers, or hide flaws in their background such as a scattered work history, or gaps. I used the functional resume quite a few times myself to land a job.

The problem now is that HR folks see these documents as red flags and they will no longer look at them. Finally, it’s been confirmed in the following article, along with other great tips on how to spruce up a resume. Good information to know!

–Susan Geary, CERW / 1st Rate Resumes

Blog Career employee surveillance Privacy Uncategorized Work

Big Brother is Watching

I can’t seem to get it through the heads of my friends and colleagues who surf the net at work, with the idea that “my employer doesn’t care.” Wanna bet? I was flipping through the pages of PC World this week and came across an ad for the following website. Their motto? “Record everything your employees do on the internet.” That’s right. You see, they don’t sit around and monitor you. They wait until your annual evaluation or if they need an excuse to fire you. Well, here’s living proof that they are watching. So just don’t do it.

–Susan Geary, CERW / 1st Rate Resumes

Blog Career Job Search Advice Uncategorized Work

A Happy Dog is a Healthy Dog

Have you ever watched a sled dog team at work? These dogs display such enthusiasm for their job. The same goes for herding dogs, and other members of working breeds. They don’t pull their sled, or herd livestock unwillingly. They follow their natural instincts and do what comes easily to them. They don’t make excuses, and they LOVE their place in the world of work.

These canines are fulfilled, mentally and physically, and they are better behaved and healthier dogs. Of course, if you lock them up in a New York City apartment all day, the dogs will end up bored, aggressive, or even destructive. That’s because they are NOT doing what nature intended.

The same is true for working people. I recently read somewhere (sorry I can’t remember the source) that 75% of American workers are dissatisfied in their jobs. 75%!!!! I’m almost certain it’s because they’re not living their highest purpose, just like a sled dog locked up all day in a New York City apartment. Boredom turns to anger, aggression, addiction… the list goes on. They develop all sorts of negative behavior and health problems.

When choosing a career, think about what comes easily and naturally to you. Do you prefer working outdoors or in a climate controlled environment? Do you like working around the same people everyday or love the excitement of meeting new people? Do you want to travel or would you like to stay closer to home? This is just a partial list of what can fulfill us in our work environment.

Everyone’s got their own list of dreams and natural abilities. However, if you ignore them, you will end up like the sled dog in an apartment. Bored, frustrated, and extremely unhappy; all of which can lead to disease, addiction, and bad behavior. What kind of life is that?

Our pets can teach us a lot about ourselves. We just need to pay closer attention.

–Susan Geary, CERW / 1st Rate Resumes

Blog Career Uncategorized

Living the American Dream

With all the talk of freedom and the things we take for granted in this country, I’m amazed that our #1 freedom is overlooked daily by millions of Americans: the freedom to pursue any career we want. That’s right, in this country, no one dictates who will be the next Olympic star or factory worker. We are given that choice to make on our own.

Unfortunately, I come across job seekers on a daily basis finding excuses as to why they couldn’t live their dream, and the number one reason always has to do with money. My husband taught me early on as an entrepreneur that in order to make it, I had to be willing to suffer. Boy was he not kidding! Jewel, the successful songwriter and singer comes to mind. Here is a woman who chose to live in a van years ago so she could keep playing her guitar, rather than use that money for rent. Now that she’s hit the big time, I doubt she’s looking back on her life thinking, “I wish I took a full-time job doing something else so I didn’t have to endure that.”
Besides, the experience is what actually inspired many of her songs that topped Billboard charts.

Several years ago, a friend of mine revealed that his grandfather was an outstanding artist and cartoonist. During the Great Depression an unknown man by the name of Walt Disney approached him to draw for his fledgling company and offered him a meager salary during the launch of his company. The factory down the street offered three times the amount to do something other than art work. Grandpa (who was in his 20s at the time) took the factory gig. Years later he regretted the decision. I don’t think I need to explain why. He ended up a bitter old man.

Never forget, “when you do what you love for a living, you’ll never work a day in your life.”

–Susan Geary, CERW — 1st Rate Resumes

Blog Career interviewing job interviewing Job Search Advice Thank You Letters Uncategorized

It Pays To Say Thanks

From yesterday’s Rocky Mountain News….

It Pays to Say Thanks

15% of hiring managers surveyed by said they would not hire a candidate who did not follow up with a thank-you note. 32% of the managers said they’d think less of the person who did not write. Read the whole press release from Career Builder here.

Susan Geary, CERW/1st Rate Resumes

Blog Career Uncategorized

Some Lessons From the Assembly Line

I just received my weekly copy of Newsweek today. Among one of the articles was the winning essay sent in to the their annual “back to school” contest. Andrew Braaksma, a junior at the University of Michigan tells why sweating summers on a factory assembly line makes him eager to hit the books every Fall.. Click here for an inspiring story.

–Susan Geary, CERW, 1st Rate Resumes

Blog Career Graduation Gifts job interviewing Job Search Advice Uncategorized

Graduate to a New Job!

The following was sent to me in this week’s issue of the PRWRA Hire Views (my industry’s trade newsletter.) The information is so good, I just had to share. Thanks to Laura DeCarlo, our esteemed President of PRWRA for sharing!

In the recent article, “Early Bird Graduates Get the Worm” by Nic Paton, psychometrics assessment provider, SHL, sheds light on the issues of college graduates and employment.

According to SHL’s research, “Graduates who leave applying for jobs until late in the recruitment calendar – (July- August) – are likely to be less bright than their peers and less likely to achieve levels of success in the modern workplace. The study suggested that graduates who apply for jobs long before the late summer are not only brighter but more dedicated and more highly motivated than their peers. They also possess more of the necessary behaviors that make a well-rounded employee. On the other hand, those who wait until later do “tend to be more resilient – they are less susceptible to criticism from others – but are less forward thinking, less analytical, less motivated, less outgoing and less persuasive than early bird applicants.”