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The Most Dreaded Interview Question

"What's your biggest weakness?"
If your resume is good enough to get you an interview, you probably won't escape this question. Hiring managers inevitably ask it, and job candidates invariably loathe it.

Some uninformed job seekers, however, do a complete face plant in response, giving answers like these real-life ones supplied by top hiring professionals:

* "Brownies." (From Barbara Schneider, director of staff sourcing, Oasis Outsourcing)

* "Well, I had bronchitis last spring." (From Christine Richardson, director of career services, Cazenovia College)

* "My Chihuahua. I just can't resist him when he looks up at me!" (From Renita Peck, client service manager, Spherion Corporation)

These job candidates clearly had no idea this question would be asked. Recruiters estimate, however, that 90 percent of interviewers ask this question. Why?

"It's a good question for one simple reason," says Jack Williams, vice president of Staffing Technologies.

"Employers want to know if people recognize they have weaknesses, because it's hard to correct problems if a person doesn't know he or she has a problem."

* "I have no weaknesses." (From Elaine Varelas, managing partner, Keystone Partners)

This response makes Varelas shudder. "Please have weaknesses. People who have none clearly have a very poor ability for self-reflection." Knowing your weaknesses is as important is having a clear view of your strengths, interests, and abilities. Taking a free career test is one way to get some insight.

* "I am over-organized, and I drive my bosses crazy sometimes having everything so neat and organized." (From Tina Hamilton, CEO of hireVision Group)

This person was evidently following the all-too-common advice about turning a weakness into a strength. Don't do it. "This answer will guarantee a reflex from the interviewer that will appear as if she is losing her lunch," says Hamilton.

Instead, advises Hamilton, pick an honest challenge or weakness that's not a primary function of the job, and explain how you improved it. Don't stop at your weakness alone.

For instance, if you're a graphic designer you could pick a weakness that doesn't interfere with your core duties, such as organizational skills: "I have a tough time keeping things organized. So I purchased a Blackberry and color-coded folders and now I never worry about where things are. No one would ever guess organization is somewhat challenging for me. " But this answer probably wouldn't work as well for a medical records coder, whose major responsibilities require stellar organizational skills.

* "I am bipolar."

* "I do not own an alarm clock. The noise of it frightens me."

* "I have a bad temper, which sometimes causes me to throw objects."

* "I have a fear of eating in public places, so I prefer to eat under my desk. Can I eat under my desk at your company?"
(All of the above are from Kim Lockhart and Janna DeMarco, of Spherion Corporation)

Honesty is important, but when it comes to this question, keep the skeletons in the closet. "This is not the time to reveal a recent brutally honest conversation with your therapist," says Varelas.

Anticipating "the weakness question" helps you be prepared. This alone can take you that much closer to nailing your interview and landing your dream job.

http://hotjobs.yahoo.com/career-articles-the_most_dreaded_interview_question-908

July 10, 2009 | 6:26 AM Comments  {num} comments

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10 Boilerplate Phrases That Kill Resumes

The 2009 job market is very different from job markets of the past. If you haven't job-hunted in a while, the changes in the landscape can throw you for a loop.
One of the biggest changes is the shift in what constitutes a strong resume. Years ago, we could dig into the Resume Boilerplate grab-bag and pull out a phrase to fill out a sentence or bullet point on our resume. Everybody used the same boilerplate phrases, so we knew we couldn't go wrong choosing one of them -- or many -- to throw into your resume.

Things have changed. Stodgy boilerplate phrases in your resume today mark you as uncreative and "vocabulary challenged." You can make your resume more compelling and human-sounding by rooting out and replacing the boring corporate-speak phrases that litter it, and replacing them with human language -- things that people like you or I would actually say.

Here are the worst 10 boilerplate phrases -- the ones to seek out and destroy in your resume as soon as possible:

Results-oriented professional
Cross-functional teams
More than [x] years of progressively responsible experience
Superior (or excellent) communication skills
Strong work ethic
Met or exceeded expectations
Proven track record of success
Works well with all levels of staff
Team player
Bottom-line orientation
You can do better. What about adding a human voice to your resume? Here's an example:

"I'm a Marketing Researcher who's driven by curiosity about why people buy what they do. At XYZ Industries, I used consumer surveys and online-forum analysis to uncover the reasons why consumers chose our competitors over us; our sales grew twenty percent over the next six months as a result. I'm equally at home on sales calls or analyzing data in seclusion, and up to speed on traditional and new-millennium research tools and approaches. I'm fanatical about understanding our marketplace better every day, week and month -- and have helped my employers' brands grow dramatically as a result."

You don't have to write resumes that sound like robots wrote them. A human-voiced resume is the new black -- try it!

http://hotjobs.yahoo.com/career-experts-10_boilerplate_phrases_that_kill_resumes-97

July 10, 2009 | 6:19 AM Comments  {num} comments

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French tourists seen as world's worst: survey

PARIS (Reuters Life!) – French tourists are the worst in the world, coming across as bad at foreign languages, tight-fisted and arrogant, according to a survey of 4,500 hotel owners across the world.
They finish in last place in the survey carried out for internet travel agency Expedia by polling company TNS Infratest, which said French holidaymakers don't speak local languages and are seen as impolite.
"It's mainly the fact that they speak little or no English when they're abroad, and they don't speak much of the local language," Expedia Marketing Director Timothee de Roux told radio station France Info.
"The French don't go abroad very much. We're lucky enough to have a country which is magnificent in terms of its landscape and culture," he said, adding that 90 per cent of French people did their traveling at home.
"So when they're on holiday they can be a bit stressed, they're not used to things, and this can lead them to be demanding in a way which could be seen as a certain arrogance."
French tourists are also accused of generally spending less than other nationalities when abroad.
De Roux said the French, not accustomed to leaving large tips at home where a service charge is automatically levied on restaurant bills, can seem "tight-fisted" compared with other nationalities.
The Japanese ranked top of the Best Tourist survey, with the British and the Germans judged the best of the Europeans.
But French tourists received some consolation for their poor performance, finishing third after the Italians and British for dress sense while on holiday.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090709/lf_nm_life/us_france_tourists

July 10, 2009 | 6:14 AM Comments  {num} comments

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أمى و أمى

فى حياتى امراتان, الاولى امى, والثانية امى, الاولى علمتنى القراءه, الثانيه علمتى ماذا اقرأ, الاولى أحبتنى, الثانيه عطفت على, الاولى مازالت معى, الثانبه فقدتها. أمى وجدتى, لم اكن فى صغرى افرق كثيرا بينهم, كنت دوما افكر فيهم كشخص واحد, كيان و روح واحده, علمونى كل شئ عرفته, كانت حياتى تدور حولهم بكل ما فى الكلمه من معنى, أذكر اولى خطواتى تجاه اذرعتهم الممتده, واذكر اولى كلماتى اناديهم . كنا كمنظر واحد التقطه مصور بارع فى ثلاث حقب مختلفه, الاولى فى العشرينيات من القرن الماضى والثانيه بعدها بثلاثين عاما والثالثه بعد الاولى باكثر من خمسين عاما, وفى كل لقطه لا يختلف الكثير عن اللقطه الفائته, مجرد بعض الملامح او قد تكون الخلفيه التى تغيرت بمرور الزمن, ولكنك تجد دوما فيها نفس الروح, تستشعر نفس الرائحه, فينتابك شعور بانهم نفس الشخص, وعندما تدرك الحقيقه تتعجب من هذا التشابه الذى لن تستطيع ان تسطره ابدا. كنت وامى وامى, ثلاثهلا نفترق, فى جدنا واحد, وفى هزلنا واحد, نتفرق اول اليوم, ولكن ما نلبث ان نجتمع فى اخره, تسرد كل منا ما حدث فى يومها للاخريات, وكانه واجب مقدس, نشترك فى وجبه خفيفه, ثم نصاهد احدى البرامج التلفزيونيه, تاوى كل منهما الى فراشها و انا اشارك احداهما, صارت حياتنا على هذا المنوال طويلا, وكانت لتستمر اكثر, ولكن القدر يابى دون ذلك. هل يكون القدر ظالما؟؟ ولكن إن لم يكن القدر ظالما, فانى له ان يعذبنا هكذا, حكم القدر فى احدى ساعاته ان نفترق, فاستسلمنا و افترقنا, قلت لقائتنا كما قلت احاديثنا, وظلت ارواحنا تتلاشى قليلا قليلا حتى كادت ان تذوى, تعللنا بانشغالنا, وتعللنا اننا لم نعد كما كنا, ضعت مثلما ضاع الكثيرون, ولكننى حين افقت وحاولت ارجاع جمعنا, وجدت ان الاوان قد فات, وباننى قد فقدت مالا يسترد ابدا, اترانى اطلت فى الانتظار والتخطيط, ام تراه القدر مؤره اخرى, ولما القدر, القى باحمالى عليه كلما اخطات او كلما عبثت بى افكارى, أأنا لعبة فى يد القدر, ام القدر لعبه فى يدى, ام لعله لا وجود لشئ اسمه القدر, وماهى إلا اشياء اخترعها البشر, وما انا الا بشر, وما البشر إلا ضعيف, ولكنه ايكون اضعف من القدر, مالى اعود الى القدر, الم اقر ان لا وجود لما يسمى بالقدر, ام انه القدر مره اخرى, لا بل هى افكارى, تحاول ان تشط بى, وتجعلنى استرسل فى مجادلاتى حول القدر, فانسى الامى الاولى وندمى, والقى بكل اخطائى على ذلك المخلوق, القدر. امى رحلت نهائيا فى يوم لا اذكره, لا اميز ان كان قريبا او بعيد, هذا كله لا يهم, لن يشكل فارقا كبيرا فى سجلات ذاكرتى, ولكنى اذكر يوم كان قبله, كنت اضحك وامرح وكأن الكون ملكى, وكأن ماهو ملكى الان سوف يظل ملكى غدا, ما كان ملكى ساعتها لم يعد ملكى الان, فقد الكثير, ام تراه كان ساعتها قليلا, فقدت منذ ساعتها امى و قلبى و راحه بالى, وما عاد لى الان سوى الذكرى والحسرات, كان البحر هادئا, والنسيم له شذى مختلف, والبطون ممتلئه والضحكات عاليه, كانت الضلمه لا تشغلنى, اجرى وكان الف شمس تضئ طريقى, كنت افكر فى روايتى, واضع خطوطها العريضه واكتب اسمها, لم افكر ساعتها فى الوحده او فى مراره اليالى, كان لدى حلم وروح, بقى الحلم , ام لعله ضاع مع الروح, الضباب يغلف ذاكرتى وكانه كف عملاقه تعيق قلمى, ولكن وسط الضباب ارح ذلك الشعاع, انها ضحكاتى, تذكرنى بما قد نساه عقلى الغائب, وتذكرنى بالزياره الاخيره, وبعدم اكتراثى, كان ابحر هادئا, وكنت اود ان ابقى, فلطالما يلهمنى البحر, كما تلهمنى عيون امى,عيونها التى تخترق ضباب السنين كضحكتى, الم اقل اننا متشابهتان, لطالما كنت اتسائل فى صغرى عن مسمى هذا اللون, ولم اتعلمه حتى الان, فهو خليط من الحب والعطف وقسوه السنين, الكل مجتمعون فى نظره تحيطك وتعزلك عن العالم, فتنسى فى لحظتها كل شئ قد جئت الدنيا من اجله . تلك العينان هى اول ماابصرت, هى اول ما أشتقت اليه, هى ما اتوق الى رؤيته الان, لكم احتسب عمرى خارجهما ضائعا, لكم انا تائه الان, كمن فقد بصره وكان من قبلها يعيش فى الظلام, قد اكون مبصره الان, لكن بصيرتى محاطه بضباب وهواجس وسيوف تخترق عيناى فتدميهما, لا استطيع ان ارى الان مع اننى قد ابصر, فقط إن تملكتنى الشجاعه وجرؤت على فتح عيناى, نسيت كيف هو النور, نسيت كيف هى الحيات و الاشجلر والبحار, والبحر الذى كان شاهدا فى ساعتها, كم كنت طائشة لا ابالى, لا ادرى ماهو مخفى بعد مرور تلك الزاويه, اتصور ملائكه كرام, وإذا به مارد جبار, قد خلق من ابشع كوابيسى ومن اكبر وخاوفى, قد تجسد كل شى ليصبح امامى فى ابشع صوره قد يكون عليها, لم يتكبد عناء التخفى, وتخلى عن حيائه وظهر لى, ليخبرنى بانه قد سرق منى كل ما املك, ولا يتبقى لى الا صورته, الصوره التى علقت فى ذهنى للابد, وملمس الجسد البارد و العينان المسبلان, الكل تجمع وظهر لى, الكل فى ان واحد, وكاننى مجبره على النظر ايه, لا افوى على تبديل موضعى او حتى اقفال عيناى, حتى اخترقتها سهام من نار, واغلقتها للابد, وحكم على ان اعيش فى ظلام للابد, وقد كنت من قبلها قى وطن النور.

March 6, 2009 | 4:13 PM Comments  {num} comments

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The Road Not Taken .....poem by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

February 26, 2009 | 10:39 PM Comments  {num} comments

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