Check Your Credit Report BEFORE A Job Search

That’s right, before you begin searching for a new job, check your credit report to make sure there are no errors and to address any problems.

Why? More and more employers are using credit checks as part of their hiring process, in hopes that they might avoid hiring people who might commit fraud or perform poorly.

One person I know had co-signed a loan for someone. After eight uneventful years of on-time payments, the borrower lost his job and defaulted on the loan (never thinking to tell the person who co-signed for the loan).

The timing was terrible because, unbeknownst to the co-signer, the loan default appeared first on his credit report while he began interviewing for a fantastic new job that would have nearly doubled his annual income.

The offer came after six weeks and several grueling rounds of interviews. Everyone was thrilled to shake hands and agree on a start date.

You know where this is going: the credit check, which was supposed to be a formality, ended up killing the deal: the job offer was rescinded and the opportunity was gone.

According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), you’re entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies.

To get your free credit report, visit this page on the FTC website: https://www.ftc.gov/faq/consumer-protection/get-my-free-credit-report

Federal trade Commission (FTC)

Beware: There are lots of sites that will try to sell you your credit report, or sell you a credit monitoring or credit repair service. Avoid them by using the link above to the FTC website, and follow the link on their page to get your free report.

If you find errors on your report, take immediate action and make sure to confirm the errors have actually been corrected (many of them aren’t, even after being reported).

How To Dispute Credit Report Errors

Learn how to dispute via the FTC’s “Disputing Errors on Credit Reports” article (scroll down to the “Correcting Errors” section). Be very clear in your explanations, provide copies of all your documentation, respond quickly and fully to all requests for information and documentation, and make sure to keep following-up until the issues are resolved.

How to Deal With Legitimate Credit Problems

While not all employers conduct credit checks as part of their hiring process, you’ll want to know your rights and obligations for dealing with debt and credit problems.

A good place to start is the FTC article “Credit Repair: How to Help Yourself.”

Beware of Credit Repair Scams

The FTC emphasizes that there is “no quick fix for creditworthiness. You can improve your credit report legitimately, but it takes time, a conscious effort, and sticking to a personal debt repayment plan.”

Learn more in their “Credit Repair Scams” article.

This post first appeared on the Enlightened Jobs blog.

Deepak Malhotra’s Rules for Negotiating a Job Offer

The list below is shamelessly stolen from a terrific HBR article, which is filled with insight and detail (definitely worth reading).

  1. Don’t underestimate the importance of likability.
  2. Help them understand why you deserve what you’re requesting.
  3. Make it clear they can get you.
  4. Understand the person across the table.
  5. Understand their constraints.
  6. Be prepared for tough questions.
  7. Focus on the questioner’s intent, not on the question.
  8. Consider the whole deal.
  9. Negotiate multiple issues simultaneously, not serially.
  10. Don’t negotiate just to negotiate.
  11. Think through the timing of offers.
  12. Avoid, ignore, or downplay ultimatums of any kind.
  13. Remember, they’re not out to get you.
  14. Stay at the table.
  15. Maintain a sense of perspective.

Here’s a video discussing these ideas in more detail:

Click here to read all the detail and insight in the HBR article.

Here’s What a Small Team Working Together Can Do

The six tiny micro-robots in this video are pulling a car weighing 3,900 pounds, which is the “functional equivalent of a team of six humans moving a weight equivalent to that of an Eiffel Tower and three Statues of Liberty.” *

It’s a great metaphor for what’s possible when a small team works together, as a team, on the right things:


*Based on research published in Robotics and Automation Letters and to be presented at ICRA 2016 found here.

Thanks to John Markoff for his “Modeled After Ants, Teams of Tiny Robots Can Move 2-Ton Car” in The New York Times.

Cover Letter Magic to Land An Interview

Denise Renee and Neville Medhora give and keep giving in their “How To Write a Good Cover Letter for a Job” blog post.

Below is their example of an effective cover letter, using what they call the AIDA formula:

A – Grab their Attention
I – Spark their Interest
D – Create Desire
A – Invite them to take Action

cover letter example from Kopywriting Course

Like what you see? Then go read Denise and Neville’s entire “How To Write a Good Cover Letter for a Job” post and learn all the juicy details and their terrific insights.

Fortune Magazine’s Geoff Colvin: Every Company’s Most Important Asset

TAKEAWAY POINT IN ONE SENTENCE:

It doesn’t matter what kind of business a company is in, human capital really is the most important asset. ~Geoff Colvin

Geoff Colvin, knows a bit about the world of business.

He’s Fortune Magazine’s Senior Editor-at-large and the author of newly-published book, “Humans Are Underrated:What High Achievers Know That Brilliant Machines Never Will.”

Humans are Underrated book cover image

Geoff Colvin’s “Humans are Underrated”

 

(The fallen robot in the book cover image above speaks volumes)

In the video below, Colvin relates how energy company Exxon-Mobil is constrained by the lack of people who are capable of doing what the company needs to get done in order for projects to move forward. People are the scarce resource.

People sometimes think that human capital is the most valuable asset in service companies or technology companies, companies that don’t have a lot of physical assets. And that’s certainly true, but the really important point to understand is that today, human capital is the most important asset in every kind of company, no matter what industry it’s in.

 

Interested in more of Geoff Colvin’s insight?

Here’s a link to his recent writing at Fortune Magazine: http://search-app.fortune.com/?q=Geoff+Colvin

Jason Dawson on Authenticity and the Power of Meditation

It was terrific to have the opportunity to interview Jason Dawson, a multi-sport athlete, public speaker, and budding business development executive in northern New Jersey.

Jason Dawson photo Our conversation lasted well over an hour, and could’ve lasted 3 or 4 days if we had provisions.

I was especially intrigued by Jason’s search for authenticity in himself and in his relationships, and also how meditation has affected his life.

An edited, 19 minute audio stream of our conversation is below. There are a few aspects of the sound recording and edit that aren’t as polished as I’d like them to be, but in the words of the artist Salvador Dali, “Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”

On authenticity

Get rid of this identity you think you have to live up to, because it’s actually hindering you

 

 

On digging-down and identifying what is and isn’t true, Jason began constantly asking himself: “Is this really what I want or believe? Really?”

Doing this “forces you to be honest with yourself.”

Jason Dawson basketball defense at

Jason defending for Susquehanna University

Over time, like training a muscle, Jason has become conditioned so his first reaction is usually an authentic one, so he’s becoming less varnished and more truthful every day.

“I actually say what I really feel, instead of over-hyping something, because then it just becomes fake.”

Jason shared the example of saying “I like that” when it’s true and accurate, instead of “That’s great, I love it!”

Just like “awesome,” “amazing,” and a billion* other superlatives, the power and meaning of these words and phrases can become diluted.

* Ha! Did you catch that? The Oxford Dictionary, says there are less than 250,000 total words in the English language, yet I just pumped it up by writing “billion”

Jason Dawson muay thai

Jason practicing Muay Thai, known as “The Art of Eight Limbs”

 

Interestingly, the authenticity Jason works to bring out in himself is also mirrored in others – they often react by letting down their guard and being more authentic themselves.

Who you are changes consistently because you’re always developing and evolving

The result is conversations and relationships much more grounded in truth, instead of falseness.

A lot of conflict comes when your conscious mind and unconscious mind aren’t on the same page.

We are afraid to let go of the conscious mind and just do and just be. I’ve had to learn to trust my unconscious mind, which can be scary for some people. When you’re trusting your unconscious mind (you’re relying on) a natural reflex … You’re not really thinking, you’re just doing.

Hearing Jason’s testimony has convinced me to try meditation for a full 21 days. Here’s a quick “Meditation 101” from The Mayo Clinic (who knew there was an entire clinic devoted to mayonnaise ?).

I’m going to either try his suggestion of Glenn Harrold, or one called Headspace, which I started (and liked) but stopped after a few online sessions because I didn’t make myself make time for it.

NOTE: These links above are NOT affiliate links (in other words, we don’t make money from them).

Thank you Jason!

Stephanie Vozza’s Path to the Four Day Workweek

Stephanie Vozza interviewed leaders from large and small businesses that have found a way to make four day workweeks work.

I’m no mathematician, but it sounds like that means a three-day weekend every weekend!

7 day week, minus 4 days of work, leaves blank-space day weekends

Vozza’s “How These Companies Have Made Four-Day Workweeks Feasible” in Fast Company reveals six things that need to happen on order to successfully implement four day workweeks:

  1. Invest in planning
  2. Overlap schedules
  3. Set rules
  4. Address role reality upfront
  5. Ask for flexibility
  6. Start small

Read the whole article to get the insight behind the six cryptic headings above.

While the benefits outweigh the issues, compressed workweeks can bring challenges

People interviewed in this article include leaders from Basecamp, Ryan, SchooLinks and KPMG.

Do you know of any companies that have four day workweeks? Please share them in the comments below.

 

Want to be happy? Slow down

So many of us now have the sensation of standing about two inches away from this very crowded, noisy, constantly shifting big screen, and that screen is our lives. It’s only by stepping back that we can see what the screen is communicating.

~ Pico Iyer

 

There is often this feeling that we put all our hopes and fears outside ourselves. “If I have this or that then everything will be fine. If I don’t have it, I cannot really be happy.”

… In the end, we deal with our mind from morning till evening, and it can be our best friend or our worst enemy.  If we don’t deal with the inner condition for well-being, then we are really in trouble.

~ Matthieu Ricard

Shamelessly stolen from Want to be happy? Slow down

Your Late-Night Work Emails Suck!

Maura Thomas may have said it more eloquently in her Harvard Business Review article, but the fact remains that your late-night work emails suck!

Of course it’s not just email – texts, instant messages, and the zillion other communication technologies can also be harmful.

It’s not necessarily “wrong” for someone to do work on a Saturday. Maybe a person has a flexible work schedule and Saturday happens to suits them, or maybe he or she is working to make up for personal time taken during regular work hours, or maybe something popped into their head and they want to address it.

Also, there are some circumstances where late-night, weekend or vacation communications demanding an immediate response are necessary, but ideally these are rare and truly necessary.

Be clear about expectations

It’s crucial that recipients of off-hours messages understand what the sender’s expectations are, especially if that person is their boss, or the CEO.

When the boss is working, the team feels like they should be working.

~Maura Thomas

If a quick response to an off-hours email you’re sending is needed, consider adding “RESPONSE NEEDED TODAY BY NOON” to the subject line.

If no response is required until the next regular workday morning, consider either delaying the email* until that time, or at least adding “NO RESPONSE NEEDED UNTIL MONDAY MORNING – ENJOY YOUR WEEKEND” to the subject line.

* Maura Thomas highlights a company that strongly discourages email between 10pm and 7am during the week, and all day on weekends:

If employees choose to work during off-hours, (the firm’s email system) discourages them from putting their habits onto others by sending emails during this time; they simply save the messages as drafts to be manually sent later, or they program their email client to automatically send the messages during work hours. This policy creates alignment between the stated belief that downtime is important, and the behaviors of the staff that contribute to the culture.

 

Off-hour communication is such an important aspect of work-life balance that at Enlightened Jobs, we ask companies posting jobs the (optional) question:

If the hiring manager sends a non-emergency email at 8am on Saturday morning and it would take 10 – 15 minutes to craft a response, what is the latest point in time it would be perfectly acceptable for the person in this role to respond?

We believe this gets right to the heart of a company’s culture.

Jason Fried, founder of the beloved web-based project management tool BaseCamp, announced a terrific feature built into their upcoming redesign called Work Can Wait:

“Each person in Basecamp 3 can set up their own work schedule with their own hours. You can of course choose to to receive notifications all the time, 24/7/365, no matter what..

screenshot from Basecamp's work can wait feature

Or, you can say Work Can Wait — only send me notifications during my work hours. Then you can set the start time and end time and also mark off which days you work…”

In closing, here are four more gems from Maura Thomas’s terrific article, “Your Late-Night Emails Are Hurting Your Team” (definitely worth a read):

Chaining your employees to the office 24/7 (via email, texting, instant messages, Slack, and on and on) isn’t good for you, your employees, or your company culture.

 

Being connected in off-hours during busy times is the sign of a high-performer. Never disconnecting is a sign of a workaholic.

 

The (often unconscious) belief that more work equals more success is difficult to overcome, but the truth is that this is neither beneficial nor sustainable. Long work hours actually decrease both productivity and engagement.

 

To deliver our best at work, we require downtime … But your employees can never disconnect when they’re always reaching for their devices to see if you’ve emailed.

 

Have a great day!

“Working From Home” on Pinterest

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screenshot of pinterest board

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