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7 Things Highly Productive People Do

 7 Things Highly Productive People Do

You have more important things to focus on than, um, focusing. Get back on track with these tips.

By Ilya Pozin |  @ilyaNeverSleeps   |  Dec 13, 2011



You probably don't want to admit it but you love distractions. In fact, just like monkeys, you get a shot of dopamine every time something pulls you in another direction. Why do you think you check your email so much?

Want to be more productive and get your focus back? There are no secret tricks here… do one thing at a time. Stop multitasking—it's just another form of distraction.

Easier said than done, I know.

Recently I sat down with Tony Wong, a project management blackbelt whose client list includes Toyota, Honda, and Disney, to name a few. He's an expert in keeping people on task, so I thought he'd be a good person to ask.

Here are his tips for staying productive:

1.     Work backwards from goals to milestones to tasks. Writing "launch company website" at the top of your to-do list is a sure way to make sure you never get it done. Break down the work into smaller and smaller chunks until you have specific tasks that can be accomplished in a few hours or less: Sketch a wireframe, outline an introduction for the homepage video, etc. That's how you set goals and actually succeed in crossing them off your list.

2.    Stop multi-tasking. No, seriously—stop. Switching from task to task quickly does not work. In fact, changing tasks more than 10 times in a day makes you dumber than being stoned. When you're stoned, your IQ drops by five points. When you multitask, it drops by an average of 10 points, 15 for men, five for women (yes, men are three times as bad at multitasking than women). 

3.    Be militant about eliminating distractions. Lock your door, put a sign up, turn off your phone, texts, email, and instant messaging. In fact, if you know you may sneak a peek at your email, set it to offline mode, or even turn off your Internet connection. Go to a quiet area and focus on completing one task.

4.    Schedule your email. Pick two or three times during the day when you're going to use your email. Checking your email constantly throughout the day creates a ton of noise and kills your productivity.

5.    Use the phone. Email isn't meant for conversations. Don't reply more than twice to an email. Pick up the phone instead. 

6.    Work on your own agenda. Don't let something else set your day. Most people go right to their emails and start freaking out. You will end up at inbox-zero, but accomplish nothing. After you wake up, drink water so you rehydrate, eat a good breakfast to replenish your glucose, then set prioritized goals for the rest of your day. 

7.    Work in 60 to 90 minute intervals. Your brain uses up more glucose than any other bodily activity. Typically you will have spent most of it after 60-90 minutes. (That's why you feel so burned out after super long meetings.) So take a break: Get up, go for a walk, have a snack, do something completely different to recharge. And yes, that means you need an extra hour for breaks, not including lunch, so if you're required to get eight hours of work done each day, plan to be there for 9.5-10 hours.

*M Junaid Tahir

Thought for today

View a negative experience in your life Like you look at a Photo Negative

A single negative can create an Unlimited Number of Positive Prints.

*M Junaid Tahir

Story: The missing watch

There once was a farmer who discovered that he had lost his watch in the
barn. It was no ordinary watch because it had sentimental value for him.
After searching high and low among the hay for a long while; he gave up and
enlisted the help of a group of children playing outside the barn.

He promised them that the person who found it would be rewarded.

Hearing this, the children hurried inside the barn, went through and around
the entire stack of hay but still could not find the watch. Just when the
farmer was about to give up looking for his watch, a little boy went up to
him and asked to be given another chance.

The farmer looked at him and thought, "Why not? After all, this kid looks
sincere enough."

So the farmer sent the little boy back in the barn. After a while the little
boy came out with the watch in his hand! The farmer was both happy and
surprised and so he asked the boy how he succeeded where the rest had

The boy replied, "I did nothing but sit on the ground and listen. In the
silence, I heard the ticking of the watch and just looked for it in that
Moral: A peaceful mind can think better than a worked up mind.
Allow a few minutes of silence to your mind every day, and see, how sharply
it helps you to set your life the way you expect it to be...!

Taxi Driver returns Dh200,000 forgotten by passenger

A Pakistani taxi driver in Sharjah returned nearly Dh200,000, a laptop and other personal items forgotten by a Saudi passenger visiting the emirate, prompting employers to reward the man for his honesty.

The passenger who had hired the taxi from Sharjah transport company left the cab but forgot to take his bag which contained SR200,000 (Dh200,000), a laptop, a mobile phone, his passport and other items.

The driver, Mohammed Taher Rasheed, handed the money and all those items to his employers after failing to contact the passenger.

"He gave the bag to Sharjah transport company at the airport…they managed to contact the Saudi man after finding his number in his mobile phone," the Sharjah-based Arabic language daily 'Al Khaleej' said.

It said Sharjah transport company director general Arhama Al Shamsi "honoured" Rasheed with a valuable gift and a sum of money for his "honesty."

*M Junaid Tahir

how to get the truth out of someone

By: Michael Lee If you want to know how to get the truth out of someone, there are a few tricks you can learn here. Of course, most of these have psychological bases. There is no need to resort to violence when you can easily extract truthful information in less demanding ways.

This article will teach you simple ways on how to get the truth out of someone. Read on to find out more!

1) Use The "Good Cop, Bad Cop" Tactic.

This is one of the most popular truth extraction strategies in the world. Policemen have been using it for decades. So how does good cop, bad cop work exactly? Simple.

Two of you will interrogate, so to speak, the person under scrutiny. One of you will play the good cop while the other one will take on the role of the bad cop. The good cop tells the target that they are in good hands, that they can get out of the sticky situation if only they told the truth. And then the bad cop comes in to scare the person into submitting.

In this sort of situation, the good cop usually gets the confession. The good cop gives the person some reassurance that all will be well in the end. The bad cop is merely a decoration.

2) Look Them In The Eye.

Another tactic you can use on how to get the truth out of someone is the "look me straight in the eye" strategy. This is very effective when used on people you are close to or on people who are very close to you. Chances are, the person who you consider to be a friend or part of the family, will feel guilty for lying or hiding something from you.

Ask them to look you straight in the eye when you demand an answer. Or you can look them straight n the eye yourself. When the person in question can't even meet your gaze, something is up. It won't take a lot of persuading to get that person to spill the beans.

3) Make Peace Relations.

Telling a person that you don't want any trouble or that you won't cause any problems is another way on how to get the truth out of someone. Usually, people lie or hide the truth because they're afraid of what our reaction will be. If you reassure them that you won't get angry or won't "punish" them, they'll be more likely to open up to you.

Knowing how to get the truth out of someone is very important. However, be mindful of who you use it on and when you use it. Don't let this power sway you over to the dark side. Use this knowledge only when necessary and not as a way to make someone a complete laughingstock. There is no need to resort to violence when you can easily extract truthful information in less demanding ways. This article will teach you simple ways on how to get the truth out of someone.Discover secret mind control techniques to easily put people under your control and make them fulfill your every desire, without them knowing it! Get a FREE course that reveals some of the most groundbreaking persuasion secrets at Source: PositiveArticles.Com does not vouch for or necessarily endorse the contents of this article.
*M Junaid Tahir

Handling Rude People with These 5 Skills

By: Joshua Uebergang

Everyone from time to time has to deal with rude, difficult, and inconsiderate people at parties, at work or school on the street or at the grocery checkout line. Let's face it, rude people are pretty much everywhere, and they can ruin your day in an instant if you are unprepared with dealing with them. While it may seem difficult, dealing with rude people can be done easily with a little preparation and forethought. Here are the easy ways to deal with rude people in any situation.

Look the rude person in the eye and ask nicely for them to stop their rude behavior or insults. Chances are this may not work, but sometimes it can, and it has the added benefit of preventing you from become angered and rude yourself. The assertive communication from your eye contact can stop their difficult behavior.

Don't ever try to "out-rude" a rude person, as it will only escalate the situation, and make you both jerks. Chances are too that you are no match for the rudeness of the person you are trying to out perform here, so never take the bait and do not respond in kind.

The most important thing to do when dealing with a rude person is maintain a sense of calm and peacefulness, and do not let yourself be baited into a confrontation that will escalate the conflict. Maintain a level head, keep cool, and always address the rude person in an even, soothing tone.

Rudeness is often born of a person's immaturity and inability to process adversity and frustration. By always being the mature one in any interaction with a rude person, you will always have upper hand. Do not succumb to the desire to "sink to their level" and try to address the rude person's concerns rationally and as maturely as you possibly can manage.

If the rude person has any kind of problem with something that is currently being discussed, attempt to shift the conversation to a more innocuous and safe topic that won't provoke them. It helps to have a few such topics at the ready, such as the weather. If they refuse to allow you to do this, and they insist on maintaining their rude behavior, do not hesitate to simply end the interaction as calmly and rationally as possible, and inform them that if they wish to talk with you again in the future, to approach you with a more pleasant demeanor.

It's not easy dealing with rude people at work or in your family, but with these five skills you can better handle difficult people.

Everyone from time to time has to deal with rude, difficult, and inconsiderate people at parties, at work or school on the street or at the grocery checkout line. Let's face it, rude people are pretty much everywhere, and they can ruin your day in an instant if you are unprepared with dealing with them. Here are the easy ways to deal with rude people in any situation.

Read my full article to deal with difficult people. For an extra resource, I also encourage you to check out my guide on assertive communication skills.

Article Source: PositiveArticles.Com does not vouch for or necessarily endorse the contents of this article.

*M Junaid Tahir

How to Develop Interpersonal Communication Skills

By: Joshua Uebergang

Communicating with people, though outwardly may seem an easy task, is actually an incredibly nuanced and difficult thing when you examine the nuts and bolts of all of the moving parts that happen beneath the surface of interpersonal interaction. What seems at first to be a casual give-and-take is actually something very complex with numerous interpersonal verbal and non-verbal elements all working in coordination to allow two people to communicate their ideas with one another.

Often, problems arise when this coordination is co-opted by one party's ignorance or incompetence at a given element. But do not fear. Here are nine quick tips to improving your interpersonal communications skills that will get you in the game right away.

This is the quickest, clearest skill to develop to let your conversation partner know you regard them as more than a sounding board. Something as simple as using their name will allow a much greater path toward mutual communication.

Learn to read the tells of your conversation partner and how to tailor what you need to say to optimize effectiveness as the conversation progresses. This skill will serve you well.

To improve your interpersonal communication skills, get to the point of what you wish to say and do not rely on implication to get your message across. Don't make more work for your counterpart.

Include everything you need to say and all of the supporting facts and data to make your points.

The easiest way to improve your interpersonal communication skills is to avoid jumping to premature conclusions about your counterpart or what they are trying to say.

Also, avoid making assumptions as best as you can, as most often they are wrong, and work to inhibit communication. "Begin challenging your own assumptions," said Alan Alda. "Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in awhile, or the light won't come in."

Use "I" and "me" and "mine" qualifiers as often as you can to mark your words as your own, and foster a sense of competency in your counterpart.

Always be clear in interpersonal communication and do not rely on hope that the other person understands "the gist" of what you were trying to say. Be clear and be direct.

This is perhaps the most crucial skill to learn in improving your interpersonal abilities. Respond thoughtfully and carefully to others, do not "react" because reaction is most often an unthinking (and disrespectful) activity.

You can improve your communication skills by adhering to each of these 9 tips throughout your social and work life.

Communicating with people, though outwardly may seem an easy task, is actually an incredibly nuanced and difficult thing when you examine the nuts and bolts of all of the moving parts that happen beneath the surface of interpersonal interaction. In this article are nine quick tips to improving your interpersonal communications skills that will get you in the game right away.

Read more free articles to help your interpersonal communication skills so you can have great relationships. Also sign-up to my free effective communication skills eNewsletter.

Article Source: PositiveArticles.Com does not vouch for or necessarily endorse the contents of this article.

*M Junaid Tahir

Story: Sharpen Your Skills

Once upon a time a very strong woodcutter asked for a job with a timber merchant, and he got it. His salary was really good and so were the working conditions. For that reason, the woodcutter was determined to do his best.

His boss gave him an axe and showed him the area where he was supposed to fell the trees. The first day, the woodcutter brought down 15 trees.

" Congratulations," the boss said. " Carry on with your work!"

Highly motivated by the words of his boss, the woodcutter tried harder the next day, but he only could bring 10 trees down. The third day he tried even harder, but he was only able to bring down 7 trees.

Day after day he was bringing lesser number of trees down.

" I must be losing my strength", the woodcutter thought. He went to the boss and apologized, saying that he could not understand what was going on.

" When was the last time you sharpened your axe?" the boss asked.
" Sharpen? I had no time to sharpen my axe. I have been very busy trying to cut trees..."

That's right. Most of us NEVER update our skills. We think that whatever we have learned is very much enough. But good is not good when better is expected. Sharpening our skills from time to time is the key to success.

*M Junaid Tahir

34 Writing Tips That Will Make You a Better Writer

34 Writing Tips That Will Make You a Better Writer

by Daniel Scocco

A couple of weeks ago we asked our readers to share their writing tips. The response was far beyond the initial expectations, and the quality of the tips included was amazing. Thanks for everyone who contributed.

Now, without further delay, the 34 writing tips that will make you a better writer!


1. Daniel
Pay attention to punctuation, especially to the correct use of commas and periods. These two punctuation marks regulate the flow of your thoughts, and they can make your text confusing even if the words are clear.

2. Thomas
Participate in NaNoWriMo, which challenges you to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. I noticed that my writing has definitely improved over the course of the book — and it's not even finished yet.

3. Bill Harper
Try not to edit while you're creating your first draft. Creating and editing are two separate processes using different sides of the brain, and if you try doing both at once you'll lose. Make a deal with your internal editor that it will get the chance to rip your piece to shreds; it will just need to wait some time.

A really nice trick is to switch off your monitor when you're typing. You can't edit what you can't see.

4. Jacinta
In a sentence: write daily for 30 minutes minimum! It's easy to notice the difference in a short time. Suddenly, ideas come to you and you think of other things to write. You experiment with styles and voices and words and the language becomes more familiar…

5. Ane Mulligan
Learn the rules of good writing… then learn when and how to break them.

6. Pete Bollini
I sometimes write out 8 to 10 pages from the book of my favorite writer… in longhand. This helps me to get started and swing into the style I wish to write in.

7. Nilima Bhadbhade
Be a good reader first.

8. Douglas Davis
While spell-checking programs serve as a good tool, they should not be relied
upon to detect all mistakes. Regardless of the length of the article, always read and review what you have written.

9. Kukusha
Learn to take criticism and seek it out at every opportunity. Don't get upset even if you think the criticism is harsh, don't be offended even if you think it's wrong, and always thank those who take the time to offer it.

10. John England
Right click on a word to use the thesaurus. Do it again on the new word and make the best use of your vocabulary.

11. Lillie Ammann
After editing the work on screen or in print, I like to read the text aloud. Awkward sentences and errors that slipped through earlier edits show up readily when reading out loud.

12. H Devaraja Rao
Avoid wordiness. Professor Strunk put it well: "a sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts."

13. David
Write as if you're on deadline and have 500 words to make your point. Then do it again. And again.

14. Yvette
Sometimes I type in a large font to have the words and sentences bold before me.

Sometimes, in the middle of a document I will start a new topic on a fresh sheet to have that clean feeling. Then, I'll cut and insert it into the larger document.

I wait until my paper is done before I examine my word usage and vocabulary choices. (And reading this column it has reminded me that no two words are ever exactly alike.) So at the end, I take time to examine my choice of words. I have a lot of fun selecting the exact words to pinpoint my thoughts or points.

15. Amit Goyal
To be a good writer is to start writing everyday. As Mark Twain said, "the secret of getting ahead is getting started."

Try using new words. i.e avoid repeating words. this way we learn the usage of different words.
Do edit your previous articles.

Start with small paragraphs like writing an article for a Newspaper, and proceed from there.

16. John Dodds
Remove as many adjectives as possible. Read Jack Finney's tale, Cousin Len's Wonderful Adjective Cellar for a fantastical tale about how a hack becomes a successful author with the help of a magical salt cellar that removes adjectives from his work.

17. John Ireland
I set my writing aside and edit a day or two later with the aim of making it terse. It has trained me to be more conscious of brevity when writing for immediate distribution.

18. Jai
Try to write in simple way. Express your views with most appropriate words.

19. Mark
Read great writers for inspiration. If you read them enough, their excellent writing style will rub off onto your dazzling blog.

YOU ARE what you read (and write!).

20. Caroline
I watch my action tense and wordiness in sentences when I am writing my technical diddley.

For example, in a sentence where you say …"you will have to…" I replace it with "…you must…", or "Click on the Go button to…" can be replaced with "Click Go to…".

Think of words such as "enables", instead of "allows you to" or "helps you to".

If one word will work where three are, replace it! I always find these, where I slip into conversational as I am writing quickly, then go back and purge, purge, purge.

21. Akhil Tandulwadikar
Don't shy away from adopting the good habits that other writers use.

Do not worry about the length of the article as long as it conveys the point. Of course, the fewer words you use, the better.

Start the article with a short sentence, not more than 8 words.

22. Julie Martinenza
Instead of adding tags (he said/she said) to every bit of dialogue, learn to identify the speaker by showing him/her in action. Example: "Pass that sweet-smelling turkey this way." With knife in one hand and fork in the other, Sam looked eager to pounce.

23. Aaron Stroud
Write often and to completion by following a realistic writing schedule.

24. Joanna Young
One that works for me every time is to focus on the positive intention behind my writing. What is it that I want to communicate, express, convey? By focusing on that, by getting into the state that I'm trying to express, I find that I stop worrying about the words – just let them tumble out of their own accord.

It's a great strategy for beating writer's block, or overcoming anxiety about a particular piece of writing, whether that's composing a formal business letter, writing a piece from the heart, or guest blogging somewhere 'big'…

25. Shelley Rodrigo
Use others writer's sentences and paragraphs as models and then emulate the syntactic structure with your own content. I've learned more about grammar and punctuation that way.

26. Sylvia
Avoid long sentences.

27. Mike Feeney
Learn the difference between me, myself and I. For example: "Contact Bob or myself if you have any questions." I hear this very often!

28. Richard Scott
When doing a long project, a novel, for instance, shut off your internal editor and just write.

Think of your first draft as a complex outline waiting to be expanded upon, and let the words flow.

29. David
Careful with unnecessary expressions. "At this point in time" came along during the Nixon congressional hearings. Too bad it didn't go out with him. What about "on a daily basis?"

30. E. I. Sanchez
For large documents, I use Word's Speech feature to have the computer read the article back. This allows me to catch errors I have missed – especially missing words or words that 'sort of sound the same' but are spelled differently (e.g. Front me instead of 'From me').

31. Cat
Either read the book "Writing Tools 50 Strategies for Every Writer", by Roy Peter Clark, or read the Fifty Writing Tools: Quick List on his blog. Then join a writing group, or hire a writing coach.

32. Suemagoo
Write the first draft spontaneously. Switch off your internal editor until it is time to review your first draft.

33. Lydia
If you're writing fiction, it's a great idea to have a plot. It will coordinate your thoughts and add consistency to the text.

34. Pedro
Edit your older articles and pieces. You will notice that great part of it will be crap, and it will allow you to refine your style and avoid mistakes that you used to make




44 Resume Writing Tips

Having a solid and effective resume can greatly improve your chances of landing that dream job. That is beyond discussion. How does one make sure that his resume is top notch and bullet proof, however? There are several websites with tips around the web, but most bring just a handful of them. We wanted to put them all together in a single place, and that is what you will find below: 44 resume writing tips.


1. Know the purpose of your resume

Some people write a resume as if the purpose of the document was to land a job. As a result they end up with a really long and boring piece that makes them look like desperate job hunters. The objective of your resume is to land an interview, and the interview will land you the job (hopefully!).

2. Back up your qualities and strengths

Instead of creating a long (and boring) list with all your qualities (e.g., disciplined, creative, problem solver) try to connect them with real life and work experiences. In other words, you need to back these qualities and strengths up, else it will appear that you are just trying to inflate things.

3. Make sure to use the right keywords

Most companies (even smaller ones) are already using digital databases to search for candidates. This means that the HR department will run search queries based on specific keywords. Guess what, if your resume doesn't have the keywords related to the job you are applying for, you will be out even before the game starts.

These keywords will usually be nouns. Check the job description and related job ads for a clue on what the employer might be looking for. You can read more about resume keywords on the article Tapping the Power of Keywords to Enhance Your Resume's Effectiveness.

4. Use effective titles

Like it or not, employers will usually make a judgment about your resume in 5 seconds. Under this time frame the most important aspect will be the titles that you listed on the resume, so make sure they grab the attention. Try to be as descriptive as possible, giving the employer a good idea about the nature of your past work experiences. For example:

Bad title: Accounting
Good title: Management of A/R and A/P and Recordkeeping

5. Proofread it twice

It would be difficult to emphasize the importance of proofreading your resume. One small typo and your chances of getting hired could slip. Proofreading it once is not enough, so do it twice, three times or as many as necessary. If you don't know how to proofread effectively, here are 8 tips that you can use.

6. Use bullet points

No employer will have the time (or patience) to read long paragraphs of text. Make sure, therefore, to use bullet points and short sentences to describe your experiences, educational background and professional objectives.

7. Where are you going?

Including professional goals can help you by giving employers an idea of where you are going, and how you want to arrive there. You don't need to have a special section devoted to your professional objectives, but overall the resume must communicate it. The question of whether or not to highlight your career objectives on the resume is a polemic one among HR managers, so go with your feeling. If you decide to list them, make sure they are not generic.

8. Put the most important information first

This point is valid both to the overall order of your resume, as well as to the individual sections. Most of the times your previous work experience will be the most important part of the resume, so put it at the top. When describing your experiences or skills, list the most important ones first.

9. Attention to the typography

First of all make sure that your fonts are big enough. The smaller you should go is 11 points, but 12 is probably safer. Do not use capital letters all over the place, remember that your goal is to communicate a message as fast and as clearly as possible. Arial and Times are good choices.

10. Do not include "no kidding" information

There are many people that like to include statements like "Available for interview" or "References available upon request." If you are sending a resume to a company, it should be a given that you are available for an interview and that you will provide references if requested. Just avoid items that will make the employer think "no kidding!"

11. Explain the benefits of your skills

Merely stating that you can do something will not catch the attention of the employer. If you manage to explain how it will benefit his company, and to connect it to tangible results, then you will greatly improve your chances.

12. Avoid negativity

Do not include information that might sound negative in the eyes of the employer. This is valid both to your resume and to interviews. You don't need to include, for instance, things that you hated about your last company.

13. Achievements instead of responsibilities

Resumes that include a long list of "responsibilities included…" are plain boring, and not efficient in selling yourself. Instead of listing responsibilities, therefore, describe your professional achievements.

14. No pictures

Sure, we know that you are good looking, but unless you are applying for a job where the physical traits are very important (e.g., modeling, acting and so on), and unless the employer specifically requested it, you should avoid attaching your picture to the resume.

15. Use numbers

This tip is a complement to the 13th one. If you are going to describe your past professional achievements, it would be a good idea to make them as solid as possible. Numbers are your friends here. Don't merely mention that you increased the annual revenues of your division, say that you increased them by $100,000, by 78%, and so on.

16. One resume for each employer

One of the most common mistakes that people make is to create a standard resume and send it to all the job openings that they can find. Sure it will save you time, but it will also greatly decrease the chances of landing an interview (so in reality it could even represent a waste of time). Tailor your resume for each employer. The same point applies to your cover letters.

17. Identify the problems of the employer

A good starting point to tailor your resume for a specific employer is to identify what possible problems he might have at hand. Try to understand the market of the company you are applying for a job, and identify what kind of difficulties they might be going through. After that illustrate on your resume how you and your skills would help to solve those problems.

18. Avoid age discrimination

It is illegal to discriminate people because of their age, but some employers do these considerations nonetheless. Why risk the trouble? Unless specifically requested, do not include your age on your resume.

19. You don't need to list all your work experiences

If you have job experiences that you are not proud of, or that are not relevant to the current opportunity, you should just omit them. Mentioning that you used to sell hamburgers when you were 17 is probably not going to help you land that executive position.

20. Go with what you got

If you never had any real working experience, just include your summer jobs or volunteer work. If you don't have a degree yet, mention the title and the estimated date for completion. As long as those points are relevant to the job in question, it does not matter if they are official or not.

21. Sell your fish

Remember that you are trying to sell yourself. As long as you don't go over the edge, all the marketing efforts that you can put in your resume (in its content, design, delivery method and so on) will give you an advantage over the other candidates.

22. Don't include irrelevant information

Irrelevant information such as political affiliation, religion and sexual preference will not help you. In fact it might even hurt your chances of landing an interview. Just skip it.

23. Use Mr. and Ms. if appropriate

If you have a gender neutral name like Alex or Ryan make sure to include the Mr. or Ms. prefix, so that employers will not get confused about your gender.

24. No lies, please

Seems like a no brainer, but you would be amused to discover the amount of people that lie in their resumes. Even small lies should be avoided. Apart from being wrong, most HR departments do background checks these days, and if you are buster it might ruin your credibility for good.

25. Keep the salary in mind

The image you will create with your resume must match the salary and responsibility level that you are aiming for.

26. Analyze job ads

You will find plenty of useful information on job ads. Analyze no only the ad that you will be applying for, but also those from companies on the same segment or offering related positions. You should be able to identify what profile they are looking for and how the information should be presented.

27. Get someone else to review your resume

Even if you think you resume is looking kinky, it would be a good idea to get a second and third opinion about it. We usually become blind to our own mistakes or way of reasoning, so another people will be in a good position to evaluate the overall quality of your resume and make appropriate suggestions.

28. One or two pages

The ideal length for a resume is a polemic subject. Most employers and recruiting specialists, however, say that it should contain one or two pages at maximum. Just keep in mind that, provided all the necessary information is there, the shorter your resume, the better.

29. Use action verbs

A very common advice to job seekers is to use action verbs. But what are they? Action verbs are basically verbs that will get noticed more easily, and that will clearly communicate what your experience or achievement were. Examples include managed, coached, enforced and planned. Here you can find a complete list of action verbs divided by skill category.

30. Use a good printer

If you are going to use a paper version of your resume, make sure to use a decent printer. Laser printers usually get the job done. Plain white paper is the preferred one as well.

31. No hobbies

Unless you are 100% sure that some of your hobbies will support you candidacy, avoid mentioning them. I know you are proud of your swimming team, but share it with your friends and not with potential employers.

32. Update your resume regularly

It is a good idea to update your resume on a regular basis. Add all the new information that you think is relevant, as well as courses, training programs and other academic qualifications that you might receive along the way. This is the best way to keep track of everything and to make sure that you will not end up sending an obsolete document to the employer.

33. Mention who you worked with

If you have reported or worked with someone that is well known in your industry, it could be a good idea to mention it on the resume. The same thing applies to presidents and CEOs. If you reported to or worked directly with highly ranked executives, add it to the resume.

34. No scattered information

Your resume must have a clear focus. If would cause a negative impression if you mentioned that one year you were studying drama, and the next you were working as an accountant. Make sure that all the information you will include will work towards a unified image. Employers like decided people.

35. Make the design flow with white space

Do not jam your resume with text. Sure we said that you should make your resume as short and concise as possible, but that refers to the overall amount of information and not to how much text you can pack in a single sheet of paper. White space between the words, lines and paragraphs can improve the legibility of your resume.

36. Lists all your positions

If you have worked a long time for the same company (over 10 years) it could be a good idea to list all the different positions and roles that you had during this time separately. You probably had different responsibilities and developed different skills on each role, so the employer will like to know it.

37. No jargon or slang

It should be common sense, but believe me, it is not. Slang should never be present in a resume. As for technical jargon, do not assume that the employer will know what you are talking about. Even if you are sending your resume to a company in the same segment, the person who will read it for the first time might not have any technical expertise.

38. Careful with sample resume templates

There are many websites that offer free resume templates. While they can help you to get an idea of what you are looking for, do not just copy and paste one of the most used ones. You certainly don't want to look just like any other candidate, do you?

39. Create an email proof formatting

It is very likely that you will end up sending your resume via email to most companies. Apart from having a Word document ready to go as an attachment, you should also have a text version of your resume that does not look disfigured in the body of the email or in online forms. Attachments might get blocked by spam filters, and many people just prefer having the resume on the body of the email itself.

40. Remove your older work experiences

If you have been working for 20 years or more, there is no need to have 2 pages of your resume listing all your work experiences, starting with the job at the local coffee shop at the age of 17! Most experts agree that the last 15 years of your career are enough.

41. No fancy design details

Do not use a colored background, fancy fonts or images on your resume. Sure, you might think that the little flowers will cheer up the document, but other people might just throw it away at the sight.

42. No pronouns

You resume should not contain the pronouns "I" or "me." That is how we normally structure sentences, but since your resume is a document about your person, using these pronouns is actually redundant.

43. Don't forget the basics

The first thing on your resume should be your name. It should be bold and with a larger font than the rest of the text. Make sure that your contact details are clearly listed. Secondly, both the name and contact details should be included on all the pages of the resume (if you have more than one).

44. Consider getting professional help

If you are having a hard time to create your resume, or if you are receiving no response whatsoever from companies, you could consider hiring a professional resume writing service. There are both local and online options are available, and usually the investment will be worth the money.


*M Junaid Tahir

How Do I Deal With a Negative Performance Review?

 How Do I Deal With a Negative Performance Review?

Dear Lifehacker,
I just got my annual performance review at work and let's just say it didn't go very well. Some of it was positive, but a lot of it took me by surprise, and now I'm worried for my job. How do I handle a not-so-great evaluation? I disagree with my boss, but he made some good points and seems to want me to improve. How can I make sure this doesn't happen again?
Sinking Feeling

Photo remixed from an original by Andrey Popov/Shutterstock.

Dear Sinking Feeling,
A negative performance evaluation is definitely cause for concern, but it's nothing to get too worked up over unless your manager has specified that they're going to take some kind of action against you as a result. Consider it a very loud and clear warning that your job performance isn't up to snuff, one that you're going to take seriously if you want to stay at this job. Here are some ways you can turn this challenge into an opportunity.

Is This Personal or Professional?

Before you put too much time and energy into making this situation better, you have to ask yourself whether the real issue at hand here is personal—as in it stems from some fundamental difficulty you and your boss have working together, as in you don't get along or you never see eye to eye—or it's professional, as in there is some area where you're professionally lacking that your boss thinks is essential to your job or responsibilities.

If the matter is personal, there may not be very much you can do about it. If you and your boss butt heads over personal matters, or just don't like each other, there isn't much either of you can really do to fix that problem and become friendly or congenial, especially if its escalated to the point where your boss is willing to air out those personal grievances in your performance evaluation.

If the matter is professional, you have more options. The fact that you were taken by surprise with the evaluation is the first sign of trouble. You should never walk into a performance evaluation and be surprised by what you're hearing, especially if it's negative. Ideally, your boss will give you feedback on your performance over the course of your employment, and you'll know well in advance of a review if you haven't been meeting his or her expectations. Since that's not the case, that's the first thing we need to fix, then you can move on to more specific ways you can improve your job performance.

Photo by snow0810.

Clear the Air with Your Boss

At the end of the performance review, you probably had to sign a statement saying you understood what was said, and since the review was negative, it's possible you were even put on a performance plan or some kind of improvement plan where you have a specific period of time to get better before your boss does another mini-review to see if you're on the right track. For some people, this kind of performance plan spells doom all by itself, but if you like your job and you really want to improve, now's the best time to take this seriously. Make sure you don't just walk away from your performance review with some food for thought.

Let your boss know that you're serious about improving your performance, that you're honestly surprised by the review, and you don't want to be caught blindsided again. It may sound painful, but a good way to get regular feedback from your boss on how you're doing is to nag them for a one-on-one meeting on a regular basis. Depending on how closely you work with your boss, that meeting can be every two weeks, or weekly if necessary. The important thing is that you find a way to get regular feedback from your boss not just on your improvement, but on how things are going in general and what work is coming down the line. Meeting with your boss regularly may also help clear up some of your personal disagreements as well, and offers you an opportunity to talk to your boss about what they think is important about your role, where you have to improve, and get direction on your priorities and how they think you can do better. Ultimately, those clues are going to be the biggest help to you.

Photo by bpsusf.

Get Constructive Feedback from Everyone

When you meet with your boss, you do want to take some time to just chat about how things are going, but you also want to come prepared with specific examples of how you're handling things differently than before, and you want to put them in front of your boss to make sure they agree that you're improving on the areas they dinged you on in your review. Now would be a great time to start keeping a work diary to document your successes and activities, and to embrace a weekly review to help you reflect on how the past week went, prep yourself for the next week, and document anything that needs to go down on paper.

Don't stop with your boss when it comes to feedback though. Reach out to your customers, whether they're internal groups that you work with or people outside the organization, to find out how well you're serving their interests, get their feedback on your strengths and weaknesses, and where you can help them. Being proactive can go a long way towards taking you from a dispensable, so-so employee to an irreplaceable one that everyone loves working with.

Finally, talk to your trusted colleagues about what they think. Get their feedback on your role, whether you're suited for it, and what they've been hearing as well. You should take all of this with a grain of salt: don't get too caught up in what other people think, but use them as a litmus test for the overall atmosphere. If several coworkers say the same thing, you know there may be something to it.

Photo by Brian Turner.

Put Yourself on a Performance Plan

Once you've established a regular method to get feedback from your boss, and you've reached out to others to get their thoughts and opinions, it's time to put yourself on a performance plan. Even if your review didn't end with one, or your boss didn't even offer to help you improve your performance, if you want to keep your job you should do something for yourself.

Take note of the things your boss expressed concern with in your review. If you're constantly late to work, check out check out our tips on how to fix chronic lateness and reboot your morning routine so you get to the office sooner. If that doesn't work for you, maybe a schedule adjustment is in order so you work later and get to work at a time that works better for you. If your boss's problem is your skill with a specific tool or skill required to do your job, it might be time to take a few classes or sign up for additional training if it's available. See if your company offers reimbursement for job-related courses, other perks or benefits you can explore, or if your department has budget for training—even asking about it after a bad review shows that you're serious about improving, and if all you need to do is brush up to get a better review next time, a training class is well worth the time you'll put into it.

When you know what you can do to improve the things that you need to work on, all you have to do is put yourself on a timetable. Let your boss know that you're working on fixing the problems that came up in the review, and let them know you want to follow up with them in a certain number of weeks or months to discuss how things are going. If your review said you'll be re-evaluated in 60 days, you know you need to show demonstrable progress before then, so make that your goal. If your review was open-ended, give yourself 30, 60, and 90-day goals to get started. Whatever timetable you choose, make sure you make it challenging enough that you actually have to work to get there.

Photo by bpsusf.

Know When to Fold Em

Unfortunately, putting time, energy, effort, communication, training, and personal-development into turning a negative performance review around still may not work. Depending on how touchy your company is about reviews and office politics, even one bad review can effectively spell the end of your job at that company. At one company I used to work for, a bad review was a somewhat coded message for "you have 6 months to find another job, during which we'll look the other way if you spend half your day job hunting and doing the bare minimum here." In other cases, even employees who really turned around couldn't get past their manager's negative perception of them once they got a bad review.

If you spend a lot of time and energy honestly trying to improve yourself and you don't think your manager is buying it, or if you just don't see the situation improving, it may be time to take your newfound skills, brushed-up productivity techniques, and rebooted mornings to a company that will appreciate you, or at least offer you a fresh start. Just make sure you leave the baggage behind—you don't want to start a new job with the ghosts of the old one following you through the door.

Photo by lculig/Shutterstock.

*M Junaid Tahir