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What Must You Have to be a MILLIONAIRE?

 

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Do very rich people have anything in common? On the face of it, they appear to be highly individual and driven people but, on closer inspection, they are not as individual as they seem. Apparently, there are 30 essential attributes millionaires tend to have, according to what I have discovered from close analysis of the biographies from the last five years of the Times Rich List, a riveting narrative of the social, upwardly mobile and affluent trends in the UK.

It seems there are some crucial traits they all share in different combinations but which, in general, affect every millionaire in one form or another. Overall, there are eight essential personal attributes, eight social ones, seven emotional ones, which dictate perception and how the goals are realised, and seven physical ones.

Topping all four lists is strong self-belief and confidence. Most millionaires seem to be abundantly endowed with these twin drivers of individual motivation. They are the most important pre-requisites for success because you need to believe in your dream and have the confidence and fearlessness to follow that dream and bring it to life, regardless of the setbacks you are bound to encounter. Without confidence and self-belief, you'll always be be changing with the wind and going by what other people say, instead of following your own heart. In fact, you would not be able to trust your own instincts or have the faith in your own judgements.

No Need for Approval
Second, you need full acceptance of yourself. Otherwise you will be seeking constant approval for your actions and are likely to be afraid of taking decisions. Not fully accepting who you are, without a firm identity, robs you of the confidence in your own ability to excel. I suppose that explains why women like me are seldom millionaires because we obviously spend too much time doing our make up, staring at ourselves in the mirror wishing we had a better figure, worrying about our boobs and whether our bums look big in this and that, instead of making decisions and pushing our dreams to fruition!

Third, you also have to be an independent thinker, highly self-motivated, with a fearless approach to life. It doesn't mean being reckless or selfish but to be prepared to take risks and back your convictions. Overall, the two things that come across with these personal attributes are an independent spirit and total confidence. Without them, you will remain on the starting block, rearing to go but never taking off; wishing and hoping, but not really doing. And the other 24 attributes? I bet you are dying to know about them. If you try the Millionaire's Quiz, it might tell you what they are! :o)

If you are thinking of starting a successful business, or dreaming of making a lot of money, do YOU have what it takes to be a millionaire? Find out today. Knowledge is truly power.




Potential interview questions and answers for jobs in RETAIL

 

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All retail jobs have to do with people, day in and day out, relentlessly. Shops and superstores are there to serve customer needs. Getting on with people, communicating with them, giving value for money and keeping them happy will be the four essential requisites for such a job. The emphasis would be on customer service and care, dealing with difficult clients and ensuring the best quality service possible. 

The aim at any job interview is to find out whether you are the type of person who can deal with others effectively, who can cope in a crisis and who has very good communication and interactive skills. Interviewers would be trying to get to know your strengths in dealing with others and whether you are the right fit for the function you would be helping to execute.

1. What experience in retail have you had to qualify you for this position?
This is really about your career history, but don't make it into a boring autobiography. Identify things you have done which match the current job role and describe them briefly so that your experience speaks for itself. For example, if you have been used to buying merchandise or working in the after care section make sure that the one you highlight aligns well with what you would also be doing in the new job. Pointless stressing your role as a buyer if you will be dealing with customer complaints, though you can mention it briefly. Make sure you also add what you would like to learn too, even if you have no experience of it, which shows your varied interests and desire to grow. Whatever you say, honesty is of the essence here.

2. What did you enjoy most and least in your last job?
This is another very good question because it helps to pin down what makes you tick, what you really like and what would put you off. This is about self-knowledge. You need to appreciate what turns you on and off and what has helped to get you to where you are today. For example, if the things you didn't enjoy were allied to what you are applying for now, that would rule you out because you would be getting more of the same in another form. It also helps to draw out your sincerity in what you really desire in your life. So make sure you really know how you felt about your last job so that you can identity what you liked and disliked about it in order to get more of the enjoyable bits.

3. What interests do you have outside your work?
This shows whether you are a one-dimensional person who just plays football, for example, or someone who also uses their brains and is not just tied to one activity. More important, sometimes companies promote a particular sport among their staff and would like team players for it. For example, if you are a good golfer, that could come in handy for company golfing events and would add to your appeal. Again you have to be honest here, or it could come back to haunt you!!

4. What experiences have you had in dealing with difficult customers?
The reputation of a company controls its profit margins. A bad reputation means fewer customers. If you cannot handle difficult customers, that would be a major stumbling block for you in a job where dealing with irritated members of the public will be routine. Start generally but select one incident soon afterwards and describe the outcome of that. Be very clear about the circumstances, what happened and how you dealt with it, especially how you resolved any tricky issues that arose. The main aim is to see you in action and how you would look after yourself and others in a crisis. The key words here are mutual respect, listening to the customer, being calm in the face of irritation and concluding the situation positively.

5. How would your co-workers describe you? 
This is one of the most important questions about how you are perceived by others, and your ability to work in a team, not how you would like them to see you.  It mustn't sound too gushing and syrupy or too negative. A healthy balance in your personality and aptitude would go down well. Descriptions that include mainly positive observations will make you appear more realistic and human. However, stress aspects to do with your ability to do the job, not just personal things. For example, they would probably comment on your enthusiasm and keenness to learn, your knowledge of the merchandise or how you deal with customers in a very empowering way.


6. How long would you expect to work for us? 
This is often a difficult one because, though most people seek security and companies do not wish to be recruiting every minute, often a bad fit leads to short stays. The recruitment process is a long and expensive one, especially where agencies are used to introduce the candidate, so companies seek to avoid that where possible. The best response is to indicate that you expect to be with the company for a few years, noting that you would enjoy being part of any expansion which will aid your personal development. If you can reassure an employer that you would be there for a reasonable time you are more likely to be considered. Young women candidates tend to unfairly get this question more than men, because of the possibility of pregnancy later on, but that should not be a barrier to having a permanent job or be used in a biased way against them.

7. Do you prefer to have a job with set tasks and responsibilities, or where your tasks change on a frequent basis?
This question aims to separate the leaders from the followers. If you are good at using your initiative and being self-directed then you would be different in approach and appeal from someone who prefers closer direction, more routine and more regularity. By stating which type of job you prefer the interviewers would be able to see your potential development while gauging your personality and ambitions more accurately. Be clear about which would suit you so that you would then be placed in the right environment for your growth. For example, if you are easily bored, then a changing routine would be much more appropriate to motivate you. Your response here could help place you when assigning tasks.

8. Tell me about the worst boss you have had 
Be careful with this one. It is very tempting when one is feeling comfortable to rubbish past bosses to make the potential one feel better, what I call giving them the halo effect while you turn your former boss into the devil! Please resist it. This is not a time just for negativity. You are also showing your own quality of judgement with your reply. You can point out someone, nameless, say a couple of things they did that you felt hampered your development or irritated you. But the main thing to remember is to end on a positive note by pointing out other things the person did which helped you too, or which you believe were fair. If you are only going to blame and accuse them, your interviewers will be wondering if that's how you'll be treating them too when you leave their company.

9. What qualities do you think are important to this position? 
A very crucial question because the response will show your own understanding of the industry, your competence in producing those qualities and your judgement of what the job requires. The top skill is communication, both listening and dealing empathetically with customer and staff concerns. If you can reach out to others in ways which make them feel comfortable and heard, you would be a winner. A caring, helpful, inclusive and cheerful disposition is also extremely important to make people of all races and creed feel reassured and at ease. Respect for the customer, that he/she is always right, would be crucial too in crisis times. The personal qualities would all revolve around people skills and anyone who has those, especially with a very bright and welcoming smile, would be definitely favoured for such a position.

10. In what ways do you think you can contribute to our store?
Hopefully, you would have thought about your personal impact you hope to make on the new job. People will not hire just for looks and personality. It is all about getting the job done in the public service, keeping the public and your colleagues happy. If you can contribute to making that happen in some way, you would be most valued. Is there anything you could better? Anything you could introduce to make the service more effective? Anything that could be changed, especially as you are a service user too? Any suggestion would show your careful thought about the job and the fact that you would be coming in to help to make that difference, and the job a little bit more fulfilling, for all concerned.




Tips for excellent resumés and cover letters for BANKING jobs

 

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Working in banking is all about money and your resumé should show your readiness to go into that sought-after field and be very successful with it. Your keenness to shine in this particular hot house should be clear throughout your resumé. Your suitability, capability and experience at getting results must be immediately noticeable too.

Competition is exceptionally high for banking posts, thus it is important to aim for three things when you write both your resumé and banking letters: conciseness, clarity and appeal. The last element must grab the employer's attention. If a recruiter has to work out whether you are really suitable through a lot of verbiage, you have lost the opportunity. They are seeking candidates who will get them new customers and keep that profit margin healthy. You won't get in if there is any doubt about you.

 

A. The Covering Letter

This should be quite brief with no more than three paragraphs over one A4 page. The opening paragraph should mention what you are applying for and why. Try not to repeat your resumé here. Instead, mainly summarise key points relevant to the post. The second paragraph should state why you are particularly suitable, especially in acquiring customers and giving value for money, and using certain key words the advert might have mentioned, while the third paragraph contains what you hope to gain from the post and any special skills/expertise you would bring to it in return. 

The letter should stress your experience, knowledge and expertise (EKE) that would suit that job and enhance the company's service and reputation. Mention the desire to face that next challenge in your development which the new company appears, to offer and the enthusiasm and drive you would be bringing. The letter should be more professional and emotional in tone, i:e stressing the kind of person you are, your personality, your objectives, reliability, resilience, successes etc, with certain key words like flexibility, adaptability and challenge strategically placed. Overall, the letter should give a brief flavour of you while the resumé fills in the details. End very hopefully, thanking them for a positive response soon.

 



B. The Resumé

No resumé should be longer than two A4 pages, and at the most, three. If they provide an application form, that makes it easier. Banking is now a global activity so be prepared to address that aspect in your resumé. You could arrange the details in the following order for clarity:

1. Education - all your college and university experiences, along with your qualifications, especially if you are an older candidate. Include your high school if you are younger. 

2. Current Post - This should have a brief outline of your present job, its responsibilities and roles, and the main skills you employ within it, especially the ones relevant to banking, or that particular post.

3. Professional Experience - This is where you would list your other key and recent jobs, making sure you outline what you did. Use certain key buzzwords associated with the finance field, so that your specific skills in handling the potential tasks are plain to see, and in accepted banking jargon. Highlight the experiences which actually match the requirement of the advert rather than just speaking generally.

4. Additional Experience - This part is suitable for all the things you might have done in between jobs or as voluntary work, again emphasising the relevant knowledge and skills gained within them that would be useful to the new post. These would also help to fill any noticeable gaps and give a more rounded picture of you.

5. Computer Skills - Mention the computer awareness you have, the different kinds of applications you are adept in and your actual experience in this field. Computers are our future and you being comfortable with them shows your adaptability and flexibility. Confidence in technology has to be your keyword, especially when computers are now essential to the vast amount of banking data.

6. Languages - This is another crucial aspect in our global banking world. Any language could be useful to your role, especially the main ones like English, French, Spanish, Hindi, Punjabi, Japanese and Chinese. These kind of linguistic skills can often be priceless to potential and existing customers.

7. Honours and Awards - List these clearly with brief explanations of why you received them, specially the most recent. Honours which match the new job field should come first.

8. Recent Training -  List all the courses and training you have had, especially the ones that are relevant to this new job. Even the occasional one day course in banking functions shows that you wish to keep up with the trends and not hang back in old ways and mindsets. That is also how you would be able to compete with younger people who might be at the cutting edge of their profession. 

9. Six Key Words (Optional) - These are words you would use to describe yourself, or other people have used constantly to describe you. These would be useful as a snapshot to tell the recruiter what kind of personality you have and could work in your favour, especially if those words are also in mind for their ideal candidate.

10. References - List two key referees that can be contacted as recommendation and support for you. One is usually a business leader, like your last boss, and one personal, or both could be from past experiences. If you are younger, one should be a principal of your college or headteacher.

On the whole, you have to stress your experience, accomplishments and the results you are capable of producing, where people are also concentrating on money. In effect, how you would improve the bottom line. That's all banking businesses are interested in. If employers think you will make things happen, while being sensitive and adaptable, you are halfway in. A fine balance in demonstrating experience, clear objectives and a love of the profession itself will get you even farther.  




The art of good SPEECH writing

 

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Writing a speech is not an easy thing to do because it is not just about getting up in front of an audience and saying a few words. Any good speech is an art form which involves some basic elements, one similar to telling a story. It must have a beginning, a middle and an end, and each section serves a different purpose.

At the heart of any speech writing is the message and your purpose. That important message should run continuously throughout those three sections using repetition, in particular, to emphasise it. What do you want to say and to whom? What will you be saying in the opening or introduction? What will be driven home in the middle? And how will you end it so that the audience will be moved to remember it and ponder upon it afterwards? Why are you sending that message? What response do you expect?

Many people who give long speeches forget that the average person has an attention span of just one and a half minutes! It has to be good to keep them attentive for much longer than that. So, to get that crucial message across, and have the response you desire, you have to set out to engage them from the very beginning with an unusual, funny or informative opening. Keep them hooked and hanging on to your every word with an interesting or thought-provoking middle, and finish off with punchlines that really make them think.

Another mistake is to give speeches to mixed audiences that focus on only one section of that audience and exclude the rest, like relating it to the men and excluding the women, and vice versa. Or targeting the majority and unintentionally excluding minorities. So a speech can be either memorable or forgettable not just because of its delivery but according to how it is perceived as relevant to them by each member of the audience, a very important point to bear in mind.

Introduction or Opening
This part usually sets the scene by giving a background to why you are making your speech, and the main message is involved. It should be tailored with your audience in mind such that, if you are speaking to a group of Spanish students, beginning with "Buenos dias, mis amigos", instead of "Good Day, my friends", would immediately make them feel more included in what you are about to say and more valued. If it is a group of doctors, for example, starting with a quote from a well known physician, or some unusual statistic from their profession which draws their attention, makes you immediately more in tune with what is of value to them and is likely to make them more attentive at the outset. Crucial to the opening is a kind of hook that will keep reverberating throughout the speech, a phrase or sentence that cements the message, like the simple "Yes, we can", for example. It's presence will always be a reminder of that message.

The Middle
This should focus on the actual message, in particular three things relating to it: the reasons for the message, the importance of that message and the benefits to the listeners of the message. That last part is often forgotten when one is trying to get a message across. Speakers tend to see the issue from only their point of view but forget the benefits for those listening. It doesn't matter what one is talking about, there should be something that an audience can really feel is of value and relevance, that they can perhaps apply to themselves at some future point, or something new they hadn't known before. The more we can enhance the experience of listening, to make it enjoyable, relevant and useful, is the more we will keep that audience hanging on to our every word and indirectly taking in the message.

The End
This is a crucial section which should always aim to leave the audience wanting more. Again, one could use unusual statistics at this point to drive home the message, or thought provoking questions or personal aims the audience could have to bring that message alive. It all depends on one's purpose in giving that speech. That will dictate the ending. Better still, to end it with a joke, particularly one that is inclusive, leaves listeners feeling good and refreshed and helps to cement the message in a lighthearted form.

There are various literary effects which one can use in a speech which won't be covered here. But, in a nutshell, the art of writing a speech is to bear the message, its objective and the audience in mind from the very beginning. Then fuse them seamlessly together throughout with an engaging, informative and upbeat style right until the end.






How Can I Succeed As a WRITER?

 

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Q. Hello Elaine, I would like to write full time but the first book I wrote has been out for a while and I have yet to be recognized for it. I see that you are a very good writer and motivator and I would just like to know how it would be for me, an almost nobody, to become somebody as a writer.


A. I cannot tell you how you can carve your own success in writing because each of us has a different writing style and content which readers either take to, or they don’t. However, the most important thing I can tell you is that, no matter how good you might be as a writer, you have already sealed your fate with the words ‘almost nobody’ to describe yourself. If you do not believe you are somebody of worth, no one can believe it either. We set the standard by which we should be treated and, if your standard is pretty low, who would treat you any better? I certainly wouldn’t read anything by someone who thinks he is ‘almost nobody’. What value would that be to me when we are all striving to be great in our own way? Your need to bear two very important things in mind.

First, every single one of us is someone significant in our own right. We don’t need anyone else to validate us or their approval to make us into ‘somebody’. The mere fact that we were born and survived the early years (when 25% of babies on average do not make it) suggests how special we are. Being somebody begins from the mind. If you believe you are ‘almost nobody’, you send that negative vibe out and that’s what others pick up and treat you accordingly because you will ACT it too. No one can treat you like somebody when in your head you are not. We make our own value through thoughts, beliefs and perceptions, and then our actions align with that value, not the other way round.

Quite simply, we become what we think so you have to decide what you want to be first. Start focusing on it and then your actions will cement it because you will begin to live like it. If you want to be writer, start acting like a darn good writer. Not second best. Seize every moment to write, whether you regard it as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. My current motto is “Sixty, Sexy, Savvy And Soaring”. I am giving a very powerful message about me with those words. And you know what, everyone I meet echoes them too in how they treat me. I also tell myself every day how wonderful I am, how useful and appealing my writing is and, surprise, surprise, the people I meet echo that too. In the last year, my articles have been viewed more than a million times on both Newsvine and my own website. So we clearly set the standard for the behaviour of others towards us by what we do.

Lose the Fear
Second, being blunt, you have no hope in hell of getting the success you desire until you change your mindset. Start valuing yourself TODAY. Remind yourself how wonderful, special and precious you are and develop a real passion for your writing. If you have no passion in what you do, it won’t appeal to others either. Write from the heart, not to impress; write about the things you love, the things which fire you, the things which make you want to sit up and shout, and in your own unique style; write about experiences that have left their indelible mark on you and the public will gladly share them with you. The email you wrote me shows you already have the writing skills, you just need to get on with it without fear. You seem full of fear just now, but fear merely paralyses, it does not develop anything. You have to lose that fear to succeed because the only thing we are sure of is this present moment. Nothing else is guaranteed. It’s all unknown.

Finally, don’t aim to be ‘somebody’ on Helium, Newsvine or any other website. Just aim to be uniquely you; to enjoy everything you do; to give your own perspective with relish, to improve your writing style and develop excellence over time through regular practice, while putting the focus on others instead of yourself. Identify a subject and make it your own. Then keep at it doggedly to develop your knowledge and expertise. I can promise you that, especially when you are not looking, success will simply wrap itself around you.

You might find my personal website useful (www.elainesden.org - especially the article: How do I love myself when I feel like crap!). If you have no website yet, I suggest that, as a start to boosting your audience, you get a simple one and promote the book you already have so that others know where to find it.

I trust these few words are of value. I wish you the very best in your writing career and hope you can find the courage to get on to the new life path that is now awaiting you . Only you can make it happen.






Should You Sign With a Legitimate Book Publisher or Self-Publish?

 

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If you are absolutely sure you have a best seller on your hands, and the signs are certain, then a 'legitimate' publisher with a much wider market and promotional resurces would be a must. However, if you are like 95% of the rest of writers and bloggers, vying for recognition in a very tight market, you should self publish every time.

The only benefits another publisher would be able to give you more than you could give yourself are more volume in printing and and their expertise in finishing and marketing. However, apart from having no rejection of your work, going it alone also gives you five very important things.

1. Confidence in, and affirmation of, your own ability: No one will be deciding the level of your talent, artistry or competence except the people who matter: your public readers. There is no need to dread the rejection because there will be none, especially if you print just a few, to begin with, to gauge reader reaction. You are at no one's mercy, or subjected to a single person's judgment as to your potential, which should help your talent even more to develop.

2. You can publish whenever you choose: You don't have to wait for months or years to get a slot in a publisher's schedule. You can choose a deadline to suit you and work to it. One of my most successful books, 10 Easy Steps to Finding Your Ideal Soulmate! was self-published within 8 weeks! I could never have got such a quick turnaround from another publisher. I wanted to align it with Valentine's day, yet only decided to do it the Christmas before! It was finished in the last week of January and doing the rounds. I wouldn't recommend that as a usual practice but the sense of achievement, especially seeing the attention it has attracted since publication, has been just wonderful. I cannot believe I did it in such a short time.

3. You can create your own website for it and market it whichever way you choose. You might not have access to the outlets that the established publishers have, but by driving traffic to your site, and writing related articles with the appropriate links to your books, you can get a lot of attention over time. Furthermore, you can also set up a stall on places like Amazon to sell directly to the public. You don't have to go through a third party.

4. You keep most of your royalties. You can set your own price and keep most of it. Most publishers give a pittance for royalties to their writers, maximum 10%, unless you are a huge author who can negotiate better deals. Naturally if your book is selling in millions the small percentage of royalties do build up dramatically, but most authors are not that famous. At least with self-publishing you get most of the cover price back, except where you have to pay any commission to outlets which help you to distribute it.

5. Best of all, is the total satisfaction and feeling of achievement of seeing your creation come to life and being read by others. There's nothing to beat it. As long as you have gathered professional advice on how to put it together, get it proofed, edited and printed, the sky is your limit. With practice you will certainly become perfect, like me with 6 books published already. The most successful one to date, which was aimed at businesses, cost me $22,000 to publish and market and sold $76,000 worth of copies, as well as a further $1100 in copying license fees. It helped me to pay my staff in the final months of my business.

I am very happy with that!






Potential interview questions and answers for jobs in FINANCE

 

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Finance is a pretty wide field: from the basic selling insurance, to banking to investments, it is all about looking after clients' interest and making money, so it tends to be a pretty stressful career. Most finance professionals are involved in selling insurance packages of one kind or another in order to protect people and their loved ones from the adverse financial effects of not having an income, perhaps having an accident, or even dying. Others concentrate on the savings element for children's education or for a special goal. The main aim in a finance career is thus to persuade people to take the services on offer. Interviewers will be seeking to test how candidates will cope under pressure and thus all questions will be geared to teasing that out in various ways.

 

1. Tell me something about yourself. What really motivates you?

This is the opening classic. It seeks to know more about the applicant primarily to assess whether their motivation matches with the company expectations. Whether the person is self motivated or they have to be directed. If the job involves selling financial packages, this question seeks to identify the kind of personality being interviewed, the level of confidence involved and the ability to get a particular message across to reluctant clients. A person motivated by getting results, communicating with, or empowering, others would be highly sought after.

 

2. What brings you to the job market at this point in your career?

People move from job to job all the time. The trick here is not to sound as though you are just leaving one job for another, perhaps mainly for money, but not for any great purpose. This is where you need to show that you have explored the financial field and quote a few elements in it which have attracted your attention and convinced you that this move is now right for you. Mention some specifics of what you have done before and how they would now match with, or enhance, your new role. Quote the trends in lifestyles, like older people who now have more money to spend and more time to enjoy their life with greater security which the financial services can provide, or even the recent movements on the stockmarket and the effect that could have on ordinary people's lives. By noting the latest trends, it will help to demonstrate that you understand the financial markets much better than another candidate might.

 

3. What would success in your chosen field mean to you?

This question is particularly useful to interviewers to identify where you are now and exactly where you are heading. It is really about your own goals and aspirations in life. If you are ultimately looking for a secure and cosy job, finance wouldn't really suit you. There are too many fortunes to be won and lost in this field, and more often lost, for anyone to rest on their laurels. The more ambitious you sound, the more you are likely to appeal to the company because only self-belief and hard graft work in these situations.

 

4. Describe how you provided great service to a difficult client after a shaky start.

This question aims to establish your level of persistence as well as your ability to get results. The answer you give will determine how fit you are for the job. If you don't expect setbacks in the financial business, you would not be able to cope with it. There will be lots of difficult clients who will have fears around their money or are ignorant of the kind of services you might be able to offer them. Raising awareness and persuasion would be the key, along with resilience and determination in the face of scepticism.  if you are not keen to try again when you hit a hurdle, if you are not determined enough to see every failure is really a temporary setback that also teaches you as much as success does, then you won't last very long in this pressure house. How you handle others when things don't go to plan tell far more about your character and capacity for real success than anything else. It also demonstrates that you will be more appreciative of the difficult task ahead.

5. Give an example of the approaches you have used to convince your team, colleagues or managers of your views.

This question homes in on your team skills. Working with people in the finance industry is crucial, with their being different aspects to clients' requirements. Everyone's input goes toward the end result. Working well with others also makes for a more fulfilling workplace and gets much more done than people merely competing against each other. This teases out your own competence in dealing with others, your persuasive skills and your ability to get results.

 

6. Describe two major achievements in your life.

These can be anything you think matters a great deal to you, but at least one of them should relate to your career so that you give a rounded impression of your capabilities. This is the time to really go for broke and talk about what those achievements were, the difficulties you faced in reaching them, what helped you to be successful with them in the end and the feeling you had when you did attain your goals. Finally, you should add what they have meant to your life since. Try to chose achievements that also relate to the job you are seeking, or that will give an idea of how those successes can be translated to the new job. These achievements also show what really matters to you and how you might repeat them in this job.

 

7. Do you prefer to work with words or numbers?

This can be a trick question because you need BOTH words and numbers in the financial field. Words have to be used to get clients on board while numbers assess their take up of the services. You may lean towards one or another, but someone skilled in both areas will make a far better employee in reaching clients and pushing up the earnings.

8. In what way do you think you can contribute to our company?

This is a very important question and your answer will depend on how much you have researched the company, how much you understand its achievements already and future goals and how you see yourself adding to their development and bottom line success. Financial companies are looking to make money, lots of it. They are looking for bright sparks with new ideas, fearless imagination and huge ambition. They have to see examples of how you would work for them, what new business you might generate and how you would help to keep those profit margins up before they are convinced you should be taken on board. It is up to you to show the confidence and skill that will be needed.

9. What do you expect your starting salary to be?

Do not be backward in coming forward on this important issue. Decide what you're worth before the interview and stick to your guns. Be prepared to explain why you want that too, but don't undervalue yourself. It is better to state a high figure and have them negotiate downwards than to set a very low starting salary that leaves you at a disadvantage from the very beginning. Better still, why not ask them what they think their job is worth to get an idea where to place your salary demand?

10. What's the main reason why we should hire you for this position?

Talk about the role and what it means to you to get it. Identify just one key reason why you wish to work for that company. Usually it would relate to the reputation the organisation has or the actual perks and conditions it offers for your enhancement and development. Whatever it is make sure that it sets the company in a good, possibly unique, light. That you would be getting, or giving something which is obviously not available elsewhere.






The main secret to any successful BUSINESS

 

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Bad customer service certainly hurts any business because customers simply take their patronage elsewhere. They vote with their feet by going to competitors instead. A personal experience illustrates this clearly. Not too long ago I was booked into a hotel which treated the guests as though they should be grateful to be able to stay there. The service left much to be desired, despite their great Citizen's Charter which was paraded everywhere and I made a mental note, as well as passing the word along, about not staying there in the future.

Stuck in my room feeling helpless, cross and unhappy, I suddenly remembered a wonderful summer I spent in Stratford, Canada, a few years before and the warm cosy atmosphere of the guest house I stayed in; a quaint little house where the towels were big, the toothpaste my favourite brand and the tissues were really fluffy. Mind you, it was not all roses when I arrived.

Being a theatre reviewer, I was scheduled to review the matinee performance of a Shakespearean play and was late in arriving in Toronto. Wishing to dispose of my bags first before rushing to the theatre, I instructed the taxi to call at the guest house on the way. I dashed up the steps and rang the bell impatiently. A puzzled, small, wiry man with greying hair gingerly opened the door and gazed incredulously at me. Breathlessly, I explained who I was and that a room had been booked.

The man looked quite flustered by now as he muttered uncomfortably, "You must be mistaken. We are not expecting you."

Disbelief turned to panic as the minutes ticked by relentlessly. I hastily explained that I hadn't booked it myself, it was done by my newspaper, and this was the address I had been given. "Are you sure you have no knowledge of me?" I asked, with more than a hint of exasperation.

The man was not pleased that I dared to doubt his knowledge. "Yes, I am," he answered firmly. "Maybe they haven't informed us yet," he added to placate me, as his eyes took in my person with dazed bewilderment. He was trying very hard to retain his composure and to hide his surprise.

"I'll speak to them after the show," I replied wearily, "but if you have a room could you book me in now, please?" I added crisply, a little annoyed, then rushing down the steps and into the waiting taxi before he had time to refuse. He reluctantly took my bags through the door as the taxi disappeared round the corner.


Kindness and Jollity
I now expected to be sleeping rough, maybe in the local undertaker's shop which was nestling comfortably between No.62 (the guest house) and No.66, the next door neighbour! However, by the time I returned, things must have been sorted fully because I was met by the cheery housekeeper, his wife, who was kindness and jollity itself, and made to feel particularly welcome.

This probably had more to do with the feeling of guilt they now had for not acknowledging that a room had been booked for me. They knew my name and the fact that I was a freelance jpurnalist. What they didn't know, and certainly didn't expect, was my being Black!

Standing on their doorstep, in this sleepy little town where nothing out of the ordinary ever happened, I had created history. I was the first Black person to sleep under their roof in forty years of business and they did not quite know how to deal with it. Nevertheless, by the time I returned three hours later, incredulity and acute embarrassment had given way to brisk professionalism and business as usual for the 'honoured guest from England'. They proceeded to tell me the history of the house, its part in the community life and the many people they had accommodated. No doubt, the musty corners and shady nooks could tell a few tales too. I had a truly lovely time being treated like a VIP and was exhorted to return as soon as possible to have a special cake which would be baked for me.

The couple's emphasis on service was impressive and they did not need a citizen's charter to do it. They took nothing for granted and I was left with the reassuring feeling that, if there were ever an emergency, I would be all right. The local undertaker might be next door but these simple, pleasant folk would ensure it remained short of business for a long time. Needless to say, I relished telling my little tale to everyone I met, and encouraged them to look up the couple whenever they were in Stratford to enjoy the special treatment. I would not have felt inclined to do that if the service had been found wanting, especially after my initial reception. I know that at least eight families have been there since, on my recommendation.

Compare their sterling service to the one in this hotel I found myself in. The difference between them was stark. There is much truth in the advice that negative experiences will always be passed on to far more people than positive ones, and will also be embellished for good measure, which is why reputations are lost much quicker than people often realise. The trick for businesses aiming to be truly successful is to ensure that a positive, memorable experience is routine for the customers or clients they seek to serve, especially if they value their reputation too.





Why are some people ENTREPRENEURS and others not? Is it the environment or our genes that decide?

 

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I don't think genes have anything to do with it but culture certainly has. We tend to do what is successful and what works for people like us (whether male, female, black or white); we tend to copy one another in what we perceive to be beneficial, especially when it fits our own aspirations.

For example, many people from Vietnam who have settled in the UK turn to nail care as a profession. I was fascinated as to why that was the main skill in the community and asked a few of them the burning question. Back came the reply that when they arrived in Britain, no matter what they did before (some were teachers and pharmacists), they took their cue from those already here and went into nail care too because, quote, "that was the quickest and best way" for them to start their own business and to make money without depending on others to help them.

The same with South Asians: they are perceived to be very entrepreneurial, so they have become the backbone of the corner shops we have here, while African Caribbeans tend to go into the public service (nursing, social work and medicine, in particular) mainly because they see many role models being successful in it and believe it is the natural field for them.

Culture is far more powerful than we think, which would explain the inequality of women for years before it was addressed, because 40 years ago, for example, men were regarded as the 'natural' force in business, in authority and in the home!! That cultural belief tended to affect every other aspect of life. It kept women in the home, their perceived inferiority intact and deprived many of them, as well as minorities, of essential opportunities.

Socialisation is responsible for far more than we realise and as people tend to follow the cues, behaviour and advice of the people they admire, wish to emulate or from whom they seek approval and significance, whatever is the dominant and accepted view is likely to prevail.




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Potential interview questions and answers for jobs in PUBLISHING

 

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Publishing is the kind of job where one cannot learn it beforehand. One has to learn it hands on. It is ideal for a training experience because it has various facets to it: for example, literary, marketing, promotion, editing and printing. It is one of those jobs where whatever you learn will come in handy within the industry. For example, an editor will not only decide the content and format of a publication, but he/she will also anticipate what content is required by their readers, commission the authors to write the text, help to plan the marketing campaign and provide professional support to the sales reps who have to get the books on to shelves for the public to see. 

It can be an exciting job, seeing a book start from nothing and take life, but the anxiety for everything to go as planned through every stage can also be very stressful too. However, it is very rewarding when it all comes together and a new publication is on the market through your efforts. Being a profession with many parts, publishing does depend on the department one prefers to go into, thus there are no set questions one can really ask at the interviews. However, there will be some popular general ones, the likeliest of which will be the following:

 

1. Tell me something about yourself. What really motivates you?

This is the opening classic. It seeks to know more about the applicant primarily to assess whether their motivation matches with the company expectations; whether the person is self motivated or they have to be directed. If the job involves selling/marketing the publication, this question seeks to identify the kind of personality being interviewed, the level of confidence involved and the ability to get a particular product across to reluctant readers. A person motivated by getting results, communicating with, or persuading, others would be highly sought after.

 

2. What experience have you had in publishing before?

This question is particularly useful to interviewers to identify how useful you could be to the industry and where your strengths lie. It also depends on the kind of professional they are seeking: whether it is one who is more tuned to the promotion or the literary aspects. If you have had no experience before, then a keenness to learn and great communication skills would be paramount here.

 

3. What  skills could you bring to publishing?

This is where you need to show that you have explored the publishing field thoroughly and quote a few elements in it that have attracted your attention and convinced you that this move is now right for you. Mention some specifics of what you have done before and how they would now match with, or enhance, your new role, especially the skills that you have developed recently. Quote the trends in readership, the impact of the Internet on publishing, and the changing expectations around that. By noting the latest trends, it will help to demonstrate that you understand the way the nature of publishing is changing and how you are flexible enough to adapt to it to ensure continued success.

 

4. What qualities do you think are important to this position? 

A very crucial question because the response will show your own understanding of the industry, your competence in producing those qualities and your judgement of what the job requires. The top qualities are creativity, vision and communication to bring the final end product to life.  A caring, helpful and cheerful disposition is also extremely important to make everyone involved feel reassured and at ease. Respect for the author, that he/she is always right, would be crucial too in crisis times. The personal qualities would all revolve around people skills and anyone who has those, especially with empathy and understanding, would be definitely favoured for such a position.

 

5. How would your co-workers describe you? 

Publishing is absolute teamwork so unless you can work with others for a common goal, this would be the wrong profession for you.  Everyone's input goes toward the end result. Working well with others also makes for a more fulfilling workplace and gets much more done than people merely competing against each other. This important question is about how you are perceived by others, and your ability to work with them, not how you would like them to see you.  It mustn't sound too gushing and syrupy, or too negative. A healthy balance in your personality and aptitude would go down well. Descriptions that include mainly positive observations will make you appear more realistic and human. However, stress aspects to do with your ability to do the job, not just personal things. For example, they would probably comment on your enthusiasm and keenness to learn, your knowledge of the product or how you deal with authors/customers in a very empowering way.This teases out your own competence in dealing with others, your persuasive skills and your ability to get results.

 



6. What have you read lately, and what are you reading now?

This is designed to get behind your facade, to see what kind of interests you have and the real person behind the mask. Our chosen books tell a lot about us and often these kind of questions are not as simple as they sound. They are likely to reveal far more about your potential match to the job than the direct questions, especially your passions in life. For example, if you are not reading anything it says volumes about your own desire to self educate, to learn and to raise your development standards. Reading books is a sign of being alive, of being intelligent and being curious. An absence of books would say more about you than whatever you actually say. Books are also part of publishing and gives a more rounded picture of what you value within the field. This question could also relate to specific authors you like.

 

7. Describe two major achievements in your life.

These can be anything you think matters a great deal to you, but at least one of them should relate to your career so that you give a rounded impression of your capabilities. This is the time to really go for broke and talk about what those achievements were, the difficulties you faced in reaching them, what helped you to be successful with them in the end and the feeling you had when you did attain your goals. Finally, you should add what they have meant to your life since. Try to chose achievements that also relate to the job you are seeking, or that will give an idea of how those successes can be translated to the new job. These achievements also suggest how you might repeat them in this job.

 

8. In what way do you think you can contribute to our company?

This is a very important question and your answer will depend on how much you have researched the company, how much you understand its achievements already and future goals, and how you see yourself adding to their development and bottom line success. Publishing houses are looking to make money, lots of it, as well as having a stable of excellent writers that will enhance their reputation. They are looking for bright sparks with new ideas, fearless imagination and huge ambition, especially now that they are up against the Internet. They have to see examples of how you would work for them, what new business you might generate (if you are going into marketing) and how you would help to keep those profit margins up before they are convinced you should be taken on board. It is up to you to show the self confidence and skill that will be needed.

9. What do you expect your starting salary to be?

Do not be backward in coming forward on this important issue. Decide what you're worth before the interview and stick to your guns. Be prepared to explain why you want that too, but don't undervalue yourself. It is better to state a high figure and have them negotiate downwards than to set a very low starting salary that leaves you at a disadvantage from the very beginning. Another approach is to ask them what the job is worth to them, which means it would have little relevance to what you were paid before.

10. What's the main reason why we should hire you for this position?

Talk about the role and what it means to you to get it. Identify just one key reason why you wish to work for that company. Usually it would relate to the reputation of the organisation, perhaps to work with some of its well known authors, or the actual perks and conditions it offers for your enhancement and development. Whatever it is, make sure that it sets the company in a good, possibly unique, light, especially that you would be getting, or giving something which is obviously not available elsewhere.




Potential interview questions and answers for GOVERNMENT jobs

 

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Any government job is likely to deal with people: i:e to serve the public. The emphasis would be on customer service and care, dealing with difficult clients and giving the best advice and information possible. The aim at any government job interview is to find out whether you are the type of person who can deal with others effectively, who can cope in a crisis and who has very good communication skills because that is likely to be the main part of the job at hand. Interviewers would be trying to get to know your strengths in dealing with others and whether you are the right fit for the function you would be helping to execute. Some popular interview questions would be the following:

1. Personal History: Past Experience, Present and Future
Favourite questions here are: "Tell me about your educational background", "How does your education match you up for this post?",  "What training have you had to prepare you for this position?" 

Always answer personal questions truthfully because lying merely stores up problems for the future. If you did not really enjoy your schooldays, for example, say so, with clear reasons. Then show how you slowly changed your opinion to such a degree that you made subsequent education work for you. That would make you appear much more resilient, mature and attractive than pretending you enjoyed it from day one. Show the relevance of your degree or college qualifications to the job you are seeking and how you would use it to good advantage. Your answer might even give an innovative idea the interviewers might not have thought of. Make sure you go on occasional training so that you can at least show you are keeping up with the new developments, and ahead of the trends.

2. Are you reading any books at the moment?
This is simply to get behind your facade, to see what kind of interests you have and the real person behind the mask. Our chosen books tell a lot about us and often these kind of questions are not as simple as they sound. They are likely to reveal far more about your potential match to the job than the direct questions, especially your passions in life. For example, if you are not reading anything it says volumes about your own desire to self educate, to learn and to raise your development standards. Reading books is a sign of being alive, of being intelligent and being curious. An absence of books would say more about you than whatever you actually say.<

 3. What did you enjoy most and least in your last job?
This is another very good question because it helps to pin down what makes you tick, what you really like and what would put you off. This is about self-knowledge. You need to appreciate what turns you on and off and what has helped to get you to where you are today. For example, if the things you didn't enjoy were allied to what you are applying for now, that would rule you out because you would be getting more of the same in another form. It also helps to draw out your sincerity in what you truly desire in your life.  Make sure you really know how you felt about your last job so that you can identity what you liked and disliked about it.
4. Do you prefer working alone or in groups?

Again, this is designed to show whether you are a team player or a loner. If you are the leader type who prefers to use your initiative and work on your own then you would be unsuitable for a social work job, for example, that definitely needs team players. Whichever you select gives an idea of how you would slot into their team or department, or whether you might be suitable for something else. There is no right or wrong answer here, just what feels right for you.

5. What experiences have you had in dealing with the general public? 
This is one of the most important questions and your experiences will either make you sound ideal or disastrous to them. If you broadly get on with people, that might be a great foundation, but whatever you say will be used either for or against you because they are seeking candidates with good people skills. Make sure you have a couple of concrete examples ready to demonstrate your skills and empathy.

6. What experiences have you had in dealing with difficult customers?
This is the real cracker, the one that will make or break you. If you cannot handle difficult customers, that would be a major stumbling block for you in a job where dealing with irritated members of the public will be routine. Be very clear about the circumstances, what happened and how you dealt with it, especially how you resolved any tricky issues that arose. The main aim is to see you in action and how you would look after yourself and others in a crisis.

7. Do you prefer to have a job with set tasks and responsibilities, or where your tasks change on a frequent basis?
This question aims to separate the leaders from the followers. If you are good at using your initiative and being self-directed then you would be different in approach and appeal from someone who prefers closer direction, more routine and more regularity. By stating which type of job you prefer the interviewers would be able to see your potential development while gauging your personality and ambitions more accurately. Be clear about which would suit you so that you would then be placed in the right environment for your growth. For example, if you are easily bored, then a changing routine would be much more appropriate to motivate you.

8. In what ways do you think you can make a contribution to our department?
Hopefully, you would have thought about the personal impact you hope to make on the new job. Most people will not hire just for looks and personality. It is all about getting the job done in the public service, keeping the public and your colleagues happy. If you can contribute to making that happen in some way, you would be most valued. Is there anything you could better? Anything you could introduce to make the service more effective? Anything that could be changed, especially as you are a service user too? Any suggestion would show your careful thought about the job and the fact that you would be coming in to help to make that difference and the job a little bit more fulfilling for all concerned.






HELP! What can I do to win an ELECTION?

 

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There are five  general tips which seldom fail when one is seeking election and running any kind of campaign, whether big or small. They are, in priority order:

1. Your SELF BELIEF. That is your primary requirement.
* If you don't think you're good enough you might as well stop now. 

* If you don't think you are the BEST person for the job, you should stop now and let someone else do it.


* And if you don't think you have a lot of expertise to give, don't go any further. 

There are NO ifs and buts about self belief. You either have it or you don't when you are up against others.  Your self-belief cannot have any doubts attach to it. After all, if YOU don't think you're good enough, who on earth will think so for you?

2. Your REASONS for being elected.
a. Why do you want the post?

b. What will it mean to you, your family, the community? 


c. Why should they elect you, in particular, and not someone else? 


d. What exactly would you offer which the others might not? 


e. What specific attributes, values, skills and empathy would you bring  to the job?


f. What's so special about you, in a nutshell?


g. What do you like most about the post?


h. How would you improve the position in just TWO simple or major ways?

3. FOCUS on YOURSELF, not your rivals.

They do not exist when you are in a competition. People make the mistake of watching competitors, focusing on what others are doing and saying, then repeatedly getting defensive and reactive instead of being on the offensive and proactive. The main thing is to steadily but surely push one's corner, no matter the obstacles, the brickbats or the setback. Only respond to the major issues otherwise you will keep the focus on your opponent!

Focus on how the post and the voters will benefit from your presence, not how unsuitable rivals may be. Above all, emphasise the POSITIVES and focus on the job and the voters. Never lose sight of those two factors. Be AWARE of what is happening around you, of course, but don't take it on board. Otherwise it is likely to make you feel inadequate or unsuitable.

4. Make up a catchy slogan of no more than 7 words that would only apply to you in relation to the job. It would be associated with you 24/7, in all speeches, print and online writings, so that people see your name and the slogan together. It must be a feel-good positive one, a bit like 'Yes, we can'! But something unique to you and your aspirations in the job.

5. Finally, always SMILE and have a sense of humour. Try to see the funny side in campaigning as often as you can. It keeps your sanity intact, it puts things in perspectives, it makes people feel more comfortable dealing with you and makes you seem far more warm and approachable. A smile and some humour are priceless. Don't leave home without them!

These key points can be adapted to suit any situation while keeping the focus on the essential aspects and avoiding too much stress.