Monday, March 2, 2015

Increasing Your Chances

I am always preaching to people that they should exercise all their options and to not rely solely upon point-and-click online job search efforts, which have a limited chance for success, if that’s all you are doing. You should avail yourself of multiple methods and strategies. However, I’ve never said nor suggested you stop your online efforts when, in fact, you should be doing many different things simultaneously.
Most people have a resume and many invest a lot of time to have a good one. But even those focused predominantly on digital means fail to use social media to its fullest potential. While I espouse the need for people to be proactive and hands-on in their efforts, you should not neglect the passive means by which others might come upon and find you. You must learn how to juggle your efforts; you have to multi-task. 
There is little doubt that LinkedIn, as an example, is a good resource and currently the most popular social-networking resource on a professional level. Most recruiters and agencies use it as a primary tool and resource to quickly and effectively find potential job candidates. That won’t be the case forever and at some point something else will replace it, but for the moment I don’t see anything on the horizon.
It doesn’t cost anything to have a profile and I suggest that, if you don’t have one, to consider it. If you do, then it should be every bit as good, impactful and as detailed as your resume – frankly speaking, it should be identical to your resume. Many different professions have social media sites reflective of their market and business niche. I am in no way endorsing LinkedIn but simply using it as a frame of reference.  
Many are nervous because, well, what if their boss sees it? And guess what, I’ll bet he or she has a similar profile. It is also likely they are listed and have a professional bio on their company website, so why not you, as well? I’m only suggesting you post a professional profile like everyone else and, if you are asked, simply tell them the truth -- you want to increase your online professional credentials. If you are still worried, then improve upon it in stages so as not to arouse any attention. Furthermore, if you have invested time in your resume, it makes sense and requires very little time to transfer the info onto whatever professional social networking website suits you, be it LinkedIn, Xing or any number of pages focusing on your niche market; there are also groups and associations for military veterans for social networking. However, resist the urge to sign up and post on too many different pages, lest you’ll lose track of all the places where your info is posted. There are exceptions, and some companies or organizations forbid their employees from posting online professional profiles, but that is usually due to security concerns. 
I’ve long suggested you adopt a mindset by which you are always watchful for new opportunities, regardless of how secure you think your job is – today.  But that is not the main point, which is, you are simply keeping with modern trends and that means you have an online professional profile. By the way, if your boss has one, does that automatically mean he or she is looking for a job? 
I am not anti-corporate, but I am more pro-employee than ever, for the simple fact that we are all regarded as more expendable than ever – even though there are, as I contend, no expendable people. The days of companies looking out for and taking care of their employees is a thing of the past, which means you have to do more for yourself; if no one is looking out for you then who else is going to do it?
Increase your odds as best you can and this is yet but one small thing to add to a long list, which you can and should do for yourself. Do this not to replace your physical efforts but to raise your professional profile in conjunction with your other efforts.  

Monday, February 23, 2015

To Those Still Asleep

I give advice to people about how to better enable themselves to find jobs, using means beyond the same methods used by everyone else. If the crowd goes in one direction I advise another route. I also provide much more advice and tips for interviewing more effectively – something that, in reality, most people are essentially clueless about – including most interviewers, believe it or not.

But let me take this opportunity to inform and awaken those who are currently working and yet doing nothing constructive to either A) be better prepared, qualified or positioned in order to be more appealing to potential employers, or B) to galvanize and better protect your current job status and value to your present employer. This is how you make yourself as indispensable as you can. Continuing education is a career-long effort and it does not necessarily involve so-called institutions of higher learning, it is worthy of noting; so much now is available online. The bottom line is you have to make the effort before events overtake you and, folks, the writing on the wall could not be more obvious for 6+ years and counting.

Among those who are currently working, there are those who are nervously watching and listening for every event and rumor trying to anticipate their impending doom. On the other end of the scale, I see those who are comfy in their routine and they just don’t seem aware they could be impacted by any market fluctuations; that stuff happens to everyone else – they think they’re immune. Then there’s everyone else, situated somewhere between those two extremes. If, as indicated in my last blog entry, you are currently employed and think you are safe, I wish you well. But considering the way things are trending, now more than ever you should be prepared. 

Among those who are currently employed and at most risk, are people who have been in one position for a long time, without any advancement and have done no updating of their skills nor have engaged in  professional self-improvement initiatives. Furthermore, if the ax falls and your job is cut after being with one organization for more than a decade – again, without having done anything that would add value to your status as an employee, then yeah, you should be nervous. Hey, don’t kill the messenger and take advantage of the wake-up call, if it isn’t already too late. 

Some companies still offer company paid (or reimbursed) training for those who want to improve their skills, or they may cost share. Regardless of whether they do or not, you should be updating or improving your skills to stay relevant. No one is safe anymore and to think otherwise is, frankly, indicative of being tone deaf to what is happening all around us. Making yourself more indispensable does not mean sucking up or being a brown-nose; besides, even if you think you have your boss’s favor, guess again; if they or their regime depart, where does that leave you?  

Nobody can willfully sit back, collect dust and collect a paycheck, assuming no one will notice and, if so, you may get what you deserve. If you have a skill, improve upon it; if you’re good at something, become even better. If you are in an industry that is dying, don’t just sit there; start taking courses or cross-train. However, this does not necessarily mean you should incur debt with an MBA or something similar. University degrees are increasingly over-rated considering the value proposition of what you get in return for the investment, and another framed degree on the wall does not make you more valuable. But expanding on qualifications, keeping up with industry trends and, of course, making a level-best effort to perform in your work to your best of ability is not only important to your employer, but also for your own self-respect. 

My father worked for Ford Motor for about 35 years, his father worked for GM for about as many years, but those days are long gone. I’m not a pessimist, don’t misunderstand me, but I am a realist. As a long-time headhunter and consultant, I am a Prepper of sorts within the professional realm. I am always seeking ways to stay ahead and anticipate trends and contemplate the what-ifs, considering the best ways to gird for unpleasantness, however it can be prevented, avoided or at least, short-lived. I’m an adherent of perpetual preventive maintenance as opposed to doing nothing and awaiting misfortune. The new normal demands we all adopt this mindset. As I noted last week, what was prior to 2008 is no longer - it’s dead and gone. With all that said, the future need not be bleak. Applying the coldest logic, to evolve means you must adapt, or die (in a manner of speaking) and the same applies toward your career. Anticipate, prepare to prevent and ride out as best you can the changes that will affect all of us at one time or another. There are a lot of things you could and should be doing – if you’re not already. I offer my own expertise, to those unsure of where and how to start. 

I love the proverb that is claimed to be Native American in its origin, although I suppose many cultures have a version to the same effect, which states, “You cannot awaken those who pretend to sleep.” Are you awake, or is your strategy instead to feign sleep, with your eyes tightly shut and your fingers crossed? I have no sympathy for sleepwalkers. 

Okay, enough of this stuff – the next time we’ll get back to providing some helpful advice.  



Monday, February 16, 2015

The Way It Was/The Way It Is

I write about methods people can use to help and fortify their job search and/or interview efforts, covering a wide range of suggestions ranging from the most basic to advanced techniques I use with effectiveness. I share the personality and character traits that most effectively convey confidence and will cause people to sit up and take notice of you. When I refer to attributes such as confidence, courage and self-assuredness, some think I am too demanding and ask too much of people. Not so, I am a student of human nature and my career places me in an ideal position for this. Everyone has it in them to rise above their circumstance to improve their lot in life. For those who strive for a better circumstance, there are no expendable people, and I hope my blog provides some usable material for those who want to take advantage of it. The day I cease my recruiting activities and stop closely interacting with employers and job seekers will be the day I can no longer claim to be an expert, because the day after I stop, my advice is no longer timely or current. In the meantime, trust me; I give advice that is utilized on a regular basis.
It is obvious to most everyone that the economy and trends that affect the ways we seek new jobs, and the environments related to the whole job search and interview thing, is markedly different today than it was prior to 2008, would you agree? In 2006 for example, with the exception of some sectors like manufacturing, which had already been drying up for more than a decade, for the most part jobs, good jobs, were more available and accessible to qualified applicants – especially if you had a good resume and kept your skills current. In fact, I look back now and joke, with tongue in cheek, that back then if you had a pulse and a good resume you could find a job. 
Today’s environment is far different. Even mediocre jobs are being fought over. Companies, generally speaking, treat applicants deplorably and I have never seen such a lack of civility and common courtesy, much less customer service, which have sunk to levels I never would have thought possible. In 2015 job seekers have it tougher than I have ever witnessed since I began recruiting in last months of 1992. This is not to say there aren’t some good sectors in today’s market, but not for the widest demographic of job seekers, who simply want an opportunity to demonstrate their worth to a company that will likewise give them that chance, it is challenging. This is the swamp people seeking gainful employment must navigate. 
So my first point is simple; if you are reading this and you haven’t searched for a job since pre-2008, you are in no position to judge what other people are going through. Count yourself as lucky but don’t be smug, it’s a pretty good bet that if trends continue, you may find yourself searching for a job and will thus experience first-hand, and you’ll be in for a surprise, when you get to experience the new normal.
My second and primary point is, if the jobs market has devolved and the landscape is different, then isn’t it logical that the manner by which you conduct yourself should adapt to the market changes and trends? In 2006, sending a resume online and then sitting back to enjoy your morning coffee may have worked then, but isn’t it a bit delusional to think the same strategy will work now?  
However, this is not to say good jobs are impossible to find and perhaps you find yourself doing something completely different from what you set out to do in your career. A lot has changed and, so too, should you change your outlook or re-evaluate what “success” means to you. One thing is certain, point-and-click by itself is not enough and you must strive to do more.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Demonstrating Interest is Not Begging

It increasingly frustrates me to observe the growing number of job seekers who want or need a new job, but they have a strange and ill-conceived notion they don’t have to actually do anything to accomplish it. Like magic, doors will swing wide and all you have to do is conduct a few keystrokes and send your digital resume; the rest just sort of happens; right, isn’t that what we’ve been led to believe? Pretty silly sounding isn’t it, but that is the assumption by which most of us operate.
More than ever people reach out to me for advice and I am most happy to provide assistance, after all, that’s why I write this blog. But more and more, people are not willing to do anything that requires real effort. Often my suggestions are dismissed as unreasonable, which is odd because they work. I don’t know if people are more reticent because they are scared or lack confidence in themselves (see my last blog post), but I suspect their soft skills have degraded to the point from which it takes very little to push them out of their insulated, albeit shrinking, comfort zone. 
Some of the most basic advice I share is that companies want people who want to work for them and they take note of those who are a bit more innovative and proactive. Which means you should express your interest. Another suggestion for how to set yourself apart is, for example: if you see a company listed with the job description and there is a contact name, instead of doing what everyone else does, be a bit different. At the same time you submit your resume also look up the contact person on LinkedIn. Click on Connect, then where it says How do you know (name)? - click on Friend. Then you can compose a short message not exceeding 300 characters and spaces. It is simple but yet proactive, try this:

Dear Mr. /Ms. XXXX,
I applied for the position of (position name). Please add me to your contacts and I look forward to meeting you. 


Your name

You will note it is mildly assumptive in tone, which denotes confidence. It also doubles your chances of being noticed as you are doing a little more than everyone else. Even this very small extra gesture may be all it takes. And what is the worst that can happen -- they might not call? They’re not calling you now, while your resume languishes among the tens or hundreds of others in a virtual heap. 

I recently pressed someone to do this and they responded that they were reluctant, telling me what many people say, “I don’t want them to think I am begging for a job; I’m not going to beg.” And here is the problem I see: people mistakenly think that to show interest, even a small measure more than the non-activity of emailing a resume, is somehow lowering themselves – amazing

Well, as I was saying, I pressed someone, who complained to me they were not getting any responses to their email entreaties, to do just what I suggested above. They did so, grudgingly. And while I would never say this, or any other method works every time, guess what happened? Within 24 hours they received a call from the company to which they applied. That was two weeks ago; she starts her new job next week.

Sometimes you need not make grand gestures to have an intended effect; start out small but do something more and challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone – you might be surprised by what happens. With each passing day, while you procrastinate and avoid doing what you know you should do, don’t think about it too much and just do it – not next week or next month, but do something now. And if you are looking for some ideas, visit my blog archives.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Confidence is a Key Ingredient

I’ve been closely involved in hiring processes for a long time. I’m not talking about shuffling resumes but actually interacting closely with both applicants and hiring managers during each step of the hiring process. Methods and trends change over the years but most aspects of human interaction do not. Sadly, companies now more than ever insulate themselves, removing as much human interaction as they can and human resources departments go to great lengths to avoid you. However, at some point in the hiring process you will be face-to-face with a hiring manager and, when it occurs, that resume you invested so much time into has little further use. So when it’s your turn and you’re center stage – will you be ready? What happens when it is time to represent yourself in person; are you confident you can demonstrate why they should hire you instead of someone else?
During my career as a headhunter, I have never witnessed a time, as now, when this most basic but critical personality trait has been so lacking among job seekers. In my opinion, less actual human interaction in our society is the primary reason. I have watched during these last couple of decades a devolution of sorts, as people become less connected in our increasingly connected world. Ironic, isn’t it? Too many have chosen the easier route of hiding behind their online avatars or digital selves. As a result, we are losing the soft skills we’ve spent a lifetime refining. So, is it any wonder people lack self-confidence at a time when they most need it?
For example: take two people with similar backgrounds and experience levels, but one is confident about their abilities and the other, not so much -- who’s more likely to get that job?  Discount the effect self-confidence has in such situations at your own risk. I advise that people need to be able to articulate their accomplishments and, guess what, this requires confidence. Perhaps some people are just plain shy, or they confuse displaying confidence with arrogance (they aren’t the same).
Here’s a test: list your accomplishments, you know, the stuff you’ve done that benefitted your employer. It doesn’t matter if you have two or twenty, after you list them ask yourself if you feel good about them or do you feel a little awkward and have a sense of self-doubt. Did you find yourself questioning your own capabilities? Now imagine yourself sitting opposite a hiring manager during an interview when they ask, and they will, “So tell me about yourself?” which really means, “Why should I hire you?” If you don’t feel confident about yourself, your capabilities and your past or present performance, then why should a hiring manager believe you’re the person for the job? I have never witnessed a hiring manager offer a job to someone they are not convinced is up for the job. No matter how qualified or highly educated you may be on paper, it won’t matter if you cannot project some level of self-confidence.
Yeah, I get it, many people have been beaten down the last few years in a depressed jobs market. Making it even more difficult are the ridiculous trends and processes one must submit to when applying for a job. I have empathy, which is one of the reasons I write this blog – it enables me to advise far more people than I might ever be in a position to represent one-on-one, which is the manner by which I work. But the responsibility to improve your chances in the jobs market is yours alone. I have tons of advice, a lot of it archived here or in my handbook. Everyone’s situation differs to a varying degree, depending on individual circumstance and your resolve. I don’t care what method, strategy or gimmick you may want to use in order to get the job you want or need, but your belief in yourself is the absolute starting point.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Stop Relying on the Internet

There are two items that are on the minds of many job seekers. One is the frustration of sending a resume to a company with the understanding that there are other tens, hundreds, even thousands of resumes submitted for the same jobs. People are not stupid; they know the vast majority of resumes submitted will never be seen by a human being and are therefore never considered. The second thing about which people feel powerless is they cannot establish contact with any flesh and blood person and, especially, not a responsible hiring manager. This second concern is especially frustrating for pro-active people, who are ambitious and rightly understand emailing a resume is mostly a waste of time. Isn’t it ironic: these are precisely the kinds of people that companies claim they want to hire. 
I know a lot of very good human resource professionals. That said, however, they work for a bureaucracy that seems hung up on and obsessed with processes or fads that enable them to avoid you at all costs, even if it means missing a well-qualified applicant who didn’t submit to their formulaic and counterproductive rituals. It is little wonder companies prefer naming their departments anything but human resources and instead utilize “innovative” terms like human capital, human performance, talent acquisition or talent management to clearly demonstrate what they think of you, a mere commodity.
It is silly that so much advice for job seekers is concerning the same stale advice about improving your resume or some drivel about how increasing your social networking presence or accessing more online job portals will make a difference. Most of you reading this know I am right and yet this is what the majority of other people are doing -- wasting valuable time online to find a real job. Rather, what you need is useful advice to help you break your over-reliance on the soulless internet, diversifying your job search efforts. Even the best-written resume is meant only to get you in the door and ideally in front of a hiring manager. Now, it is at this point in time the interview and hiring process begins.
Finding opportunities
You have other options beyond the internet that only give you the impression you are actually doing something, in reality, you’re not. The internet is an information resource, a tool, but not the solution to all our problems. The supposition of the internet being the answer to all our problems was a clever marketing ploy – that’s worked too well. 
Honesty in our world is in short supply and I’m not going to BS you, if you’re looking for effortless solutions, if you think you’ll be getting your dream job by sending your resume electronically while sitting in your ‘jammies at the kitchen table, I will disappoint you. There is a sweat equity aspect; it requires effort, dedication and perseverance. You have to be able to hear the word “no” and keep going without getting discouraged; you have to be able to smile through the rudeness, antipathy and indifference, that’s life. The internet has become a crutch, insulating everyone from reality. Know this: you are fully capable of everything I suggest, although it’s likely you haven’t done it for a long time, or never learned.  
Establishing contact with living breathing people
Don’t stop using the internet, but it shouldn’t be the only thing you are doing. As a tool, the internet is invaluable and your best resource for information -- exploit it. But, then get off your butt and go out and knock on doors, phone, try to arrange appointments and hand deliver your resume whenever you can. Stand apart, be different, while everyone else is sending emails – snail mail an introductory cover letter to someone who would possibly be your employer. Use the internet to research companies, people, etc. And, oh yeah, here’s the biggest reason why waiting like Pavlov’s dog in front of your monitor for a job to reveal itself is silly … are you ready … many jobs and most of the good ones aren’t even posted online! So how are you going to find those by checking increasingly worthless online sources? Sorry, but you’ve got to go old school, telephone calls and shoe leather. Network whenever it is possible, nothing is as powerful as a personal recommendation or a reference. 
The methods I suggest break the rules of convention and many people worry that the advice I provide will irritate someone. Perhaps, but let’s talk about the rules and processes you are supposed to follow, who established them? The so-called rules exist, not to benefit you but instead to benefit bureaucrats and administrators, in order to make their lives easier. It has nothing to do with helping you attain your goals. If you want to get a different result than everyone else, you have to be, well, different from everyone else. 
So don’t be discouraged, recognize there is a lot you can do to improve your chances of job search success on many levels. If you want to empower yourself and stand apart from the crowd, do something about it.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The First Interview

The first interview is the most critical step of the entire hiring process for you, the applicant, job seeker,  candidate, or in whatever manner you may describe yourself. To be clear, the first interview is characterized as the first face-to-face, in-person meeting initiated by a handshake. Telephone, Skype or any other remotely conducted interview does not count. In my opinion, yes, they matter and you must get through it to reach the first real interview, although those are events that are primarily meant for screening; in most professions the serious stuff occurs face-to-face. This being a blog, I cannot go into great detail, but in future blog entries I’ll address the finer points. Although styles and process can differ, there are some common and predictable, almost ritualistic features of most interviews that you can anticipate. 
I’m not going to advise about how to dress because readers of this blog are adults. The only suggestion I make is when in doubt, overdress. You can adjust and reflect the same dress code you encounter the next time. You never go to an interview without first investing a few minutes to look online and investigate the organization and, if possible, the person you will meet, which is often on their company website. Never go to an interview unprepared to answer two inevitable questions:
·         “What do you know about our company?”
·         “Why are you interested in joining us?”
If you cannot thoughtfully answer these questions you shouldn’t even be there because you’re wasting their time and yours.
Take these very basic items with you:
·         Pen and pad of paper (asking for a piece of paper and/or a pen makes you look, well, unprepared)
·         Questions about the job or company (if you don’t have any questions, you’re not serious and that is exactly how they see you)
·         Your business card if you have one (offer your business card – and if they don’t offer, ask for theirs)
·         A printed copy of your resume
·         Breath mints (bad breath is a distraction) 

And don’t forget to silence your phone. There are no good excuses for distractions; focus on the meeting and nothing else.
Introduction and conduct
How you introduce and present yourself sets the tone for the meeting. Be neither overly serious nor too friendly or goofy. Professional and friendly is the way to go. If you are giving a speech you may open with a joke, but not at an interview. By the way, the handshake matters; cold, wimpy-limp and lifeless handshakes do not convey, “I’m the person you should hire.” As to how to best present yourself, I strongly suggest you assemble and hone your own personal F.A.B. presentation, you can search my blog archives for more information about it. After 22 years in this business it is still, without a doubt, the best way to present yourself professionally. But it takes time and effort to assemble an effective presentation.
After the introduction, let them initiate the conversation and react accordingly. Often, people who are nervous talk too much, too fast and without meaning to cut off or interrupt the interviewer. It’s understandable that you might be nervous and have the jitters. I still have to occasionally curb my enthusiasm and slow down, it takes discipline. How to do so, and the manner of speaking is a whole separate blog entry for a future time, because what we say is as important as how we say something. Understanding and learning selling techniques can be immensely helpful with this aspect because there is a lot of psychology involved -- but save this for another day. For this blog, I suggest people try to slow down their rate of speech and, no matter how well prepared you may be, wait a second before you answer any question, this way your reply will come across as more deliberate and thoughtful.
Posture matters. Mom was right when she told you to sit up at the dinner table, so don’t slouch because it suggests you’re there and present, but not really. Body language speaks volumes.
Exchanging information
The first interview is supposed to be about you demonstrating that you are who you claim to be, ensuring you are whom your resume portrays you to be. Also, to elaborate in more detail your experience, accomplishments and for you to articulate why you think you are the best person for the job. Your function is to learn more about the job for which you have applied - that’s all. Anything beyond that depends on how well it goes but this is the basic purpose of the first interview. That isn’t too scary, is it? 
Furthermore, don’t make the mistake of repeating only what’s on your resume when telling them about yourself.  It is a merely a short summary on a piece of paper. If you do not elaborate, if all you do is recite the info they already have in front of them, you’ve likely already failed the first test.

Taking notes
Yes, you are supposed to take notes and don’t be afraid to ask them to pause and or repeat something if you need to do so. You may think you’ll remember everything from the meeting, but in 24 hours you will forget key points and kick yourself for not writing it down. Good hiring managers will not be bothered by this because, again, it shows you are serious and interested. 
Asking Questions
You should, as a result of the meeting be developing questions as the interview proceeds. Managers find it odd and a bad sign if, at the end of the interview, when asked, the applicant has no questions. In fact, it is a very bad sign and can take points away from an otherwise good interview. They are asking questions of you; so too, should you be asking questions of them. Remember, from the last blog entry, it isn’t only about them evaluating you, so actively participate. It is a business meeting, so conduct it as such.
In the first interview, you should never initiate the topic of money. Asking, “How much does it pay?” before you learn about the job is unprofessional, short-sighted and diminishes your viability as a suitable candidate. It makes you appear greedy. Use your head and be strategic; if you succeed in showing you are qualified you’ll have another interview when you can openly discuss it. I also argue endlessly with lazy human resource people who ask, “How much money do you want?” in a first interview as a screening tool. If you say a number too low, you’ve cheated yourself. Say a number too high and they won’t call you back. If asked in the first interview, try to sidestep the question. I want you to say this, “This is our first meeting and I don’t yet know enough about the job to know how much I should ask for; and perhaps you don’t yet know enough about me to determine what I am worthy of getting paid.” I don’t care how you choose to word it, but it is the truth. Stay focused on the opportunity. I always say, the best paying job that sucks is not the best job. After the first interview, the next time you meet, let it rip, talk about money – but not in the first interview. If they push and it is unavoidable, tell them you, “…need to learn more about the job, but you cannot go below (…..)”.  
Closing the interview
How you conclude the interview is a critically important step. How the interview ends is largely up to you. This topic is extremely important for the simple fact that most people fail the final hurdle of the interview. Here’s an example: I once worked with a hiring authority who told me they liked my candidate and they did everything right until the end, when the applicant failed to ask for the job (or next step). Trust me, they are watching and waiting for this. They want people who want to join them, not just those who show up and go through the motions. Do you know what most people say at the end of the interview as they are leaving? “…I hope I hear from you.” (yawn) Not very convincing is it? However, this topic requires much more time and explanation. I will cover it again soon.
To conclude, in my expert opinion, in order to greatly increase your chances of success at the initial interview, you really need to be well prepared in three primary areas. They are:
1)      A good resume (demonstrating you are qualified for the position you seek)
2)      A good F.A.B. presentation
3)      Having a basic understanding of and actively employing rudimentary Closing Skills

There are many areas where anyone can improve, but the three I listed greatly increase your potency as a job applicant. If all of this is a bit overwhelming, it isn’t, but technology has made all of us lazy and less self-sufficient, so what are we going to do about it to enhance your odds of success? Although it isn’t rocket science, know that we’re talking chess, folks, not checkers.