Wednesday, December 29, 2010

How to Clean Up Your Online Reputation

How to Clean Up Your Online Reputation
By Allan Hoffman, Monster Tech Jobs Expert

Maybe it wasn’t such a great idea to post that video from your bachelor party in Vegas. Or to include a recipe for pot brownies in your otherwise above-board food blog. Or to rant about your former employer -- specifically, about the CEO’s bad haircut and body odor -- on an industry message board.

Maybe it wasn’t such a great idea to do any of the other infinitely creative, breathtakingly easy and completely dumb things the Internet allows you to do with just a few keystrokes and mouse clicks.

But you did, and now you’re sorry as you head out into the job market with an online reputation to repair.

No one knows how many job candidates worry about how their online reputation can affect their job prospects, but anecdotal evidence suggests that more people are realizing that what they do online -- and what others say about them online -- can play a role in determining whether they get hired or fired. Post a video, and it may be online forever -- no matter how stupid it makes you look. The same goes for blog posts, forum discussions, photo albums and even emails you send to friends. (You never know what will spread from the private sphere to the public realm.) The point is painfully obvious: You need to be thoughtful and deliberate when conducting your life online.

But what happens when it’s too late? Here’s how you can attempt to undo the damage.

Scope Out the Damage

First, determine what damaging information exists. Enter your name at Google, MSN and Yahoo and see what turns up in the first four or five pages of results. Anything troubling? Mark it for action. Then sign up for the alerts available at spots like Google Alerts; when information about you is added or updated, you’ll find out via email.

Monitoring your reputation in this manner is time-consuming, so you may want assistance. ReputationDefender provides members with monthly search reports that detail the information available about them on blogs, photo and video sites, news sources and social networking hubs like Facebook and MySpace. Memberships start at $9.95 per month under a 24-month plan.

An item doesn’t need to be outrageous to hurt your job prospects. “If it raises a shadow of a doubt about the candidate, the employer is not going to hire that person,” says Ross Chanin, vice president of operations for ReputationDefender.

Bury It

So you did something stupid -- maybe a month ago, maybe a decade ago. Now you want to make sure no one finds that record of your stupidity. Scott Allen, coauthor of The Virtual Handshake: Opening Doors and Closing Deals Online, advocates burying the bad with the good. That means creating new content about yourself, such as a blog or Web site. “It’s not that you can make the stuff disappear,” he says. “It’s that you make so much more good stuff that you can’t find the bad stuff.”

Just be sure you create worthwhile material. If possible, Allen says, publish your writing at respected sources, such as industry publications. After all, publishing your own material goes only so far. “If it’s obvious it came from you, it can only do so much,” he says.

Request Removal

You may be able to have the material removed, but remember that much of what appears online is archived at the Internet Archive, a nonprofit initiative designed to be a resource for historians and researchers.

If you believe you have a strong case to have material removed, don’t come out swinging. “That can cause more bad PR for you,” Allen says. Instead, take a soft stance: Explain your reasons for wanting the material removed and assume the owner of the site (or the owner’s representative) is reasonable and will listen. If the information is inaccurate, defamatory or libelous, point that out.

Just be sure to learn as much as possible about the site before making your move. If you’re dealing with an in-your-face blog, sending an email to the blogger requesting that something about you be removed can backfire. Bloggers have been known to post those emails, so be aware that your request could end up casting more unfavorable attention on you.

As for search engines, don’t bother. You won’t have any luck asking them to rig their results in your favor.

Hire a Service

A growing number of services can help you manage or clean up your online reputation. Along with ReputationDefender, these services include Defendmyname and Naymz. ReputationDefender’s reports, for instance, include a “destroy” option; choose that, and for $29.95, ReputationDefender will attempt to have a particular item about you removed. “We aim to save our clients time,” Chanin says. “We can do in two or three hours what it might take you from 72 to 96 hours [to do].”

But managing your reputation doesn’t always come cheap. ReputationDefender offers another level of service for $10,000. Under this plan, the company uses a variety of tactics to improve your online rep and ensure that the positive material about you rises to the top of search-engine results.

Reputation matters, and if you’re not diligent, you may end up paying a very high price.

Recover from a Career Setback

Recover from a Career Setback
By Ian Christie, Monster Contributing Writer

You're good at your job. You fit well with your team and within the organization. You receive solid performance appraisals and have a track record of accomplishment. Then, when the chance for that promotion you've been working toward finally arrives, you get passed over.

Welcome to an all-too-common reality. Major career disappointments happen even when you seem to be doing all the right things. How do you recover after a major career setback? Here are six steps:

1. Handle Your Emotions

Being passed over would make anyone feel like a failure. In the office, though, don't let your disappointment show. While you can admit to being personally disappointed, show you're a team player by verbally supporting the company's decision.

2. Get Support

If you need to vent -- and you're entitled to -- talk to friends, family or trusted work colleagues outside the office. This support system can provide a sympathetic ear and, more importantly, the insight that can help you decipher what happened and why. Also, peer networks, online discussion groups or a personal coach can help you review your options so you can move forward with a positive attitude.

3. Analyze the Cause

So why did you get passed over? Here are some of the most common reasons and suggestions for how to respond:

You Don't Fit: In most cases, you don't have control or influence over the employer's hiring requirements. While you might think you're the perfect fit for an internal position, the company may have different ideas altogether -- ones that may be based on soft rather than hard skills.

If this is the case, it's a clue that you must better understand yourself and where you belong. It's also an indication that you need to better qualify your goals in the future. Often, what you may think is the next most logical career step is not the best fit.

You Don't Measure Up: In today's competitive economy, the rewards go to people who don't just meet the requirements, but surpass them, and who've done a superlative job of building personal networks.

What is lacking in your career portfolio? Specific knowledge or experience? Strong personal networks? Visibility? Understand how you can strengthen yourself and your future prospects.

You're Needed Where You Are: Organizations make decisions in their best interest, not yours. You may be doing such a good job in your current position that your manager doesn't want to let you go. It may be easier or cheaper to find someone else to fill that other job than it would be to move you into that position and then have to replace you.

This is a difficult situation. You either need to find a way to move up within the existing organization or you need to look elsewhere.

4. Evaluate Your Options

Once you understand why you've been passed over, you need to decide whether to:

Stay with the company and work toward the next opportunity.
Stay with the company, but work toward a different goal.
Look for that step up at another company.
You have the power to choose. Figure out what you want and why.

5. Close the Gap

Once you have an idea of what you want, examine the gap between where you are now and where you want to be. What's missing? If it's learning or experience, how will you get it? If it's your professional network, how can you build it? Design a plan to close that gap.

6. Recalibrate Your Goals

Make new goals for yourself based on what you've learned about your setback, the choice you've made about your future and the analysis you've done about the areas you need to work on. Identify specific, measurable and time-bound goals that will move you forward. For example, if you suffer from lack of visibility, don't say vaguely that you'll do more networking. Instead, select three to five key individuals you should get to know. Then set a deadline to meet them.

Careers, like life, don't always go the way you hope or expect them to. Disappointments are unavoidable. How well you respond to them will be the real measure of your future success.

[Ian Christie founded to help individuals build bold, fulfilling careers and help organizations attract, develop and retain talent. A career coach, consultant, three-time entrepreneur, former senior director at Monster and former retained executive search consultant, Ian is an expert in the fields of careers and recruitment. He believes that career management is a central theme to both personal and organizational effectiveness. offers career services to companies and individuals as well as free career resources.]

11 Ways to Hurt Your Career

11 Ways to Hurt Your Career
by Megan Malugani, Monster Contributing Writer

While most career advice focuses on how to succeed, we can all learn valuable lessons by dissecting career failure as well. Workplace experts offer insights into some of the top ways workers undermine their own careers and jeopardize their career development.

1. Not Taking Your Education Seriously
If you party too much in college and end up with a run-of-the-mill 2.5 GPA, you'll be passed over for the best entry-level jobs, says New York City-based executive recruiter and coach Brian Drum, of Drum Associates. Not finishing your master's degree is another way to hurt your career-development goals, adds Anne Angerman, a career coach with Denver-based Career Matters.

2. Not Having a Plan
In the current poor job market, you may have defaulted into a career you aren't crazy about. That's OK, as long as you develop career plans to get where you want to be. "Think of every job you take as a stepping-stone to your next job," Drum advises.

3. Lying
You'll lose professional credibility in a hurry if you lie, from exaggerating on your resume to getting caught fibbing on Facebook. "If someone calls in sick to work and then that evening posts a photo on Facebook of their extra day vacationing in Cabo San Lucas, that's a big problem," says corporate etiquette specialist Diane Gottsman of the Protocol School of Texas in San Antonio.

4. Sullying Your Reputation on Facebook or Twitter
Social media can harm your reputation in other ways, too. Personal posts and tweets from work--when you're supposed to be doing your job--can tag you as a slacker. And the content of your posts or tweets can come back to haunt you as well--you never know who might stumble upon those bachelor-party photos. "You need to assume that every boss and potential employer knows how to use Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace, and post from the standpoint that everyone is watching--even if in reality they're not," Gottsman says.

5. Not Respecting Professional Boundaries
Sharing TMI about your personal life with colleagues is unprofessional. "Your coworkers don't want to hear about your fights with your husband," Angerman says. On the other hand, if you're ultraprivate and work with a chatty group, join the conversations occasionally so coworkers don't resent you.

6. Gossiping, Slandering, and Excessively Criticizing
If you publicly bash fellow employees, the boss, the board of directors, or even your competitors, you'll be perceived as negative at best and a troublemaker at worst. The ramifications can be broad and long-term, Gottsman says. "Industries are tight," she says. "You don't want to be the one who started that rumor about the head of your industry." As far as bad-mouthing competitors--what if your company merges with a competitor, or you want to work for one someday?

7. Carrying on an Inappropriate Relationship with Your Boss|
Never a good idea, but an especially bad one if your boss is married. "When you get involved in a drama or in something unethical that can be brought out in the open, you're asking for trouble," Gottsman says.

8. Not Controlling Your Alcohol Intake or Libido
Getting drunk at the office party or on a business trip damages your credibility. Ditto a romantic, ahem, "indiscretion" that your colleagues know about.

9. Job-Hopping Just for the Money
Job-hopping--in moderation--may not automatically disqualify you from a position. "But it gets to the point--like if you have seven or eight jobs by the time you're 35--that employers are not going to want to invest in you," Drum says. Also, if you have leadership aspirations, keep in mind that the top dogs of many large corporations have been with those organizations for long periods, he says. Additionally, many companies have "last in, first out" layoff policies, which could leave you out of a job if you never stick around long enough to build tenure anywhere.

10. Losing Touch with References
You'll kick yourself later if you leave a job without collecting personal contact information from colleagues who can serve as professional references for you in the future. "If you were forced to leave a job and you can't ask your boss for a reference, hopefully you've built up some rapport with a colleague and can ask them," Angerman says.

11. Leaving a Job on Bad Terms
Don't become a lame duck when you've got one foot out the door, Drum says. "The employer only remembers about the last five minutes you were there," he says. Give proper notice and don't leave a mess behind. And by all means, do not make a huge dramatic production of it when you quit, complete with cursing, slandering, and throwing things, Gottsman advises. "It's very difficult to get another job when you've left destruction in your wake," she says.

Scoring Unlisted Jobs

Scoring Unlisted Jobs
by Dennis Nishi

Job boards are irresistible because they seemingly put everything within easy reach. Unfortunately, the majority of job hunters are competing for the same small pool of jobs and getting turned down.

More from

• Make the Most of a Starter Job

• Re-Entering the Workforce After 10 Years

• Resources For Pulling Out of a Slump

More than 80% of job openings are actually unlisted, says Steven Rothberg, founder of job website in Minneapolis. This can be a good opportunity for outside candidates with research and networking skills since most companies will try to promote from within or rely on employee referrals.

Look for signs: Keep up with what's going on in your industry. Read trade journals, follow analyst commentary and monitor the stock market for indicators showing which companies are growing, restructuring or contracting out services. Good or bad news can lead to staff changes so regularly check company websites and Facebook pages for jobs since they may not be advertised elsewhere.

[Click here to find an online degree program]

Compile a list of companies that you'd like to work for and research relevant positions within those organizations. You can find job descriptions on career websites and industry blogs. For newly created jobs, try, a site offering inside job information that is supplied by anonymous employees.

Only apply to jobs that closely fit your skills and experience, says Susan Strayer, a career coach in Washington. "If you want to become that wildcard choice, a 30% match isn't going to cut it. You need to be as close to 100% as possible."

[More from Engineering, Computer Science Pay More Than Liberal Arts]

It's people, not paper: Tap your personal network of colleagues, friends and family to find those inside connections that can forward your résumé to decision makers. If you don't have a direct line, try reaching outside of your immediate network to friends of friends, old classmates or even cold call somebody in a useful capacity who can offer inside intelligence about company culture. Don't overlook contacts working for company vendors; they are often seen by decision makers as trusted sources of referrals.

The more senior you are, the smaller the network tends to be, so join professional trade organizations and attend trade shows, conferences and seminars.

Make it easy to find you: Promote your availability by posting your résumé on networking websites like and on specific industry websites like or, a website for educators. Emphasize unique skills on your résumé since companies will search online databases when they have specialized needs. That's how Vanessa Broaten, a teacher from Anaheim Hills, Calif., got her job after posting on several teaching websites. She was hired because of her master's in education and fluency in Spanish and Portuguese.

[More from Explaining Résumé Gaps to Employers]

Follow up with employers since first hiring picks don't always work out. The same job may get re-posted six months down the line. You want to be available to that employer before they post the new job.

-- Email:

Sunday, December 26, 2010

5 secrets to making him love you

5 secrets to making him love you
By Jerusha Stewart

Know a woman who always seems to be in perfect sync with the guy she is dating — they laugh at each other’s jokes, are considerate of one another’s feelings, and are devotedly in love (and best friends to boot)? Well, the reason this gal’s so lucky in love is pretty simple: It’s because she treats her guy right, and he can’t get enough of her company. Now, when I say she “treats her guy right,” what do I mean? She treats him like a friend, giving him the same five-star support, understanding, and (yes) slack we automatically extend to our girlfriends. If you want to reap the same benefits in your own love life, try some of these tips, and, trust me, you’ll notice a difference.

1. Share an activity
For women, it’s second nature to invite their girlfriends along for a shopping spree, yoga class, spa day, you name it. But activity-based bonding shouldn’t be relegated to females only. Guys love jawing over a shared pursuit, and while he might not be up for a mani/pedi (nor you for a day spent watching basketball), there are plenty of other options. Becoming gym buddies is a no-brainer (and can serve as that extra kick-in-the-butt you need to go more often!), or if you two usually dine out on a Saturday night, consider delving into a cook book and taking a crack at a recipe that’s a bit of a challenge, like duck terrine with glazed shallots. Whether it turns out terrific or so odd that you end up ordering takeout, the fact that you’ve worked toward a common goal together builds team spirit. And by investing in a history of shared experiences with your partner in crime, you’ll increase the things you have in common and experience a deeper bond.

2. Cheer him on
Women take great pains to make their girlfriends feel great about themselves, showering them with ego-boosters like, “You look amazing; that is the best color on you” or “Of course, you should email that guy — he’d be lucky to have you!” And while we might think the world of the men we date and even brag about them to our friends and family members, telling him these things doesn’t always occur to us. Maybe it’s because we assume guys possess impenetrable egos — but the truth is, they can be just as insecure as your female friends and would probably appreciate a compliment now and then. So, if he just got a promotion at work, toast him at dinner and tell him exactly why he deserved it. Or try a simple off-the-cuff statement, such as: “You look so good in that shirt — it really brings out the color in your eyes.” Don’t be surprised if he suddenly seems to be around a whole lot more often, basking in your presence.

3. Let him be himself
Most women find it hard to love guys just the way they are. We want to change their hair, their clothes, their job, and sometimes even their friends to fit our ideal. With our own pals, we’re more accepting of their differences; we can actually be proud to have a technology nerd, yoga snob or fashion slave as part of our collection of confidantes. Ruthanna Hall, a sales associate in New York, has learned to relax and appreciate distinctly male behaviors (with great results) in her own relationship. “When we go out, I might feel more like a cool lounge uptown, but then all he’ll want is a round of darts at the neighborhood dive,” she explains. Rather than sulk all evening about his lack of class, she’ll focus in on the funny conversation they’re having. “Sure, most guys do things that cause girls to go ‘uggghhh!’ But that’s just the way they are,” she says. “Why not get on with it and have fun?”

4. Tell him what you think
We don’t expect our best friends to always know what we’re thinking. In fact, we actually enjoy swapping our thoughts, hopes, and fears — that’s most of the fun! But why, then, are we so disappointed when our boyfriends don’t exhibit mind-reading tendencies 24/7? We’ve all been guilty of harboring romantic notions like, “If he’s been listening to me, he’ll know exactly where to take me for dinner on Valentine’s Day” or “If he were truly paying attention right now, he’d know I’m freaking out about this virus on my computer and offer to come over and help.” But trust me, you’ll save yourself a lot of disappointment by just telling him where you want to dine out on Valentine’s Day, or by asking him to come over with his anti-virus software. After all, it’s common knowledge that two heads are better than one, so just because you’ve decided he’s The One, don’t go mum and add major guesswork to your communications.

5. Give him his space
Sometimes, girlfriends just go MIA for awhile. They get so busy at work that they don’t return your emails. Do we give them flack for it? Nothing serious. But for some reason, the rules change for guys: We rail on them for not promptly returning phone calls, take offense if they want a guy’s night out. But remember, achieving a balance between “me” time and “we” time will make the time you do spend together even better. Bridget Cunningham found her relationship got so much mellower once she stopped stressing about where her boyfriend was every hour. “I don’t hold it against him when he wants to have his own time,” she says. “You don’t cut your friends off when they do things with other people, so why shouldn’t it be the same with the person you love? Meanwhile I’m free to go running off with my girlfriend and blab about girl stuff. We meet afterwards for coffee, and we’re both feeling refreshed and fulfilled by spending time apart…and that much happier to be spending time together again.”

6 misunderstood first-date signs

6 misunderstood first-date signs
By Julie Taylor

You’re on a first date, and it’s going horribly. Or is it? It turns out that it’s all a matter of perspective. The elements that are making your date a disaster could actually signal something much sweeter. Read on for the six signs that your doomed date is anything but.

1. Your date is not your type
Sure, you’ve seen your date’s photo on his or her profile — but when you meet face to face, you realize the person is so not your type. “Next!,” you say? Not so fast. “Remember that there are thousands of happy couples out there who are not each other’s type,” says Janice MacLeod, coauthor of The Dating Repair Kit. By ruling out someone just because he or she does not meet your romance requisites, you are cutting yourself off from a world of possibilities.

When Jenna, 32, of Key West, FL, met Jeremy, she thought it would never work. After all, he was three inches shorter than she was and was a bit scruffy for her taste. “I wanted to leave instantly, but I had agreed to dinner and didn’t want to be rude,” she says. “Once I got past the superficial stuff, I realized what a gem of a guy he was, and to my surprise, our souls totally clicked. I never thought my soul mate would come in a package like his, but it happened. The lesson? Never say never, no matter what your ‘type’ may be.”

If your date isn’t your type, try redefining your “type” in terms of how a person treats you and makes you feel. This will instantly broaden your dating horizons. “Then vow to finish out the date, come what may,” MacLeod concludes. “Just be in the moment, and give chemistry a chance to grow and prosper.”

2. Your date is super-nervous
When Jennifer, 38, of Las Vegas, NV, was on her first date with Bob, she couldn’t help but notice that his voice was shaking. And his hands were trembling. And he was sweating buckets, right through his shirt. “I thought something was seriously wrong with this guy,” she recalls. “I had no intentions of dating him again.” But luckily for Jennifer (and Bob), she changed her mind and decided to give him a second chance. “The next date, he was much more chilled out and relaxed,” she continues. “He later told me he was nervous because I was the most beautiful woman he’d ever met. That was a good enough reason for me!”

Extreme nervousness on a first date could be a good sign, says MacLeod. “It probably means this person likes you a whole lot,” she says, “and might need a few dates to get past the initial set of jitters.”

When your date is super-nervous, put him or her at ease by being deliberate and calm yourself. Take a few deep breaths, smile, and make eye contact. “It helps to be compassionate and understanding about what the other person is going through,” MacLeod advises. “A first date isn’t necessarily easy, especially if you’re super-nervous to begin with, so try to cut your date some slack.”

3. Your date tells you there are other people in the picture
It’s your first dinner date. Between the hot wings and the halibut, she drops it on you: she’s just out of a major breakup and is seeing a few other men at the moment. Instant date-killer, right? Wrong, says MacLeod: “This full disclosure means your date is very honest,” she says. “She’s laying all her cards on the table and not pretending to be someone she’s not.”

Over appetizers, Bob, 29, of Colorado Springs, CO, learned more than he ever wanted to know about his date, Jill. “She told me she was dating another guy, but they weren’t totally serious — they were more like friends with benefits,” he recalls. His response to her confession? “I paid the tab and told her to call me if she ever dumped her so-called ‘friend,’” he recalls. Four weeks later, she did — and Bob and Jill began dating in earnest. “She later explained that she liked me so much, she didn’t want to lead me on during that first date,” he says. “In retrospect, I guess I can respect that.”

If your date tells you he or she is dating other people, just be happy no secrets are being kept from you. (After all, it’s better to know now than later.) However, if the bombshell your date drops is more of the “I’ve cheated on every person I’ve ever been with” variety, this is a major red flag, according to MacLeod... beware!

4. You argue
You’re having a nice, normal, getting-to-know-you conversation when suddenly you have a difference of opinion. What begins as a friendly disagreement quickly escalates into an all-out fight. Whether you’re arguing over politics, religion, or even the merits of VH1’s current reality show lineup, an argument on a first date never feels like a good sign. But a fight can actually be a very good thing. If you’re arguing, it can mean there’s passion between you. Sparks are flying — sure, maybe not in the way you’d hoped, but they’re still there. “Arguing can lead into interesting conversation, which is part of what keeps a relationship alive,” says MacLeod.

When 28-year-old Noah, of Burbank, CA, met Lillian, they instantly clashed. “It felt like we couldn’t see eye-to-eye on anything that first date,” he recalls. “She was a vegetarian, and I ordered a rib-eye steak. An hour-long debate on animal rights ensued.” Despite the meat melee, their connection was still meaty enough to merit a second date. “She was my opposite, sure, but being with her was never boring,” he says.

The next time you find yourself in a heated argument with a new date, try embracing your differences. After all, who’d want to date a clone of him- or herself? Agree to disagree, then search for common ground.

5. The date feels more like an interview
The entire time Mark, 41, of Plano, TX, was out with Jackie, he felt like he was in the hot seat. “She just kept asking me question after question — where I was from, what my favorite ice cream flavor was, where I wanted to be in five years,” he says. “It was really uncomfortable, and it was hard to feel a vibe or any sparks over all the interview-speak.”

If your date spends the whole time you’re together shooting questions at you in rapid-fire succession and giving you the hard sell, it could just mean that he or she is impressed by you and is simply trying too hard, says MacLeod. That was the case for Mark and Jackie: “Once I ‘passed’ her pre-screening interview, she let her true self come out — and that’s when we actually started to have some fun,” he recalls.

When your date is grilling you, attempt to turn it around and ask some questions of your own. That way, it won’t feel so one-sided. If you have a second date, MacLeod suggests catching a movie. “That way, you won’t have to talk the whole time,” she says. After your first-date chatfest, it will be a nice break.

6. There’s no goodnight kiss
If your date isn’t sealed with a kiss, it doesn’t always mean you’re getting the kiss-off. In fact, a sans-smooch soiree could even be a good thing, according to MacLeod. “Not kissing you on a first date very often means he’s being respectful,” she says. “He’s waiting for the perfect moment to have that great first kiss, like people have in movies. Plus, this means he’s probably not kissing all his other first dates, either. He’s too selective to just give his kisses away.”

Judy, 32, of Baltimore, says her current boyfriend waited four whole dates to kiss her. “I was wondering if he just wanted to be pals or what,” she recalls. “It turns out that he’s really old-fashioned. He just wanted us to build a friendship before we took things to the next level. The wait made our first kiss even that much more spectacular. I think we both saw fireworks!”

In the absence of a smooch, look for other signs of attraction. Does your date make eye contact, give you undivided attention, and make you feel like you’re the only person in the room? In this case, actions speak louder than… no action. Hang in there, and you may well be smooching in no time.

Julie Taylor has written for Cosmopolitan and Redbook and is the coauthor of How to Be a Dominant Diva. She and her now-husband’s first date was less than perfect — but she’s eternally grateful she gave him a second chance!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

7 Foods that Speed Weight Loss


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DRUGS & TREATMENTSFIND A DOCTORTOOLS .Featured on Yahoo! Health:How to Lose WeightEat, Drink, and Still ShrinkThe Best Fitness Gifts of 2010Stay Healthy When You FlyGreasing the Wheels of ChangeHealth Search
7 Foods that Speed Weight Loss
By Lucy Danziger, the Editor-in-Chief of SELF magazine
Nov 24, 2010
Send Share Print Buzz up!192 votesHealth Experts Main

Happier, Healthier You
by Lucy Danziger, the Editor-in-Chief of SELF magazine
Recent Posts•8 Ways to Stop Stress Eating
•The 10 Best Fitness Moves of 2010
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More Articles »Leftover Halloween candy, Thanksgiving dinner, holiday sweets—with so much delicious food floating around this time of year, who wants to think about dieting? Not me! Trouble is, this is exactly the time of year we undo all that hard work we did to get fit last spring and summer: Americans gain (on average) a pound during the holidays each year, according to the National Institutes of Health—which may not seem like a lot, except we also tend to hang on to those yearly pounds, and they can add up (10 pounds in a decade!). Here's the good news: Enjoying more of certain foods and drinks can actually help speed weight loss by boosting metabolism! And we're not just talking about celery and carrots (although those are good). Cheese, at least in small doses, could help fend off holiday heaviness—not to mention make your taste buds very happy. Try adding a few of these satisfying fat-burning snacks and sips to your daily intake and enjoy season's eatings without the stubborn pounds!

Weight loss food: cheese

Women who ate an ounce of full-fat cheese (picture a wedge about the size of your thumb) daily gained fewer pounds over time than their less-cheesy peers, a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows. Whole dairy contains conjugated linoleic acid, which may stoke your metabolism. One low-cal wonder: full-fat ricotta. It weighs in at a scant 49 calories and 4 g fat (2 g saturated) per ounce and has the lowest amount of sodium of any cheese out there. For a decadent-tasting dish, toss ricotta with pasta and fresh herbs or stir it into jarred tomato sauce for a flavor upgrade.

These immune system boosters will keep your body in peak condition while burning off the pounds.

Weight loss food: almonds

These are my favorite go-to snack—I carry almonds with me almost everywhere I go (car, purse) in case of a hunger emergency. I rely on them so much to tide me over between meals, so it's a good thing they have built-in fat-burning power: Dieters who ate 3 ounces of these nuts every day—that's about 12 almonds—reduced their weight and body-mass index by a solid 18 percent compared with an 11 percent drop in the no-nut group, a study in the International Journal of Obesity finds. You eat less bread at the lunch table when you're not famished, and almonds are high in alpha-linolenic acid, which can actually speed the metabolism of fats.

Check out these delicious and healthy lunch ideas for kids.

Weight loss food: coffee

The caffeine in 1 cup of joe temporarily revs metabolism by up to 15 percent, torching an extra 15 to 25 calories on average, says Paul Arciero, Ph.D., associate professor of exercise science at Skidmore College. Researchers don't know whether drinking more delivers a bigger boon (for those of us who drink plenty all day, there may be even more reasons to love our java!), but for the most benefit, order yours black; sugar and milk reverse the fat-scorching effects.

Weight loss food: peppers

A compound in chile peppers called capsaicin—the stuff that gives peppers their kick—could help you burn up to 100 extra calories a day, according to research presented at the Experimental Biology meeting in Anaheim, California. Experts suspect that capsaicin binds to nerve receptors and sends fat-burning signals to the brain. Don't like super spicy peppers such as habaneros or jalapeos? Go for a milder version like poblanos; research suggests you don't have to embrace hot-spicy cuisine to get capsaicin's metabolism-boosting benefits.

Weight loss food: green tea

Sipping three cups of green tea a day may kick up your metabolism enough to erase 30 calories daily, a study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise shows. Experts attribute the benefit to a compound called ECGC, and that extra burn can help you shed about 3 pounds a year! Not everyone loves the flavor of green tea, so if you find it too bitter, try a brew that's naturally sweetened, such as The Republic of Tea's Honey Ginseng or Ginger Peach Green Tea.

Weight loss food: eggs

The amino acids in egg whites help build lean muscle that may in turn help rev metabolism. Scramble up a few for breakfast and top with shredded cheese—remember, it's a fat-burner, too! Another good reason to have eggs first thing: Consuming a high-fat morning meal was shown to help mice burn more fat than those that ate a carb-rich breakfast, a study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham finds. The researchers say that eating a little fat early may shift your circadian clock to help you burn more body fat all day long.

Weight loss food: portobello mushrooms

These 'shrooms deliver copper and pantothenic acid, which help keep your metabolism humming. Bonus: Portobellos are also high in potassium, a mineral shown to help shuttle salt out of your body to beat belly bloat. Throw a mushroom kabob on the grill (or make them into a true veggie burger), or whip up this healthy take on classic eggs Benedict for a yummy fat-burning brunch dish.

Grilled Portobello Benedict

Serves 4

Vegetable oil cooking spray

4 portobello mushroom caps (about 4 oz each)

1 tbsp olive oil

1/4 tsp salt (plus more to taste)

4 slices Canadian bacon

4 large whole eggs

4 large egg whites

Freshly ground black pepper

4 tsp prepared basil pesto

8 fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons

4 tsp freshly grated Parmesan

Coat a grill or grill pan with cooking spray. With a spoon, gently scrape out the dark inside of each mushroom cap, being careful not to break cap. Brush both sides of caps with oil and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt. Grill mushrooms over medium-high heat until juices begin to release, about 7 minutes per side. Transfer each mushroom to a plate, top side down. On same grill or grill pan, cook bacon over medium-high heat until warm, about 30 seconds per side. Place 1 slice bacon onto each mushroom cap. Whisk eggs, egg whites and 2 tbsp water until well combined in a bowl. Coat a medium nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-low heat. Add eggs and scramble until cooked through, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Divide eggs among mushroom caps. Drizzle 1 tsp pesto over each; top with basil and 1 tsp Parmesan.

THE DISH 240 calories per serving, 14 g fat (3.5 saturated), 7 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 20 g protein

For daily nutrition news follow SELF on Facebook.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Creative Ways to Improve Your Resume

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Creative Ways to Improve Your Resume
Stuck in a resume rut? Here's how to review and revise with fresh eyes.
by Charles Purdy, Monster+HotJobs senior editor

Career experts are unanimous on the importance of customizing our resumes for each new job we apply for. But for many of us, when it comes to revising our resumes, the first question is "How?"

It's easy to get stuck in rut when you're working with material you know so well. So here are some ways to take a fresh look at revising your resume.

1. Analyze the job post's wording.
An easy way to make sure your resume gets you in the door for an interview is to echo the language in the job post. Look for ways to use the words in the post; a resume reader--human or software--may be screening for them. (If there is no job post, check the company's website--especially the About Us page and any corporate mission statements--for language you might adopt.)

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If your resume says "supervise," but the job post says "manage," change it. If your last job title was "Social Media Ninja," and you're applying for a "Social Media Marketing Specialist" position, include the term "Marketing Specialist" in parentheses after your Ninja title (as long as you feel that this term could describe your past role).

Of course, don't stretch the truth!

2. Weed out fibs.
It's all too easy for little fibs to make their way into a resume. Several years ago, you added an unearned certification to your resume, just to get your foot in the door at a new company. Or you claimed competence in a software program you figured you could learn on-the-fly.

Then, as the years went on, those temporary resume fibs somehow became set in stone. Now's the time to chisel them out. Any lie--even a seemingly inconsequential one--can put your job search and your future job security in jeopardy.

Replace lies with truths--or set about making them true. It could be as simple as putting the word "pursuing" before that imaginary degree on your resume.

3. Get rid of the "objective statement."
Beginning a resume with an objective statement (a phrase that starts with something like "Seeking a challenging position ...") is out. As Lauren Milligan, resume expert at, says, "Employers already know that your objective is to get a job, after all." She suggests, instead, creating a personal summary statement that "illustrates how you are better than other candidates for the job." She adds, "Identify a few areas in your profession that you excel at ... and that you really enjoy doing."

Tell the hiring manager who you are and how you can solve her or his company's problems, not what you want.

4. Get rid of redundancies.
Don't waste time telling hiring managers what they already know. Many people do this in their descriptions of past jobs. For instance, if your last job was as a copywriter for an online rug retailer, saying something like "wrote marketing copy for a wide variety of rugs" is unnecessary. Instead of taking up space with definitions no one needs, describe specific achievements. Did your work improve sales, get praise from management, or improve SEO rankings? Use job highlights, not job descriptions.

5. Cut unnecessary resume "stories."
Work Coach Cafe's Ronnie Ann advises removing things that are not directly related to the story you're telling about yourself and the job you're applying for. She says, "I have an abundantly varied job history--better than 'job hopper,' huh?--and remember back to resumes where I just wanted to make each job so full-bodied and rich that I was sure the employer would want to meet me. But as interesting as we may be as human beings, employers just want to know if we're right for their company--and specifically the job in question."

For instance, if you're both a professional accountant and a certified dog groomer, you might want to play down your dog-grooming experience when you apply for jobs in finance.

6. Look for ways to use exciting language.
Check your resume's verbs, and use strong verbs to make your resume more vibrant. For instance, "responsible for daily bank deposits" (no verb) could easily be "oversaw daily bank deposits" (strong verb). And as you find each verb, look at its subject--is it you? If not, should it be? For instance, in "duties included writing press releases," the subject is "duties." It'd be much better to say something like "Wrote all company press releases."

7. Turn your resume upside-down.
I'm serious. Turn your resume upside-down and look at it from a distance. This will help you analyze its appearance separately from its content. Does it look too dense? Is it heavier on the top or bottom? Emily Bennington, a coauthor of "Effective Immediately: How to Fit In, Stand Out, and Move Up at Your First Real Job," says, "Sometimes a resume will catch my eye simply because it's formatted beautifully. I know the most important component is the content on the page, but you should also pay attention to the packaging. Trust me, hiring managers notice!"

8. Write a draft in a different format.
In his book "The Overnight Resume: The Fastest Way to Your Next Job," career expert Donald Asher suggests writing a letter to a family member about your job accomplishments as a way to rethink your resume. (Go ahead, brag a little.) Then he says you can start turning this into a resume draft by removing most personal pronouns ("I" and "we"), taking out articles ("a," "an," and "the"), and cutting transition words like "and" (unless doing so would distort meaning).

Thinking of your resume as a letter or a story (in which you're the hero), or some other medium, is a great way to start making it fresher, more personal, and more effective.

(For more on keywords and how to format resumes for online posting, read "Resumes for the Digital Age." And for a few resume-proofreading tips, check out "The Well-Punctuated Resume" on the blog.)

Also on Monster+HotJobs:

How to turn a stranger into a network contact
How to deal with an annoying boss
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Men: 5 lessons for meeting more women

Men: 5 lessons for meeting more women
By Evan Marc Katz

Share: Email Facebook Twitter MySpace StumbleUpon reddit Digg Yahoo! Buzz To the men who are reading this article: There are a lot of women who are very unhappy with you. Really. I know, because as a dating coach, I hear women tell me all the time in the most exasperated tone: “How come I never meet a nice, normal guy? Why do I only get approached by creeps?” You’ve probably heard women say this yourself. So how would you respond to them?

I’m guessing it’s something like: “Nice guys are afraid of rejection, don’t want to bother you when you’re out, and are generally more concerned with the consequences of being embarrassed than with actually meeting you.” It may be true, but, as truth goes, it’s a pretty sad state of affairs. What’s easy to forget is that most women want to be approached by you. By not approaching them, you’re letting them down and allowing the creeps to take their shot. Follow these lessons and the next time you’re out, maybe you’ll prove that nice guys don’t finish last.

Lesson #1: Assume the answer is yes
Have you ever been sold a product before? Hair tonic, a car, bathroom tile? I can guarantee you that the salesperson didn’t pitch you by saying, “Um, excuse me… I hate to bother you… would you be interested in… I mean, probably not, but—” No! Any salesman worth his commission is not just selling confidence in his product, but confidence in himself. “Confidence says I’m bright, I’m likeable, women have liked me in the past, I’m comfortable in my own skin,” says Victor, 38, a real estate broker. “Since she has to make a decision on the spot, confidence through nonverbal communication makes the best impression.” You can even “fake it ’til you make it” through these two very simple means: Smile and maintain eye contact. And remember: If you don’t know that you’re worth talking to, how would she know? Browse Local Singles at on Yahoo!

I am a: Man Woman Seeking a: Man Woman Near:
Lesson #2: It’s not about you

I’m out at a big Hollywood scene with beautiful people. It’s getting late, towards the end of the night, and I ask my buddy Terrance which woman he’s got his eye on. He points to an attractive brunette talking to a cute blonde across the courtyard. Slightly bemused, I tell him that I will make the introduction. As I stride over, I rationalize that if my approach doesn’t go well, she’s not really rejecting me, but rather, Terrance. I know this isn’t true, but it gets me going.

I arrive while the women are in mid-conversation. I say nothing for a few seconds and when they both look at me, I chime in: “You guys just keep talking. I’ll interrupt when I’ve got something interesting to contribute.” And that was it. It wasn’t a line. It wasn’t planned. It just happened. After three minutes, Terrance came over, I made the introductions, and we both got phone numbers. The moral of the story? Playing my little conversational trick in all pick-up situations can be really helpful. Just ask any married friend how easy it is to talk with women when you know that there are no stakes involved. If it’s not about you, you can’t possibly fail.

Lesson #3: There’s power in numbers
Believe it or not, three is better than one. When you approach a woman who is by herself, she knows that you’re hitting on her based solely on your attraction to her. This increases the pressure in a way that doesn’t always make for a comfortable situation. That’s why the safest way to meet a woman is to approach her in a crowd of her friends. Now there’s no pressure, because nobody knows who you’re hitting on, and you can just be the friendly guy who’s chatting with everybody. “If you’re charming, funny or bright,” says Charles, 36, “she might find herself interested in you before you’ve expressed interest in her.” This tilts things in your favor, even to the point where you might be in control. “By charming her friends and getting their approval, the one you like will be that much more open when you ask her out,” adds Charles.

Lesson #4: It’s just that easy
If you ever doubt how simple it can be to meet a woman, this story should inspire you: I was at a party with some close friends and saw an acquaintance across the room. Late 30s, attractive, friendly, likeable. We’d met probably four times before through a mutual friend who was also at the party. When our eyes met, I smiled at her. She smiled back. Because it was a large and crowded room, I put out my index finger and beckoned her to come over to me. She sort of did a double take, smiled even more broadly and came right over.

“Hi,” I said, warmly.
“Hi,” she said, blankly. Then it hit me.
“You have no idea who I am,” I said.

“None whatsoever,” she replied.
“It’s Evan. Evan Katz.”

“Oh, yes — we’ve met! You cut your hair. I didn’t even recognize you.” She gave me a hug. But I had one more important question to ask her before we continued talking.

“Is it really that easy to get a woman to talk to you… just by calling her over with your finger?”
She took a second to consider the evidence and replied, “Apparently, it is.”

So there you have it. We men have more power than we even realized.

Lesson #5: The outcome doesn’t matter
Maybe you’re not her type. Maybe she’s just out of a relationship. Maybe she’s having troubles at work. Maybe she’s not perceptive enough to recognize your worth. You never know why someone may not be interested in you. Truthfully, it doesn’t matter. It’s more diminishing to your self-esteem to let fear run your life than it is to get rejected. Here’s one story below that showcases this in a big way.

So I was in the checkout line at the grocery store, and I was waiting for a woman with 400 coupons. In the meantime, I was talking to the tall, raven-haired cutie behind me. We were making jokes, laughing, passing the time. All in all, a very pleasant five minutes of my life. The coupon lady finished up. I paid for my stuff, said goodbye to my new friend and rolled my cart out the door.

The second I hit the fresh air, I was kicking myself: Dummy! Why didn’t you ask for her phone number? Because I got all embarrassed what with the other people in line and the woman swiping my bar codes. Because of all the other reasons that nice guys wimp out. I decided that this would not do. I was going to wait until she came out of the supermarket and ask her out. And that’s what I did.

“Hey, it was a lot of fun meeting you in there,” I said to her as she emerged with her bags. “I was wondering if you’d like to grab lunch sometime.”

A big smile came across her face. “You are so cute and I couldn’t be more flattered, but I have a serious, live-in boyfriend. But I really want to thank you for asking. You totally made my day.” After she said goodbye, I went home, walking on air, so happy that I did it, instead of wishing I did it, like so many times before. It didn’t matter if she had a boyfriend or if she was lying or being polite or whatever — all that mattered was that I took a big swing at the plate and even didn’t hurt myself in the process.

Evan Marc Katz is a dating coach, the founder of and coauthor of Why You're Still Single: Things Your Friends Would Tell You If You Promised Not To Get Mad.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Penalty-Proof Your Tax Return

Penalty-Proof Your Tax Return
by Mary Beth Franklin, Senior Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Adjust your tax withholding now to boost your take-home pay or to avoid underpayment penalties when you file your 2010 tax return.

When you file your tax return each year, the amount of tax withheld from your paycheck or submitted through estimated quarterly tax payments ideally should match the amount of tax you owe. In reality, that seldom happens.

More from

• Last-Minute Tax Savings for 2010

• The Most Overlooked Tax Deductions

• Kiplinger's Tax Withholding Calculator

Most Americans are addicted to tax refunds, as evidenced by the fact that the average income-tax refund rose again this year to a record of nearly $2,900. In essence, more than 75% of U.S. taxpayers gave Uncle Sam an interest-free loan. Many of the remaining taxpayers ended up owing money, and some had to fork over an extra 10% penalty for having too little tax withheld throughout the year.

[See 5 Tax Moves You Should Make This Fall]

Both situations are easy to remedy, but you have to act before the end of the year. Just file a revised Form W-4 with your employer. The more "allowances" you claim on the W-4, the less tax will be withheld; the fewer you claim, the more tax will be withheld. You can also ask your employer to withhold a flat amount from your paycheck.

If you regularly get a refund, you've already banked most of it and will still get a refund next spring. But you can stop the leakage from your last few paychecks of the year by adjusting your W-4 now. Worksheets that come with the W-4 will help, or you can struggle through the IRS's online withholding calculator.

But we've got a better idea. If your current financial situation is similar to last year's, just use our Tax Withholding Calculator (see link above). Answer three simple questions (you'll find the answers on your 2009 tax return) and we'll estimate how many additional allowances you deserve -- and even show you how much your take-home pay will rise starting next payday, if you claim the allowances on a new W-4. (However, this shortcut won't be much help if your tax situation has changed since last year because, for example, you have a new baby or got a new job).

On the other hand, if you expect that you'll owe money when you file your 2010 tax return next spring, you can avoid an underpayment penalty by boosting your withholding now. You needn't pay every penny of the tax you expect to owe. As long as you prepay 90% of this year's tax bill, you're off the hook for the penalty. Or, you can escape its reach, in most cases, by prepaying 100% of your 2009 tax liability. (But if your 2009 adjusted gross income topped $150,000, you'll have to prepay 110% of last year's tax liability to avoid a penalty, even if your 2010 tax far exceeds your pay-ins.)

[See What Will Congress Do to Your Taxes?]

If you have both wage and consulting income and expect to owe money on your tax return, boost the taxes withheld from your last few paychecks rather than trying to make up the shortfall with your final estimated quarterly payment due January 18, 2011 (because January 15 is a Saturday and the following Monday is a federal holiday). Taxes that are withheld are treated as if they were spread out evenly throughout the year, sidestepping an underpayment penalty; the estimated-tax-payment approach does not.

5 key questions to ask on a date

How many dates should you go on before meeting each other’s families?
1 or 2: Who better to size up my date than the people who know me best?
3 to 5: What’s the big deal? Just because I bring someone home doesn’t mean we’re getting hitched.
6 to 10: Like a Supreme Court nominee, all candidates must be fully vetted before they earn a seat in such revered company.
11 or more: Everyone can get to know each other at the housewarming party when we move in together.

How many dates should you go on before meeting each other’s families?
4% 1 or 2: Who better to size up my date than the people who know me best?
26% 3 to 5: What’s the big deal? Just because I bring someone home doesn’t mean we’re getting hitched.
47% 6 to 10: Like a Supreme Court nominee, all candidates must be fully vetted before they earn a seat in such revered company.
23% 11 or more: Everyone can get to know each other at the housewarming party when we move in together.

Policy 5 key questions to ask on a date
By Ayren Jackson-Cannady

Early date chit chat can become so formulaic that you walk away knowing little more about a person than a few résumé-ready bullet points: where he grew up, where she went to school, for whom he toils to get his biweekly paycheck. “We tend to ask more questions about a car or house than about the person we are going out with and potentially entrusting our hearts with,” says Eve Hogan, author of How to Love Your Marriage: Making Your Closest Relationship Work. That’s not to say your early get-togethers should be interrogation-quality, with the blinding light bulb, two-way mirror and good-cop/bad-cop act. The trick is to ask questions that aren’t too personal, but still reveal your date’s tastes and his or her values. What’s the difference? Well, if you like Joni Mitchell and your date digs Ice-T, you may assume you’re not a match (different tastes) — unless you can discern that you’re both compelled by politically minded lyrics (similar values). So next time you’ve got silence to fill, ask one of these playful and engaging questions.

1. What’s your favorite scene from your favorite book or movie?

Talking about mass media and pop culture can clue you in to similar interests and worldviews. “Books, movies, and music all transmit powerful messages of hope or emotion,” says Hogan. “If you have radically different preferences, there may be some fundamental differences between the way the two of you look at the world.” But asking your date to name his or her favorite scene can help you distill what’s important to him or her beyond just genre. Browse Local Singles at on Yahoo!

I am a: Man Woman Seeking a: Man Woman Near:

2. What do you love about your job?

The standard, “What do you do?” is a closed question that doesn’t reveal much about a person other than a job title. But if you phrase the career question a bit differently, you can delve into your date’s likes and dislikes; reveal his or her strengths; see how he or she handles conflict; and find out how happy this person is with life overall. Think about the different impressions you’ll form if your date answers the question, “Knowing that I’m helping people fulfill their dream” versus “Deciding what to order for lunch!”

3. What’s your definition of a relationship?

Granted, it takes a bit of build-up to ask this question (usually, once you begin discussing your dating histories, you can slip this one in), but it’s worth asking. Does your date want to be wined and dined, or are you both looking for a 50/50 relationship? It’s too soon to know what this specific potential relationship will look like, but a question like this lets you share your expectations and fundamental beliefs. “I like to ask this question early on, because I’ve found that some women I’ve dated didn’t know what they wanted out of our relationship,” says Mario Webb of Ft. Walton Beach, FL. “They came into it just hoping things work out without telling me what they expect. Needless to say, things haven’t worked out.” And if your date’s answer is outside the range of what you consider acceptable, you’ve saved yourself future heartbreak by finding out before you fall for him or her.

4. If money were no object, what would you do with your life?

This tried-and-true icebreaker showcases your date’s hopes, dreams, and regrets — topics that often remain untouched by even serious romantic partners. The answers can range from a desire to travel to going back to school to learning how to play the violin. Two buttoned-up stockbrokers might discover they both share a secret longing to be athletes or a shared devotion to public service. Your date’s response will help clue you in to common goals and interests that go beyond what you do on a day-to-day basis.

5. Will you share an embarrassing moment with me?

This fun question is great to ask when a date has gotten a little tense or quiet, because it reveals both details of your date’s history and his or her character. Just know that you may have to share an awkward experience first in order to make your date feel comfortable. “One of the great things is that our humanity is a bonding thing,” says Hogan. “Our ability to laugh at ourselves is critical in a budding relationship.” So make it clear that you’re not looking for dirt on that plagiarism incident in 11th grade, but rather something goofy, like the time you drove a golf cart into the water, installed a chandelier upside-down and so forth.

By asking these questions and considering the answers, you’ll gain valuable insights onto your date — and know whether the two of you are likely to click on future get-togethers.