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An update on the subject of emoji.

Funny boy with smile pillow instead a head; Shutterstock ID 682241353

Image: Shutterstock / Elena Valebnaya

It had to happen: Emojis have gone so mainstream that Hollywood cant resist. When Shakespearean-trained actor Patrick Stewart is willing to voice an emoji in the shape of swirled poop in multimillion-dollar box office flick, things have gotten out of hand.

As Stewart adds his talent to The Emoji Movie, its clear that emoji use is on the rise across the boardtheres even an emoji Bible translation, for goodness sake. Corporations are also getting into the act, increasing their usage during marketing campaigns by more than 600 percent to 800 million emoji-based messages between 2015 and 2016.

Sure, emojis can be fun when tossed into personal messages and emails, but theyre causing serious problems in the workplace. Were slowly losing the ability to effectively communicate while gaining efficiency, but replacing actual conversations with cutesy symbols isnt the answer.

Winks belong outside the workplace

Think its impossible for an image to kill workplace communication, destroy colleague relationships, or create major hiccups? Not only is it possible, but its happening across industry sectors daily. A whopping 3 out of 4 people admit to using emojis professionallyits unsurprising but still dismaying, especially for bosses. An OfficeTeam survey noted 40 percent of executive-level supervisors gave emojis a distinct frowny face.

Whats the problem? Its simple: Emojis just arent professional. Of course, theres a time and place for mood-lightening iconography. But work requires balance and professional maturity. A corporate atmosphere demands structure and a culture representative of competence and expertise and a smiley face with popping heart eyes doesnt measure up.

Consider a situation in which you worked diligently for weeks on a project. You lost sleep, gave it your all, and totally owned the process. Imagine that all you received in response was a single thumbs-up emoji from your leadership team. Thats it. Thumbs-up or is it a complete thumbs-down?

Talk about deflating a balloon. Why wouldnt your colleagues or managers take the time to send a quick message of appreciation for your efforts? Instead, you got an emoji that took a millisecond to send. How likely are you to put forth the hours, dedication, and sweat equity the next time?

4 emoji woes and how to avoid them

Every one of us is bound to run face-to-face into a job-related emoji scenario in the not-too-distant future. How we navigate the icon-filled waters will say a lot about our professional abilities.

Scenario 1: The dreaded winking emoji

The chat starts off with an employee asking her boss if she can take a few days off to attend an out-of-town surprise birthday event. The boss answers with, Shouldnt be a problem, followed by a winking smiley emoji.

Then, the floodgates to emoji Hades erupt. The employee responds, Thank you I cant wait, and closes with two beer steins performing a floating cheers and a dancing emoji female in a provocative red dress.

How is the supervisor supposed to interpret this? Does it mean the employee plans to get intoxicated and dance on tables? Or is she inviting the boss out to knock back a few brews? Simply put, a supervisor is not a bro or BFF. He or she needs to be treated with respect. Two beer symbols and a gyrating lass are unacceptable responses.

Instead of a series of emojis, try this more appropriate response: Thank you. Ill make sure my work is up-to-date before leaving tomorrow. No emojis necessary.

Scenario 2: The infamous poop emoji

Is there an appropriate time to use a poop emoji at work? No, no, and no. No one wants to know if you feel like poop. No one wants to hear their work is poop. In fact, no one wants to think about poop at work at all.

If you wouldnt say you feel like sh*t, someones project is sh*t, or your pay is sh*t, dont hide behind a smiling pile of it in your communication.

The next time it seems appropriate to use the poop emoji, consider using words your grandma wouldnt be embarrassed hearing. Try, Im not feeling well, This draft is a bit disappointing, or I feel my pay doesnt reflect my value to the company.

Scenario 3: Unicorns, laughing devils, flags from Communist countries, etc.

Unless you are trying to communicate to an IT supervisor it would take a unicorn carrying a Soviet flag running through the gates of hell to debug a program, save the more off-the-wall emojis for personal communications. Even then, you wont find yourself using them very often.

The only exception might be in a high-stress environment where levity is needed, but even thats a long shot. Youre better off sticking to a work-appropriate joke.

Scenario 4: That telltale heart emoji

Relying on juvenile symbols like the heart emoji isnt working smarter or harder. Plus, it could end in a human resources nightmare.

Imagine what could happen if someone took the heart emoji the wrong way: An employee might send one to his or her boss intending to express appreciation for a raise, but the married boss might interpret that big, red heart a bit differently.

Resist the urge to hit the heart. Opt instead for a few sincere lines: Thanks so much for the positive review and the pay raise. I really enjoy working for the company.

Its time for everyone to step back and use words, not symbols. Theres no substitute for looking someone in the eyes and speaking from the heart. Short messages with symbols might feel efficient, but symbols can convey a host of alternate meanings, regardless of intent. No one, though, has ever misinterpreted a heartfelt Thank you.


Daniel Wesley is a Florida-based entrepreneur with a degree in nuclear medicine. His work has been featured in Forbes, Mashable, The Huffington Post, Fox Small Business, Entrepreneur, and TIME Magazine. He is currently the chief evangelist at, inspiring his team one word at a time. You can find him on LinkedIn.

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Recipe for a CV or Resume – how to cook yours

Recently, I fed 3 questions to the Google search beast. Here they are including the stunning numbers of hits I found:

How to write a resume (115,000,000 hits)

How to write a curriculum vitae (10,900,000 hits)

How to write a CV (22,000,000 hits).

Wow! I know it is December and I know that many of us have some time to spare to do some reading during the Holiday Season. But, seriously, if you want to catch up reading only 1% of these hits, you’re looking at a minimum staggering number of 109,000 hits. How much time would that take? Well, I don’t want to know. I’ve got a better idea instead. Around Christmas, many people spent time in the kitchen to produce delicious Christmas Dinners. Other people spend some time to polish their resumes or curricula vitae because, for example, they are contemplating a next career move early next year. So, let me then give you a recipe for –without the use of a stove or oven – cooking your curriculum vitae or your resume. Of course, the people busy in the kitchen can join later.  I will describe the ingredients you need to use and provide a couple of preparation tips. The rest is up to you.

So, what goes into a good curriculum vitae or resume? The main ingredients are personal information, a summary, work experience, education, languages and skills. In the personal information section you include your full name, a telephone number (not your business phone number), your personal email address, the URL to your LinkedIn profile and, if you like, your home address. Your summary highlights what you have to offer (your unique selling points) to an employer in 3-5 lines – rather than an objective that specifies what you want because that is not what recruiters and hiring managers are looking for. Your work experience is written preferably in reverse chronological order. Be sure to include brief descriptions about the companies you worked for including some numbers like total number of employees and total sales as this gives an idea about the size of the company and the industries you have worked in. A brief description of your responsibilities and a list of your top 2-5 results or achievements (a bulleted list) should be added. Make sure you use keywords that are appropriate. Show some numbers there as well that, for instance, illustrate savings in money and or time, sales increase, increase in production etc.etc. In your descriptions, use short, crisp sentences instead of elaborate descriptions or blocks of text. Your education should also be listed in reverse chronological order. The language section lists the languages you speak, read and write including a “level” such as fair, average, fluent, native speaker etc. The skills section describes particular skills you may have such as computer skills or other skills that could be relevant for the job you are applying for. Is that it? Yes, that’s it. Content is still the most important flavor you want to focus on.

Ah, but what about adding some extra spices, you ask? Hmm, don’t spoil your dish. So in any case leave out “references provided upon request” (you can provide them when asked for, not sooner), leave out your hobbies (unless there is relevance for the position you are applying for), leave out images or pictures and tables (they are not relevant and an applicant tracking system that parses your CV or resume can choke on it), leave out colors and non-standard fonts (black and white is what you want, and use generally accepted fonts like Arial, Tahoma or Calibri for instance).

So, how many people should your CV or resume dish feed? Well, a 1 page resume is fine as long as you don’t cram everything on that single page so that the reader has to pull out a magnifying glass to read the small font you used. Two pages is equally fine! As for a curriculum vitae, 2-3 pages is ok. Using white space helps the reader of your resume or CV to quickly scan and focus on the sections of interest. To finish it, meticulously check for spelling and grammar errors and correct them. Happy cooking!

Is your stage dressed to kill?

Is your stage dressed to kill?

Let’s change the word “stage” in the title of this post to “curriculum vitae”. A one size fits all curriculum vitae no longer makes the cut when you apply for a job. Recruiters and other people assessing your curriculum vitae tend to be very busy. Their workload can be such that they don’t have the time to fully read your curriculum vitae. In less than 30 seconds they decide where your CV goes…….You need to prepare for that “treatment”. Time and time again. So, how do you do that?
One way I explain this to my clients is by comparing a curriculum vitae to a stage:

Setting the stage for Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is quite different from preparing for the spectacular show KOOZA by Cirque du Soleil. If you want the audience (recruiters, HR people and other staffing folks) to see what’s on stage (your CV), you need proper lighting. While there may be more props (content) present on the stage, you need to balance the stage design and select what the audience will see. You can do this by using spotlights. So, you need to carefully arrange your props (write your content) in such a way that they will fulfill the expectations your audience has (match the requirements for the job you’re applying for). You then use spotlights (keywords) to highlight relevant props (parts of your career history) so that they align with what the audience is expecting. At the same time, you dim the lights on props that have no function in what goes on on stage. You want the audience to recognize the stage design so that the audience is drawn into the performance the minute the curtain opens.
In other words, you expand and summarize sections of your work history as appropriate for the job you are applying for and make sure that relevant keywords are in place to facilitate scanning of your CV so that you will make the cut and get an invitation for a job interview. That way, your stage will be dressed to kill.
If your “general” CV is the theme, you write a variation every time you apply for a job. Theme and variations has worked well in music for hundreds of years, it will work equally well for your curriculum vitae.

How is your job interview behaviour?

Do you ace your job interviews? Do you know what to do and what not to do during job interviews? A survey conducted by Harris Interactive in November/December 2013 among more than 2,000 hiring managers and HR professionals reveals common mistakes applicants make during job interviews and hilarious mistakes as well. So, keeping in mind that nearly 50% of employers will make their final decisions about you within 5 minutes after the interview started, here are a few lists and stats for you:

According to employers, the most common mistakes candidates make in interviews are:

  • Appearing disinterested (55%)
  • Dressing inappropriately (53%)
  • Appearing arrogant (53%)
  • Talking negatively about current or previous employers (50%)
  • Answering a cellphone or texting during the interview (49%)
  • Appearing uninformed about the company or role (39%)
  • Not providing specific examples (33&)
  • Not asking good questions (32%)
  • Providing too much personal information (20%)
  • Asking the hiring manager personal questions (17%)

Do not underestimate the importance of body language during job interviews. Communication is more than words, here is what annoys employers:

  • Failure to make eye contact (70%)
  • Failure to smile (44%)
  • Bad posture (35%)
  • Fidgeting too much in one’s seat (35%)
  • Playing with something on the table (29%)
  • Handshake that is too weak (27%)
  • Crossing one’s arms over one’s chest (24%)
  • Playing with one’s hair or touching one’s face (24%)
  • Using too many hand gestures (10%)
  • Handshake that is too strong (5%)

Now, to put a smile on your face, here are some sure ways to goof up your job interview. Remember, these are real life examples that were provided by employers during the Harris survey:

  • Applicant answered a phone call for an interview with a competitor
  • Applicant showed up in a jogging suit because he was going running after the interview
  • Applicant asked for a hug
  • Applicant informed interviewer that she “took too much valium” and didn’t think the interview was indicative of her personality
  • Applicant checked Facebook during the interview
  • Applicant popped out his teeths when discussing dental benefits
  • Applicant kept her iPod headphones on during the interview
  • Applicant said that he questioned his daugther’s paternity
  • Applicant asked for name and phone number of the receptionist because he really liked her


Do you think your resume or CV will be read by humans…….

…or by robots? Huh? Did you say robots? Yes, I did. Let me explain: Recruitment agencies and companies use software often called ATS or Applicant Tracking Software. Programs like Taleo, Kenexa, PeopleSoft and others. To support recruiters and staffing people, this software performs a lot of tasks for them. One of them is that a modern ATS has a built-in functionality to parse (or read) your CV or resume. I would say that about half of all organizations (and a majority of large organizations) use ATS’s to pre-qualify or screen applicants making the lives of recruiters easier. So, it is important for you to be prepared and optimize your resume or CV to get past the ATS. Here are some do’s and dont’s to think about when you prepare your resume for an ATS:


  • use creative formatting to make your resume look nice, an ATS can choke on it
  • use pictures, logos or other graphics, an ATS has no eyes
  • send your resume as a PDF, not all ATS’s can handle that
  • use non-standard fonts
  • insert information in tables in your resume


  • use standard fonts like Tahoma, Verdana, Arial
  • make sure that your resume is rich in keywords to match the job description
  • use bulleted lists of your qualifications and skills
  • spell check your resume and use appropriate punctuation
  • include your contact information near the top of the page

Make sure your resume or CV is organized in neat sections with proper headings. It is best not to use header and/or footer in an ATS version of your resume or CV. Also, check for abbreviations, to be safe it is best not to use them but to spell out words, ATS’s can be a little limited in vocabulary and may not understand abbreviations that you use. When you need to do cutting & pasting, have an ASCII version of your resume ready to prevent nasty things happening to your formatting. If you can, upload your resume or CV. Bear in mind that an ATS analyzed keywords, titles etc. to assess your experience. These systems are capable of rejecting the majority of candidates that do not meet the requirements. 


Is this good or is it bad? Well, both. It is good because it helps the staffing folks speed up the processing of applications. It is good because you as an applicant, can include more information in preparing an ATS-friendly resume to help you stand out from the competition because an ATS doesn’t care about the lenght of your resume. It is bad because ATS’s can’t think the way humans can, it’s a bit like performing surgery on patients using garden tools. It is bad because hiring managers and recruiters will miss out on well qualified candidates because the robots have decided they didn’t make the cut.

Good luck battling the robots in landing your next job!

Is your resume packed with hollow phrases?

Many job postings (still) list personal qualifications to such extent that it is hard to believe that there are actually people out there that are a 100% match. To qualify for even the simplest entry-level jobs, we need to be detail-oriented, goal-oriented, ambitious, competent, determined, well-organized and creative. Right? So, it is understandable that many resumes and CV’s advertise many of these wonderful attributes. Nowadays, that is pretty much old school because many employers no longer pay attention to these subjective criteria and hollow phrases. So, if you are an “Engaging and goal-oriented personality with high drive” and you possess a “can-do mentality” and you are a “strong, people-oriented relationship builder”…you run the risk of having your resume rejected. There is nothing wrong with including your strongest skills in your resume but rather than “bluntly” stating them, provide examples from your professional experience that illustrate and prove them. That way you can convince hiring managers because you are showing your skills.

5 Tell tale signs why your resume is out of fashion


Many people continue to use one and the same resumé  year after year. A document that was created (very) long ago, updated from time to time by adding a new address or telephone number and a new position. Why? Fact is that about 80% of all people struggle with their resumés. They are not good at selling themselves, they are not skilled in writing resumés  they hate writing resumés and sometimes laziness prevents them from writing a crisp, modern resumé  They ask themselves: Why should I? Why change my resumé  everything that should be there is in there, so why bother? Well, don’t underestimate the importance of having a decent resumé or CV. It can and will make the difference in getting you an invitation for a job interview –or not. In this post I will give you 5 telltale signs to help you figure out if your resumé needs a makeover:

1. Your Resume Contains an Obsolete Objective

“I am looking for a senior management role where I can use my managerial experience and strategic skills to manage marketing and sales operations” Yawn. To put it bluntly: Employers don’t care what you want. The employer wants a solution for his “problem” and he hopes to find that solution in your resumé. “Client-focused senior sales manager”. That’s you! Writing that makes a more powerful impression, that’s something that could catch that employer’s attention.

2. There’s (a lot of) Corporate Speak and/or Complicated Language in Your Resume

Many old-fashioned resumés contain formal language and corporate language that not everybody understands. An example: “ensuring correct and JIT-fulfillment of the order flow so that the logistical performance is optimized according to pre-set KPI’s”. Translation: “making sure that correct processing of orders leads to timely delivery to customers”. Use clear language, write short lines (use bullet points) and don’t copy formal job descriptions. 

3. There Are Listings of Tasks and Responsibilities in Your Resume Instead of Results and Accomplishments

In many resumés one finds endless listings of formal tasks and responsibilities. They read like job descriptions. Try this: use a few lines to summarize your (main) tasks and beef up your resumé by listing your accomplishments or results, including numbers and/or percentages. That will give a far better picture of what you are capable of and beats job descriptions. Your resumé should tell your personal story.

4. The Lay-out of Your Resume is Inadequate

The font Times New Roman is very classic. Your resumé will look better if you use more modern fonts like Arial, Calibri or Tahoma. Also make sure, that the lay-out is consistent, don’t use two different fonts in your resumé and make sure that the variation in font size (headings vs. text) is the same throughout. Make sure that the overall lay-out is such that it is easy to scan and read your resumé, make use of white space. Modest use of color is fine, but be careful with it and ask yourself if that is appropriate in your industry or in your profession.

5. Your Resume Goes Back a Long Time

As we progress through our careers, we add to our employment history. It isn’t always necessary to prominently describe the role you fulfilled back in 1985. No doubt the industry in which you worked then, has changed. You have changed too. What matters for many employers is your recent (say, the last 10 years) employment history. Besides, you can do so much more now than you could do in 1985. So, it is okay to summarize positions you held a long time ago and to briefly describe highlights. Modern resumés put more emphasis on roles and results and de-emphasize early career experiences (or list them in a “minimalistic”  way).

In the end, a good and powerful resumé is the end result of a subtle combination of many elements such as content, style, lay-out and presentation. I hope that you can use these signals to –if you need to, of course- give your resume a facelift.

Rob van Zoelen

About the length of your CV or resume

Although there doesn’t seem to be a general opinion about the length of your resume or CV, my advice is to keep it as short as possible. (exception to this rule is, for instance in the USA, when a full length CV is called for Two, three pages tops should do it. There is no need to provide detailed information about jobs you held a long time ago. Be brief about them. And scrutinize your resume or CV for information that can perhaps be removed. It will improve the readability.

Welcome to Rob’s Blogpage

Welcome to this blogpage. Posts on this blog will deal with CV’s and resumés. And with related subjects such as job interviews, labor market, job resources etc.etc. I encourage everyone to respond to posts, I will monitor and respond wherever and whenever necessary.

Rob van Zoelen