Whether you are BP or a Bodyguard, be careful of far-reaching consequences

My heart sank when I saw the article in the Belfast Telegraph; “Oil from BP spill may reach Ireland”.

Many Irish fishermen feed their familes throughout the year by harvesting the dangerous waters of the Atlantic Ocean during the lucrative fishing season. In remote areas such as Northern Donegal, in the province of Ulster, there is no other way for them to survive.

Generations turn to the Ocean for their livelihood. What will happen now if the shores of Ireland become polluted as the Gulf has? Will BP step up to the plate with a multi-Billlion dollar rescue package? I think not. BP is managed by smart executives who know how to fatten a “bottom line” (but not necessarily how to plug a leak). Each year they receive $2 Billion dollars in Govt. contracts from the Pentagon.

Who would have thought that a gushing crude oil well off the Gulf States could weeks later threaten the livelihood of European fishermen? We all need to be careful what we do today, since it could have far-reaching consequences.

An E.P. colleague recently spoke about an assignment that he was sure he was going to get. He had all the right qualifications and was on the “short list”. He was quite shocked and bitterly disappointed to discover he did not make the cut. He later heard through the grapevine that he was not included because his credit had taken some hits over the past couple of years and his credit score had plummetted as a result.

Even in these tough times it pays to pull out all the stops to protect your “marketability”. Just because the economy is poor, doesn’t mean that a prospective employer will understand unpaid bills and over extended credit.

Similarly, burning bridges at any time is a risky practice – in these lean times it could be disasterous. If you are looking for a job – put your best foot forward and if you have a poor credit score, it might be wise to mention it at an interview if you have a decent excuse why it became so.

The number of applicants in the job pool is ever increasing and employers can afford to hire the most highly qualified and stable. If you have a job, protect it with dear life. Survival of the fittest is the name of the game.

How does your resume measure up?

I have written about the importance of resumes and cover letters before.

Unfortunately, we still receive countless resumes from people who should be reading these pointers. If you have the time to send out resumes, especially unsolicited resumes, you should also have the time to compose a decent cover letter.

There is no excuse for sending someone a blank e-mail without even bothering to put anything into the subject line. As an employer, I can promise you that the quality of resumes we are receiving are getting better by the day. You can thank the economy for that.

It is not just happening in the U.S. The Washington Post last Sunday ran an article about the how hard the financial crisis is hitting the middle classs in Ireland. For those who were unaware, the Irish economy has been shooting through the roof this past decade or more. It was even christened the “Celtic Tiger Economy”.

That is not the story any longer however. An unbuilt McDonald’s over there has already stopped taking resumes for its 50 positions after receiving 500 resumes. That is not the remarkable part though.

The resumes had been submitted from bankers, accountants and architects. We are not even advertising Investigator or Executive Protection positions available, yet we are receiving resumes from people with Post Graduate degrees.

For those who know how to properly submit a resume and cover letter and who are waiting to be called for an interview, visit www.bodyguardcareers.com and read the pointers that our friend Hucky gives for interview success.

To the rest of you; do you still feel comfortable sending out those coverless resumes that leave a potential employer scratching their head as to what you want? I hope not. You should be doing your utmost to answer every company’s main question; “What can you do for us?”

The power of communication.

I think many of us fail to realize the extreme importance of communicating in a way that ensures we are understood.When I was working for the United Nations in different countries around the world, I would often be told by other UN staff that they were surprised that they could actually understand what I was saying. Apparently, they had met other Irish and could only understand a few words here and there. That was easy for me to understand. As the Deputy and later Chief of the United Nation’s Special Investigation Unit, it was of the utmost importance that people could understand me. Imagine questioning a person who was facing deportation back to their country for an alleged crime. It would be unfair to them if I didn’t make my self understood, even if it meant that I had to slow down my fast Irish speech and leave out the Irish slang words (that very few people around the world can ever understand).

I was in Dublin last weekend, passing through on my way to the Middle East. The big topic was the Irish referendum on the Lisbon treaty. It seems that the country was fairly evenly divided by those who were; voting yes, voting no, did not know. I wasn’t that terribly sure what it was all about so I asked my sister and her husband. They had to admit that the whole thing was rather unclear and that the Politicians didn’t do a great job of explaining. Then I met up with my brother. He too was not 100% about the importance of a “yes” or “no” vote. I got the impression that Ireland might lose their National identity if they voted “yes”, so I left thinking that “no” was the way to go.

Apparently the rest of Ireland thought so too, as I am sitting in my hotel room in Dubai listening to the BBC and Sky news talking about the after effects of Ireland’s rejection of the Lisbon treaty. That got me thinking. The only time we really ever had any problems with a client involved communicating, or a lapse on somebody’s part. It is amazing how large the repercussions can be when you are talking about a whole country. Next time you are involved in a negotiation, remember the Lisbon treaty and make sure you know what is at stake. You could be avoiding a costly mistake.