About Joel Quass

I started out a child just like everybody else. I did chores around the house, I mowed the lawn for my Mom and Dad and I enjoyed going to school (most of the time). At age 8 I started delivering a weekly newspaper and when I was 10, began caddying at a local golf course. I made $4 for carrying someone's clubs around the golf course, plus they would buy me a soda and a Snickers bar after the first nine holes. What a great job! Through high school I worked pumping gas and doing construction jobs. After high school I took a year off from school and managed a gas station and lived on the sailboat I purchased. The following spring I took the money I saved and sailed solo for 3 months up and down the inter-coastal waterway. I sold the boat that August and started college. I worked my way through college as the Assistant Manager and Projectionist at Cinema City Theaters in Tabb, Va. and later held paid positions in Student Government at Christopher Newport College, now CNU. One of my professors, Dr. Webb, made it possible for me to teach beginning sailing as an adjunct professor while attending college. Another great job! I have owned 5 businesses including being a professional chimney sweep. My brother Brian and I owned Quassword Cards TM, The Crossword Puzzle Greeting Card. We sold over 10,000 greeting cards in hospital gift shops around the country and were featured in the Spilsbury Puzzle Companies 1995 Holiday Gift Catalogue. My billing company in Lakewood, NJ. while not as successful, did generate some income, with only minimal expenses, over its short life. In Williamsburg, Virginia, I bought a vending business and built it from $90,000 in gross sales to over $250,000 when I sold the business two years later. I have had the good fortune to have also worked for several great companies including the now de-funct Best Products Co. Inc. The senior managers of that company, just as with my current employer, put a big emphasis on teaching. 15 years ago I put down the first notes for what would eventually become Good Management Is Not Firefighting. A year ago, I dusted off all the little pieces of paper, the notes I had been putting into my "Book Folder", and I began to write. The result has taken my career in a new direction and allows me to give back to others and to teach, just as so many took the time to teach me as I was growing up. My motto is "I love getting up in the morning, because I learn something new every day." I hope you will find useful information in my work. If you do, please share it with others.

Posts by Joel Quass:

Students should plan, so they never waste a summer 0

Joel Quass worked for VIMS on the Chesapeake BaySchool can be a stressful. Even the most motivated and inspired students face academic deadlines, family commitments, roommate distractions,  and other stressors. The thought of spending even part of the summer working just adds  additional pressure. Students view summer as spring break on steroids.

For me, summers were all about making money to pay for school. That was my plan. Summers involved long hours doing construction, pumping gas and being the Assistant Manager of a movie theatre.

But what if, with a plan,  you could use that time to forge a relationship with a multi-national corporation? Or work with marine biologists planting sea grass on sand dunes? Summer jobs in your field of interest stand out on a résumé and develop valuable contacts for future positions.

My best summer during college involved 18′ Thunderbird motor boats with giant Mercury outboard engines. My job was to chase the incoming tides up rivers that fed the Chesapeake Bay. Starting at the mouth of  the river at slack water, I would take a water sample. After logging the time and temperature, I would race upriver a specific time and collect another sample. All summer long I said to myself, “I can’t believe they are paying me to do this.”

As a  Political Science major, I never thought about leveraging that summer job into a career. That wasn’t my plan. Yet it happened in spite of myself.

I made some strong contacts at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and more importantly, at the marina where we fueled the boats. One of the Senior VP’s of the retail chain Best Products kept his boat there, and we had many of the same interests. Networking with Mr. Riley landed me an interview and a management position with Best Products after graduation.

My summer job helped me land a full-time management position after graduation by sheer luck. Imagine what a student could do during the summer if they had a plan.

Goal Setting – small ones count too 0

Joel QUass uses FoursquareFoursquare is an excellent tool for tracking my visits to the  gym. Plus the App gives me little encouragements, such as “3 times this week, your abs thank you!”

Six weeks ago on Foursquare, Jon H. became the Mayor of Supergym. For 8 weeks before that, I was the Mayor. The week I lost the Mayorship I had an out-of-town meeting and only went once. My goal ever since that day was to recapture my spot as Mayor.

Today it happened! The news flashed across my smart phone as I checked in at Supergym this morning. I could feel the positive endorphins surging as I walked from the parking lot into the gym.

However small, victories should be celebrated!

You sent the résumé – five questions to ask before answering the phone 0

  1. Have I researched the company? Are you ready for the phone interview, asks Joel Quass
  2. Are my notes available when the phone rings?
  3. Have I thought about what they might ask in a phone interview?
  4. Do I know why they should hire me?
  5. Do I have stories of success I can share?

“You only get one chance to make a first impression.” Still, I hear candidates say their phone rang before they had a chance to learn more about the job. Instead of hearing “you’re hired”, they got  ”we are interviewing many people for this position, don’t call us, we’ll call you.”

If this job is the one, take the time to do your homework. Then have a system for keeping your notes about each company.

A winning  résumé demonstrates to the reader why you should be hired. When the phone rings, be ready to build on the résumé with stories of success. Practicing those stories in front of a mirror or with someone will make you more comfortable.

Taking the time to prepare before sending your résumé will build your confidence. Confidence during the phone interview leads to an in-person interview which leads to those magical words “you’re hired”.

Don’t Post That! Manage Your Online Reputation to Get That Job 0

Two People are shocked before learning  from Joel Quass, professional speaker and branding expert

 

As a recruiting specialist for some high-profile companies, I have waded through more laughable job candidates than there are pigeons in Times Square. According to a survey by the social media monitoring service Reppler, up to 91 percent of companies use social networks to screen potential employees, and a whopping 69 percent of them have rejected candidates because of something they posted on a social media site.

With statistics like these, you would think that more applicants would think before they post, or at least make sure their on and offline behavior is congruent. This simply isn’t the case. I have seen impressive interviewees tweet about how stupid I (the interviewer) am moments after they leave my office, and worse. If you want to leverage social media to your professional advantage, these tricks of the trade are worth taking into consideration.

Build Your Backbone Smart

Dan Schwabel, author of “Me 2.0″ and founder of the personal branding agency Millennial Branding, believes people don’t get jobs through computers; people get jobs by connecting with other people. All of your social media outreach should take this into consideration. Use sites like linkedin.com and monster.com to connect with people you may already know. Don’t hesitate to drop the name of a respected professor who gave you a good grade, or ask one of your parents’ well-known friends for a recommendation.

Learn How To Post Right

There are entire blogs dedicated to the terrible things people post on social media sites: too much personal information, blatant examples of their stupidity, etc. If you’re reading this article, then you’re probably not one of them—but that doesn’t mean you aren’t guilty of breaking unofficial social media etiquette rules. Forbes reputation expert Davia Temin reminds us of some rookie professional mistakes:

  • Don’t eat and tell. No one cares about what you ate or who you had lunch with.
  • Be wary of anything emotional. Social media is not a place to share private feelings, sadness or outrage. Unless you are a professional political commentator, comedian or someone who is paid for your point of view, it probably isn’t very insightful and it doesn’t reflect well on you.
  • Don’t brag about anything. It’s always obvious or drug/alcohol related.

Back It Up in the Real World

Once you’ve populated your social networks with an honest resume and profile and mastered the art of the relevant post, it’s time to brave the real world. Spend some time putting together professional materials and perfecting your elevator pitch and handshake for the in-person meeting.

  • Business cards: They still matter a lot. A business card can leave a more memorable imprint than click-away digital content. Companies like PrintingForLess.com offer professional promotional material for a bargain price.
  • Appearance: You won’t be judged on what you look like, but you will be judged on what you did wrong. Iron your shirt. Brush your hair. Don’t have chipped nails, and don’t pretend like we didn’t already scope you out online.

Guest Post Jennifer Jones

Jennifer is a recent graduate who majored in finance. Next stop, the Wall Street Journal, Perth edition.

Can an employer make a left turn from your résumé? 0

All I wanted to do was pick up my new sport coat. I had ordered it on Sunday and was told it would be ready Wednesday morning. My route took me a different way than I traveled on Sunday as I was dropping off some printing down the street.

Joel Quass, Professional Speaker and Author, speaks on management and leadership topics trys to get to Ocean County Mall

Traveling north on Hooper Avenue, I saw the signs for Ocean County Mall. It seemed to be telling me to make a right before the Bay Avenue exit, taking me down an exit ramp.

Arriving at the bottom of the ramp, I noticed a very large concrete barrier between me and my intended route. I could not make the left turn into the Mall.

Forced to continue on Bay Avenue, my next thought was to make a right into the entrance of Pier One and then cross Bay Avenue into the Mall.

Incredibly, there was that concrete barrier again. Now I am forced to make another right, continuing once again down Bay Avenue. The next cross street is Oak Avenue. Oak crosses Bay with large NO-U-TURN signs plastered around the intersection. So I made a left and turned up Oak Street. Now I can see the mall again in the distance.

The first entrance into the Mall from Oak is guarded by a large No Left Turn sign, propelling me forward to the next intersection with a traffic light. Once on the Mall property, I must now traverse their outer perimeter roadway to get to my final destination. Had I not needed the jacket for a conference presentation Friday morning, I would have abandoned my effort several turns ago and headed home.

After picking up my jacket, it dawned on me that I having read hundreds of cover letters and résumés that follow a similar path. I know where the author wants to end up, but I can’t get there from what they have written. Just like the first sign instructing me to turn right to get to the mall, the next transferable skill is hidden in the résumé  behind a concrete barricade.

Make your résumé and cover letter easy to navigate. Do not hide the good stuff behind No-U-Turn signs and concrete restraining walls. Arriving at the store was necessary for me. An employer thwarted by a hard to follow résumé will likely toss it and move on.

Organize and clearly mark the directions. Keep the employer from turning around and taking another road, another résumé, that is easier to follow. If an employer can follow your résumé’s traffic pattern and make that left turn easily into how your skills will benefit their problems, then it has done its job.

Corporate Responsibility: Companies That Give Back and Make More (Guest Post) 0

illustration of many color handsCorporations take social and environmental responsibility by giving back to their communities and practicing sustainable and ethical modes of business. Is your company interested in getting involved? One of the best ways to give birth to a successful foundation, non-profit partnership or philanthropic campaign is to find a corporate role model. Find a great company with a similar brand, culture and goals and see what works for them.

The type of business you’re in and the type of product you create will vary the type of charity you involve yourself with. See how some of the world’s most successful corporations are changing the world, and find what inspires you. Depending on the way your business is financially run, research what type of tax exemptions each charity type is applicable for and meet with different financial institutions to learn about your options. For example, the Plum card at American Expressgives you access to a recommendation engine that will help you find a non-profit addressing a concern that you care about.

Saving the Arts

The Hard Rock Cafe expanded its philanthropic help from music and the arts to humanitarian and environmental efforts; for over four decades it’s been looking for ways to help change the world. From its Local Ambassador Program that directly works in local communities on a daily basis to their Signature Series T-shirt line where artists create custom artwork on T’s and profits are donated to a good cause. Working with dozens of partners for their efforts.

Education

For a decade, BetterWorldBooks.com has been built on on social responsibility, selling books, donating books and funding literacy projects around the globe with the belief that education and books are basic human rights. For every book sold on the site, a book is donated. According to their website, they have converted more than 58 million books into over $10.4 million in funding for literacy and education (and) diverted more than 40,000 tons of books from landfills. This September, Sonic opted to make a difference in the amount of personal money teachers put into their classroom with the Limeades for Learning program. Participants voted on selected classroom projects and at the end of the campaign half a million dollars was awarded to 1,457 teachers around the nation.

Philanthropy

The vegan elf-like hybrid slipper shoes, known as TOMS, set an example that many apparel companies followed. Starting in 2006, TOMS set out with the idea of making products with little environmental impact and large social impacts on communities. It uses animal-free products, down to the ink, and 80 percent recycled boxes, store-front sustainable day-to-day functions, and company employees and employers believe in fair and ethical business practices within their supply chain, according to the Toms.com website.

Disaster Relief

In the wake of recent natural disasters, many companies stepped up to help. Tide’s Loads of Hope program brings mobile laundromats to devastated areas. One of their biggest breakthrough projects was the effort put forth post hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Cancer

Many companies have helped raise money for breast cancer research, since 1996 Lee jeans has spread breast cancer awareness with Lee National Denim Day. Where participating businesses donate $5 per employee wearing jeans to work. Over the years over $80 million has been donated to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Beauty company L’Oreal Paris has donated over $18 million to Ovarian Cancer Research with its Color of Hope cosmetics collection,with the goal to improve survival rate and help find a cure.

Going Green

Producing environmentally conscious products in a sustainable way is becoming more standard than fashion. Burt’s Bees makes eco-living easy with its affordable lines of eco-friendly bath and beauty products sold at most retail stores like grocery stores and Target.

The Alcoa Foundation, established by the global provider of aluminum, is one of the largest corporate foundations in the nation. Working for over half of a century and grossing hundreds of millions of dollars for nonprofit organizations supporting the environment and education.

Thanks to Guest Blogger Alex Davis

QA specialist for a PR company by day and a freelance blogger by night, Alex loves having online discussions with business analysts and offering his company the quality it needs to grow.

This manager always said “whatever you need” 0

Good Management is Not, LLC I just received an urgent phone call. The voice at the other end of the line told me that one of my managers had suffered a massive heart attack and passed away overnight. I was stunned.

Having just spoken with him yesterday, I was trying to remember the last words we shared. I hope they were positive. They were probably work related.

We did have discussions about things other than work. He enjoyed talking with his fellow employees about their latest adventures. He was always genuinely  thankful to have the position. His family had been in the printing business, and when they sold it, he came to work with me.

His favorite saying, when asked to do something, was “whatever you need”.  I’m going to miss that.

After I post this, I think I will give each of my children a call and tell them that I love them.

What do confidence, Dr Seuss and the words “you never know” have to do with job seeking? 0

I have written much about the importance of having the confidence to be consistent in your job search or any other activity. This Thursday the point was driven home by one of my Twitter followers.

Here’s the conversation: Dr Suess and the cat in the hat

:@Goodmgmtisnot “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” ― Dr. Seuss,9:30am, Feb 28 from HootSuite

@GoodMgmtIsNot Nothing like prose from Dr. Seuss 2 encourage even timid #JS 2 “go#confidently in the direction of their#dreams” Thoreau9:34am, Feb 28 from Web

@SageStrategis tEvelyn- Thanks for the creative addition to today’s quote9:47am, Feb 28 from HootSuite

@GoodMgmtIsNot  :) Don’t mention it Joel- many of your thoughts of the day give me pause. I like 2 reflect on the insightful words of others.

When I read “many of your thoughts of the day give me pause” the light bulb flashed over my head.

Having recently read a blog post from a person I respect about the “silliness” of daily inspirational posts, I had been tempted to stop my daily 9:30 am quote of the day.

I don’t include any links to my website, or special offers for reading them or any links to click. There is no direct financial gain by posting them. The point  is really to share something I find value in and have the confidence to continue in spite of what someone else may say or think.

Confidence is what creates positive stock valuations. Confidence and its twin sister trust, are what people expect from their Budweiser (that it’s not watered down). And over time people are confident that if they check their Twitter feeds @goodmgmtisnot @1stopjobsonline @joelquass  at 9:30 am est 7 days a week, they will see my latest quote.

From a “You Never Know” standpoint, I have written about my experience with a customer on the Jersey Shore and how the final chapter was written months later on a NJ Train going into New York City.

For a Job Seeker, you never know when you pick up the phone if this will be the job of a lifetime. You never know when you send a thank you card or make that follow-up phone call if this will be the action that ends in a job offer [4 reasons you must follow-up]. As a Job Seeker, you must have the confidence to keep doing the right things, even when the feedback is not there.

In the end, from an Interviewer’s  perspective, confidence and “your fit” in the company is what you need to establish during the interview process. You need to leave the Interviewer confident that what you have to offer and what the job calls for are the same, making them confident you the only logical candidate.

Thanks to Evelyn and her Tweet, I am more confident than ever that my daily quotes are enjoyed by many who read them. Thanks to the feedback from clients, I can say (paraphrasing Dr. Seuss) that “you never know” where you will go if you have the confidence to go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  

10 Ways To Win An Oscar (I Mean Land A Job) 0

and the award goes to (I mean the job goes to...)...

and the award goes to… (I mean the job goes to…)

I Google searched 10 ways to win an Oscar. With many thanks to everyone on-line who submitted a Top 10 List, the Oscar goes to Rick Schwartz for his list:  It’s Easy To Win An Oscar!

Here is Rick’s Top 10, re-packaged with my job tips:

  1. Be A World-Class Schmoozer - Be a real person and treat everyone you meet politely. Make sure you start with the receptionist.
  2. Don’t Be Ugly - Dress for the interview and make sure you are groomed. Leave the t-shirt and torn jeans at home.
  3. Cast A Has-Been – Everyone loves a come-back story. Show how you overcame an obstacle to achieve a goal.
  4. Do Something Scandalous  -The Facebook photo of you drunk, singing on top of a bar is the wrong type of scandalous. Think of something positive you have done. Stand out with a success story related to the requirements of the job.
  5. Live In Los Angeles - Rick talks about doing things in the town where the Oscars are awarded. Contributing time to a volunteer project in your town is a point in your favor.
  6. Show Up Everywhere  - Networking is still one of the best ways to land a new job. Make sure you are out there.
  7. Don’t Be Afraid To Get Dirty – You might want to stay away from this one. Once you start exaggerating your qualifications on a resume, it’s a slippery slope. Even if you land the job, someone will eventually find out. Don’t go there.
  8. Hire The Professional Goons – Sometimes an objective, outside opinion about your resume or your interviewing skills is needed. A small investment in a career coach and professionally crafted resume is often the difference between multiple job offers and a prolonged job search.
  9. Take Credit For Everything – Do not be afraid to toot your own horn. If you don’t believe in your ability to land the job, neither will the interviewer.
  10. Make An Amazing Movie – With a professionally crafted resume, scripting and a bit of rehearsing (ideally in front of a video camera),you can be amazing. All of your experience packaged correctly can make you the only logical choice.

Follow my ideas and be ready to accept the Oscar (I mean the job offer).

Want a job? Four reasons you must follow-up 0

Recently I presented my “You’re Hired” keynote for the New Jersey Department Of Labor’s Jersey Job Club

Interview, job search requires thank you notesThere were many excellent  questions both before and after my presentation. One stood out in my mind. Tim (not his real name) asked:

“Why should  I spend money to send a thank-you card if I felt the interviewer was not interested in me?”

Several audience members almost jumped out of their seats. Each said the cost of a stamp and five minutes of their time was minimal compared to the potential of a job offer. One person told of getting a call after sending a thank you note. In the note,  she had offered several suggestions to a problem the interviewer had told her the company was facing. She ended up landing the job.

Tim’s question reminded me of a job offer I once received after sending a thank you card and later following up with a phone call. I was immediately asked to come to the office and was hired  when I walked in the door. I was actually told by the interviewer  that my follow-up was the reason I was offered the job. It was the final test.

Back at the Jersey Job Club, I spoke with Tim.  He was missing the point about what a thank you note is about.

  • Tim did not see the chance to add value by sending the note.
  • He did not see the chance to separate himself from other candidates by highlighting an aspect of the interview.
  • He did not see he could share additional information about something the interviewer asked.
  •  Tim did not see that he could include information about a shared hobby, his answer to a company challenge that was discussed or an idea sparked by the interviewers questions.

A few days later, I received an email from Tim. He had re-thought the ideas we had discussed. He saw the value of consistent, specific, follow-up. Tim said he is now investing in his future when he mails a card.

Following up with a snail mail card is more than an obligation. It is a chance to stand out, to show your value to  an employer. Done right, the next thing you sign after the thank you card will be all of the forms during your new hire orientation.