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What Not to Say in a Job Interview

Five losing propositions

“I will do anything.” An employer conducting a job search has a specific need and is looking for the candidate who can best address it. Saying you will do anything does not focus the employer’s attention on you as the best candidate for the position; rather, it suggests that you are desperate for work. Also, suggesting a willingness to do anything devalues the work you have been trained to perform.

“I really need this job.” A job interview is not about what a candidate needs; it is about what the employer needs. The fact that you have two kids in college is irrelevant, and sharing such information suggests that you might say anything to get the job.

“I am more than qualified for this position.” Remember Goldilocks, who had no interest in porridge that was too hot or too cold? Employers in today’s economy are like that, too: they’re looking for a job candidate who is just right for a particular position. They don’t want to hire someone who may be waiting for a more appropriate opportunity to surface.

“I would accept a pay cut.” Job candidates should redirect discussions about whether an employer can afford their services to a discussion about why the employer cannot afford not to extend an offer. A premature willingness to accept less money could indicate that you lack confidence in your work.

“I am considering a number of other offers.” Employers are not competing for candidates in today’s market. Rather, candidates are competing for positions. By mentioning other offers, you could be sending the message that even you are not convinced you’re right for the job.

How to Visit a Mosque

Showing respect as a non-Muslim

Know when to stay away. Try not to visit right after the five-times-a-day call to worship, when the mosque will be busy with Muslims completing their ritual prayers. Wait a half hour, then enter. Also, try not to visit at midday on Friday, the Muslim holy day, when the mosque may be filled with worshippers listening to the weekly sermon.

Be modest and clean. Ritual prayers in Islam require worshippers to touch their feet, knees, hands, and foreheads to the ground. Remove your shoes before entering the mosque and stepping on its clean carpets. Also, women should cover their heads, their arms at least to the elbows, and their legs to the knees or below. Men should avoid shorts or other revealing garments.

Remember that Muslims may be praying at any hour. Even well after ritual prayer times, there may be worshippers performing “catch-up” prayers—prayers in place of those missed earlier in the day. Be quiet. Don’t take flash photographs. And don’t walk in front of worshippers as they pray. A Muslim who is distracted during prayers is required to start all over again.

Acing the College Application Essay

Tips for your high school senior

Be yourself. Don’t tell admissions officers what you think they want to hear. Remember, this is your chance to really “talk” to them. Also, ditch the thesaurus. Use words you are comfortable with.

Be concise and compelling. Craft an introduction that will make admissions officers want to read on. Avoid clichés and generalities. Don’t lapse into a laundry list of your accomplishments. And if you make an assertion, provide vivid examples and strong evidence to support it.

Jokes aside. Don’t try to be funny unless you are very good at humorous writing.

Answer the question fully. Often students get so wrapped up in the writing process that they forget about the question their essay is supposed to be based on. If you think you might have done that, start over.

Edit, proofread, and edit again. Give yourself some time away from your essay and then come back to it with fresh eyes. Don’t rely on spell check alone; it does not catch every error, and won’t help you if you write—when applying to Tufts, of course—“I have dreamed of going to Harvard my entire life.” More important, have someone who knows you well, like a teacher, parent, or counselor, read your essay. If you haven’t stayed true to yourself, such a person will know it.

Adopting a Shelter Dog

What’s in it for you?

Shelter dogs are healthy. Before being put up for adoption, they are given a full physical examination, and are evaluated for intestinal, blood-borne, and skin parasites. They’re usually spayed or neutered as well.

They know how to mind their manners. All undergo a thorough behavioral assessment. If they show any signs of aggression or other questionable traits, such as shyness that may lead to a biting reflex, they either receive training to correct the problem or they’re humanely euthanized.

They can become your best friend—really. These animals need good care and a loving home, especially given what they may have gone through. In many cases, they seem grateful for a second chance at life. They can be very loyal and express themselves with favorable behavior.

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