A call center is an office designed to deal with a large volume of customer requests, e.g. sales, support, complaints. Call centers become very popular in today’s global businesses.

There are many different types of call centers. Some of them provide information regarding technical issues or banking accounts, you may check details regarding your contracts or bills, but mostly call centers provide technical assistance and support for private and business partners.

Despite the name “call center” you may contact an agent through Internet, e-mail or chat. Most companies provide chat and forums for common issues. First call resolution is a term used by the management to persuade their associates to resolve the issue or to handle a customer’s and solve their request just by the first call. Call center agents are taught to be good listeners, to summarize the information the customer says and to offer solutions.

In technical issues regarding notebooks, printers, servers, storage machines, software etc. First Call Resolution (FCR) is a myth. Remote support requires commitment both from customer and agent and long hours’ analytical thinking and database research. There are some known issues which appear in some variations and combinations of machines and software, however in most cases every new customer's request is an unique problem.

Some big companies hold online forums where experienced people provide information and support to others. You may attach screen shots, logs or other images that illustrate the errors you get on your screen. Those forums are used to analyze software and hardware issues and are very helpful to business partners. 

Popular outsourcing countries for call centers are the Philippines, India, Bangladesh in Asia, Czech Republic, Romania and Bulgaria in Europe and Brazil and Argentina in South America. Those countries offer good quality in terms of language, education, communication skills and political stability. 

Long distance travel is now a part of many employees’ life. In the past it was considered as a perk of the job, but today business travel relates more to headaches and exhaustion. Business travelers see nothing more than airports, hotels and offices. 

Modern communications mean that the only time you are out of reach is during the flight. As long as you get to the hotel, you open your e-mails and start working. Business travels have become more stressful, now you are expected to manage the workload from a distance. Despite the modern communication such as fax, e-mails, telephone conferences, video calls, business travels continues to grow. More companies reconsider their expenditures and decide to choose cheap flights at an inconvenient time. This could be tiresome for the employee who on the very next morning should be in the office delivering a quality work. 

Life is about experiences! Do sightseeing when you travel because you’ll remember the sights more than the meeting you’ll go to. Having a job with lots of travel is a good way to visit new and exciting places. It’s always better to soak up a little of the local culture and to build some friendships. Skip the breakfast or the hotel gym, get a map and go for a walk in the neighborhood. You get some fresh air and exercise before you sit in conference rooms all day and you get to see people and the city before everyone else wakes up.

Enjoy the biggest perk of the business travel – we don’t have to spend a dime and still get pleasure from the trip! 

Mobile phones have changed our life forever, but not all the changes are for the best. 
The R&D acceleration in engineering has not reached its peak. We will be faced with innovative devices and gadgets in the upcoming 50 years. In the last two decades the world experienced an enormous progress regarding our daily life and our job. Many job positions were replaced by machines, the world has become one big “village” where everyone is connected to anyone via Internet; we speak through mobile phones every single minute and are always connected to family and friends; we send messages, pictures, tunes, we make fun and communicate via mobile phones at the same time.

I remember a world with no mobile phones, computers, notebooks, Internet, mp3, IBM, HP, Windows and Linux. It was a simple world in my childhood. My parents were never frustrated of having a low battery. We arranged appointments during the line phone or live and we had never troubles in postponing them.
Nowadays things have changed so dramatically that everyone is required to own a mobile phone. We are permanently connected to the surroundings. We phone each other every single moment we need to arrange a meeting or to accomplish a task. We are permanently in touch with family and friends and so we can assure they are safe. It is very important for most parents to know exactly where their children are in this dangerous and changing environment.

The cell offers us security and safety. Mobile phones make our life easier, they let us play together and send pictures and tunes to each other. We feel more mobile thus we have connection to Internet and we are able to watch TV and read news on the display.

However, there is a negative aspect as well. Cell phones can be dangerous for our health. The waves going out of the phones are dangerous for newborns and for little children too. Mobile phones damage our private space, we can never switch off. If you have a business mobile phone, you are required to answer it anytime and anywhere. This circumstance is an additional stress for our brain and we can never have an enjoyable holiday or just few minutes to concentrate on a task. Every distraction puts us again in the stress mode.
In addition to this we feel angry and helpless when our phone’s batteries are dead. We lose connection to the entire world and feel isolated.
Despite the numerous disadvantages, owning a mobile phone is a vital necessity in the 21 century.  


There is a strange feeling that manifests itself on many people around the world at least once a week. As Sunday draws to a close, many people are flooded by a bad feeling that the next day is approaching.  Most people are aggravated about Mondays because of the physical and mental discomfort that naturally arise from transitioning between two different activity cycles. 

People have different reasons to hate Mondays:
End of weekend
Wake up early in the morning
Back to work
Because of work/school
Who wants to do work?
Monday is the slowest day of the week
Mondays ruin the weekend
Monday is just a pointless day !?!..!!!
It’s so far from Friday
Stupid Monday morning meetings

Many people ask themselves the same question: Am I passionate about my job?
Is something wrong with your job or is something wrong with your life cycle? The way you feel on Monday mornings doesn’t mean you hate your job. Contentment is a skill in itself, and without it, no achievement will ever be enough. Recall what energy you put in education, in job searches, attempting to interviews and so on. Changing your life path could lead to fulfillment and happiness. Some work for a paycheck, some work for passion. People continue to go to work every morning in order to keep the job (they hate), in order to pay bills and earn their salary. 
Admit it honestly – you hate your routine life!

The worst thing of being unemployed is not having a job. Many people get scared of their future and for many of them being jobless seem never-ending.
Lack of money
Your free time is a waste of time
Low self-esteem
Financial troubles
Don’t even think on those things…! 

In a recession, many people are laid-off, sacked, fired… and you could be one of those. It is a scary situation to begin with, because you suddenly don’t know where to go, how you are going to make ends meet, with no new jobs in the offing. 

It could cost months to find a job during a recession. The biggest “mistake” most jobless people come across is starting a job for only the reason to have a job.  Living day to day on a very limited budget and waiting for help from family and friends, could be very stressful. Trying to find an employer right now leads to emotional chaos and frustration. Launching tons of resumes to companies, agencies and job search sites makes you feel more frustrated when you read “After careful consideration, we regret to inform you…” 
In an attempt to diminish the pain most companies add to the rejection letter the following statement: “However we would like to hold your details on our database for a period of 12 months and will contact you again should we identify an opportunity that may be of interest to you.” Sure this is a polite manner for a refusal.

Head up! Life is now asking you to look deep into you. Ask yourself where do you want to live, what do you want to do, what are your skills and how can you help other people to solve their problems or to achieve their aims. Helping other people could lead you to the next level. You can earn and learn at the same time, you could build new contacts, you can expand your knowledge and get recommendations.
Do not blindly jump on another job! Relax, calm down and consider your near future!

1. Free Reading Test by AceReading
This site provides 156 reading exercises, divided into 13 levels and 4 groups of themes. Very useful for candidates who are willing to sit an English exam and for preparation for verbal reasoning tests as well.

2. Online Speed Reading Comprehension test
A free online speed reading comprehension test. The test includes 11 questions referring to a long and difficult text. A calculator for estimating your comprehension score is added beneath the multiple choice questions.

3. Speed Reading Challenge
This site contents 3 speed reading comprehension tests. They test your speed reading as well as comprehension level. Very good study guide for people who are after sitting English exams or preparing for verbal reasoning tests.

4. RocketReader 1
This is a trial version of software for speed reading comprehension tests. The test includes two texts, verbal games and speed reading exercises. The exercises estimate your reading speed at the beginning and at the end of test. The test helps the reader to concentrate on groups of words and to avoid reading word by word. It is very useful for people who try to read at a higher speed or need preparation for verbal reasoning tests.

5. RocketReader 2
Another trial version of speed reading software! You may take the test and determine your reading speed.

6. Spreeder
That’s excellent free speed reading software on the web. You can copy and paste your own text here and tune the number of words per minute. So you can start at a lower speed level and increase it by the next text. You are allowed to tune how many words to display in a moment.

7. Flash Reading
This site provides with the same speed reading software as the Spreeder. Our personal opinion is that this flash reading has a more user friendly appearance.

8. ZAP Reader
ZAP reader is the same program as Spreeder.

9. Read the 'Online Reading Speed Test' and then take the Comprehension and Memory Test here: Reading Comprehension and Memory Test

10. English Articles
Here you can find 5 tough reading comprehension texts and tests. Good luck!

Related articles: 
How to master full reading skills?
How to master full listening skills? 
What are the top ten skills that employers want?

Reading and understanding business documents are essential tasks of any job position. In every day life people read magazines, newspapers, receipts, e-mails, communication messages via Facebook and Twitter etc.
Business documents possess a lot of difficult phrases and expressions, they come in different shapes and sizes – e-mails, resolutions, circular letters, offers, recommendations, complaints etc. They require concentration during the reading and a good foundation in business related issues. 


When you are reading a whole new document, you should pay attention to the following key points:
--- What are the main ideas of the document?
--- What facts are stated?
--- How many people are involved?
--- What new ideas can I infer from this document?
--- Do I have additional questions? Who may I ask? How to gather additional information?
--- What is author’s attitude or opinion?

In the workplace information seems to come from all directions. Correspondence arrives through fax machines, mails, e-mails and overnight delivery.
Bellow you find great advices how to handle informational overload:

#1. Identify main ideas of the reading section. A good method for developing fast perceiving of what you read is the skimming technique. Skimming is done at a speed three to four times faster than normal reading. Skimming is useful when people have a great deal of material to read and a short amount of time or to quickly assure whether a document merits a closer read.

Skimming strategies:
--- Read the first and the last paragraphs of the document first.
--- Scan the subject if you are reading an e-mail
--- Notice titles / headings / subheadings
--- Look at the illustrations, graphs or other visuals on the page
--- Read the first sentence of each paragraph
--- Read the captions of the visuals

Scanning is another technique you can master in order to read quickly and find information. Scanning involves moving your eyes quickly down the page seeking specific words and phrases. Once you've scanned the document, you might go back and skim it. When scanning, look for the author's use of organizers such as numbers, letters, steps, or the words - first, second, or next. Look for words that are bold faced, italics, or in a different font size, style, or color. Sometimes the author will put key ideas in the margin.
In most sources it’s not directly mentioned but scanning often comes before skimming.

#2. Identify supporting ideas of the reading section. Supporting details are the facts and ideas that explain or prove the topic sentence or main idea.

#3. Determine whether information presented in the document is presented as fact or opinion. Try to distinguish
--- how important is the information
--- what are the deadlines for finishing a task
--- how many people are involved
--- what key roles and function do other people have.
Analyzing facts, opinions, recommendations, views and disagreements helps the reader to collect detailed information and have a clear judgment on the current situation.  

#4. Draw inferences and implications from the directly stated content of the business document.
Determine the author’s attitude toward material discussed in the document.  

#5. Generalization
Recognize or predict ideas or situations that are similar to what has been presented in the document.
Draw conclusions & apply ideas!

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Listening skills are essential for the quality of your life and business as well as reading, writing and speaking skills. If you manage to master excellent listening skills, you are going to enhance your communication skills.
Better listening leads to better understanding of key facts, problems, ideas, solutions etc.

Listening Facts:
* In a spoken message, 55% of the meaning is translated non-verbally, 38% is indicated by the tone of voice, while only 7% is conveyed by the words used (Mehrabian, 1981).

* Spoken words only account for 30-35% of the meaning. The rest is transmitted through a non-verbal communication that only can be detected through visual and auditory listening.

* The average person talks at a rate of about 125 – 175 words per minute, while we can listen at a rate of up to 450 words per minute.

* Most people spend at least 45% of communication time listening

* Most people listen to and understand only about a fourth of what is being communicated.

* Listening is the most used of all communication skills.

* Listening is the least developed of all communication skills.

* Listening skills are poorest when people interact with those closest to them. They interrupt and jump to conclusions more frequently.

* Listening is tied to effective leadership.

* Listening leaders recognize that listening and leadership are inseparable and that listening is the best way to learn about the true needs, expectations, and desires of their subordinates.

Why do you need to develop your listening skills? In today’s fast living society no one has time to listen. Many people speak at one and the same time and no one is listening to their counterparts. People desire talking about them and are not willing to go into your thoughts and problems in depth.
By improving your listening skills you will face a better communication with others, you’ll have success and greater results in every day life. Effective public speaking or speaking in front of your friends or spouse is a tool that can be developed in few weeks and trainings. That requires excellent communication skills and the initial ability you need is listening ability.
Below we describe the most important steps you should follow in order to cultivate the ability how to listen and how to catch attention.

# Interest: At first you should show your interest to the speaker. Don’t let you be distracted by other materials, people or events.

# Let the talker feel free to talk: Stop chatting and watch the speaker straight in the eyes.

# Be patient: Allow the presenter to speak slowly, don’t interrupt him/her and try to nod when you feel you know what he or she is talking about.

# Separate the facts from speaker’s opinion!
# Ask questions! Questions are important to gain more information on the topic before you finally meet a conclusion. 

# Be careful of criticizing the speaker, his or her outfit, shoes, appearance.

# If you disagree on one topic, be very careful how you act! Don’t spend more than 7-8 minutes in arguments. In a positive way tell your opinion and enhance it with an example but do not overreact and don’t be emotional. Hold your temper!

# Be aware of body language! Keep eye contact while listening or speaking.

Try using these simple rules and you will be amazed how many information you can gather. To analyze a situation and to find a solution you need information. Knowledge and information are the most powerful tools in our society. Utilize those techniques and results and profit will follow.

If you fear to be rejected on a date, just don’t ask for a date! Is it really so simple?

Most job applicants are afraid of rejecting and often get angry, frustrated and disappointed when receiving a rejection letter. When you are “hunting” for a job, you have to be ready to take risks and to be rejected.
Your aim is to find one perfect workplace, you can not fit to any job offered on the market. Despite how experienced, qualified and skillful you are, don’t forget – there is always someone better than You!

Rejection is part of any job search. The companies are seeking for applicants who suit best to the positions, companies do not offer positions which suit best to your profile! The decision to hire someone and to reject other job seekers is a business decision and has nothing to do with your qualifications. Companies receive many applications on every job offer they post. They look not only on the skills of the applicants, but the common ability to fit into the department, team, organization, salary frame etc. Some companies have pre-described positions and they have in mind what they are seeking for, e.g. sex, background, experience, university degrees and much more. This pre-described frame is not put into the job advertisement. In most cases only the hiring manager has an idea what (s)he needs.
If your CV doesn’t overlay the frame of the hiring manager, you don’t have any chance to get the job! Actually it’s not your fault…
Their fault is they don’t think out of the frame!

Many years ago while finishing my studies I applied in different companies for a job. I received some painful rejections, e.g.

1. “You don’t have the relevant experience for this position.”
Hey guys, I do not have any experience besides two internships in a foreign country. Why did you invite me to a job interview?

2. “We need a co-worker who is willing to travel most of the time… a person who is not responsible for carrying after their children…”
Hmmm… I understand – they need a man for this position. Due to discrimination norms they are not allowed to announce it publicly.

3. “You are overqualified. We seek for an associate who speaks English. People who managed it to master German or other foreign languages are overqualified for this position.”
At least they were honest. No one who invested time, energy and money in a foreign language is willing not to practice it and to forget it in the upcoming two years.

4. “There are some candidates with better qualifications than yours”
In most cases this is the official excuse. They had a pool of candidates and they chose according to their “frame” who to invite to an interview and who to appoint. Your mission is to apply for the job, not to judge their decision!

Related articles:

Job Interview
What is a Group Interview like?
What (not) to say in a Job Interview
The Origin of Job Interviews Youtube Video
Stress Interview Youtube Video

There is no worse feeling than responding to difficult questions during a job interview. The best way to handle that situation is to go prepared to the interview and to stay calm. The following list helps job seekers to gain some view what to expect. Despite how many career advices you are going to read and follow, you will always face a challenging question.
Those questions measure your organizational and planning skills, your behavior, creativity, flexibility and ability to work in a team.

A fellow employee told you what their salary is and wants to know yours. How would you react and what would you do?
Are you a better leader or follower?
Are you willing to take risks?

Can you take instructions?
Can you think of a problem you have encountered when the old solutions didn't work & when you came up with new solutions?
Can you work with direct supervision?

Describe a mistake you made. What have you learned from that mistake?
Do you achieve all of the goals you set? If not, why not?
Do you enjoy working on difficult projects?
Do you feel that money is the most important aspect of a job?
Do you like to work alone or with others?
Do you like working overtime?
Do you like working with numbers?
Do you like working with people?
Do you like working?
Do you manage your time well?
Do you publicly disagree with your supervisor?
Do you think you’re unique?
Do you view job security as of prime importance?

Have you ever worked in a place where it seemed to be just one crisis after another?
Have you worked under multiple deadlines? If so, what did you do?
How did your college education change you?
How do you determine if you are successful?
How do you handle rejection?
How do you persuade people to your point of view?
How do you plan to correct your weaknesses?
How have you shown willingness to work?
How many hours do you usually work in a week?
How would you ask for advice?
How would you ask for help?
How would you describe yourself as an individual?
How would you handle an angry customer?

If your boss’ job became vacant, would you apply for it?
Please give me an example of your experience in staying late to finish a project. How do you feel about that?

Tell me about a significant failure in your life.
Tell me about the time when someone has lost his/her temper at you in a business environment.

What are the five biggest accomplishments of your life?
What are your long range career goals?
What aspects of the job do you believe are the most important?
What do you do when you know that you are right and others don’t agree with you?
What do you hope to do in your next job that you can not do in your present position?
What has your last employer done that motivated you to work harder?
What have been the most memorable accomplishments of your career?
What have you learned on your current job?
What is the most difficult task you have undertaken?
What kind of projects using leadership skills have you done?
What kind of things do you feel most confident in doing?
What part of your workload do you find most challenging?
What risks did you take at your previous job?
What was the greatest disappointment in your last job?
Would you describe yourself as motivated more by your goals or by money?

Your supervisor tells you to do something in a way you know is ineffective. What would you do?

Related articles: 
Job Interview
What is a Group Interview like?
What (not) to say in a Job Interview
The Origin of Job Interviews Youtube Video
Stress Interview Youtube Video

A short guide through proper fashion style in the hot summer days! Found on http://www.slideshare.net and embeded for the readers of this blog.