“Are Ya’ll Hire-ren?”

August 20, 2014 @ 10:21 am posted by Ummu Bradley Thomas

Have you seen a young adult desperate for a summer job? I have seen plenty in the last several weeks. Yesterday I was in a store and a young lady dressed in cut off shorts, a tank top, and flip flops barely waited for me to stop speaking to the attendant before she blurted out “Are ya’ll hire-ren?” This is so typical of the young adult guerrilla-approach to job searching. If you know of a young adult in search of employment, consider telling them the following:

1)       Come prepared with a resume. It does not matter the type of job. Having a resume will put them above the others that are hoping to simply collect a ream of job applications.

2)      Wear appropriate clothing. Flapping around with flip flops will only make them appear as if they will be a nuisance and not an added value.

3)      Properly remove gum before entering the store to speak.

4)      Conceal tattoos.

5)      Leave the friends outside, in the car, or at home.

6)      Wait for the customers to be serviced before asking for job openings.

7)      If there is not a “HIRING” sign out front, it is not likely any jobs are available. However, it still may be a perfect time for them to introduce themselves in a professional manner and ask for his or her resume to be kept on file.

8)      Ask them to avoid asking for the amount of pay at the same time they are requesting an application or at all.

9)      Tell them to say “thank you for your time” whether or not a job is available. Most young adults just walk away pouting when no job is available.

10)   Don’t ride a bike into the store.

11)    Don’t walk into the establishment talking on the cell phone.

12)   Use good manners and speak properly.

Most importantly, summer jobs should be applied for in the Spring. Last minute running around is not a good strategy. All of the more serious candidates shop around for employment before school lets out and summer begins.



Ummu Bradley Thomas

How Important is it to Make a Great First Impression in Writing?

August 4, 2014 @ 9:54 am posted by Ummu Bradley Thomas

Good Morning All,

Most people reflect on making a great first impression (in person), others reflect on making a great first impression (over the phone), but fail to give it as much attention. However, the least amount of effort is placed on making a great first impression (writing). Just consider…

Fundraiser Notes:

Have you ever received a fundraiser note from a nonprofit or an organization requesting funds from you and your name was spelled incorrectly? Is your immediate reaction to toss it into the trash? I find it interesting how much time, effort, and money organizations spend on developing its pitch, choosing the quality of invitation paper, stamps, and manpower, but very little effort on inputting the names correctly and quality controlling the mail merge prior to sending it out to potential donors.

New Committee Leader Introductory Emails:

Have you ever donated countless hours of your time to a committee because you respected its Chair and the cause only to “suddenly become too busy to participate” on the committee after receiving a not so “people person” introductory email from the incoming Chair whose tone was overly demanding and out of touch with the cause? The email was probably worded as if it came from a CEO addressing paid employees and not a Committee Chair addressing volunteers.

Cover Email/Note to a Potential Employer:

Have you ever dismissed a potential employee because he or she had typos in his or her cover note or email? I have read numerous employment seeking emails that sounded too desperate, too wordy, and too unprofessional. Just as a note: any correspondence to potential (or current) employers should leave out jokes, LOLs, smiley and unhappy faces.

Sales Pitch Notes:

The most interesting of all are sales pitch notes that demand that you need services or products NOW and PAY NOW just because the salesperson is selling them. The best notes are informational and not ones that are too condescending and too “sales” like.

If you have not yet met the person on the other end of your letter or email… make it a great first impression! Your written or typed words speak volumes about who you are as a person and a professional. Consider your tone, personality, professionalism, and points that you want to get across when reaching out to someone for the first time. It is just as crucial as when you meet them in person for the first time.


Ummu Bradley Thomas

What’s Your Savoir faire IQ?

July 14, 2014 @ 2:07 pm posted by Ummu Bradley Thomas

In business, you must possess savoir faire to not only survive, but to thrive in success! With this in mind, can you answer the following:

1) If you met another in business from a different country, would you know whether to shake hands, bow, kiss once or kiss twice?

2) In the United States workforce:

a) If your start time is at 9:00 am, does it mean that you arrive exactly at 9:00 am or should you have already made your trip to the powder room, had coffee, and logged into your computer at exactly 9:00 am to begin your day?

b) If your leave time is at 5:00 pm, does it mean that you should already be logged out, coat on, and made your trip to the commode and on your way out the door at exactly 5:00 pm?

3) In some cultures punctuality is not a high priority in business, however, as a foreigner, are you expected to be on time?

4) In the United States, you are expected to arrive promptly for dinner parties. However, in some other cultures, if you are invited to a party, never be on time. In fact, for dinner parties it is appropriate to arrive up to one hour late if you are arriving with several guests and up to 30 minutes if arriving alone. Do you know where and when this rule applies?

5) In the United States (for business meetings), is 5, 10, or 15 minutes early considered on time? Is 1 minute after the scheduled time considered too late? Is 30 minutes earlier than the agreed time considered too desperate?

6) If you invite another to dinner, who pays? Once you have been invited, are you then obligated to return the invitation?

7) In the Arab world, the left hand is considered unclean. Always use the right hand in preference to the left. Eat only with your right hand. Does this same hold true in other parts of the world? If so, which parts of the world prefer eating with their left hand?

8) In the United States, it is customary to arrive with a demo and in some cases a contract on the first visit. However, in other countries arriving with either or both a demo or contract and without gift on the first visit can almost definitely be frowned upon

9) In the Unities States, looking somewhat frumpy or adorning yourself in unisex garb will not eliminate you in business in some parts of the country, but it will more than likely place a ceiling on your success. Women dress elegantly and men’s suits are well cut. To do business in Italy, you may consider investing not only on your business agenda and technical research, but also in your personal image to be successful. What other countries does this same rule (strictly) apply?

Even people who have never toured another country or never plan to tour another country may eventually come across someone of another culture in business, so increasing your savoir faire IQ can be crucial.


Ummu Bradley Thomas

20 Fatal Faux Pas of Grooming

June 23, 2014 @ 10:50 am posted by Ummu Bradley Thomas

Good Morning, As an image consultant, I have advised doctors, lawyers, professional athletes, pageant contestants, executives, politicians, First Ladies (of churches), soon to be college and high school graduates and scores of woman and men on how to project a powerful image. With each client, my goal is to bring out the dynamic qualities that they have hidden somewhere on the inside and to bring them out to the external image that is presented to the world around them.

To do this, I often have to assist in re-wiring the client’s self-imposed misconceptions/inaccuracies of their personal assets and exaggerations of liabilities with regards to their self-esteem, self-worth, and overall self-image. For how one feels on the inside is truly reflected on how one appears visibly on the outside and it is indicated in more than through simple expression of emotion such as one wearing a smile or not.

Internal feelings are reflected externally from everything from weight, disposition, split ends and thinning hair, picked/scratched skin, to poor posture, and a not so confident walk. It truly makes the difference in whether a person enters a room unnoticed or becomes under constant surveillance from on-lookers in admiration (indicating a positive image) or disgust (indicating an extreme, crude, or outlandish image).

Are your Introductions Savvy?

June 13, 2014 @ 10:49 am posted by Ummu Bradley Thomas

Good Morning,

When you meet someone for the first time, you have an average of 30 seconds to make a confident, warm and personable first impression. This is because studies show that the average person has roughly a 30 second attention span. If you lose that new acquaintance to a sloppy introduction, you may risk losing them as an associate, customer, partner, friend, or employer all together.

Knowing how to properly introduce oneself and others is frighteningly a forgotten art. Knowing the correct way greatly enhances your positioning and influence in business, your social life, and the community.

If you don’t get into the habit of introducing people, you may stumble on your trip up the corporate ladder. Introductions bring people together to exchange business information and enhance their networks. The person with a high level  of confidence finds the art of introductions a skill worth mastering.


Who should be introduced to whom? The rules of introductions are as follows The Etiquette Advantage (2005):

  • Introduce a younger person to an older person.
  • Introduce a person of lower rank to status to a person of higher rank or status.
  • Introduce a man to a woman.
  • Introduce a peer in your own company to a peer in another company.
  • Introduce a person you know less to a person you know more.
  • Introduce a fellow executive to a client or customer.
  • Introduce a nonofficial person to an official person.
  • When introducing a person at a banquet or official function, you introduce that person by his full name.

Always rise while being introduced. During the introduction, include a point or two that they may find of common interest. Avoid controversial topics, mention something that will carry the conversation, but avoid maximizing the conversation.

If you are introduced by your first name only, complete the introduction by saying, ‘”Pleased to meet you, I’m Ummu Bradley Thomas.” Look directly at the person you are speaking to. Smile, introduce yourself and shake hands. If the person does not respond with their name, just say “and you are?” or “to whom do I have the pleasure of speaking with?” Avoid the usage of “Hi, Hey, or How are ya?”

The key is to always think and act like a brand manager for yourself, your company and your country. You are known by the places you frequent and the company you keep. A smile and the positive disposition eliminates awkward moments that can possibly make you appear unpolished.


Ummu Bradley Thomas

Sowing and Reaping in the Workforce

June 9, 2014 @ 10:23 am posted by Ummu Bradley Thomas

In society, it is the Law of Give before you can Receive. In philosophy, it is the Law of Cause and Effect. In banking terms, it is the Law of Deposit before you Withdraw. In biblical terms, it is the Law of Sowing and Reaping “Whatsoever you sow, that also shall you reap.” The laws are called by many names, however, the rules are very much the same.

For example, in the workforce…whatever you do/put in (hard work, careful thought and consideration, training others (with pleasure), taking responsibility, or burning the midnight oil) you will eventually reap/benefit (promotions, positive relationships, over-time pay, raises, and excellent references) from doing. This means that you must work with the genuine intent of helping others first long before you set your sights on what’s in it for you to gain!

Unfortunately, many work as if they are only a “one man” or “one woman” show with the intent of doing for themselves or “getting theirs”, yet they often question why they have not progressed further in their careers. Things that you can do to sow on the job are as follows:


1) Mentor a junior co-worker.

2) Share responsibilities

3) Offer (genuine) critique.

4) Train an incoming member of your team.

5) Get things done now by overcoming procrastination!

6) Revitalize co-worker relationships.

7) Make your rounds lunching with many instead of the usual select few.

8) Work with energy — it will spread to others.

9) Make better choices — as it will affect others.

10) Achieve your ambitions by assisting another with their ambition

11) Develop the habit of going the extra mile.

12) Roll up your sleeves to assist in tasks that are outside of your job description.

13) Offer a smile, handshake, or word of encouragement and it will soon reciprocate.

14) Pay attention and listen to others on a project.

Most importantly, look to do these things without anticipating, instant gratification, praise, or an immediate return. Remember the best investments take time. Sowing into your workforce community will certainly reap benefits in the end. Just work without the intent of receiving, but with the idea of sowing. Have you ever recognized that the most successful people on the job are also the most respected and oftentimes most helpful? I bet if you look around you will see just that!


Ummu Bradley Thomas

Allowed to Do What You Want on Your Free Time… Think Again!

May 30, 2014 @ 12:32 pm posted by Ummu Bradley Thomas

Personal life can in fact seep over to your professional life. How many ball players, actors, politicians, clergy members, and everyday workers have you seen who have acted irresponsibly on their free time and have been forced to resign, lose endorsements, or be issued a leave of absence? Behavior does truly matter both on and off the court or in and out of the office. Please consider…

1. Is it okay to make off-handed comments on Facebook? After all..it’s your personal page.

2. You are a surgeon who is drunk at the bar and one of your patients observe you. Do you think it matters to him or her whether you are still the best choice for his or her surgery? After all, you are drinking on your free time and your lab jacket is still in the office.

3. You are a director that walks around in the company fitness center’s changing room in undergarments. You are on your lunch break, so you think it doesn’t matter, but should you pay more attention to change behind a curtain more so than the average employee?

4. You are rude to the young waitress or waiter (often). You suddenly meet him or her at your company’s picnic with your boss. Think it would matter?

5. You are a school principal who frequently cuts grass without a shirt on or a belt on your jeans. After all… it’s hot outside and you are home cutting your grass. Your students observe your dragon tattoo on your back and go home and chat about it. Do you think it matters?

Conflicts with Colleagues in Front of Clients

May 23, 2014 @ 9:05 am posted by Ummu Bradley Thomas

Companies hire a diverse base of employees to maximize on innovative thinking, consider various points of view, encourage creativity, and to tap into a broader customer base.  Which is why:


Conflict is normal.

During teaming efforts conflict is necessary.

Disagreeing with colleagues in front of clients?  All depends…


1) Keep fights clean

2) Don’t attack the person

3) Find common ground with what’s known

4) Enjoy a healthy debate on the unknown

5) Evaluate all sides…the observing client will.

How to Use Proper Business Etiquette to Discourage Orchestrated Intimidation

April 27, 2014 @ 3:18 pm posted by Ummu Bradley Thomas

Good afternoon,

In the workforce, you may experience certain individuals who may acknowledge you briefly, acknowledge you only when others are looking, acknowledge you only when they want you to facilitate a request, then suddenly ignore and dismiss you.

This sort of behavior often happens in the hallways, by the copier, on the staircase, while entering a building, in client meetings, or even while entering an office to receive an assignment. Don’t be dismayed. It is “Orchestrated Intimidation”.

In many cases, higher-ups or even those just a step, pay grade, or even a year or two of more tenure than you may assume the duty of having others wait with baited breath to receive a professional courtesy from them. However, this sort of behavior directed towards you can be strategically discouraged as you grow in your Proper Business Etiquette Skills.

Sorry to interrupt, but How am I doing?

July 14, 2011 @ 2:07 pm posted by Ummu Bradley Thomas

Good morning all,


Have you ever waited for your performance review to figure out where you stand? is your motto “No news is good news”? If so, think again. In most companies performance reviews are done every 6 to 12 months. This means that if you are unlucky, you may have to wait for up to a year to figure out where you stand in your position. Seek out feedback, gain perspective, and you will build a more solid working relationship with your superiors.

Managers are consumed with reports, updates, meetings, disciplinary actions, task sheets, time cards, and yes evaluations…eventually. Also, if a manager is not well organized, he or she may not notate your accomplishments along the way and the thing you did wrong that came closest to the review time is only indicated on your evaluation.

This is of course unfair to you, but whose fault is it really? Get proactive about how you are being evaluated. Do not wait until the customary time period to see if you need much improvement, are scoring off the charts, or are virtually nonexistent in their book. Some employees prefer to be virtually nonexistent and fade into the paint until it is close to bonus or pay increase time. This can be a very risky strategy as this person is often reviewed when times are bad and positions are eliminated or kept based on need. If you show no signs of life form throughout the year, you may give the impression that you are not necessarily needed on the payroll. Get in the habit of marking your calendar or setting your Microsoft Outlook notifications quarterly, so you can have a sit down with your supervisor or manager regarding your progress. If an issue occurs, be certain to step up to the plate IMMEDIATELY and find a way to remedy the situation.

You may have more than likely seen the usual evaluation questions on your organization’s cookie-cutter performance review, so you know how you are being scored. Keep that in mind and uppermost when you are conducting yourself throughout the year. Get in the habit of evaluating your performance objectively at the end of each month. This will help keep you excited about your position, responsible for your duties, and focused on your career goals.

Contact Us

Ummu Bradley Thomas, Founder – freddiebelljones@gmail.com

Office Location
Freddie Bell Jones, Inc.
8133 Elliot Road
2nd Floor, Suite 236
Easton, MD 21601

Phone: (410)-820-8700