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11 Common Interview Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making

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Interview mistakes are always costly, but they’re deadly if you’re unaware of them and continue to make them during every interview going forward.

That’s a problem that never ends and will always cost you great jobs, unless you fix it today—which is my goal.

And if you’ve struggled to get jobs, the good news is you can improve and dominate interviews in the future.

My mission in writing this is to shine a light on common interview blunders and tell you how to improve. Ideally, you will never again shoot yourself in the foot during an interview.

If you make these mistakes it’s time you know so you can develop your interview game and fix these weaknesses.

It’s only then will you have a chance to stand out among all the other applicants to win job offers.

And if you don’t struggle in these areas, then you should be extremely confident going into your next interview. Because you know your competition will surely make these errors.

Let’s take a look at the most common 11 interview mistakes so you can determine how well you interview.

Deadly Interview Mistakes

1. You dress unprofessional

First impressions only take about seven seconds to make, so you need to be on your game the moment they first look at you.

A baggy, unfitted suit for a professional job interview will suggest that your ability and value to their company is also not high quality.

And now you’re starting behind the eight ball before you even say hi and tell them about yourself. Talk about a bad start.

Where if you dress in a nice-looking, fitted suit, you pass the initial test and make your first impression a good one.

Dressing well will also give you confidence the rest of the interview and this will come out in your interview answers. 

This is example one, including the rest of this list, where the little actions add up to make or break your performance.

2. You show up late

You’d have to have something wrong inside your head to think showing up late is not a problem— like this girl definitely has a screw loose.

Being tardy is disrespectful to the interviewer’s time, displays your poor time management skills, and gives the impression you’re not serious about securing the job.

Three strikes and you’re out. As my friend Evan says, “That’s pathetic.”

The only thing worse than showing up late is not showing up at all.

I don’t care if there’s an accident, a time change the night before, or some other deterrent, you should plan to show up early so you at least make it on time.

Ways to ensure you’re not late are to plan on showing up 15 minutes early, write down the address and know how to get there, and plan ahead for parking if the company doesn’t have their own lot.

Just don’t be late.

3. You don’t bring your resume

Truth is you never know who is going to interview you and if they’ve seen your interview in advance or not.

That’s why it’s always wise to print off a few extra documents, just in case.

Remember these are busy hiring managers and executives who often don’t have time to review your resume before the interview. So many of them will review your resume and ask the questions on the fly.

If they don’t need your resume or already printed it off, it doesn’t hurt to bring it. And if they ask for it, you’ll come off as prepared if you have it instead of unprepared if you don’t.

The only way you lose is if you don’t bring it.

4. You forget to smile

In case you didn’t know, smiling is the universal language for kindness. Go to any faraway culture or land, and a smile is the same: a warm welcome and expression of kindness.

Smiling when you first introduce yourself, throughout the interview, and after as you’re saying goodbye, sends the message that you’re likable and you will get along with the rest of the team if you’re hired.

If you forget to smile, you give off the vibe that you’re not a happy or friendly person and could have issues working well together with other employees, or (even worse) be unfriendly to clients or customers.

So remember to smile and you’ll improve your interview success rate.

5. You’re clearly underprepared

Not doing your homework will come out during the course of any interview.

You may struggle to answer why you want to work for the company or what you know about the company. And you will struggle to cater your interview answers to their specific needs and wants.

Why not come prepared and rock the interview?

Spend an hour or two to research the company. Then go a few more hours to prepare your interview answers and consider how you’d respond to different questions they might ask.

You’d study more than a few hours for a college exam, I’d hope, and this job interview is far more important. Treat it as such.

Show you truly want the job or you won’t get the job. It’s that simple in the hiring process.

6. You have weak eye contact

This is as much a social skill as it’s a career skill.

Eye contact communicates confidence, trustworthiness, and focus on the task at hand.

Whereas scattered eyes sends the message that you’re either unsure of yourself, untrustworthy in your interview answers, or unfocused. None of these signals will help your cause for landing this job.

A few ways to improve your eye contact are to:

  • Focus looking at one eye
  • Look long enough to discover the interviewer’s eye color before you look away
  • Break your eye contact by nodding your head, making a hand gesture, or smiling
  • Make eye contact while you talk and listen

Too much eye contact can be awkward, so find a happy medium.

7. You talk with fluff and generalities

So you say you’re extremely hard working, passionate, and organized? Cool, so are 99% of the other candidates.

Generalities don’t persuade any interviewer that you can perform for their company and provide value.

The only way you’re going to separate yourself from the pack is if you don’t answer their questions with fluff.

Your answers need to include specific, concrete stories of where you performed and made a difference in your previous work experiences. That’s how you convince them that you’re a winning candidate.

If you don’t know how to respond with powerful interview answers that knock these questions out of the park, you need to check out my book The Golden Resume or the course Master The Resume.

8. You’re arrogant

Want to know the best way to piss off an interviewer and lose the job? Act like you’re better than the job, interviewer, or the company.

Even if you’re far more skilled and experienced than all of the other candidates, nobody likes a jerk.

And you need the interviewer to like you because they’re the ones who give feedback to their superiors on whether you go forward or get rejected.

Plus, since company culture is increasingly important, companies would rather have a kid who is coachable than a know-it-all who doesn’t play nice with others.

To be clear, I’m a big advocate for selling yourself to get the job. But be confident and poised, not cocky and annoying.

9. You bad mouth your old boss or company

Ripping on your old manager or company doesn’t make you stand out. And it could cause you a lot of harm.

Because they’re going to secretly think something like, “There are always two sides to every story, what did you do to cause this?” Or, “If we hire them, it’s only a matter of time before this bad apple turns sour on us.”

And the interviewer could very well side with your old manager when you present the situation.

That’s another issue you avoid if you never bring it up in the first place.

Stay professional and polished. Don’t sling your old employer in the mud or you’ll get dirty too.

10. You don’t ask questions (or good questions)

It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question. – Eugene Ionesco

I doubt Eugene used this in reference to how to interview well, but he nailed this idea.

It’s a major red flag to not ask any questions. That means you’re not educated enough about the company to ask or you just don’t care about getting the job.

And while most applicants give cookie cutter questions, successful job candidates will separate themselves by asking great questions.

These questions will indirectly advance the thought that you’re a quality candidate who is serious about getting this job. That means you’re winning half the battle already.

If you have an interview coming or you’re interested in what to ask, read 15 questions to ask interviewers.

The questions in that article are sure to impress and lead to valuable feedback.

11. You forget to take note of their name and email

How can you write a solid thank you letter to the interviewer if you don’t grab their name and email? That’s the point, you can’t.

So what could have been a cherry on top of your performance—by thanking them for their time and reiterating your interest in the position—is another missed opportunity.

And CareerBuilder did a study that found 33% of hiring managers think less of applicants who don’t send thank you notes. Meaning there is a real benefit in sending one.

By now I’ve made this clear multiple times, since job searches are extremely competitive, if you get lazy in any area then it will show up and cost you.

Let’s not have that happen to you. Just ask for their business card to get their name and email, and then send the email after the interview.

Execute The Interview Like A Pro

Some of these little mistakes on this list wouldn’t cost you if you were one of five candidates interviewing for the position.

However the average corporate job attracts 250 resumes according to this Glassdoor finding. This means you have to be diligent to the tee if you want this job offer.

So how do you win the company over? Doing the opposite of the mistakes above is the bare minimum to stay in consideration.

This won’t set you apart from the good candidates.

That’s why you also need to go on the offensive to separate from the pack and win over interviewers. Your strategy and execution is what convinces them to hire you.

How do you strategize? It all starts with preparation.

You have to first know what job you want and why you want it before you every craft your resume, apply, or interview.

Though this takes more work than blasting off 100 applications on Monster, it will save you from wasting time down the road from working at jobs that you don’t enjoy.

Once you know the type of job and companies you want to work for, it’s time to start researching them. This preparation is critical because you’ll pick up valuable insights on what it is their company is precisely about and how employees succeed there.

All of this preparation will be used to write a specific resume, create your cover letter, and answer interview questions.

Speaking of what to say in the actual interview, here’s my biggest tip: Remember it’s all about what you can do for the company, not what the company can do for you.

Sell yourself to these companies by communicating how you can provide value to them in each and every answer.

The top selling points you can give to a company include:

  • Previous experience
  • Relevant skills
  • Strong referral
  • Intense desire
  • Great personality

Talent expert Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, who has interviewed more than 20,000 candidates, tells candidates to, “Show the connection between what you have achieved and what is really needed to succeed in the specific job and context.”

That’s right on the money! Because if you’ve performed well in a similar position and tell stories about it, you make it easy for the interviewer to connect the dots that you’d perform in this job.

When you defensively don’t commit silly mistakes and offensively go on the attack to stand out, you’re going to wind up with a whole bunch of job numbers.

Once your approach is rock solid, it’s only a numbers game of networking and applying until you secure a great job that makes you happy.

And the good news is you get to take everything you learn now with you for the rest of your career and future interviews.

So it’ll pay off now and later to develop interviewing skills. Best get started today!

Related: 10 Common Resume Mistakes And What To Do Instead

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10 Careers For People Who Love Helping Others

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Know you’re someone who loves serving others and is naturally inclined to that kind of work? A career that allows you to live your passion is just what you need.

For a lot of people starting off in the working world or looking for a new career, financial rewards are not the number one thing they are looking for.

Instead, they want a job that provides a sense of personal satisfaction through the feeling of helping others. These jobs are out there.

You have a whole host of jobs that put you in direct contact with those in need, whether this is through healthcare, education, charity or another option.

And then there are the jobs that provide a broader contribution to society including science and engineering.

So, let’s go through a list of 10 potential options if you are looking for a job that prioritizes helping others.

1) Teaching and Education

Education is a broad field that gives you the opportunity to impart your skills and knowledge onto others, whether these are children or adults.

Beyond the traditional primary and secondary school paths, there are also opportunities to teach at further education colleges or else children with special needs.

To qualify as a teacher, you will need a degree and a further year of hands-on training, but there are also opportunities such as youth work, childcare or becoming a teaching assistant.

Essentially, the knowledge that you are having a direct impact on people’s lives and you are helping them to develop themselves is immensely rewarding.

2) Nursing and Healthcare

As well as being able to serve others, nursing is a field that is always looking for new staff members so there will be no shortage of job opportunities. Just take a look at https://www.staffnurse.com/ to find out more.

Beyond the range of hospital jobs that you can choose from, you could also find yourself working in a GP surgery, adult care centres or people’s homes, to name a few.

The launch of the nursing degree apprenticeship has been designed to make the career easier for people to enter, but obtaining a degree is still required to progress in this field.

Otherwise, there are plenty of other careers in healthcare apart from being a nurse including physiotherapy, midwifery or pharmacy.

3) Medicine

Although it takes a great deal of hard work and commitment to enter this career path in the first place, there is no doubt that working in medicine is one of the most rewarding options out there.

After all, you are helping people with their most important commodity; life.

As well as becoming involved in the day-to-day treatment of patients, there is also the option to go into the research side of the field and help develop groundbreaking medicine.

And there are also a wide range of medical specialties to choose from so you can decide on one that perfectly suits your interests.

On the down side, this tends to be a very demanding option that requires a lot of dedication to the role which can often impact work-life balance.

4) Social Work

Social work is a career that brings you into direct contact with some of the most vulnerable people in society.

Some of the most common include elderly people, adults with mental health issues and people with learning difficulties.

You will probably be required to get involved in some very tough situations including child protection, adoption or working with offenders. To become a full social worker, you will need to obtain a degree, but there are other non-degree options that give you the opportunity to work in this field in other capacities.

Be in the know that many of these jobs come along with high levels of anxiety and the need to work in some very challenging situations.

5) Emergency Services

Comprising of the police, ambulance and fire and rescue, the emergency services are three different career paths.

They all have in common the responsibility to directly respond to people in their most urgent time of need. And these tend to be very community-oriented jobs, as well as ones in which the tasks vary greatly.

There are a wide range of different options and entry levels for each of the three sectors we have mentioned.

The downside is that the working hours tend to be unstable and you are also likely to find yourself working on call.

But there is also a great sense of satisfaction in knowing that you are making a genuine difference to society.

6) Charity Work

There are all kind of career paths that are directly linked to the charity sector from fundraising to marketing.

You may find yourself directly interacting with people or you may be in a more office-based role, but either way, you will have the knowledge that you are closely involved in helping others.

Jobs are open for both graduates and non-graduates, and there are also plenty of voluntary opportunities as well.

If you know that you are directly involved in a field that you are passionate about, this is a fantastic and motivating feeling that can give you immense job satisfaction. Keep in mind you may have to work your way up from the bottom to get there or come into the sector from a different career path entirely.

7) Law

You may not naturally associate a career in law with one which is helping people, but there are some options which give you the opportunity to give a voice to people without one.

For example, you could go down a career in criminal defence in which you support people who have been accused of crimes.

You could also become involved in the child protection side of law in which you help children in very vulnerable situations. Solicitors and barristers are the jobs that grab most of the headlines, but there are also plenty of entry-level positions that all you to work your way up.

Ultimately, you need to be selective about the type of job you are going for so that you have the feeling that you are helping people and making a genuine difference to their lives.

8) Science and Engineering

Though a lot of science and engineering careers are less about helping people on a daily basis, they are often involved in making the big societal changes that make all the difference in the long run.

For example, in a science career role, you could be involved in protecting the environment or developing new health treatments for people.

Plenty of engineering paths also lead to positive changes for people such as developing renewable energy sources.

Again, it is all about being selective with your career choice so you go for one that provides you with the maximum amount of job satisfaction and the feeling that you are really helping people.

9) Public Service

Though people who work in politics often have a bad reputation, many people do enter this particular career path because they want to help others.

The work that you are doing could impact the entirety of the country, even though whether you are in contact with them directly or not depends on what job role you go into.

So, if you are particularly passionate about the community you live in, a career in local government could be the ideal solution.

Alternatively, you could work in central government and choose between all the different major areas such as pensions, healthcare, education and justice. Job roles are varied so you could be coming in from a wide range of backgrounds.

But if you progress high up the career ladder, stress levels can rise accordingly as you are having to make the decisions that really impact people’s lives.

10) Psychology

Psychology still remains a rapidly developing field. And the increasing focus on mental health in society means that there are more options than ever before becoming available.

Some of the most common branches of psychology that people enter include health, clinical, counselling, educational and forensic.

Like other job roles we have talked about already, you have the reward of knowing that you are directly helping people who are struggling with a range of complex issues.

Final Words

The 10 career paths we have talked about are just some of the potential options you have if you are looking to get into a career that involves helping others.

While some require a great deal of training and study, others can be entered at any stage.

Essentially, you should think about where your passions lie before matching yourself up to one of these options.

It may be that you want to come into contact with people directly and feel like you are helping people in this way. It may be that you like the idea of contributing to wider societal changes that help people in the long-run.

Whatever the case, many people find that personal rewards and job satisfaction from one of these types of career outweigh the financial incentives of other paths.

Though if you work your way up, you still have an excellent opportunity to strike the perfect balance of finding a job that is rewarding in both senses of the word.

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High Risk Career Choices That Could Pay Off Big

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Are you the type of person who enjoys adrenaline and high-risk, high-reward opportunities? You’ll probably fit perfectly in one of these risky career fields below.

Career choices are never easy. Whether you’re a high schooler, a college kid, a young professional, or a middle aged adult, it’s difficult but crucial you find the right job.

A large portion of your happiness and future depend on it.

While there’s advice all over about how to find the right career based on your personality, sometimes this can lead to overthinking and feeling paralyzed on what to do next.

It’s best to know yourself and trust your gut when it comes to making the right career choice.

Since every choice you make in life will come with its own risk that it may not pay off, sometimes the ones with the most risk are the ones worth risking everything for to be happy.

For the risk-takers out there who need to have a sense of fulfillment in their work, the following high risk jobs could be right up your alley.

Starting Your Own Business

If there’s one career move that a lot of us will want to make, but can often be afraid of, it’s starting a business from scratch.

Starting your own business will always be a risk. Even when you have the capital, a solid business plan, and a lot of experience in your field; you can never guarantee that it’s going to work out.

But if you’re willing to work hard and work at it, it’s a risk that can often pay off.

Becoming A Freelancer

Similarly, choosing to leave job security and go freelance can also be risky business (albeit less than starting your own business), but it’s often worth it.

The risk of going freelance is real and it will also depend on how well you are at adjusting to freelance life. Work won’t always be handed to you; you have to chase it. The investment you need to give here is both your heart and time.

By putting everything you’ve got into going freelance, you should see success.

Working In Another Country

When you do own your own business, or if you have a side project that you’re working on, there may be a time that you decide to go international. And there are always risks associated with this move.

When you’re moving into a market that you don’t know and that you have no experience in, there is a greater chance that you fail.

If you can do your research and plan your entry carefully, the potential successes will always be worth the risk.

Real Estate Investing

There’s always the option to turn to real estate investing.

If you’ve wanted to start a career for yourself that you can operate alongside your work, for the time being, property investment is a strong option.

Whether you look into buy to let options, BTO, or decide to start flipping properties, you have the potential to earn more money than you know what to do with on your own.

Many beginner investors need to first just build up capital, and then be willing to patiently wait until the property and price is right.

Becoming A Professor

When you’re starting out on your career path and still in college, or considering going back to study for your graduate degree, you may consider becoming a professor.

This is a risk for two reasons.

Firstly, the cost of getting your doctorate can’t be ignored. Debt and risk go hand in hand together.

And secondly, the idea that you’re missing out on being in the working world and getting paid a high salary for your skills.

Now if you make it through academia to become a professor and earn tenure, then your job security will be at an all-time high and career risk at an all-time low.

Becoming A Doctor

For those considering becoming a doctor, you may wonder if it is entirely worth it.

Medical education is long, challenging, and expensive.

So you have to be able to analyze the cost vs. the reward relationship when it comes to training to become a doctor.

If you’re skilled, passionate, and willing to work hard, you should be able to both out-work and out-earn your student debt before you know it.

Training As A Pilot

As far as adventurous careers go, if you want to enjoy job security and a good salary at the same time, you’re often limited with choice.

However, a strong option would be to train as a pilot.

Of course there are risks with any kind of job like this, but you should find that although the training is costly, the salary you receive in return will repay your investment, and your security will shatter any risk.

You’ll also gain the flexibility to fly commercial or private, which can’t be said in many careers.

Joining The Army

An army job does not need as much of an investment upfront in terms of experience or money, but it does require a few years of your life.

Although some positions will require a college education like an army officer, it’s not required across entry-level positions. Out of all the options on this list, this one may be the easiest to begin.

Keep in mind a career within the army may prove a risk to your life at times, but the security, skills training and experience may make it the best investment you could make.

Working For The Government

You may also want to consider joining the government.

Working for the federal government, although not a risk in itself (depending on your role) can be worth the investment in your education that you may need to make.

You will often benefit from great working rewards and enjoy a varied working day, especially if you decide to go into an intelligence field.

Mentoring Others

At some point in your career, you may also want to think about going into mentorship.

Mentoring is often a great way to give back to the industry and encourage bright talent for the future, although it can mean you have to give up your time with very little financial gain in return.

Often times mentors find that the personal rewards make any risk you take entirely worth it.

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5 Best Future Careers, And 5 That Will Disappear

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If you’re going to look for a new career, why not consider the best future careers to make sure that job is going to be as profitable in 20 years as it is now?

There’s a whole bunch of careers that are set to disappear as organizations become more dependent on computers and automation to do the heavy legwork for them.

Some experts think that somewhere in the region of 47% of jobs might be lost over the coming decades. That’s absurd if you think about this for a minute!

If you’re looking for a career that will stay relevant, you’d have your head on straight if you considered picking a field from the five we’ve listed below—and avoiding the five industries listed below them.

Good Future Careers

1. Cyber Security

The world’s going to be even more reliant on internet systems than it is now. With the arrival of the “internet of things”, it’s going to be all around us, a part of everything we do.

This, naturally, will make the criminals of the world pay attention – and as such, as our reliance on these systems grows, so will the importance of staying one step ahead of the people looking to hack and causing mischief.

If you know how to keep these attacks at bay, you’ll be high in demand in the corporate or government sector.

2. Tech Development

Well now, the whole world isn’t going to become dependent on technology just by chance: there’s going to be people behind those systems, working hard to find the next great breakthrough and push the world forward.

It’s important to note that not all IT based jobs will be safe; the market for app development jobs, for example, is likely to wind down.

However, if you can train yourself in advanced technology systems and make sure you’re always at the cutting edge of what’s happening, you’ll find plenty of work.

3. Data Analyst

Data is already used to influence companies much more than you probably realize, but it’s set to become even bigger in the next decade and beyond.

There’s already more data than any company could need, but there’s a problem: there aren’t enough people who know how to interpret the data.

If you’ve got an eye for spotting trends and can make sense of large quantities of information, then look at becoming a data analyst. Computers won’t be able to make sense of it on their own (in the beginning at least): it’ll need the human touch.

4. Healthcare

And talking of a human touch; healthcare is another industry that will be kept safe from computers.

Of course, automation and AI will form a significant part of healthcare, but it’ll work in conjunction with health professionals, not replace them.

Don’t worry if you don’t like the thought of dealing with blood and other healthcare hazards; there are plenty of specialized jobs available that are just as safe.

If we take a look at the job prospects for a radiologist via wikiprofessional.org, we can see that it’s a future proof career option; demand for this job, along with other physicians, is due to grow by 24% over the next few years.

Some jobs just can’t be performed by a machine, and healthcare is right at the top of the list.

5. Social Care

There’ll also be plenty of jobs in an industry that can be considered the cousin of healthcare, social care.

Again, there will be elements of technology incorporated into the industry, but it’ll be working alongside the core workers, rather than replacing them, as the very essence of this type of work depends on human interaction.

And this market won’t just be safe because computers can’t take over: it’s a growing industry in its own right.

In the not too distant future, people aged 70 and over are going to form the biggest age group in the country, and there’ll need more people than there currently are to take care of them.

Bad Future Careers

1. Number Crunching

If you’ve got a knack for mathematics and producing reports and paperwork, then look away now, because this is one surprising career that is likely to shrink in importance in the forthcoming years.

While it currently requires a high degree of expertise, a slew of applications that will more or less automate the entire process are already here, and there will be more on the way, too.

Though traditional companies still rely on human hands to take care of these jobs, modern companies are using machines to take care of their account, bookkeeping, tax returns, and so on, and it’ll be these companies who dominate the future.

2. Global Knowledge

The rapid globalization of the economy has meant it’s been a golden age for workers who were able to navigate different cultures and languages.

While we’re still a ways off from not needing tour guides with specialized, in-depth knowledge, the abundance of apps and other smartphone related tools will shrink this industry over time.

At a more immediate risk are translators, who will have to compete with software that automatically translates languages. The tech isn’t quite there yet, but it is coming, and from then it’ll only be the highly sensitive translations that are done by humans.

3. Non-Artistic Writing

Now, there’s little chance a computer will take the place of a novelist anytime soon. That’s just not going to happen because art is inherently human.

However, writing that isn’t obviously artistic, such as web content, technical reports, and (gasp) newspaper articles will increasingly be written by machines.

Some news outlets already use bots to write their weather reports, and it has been reported (by humans) that robots are more and more responsible for what we’re reading online and in our newspapers.

4. Logistics

The entire logistics industry is about to be turned upside down, as nearly all components can be performed by a robot. Machines will be responsible for the running of warehouses, packaging, and delivery, with little to no human hands helping them along the way.

For a glimpse into the future, look no further than Amazon’s delivery plans. Welcome to the future!

5. Broadcaster

According to studies, broadcasters score some of the lowest when it comes to job growth, stress, and work environment.

This makes sense since competition has to be high for these limited roles and job security is not going to be strong when a media company can quickly fill a broadcasting role with another talking head.

It’s also difficult to find that first broadcasting job as radio stations become syndicated and the Internet gobbles up more music and sports positions.

These are just a few of industries where humans will have more or less importance in the future. So if you’re looking for a change of career, make sure it’s one for the future!

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