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Tuesday, July 01, 2014
Summer is upon us!
The price of gasoline has gone through the roof; millions of children are unleashed from school; and, guaranteed, job seekers are frustrated enough to put their job search on hold.
As we find ways to survive the gas prices and summer schedule, so too must job seekers find ways to accelerate their search.
While there is a general slowdown in hiring during the summer, the search process for exceptional talent is ongoing. In fact, decision makers continually evaluate talent in order to fill executive positions as soon as the Labor Day holiday is over. Smart job seekers should do everything possible to position themselves for the demand for talent in September and October.
Let’s explore traditional and out-of-the-box search strategies to give you a competitive edge.
The 3ft. Rule
Summer is an extraordinary time to network, as the season is filled with festivals, barbecues, garage sales, sports, and endless other activities. Guess what? Decision makers from every industry and functional area are participating in those activities. Now’s the time to implement what I call “The 3ft. Rule.” Don’t hesitate to talk to anyone who comes within three feet of you. If you’re camping, it’s the people who’ve pitched tents around you. If you’re at the beach, it’s the family swimming next to you. The list goes on. You can easily break the ice by talking about the activity you have in common. Then ask, “By the way, what is your business?“ or, “What do you do for a living?“ This kicks off networking that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.
Here’s a great summertime success story. One of my clients was having a garage sale and there was an individual checking out the used refrigerator for sale. My client thought: “Okay, I’m going to use The 3ft. Rule.” After a brief discussion about the refrigerator, my client inquired as to what the man did for a living. He happened to be looking for a mechanical engineer at his company, Mare Island. As you’ve probably guessed, my client was a mechanical engineer and landed the position in just three weeks.
It never would have happened if he hadn’t turned the conversation toward work. When you attend summer activities, don’t just hang out with your friends. Seek out other participants and network away.
If you’re not already actively listed on social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook, what are you waiting for? Recruiters and executive decision makers use those sites on a regular basis to find talent. During the summer, recruiters and decision makers spend a great deal of time surfing online networking sites. They take their laptops with them on vacation, and browse for talent while lounging on the beach. Actively build your Internet presence so key decision makers can find you.
Monday, June 23, 2014
If you are out of work this presents a problem because there is often a large quantity of qualified applicants seeking a given job.
In these times, it is more important than ever to think outside of the box when applying for jobs.
Here are 10 creative job hunting tips:
1) Know what positions are available at a company
Before you can try to work for a company, you need to figure out what job openings the company has. Once you know this you can focus your energy on trying to get that specific job. You can look on a company website to see what job openings a company has. However, the best strategy would be to speak to someone who works at the company as often times companies don’t update their websites with every potential and available job opening.
2) Use LinkedIn and use it well
LinkedIn is widely recognized as the best social network for career professionals. LinkedIn can be utilized as a great resource to connect with people at a company that you are interested in working for. The key on LinkedIn is to compile as many direct connections to other professionals that you can. More direct connections will convert into more secondary connections.
So, if you want to work for Facebook, and you have 200 LinkedIn connections, there is a chance that one of your connections has a connection with someone working at Facebook. This secondary connection can then be leveraged by you to get introduced to the respective person that works at Facebook. And, as we all know - knowing someone who works at the company which you are applying to - can greatly increase your odds of securing the job.
3) Take a look at resume samples
Before finalizing your resume, it is wise to take a look at resume samples. By reviewing other resumes, you can get ideas for ways to improve the content and look and feel of your resume. Looking at resume samples often helps you to identify specific areas where you can improve your expertise or enhance the way you present yourself to potential employers.
4) Be creative about how you use Twitter
You can utilize Twitter to look for jobs in several ways, one of the most creative ways is to use Twitter to locate and contact someone at a given company. You can use Twellow to search Twitter profiles. Search for the company that you want to work for - and you may find someone who has a profile
that says, Director of Biz Dev for company X.
Now that you found that person, you can follow them on Twitter hoping that they follow you back so that you can DM them.Or you can mention them in the hopes they will then get in touch with you. Also, sometimes people include their email address in their profile so you can contact them that way. Either way, Twitter offers a creative way to develop a contact, as the person may appreciate your hard work and creativity in getting in touch with them.
5) Consider different types of jobs
You don’t want to have tunnel vision and only look for one type of job. Especially with the unemployment rate being what it is - you have to think about a few different types of job titles to consider. When you have a few different areas you are considering - it will open up a wide range of options for yourself and you’ll end up getting more interviews and call-backs. And remember, each interview is an opportunity to not only get a job but also to develop key contacts within an organization.
Monday, June 23, 2014
Make an effort to redeem yourself
Have you ever left a job interview knowing you completely flopped? Chances are you have—and you probably dealt with it by beating yourself up and putting that opportunity behind you. But walking away from the job or employer with a negative attitude won’t benefit anyone.
“Bad interviews can be very discouraging and cause feelings of inadequacy, shame, frustration, and even depression,” says Dr. Katharine Brooks, executive director of the office of personal and career development at Wake Forest University and author of You Majored in What? Mapping Your Path from Chaos to Career. “We all like to think of ourselves as successful and when we have an experience that contradicts that image, it can be difficult to recover. Particularly when the interview involves a lot of pressure—the person desperately needs the job—this just makes the bad job interview worse.”
Sylvie Stewart, assistant director of career services at the University of Dayton, adds, “People tend to spend time wishing they could rewind and do it over. It is very normal to feel negative after a bad interview. As an unemployed job seeker, you are naturally very emotionally raw and vulnerable.”
A ‘bad interview’ can mean a lot of things: The candidate believes retrospectively that he or she flopped on a majority of the questions; he or she didn’t adequately prepare for the interview; the candidate is dressed inappropriately; says something offensive or arrives late; or a personal issue—like a family death or a break-up—distracts the candidate during the interview, among other things.
Brooks says if your talents are extremely valuable to the organization and they really want you, the employer might overlook small mistakes. However, if they’re on the fence about you, or you aren’t in the strongest position vis-à-vis the other candidates, the mistakes might not be fixable. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.
“If the candidate believes the interview went poorly, absent any direct feedback from the employer, he or she could look for redemption,” say Jay Canchola, an HR business partner for Raytheon. It’s always better to make an effort to redeem yourself than to leave the interviewer with a bad taste in their mouth.
“The expression ‘never burn your bridges’ can apply to interviews as well,” Canchola adds. “Because people and circumstances are constantly changing, and if the prospective employer is one that aligns with your individual goals, you should continue to make the best impression possible.” You never know if another great opportunity at that company will present itself in the future.
You can’t rewind and redo the interview—nor can you change the employer’s decision to offer you a job. But there are a few things you can do after a bad job interview to help you avoid such mistakes in the future, to mend the employers impression of you, and, if you’re really lucky, to help them understand and overlook your mistakes.
1. Reflect on the experience.
“I talk to many students who believe they have bombed the interview,” Brooks says. “The first thing I do is ask them what went well. It’s important to discover what went well first so that you’re able to look at the negative aspects with a less defeated attitude. I then ask what one thing they would change.” If you have a bad feeling about the way things panned out, identify exactly what went wrong.
2. Learn from it.
Make a list of the mistakes you made during the interview, learn from them, and do better next time, Stewart says.
“The best thing to do with a bad interview is learn from it,” Brooks adds. Don’t wallow in self-pity or allow the bad interview to be an excuse for not following-up or not interviewing for a while. Instead, ask yourself what you would do differently to prepare next time; figure out what information you should have had that you didn’t; and think about how you would handle a difficult question next time.
3. Learn to forgive yourself.
“This will help you to play better in the game in the future,” Stewart says.
Nothing good ever comes from beating yourself up. It’s natural to feel uneasy for a little while—but don’t let the feeling linger and don’t let it discourage you from reaching out to the employer to make things better. Accept your mistakes and move forward.
Monday, June 23, 2014
Try these healthy stress-relieving tactics
While money concerns top work stress, time spent in the cubicle and on the clock has a way of grinding away at even the most well-balanced person’s gears. If your workplace anxiety and anger require more than a bubble wrap session, try these healthy stress-relieving tactics.
Decode Your Stressors
How can you combat the most significant workplace tension triggers? Start by decoding the elements of your day and the tasks and projects you perform that set off your stress meter and how you can change them. If you’re generally content with your position, focus on the positive during moments of dread, and actively try to fall back in love with your job.
Relieve Workplace Stress Now
When in doubt, take a walk around the block and consider talking to your manager about changing things up to keep you motivated and growing. If you experience anxiety all day, spend some time thinking about the bigger picture, your career options, and the steps you will need to take to make a larger change.
Monday, May 19, 2014
You can do it
Improving your People Skills can be a difficult thing to
accomplish but it can be done. Nothing is more
uncomfortable than inadequate people skills.
Below are a few basic steps to take so that improving your
people skills becomes not only a change but a better
lifestyle for you.
Step #1 Cut the nervousness out!
Remember people are not out to murder or attack you, they
are just here to socialize both personally and in business.
If that doesn’t help remember that if you are nervous then
the other person probably is too.
If you still feel butterflies in your stomach after trying
to calm done just try and act calm. Sometimes just acting
as if you are calm is enough to trick your mind into
feeling like you are calm. The mind is easily fooled so act
calm and your butterflies should follow.
Step #2 Improve the body language in your people skills.
Crossing your arms is subconsciously offensive because you
display a piece of aggression, stating that you would
rather not become deeply engaged in the conversation and
that possibly you might be bored.
If you are seated, crossing your legs displays the same
message. Try and keep your arms down, hands in the pockets
are fine. Try and keep your legs down and if you are
standing don’t sway. Swaying implies again that you are
bored or that you are in a hurry.
Monday, May 19, 2014
Become a stronger employee
A performance objective helps a weak employee become stronger by guiding him with measurable results. As an employer, it is your responsibility to encourage and nurture teamwork in your workplace. Better teamwork means more cooperation and respect between employees; if one member of the staff needs improvement, work with him to develop and implement a teamwork-focused performance objective.
Encourage your employees to use teamwork not only to reach more creative, employee-oriented solutions, but to increase the number of people who feel responsible for a project. Employees who work well together foster an atmosphere of creativity, problem solving and camaraderie. When one employee has weak teamwork skills but is a valuable employee in other ways, help him improve his teamwork skills to increase his helpfulness in the office.
Monday, May 19, 2014
Interacting with others at work
Almost every work environment you experience in your professional life will require you to interact with other people. Knowing how to effectively socialize within your social environment has become a critical success skill within the workplace. You will have to relate to managers, co-workers and customers effectively to be successful in your position. Following a few specific tactics can help you improve your people skills at work.
Show that you are an approachable and pleasant person to interact with by smiling honestly and with your whole face, not just your mouth. Offering a genuine smile shows openness, is attractive to others and can help to calm an otherwise tense interaction. Understand the infectious nature of a smile; being able to smile will help others be more willing to smile as well and make the entire workplace more pleasant.
Actively listen to what others have to say. Show your interest in the message that your peers and customers are communicating by offering gestures of affirmation when appropriate, such as nodding your head, saying “OK” or “I understand,” asking for additional clarity or giving a brief summary of what was just stated.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
From playing video games to exercising cognitive control, studies suggest you can train your brain to multitask, even if you weren’t born that way.
You may have heard the advice that multitasking makes you stupid, and while it’s true that most people have difficulty performing two tasks at once, that advice doesn’t apply to “supertaskers.”
Kat McGowan of Psychology Today recently examined supertaskers, people who can simultaneously handle two demanding tasks without making mistakes, and spoke with several researchers studying them. While supertaskers are rare, research suggests there are ways to improve your cognitive control (the ability to focus on accomplishing a task with competing demands). Here’s what they suggest:
1. Eliminate distractions.
Dr. Adam Gazzaley, a neurology professor at the University of California, San Francisco, says we can teach ourselves to better exercise cognitive control. According to Gazzaley’s research, individuals who ignore distractions (colleague conversations outside your door or daydreaming, for example) are better able to juggle multiple streams of information without making mistakes.
For important tasks, Gazzaley suggests limiting the number of distractions around you. The next time you’re under a deadline, try shutting your door, silencing your phone, and closing your inbox.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
It’s time to stop setting the wrong goals and start using goals to determine the journey, not the destination.
It’s a commonly accepted sentiment that setting goals will lead you to success.
Many of us believe life will be better by reaching those goals, so we make our plans, put our nose to the grindstone, and work our butts off until we’re there.
Many high achievers I’ve worked with over the years reach their goals, but they end up missing their lives in the process—and not in a trivial “I’m-working-too-hard-to-have-friends” kind of way.
No, they reach their goals and discover they were the wrong goals and the wrong path to get there. No one taught them how to set goals that would give them the life and the career they wanted.
Here’s how to set the right goals for the life you actually want:
1. Stop Setting Goals for the Wrong Reason
The first step to setting goals that will bring you an awesome life is to stop setting goals that will bring you a sucky life.
Most goals are about a destination. “I want a million dollars.” “I want enlightenment.” “I want a truck.” If you tend to set your goals based on the destination, and don’t consider the journey, try switching it around.
2. Choose a Goal to Create a Journey
Instead of setting life goals, think about setting a life direction. Figure out the things that would create a fun, meaningful, compelling journey.
How do I want to spend my time?
What daily activities make me want to leap out of bed?
What do I want to learn?
Who do I want to hang out with? Talk with? Collaborate with?
Now set your goal. Choose one that will create the journey you just designed.
In fact, the specific goal you set is almost arbitrary—it’s simply setting a direction so the pursuit itself gives you the life that you want. With the right journey, it won’t even matter if you reach your goal.
For example, Chris, a mid-career finance executive, had an original life goal of making a small fortune. That goal led to an education in securities and securities law, a life of financial analysis on Wall Street, and a community of financial professionals. Despite the money, Chris feels like life is slipping by in a gray fog.
Any number of goals could send Chris on a different journey. Here are his answers to the above questions:
How do I want to spend my time? “Helping people.”
What activities make me want to leap out of bed? “Problem solving, using my body, and public speaking.”
What do I want to learn? “History, anthropology, and urban design.”
Who do I want to hang out with? ”Creative, ambitious, motivated people who expose me to new ways of thinking and challenge my assumptions.”
Many possible goals can bring about this journey for Chris. He could help an immigrant neighborhood plan annual events to preserve its cultural identity; work on designing his city’s response plan for weather emergencies; or champion a real estate development in a historic section of town.
These goals are wildly different from one another, but what they all share is that the journey to reach them will motivate the activities, learning, and community that Chris really wants out of life.
Monday, April 14, 2014
Create your own reality
It may sound crazy, but I believe all of us are familiar with what it means to be a stalker. Many of you probably think about (and hopefully do not relate to) the hiding-out, binoculars around the neck, creeper-style stalking that results in restraining orders or imprisonment. Perhaps on an even lesser scale, you may shamefully contemplate the hours you spent stalking the online pictures of your long-lost middle school crush that just friended you on Facebook. Regardless of these two stereotypical stalker types, I hope you will consider a new definition of stalking—a stalking of yourself and your career, that will challenge you to pursue your passions fearlessly, shamelessly and obsessively.
Stalking your career really means stalking your inner passions, your fire within and the talents you have and then blending those within a career. Unfortunately, for many of you, the word “career” evokes feelings of utter panic. “Career” has morphed into a new definition of entrapment, leaving post-grads feelings stuck, imprisoned to their nine to five jobs that mean nothing to them. For our entire lives, our teachers, parents, and society itself has trained us to believe that after college our sole purpose is to find a career that leaves us financially stable. We may have had inspirational mentors here and there that paid lip service to the importance of us pursuing our passions, but now that college is over, you may find that you do not so much as have an idea of what we’d like to do. The sky doesn’t really seem to be the limit any longer because we are paralyzed by our fears of failure. But, now is not the time for fear. It is time for us to all shed our inhibitions, throw caution to the wind and find out what really drives us to wake up in the morning. In my book entitled, The Secret to Finding Passion in Your Career, I believe whole-heartedly when I proclaim that, “They (teachers, parents, society) may have been right or wrong, but now it is up to you to begin creating the reality in which you can live the life your inner nature requires you to live.”
Once you have an idea of what interests you, search for people who are using your same passions in a career and stalk them. Don’t follow them around and actually stalk them, but use them to build up an understanding of possible careers you could obtain and let them become a part of a system of networking you have for your future career as well. Never disregard or refuse a conversation with someone. It’s not all about who you know, but all about who you are willing to get to know. Connections are vital in not only helping you gain opportunities in the future, but also giving you a wide range of knowledge pertaining to how to apply your passions in the working world. Investigate their jobs for things that may interest you or spark you to use your passions similarly. Be aware of who you’re meeting everywhere you go. You may be at a boring Christmas party with all of your parent’s seemingly lame friends or standing in line at the grocery store, but talk to everyone and find ways to give value to them. Welcome the exchange that is possible when you give and gain insight from those around you, a reciprocation that will naturally evolve into your personal growth in your specific field.
Once you have begun to seek out your passion in a specific career, pursue these opportunities relentlessly and creatively. It is hard to get a job in this economy, any job, and the lowest jobs are the hardest, because there are so many people applying. So, whether you’re applying as a barista at Starbucks or as a high-level executive at a marketing firm, keep in mind that you must act creatively in order to be remembered and gain any type of competitive edge over the sea of applicants. Just as you can imagine, it is always more effective to have face-to-face conversations with people than a virtual one, so always opt to hand in a hardcopy resume or have a real life interview with a future employer over simply e-mailing your resume or having a phone interview. When face-to-face is not an option, add a picture to your resume since, “a memorable picture and a nice smile equals competitive advantage.” Most importantly, be patient and stay persistent—and recognize that it may take time before you see the fruit of your labor (pun intended).
Today, even right now, let yourself daydream a bit. What do you love to do? Explore your passions freely. No answer is wrong, no occupation unreasonable, no dream unrealistic. Believe in yourself and believe in your own unique journey. Your life does not and should not look the same as the next person. Your career and vocation ought to align specifically to your heart, your talents, your skills and your interests. Although many will travel the world and start their own businesses, “You don’t need to run around the world and start a business ... It is about being who you are and living life in that expression.” Let yourself think, remember, and discover what you love and what you want out of life and relentlessly stalk that passion.
I remember the first job I ever applied for in an office during one summer in college. The job, a personal assistant, required that I have proficiency answering phones, filing paperwork alphabetically, making coffee, and using a copier. Having no past experience in an office, I confidently applied with my high school diploma, a few college courses, and somewhat tech-savvy skills under my belt. I mean, I knew my ABCs and I knew I could figure out how to transfer calls on a phone. I disregarded the fact that I had never once in my life made coffee or copies recognizing that I had no chance at being hired unless I beefed up my skills since my work experience consisted of babysitting. I showed up to the interview in my best workplace attire, exaggerated a bit, and obtained the job using charisma and a somewhat inflated resume. The evening before my first day, I resorted to YouTube videos on “How to Brew a Cup of Coffee” and “How to Use a Standard Copier” to teach me how to be a PA and life on the job turned out to be a breeze.
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