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Monday, August 25, 2014
Find the right balance
1. Expose Yourself
People entering the business world today are a commodity. They’ve gone to the same schools, taken the same courses, read the same books, and watched the same movies. Meanwhile, companies like mine are desperately seeking fresh minds to help them navigate massive cultural and technological changes. Where are they going to find them?
Growing up in a small town in Indiana, I led the middle-class life of Beaver Cleaver, until I was kicked off the high school tennis team. Then my real education began with a new curriculum of hustling, drinking, smoking, cruising, fighting, and sex. (I mostly examined the latter.)
Think of your life as a big magazine rack. When you’re standing in front of it deciding what to choose, resist the normal impulse to reach for People or Cosmopolitan. Instead, grab a copy of Game Informer, Inked, Guns and Ammo, or Bass Fisherman. Apply the same approach to movies, books, and people. You need to expose yourself. Whether you’re looking for your first job or your fifth, you’ll benefit from exploring unusual ideas and engaging unconventional individuals. If you experiment with your life, you’ll learn a lot about yourself and the rest of the human race.
2. Hit the Road
Americans are a sedentary lot. Only one out of three have a passport. When they travel, their favorite destination is Las Vegas, where they can photograph the Eiffel Tower, float in a gondola, and visit the pyramids. Less than 5 percent of US citizens travel overseas each year. As a result, they know less about the rest of the world than the rest of the world. This is a problem when every cell phone is made in China and every service call is answered in India.
Selling expensive leather wallets to unsuspecting tourists in Florence, Italy, I learned why Americans are afraid to travel. Foreign businessmen like my boss Enzo were just waiting to rip them off. In two-thirds of the world, bribery is an accepted business practice and bargaining is an art. You need to learn the regional ropes by studying or working abroad, because every employer is banking on international sales to fuel their future. If you want to compete in the global economy, especially in a melting pot like Miami, you’ve got to hit the road.
3. Ask the Captain
Knocking on a captain’s door opened a new world for me. While my contemporaries were graduating from college, I talked my way into a job as a cabin boy on a Norwegian tanker bound for Asian destinations I’d never imagined. In your career you will encounter “ships” that can transport you to unexpected places. You just have to figure out how to ask the captain.
Senior executives are intimidating to those just starting out. But they’re the ones who can have a real impact on your career. Stalk them in the hallways. Corner them at events. Drill them with smart questions. Ask for their help. If you want to be a captain tomorrow, you should start by asking one a question today.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
End the slump
There are times during a job search when job seekers veer off their intended path. Professionals who are feeling like their job search is stalled can take several corrective actions.
Focus your job search: Evaluate what you have done so far, are you applying for the right jobs? Do you need to revamp your resume? Is your brand evident? Are you using the various tools available – networking, job sites, recruiters and social media? Have you expanded your target list of companies that you would like to work for?
Create a professional blog: Market yourself to employers on a blog by building your expertise – blog about issues that impact your industry. Install LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter share and follow buttons to make it easy for others to share and connect with you. Create a page on your blog to post your resume.
Get job search help: Seek outplacement services, hire a coach or an employment counsellor. Take full advantage of all such services your company might provide. You don’t have to go it alone since there are qualified professionals who can help you to kick-start your job search.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
At networking events and job interviews, a common ice breaker is, “Tell me about yourself.” To respond confidently, it’s vital to have a practiced elevator pitch that sounds impressive, authentic and engages others so they want to learn more about you.
There is a basic formula that works all the time.
Background/Branding Statement/Target Position: State what you do and how long you have been doing it. Include what you are best known for – your keys strengths, unique selling proposition and the value that you bring.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
New research suggests that certain concrete goals for happiness work better than abstract goals.
The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, may answer one of the paradoxes of happiness: why trying to be happy sometimes makes us less happy (Rudd et al., 2014).
Perhaps, suggest the authors, our goals for happiness are too broad and all-encompassing, when they’d be better off specific and achievable.
Unrealistic expectations of how happy we can be and what we can achieve may lead to more unhappiness in the long-term.
One of the study’s authors, Jennifer Aaker, explained:
“Although the desire for personal happiness may be clear, the path to achieving it is indefinite.
One reason for this hazy route to happiness is that although people often think they know what leads to happiness, their predictions about what will make them happy are often inaccurate.”
To investigate these ideas, the researchers carried out a series of six experiments.
In one experiment, participants were divided into two groups and each formed a slightly different type of goal:
One group formed the goal of making someone happy,
Another group formed the goal of making someone smile.
People then performed all sorts of acts of kindness in pursuit of this goal, like:
Giving a gift.
Telling a joke.
Sharing an amusing video.
Giving some food.
What the researchers found was that the acts performed in the service of the concrete goal (making someone smile) made the givers themselves feel happier than the abstract goal (making someone happy).
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Both Albert Einstein and writer Roald Dahl famously worked at very messy desks, and it never seemed to do them any harm.
And yet the messy desk can attract smirks and even censure in the office.
So, how to solve the great messy/tidy desk debate? Who is right?
Well, new research has found that order and disorder in the environment have different psychological consequences.
In their first experiment participants were asked to fill out some questionnaires in an office (Vohs et al., 2013). Some did it while the office was clean and tidy and others did so when it was messy, with office supplies and papers strewn about.
Afterwards they had the chance to donate to charity and choose a healthy or unhealthy snack. The results showed that:
“Being in a clean room seemed to encourage people to do what was expected of them. Compared with participants in the messy room, they donated more of their own money to charity and were more likely to choose the apple over the candy bar.”
So the workplace that wants compliance and good behaviour is probably right to put a premium on tidy desks.
What, though, if you want creativity?
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.
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