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com Guide You’re about to start a new job and decide to read through your employment contract for the first time. Is there a surer way to tarnish your early enthusiasm and optimism than realising that you will have to work through a probationary period before becoming a full employee? Learning that early failure to perform may mean you’re given less than one week’s notice leaves you feeling like anything but a valuable new member of the team. Why wasn’t this mentioned at the interview stage? In fact, you should never be surprised to learn that you will be on probation for the first few weeks or months with a new employer. Firstly, most firms require that you serve a probationary period. Secondly, you should always read your employment contract before accepting any offer so there should be no room for shocking realisations at any later stage. So, armed with the knowledge that you should expect to find a probation paragraph in your contract, you should be ready to recognise and deal with any deviations from the norm. Probationary periods usually last for three months. Some employers will be happy to take you on as a full employee after only a few days; others will require you to work for a whole year before you satisfy their requirement. Next, you need to know how much notice of termination of employment is required on each side. In the majority of cases this will be one week. If the normal terms of your contract would require three months notice on both sides, then probationary notice may be one month or more. In some cases, there may be an asymmetry
in the notice required by either side. For example, you may have to give your employer a week’s notice, while they are only obliged to tell you the day before, or vice-versa. Pay attention to what will happen to your remuneration while on probation - will you be obliged to accept a lower starting salary for a few weeks? Will your commission from sales be lower than that of someone who has successfully completed their probation period? What about absence due to sickness? In each case, you must scrutinise your contract before putting your name to this legally binding document. There may be occasions where your particular requirements are not covered in the contract, for example, the question of whether or not maternity leave is dealt with in the same way while on probation. Make sure that you ask for such to be clarified in your terms of employment before committing yourself. This section of your contract is, in many ways, a self-contained employment contract in itself and so deserves close attention. We’ll assume that you are now over the shock of having to work a probationary period and all the implications that has for your job security, salary, benefits and so on. How do you ensure that you get through the next weeks and months without any problems? At this point, it’s useful to remember that this clause in your contract works both ways - your employer is on probation too. Do not fall into the trap that you must endure everything that is thrown at you because your primary aim is to get through the next three months. No, if your employer does not come up to scratch, it’s time to think about making the most of the shortened notice period part of your contract - your boss is bound by its terms too.
What if you actually like your new job, you get on with your colleagues, the canteen serves a variety of excellent dishes and the commute home is bearable? How do you ensure that they’ll want to keep you on once your probationary period has expired? Or, to turn that around, what sort of behaviour is likely to get you ejected? Poor timekeeping is a sure way to make your boss feel that he or she has made a poor decision in hiring you. Even if everybody else in your department staggers in at 10:30, you should make a special effort to arrive in good time because somebody will be watching and noting your behaviour. Failure to get to grips with the basic skills and routines of your post are a certain way to get the sack. The details of these requirements may not have been obvious when you applied for the job. For example, your employer may assume that you are an experienced user of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Many people have found themselves being shown the door after displaying spectacular ignorance of office technology - be sure that you can compose and send email, resize windows and turn the monitor on/off if your new place of work depends on IT. The mouse should not be used as a foot pedal. However, there is a flipside to all of this. It is your employer’s responsibility to take all reasonable steps to help you through your probation period, to provide any and all training, mentoring and encouragement that you need. Once again, remember that they too are on probation. I have seen a particularly good employment contract that requires that the content of one’s final probationary assessment should not contain any surprises. If criticism of your performance is contained in the final report then it must only be included as a summary and re-assertion of
what has been said before. The same contract also states that the employer is responsible for keeping one informed of one’s progress or any lack thereof. Having a clause like this in your own contract is something worth fighting for. What are the possible outcomes once the completion date arrives? In many cases, your boss will call you into the office to inform you that everything is satisfactory or one morning you may find a confirmation of completion document on your desk. If you have really shone, if your performance has exceeded everybody’s expectations, you may even be offered a promotion (which may or may not come with its own probationary period). Sometimes, a worker’s performance may fall a little short of the target. In this case, it’s possible that the period will be extended for another month or so or until the employer is satisfied that all the requirements have been met. Alternatively, a worker who has demonstrably failed to be up to the job, may be moved sideways or downwards to another position. The worst case, of course, is being asked to leave during or at the completion of one’s probationary period. If this happens to you, be aware that since 1999, employees in the United Kingdom can only make a claim for unfair dismissal after twelve months of continuous employment (before 1999 it was two years). Other countries have stricter employment laws. For example, a recent case in New Zealand saw a successful claim for unfair dismissal even though the claimant had only been employed for 32 hours. The commission ordered compensation equivalent to four months salary on the basis that the employee was "ready, willing and able to perform tasks." It turned out that the employer had never
issued a written confirmation of the employee’s probationary period. Finally, if you yourself decide that your employer has not met your targets and left you feeling unwelcome and undervalued (perhaps by failing to provide interesting work or proper support and training), you must give proper notice that you intend to terminate your employment. We always recommend that you do this in the correct way and abide by the terms of your employment contract with style and dignity: arrange a meeting with your boss in which explain your reasons for leaving before handing over an appropriate letter of resignation. If nothing else, this approach will make it more likely that this employer provides your next employer with a favourable reference. 8 Ways to Make Yourself More Marketable by Margaret Steen, for Yahoo! HotJobs The economy is shaky -- and it may feel like your job is, too. Whether you're already job hunting or believe you may need to soon, there are steps you can take to make yourself more attractive to potential employers. Here are eight tips from the experts on increasing your marketability: * Use your name as your brand, especially in email. Don't confuse potential employers by using your maiden name on your resume and your married name in your email. And the nickname your friends find funny may not look professional. "Manager jobs don't go to people with cute email addresses,"
said Marianne Adoradio, a recruiter and career counselor. * Meet an employer's need. Employers "want a round peg for the round hole," said Kathryn Ullrich, a career expert and executive recruiter. You may want to stretch yourself by trying a job you've never done before, but there's not much in that for the employer. Any time you apply for a job, make sure you can tell a story about your career that shows why you would be the best person for the job. "It's really about what the employer is looking for," Ullrich said. * Maintain a smart online profile. "All that stupid stuff you put on Facebook -- take it off," said Richard Phillips, owner of Advantage Career Solutions. At the same time, find industry blogs and forums and start contributing comments. * Ask for help. "Ask everyone for one thing they would suggest you do if they were in your shoes," Adoradio said. "It seems to reveal things that you wouldn't have thought to ask." * Become active in a professional association. This means doing more than paying dues and showing up for meetings. Find a way to help: For example, perhaps you can organize expert speakers in your field to be on a panel. It will boost your resume, build you self-esteem and give you valuable connections. "You're building up relationships with people who are going to hire you," Ullrich said. * Take a class or get a certificate. This is especially helpful if
it teaches you a skill -- new technology that's being used in your field, for example -- that you don't already have. * Take on a new project at work. It should be "something that lets you add something new to your resume," Phillips said. "Think in terms of the resume that you're going to be writing. What do you want to have on there that isn't on there now?" * Be flexible. You may not want to commute more than 10 miles, but being willing to bend a bit will open up more opportunities. It will also make you a more attractive candidate because it signals to employers that you're able to handle change. How to Avoid Sabotaging Your Job 10 Steps to Insure Your Job Security by Caroline M.L. Potter, Yahoo! HotJobs In today's workplace, there are more ways to damage your career than ever before. An errant tweet. An erroneous Facebook post. A heated email exchange. All of these can sully an otherwise impeccable reputation, as can a litany of faux pas in front of your coworkers. Workplace expert Alexandra Levit, author of "How'd You Score That Gig?," shares her insights for avoiding the stumbling blocks and temptations that inhabit our work lives and work spaces.
1. Keep your focus on the networking part of social networking. She says, "You have to set boundaries as to how you use various social networks (e.g. Facebook for personal, LinkedIn for professional) and make sure you communicate those boundaries so that feelings aren't hurt." While Facebooking has become a part of many people's workdays, Levitt says, "Don't let your boss and coworkers catch you chatting and playing with Facebook applications when you should be working." 2. Avoid sending a tweet in the heat of the moment. Twitter is a great tool to help raise your reputation. Levitt advises, "Use your real name on Twitter to network with people you wouldn't have the chance to communicate with in real life, and send them valuable information or interesting tidbits about their field. Just don't get caught up in the heat of the moment. Before you post something on Twitter, think about whether you'd want to read it on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. 3. Finding friends at the office is fine -- but don't look for love. You spend a lot of time at the office, so it may be tempting to become involved with a colleague. She states, "You can pursue friendships in other departments and with friends of your coworkers, but don't ever date a boss or a direct report. And refrain from dating an immediate coworker unless you can handle seeing that person every day if the relationship goes south." 4. Appearances count around the office.
Don't let casual Fridays be your fashion downfall. Levit, also the author of "Success for Hire," says, "Pay attention to what constitutes business casual in your workplace (i.e. what others are wearing) and dress accordingly -- although business casual usually means khakis and a butto- down shirt. And no matter what the trend du jour is, "Don't ever wear short-shorts or flipflops to work." 5. Practice proper email etiquette. Almost everyone has trouble managing their inboxes these days, so don't be so quick to send unnecessary emails -- or those that might stir the pot around the office. She counsels, "Only 'reply to all' if every person on the string really needs to hear what you're saying. Always check the list of people in the 'to' and 'cc' lines before sending any e-mail. Don't hit reply too quickly in case that reply-to-all function is accidentally on, and don't use email for negative or controversial discussion." 6. Think before you speak. Converse carefully with coworkers, especially at first. "Spend more time listening than you do speaking. Show an interest in other people, but don't discuss anything that you wouldn't talk about with your grandmother or religious officiant -- especially with a coworker you don't know extremely well. In general, steer clear of sex, drugs, and politics," she reveals. 7. It's good to be heard -- but not all the time. Watch your volume control around the office. And don't be afraid to speak up if someone else's volume is distracting you. Levit urges, "Say nicely that you're on the phone with a client and ask if he wouldn't mind keeping it down a bit. Never allow
your desire to avoid confrontation affect your work effectiveness." 8. Just say "no" to complaining. Everyone has complaints at the office, but it may be best to avoid sharing them with coworkers. She admits, "It's good to get negative emotions off your chest by venting to a close friend or family member, but don't complain at work at all -- people won't like you. Instead, think of ways to turn a bad situation into a more positive one and approach your boss and coworkers with solutions rather than problems." 9. Handle alcohol with care. Sometimes bonding over food and/or drink is part of business. According to Levit, "It's OK to have fun at happy hour with your colleagues, but keep it to a one- or two-drink maximum. Don't drink at lunch or during daytime business meetings, and don't ever get drunk with coworkers even in evening, social settings. You'll end up saying or doing something you'll regret (and your coworkers may not forget)." 10. Know the difference between sharing and oversharing. There's a fine line between a caring coworker and an overbearing one. She urges, "Develop close friendships with coworkers over a period of time, assessing how much you can trust them before you disclose too much personal information. However, do not assume someone is going to be your best friend just because you work in the same office eight hours a day; and when it doubt, you should err on the side of caution
Achieve Your Dreams: Six Steps to Accomplish Your Goals and Resolutions By Susan M. Heathfield, About.com Goals Goal Setting Steps Field Goal Cheat Personal Development Coach Achievement Software Don't let your goals and resolutions fall by the wayside. Chances are that to achieve your dreams and live a life you love, those goals and resolutions are crucial. Goal setting and goal achievement are easier if you follow these six steps for effective and successful goal setting and resolution accomplishment. You need to deeply desire the goal or resolution. Napoleon Hill, in his landmark book, Think and Grow Rich, had it right. "The starting point of all achievement is desire. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desires bring weak results, just as a small amount of fire makes a small amount of heat." So, your first step in goal setting and achieving your dreams is that you've got to really, really want to achieve the goal. Visualize yourself achieving the goal. Lee Iacocca said, "The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind." What will your achievement feel like? How will your life unfold differently as a result? If the goal is a thing, some gurus of goal setting recommend that you keep a picture of the item where you see and are reminded of it every day. If you can’t picture yourself achieving the goal, chances are – you won’t.
Make a plan for the path you need to follow to accomplish the goal. Create action steps to follow. Identify a critical path. The critical path defines the key accomplish-ments along the way, the most important steps that must happen for the goal to become a reality. Stephen Covey said, "All things are created twice. There's a mental or first creation, and a physical or second creation of all things. You have to make sure that the blueprint, the first creation, is really what you want, that you've thought everything through. Then you put it into bricks and mortar. Each day you go to the construction shed and pull out the blueprint to get marching orders for the day. You begin with the end in mind." He's right. Commit to achieving the goal by writing down the goal. Lee Iacocca said, "The discipline of writing something down is the first step toward making it happen." I agree completely. Write down the plan, the action steps and the critical path. Somehow, writing down the goal, the plan and a timeline sets events in motion that may not have happened otherwise. In my own life, it is as if I am making a deeper commitment to goal accomplishment. I can’t fool myself later. The written objective really was the goal. Establish times for checking your progress in your calendar system, whatever it is: a day planner, a PDA, a PDA phone or a hand written list. If you’re not making progress or feel stymied, don't let your optimism keep you from accomplishing your goals. No matter how positively you are thinking, you need to assess your lack of progress. Adopt a pessimist’s viewpoint; something will and probably is, going to go wrong. Take a look at all of the factors that are keeping you from accomplishing
your goal and develop a plan to overcome them. Add these plan steps to your calendar system as part of your goal achievement plan. Review your overall progress regularly. Make sure you are making progress. If you are not making progress, hire a coach, tap into the support of loved ones, analyze why the goal is not being met. Don’t allow the goal to just fade away. Figure out what you need to do to accomplish it. Check the prior five steps starting with an assessment of how deeply you actually want to achieve the goal. This six step goal setting and achieving system seems simple, but it is the most powerful system you will ever find for achieving your goals and living your resolutions. You just need to do it. Best wishes and good luck. Employee Performance Reviews - How to Prepare for a Performance Review and What to Do If You Get a Bad One Rosenberg McKay Remember the feeling you got in the pit of your stomach when it came time for your teacher to hand out report cards? Whether or not you felt you deserved a good report, you still had that moment of doubt. With school now behind us, you would think report cards were part of our pasts. Unfortunately, this is not the case. As working adults we must deal with employee performance reviews, also referred to as employee appraisals or performance evaluations. Whatever you call them, employee reviews evaluate
our performance on the job. They often determine raises, promotions, and sometimes whether we get to keep our jobs. That can explain, why even as adults, these “report cards” often make us feel uneasy. * Become familiar with the review process: Sometimes fear of the unknown is the worst fear of all. You should understand why some employers use performance reviews as a way to evaluate their employees. According to the article, How to Do an Employee Appraisal, the goal of an appraisal should be to "increase communication, establish clear expectations, reinforce good performance, improve unsatisfactory performance, and foster a spirit of cooperation and teamwork." * Prepare for an upcoming review: Document your achievements and list anything you want to discuss at the review. If you haven't kept track of your achievements, you may have to spend some time figuring out what you have accomplished since your last review, and most importantly, how your employer has benefited, i.e. increased profits, grown the client roster, maintained older clients, etc. * What should you do if you get a poor review?: If you feel you have received an unfair review, you should consider responding to it. You should first try to discuss the review with the person who did it. Heed this warning, however. Wait until you can look at the review objectively. Was the criticism you received really that off the mark or are you just offended that you were criticized in the first place? If you eventually reach the conclusion that the review was truly unjust, then set an appointment to meet with your reviewer. If there are any points
that were correct, acknowledge those. Use clear examples that counteract the criticisms made. A paper trail is always helpful. Present anything you have in writing that can back you up. If you didn't leave a paper trail, remember to do this in the future. * What should you take away from a performance review?: Ultimately, you should regard your review as a learning opportunity. You should be able to take away valuable information, whether it is about yourself or your reviewer. Words of wisdom for workers just starting careers Harvey Mackay I recently wrote a column about the lessons you aren’t taught in college. The lessons I shared in that column also apply to those who have just entered the workforce: Develop relationships and keep networking, find advisers and mentors, build your reputation, set goals, get along with people, be happy, smile, have a sense of humor, be yourself and volunteer. But once you are on the job, you need to keep developing your skills. Here are some lessons I think are especially important: Work hard and work smart. Hard work pays off, but smart work pays better. There is a reason why we were born with both muscles and a brain. Use everything you’ve got. Be enthusiastic. If you aren’t getting excited about hitting the pavement every day, it will show. There is no off switch on a tiger. If your switch is off more than on, it’s time to examine what’s making you less than motivated. Is it the job? Find
something to love about it, or find a different line of work. Work on you. I’m a big believer in lifelong learning. don’t go to school once for a lifetime; you are in school all of your life. Read self-help books and business journals. There are many ways to learn new skills and sharpen existing ones. Be a good communicator. Writing is part of nearly every job, even if we’re just talking about e-mails. And good public speakers are better able to sell their ideas and think on their feet. Take a public speaking class or join Toastmasters - you will never regret it. Follow through. Every salesperson knows that following through after the order is written is what earns customer loyalty. Prepare for adversity. It is a constant in this world. Adversity can be the precursor to wonderful change. I’ve dealt with my ups and downs, and I’d have to say the tough times have not only made me smarter, but they’ve also made me stronger. Be resourceful. Use your brain to think creatively and get the information you need or the project accomplished. Be observant. We have two eyes and two ears but only one mouth, which shows we should see and observe and listen twice as much as we speak. I try to notice everything about people I meet. My antenna is always up for their hobbies/interests, likes/dislikes and any information that can improve our relationship.
Dress appropriately. Appearance is still important, especially when you are out making calls on customers or meeting with clients in your shop. Don’t be arrogant. One of the deadliest of all human failings is arrogance. It is the easiest to rationalize and the hardest to recognize in ourselves. Don’t confuse arrogance with the confidence that you find in all true champions. Don’t be negative or hang around with negative people. A negative person brings you down. Negative people see the difficulty in every opportunity, while a positive person sees opportunity in every difficulty. Be prepared. It takes unspectacular preparation to produce spectacular results. Mackay’s Moral: Keep an open mind. Your first job doesn’t have to be a nightmare.
How to Make a Potential Employer Fall in Love With You From Susan M. Heathfield, Do the Right Things Right Looking for ways to impress a potential employer? Want to make your resume or job application stand out from the pack? In the past few weeks, I’ve reviewed 485 resumes and applications
for 18 different positions. I’ve interviewed 23 candidates and brought six back for a second, more intense round of interviews. Believe me, I can tell you what rang my chimes. Some of this advice may surprise you. Some may even make you angry because it doesn’t seem fair or right to you. I can’t guarantee that all employers will agree with me, but why take a chance in this employers’ market Apply for jobs for which you qualify. My "no" pile of applications is increasingly made up of people who don’t even remotely qualify for the advertised position. These job applications frequently consist of a resume in an envelope. Why waste the paper, the stamp and the time? If you find y ourself applying because it’s an area of work you might want to get into, or think you’d like, don’t bother. Unless you can make the stretch and fit between your qualifications and background and the described opening, you are wasting your time. Each application or resume gets less than five minutes of my time. You need to quickly qualify yourself as a potential candidate because the employer doesn’t have or take the time to do it for you.
Write a targeted cover letter that introduces your key qualifications and highlights your "fit" with the position for which you are applying. Address the letter to the person conducting the candidate search, when known. And, no, don’t presume familiarity and write, "Dear Susan." Until I know you,
my name is "Ms. Heathfield." Additionally, the cover letter needs to specifically address the available position. Spelling and correct grammar do count. So does the spacing of words on the page, an attractive overall appearance, and the "feel" of the paper. Target the resume to the job. Would you like to know how many people are looking for a "challenging opportunity to utilize my skills with a progressive employer who will provide opportunities for growth?" Don’t even ask; the answer will break your heart if this is how you routinely describe the position you seek in your resume. Even more importantly, in this day of instantaneous electronic publishing, no one needs to photocopy 100 resumes at an instant print store. Customization counts. Customization is everything when you are looking at substantially different opportunities, too. Say, you are looking for a training position or a marketing position. The identical resume won’t sell your skills for either field.
Lead with your strengths. What makes you different from 40 other applicants? On your customized resume, start out with the background and experience most important for the position you seek. The stage of your career is also highly relevant to the placement of information on your resume. If you are just graduating from college, lead off the first portion of the resume with your education and degree. A seasoned veteran will start with an accomplishment summary and then list jobs, titles, companies and responsibilities
chronologically. A network administration applicant should lead with his or her certifications (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) and list software and hardware experience (Microsoft Exchange, SQL Server) before listing jobs and education. The key is to make it easy for the resume reviewer to see that you are qualified for the position. You want your resume in the coveted "yes" pile awaiting an interview or phone screening.
More About Doing the Right Things Right Looking for more ideas about getting your foot in the door for the face-to-face interview? You’re unlikely to obtain a job offer without a highly effective interview. You have a couple more hurdles to cross, however, before you get that coveted opportunity to impress a potential employer. Not all employers may feel this way, but I hate fishing phone calls that have absolutely no purpose other than to make you notice an applicant. Wonder how many people call me each week to see if I have received their resume? Lots - and only the people I rarely call back. It’s a wonderful opportunity for you to make a lasting bad impression. I said to a recent caller, "You are calling to ask me to look through this pile of 200 resumes to see if I have received yours? If you are that uncertain, why don’t you just send it again?" Fishing-for-attention phone calls rarely help and usually brand you as a pain. They steal the company’s time, irritate the resume screener and generally, accomplish nothing in your favor. In one of my client
companies, callers, and especially repeat callers, are known as "stalkers." If you want a call from a recruiter or potential employer, give them a number at which you can be reached. The majority of resumes I receive list only a home phone. Big mistake. I gave up on ten candidates with whom I played phone tag for days. No, I’m not advocating you give a potential employer your number at your current job. But, in this day of inexpensive cell phones, you really need to honor the potential employer’s time by giving them your cell phone number. I need to reach you to set up a time and date for the phone screening. Yes, I said, "phone screening." Forward thinking employers don’t waste their time or yours these days without an initial telephone interview. Be prepared to schedule a date and time, usually during the 8-5 p.m. work day. (Your potential employer is already working ten hour days.) The phone interview eliminates most of the "yes" resumes from contention. Be prepared for a mini-interview and to give the interviewer your salary expectations. People who play coy when I ask about salary are not invited to visit in person. Why would I waste our time interviewing an applicant who is making $70,000 or more, currently, for a $50,000 job? And no, you are not going to be such a wonderful candidate that I blow away the salary range. In nine out of ten situations, the salary range is set with a large number of variables in mind including the local job market and the salaries of coworkers.
Preparation counts for both the phone screening and the potential face-to-face interview. If I have set a time with you for a phone screening, research the company in advance. Visit the website to see what the employer does. Many organizations even describe their company culture on their websites these days. If you take just a few minutes to do your homework, the quality of the interview goes up exponentially. Think about my time, too, as your potential employer. Imagine the decisions I make about you when you ask me for directions to the company, while driving your car and talking on the cell phone. "Wait a couple of minutes," one candidate said, "while I get somewhere so that I can write this all down." Research the company location online first; call the company for directions as a last resort.
Invited to the Interview? You’ve done the right things right. Your materials and credentials made a good impression. You passed the interview phone screening and you’ve been invited to the company for that all important interview. How do you continue to build the relationship with the potential employer that will lead to an eventual job offer?
Take time off work for the interview; don’t expect the potential employer to extend their day by several hours to accommodate your schedule. If you’re currently working and
looking for a new position, hopefully, you’ve chosen the most ethical path and your employer knows. If you are unable to inform your employer, for any reason, I hope you’ve saved up your vacation time. A recruiting employer is often willing to interview a good candidate late in the afternoon, but rarely will the interview extend past 6 p.m. (Remember, most potential employers started work by 8 a.m.) You don’t want your potential to contribute as an employee assessed at the end of a ten hour day either.
Make the right, positive impression at both the interview and with the company staff. Need I tell you to arrive early, dress up for the position for which you are applying and bring an additional resume with references? Remember to treat every person you encounter with dignity and respect. The receptionist is reporting his impressions of you to the HR Director. Count on it, especially in small- to mid-sized organizations. Be unfailingly polite throughout every interaction you have with the company. Each person is assessing your potential "fit" within their organization. Don’t blow your chances by behaving boorishly. You will be asked to fill out an application, so bring your resume and other needed information to complete the document. And, no, "See attached resume," doesn’t cut it. It is likely your application information is entered into an employment database and used for company records, government reporting, and more. The filled out application makes the data entry easier. It also allows the company to obtain your written permission to check your references, employment history, do criminal background
checks if you are hired, and more. The actual interview is the subject of additional articles. For purposes of this one, remember that the purpose of the interview is to determine if you and the organization are a good fit. The real purpose of an interview, sorry to tell you, is not to gain you a job offer. Do you feel confident that you can do the job and grow with the company? Have you conveyed this to the potential employer? If so, you’ll be asked back for a more-intensive second round of interviews at most companies.
Follow up after the interview with a thank you letter, and perhaps a phone call. Good manners always count. I received three thank you letters and a couple of phone calls from the 23 people who participated in a first interview with us. Are thank you letters going the way of the dinosaurs? Not from candidates who count with me. Doing the right things right will result in more interviews, better job offers and a more successful career. Take a little more time at each step and your application will rise above the others. I promise.
Six Tactics for Career Development: Get Where You Want to Be It used to be that once you trained in your profession you could look forward to a stress-free climb up the corporate ladder to seniority and a company handshake. Not any more. What used
to look like difficult career terrain - constant movement and short-term contracts -- could actually provide the key to a dynamic and fulfilling career if you know how to play your cards right. So you’re faced with a difficult decision - the career you thought you had all mapped out has either been stifled in its tracks or has led you down a path where the next ten years are looking vaguely familiar - just like the previous two. All of the juicy executive positions are taken or are disappearing. You love your field but you want a flexible, dynamic position, which allows for creativity as well as providing a bit of certainty in these unpredictable times. You reflect on the career paths your parents took - they were guaranteed a position at their company and were well rewarded for loyalty with promotions and composite benefits. They did not face the endless cycles of contract work and market-driven hiring practices where every new kid on the block has the latest and greatest skills. Feeling the strain? Stuck, but scared to move? What if you’ve had the opposite experience? It’s not as if ten years doing the same thing has ever even smelled like it was going to happen. Your career has lurched from one contract position to another and now you seem to have exhausted all the companies in town. Your current goal is to hang onto this position and do some serious consolidation before you head out on your own again. In this market, a year in the same company working at the same job seems as elusive as a cheap holiday in Vegas.
Of course, there is everyone else in between: you may like your job, but it is not leading you where you want to go. How can you maneuver yourself into the kind of work you’d like to be doing rather than what you have experience doing? This article looks at some strategies for negotiating an increasingly competitive job market: how to ride out the lows, consolidate when you need to, predict how your workplace’s needs will change over this year, how it will look in two, and even five years. Everyone knows that the games industry, while offering a lot of freedom, is also a harsh taskmaster, and sometimes that sure thing just doesn’t pan out the way you (or the Executive Producer) thought it would. So how can you effectively plan a career that currently is either stuck in a go-nowhere rut, or is so unpredictable? You don’t even think you’ll manage two years in one place let alone sticking around for the mythical golden handshake. If you don’t know, how can anyone else? This may seem obvious, but surprisingly few of us sit down and take the time to plot out our careers, even though we would never start coding a game without the specs. (Or at least we all know that theory!) So a good start might be to sketch out where your ideal career would place you in one, two, and five years. Imagine what salary, position and responsibility you would like. How much of your week do see yourself at the office? Is your current discipline fulfilling? Be honest. Then do your research. Are your goals realistic? Will you need to change careers or
companies to earn the salary you have in mind? Can you find or create the corporate environment that you want? Are you on track for these aspirations or are you stuck in a position, which is adequately paid, and fulfilling now but will not be in a year or two? Even worse, will you stay the same as long as you are willing to stay in it? Asking questions like these will help assess factors such as: how much career leverage do you have in your current position? Another way to think of this is: how do you move to where you want to be without quitting your job, or remaining too staid? The good news is that along with uncertainty, layoffs, contract work, and short term industry highs, the latest economics have also flattened out the organizational pyramid; no-one expects to stay in the same job for thirty years, and no-one expects you to either. This changing workplace means that advancing through promotion is only one way to grow your career. Today, ambitious employees must pursue multiple career pathways. Having choices provides freedom, and it’s often a case of evaluating options and taking what’s available (internally or externally) to advance your career in the direction you’d like to go. The biggest obstacle to career growth is not lack of opportunity - it is fear of change. The only way to reach your goal is to get started. The Six Tactics There are many ways to get moving toward your ideal career.
What are the choices, and how can you take advantage of them? There are six different ways to move from your present position (with its composite skill set, salary and satisfaction) to that elusive five-year goal you mapped out earlier. Lateral Movement The first type of change to consider can be described as a lateral movement. This involves a change in job, but not necessarily in responsibility, status or pay. When organizations grow slowly or are cutting back, lateral movements are an important career option. Your current position may not offer dynamic projects that change with time and which keep a position from getting too stale. A sideways move can provide you with an opportunity to expand your base of skills and knowledge in a particular area, or across different functional areas of the organization. You know as a QA Tester that you are excellent at your job - but you want to get to Brand Manager or Game Designer. One way to broaden those skills would be to bone up on marketing and technical skills. Ask around, talk to your boss about ways to move around the company. Discuss your plans and work out a referral to a different area. Changing departments can give you the breadth of experience that will be critical for success later on. Lateral moves increase your portfolio of marketable skills and widen your network of personal contacts. If you want to learn new skills, seek the stimulation of new colleagues, relocate to a different location, or transfer into a faster growing area of your organization, you could benefit from repositioning yourself by seeking a lateral move. Enrichment
Another way to kick start your career is to grow in place. Enrichment is a process in which you expand or change the responsibilities of your current job in order to acquire more relevant competencies. Although your position/title may stay the same, the content of your work changes. The key to a successful transition is discussion with your immediate supervisor to plan how your current position might evolve to incorporate tasks you would like to perform. It may be that what you thought was your only option (enrichment) might to your supervisor be an ideal time to let you take up another position in a related department. You may be the ideal candidate for training in the new program manager position the company needs but has been unable to fill. To perform effectively you must master new skills and build productive relationships with customers and colleagues. There is tremendous potential for personal accomplishments and satisfaction in meeting these challenges. Enrichment goals focus on making your current job more challenging by increasing your decision-making power, the variety of skills you use, or the responsibility and the work itself. Enrichment products can also provide greater exposure to key individuals in the organization. While making your current job more meaningful they deliver more value to your organization. In today’s fast-changing world, no individual can afford to sit still. Enrichment is critical for staying current and staying current is critical to today’s organizations. Advancement Then there is the traditional route in which you simply climb the career ladder. The traditional benefits of advancement in an
organization - money, prestige and power - are well known. These rewards for excellence were common in the past. In today’s flatter organizational structures, however, rewards are in short supply. Advancement is most likely to occur when individual abilities coincide with the organization’s needs. Learn the direction in which your organization is going and seek out assignments that will prepare you for the impending change. Finding a mentor among the key decision-makers in the organization is a good way to gain strategic insight and access to high visibility projects. Expect to put in a lot of hours and work hard - especially after you reach your goal. Exploratory Option Never forget to ask the people in your network where they see your position headed. It may be well known to everyone except you that Producer positions are in short supply. Executive Producers and Team Leaders may see their staff needs changing in the next few years. You may be a crack Java programmer, but have you thought about how C# will effect your skill set? This might be a good time to do some research. Many people reach a stage in their careers when they just aren’t sure what choices are available or appropriate for them. The exploratory option requires seeking the answers to such questions as ’what else can I do?’ and ’where else can I go?’ The goal of the research is to collect the information necessary to decide how best to build your career. Through exploration you can identify other jobs that require your skills, interests and values. This exploration can be done through short-term job assignments, temporary task force participation or informational interviews. In today’s unpredictable world no-one’s position is so secure that you can
afford to be unaware of your alternatives. Exploratory activities can also clarify whether your career aspirations are realistic. They may even validate the growth potential of your present job. The exploratory option can be pursued with or without the support of your organization. Knowing what your alternatives are inside or outside of your organization gives you a sense of personal control over your career. You are less likely to feel trapped or disempowered in your current job situation when actively exploring other options. Realignment This used to be a no-no, but often if you want to change what you’re doing then taking a step-down into another more relevant area can really be a boost to your new goal. Realignment involves a downward move in either your present organization or another organization. You may be a technical expert promoted into a management position but dissatisfied with the new assignment. You may opt to return to your previous position and develop your skills in the direction you really want to go: e.g., designing cutting edge graphics tools. If you like your company and don’t want to leave, refocusing in this way can be an effective response if your unit is disbanded. Taking this path could provide a way of staying with the company while beginning a new career direction. People move down by choice for a variety of reasons. Realignment or downshifting can be a strategy for reconciling the demands of your work with other priorities such as a return to study, family or health commitments, or a career change. Sometimes less demanding work in a faster growing part of the organization can put you in line with new career opportunities. Seeking different work from
what you are used to can provide you with a new set of responsibilities and challenges. Realignment can also be a training step. Acquiring new basic skills can provide you with the experience necessary to move in a different career direction. Relocation Moving on requires leaving your organization. There are situations in which your current work just doesn’t match your skills, interests or values. If you have a career goal that is not realistic in your current organization, if your technical specialty is undervalued, or on its way out, or if you want to develop your entrepreneurial skills, relocation may be the best option for you to consider. You may choose to move away from a city with no potential for you to retrain in what you really want to do, for example, CEO a small start-up. Movement to another city might allow you to re-assess your cost/income equation and attract the funding you need to get your new company off the ground. In the meantime you will be able to afford to live. Even if your departure isn’t your idea you can still seize the initiative by turning it into an occasion for career growth. Periods of transition are a valuable time for reassessing your direction, clarifying your priorities and setting new goals. Some people decide they must find a position in the same city they currently live in only to find that their dream job is located on the other side of the country or overseas entirely. Have you really considered how such a move might advance your career or stimulate your personal life and that of your family? You may find that your spouse has been offered a position in another city. What would this scenario look like to you? Would you decide that this is a disaster or look at ways to use the new situation to
your career advantage? Careers are not set in stone and can develop in surprising ways if they are allowed to. When career planning is confined to a single organization or metropolitan area your range of choices will obviously be restricted. When you look at an entire industry or at many different organizations in many different geographical areas the possibilities are immensely multiplied. Conclusion It’s important to look at extraneous factors when evaluating your career. Career moves do not occur in a vacuum. You will need to discuss your available options with your boss and/or your peers. Finding a mentor in your current company who is already in the position you have targeted remains a great path to learn new ways to achieve your career goals. Make yourself useful in the company and take advantage of one-off offers that come your way. An opportunity to grow may be hidden in downsizing or cutbacks that force you to move to a city you’d never consider living in when things were more stable. Change can be frightening, but it can change your life for the better. Although you may prefer and be ready for certain options, they may simply be unattainable for you at the present time. A lack of credentials or connections can place a particular option out of your reach. Competition for limited opportunities may be another factor. The growth rate of your organization also influences the availability of new opportunities. Make sure you ask all of your contacts about information they have about the company, where it is headed, and about new developments in your own field and related fields. If you actively plan change in
your career, you will look forward to those times when change is thrust upon you suddenly. Instead of panicking, you will be able to assess the situation and come up with three or four different ways to manage your career while still maneuvering it in the direction you’d like it to go. Embrace the change of your choice from the many ways to advance your career and you will be in control regardless of what your company or life throws at you. How to Make Your Current Job Work From Susan M. Heathfield, Can You Make Your Current Job Work? Executive Summary: Part one of the article summarizes reasons why you might want to quit your job along with potential solutions to these issues that may make your current job and workplace viable. In part two, read about more issues related to quitting your job, plus, learn the number one reason why people quit their jobs. Are you feeling increasingly unhappy about your job? Do you find yourself day dreaming about other things you could do with the time you spend at work? Do you dread the thought of Monday mornings? Then, it may be time for you to quit your job. Or, alternatively, address the issues that you dislike about your current job. Without leaving your job, you may be able to solve the problems and make your current job - work.
Take a look at these six common reasons why people often leave their job. These will help you determine whether it’s time to quit your current job or take action to make your current job - work. With a little work, you can identify changes that will re-invigorate your job and career. Determine Why You Are Unhappy in Your Current Job Do you dislike the work you do day-to-day on the job? Or, are there other problems that affect how you feel about your job? If you like the work and pinpoint other issues as the problem, consider what you can do to resolve these problems before you quit your job. Good jobs are difficult to find. You don’t want to make a hasty decision or burn any bridges until you’ve thoughtfully considered your options. You may be able to make your job work. Following are the six common problems that prompt people to want to quit their job. See if you can find your reasons and use the advice provided to turn your work situation around. If you make your best effort and it doesn’t work, see: The Top Ten Reasons to Quit Your Job. You Feel Stuck in Your Current Job Are you feeling stuck in your current position with no hope of promotion? You look around your organization and don’t see any job you’d like to do next. You may want to explore options with your boss.
Talk to your boss to make sure you’re right. Ask about opportunities for lateral moves and for more interesting, skill-stretching assignments. Most workplaces value initiative and people who want to continue to learn and grow. Consider swapping assignments with a coworker who feels like you do about trying something new. (Ask for your manager’s agreement, of course.)
You Feel Unappreciated in Your Current Job You work hard every day, but you don’t feel your boss or your workplace recognize your efforts. You can’t remember the last time anyone thanked you for your contributions.
Tell your boss you would like her input about how she views your work. Tell the boss you’d like to sit down with him regularly to obtain feedback, both good and bad, so you can improve. Offer to chair an employee recognition team that can develop a process for recognizing the hard work and efforts of all your coworkers. After all, if you’re feeling unappreciated, you can bet others are, too. Sometimes, feeling unappreciated has to do with money. Ask your manager for a raise or ask when you can expect your compensation review. Follow up to make sure it happens.
More About What You Can Do to Make Your Current Job Work Explore how to make your current job - work, with the first suggestions in this article. You Feel Overworked on Your Job You probably are overworked. Employers have cut back on hiring and are expecting employees to do more with fewer resources. At a local university, a customer service counter was staffed by five people until recently. Now, one person staffs the counter. Is she overworked or was the counter overstaffed in the first place? You will never convince her that the answer is anything but the first - overworked.
Talk with your employer, after collecting good data and evidence, if you find that the job is indeed more work than one person can comfortably handle. Brainstorm options that include these:
--hire a new employee, --assign a part-time employee or intern to work with you, --identify tasks you can stop doing, and --determine the value-added tasks and eliminate non-critical job components.
Take time to flowchart your work processes and see where you have waste in the process.
Are you doing rework? How does extra time or steps make your work processes more difficult and time-consuming than they warrant? You Dislike Your Career Field and Job Sometimes, people discover that they have chosen the wrong career or field of work. They dislike the activities and the actual content of the job. When I was twenty-one, I taught special education. While I loved the young people, I disliked the school setting and had little in common with many of my coworkers. I was not challenged for long by the content of the work either. Now, it’s thirty plus years later and I’m still teaching, just not in a public school. You may experience something similar. If you fundamentally don’t like the work, consider these actions.
Spend a year exploring your career options and needs.
--Meet with people already working in the fields you are exploring. --Determine education or credentials necessary to move on. --Read books by authors such as Barbara Sher and Annie Gottlieb. Wishcraft and other recent career and job search books are good choices. --Visit related career websites at About.
Make a careful plan with a timeline, and move on.
You Dislike Your Employer, Coworkers or Customers Maybe you like your work but dislike your current employer, coworkers or customers. Explore your options to move to a different employer. Make sure that the unhappiness isn’t inside of you, however, and that it really is due to the actions of others. (Perhaps your employer is unethical in his treatment of the customer. Maybe your coworkers are all miserable and constantly complaining about their work.) Look carefully for a pattern in your own actions. As an example, do you repeatedly start out at a new job and location but then quickly becoming disillusioned? If you identify a pattern, the unhappiness may all be internally generated. If the unhappiness is inside of you, only you can make you feel better and make your job - work. If you’re looking at new life options, consider signing up for these emailed tips: Your Tip of the Week for Success in Work and Life. Ten Days to a Happier, More Successful Career and Life.
Start out by exploring whether you have any control over any aspect of the situation that is bothering you. If you identify areas you control, try fixing them. Perhaps sitting in the break room listening to people complain is ruining your good spirits. Stay out of there for awhile to see if your outlook improves.
Consider transferring to a new work area or trading customers with a coworker.
You Can’t Stand Your Boss This is the number one reason people give for why they leave their current job or employer. When managers are nasty, abusive, and controlling, this is understandable. There are more subtle things some managers do, however, that drive staff away. These include failing to:
• • • •
provide direction, involve people in decisions about their work, appreciate staff contributions, and help develop the talents and abilities of their employees.
If you find yourself in such a situation, try these actions.
Talk to your manager about your concerns. Many people don’t realize the affect their actions create. Others just don’t care. See which category your boss falls in. If you are planning to leave anyway, you have not got a lot to lose. Talk with your manager’s boss or your Human Resources department to see if they can remedy the situation. Transfer to a different department. Try to remove yourself from the manager’s influence.
I trust I’ve given you some ideas about addressing your current work situation that might substitute for leaving your current job.
There are, however, legitimate times and legitimate reasons for moving on. Let’s explore those next in the The Top Ten Reasons to Quit Your Job. More Job Solutions Instead of Quitting Your Job.
5 Ways to Wow Your Boss by Caroline M.L. Potter, Yahoo! HotJobs It's more important than ever to make sure your boss is happy with your performance. In tenuous times, your supervisor is one of the few people who may be able to shield you from a layoff. She may also be able to help you pursue a promotion down the road. However, like any relationship, the one between you and your boss can get stale. You may grow complacent over time or you may never start off on the right foot. The good news is that it's never too late to breathe new life into how you work with your supervisor, thanks to these expert tips from Alexandra Levit, author of "New Job, New You: A Guide to Reinventing Yourself in a Bright New Career." If you heed these five hints, you'll not only contribute to your job security; you'll also win your boss's admiration and appreciation -- as well as a little loyalty. 1. Be humble. In other words, be mindful of the fact that it's not all about you. Says Levit, "Don't approach your boss with a
sense of entitlement, as though he is personally responsible for furthering your career. Instead, focus on learning what you can do to make his life easier, contribute to your company's goals, and make him look good to his boss." 2. Be honest. Everyone makes mistakes -- and you're no exception. Be forthcoming about it from the start. "Admit if you do something wrong, and then ask your boss how you can rectify the situation. Don't allow yourself to get caught in a maze of lies or excuses that will result in a loss of credibility," she advises. 3. Be respectful of the boss's time. If you think your plate is full, consider that of your boss. Use your time together wisely and efficiently. Levit suggests, "Appear in her office with a checklist of things you need to cover, and don't dwell too long on any particular subject. Your boss will be more receptive to meeting with you if she knows you'll be in and out of his office quickly." 4. Be self-sufficient. Be mindful of the fact that your supervisor doesn't have the bandwidth to hold your hand through every crisis or help you make every difficult decision that lands on your desk. "Only approach your boss with a problem or complaint if you've explored all options for resolving it yourself. When you do, be prepared to have a solution at hand that you could implement with her help," says Levit, who is also a contributor to The Wall Street Journal.
"Choose your battles wisely, and decide carefully if bringing an issue to your boss's attention is really necessary or if you would be better off letting it go," she adds. 5. Be a "can-do" employee. Redefine the concept of a "yes man" (or "yes woman") at the office. She advises, "When your boss asks you to do something, accommodate him, if possible. The words 'I don't have time' should never escape your lips. If you know something needs to be done, do it without being prodded, and if your boss asks for help in a group setting, be the first to volunteer." If you're always amenable, Levit believes, "Your boss will quickly come to see you as a huge asset to the team and as someone he can count on." by Caroline M.L. Potter, Yahoo! HotJobs You share a lot with your coworkers over time: Projects. Lunches. Office space. Cocktails. Family photos. Birthday cake. But, even after many years of working together, should you share the details of your salary and compensation package? No, says compensation expert Dick Dauphinais of Strategic Compensation Partners. "We all know employees talk, and things can never remain
totally confidential," he says. "But an outright exchange of salary details probably isn't the best idea." Keep It Secret, Keep It Safe When companies have different employees on the same job and one of them is paid differently, many unfairness issues surface. "It can happen in any 'open shop' that differentiates pay for any reason (seniority, performance, etc.)," says Dauphinais. You could run the risk of alienating valued colleagues if they learn you earn more for what they perceive to be the same job. Dauphinais, who has more than 30 years of human resources experience specializing in both the compensation and benefit areas, instead urges organizations to focus on structure. "I am a big fan of sharing the compensation 'structure' and all the components that dictate how employees progress through that structure with staff members." Democracy Doesn't Always Work at Work There are organizations that openly share compensation information around the office.
However, warns Dauphinais, "Unless all similar jobs pay the same rate, I would advise that open salary concepts don't work well." The confidential nature of your salary, in fact, can be a greater benefit to you. "It creates an opportunity for a manager to have a confidential discussion with employees as to why they are being paid what they are -- and how they can work toward making more money," he says. "Each employee can then move forward with confidence that they have 'bonded' with their supervisor on their individual issues -- good and bad -- without involving others in the process." Don't Let Under-Compensation Undermine You If you learn that someone who holds a similar position earns a bigger paycheck, don't panic. First, do some due diligence to determine if you are being underpaid in general. Use the Yahoo! HotJobs salary calculator, and also reach out to your out-ofoffice network to find out how people at other companies are being compensated. Next, says Dauphinais, "I would go to my boss and ask the reasons why." Open a rational dialogue to
understand what skills or experience you'll need to improve your performance -- and earn more recognition and financial rewards. Get new-job alerts from Yahoo! HotJobs on Twitter by selecting to follow the appropriate account here: http://twitter.com/yahoohotjobs/following. Choose the "list" view, and select to follow accounts based on relevant metros/industries.
How Flexible Should You Really Be? by Margaret Steen, for Yahoo! HotJobs In tough times, job-seekers are often advised to be flexible about issues from commute length to salary to job title. But while it's true that you have to be realistic, some compromises may end up hurting you more than they help. "I don't believe that you just cave and take anything," said Mary Jeanne Vincent, a career coach in Monterey, Calif., and owner of WorkWise. "I have an underlying philosophy that you always sell value." Steve Levin, CEO of Leading Change Consulting & Coaching in Portola Valley, Calif., draws a distinction between what he calls "healthy resiliency and begrudging compromise." One is a reasonable response to a challenging market. The other is a self-
defeating trade-off. To tell the difference, experts suggest asking these six questions: * How badly do you need money? If you're about to lose your home or are having trouble putting food on the table, you may need to take whatever job is offered. * Will the job make yo u miserable?Taking a job that's not right for you increases the risk that you'll be laid off again within a few months -- something that can make it even harder to find the next job. If you will feel resentful rather than excited about the job, you might be better off continuing your search. * Can you explain why you're taking it? If you take a job that's less than your previous one, you'll need to be able to explain this apparent step backward the next time you're looking. Saying you couldn't find anything else is not likely to impress an interviewer. But if you have a good reason for taking a position -- to gain experience in a new industry, for example, or to learn a new skill -- a step down doesn't have to hurt you. * What's most important to you? Perhaps you'd be willing to take less money as long as you got the title and authority you wanted. A longer commute may be more palatable if you can telecommute some of the time. "You really need to do all this thinking -- what are the tradeoffs you are willing to make in order to be employed?" said Libby
Pannwitt, principal of the Work Life Design Group in San Carlos, Calif. * Will this job help in the long term as well as the short term? Consider what you'd like to be doing several years from now -- and whether this job could help you get there. "I really believe that a lot of people panic and get anxious about short-term needs and forget all about their long-term goals," Levin said. If a job will give you an important new skill, for example, it may be worth making other trade-offs to take it. "In a knowledge-based job market, learning is your quickest pathway, your best investment," Levin said. * What is the alternative? To know how flexible to be, you have to know the market. Long-term unemployment is hard on both careers and finances. If you decide to wait for a better job, "What are you doing with your time while you're waiting?" Levin said. "If you aren't working for someone else, then work for yourself - by treating your job search as a full-time endeavor. Should You Be on Facebook? by Caroline M.L. Potter, Yahoo! HotJobs Social-networking sites are all but putting business-card printers out of business. Instead of trading a 3.5 x 2-inch piece of paper, people are trading names and tracking one
another down on sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook. While LinkedIn has a decidedly professional bent, Facebook can be a much more intimate look into one's personal life and inner circle of friends. Still, a lot of folks are on Facebook and use it as a professional networking tool. But is it right for you? Because Facebook makes it easy to blur the lines between the professional and personal, most experts caution against this, unless, perhaps, you work in the entertainment industry. "When you think about Facebook and other social-networking sites, you have got to think about these profiles as an addendum to your resume," says Lauren Milligan, founder of ResuMAYDAY.com. Daisy L. Swan, of Daisy Swan & Associates, agrees, "Now that there are so many people who are going to be looking for new positions, it's good to be able to be found -- so long as you're presenting yourself as the professional you want to be." Here are some tips to put your best face forward on Facebook: 1. Keep it strictly professional. Career strategist Swan says, "Have a consistent message," meaning if you're marketing yourself as a top accountant, make sure your Facebook profile reflects that image. Milligan tells users, "Keep the social aspect separate. I've had clients who've been way too attached to their Facebook pages and all the personal content on there, but I ask them, 'What's your priority? Finding a job or revealing all?'" 2. Mind your status. Your status can be used for more than goofy one-liners. Swan, for instance, shares, "You can use your
status to let people know about additional projects you're working on, which sends a message that you're more than just what you do at work every day." Also, if you friend your coworkers on Facebook, make sure you don't accidentally throw yourself under the bus by revealing you weren't really sick when you called in sick to work, as one Facebook user learned (see related incident on Shamebox blog). 3. Choose your friends and your groups carefully. Whom you friend and the groups you join are a reflection of who you are. Think through the requests you accept and the company you keep on Facebook as potential employers may take those things into account. One group of Virgin Atlantic employees recently started a Facebook group in which they openly traded insults and complaints about customers and colleagues -- and 13 of those workers were fired. Resume and career expert Milligan reminds users, "If you're an employee, you have to be considered an advocate of your employer at all times." 4. Mind your identity. Another plus of keeping your privacy settings high or, ideally, keeping your profile strictly professional, is that you're less likely to divulge personal information that could leave you at risk of identity theft. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's personal email account was famously hacked by someone who successfully guessed the answers to her security questions. Avoid divulging your pets' names, your mom's maiden name, and other details that could leave you vulnerable to fraud by including only professional details on any social-networking site. 5. Don't get sucked in. Swan, whose practice is based in Los
Angeles, says, "I've been hearing that entrepreneurs are getting a lot of encouragement to be on Facebook and they're marketing full force that way. But it's not the be-all, end-all solution for marketing. It may have some value toward your bottom line, but it may not if you're spending too much time on it. Check your return on investment." Milligan adds, "It cannot be your priority. The time you spend on it cannot infringe on your professional life." As recruiters and companies look to Facebook as an additional source of finding new talent, it behooves you to at least be familiar with such sites. Swan states, "In terms of new partnerships and for job-search purposes, it can be a great networking tool to let people know about you, and it's a great way to learn about people and companies and options. Just be sure to use these sites in a savvy manner to your benefit." Milligan warns, "If job-search tools will be available, if that is the conduit between you and a job, you'd better be professional." Interpersonal Skills Written By - Iyer Subramanian - I will pay more for the ability to deal with people than for any other ability under the sun. – John Rockefeller. We do not have business problems. We have people problems. When we solve our people problems, our business problems are substantially resolved. People knowledge is more important than
product knowledge. One need to build a pleasing personality & it is a combination of a person’s attitude, behavior, & expressions. Steps to building a positive & pleasing personality are as under. • Step No.1. Accept responsibility. Responsible behavior is to accept accountability & that represents maturity. Acceptance of responsibility is a reflection of our attitude & the environment we operate in. • Step No.2. Show consideration, courtesy, & politeness. Thoughtfulness shows a caring attitude. The more considerate we are, the more courtesy one extends & the more polite we are towards people we automatically come close to people. • Step No.3. Think win/win. When we think of serving our customers, our families, our employers, employees, colleagues we automatically win. One need to create a win / win situation & the result shall culminate into happiness, prosperity, enjoyment & gratification because they are not thinking of themselves alone. • Step No.4. Choose what you say rather than say what you choose. That is the difference between wisdom & foolishness. A fool speaks without thinking; a wise man thinks before speaking. One particular word spoken can cause irreparable damage, so whenever you utter any word visualize its consequences. Spoken words cannot be retrieved. • Step No.5. Don’t criticize & complain. Criticize with a spirit of helpfulness rather than as a put-down. Criticize the behavior, not
the person because when we criticize the person, we hurt their self esteem. • Step No.6. Smile & be kind. It happens in a flash, & the memory of it may last forever. Cheerfulness flows from goodness. It takes more muscles to frown than to smile. It is easier to smile than to frown. Smile often & make it a habit. • Step No.7. Put positive interpretation on other people’s behavior. In the absence of sufficient facts, people instinctively put a negative interpretation on others’ actions or inactions. For example, how often have we put through a call & not gotten a reply from the other party for 2 days & the first thought that comes to our mind is “They ignored me.” • Step No.8. Be a good listener. Listening shows caring. When you show a caring attitude towards another person, that person feels important. When he feels important, what happens? He is more motivated & more receptive to your ideas. • Step No.9. Live while you are alive. Don’t die before you are dead. Enthusiasm & desire are what change mediocrity to excellence. Water turns into steam with a difference of only 1 degree in temperature & steam can move some of the biggest engines in the world. That is what enthusiasm helps us to do in our lives. • Step No. 10. Give honest & sincere appreciation. Sincere appreciation is one of the greatest gifts one can give to another person. It makes a person feel important. The desire to feel important is one of the greatest cravings in most human beings.
It can be a great motivator. • Step No. 11. When we make a mistake, we should accept it immediately & willingly. Some people live & learn while others live & never learn. Mistakes are to be learned from. The greatest mistake a person can make is to repeat it. A mistake is a mistake if it is committed twice. • Step No. 12. Discuss but don’t argue. Arguing is like fighting a losing battle. Even if one wins, the cost may be more than the victory is worth. It will take you nowhere & the more you argue with people, the more they distance away from you. Emotional battles leave a residual ill will even if you win. • Step No. 13. Don’t gossip. A gossip never minds his own business because he neither has a mind nor a business. A gossip is more concerned about what he overhears than what he hears. Gossip is the art of saying nothing in a way that leaves nothing unsaid. • Step No. 14. Turn your promises into commitments. A commitment is a promise that is going to be kept no matter what. Commitment comes out of character & leads to conviction. • The quality of your life will be determined by the depth of your commitment to excellence, no matter what your chosen field. • Step No. 15. Be grateful but do not expect gratitude. Gratitude is a feeling. It improves our personality & builds character.
Gratitude develops out of humility. It is a feeling of thankfulness towards others. Think of your most precious possessions. What makes them special? In most cases, the gift is less significant than the giver. Seldom are we grateful for the things we already possess. • Step No. 16. Be dependable & practice loyalty. Ability is important but dependability is crucial. If you have someone with all the ability but he is not dependable, do you want him as part of your team? No, not at all. • Step No. 17. Avoid bearing grudges. Forgive & forget. When a person refuses to forgive, he is locking doors that someday he might need to open. When we hold grudges & harbor resentment, who are we hurting the most? Ourselves. • Step No. 18. Practice honesty, integrity & sincerity. Honesty inspires openness, reliability, & frankness. It shows respect for one’s self & others. Honesty is in being, not in appearing to be. • Step No. 19. Practice humility. Confidence without humility is arrogance. Humility is the foundation of all virtues. It is a sign of greatness. Sincere humility attracts but false humility detracts. • Step No. 20. Be understanding & caring. Relationships don’t come about because people are perfect. They come about because of understanding. Practice generosity. It is a sign of emotional maturity. Being generous is being thoughtful & considerate without being asked. Be tactful. Tact is the ability to make a point without alienating the other person.
• Step No.21. Practice courtesy on a daily basis. Courtesy is nothing more than consideration for others. It opens doors that would not otherwise open. A courteous person, who is not very sharp, will go further in life than a discourteous but sharp person. • Step No. 22. Develop a sense of humor. Learn to laugh at yourself because it is the safest humor. Laughing at yourself gives you the energy to bounce back. • Step No. 23. Don’t be sarcastic & put others down. Negative people’s humor may include sarcasm, put downs & hurtful remarks. Any humor involving sarcasm that makes fun of others is in poor taste. An injury is forgiven more easily than an insult. • Step No. 24.To have a friend, be a friend. Friendship takes sacrifice. Building friendships & relationships takes sacrifice, loyalty & maturity. Sacrifice takes going out of one’s way & never happens by the way. Selfishness destroys friendships. • Step No. 25. Show empathy. The wrong we do to others & what we suffer are weighed differently. Empathy alone is a very important characteristic of a positive quality. People with empathy ask themselves this question: “How would I feel if someone treated me that way?” Show a lot of understanding, sympathy & compassion towards others. Successful people build a pleasing & magnetic personalities which helps in getting friendly cooperation from others. A pleasing personality is easy to recognize but hard to define. It is apparent in the way a person walks & talks, his tone of voice,
the warmth in his behavior & his definitive levels of confidence. In an organization where you work you need to relate extremely well with all kinds of people irrespective of their positions & status they hold. You need to get the best out of them at all times. People are imperfect, people will remain imperfect & it is how you get the work done through these imperfect people is all that matters. THUS, interpersonal relations are the key to any successful organization. The source through which this article has been written has been many. I have gone through several management books, self development books, journals & magazines before I decided to write this article. I always felt that as a resource people are the most important resource & with experience & expertise the value of the people increase with the advancement of age. If one needs to be successful in his business place, he needs to possess people’s skills in abundance. Source : 123oye.com The Job Seeker's Top 10 List by Clea Badion, Robert Half International It goes without saying that today's job market is more challenging than it has been for many years. That means you have to work even harder to uncover opportunities and distinguish yourself among a crowded field of applicants. Here are 10 strategies to help you gain an edge in a tough employment market:
#1: Leave your comfort zone. Don't limit your search to your current industry or field. Expand your horizons by focusing on your transferable skills. When writing your resume and cover letter, note the qualifications you possess that are valuable in any number of jobs, such as leadership and communication skills, and showcase how those abilities would apply to the open position. #2: Minimize work history gaps. Hiring managers look for applicants who have remained professionally engaged and kept their skills current during periods of unemployment. If you are unable to find a position right away, consider temporary assignments, internships, and volunteer opportunities to stay active professionally. You also might consider taking a class to increase your knowledge in a specific area. #3: Be flexible. Remaining open to all possibilities is essential in a challenging economy. Don't overlook a position even if the job title, salary, or benefits may not be exactly what you hoped for. Once you get your foot in the door and prove yourself, you may be able to renegotiate aspects of the position. #4: Manage your digital footprint. Think your friends are the only people who viewed those wild vacation photos you posted online? With a few mouse clicks, potential employers can dig up information about you, too, on blogs, personal websites and networking sites. As you look for employment, keep tabs on your online reputation to make sure there is no information about you on the Web that could affect your professional reputation.
#5: Find jobs before they're advertised. Read local newspapers and business publications to identify companies that may be expanding, and send them your resume, even if they have no advertised openings. These firms may be searching for good talent anyway. #6: Cast a wide net. While the major job boards can be extremely useful, don't forget to investigate industry sites specific to your industry or professional discipline. These venues may list more targeted career opportunities. #7: Network online and off. Tell everyone you know that you are looking for a job, including those you've met through networking websites such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Just keep mind that, while online networking is effective, it's still important to arrange face-to-face meetings. Ask an online contact to a lunch meeting to build rapport. #8: Customize your materials. Sending out a generic resume isn't likely to catch a potential employer's attention. Tailor your application materials to showcase your relevant skills for each opportunity, based on the job description. Employers want to see why you are the best fit for a particular position. #9: Enhance your marketability. Find out what skills are most in-demand in your field and take steps -- such as enrolling a class at a community college or a weekend seminar -- to give yourself an edge in these areas. Attending events hosted by a local professional association and reading relevant trade publications are good ways to determine which abilities
employers in your field value most. #10: Meet with a recruiter. Staffing professionals often have access to open positions that aren't advertised and can effectively double your job search efforts. They also can provide useful feedback on your resume, cover letter and interview skills, helping you improve your job-hunting techniques -- and chances at landing a position. Robert Half International is the world's first and largest specialized staffing firm with a global network of more than 360 offices worldwide. For more information about our professional services, please visit rhi.com. For additional workplace articles and podcasts, visit workvine.com. Deceptive Targets in the Job Hunt 5 Methods That Waste Your Time by Caroline M.L. Potter, Yahoo! HotJobs Time is money -- whether you've got a job or not. While it may be tempting to chase down every possibility when you're searching for work, don't. Many can lead you down a blind alley -- where you may lose the contents of your wallet. A focused search using tried and true methods, especially networking, will lead to your next job, not tactics that smack of desperation. Avoid these five job-hunting "don'ts" that will yield the poorest
of results, according to leading workplace advisor Liz Ryan. 1. Spray and pray. Don't blindly send your resume unsolicited, electronically or otherwise, to any company without first making verbal contact. Says Ryan, founder of AskLizRyan.com, "Tossing out uncustomized cover letters and undifferentiated resumes in huge volumes and crossing your fingers is a job-search non-starter. That doesn't work, and it hasn't worked in 10 years, or more." Establish a connection before sending a customized cover letter and, adds Ryan, "You can even customize your resume if a job opening calls for it." 2. Stand in line for a job fair. Admits Ryan, "Sad to say, but most job fairs are a waste of time. Avoid the huge cattle call-type job fairs where zillions of employers have booths, yet no one is taking resumes." There are some job fairs that have value. Ryan, a former human resources executive, points to company-specific open hours and college placement job fairs. Tap your network to learn if anyone can recommend worthwhile fairs. "Ask around before you head off to a job fair or risk having your time wasted and your ego dashed." 3. Earn certifications nobody wants. It's common to feel less-than-confident in your skills if you're having a hard time finding work, but don't rush out to spend money on any additional training unless you're certain it will
yield improved results. Ryan reveals, "Before you sign up for a certification training program, check the job boards to make sure that employers are asking for it. There's no sense investing time and money in a certification no one wants." If you're getting the hard-sell from an educational institution, Ryan says, "Ask the people at the school that's doing the certifying, 'Which local employers have hired your graduates in the past year?' If they can't tell you, run away." 4. Pay a headhunter. Don't dole out money to any kind of recruiter or sign a contract agreeing to do so. "Real headhunters, also known as search consultants or third-party recruiters, won't take your money. They get paid by employers to fill open jobs." She warns, "If a recruiter calls or emails you to say s/he's got jobs open, and then invites you to his or her office for a counseling session and presents you with a range of career-coaching services, bolt for the exit. Real search professionals won't take a dime from their candidates." 5. Sign up with a resume fax-blast service. This old-school -- and desperate -- tactic is a total turn-off to potential employers and smacks of spam. Ryan says, "Services that send out hundreds or thousands of your resumes might have been worthwhile 20 years ago. Today, they're worse than pointless, because it irks employers to get unsolicited resumes. Forget the fax-blast services and do your own careful research to
reach decision-makers with messages they actually want to hear."
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