The changes in organizations that are taking place across the world reflect a very deep shift in the

values and beliefs that are held by these organizations. The following chart outlines the shift from the traditional beliefs in the industrial era to the emerging beliefs of the information era.

Traditional Beliefs: Valuing loyalty and tenure
• • • Acceptable career patterns show stability of employment Loyalty to a company is rewarded by tenure with the company Personal sacrifices are often necessary “for the good of the company”

Emerging Beliefs: Valuing commitment and performance
• Acceptable career patterns show commitment to personal ideals; loyalty to these ideals results in the development of confidence Value is placed on making contributions and for being adaptable to new demands Team contributions and team loyalty are important

• •

• Growth is equated with promotions; climbing the corporate ladder equals success

• Growth is associated with personal development and meaningfulness, and typically involves broadening one's knowledge and skill base Engaging in personally meaningful activities equals success

Employee Development
• Organizations focus on employee development; individuals focus on career paths within an organization and seek security by acquiring the skills the organization deems important; the organization is responsible for employees' career development

Personal Development
• Organizations focus on personal development; a work place that encourages on-going learning and development of employees will be the most successful; responsibility for career development rests with the individual

• The longer the tenure, the better; personal security associates with ‘permanent’ employment; one should stay with the same employer for a long time

• Security is now linked to personal competence and adaptability; one is unlikely to stay in the same setting for very long

Organizational Model
• Organization is compared to a nuclear family; "Mom & Dad" (the senior management) will take care of us

Organizational Model
• Organization is compared to extended family; partnerships and networks are important, and services are shared

Organizational Structure
• Structure is based on a hierarchy of positions, which leads to the use of defined jobs

Organizational Structure
• Structure is based on work that needs to be done, which leads to the use of contracts, alliances, and networks


Success at Work
After you have successfully completed those critical steps to finding your job (whether paid or volunteer), there are steps to take to ensure that it will be a pleasant experience. During your first few weeks or months you will go through an orientation and probation period. No matter what your experience, any new job can be tiring at the start. Everything is new and there is much to learn. You will also be meeting many new people. Plan for this transition by allowing adequate leisure time and by taking care of your health needs. These changes can be overwhelming, particularly if you haven’t prepared for them.

If this is your first year as a professional, this is a time of major transition. While having a job gives you a chance to put into use what you have learned and to earn income, it also brings many challenges and lifestyle changes. You may find that you have to work harder the first year. Be open to learning both about your actual work and about the broader company. The following two sections are designed to help you develop your professionalism and learn from your experience.

Developing Your Professionalism
Interpersonal Skills
• • • • • • • Make it your goal to work well with others and to maintain a good relationship with your boss and co-workers; avoid confrontations Do not make criticisms about the job or other employers in public Be patient not only with your co-workers and boss but also with the tasks associated with your job Learn to listen to those around you; take the time to comprehend fully and assimilate their requests or instructions Be sensitive to others; do not gossip Keep a sense of humour but make sure it's appropriate humour; avoid profanity Treat others and their experience with respect

• • • • • • • • • • Set rigorous standards for yourself Create a positive first impression Improve your skills, especially in oral and written communication (no matter what your actual work or field) Ask questions or research answers if you're not sure so as not to proceed in error Admit and learn from mistakes and accept suggestions for improvement Ensure your training program is relevant and in sufficient depth to enable you to perform up to expectations in your position Take extra courses or training outside of work on your own time Master technology; keep your skills current Show initiative Make suggestions respectfully 2

3 • • Work extra hard Volunteer for committees or projects to become noticed and recognized

• • • • Don’t take on more than you can handle; know your limits Be prompt in getting reports or assignments finished – excuses are not acceptable Arrive on time for work, meetings and appointments Do whatever you say you will do (e.g., phone calls, memos, etc.)

Time Management
• • • • • • Do not procrastinate; prioritize your tasks Identify your best time for working on challenging tasks (i.e., a.m., p.m.) and plan accordingly Master the flood of information you will get every day Use commuting time for learning activities Use goal setting and planning skills Always account for the reality that there will be distractions – plan for them!

• • • • • • Participate in social activities so that others can get to know you better but keep your actions and reputation in mind Avoid internal office politics while realizing they are very much a reality Maintain discretion in the amount of socializing on work time Wear appropriate clothing; observe the attire of others who are where you want to be in your career Value your role as an effective team player Do not talk too much about your previous jobs or activities

Remember to ask for help when you need it. And most importantly, have realistic expectations about the job before you start.

Creating Effective Learning Experiences
Whatever your work experience is, take time to reflect. Write your thoughts in a journal to keep a permanent record. Work provides excellent opportunities to learn. To motivate learning while you are engaged in work, set learning objectives. Writing your objectives provides a reminder of what you wish to accomplish.
Before going to your job, and during the first week, set general objectives based on your current knowledge. As knowledge of the job increases, your learning objectives can become more specific. Once you set specific objectives, monitor your progress. Be prepared to explain why these objectives were achieved or need to be modified. At the end of your work experience, assess your success and discuss the results with your supervisor. When you have completed a particular assignment or project, review it. Consider the following questions: 3



• • •

When you think about your experiences, are there any particular events, days or activities that you recall as significant? What specifically were you involved in at these times? Are there any metaphors or images that stand out in your mind? When you reflect about these events, days or activities, when were you excited or frustrated? What parts did you laugh at? What parts did you find scary? What surprised you? What intrigued you? What are the most important ideas / things you learned from this information? Which of these areas / ideas is most important to you? How does what you have learned compare to your initial insights gained from the selfassessment process in Step 1? What are the implications of this for your professional development? What are the implications of this for team development? Where else have you experienced something like this in your life? What does this information mean for your work? What are the implications / impact of this information for you? What will you do differently as a result of this experience? What does this tell you about who you are now and where you need to go in the future?


• • • • •


• • • • • •


• • • •

Applying Your Experiential Learning
During your work, discuss your learning with your supervisor and review the objectives you have set out. Write down main tasks, responsibilities, assignments, supervisory experience, and any other pertinent information. This provides a valuable work record. Recognizing a pattern may help you plan your career goals. Your work record is also an excellent reference and can aid discussion of your skills during interviews in your future career efforts. With a complete analysis of your experiential learning, you will have data and examples for your next resume, portfolio and job interview.

Work Offers & Acceptance
Before you accept an offer for employment, take the time necessary to evaluate the offer. Don't jump at the first job offer you get. If you make a mistake, you might end up stuck in an unsuitable position. With the negative feelings that would likely arise, you will find it difficult to talk about that job in interviews for other positions in the future. However, weigh the fear of being unemployed with the reality of the job market. You may decide that taking a job for now is not a choice. When deciding on a part-time, summer, co-op or internship job offer, evaluate benefits in terms of your longer-term goals. Employers often use this type of short-term employment as a method to determine if they would 4

5 like to offer you a more permanent type of work or more challenging work in the future. Ultimately, only you can analyze the fit. Weigh your feelings carefully and listen to your intuition.

Elements to Consider in Your Decision
COMPANY/ORGANIZATION • • • • • Type of industry (e.g., government/private sector) Size, growth rate, market potential Facilities and working conditions Dress code Desire to work there for a period of time POTENTIAL FOR PROMOTION • • • How and by whom performance is judged; whether a salary review is included Length of probation period Number of realistic opportunities for promotion, and to what level

COMPENSATION • • Starting salary; long-term outlook Other benefits (e.g., insurance, profit sharing, tuition assistance, car allowances)

MANAGEMENT AND CO-WORKERS • • JOB • • • • • • • Duties and responsibilities Initial opportunities offered Potential utilization of your abilities Training programs, inside/outside of company Broadening of experience for future jobs Amount of travel, overtime Compatibility with your goals Stable management Interest in employee well being (e.g., E.A.P., pay, training, layoff/restructuring support)

ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE • • • How are decisions made? What are the core values of the organization? Is there a compatible approach on policies?

COMMUNITY • • • Geographic area; environment Desirable amenities in the area Cost of living; distance from work

People working only for money tend to become unhappy once the newness of the position is gone. Being able to learn and get experience, liking your work and the people, and supporting the philosophy and goals of the organization are also critical factors. Nonetheless, salary is an important consideration. Base your expectations on your research of the typical salary for that type of position in that job market. Negotiate to get the best salary and benefits offer you can. Respond to the offer by the date requested. If you need additional time to consider the offer, ask, but be reasonable in your request. Once you have accepted the job offer, you are legally obligated to go to that organization. Confirm your agreement in writing.


In this section you will learn how to write: • • • • • Cover and broadcast letters Thank-you letters Letters in response to being declined for a job Withdrawing from consideration and declining job offer letters Accepting a job offer letter


6 Effective letter writing is an essential aspect of your job search. Do you want to convince a potential employer not to hire you? Send a resume with no cover letter. Send a form letter addressed to “The Hiring Manager”. Or address your letter to “Dear Sir”, and have it opened by a female manager! Good writing takes time. Compose letters that reflect your own personality. Do not copy someone else's letters. Send handwritten correspondence only when requested by the employer.

A Special Note for Co-op Students
Because the co-op process is time sensitive, you will not be able to write a cover letter in every case. Consider writing tailored letters for those positions that are a priority for you. Co-op students should not address their letters to an individual. Remove the salutation line or replace it with “Dear Recruiter”.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habit.
~ Aristotle

Letter Writing Strategies
You may be in contact with several hundred people during your career exploration and work search activities. If you do not already know, obtain the name and title of the person to whom you should write and ensure that you have the correct spelling. Telephone the organization to ensure your information is current. Use Ms. to address a woman unless you know that she prefers Miss or Mrs. Your correspondence will be better received when addressed to the correct person and not to a job title. Decide on the focus of your letter, tailor your information to the reader, and ensure that all the points keep on topic. Base your correspondence to employers around what you can do for them, not on what you want them to do for you. One page is the maximum for letters. Let your enthusiasm be apparent. You do not want to lose the reader's interest before the person finishes the page. Avoid the words "as you can see", because the reader may not be able to "see" the point the way you do. Check your first draft for the number of times you have written "I". Overuse of "I", monotony of sentence structure, and rambling, boring text defeat your goal of writing an effective letter. Try to limit your paragraphs to no more than four or five sentences and your sentences to a maximum of two lines. The first sentence in a paragraph introduces the topic to be covered in that paragraph. Send an original, not copies that look mass-produced. Keep a copy of your correspondence. Follow-up at the appropriate time because the person to whom you have written may not contact you.

Do's and Don'ts I
The first thing I see when I get your job application is the cover letter. It is very important. The cover letter gives me a feel for who you are. It allows you to put some facts in there that don't fit on the normal resume. For example, "I really want this job because this is where my career is headed." I like to see that in a cover letter and I might pick you over someone slightly more qualified because you want a career in this area and I'm happy to help you out. So, the other thing is I don't need to read your life history. I want a very short, concise cover letter, 12-point type (certainly no less than 10) and I want to be able to get a feeling for you and how you fit into our organization. You should be able to do that in a couple of paragraphs.

Do's and Don'ts II
I really like it when applicants include a cover letter with their resume. Cover letters can really be interesting and tell you a lot about a person. But make sure that you're telling me something about you and not about my company. By all means, proofread your cover letter carefully and have it proofread by someone else. Make sure there are no spelling or grammar errors. Otherwise, we're going to put it straight into the shredding bin.


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