Tuesday, December 11, 2012
With mounting stress, it's paramount that our workplace is a happy one. Interestingly, even employers are taking a shine to the humor quotient by seeking candidates with a lighter vein among their other skill sets. When we interview potential candidates we don't overlook the 'soft skills.' A worker with a sense of humor is any day easier to deal with compared to his grumpy counterpart. A worker with a sense of humor can be an asset in any business, as he or she passes on the same vivacity to customers on the other end. Besides, such people can help keep a team motivated with their light-heartedness.
In a professional atmosphere, wit goes a long way in articulating your opinion, provided it is not directed at someone. Just as humor has its highs, a failed attempt at being funny can suddenly strip you of your admirers. Humor can be dangerous, if not practiced subtly. It does wonders when you have reached an impasse. Of course, its application should solely be subject to the listener's mood and body language. It's good to say something witty in a meeting where everyone's tense, but don't come up with a book of jokes and go on till lunch time! You should be known as someone with a sense of humour, not as a comedian.
If humor makes you approachable, does it make sense for a manager to indulge his lighter side? You have to deal with different mindsets in a team, at Dreamfedjob we believe that the ones who are not open to feedback can be dealt with using humor. Applying wit at all times can make you look too casual.
Don't confuse showing your lighter side with being sarcastic. While you try to cheer your colleagues up with a witty remark, dabbling in sarcasm might just turn out to be your undoing. Humor is an elegant way of making life happier. At the cost of being witty you shouldn't hurt someone's value system, particularly in an office environment where you are constantly being judged. Humor can never backfire, being silly can.
Humor comes easily to some people, but there are others who can try too hard to be witty and end up making faux pas that is remembered for time to come, we are sure you can think of a few people at the moment. And, while many believe you either have it, or you don't, some experts say one can always hone the latent talent over time.
Whether it is an employer-employee or a peer-to-peer relationship, good wit should never go unappreciated. It de-stresses us momentarily and speaks volumes for the person who keeps a cool head in a tight situation and passes on the same feeling to those around.
Monday, December 10, 2012
Despite believing to have a positive outlook, we invariably weigh the cons first, consider several times before sparing a compliment, and broadcast only the odds when someone counts on us for advice. What's more, we prefer needless sarcasm for humour, manage a wry smile when something is genuinely funny, and believe deep down that the glass is actually half empty.
We live in denial of our inherent negativity for the most part, and often wonder why the world around is so mean and reckless. Unlike cats we may not be born eternal optimists, but positivity is something that we can all work on; such as by trying to tweak our sense of humour, the way we react to a given situation, by being more pleasant and believing others too have a mind, and by smiling each time somebody says 'thank you'.
While positivity is a state of mind, the answer lies in our perspective. Here are some tips on how to be a positive person everyday.
Have the desire: First thing first, to become a positive person one must have a strong desire to be positive. And the desire will come only if you are convinced that becoming a positive person will enhance the quality of life. Positivity is like an aura, and you know you are a positive person when people start trusting you, random people become polite with you, colleagues at work start patronising you, and you start building rapport easily.
Be realistic: Do not try to become a saint. Becoming a positive person does not mean you can never have any negative emotion or encounter any negative situation. It is the overall attitude that matters. Don't get bogged down by failure, and disappointed when your expectations are not met. Mentally, you should always be calculating a way out of difficult situations come what may.
Experiment: Be an observer. Use everyday life incidents to see how you can manage them in a more positive manner. These will serve as perfect instances to turn your outlook more positive. For starters, think about how you could have better handled a situation by being less hostile and more indulgent. Come up with five ways that could have saved the day, and learn to take things at face value sometimes. Remember, your ability to trust the other person also reflects your genuineness.
Speech and body language: Try and make positive words a part of your daily lingo, and work on your body language in way that you come across as friendly and approachable. Look amused when something is amusing, laugh when something is funny, congratulate when someone's bought something new, and give others a chance to narrate their side of the story. Never think you are the only interesting, knowing one around.
Company: An old Spanish saying goes like this: "Tell me who you run around with and I will tell you who you are." We find this to be very true. One way to becoming positive is to seek positive company as both positivity and negativity are infectious. If the people you spend most of your time with are grumpy or have a pessimistic standpoint, you'll find yourself mirroring the same emotions before a different set of people inadvertently. In order to shape up your positivity it is important that your friend circle is a positive, energetic, and a happy bunch. You'll find yourself carrying the same positivity everywhere you go.
Activities: Do not remain idle and brood. Take up positive activities with others or in isolation. Share a joke, narrate a pleasant incident, take part in sporting activities, go for a run in the evening after work, have a hobby, and you'll find yourself bubbling with positive energy.
Take it easy: Everyday life is bound to give you shocks. Be prepared to minimise impact and shrug it off. For instance, you may get too hassled everyday while driving to work or trying to park your car. When you accept the fact that certain things cannot be changed, you'll be more at ease with yourself and those around too.
Learn yoga: Most gyms offer free classes. Yoga lets you focus and meditate. With the help of yoga postures you control your breathing, and by way of it, control your mind from wandering. Every time you do yoga, you feel a surge of positive energy through your body that calms your nerves, soothes your mind, elevates your mood, and not to mention enhances your level of tolerance.
Maintain a diary: Instead of recounting all events of the day, filter out only the positive ones and make a note of them. It could be anything trivial from your train arriving on time, your mom cooking a delicious breakfast, to remembering to pay the bills on time. When we look for positivity in the little things that make our lives worthwhile, we leave no room for negativity.
Say 'thank you': Thank god, thank your parents, friends, and thank yourself for all the hard work you did, for everything you achieved. Saying thank you frequently makes you humble, and a humble person is seldom cynical.
Friday, December 7, 2012
The Aloha State topped the list despite a very high cost of living, thanks to factors like a high senior life expectancy and pleasant climate.
The list reflected several factors that influence the quality of retirement – cost of living, violent crime rates, property tax rates, climate, life expectancy for seniors, recent population growth in the senior demographic and unemployment.
Following Hawaii, Idaho and Utah bagged the second and the third spots respectively. Both the states scored well in the economic and senior-growth population measures.
The group also says Michigan is the worst for seniors, followed by Pennsylvania and Alaska. Weak economic and senior-population figures pushed Pennsylvania onto the worst places list, while Alaska's crime, climate and economic scores hurt its ranking.
"We recognize that individual tastes vary, so the best state for one person is not going to be the best state for everybody," said Richard Barrington, CFA, and senior financial analyst at MoneyRates.com, in a statement.
Here are the complete rankings:
The 10 best states for retirement, according to MoneyRates.com's 2012 study:
7. New Mexico
9. South Dakota
The 10 worst states for retirement:
2. (tie) Pennsylvania
2. (tie) Alaska
6. (tie) Ohio
6. (tie) New York
10. Rhode Island
Thursday, December 6, 2012
The job search: You've probably been thinking about it off and on for a while now. And whether you're just starting college or graduating in a few months, you can take steps now that will boost your chances of finding a job even in this challenging economy.
Sometimes the hardest part of a job search is just getting started. If you don't have a pressing deadline related to the search, it's easy to put it off for one more day while you focus on more immediate issues.
Let's start by examining some reasons why people put off their job search and how you can avoid those traps.
1."I don't have a goal — I don't know what I want to do."
Most job-finding strategies start with "set a goal." That can be a challenge when you don't have a specific career goal. Or, maybe you have several goals and don't know where to start. Don't let your lack of a goal hold you back. Just think about what you might like to do and move one step closer to that — if you change your mind, you can always change your search. What sounds interesting to you right now? What experiment could you craft to learn more about it?
2."My major isn't related to any career — or I don't want the career that my major has prepared me for."
Your major doesn't have to relate directly to your career. Focus on what you have learned, what skills you have developed, and what knowledge you have gained that might be transferable to the job you'd like to do. Learn to articulate the value of your major to an employer.
3."I went online to look for a job and there's just too much out there — I'm totally overwhelmed."
You don't have to read every web site, every blog, and every list of "20 typical interview questions" that you find on the Internet. Focus on key resources and keep it simple. This magazine is a great start. If you read the articles in here, you will learn most of what you need to know in the job search.
4."I don't have time for a job search right now."
College is filled with distractions, but studies show that the earlier you start your search the greater the likelihood you will have a job at graduation — and earn more money in your first job than if you had waited. But searching for a job is roughly equivalent to taking an additional class — and who has time for that? That's why you need to break the search down into small activities you can do in a short amount of time. You probably don't have all day to devote to everything about the job search, so think about what you could do in 30 minutes or less. Reading this article is a great first step — and will only take you a few minutes. What can you do next?
5. "The job search is too scary — and there are no jobs out there anyway."
The job market has been especially tough in recent years, and we all tend to avoid things that are uncomfortable or challenging. You have two options: Admit defeat — and do nothing; or move forward as best as you can and see what happens.
The job market is tight, but jobs do exist. Try not to be unduly influenced by the media and generic job-market statistics that may not apply to your geographic area or your career field. You should also recognize that the entry-level market is different from the mid-career market, so try not to let general reports about employment scare you off. Some companies are hiring. Finally, remember that your first job is just the start of your career, so don't get hung up on finding the "perfect" job.
How to Move Forward
Have I convinced you? Are you ready to get started? It doesn't matter how or where you start — just start from where you are. Here are some ideas to help you move forward:
1. Use your career center.
It's an efficient and effective way of quickly gathering a lot of information about resumes, interviews, who's hiring, and so forth. In fact, a common refrain on alumni surveys is "I wish I'd used my career center." Ignore students who say,"I've heard the career center isn't all that helpful." Find out for yourself. Attend the career center's workshops or programs. Use the career center's resources. Take advantage of the center's walk-in hours, or set up an appointment. Tip: Always have a purpose in mind when you have a walk-in or scheduled appointment.Don't just say "Help me!" Know your purpose for the appointment. You'll have a better experience.
Do keep in mind that your career center can only help you so far. Ultimately, you will be the one sitting in the interview room, not the career center staff. It's a myth that the career center staff can tell you what to do with your life or that they will "find you a job." You will find the job: The career center can help you almost every step of the way.
2. Create your brand.
Make your resume and cover letter stand out by targeting them to each job. Link what you've done with what you want to do — especially if the connection isn't obvious to the reader. Prepare great stories to illustrate your talents and respond to those tough interview questions. Check your online profile and remove any "digital dirt." Set up a LinkedIn account for professional networking.
3. Ask yourself, "Where am I now and where do I want to be one year from now?"
Let's say you're currently a senior and you'd like to work in the field of marketing when you graduate. So, can you do that tomorrow? If the answer is no — what do you need to do first? Maybe it's writing your resume, or doing an internship, or taking a class, or identifying the companies that might hire you. Whatever steps you need to take, write them down (so they're not rattling around in your head annoying you) and work on them when you can.
4. Ask yourself, "When am I at my best?"
In other words, when have you been particularly proud of your accomplishments? They don't have to be grand, by the way. Sometimes an accomplishment is just the afternoon you tutored a child. How can you parlay your "best" into an interview and your job? For instance, think about what skills you developed. Tutoring a child might have required patience and compassion. How might those traits be valuable in the job you're seeking?
5. Stay focused and keep it manageable.
Look for ways to make your job search as fun or interesting as possible. Conduct small experiments to learn what you want to do: Volunteer for an afternoon to see if you really are interested in working for an environmental cause. Write your resume while enjoying a latte in a coffee shop. Think of networking as a way to meet new friends and interesting people. Take a negative experience and create a story about how you overcame the challenges. Set a timer and tell yourself you'll just work for "10 minutes" on something. When the timer rings, you can choose whether to keep going or stop.
Finally, don't worry about rejection — it happens. In fact, I recommend you deliberately send a resume to a job you know you won't get. That will remove any sting from the rejection, and you can move forward knowing that all it takes is one "yes" to get started on a great career path.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
You can, however, refuse to provide an employer with specific information about any job offers you may have received from others. You can give broad responses to such questions, naming types of employers — "I've interviewed with employers in the retail industry" — and offering salary ranges rather than specific dollar amounts.
2. Be honest.
Do not lie or stretch the truth on your resume or applications, or during any part of the interview process.
3. Interview genuinely.
Interview only with employers you're sincerely interested in working for and whose eligibility requirements you meet. "Practice" interviewing wastes the employer's time and money — and prevents sincerely interested candidates from using those interview slots.
4. Adhere to schedules.
Appear for all interviews, on campus (if you're a student) and elsewhere, unless unfore-seeable events prevent you from doing so. And, if you can't make the interview because of an unexpected event, notify the employer at the earliest possible moment.
5. Don't keep employers hanging.
Communicate your acceptance or refusal of a job offer to employers as promptly as possible so they can notify other candidates that the position is filled or that they are still being considered.
6. Accept a job offer in good faith.
When you accept an offer, you should have every intention of honoring that commitment. Accepting an offer only as a precautionary measure is misleading to the employer and may restrict opportunities for others who are genuinely interested in that employer.
7. Withdraw from recruiting when your job search is completed.
If you accept an offer or decide to go back to school,inform employers that are actively considering you for a job that you are no longer seeking employment.
8. Claim fair reimbursement.
If an employer has agreed to reimburse you for expenses you incur during its recruitment process, your request should be only for reasonable and legitimate expenses.
9. Obtain the career information you need to make an informed choice about your future.
It's up to you to look into career opportunities and the organizations that offer them, and to acquire any other relevant information that might influence your decision about an employer.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
- Begin your job search with a self-evaluation. Identifying your own strengths, values and interests will be useful in considering what careers would be a good fit for you and in selling yourself to employers.
- Reflect on prior accomplishments and the skills that have enabled you to succeed thus far. This will help you to evaluate your transferable skill sets.
- Determine what you need from a career and specific job. Think about the qualities that you feel will create a satisfying work environment. Decide if you are willing to move, and where in the country you would like to live. These considerations can help narrow down employers and the types of positions that you would like to look for.
- Your personality also plays a part in how you fit with a particular employer. Tests like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator can be useful in determining how your personality could affect your preferences.
- Utilize the web in order to research companies that may be of interest to you. Read their job postings and profile descriptions to gain a better idea as to what type of candidate they are looking for.
- Find organizations that you are interested in and apply for positions. The process itself will create more awareness of the field, firm and positions for which you are qualified.
- Connections are important in looking for a higher level job. Many jobs are never posted, so you need to rely on word of mouth to learn about these opportunities.
- Make a list of people you know and their contact information. Tell family and friends that you are looking for a job. Give some specifics rather than just telling them that you are looking for a job in the broad sense. Even if they have no knowledge of openings in a particular field, someone they know might.
- Contact alumni at companies you are interested in working for, as they may have internal knowledge of positions that are available. Conducting informational interviews with alumni or other employees can also give you a better sense of what kinds of jobs and employers you are interested in.
- Register for LinkedIn to interact with alumni and other professionals:
- Attend networking events to begin the process of meeting prospective employers.
- Career fairs are a great opportunity for networking and learning about potential jobs. Even if you are not interested in the particular positions being offered by a company at the fair, getting to know a recruiter and obtaining contact information can be of great use in the future if you make a good impression. (See Dreamfedjobs page in FaceBook for a list of career fairs.)
- Join the professional organizations associated with your fields of interest and attend conferences and other events. Any contacts you make at these events are potential sources of jobs.
- Make sure you have an up-to-date, well-written and error free resume.
- Be sure that your reference writers are well informed (by you!) of your employment goals, skills and motivation for seeking a position in the target field. Provide reference writers with a brief summary about each firm and the position you are seeking to help them give you the best possible reference.
- Acquire appropriate attire and review etiquette practices.
- Make sure to get plenty of practice interviewing. Schedule a mock interview with a friend.
- Keep a record of whom you have contacted and when, along with what follow-up action needed to be taken. Keep copies of applications, resumes, and cover letters so that you know what positions you have applied for and what information you have given to employers.
Monday, December 3, 2012
Q: How often should I check LinkedIn?
A: While logging in daily is ideal, what’s most important is that you maintain a consistent presence and respond to messages and connection requests in a timely fashion. LinkedIn will send you a Network Update once a week or once a day -- you can use that email as a reminder to log in and send someone a note, respond to a request or post to a group discussion.
Q: How do I make sure my LinkedIn profile is professional?
A: First, be totally truthful and never stretch the facts -- remember that your profile is public. Next, post a photo that is professionally appropriate (no pets, quirky backgrounds or funny expressions).
Finally, write up your experience and credentials as you would present them on a resume or cover
letter. Your writing can be a little less formal on LinkedIn, but proper grammar, spelling and proofreading are essential.
Q: What’s the best way to request to connect with someone?
A: LinkedIn provides a basic message “I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn,” but it’s a good idea to customize your requests. You’ll get a better response rate if you write a brief, personalized, polite note to each potential connection reminding them how you met (if necessary) and
explaining why you’re interested in connecting -- e.g., to ask for advice or to keep in touch after meeting at a conference.
Q: How do I ask for an introduction?
A: When you request an introduction, you’ll be prompted to write a note to your mutual connection and then a separate note to the person you want to meet. In both cases, draft a compelling subject line and a short note that introduces you and explains why you hope to connect. Just remember never to ask directly for a job -- it’s not polite or appropriate.
Q: What should I do if someone doesn’t respond to my connection request or message?
A: There is no guarantee that everyone you want to connect with will want to connect with you. If you haven’t heard from a potential connection in over a month, it’s okay to send that person an email to say that you’ve reached out and would like to connect. If that doesn’t work, it’s best to move on to
people who are more interested or responsive.
Q: How do I handle a request from someone I don’t know or don’t want to connect with?
A: You can either reply with a short note requesting an explanation (“Hi - can you remind me how we know each other?”) or you can click “Archive” to ignore the request or save it for the future. If you definitely don’t want to connect, simply click “Archive” and move on. If you want to report the person as a spammer, then click “I don’t know this user.” Users who receive several of these clicks are removed from LinkedIn.
Q: Will people know if I un-connect from them?
A: If you unconnect from someone, that person will not be alerted. Of course, if that person looks through his or her contacts or attempts to send you a message, you will no longer be shown as a 1st-degree connection.
Q: How many groups should I join?
A: The number of groups you belong to on LinkedIn should reflect approximately the number of professional affiliations you have (or want to have) in real life. For instance, if you attend college, are an accounting major and love social media, it would be great to join your alumni group, an accounting group or two and a social media group or two. To get the most benefit from group participation, quality trumps quantity.
Q: What is the most polite way to ask someone to write a recommendation for me?
A: Most importantly, you want to request recommendations from people who really know you and your work, such as former bosses or professors. Customize each Recommendation Request with a polite, gracious and personalized note, and provide a few words outlining the accomplishments or qualities this person might mention about you. And, of course, always thank the person for writing the recommendation.
Q: What’s appropriate to write in my LinkedIn status updates?
A: Although LinkedIn status updates can cross-post with Twitter, be careful only to post professional comments to LinkedIn. This means no posts about the weather or your crazy cat. The best status updates are like snippets from a networking conversation: quick notes about events you’re attending,
accomplishments you’re proud of, articles or books you’ve read and professional announcements like a new position.
Overall, use your judgment, be polite and act maturely. If you wouldn’t do it in person, don’t do it on LinkedIn or any other social network!
Saturday, December 1, 2012
It’s easy to let job hunting fall to the bottom of your to-do list, but you can’t afford to let that happen. Schedule at least 15 minutes a day in your calendar to work on your resume, update and check online networking profiles and search job listings. Opportunities come and go quickly, so you need to be in the game on a daily basis.
2. Get noticed
What better way to impress a recruiter than to have a professional networking profile appear as the first search result for your name? Completing your online profile to 100% with your education, experience, recommendations and group memberships will increase your search ranking and give employers a strong impression before you ever meet in person.
3. Be keyword savvy
Make sure your profile is chock-full of keywords that will attract a recruiter’s attention. Look through job postings and profiles that appeal to you and incorporate some of the same words or phrases. In addition to job- and industry-specific words, recruiters also love leadership terms (captain, president) and action words (managed, designed).
4. Reach out
Whether you use LinkedIn or any other network service, connect with everyone you know -- friends, family, neighbors, professors, family friends, nternship colleagues and others. Once you’re connected, send each person a friendly message, asking if they would keep an eye out for the particular kind of job or jobs you’re seeking or if they can introduce you to other helpful contacts.
5. Spread the word
To build your credibility and stay on people’s radar screens during your job hunt, regularly update your status on social networks. You might share links to articles you think would be relevant to people in your field (to show you are up on the news), announcements about events you’re attending (to show that you are actively networking) and good career news (to show that you’re headed for success). Just remember to keep your updates clean and appropriate.
6. Get into groups
Beyond connecting to individuals, join groups related to your alma mater, professional associations, volunteer organizations and industries you want to join. Every discussion in which you comment is an opportunity to market yourself to people who might be hiring, and every group contains a “Jobs” tab where members post opportunities to one another.
7. Search high and low
No matter where you look for jobs, cast a wider net by altering your search terms and location criteria from time to time.
8. Follow companies
When you see a job you like on another job board, use LinkedIn as a company research tool. Check out the Company Page of any organization where you’d like to work and click “Follow company.” Activities of that organization (job postings, hires, announcements) will appear on your homepage and alert you to potential opportunities.
9. Persist (without pestering)
While you don’t want to be a pest, persistence is a very important component of the job search process. Sending follow-up messages can help you stand out from other candidates. Every time you send someone a message through a social network, the recruiter or hiring manager can easily click over to your profile and check out your credentials.
10. Document your job hunt.
Everyday there are more online resources out there can help you land that job that is just right for you. Document your time time, where you've look, where you want to go next, etc. Having a job seeking journal can be very helpful. It gives you a solid platform from which to start and continue your job hunt.
Friday, November 30, 2012
1. 100% complete = 100% more likely to get noticed
You can’t build connections if people don’t know you exist or see what you have to offer. Your LinkedIn profile is your online business card, your resume, and your letters of rec all in one. Don’t be shy: users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn.
2. You’re more experienced than you think
Complete profiles are so important because the more information you provide, the more people will find reasons to connect with you. Think really broadly about all the experience you have, including summer jobs, unpaid internships, volunteer work, and student organizations. You never know what might catch someone’s eye.
3. Use your inbox
Contrary to popular belief, networking doesn’t mean reaching out to strangers. The best networks begin with those you know and trust, and then grow based on personal referrals. Start building your LinkedIn network by uploading your online address book and connecting to friends, relatives, internship colleagues, and professionals you know in the “real world.”
4. Get personal
As you build your connections on LinkedIn, always customize your connection requests with a friendly note and, if necessary, a reminder of where you met or what organization you have in common. If you’re being referred by a mutual friend, write a brief intro of who you are and why you’d like to connect. You’ll impress people with your personal touch.
5. Join the “in” crowd
Another way to form new online relationships is to join LinkedIn Groups. Start with your university group—alums love to connect with students—and then find volunteer organizations or professional associations you already belong to. As a member, you can comment on discussions, find exclusive job listings, and meet people who share common interests.
6. Lend a (virtual) hand
As you build connections and group memberships, think about what you can do to support other people. Comment on a classmate’s status update, forward a job listing that fits the criteria of a friend, or write a recommendation for a summer job colleague. You’ll find that your generosity is always rewarded (and, of course, it feels really good to help someone!).
7. Update your status early and often
Networking is not just about who you know; it’s about who knows you. Stay on other people’s radar screens by updating your LinkedIn status at least once a week—you can do this directly on LinkedIn or by linking your Twitter account and marking tweets with in. Mention events you’re attending, projects you’ve completed, and other professional news.
8. Question (and answer) everything
LinkedIn’s Answers feature is a great place to seek advice from a wide variety of people all around the world. You can also show the world what you have to offer by answering people’s questions about a topic where you have some expertise. The more active you are in Answers, the more people will view your profile and want to connect with you.
9. Do your homework
Before an informational interview, a job interview, or a networking get-together, use LinkedIn to learn about the background and interests of the people you’re scheduled to meet. Access Company Pages to research organizations and their employees, and use Advanced Search to find things you have in common with people you’re meeting.
10. Now step away from the computer...
There’s a perception that young people are only comfortable communicating online, so be sure to support your online networking with real human contact. Set up phone calls, attend live events, and send snail mail notes to people you interact with on LinkedIn. Remember that online methods should supplement, not replace, in-person relationship-building.
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Think of your LinkedIn profile as an interactive business card. It’s a summary of your professional experience, interests,and capabilities that is designed to attract the attention of important people who are searching for you online — recruiters, networking contacts, and grad school admissions officers. A strong profile is a key differentiator in the job market. So let’s get started...
1. Craft an informative profile headline
Your profile headline gives people a short, memorable way to understand who you are in a professional context. Think of the headline as the slogan for your professional brand, such as “Student, National University” or “Recent honors grad seeking marketing position.” Check out the profiles of students and recent alums you admire for ideas and inspiration.
2. Display an appropriate photo
Remember that LinkedIn is not Facebook or MySpace. If you choose to post a photograph — and we recommend that you do — select a professional, high-quality headshot of you alone. Party photos, cartoon avatars, and cute pics of your puppy don’t fit in the professional environment of LinkedIn.
3. Show off your education
Be sure to include information about all institutions you’ve attended. Include your major and minor if you have one, as well as highlights of your activities. It’s also appropriate to include study abroad programs and summer institutes. Don’t be shy — your LinkedIn profile is an appropriate place to show off your strong GPA and any honors or awards you’ve won.
4. Develop a professional summary statement
Your summary statement should resemble the first few paragraphs of your best-written cover letter — concise and confident about your goals and qualifications. Remember to include relevant internships, volunteer work, and extra curriculars. Present your summary statement in short blocks of text for easy reading. Bullet points are great, too.
5. Fill your “Specialties” section with keywords
“Specialties” is the place to include key words and phrases that a recruiter or hiring manager might type into a search engine to find a person like you. The best place to find relevant keywords is in the job listings that appeal to you and the LinkedIn profiles of people who currently hold the kinds of positions you want.
6. Update your status weekly
A great way to stay on other people’s radar screens and enhance your professional image is to update your status at least once a week. Tell people about events you’re attending, major projects you’ve completed, professional books you’re reading, or any other news that you would tell someone at a networking reception or on a quick catch-up phone call.
7. Show your connectedness with LinkedIn Group badges
Joining Groups and displaying the group badges on your profile are the perfect ways to fill out the professionalism of your profile and show your desire to connect to people with whom you have something in common. Most students start by joining their university’s LinkedIn group as well as the larger industry groups related to the career they want to pursue.
8. Collect diverse recommendations
Nothing builds credibility like third-party endorsements. The most impressive LinkedIn profiles have at least one recommendation associated with each position a person has held. Think about soliciting recommendations from professors, internship coordinators and colleagues, employers, and professional mentors.
9. Claim your unique LinkedIn URL
To increase the professional results that appear when people type your name into a search engine, set your LinkedIn profile to “public” and claim a unique URL for your profile (for example: www.linkedin.com/in/yourname). This also makes it easier to include your LinkedIn URL in your email signature, which is a great way to demonstrate your professionalism.
10. Share your work
A final way to enhance your LinkedIn profile is to add examples of your writing, design work, or other accomplishments by displaying URLs or adding LinkedIn Applications. By including URLs, you can direct people to your website, blog, or Twitter feed. Through Applications, you can share a PowerPoint or store a downloadable version of your resume.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Looking for other resources to enhance your career search? Check out these sites below, organized by category!
Please note, while online third party job recruiting sites can be very helpful, use these resources with care. Do not utilize sites that do not protect your privacy or circulate information without user permission.
Research Industries of Interest
- Academic 360
- American Society for Engineering Education
- Chronicle of Higher Education
- Higher Ed Jobs
- Job Central
- Private School Teaching
- Successfull Academic
Science and Engineering
- Aeronautic Jobs Network
- American Chemical Society
- American Institute of Chemical Engineers
- American Society of Mechanical Engineers
- Association Computing Machinery
- Aviation Job Search
- Aviation Week
- Career OneStop
- Engineering and IT Careers
- Engineers for a Sustainable World
- Graduating Engineer
- IT Jobs (.com)
- IT Jobs (.net)
- Mechanical Engineer
- New Scientist
- Power and Energy Society
- Science Mag
Consulting, Finance and Business
- Careers in Consulting
- eFinancial Careers
- Finance Careers
- Professional Association for the Management Consulting Field
- Sustainable Business
- Top Consulting Firms and Their Websites
Additional Job and Internship Resources
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
• Prepare to arrive 15 minutes early to any networking event. This can be done successfully by finding directions to the event ahead of time.
• Prepare your outfit the night before and make sure that it is appropriate for the type of event you are attending.
• Prepare to bring plenty of information about yourself. Bring several copies of your resume, business cards (if applicable) and any other information that may be helpful to have on hand.
• Prepare your elevator pitch.
• Prepare questions and talking points. If you know which companies and representatives are attending the event, view their website for job opportunities and current events. An educated approach to any conversation helps you to stand out among the rest.
• Present your elevator pitch when introducing yourself to people at the event. Remember that nonverbal communication is just as important as verbal- you want to make a great first impression.
• Present your resume and/or business cards to potential employers.
• Present yourself as confident and poised. You want to create strong, memorable relationships with each person you meet. If this means you need to step away from the crowd once in awhile, do it! Unwind and recharge.
• Present a firm handshake and great eye contact at the end of each meeting. Always ask for a business card so you can further enhance your networking relationship.
Plan for What's Next
• Plan to write pertinent information on the back of each business card you collect. This way, you will remember specific information from each conversation and be able to refer back to this during future correspondence.
• Plan to write thank you e-mails to any contacts to whom you wish to further your networking relationship.
• Plan to follow-up on any job leads you may have encountered by applying with a resume and cover letter that specifically address the conversation you had with the employer.
• Plan to do this again! Attending a networking event is not a single endeavor. It is a skill that is learned over time and becomes very natural as you gain more experience. Pretty soon, you could be the employer that students are trying to network with!
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Do a Good Job. How you perform in your current position is going to be important when you're considered for a promotion. Excellent performance reviews and your reputation as an above-average employee will carry a lot of weight when the company is making staffing decisions.
Be a Team Player. Volunteer to help with new projects in the office. Volunteer for committees or task forces. Offer to help your boss and co-workers whenever time permits. You'll be known as a team player and an individual that colleagues want to work with.
Don't Miss Work. Be on time for work and don't take more time off than you are allocated. If you're known as a sloucher and someone who misses more work than is appropriate, it will be held against you.
Continue Your Education. If your company offers opportunities for professional development classes take advantage of as many as you can. If your skills need updating or advancing take continuing education or college classes. This way, your technical skills will be top level.
Network. Attend company parties and gatherings. The more connected and engaged you are with your colleagues, the more they will know about you and the more you'll stand out when it comes time to consider you for promotion. Managers are more likely to promote an employee they know well than a random applicant they don't know much about.
Follow the Application Process. Don't presume you're going to get the job. The company may be considering external candidates as well as other employees for the job. Also don't presume that the hiring manager or department manager reviewing your qualifications will know your background. Take the time to update your resume and to write a targeted cover letter for the job you are interested in. Follow the application process, if there is a formal procedure for applying for internal job postings.
Discuss With Your Boss. Be sure to let your boss know that you are interviewing for a new position. You'll want him or her on your team, because your references will be checked. Do offer to help with the transition if you're selected for promotion.
Get References. Ask your supervisor and other managers you've worked with for a letter of recommendation. References, especially from high level staff, carry a lot of weight.
Monday, November 12, 2012
"Duty, Honor, Country" — those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying point to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope when hope becomes forlorn.
Sunday, November 11, 2012
The Veterans Job Bank returns job opportunities based on search criteria entered by the user. Powered by a Google search, jobs are drawn from various job boards that have posted or specifically tagged jobs for Veterans.
Begin your job search by visiting the Veterans Job Bank powered by the NRD.
Adding Your Jobs to the Veterans Job BankIf you are an employer wishing to hire Veterans and add your job listings to the Veterans Job Bank, please visit our Instructions for Employer Participation page.
Veterans Job Bank WidgetIn support of this initiative, the Veterans Job Bank Widget was created, which allows access to the Veterans Job Bank directly from other websites. An easy to implement feature that any individual or organization can use, the Veterans Job Bank Widget allows Veterans to quickly and easily conduct a targeted job search without ever leaving the website they are on.
To make things even easier, the Veterans Job Bank Widget requires no maintenance. As jobs are added to the Veterans Job Bank, the widget automatically updates.
A highlight of the tool’s job search function is a military occupational code (MOC) translator that converts the user’s military experience into related civilian job skills – which can then be used to match specific skills or jobs. In addition, users can search by keyword and location.
You can get the Veterans Job Bank Widget for your website by visiting the Job Search Widget page.
Monday, October 15, 2012
What are keywords?They are words or phrases specific to a particular industry or profession. They imply additional skills and experiences that are vital to someone's success in a position. They can also relate to the particular level of responsibility one has had in an organization. For example, executives may include the following keywords in their summaries:
- Strategic Planning
- Multi-Site Operations
- New Business Development
- Mergers and Acquisitions
- P & L Responsibilities
Why Use Keywords?
- Scanned resumes. Employers often do not have the time or resources to read each resume submitted for a position. In order to save time, a scanner is used to input the resumes into a company's database. Keywords that are essential for candidates to be considered qualified are then identified and resumes are searched for them. These words are specific to the particular position, and resumes that don't contain them are not considered.
- Search engines. If you have signed up on one of the Internet search engines or have submitted your resume on-line to specific companies, keywords will connect you to job postings. The more keywords you include in your resume, the more "hits" you will have. Researching employers and jobs will help you identify what keywords to include.
- Keywords communicate multiple skills and qualifications to prospective employers. As was mentioned before, use keywords that will be appropriate for a particular employer. For example, "project management" can imply several things to different audiences. This can be particularly important if you are making a career shift. Talking to current employees of an organization or checking their website or annual report can give you clues.
Where to Use KeywordsOnce you have identified the keywords for a particular position that interests you, it will be important to draw attention to them. Repetition can also be helpful in having an impact on a resume reader.
Keywords need to be at or near the beginning of your resume. They may be part of your objective, your summary section, or if you are using a skills-based or combination format, they may even be titles of sections. In addition, you may want to use them in descriptions of positions you have held.
Cover letters are another place to use keywords. Some employers carefully read cover letters and others do not, so don't assume your cover letter will be seen. However, effective cover letters connect the employer's needs (keywords) with a candidate's qualifications (keywords). By using keywords, you make it easy for the employer to consider you for the position.
Finally, keywords are not limited to your resume. In an interview, use these words to describe your experiences, in examples of your work, and in selling yourself as the ideal candidate. You will confirm what they have surmised about you, and you will leave them with a strong impression. Don't forget your references. Inform them of the position you are seeking, share the keywords that are important to that employer, and make sure they can reinforce your experiences regarding the keywords.
Friday, October 12, 2012
Tips for Effective ResumesInclude your name on each page of your resume. That way, if it gets separated, the reader knows what belongs to you!
Whenever possible, locate the most important information on the left side of the page or near the top. For example, dates of employment are not as critical as where you worked or what you did. Draw the reader's attention to relevant information.
Use White SpaceResumes that appear too dense with copy may seem too difficult to read. By creating “white space” the reader is more comfortable and it conveys a sense of calm and organization. Look at your resume upside down and from a distance. See what your initial reaction is to the layout and revise it if necessary.
Pay Attention to FontTypically resumes are written with 10-12pt font size. Section headers may be bold or the point size of the font may be increased. Select fonts that are easy to read and that are not too condensed. Try different fonts to see which ones are best for you. Times New Roman, Arial, Helvetica, and Garamond are fonts used in many resumes.
Bold and italics can be used sparingly in resumes. Too much can be overkill. Emphasize words or section headings to help guide the reader's eye to notice your qualifications. Try reading it without any bold or italics and identify what needs to be emphasized.
Proofread!Grammatical errors and spelling mistakes have no place in a resume. Do not rely on “Spell Check” to catch them. Proofread your resume several times and show it to others to check. Also, be sure to double-check your phone number(s) and e-mail address(es) for accuracy. If an employer tries to contact you and gets a wrong number, chances are he or she will move on to another candidate.
GraphicsOnly include graphics if they enhance your resume. A simple line can separate sections without blocking the flow in a resume. Don't get too cute and discourage the employer from considering you.
KeywordsKeywords are an essential component of writing a successful resume and conducting a successful job search.
ReferencesProvide references only when they are requested. Be prepared with a list of references that will support your candidacy. A good reference will be able to talk about your work experiences and skills. Be sure to get their permission to be included on your list and ask them whether they will be positive. Be sure to let them know what you've applied for when you use their name so that they can be helpful and not surprised when contacted.
Critique Your ResumeIt is important to create a resume that is strong and concise. It should clearly state your career goal with the body of the resume logically supporting this objective. Your resume makes a personal statement about you and your career. It is important that you feel comfortable with your resume format and content. If the final product doesn't make you feel proud to use it as your personal sales tool, take time to make the changes necessary to achieve this goal.
Scannable Resumes and Electronic ResumesMany organizations electronically scan resumes to enter them into their databases. Because of this, you may need a special version of your resume that is tailored to be an electronic version. Just as with a hardcopy of your resume, you want this resume to arrive safely to the employer. By following these suggestions, your resume will contain the same content but the formatting will be simpler and not as eye-catching.
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Part 6: Critique Your Resume
Evaluate the ContentDoes the resume present your strengths up front? Does the order of information make sense? Are keywords from the job description included in the resume? Have you quantified your accomplishments to give the reader a sense of the magnitude of your responsibilities? Does the information feel complete and present a clear picture of what you have to offer? Besides reading it yourself, ask two or three trusted colleagues or friends to critique it.
Use Power Words and Action VerbsMake every word work for you! By using Power Words and Action Verbs in your resume, you create a sense of enthusiasm and a “can do” attitude. When critiquing your resume, see if you get this sense. If not, how can you improve it? See the list of Power Words to assist you in creating effective descriptions.
Is Your Resume Focused?Your resume needs to be targeted towards supporting your reason for writing a resume. Is there information that is redundant, out of place, or irrelevant? Sometimes we are particularly proud of an achievement, but if we look at it objectively, it doesn't relate to what we are trying to do. Let go of the emotional ties and only include achievements that are relevant.
Does the Format Highlight Your Strengths?Is a reverse chronological format better for you than a skills-based resume? Sometimes you may use a combination of both. Are there sections you could add to strengthen your resume?
Where Are the Gaps in My Resume?If a job description is available, compare the requirements and duties to what you have highlighted in your resume. What is missing? Do not assume that the reader of the resume will assume anything. If you can document what they are requiring, do so. For example, if they ask for experience with Microsoft Excel, do not state “experience with various office software packages.” Make it easy for the reader to see you are qualified.
Length of ResumeIf your resume feels too long, keep in mind that the average employer spends about 35-40 seconds scanning a resume. It is important to eliminate any extraneous words that could distract a reader. A good exercise is to review your resume and circle the 5 points you think are the most likely to help you land the job you want. Now look at the parts of the resume you haven't circled. Is there anything you could omit or shorten?
If your resume is too short, you may not be giving yourself enough credit for the experiences and training you have had. Review the materials you gathered for the “mega-approach.” What else could support your targeted resume? Ask yourself, “How did I improve the various places I have worked?” If you have job performance reviews and job descriptions available from previous positions, look through them to remind yourself of your accomplishments. If your work experience is limited, consider emphasizing your coursework, activities or volunteer experiences that demonstrate skills such as teamwork, punctuality, accuracy or leadership.
Are the Section Headings Appropriate?Just because someone else has used the heading title “Work History” on his or her resume doesn't mean that it is the best title for you to use. Perhaps “Professional Experience” or “Relevant Experience” is more descriptive of your experiences. Section headings do stand out in the reader's mind, so make them work for you.
ReferencesThe current trend in resumes is to leave off the phrase “References available upon request.” This is assumed to be true, so there is no need to include it.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Part 5: Write a Resume DraftNow that you know the sections to include in a resume, it's your turn to put it all together.
First, decide what your objective is in writing a resume. Identify the type of job you want (try to be specific) and then choose the style of resume you will first write, either the reverse chronological, skills-based, or combination resume.
Next, think about the sections you plan to include in your resume. Make a list and then outline what you will include under each section. If you have job descriptions, transcripts, awards, etc. available, organize them into the sections you are using.
Begin by writing the easiest section! Many people begin with the Contact Information and then the Education section. These two are relatively easy to write. Under education, look for classes, projects, or major papers that relate to the job you are targeting. Include these under the degree you earned. If you have additional certifications or training, be sure to include them.
Continue writing section by section until you have a rough draft.
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Part 4: Sections of a ResumeAll resumes typically contain sections that highlight education and work experience. Often a profile or summary of qualifications section is used to provide the reader with an overview of your competencies. Some people also choose to include a section to highlight community or professional involvement as well as presentations or publications. Tailor your resume to bring out your strengths!
Typical Resume Sections
- Contact Information
- Profile or Summary of Qualifications
- Skills (if a skills-based format is used)
- Work Experience (two basic layouts, depending if you are using a skills-based or reverse chronological format)
- Technical Skills/Programming*
- Community Involvement
- Professional involvement
Length of a ResumeResumes are typically one or two pages in length. If you are in the initial stages of writing your resume, don't be too concerned about the length. It will be important for you to review your resume, edit unnecessary information, and ask others to critique it.
Monday, October 8, 2012
Part 3: Choosing a FormatThere are three basic formats that are found when writing a resume: a skills-based resume; a reverse chronological resume; and a combination resume. All three have distinct advantages and disadvantages. Depending on the job for which you are applying, you may choose one format or the other. It is good to try all three styles to see which one presents the most powerful image. Whatever style you choose, you will always need to include your work history.
Which Format Is Best for You?
|What It Is||Begin with your most recent position and work backwards, typically focusing on the last 10 to 15 years of experience||Summarizes your professional skills and minimizes your work history||Utilizes the best of the reverse chronological and skills-based styles|
|When to Use It||When seeking a position in the same field|
Your career path has shown steady progress and increasing responsibilities
You can demonstrate measurable results from your work
You've held impressive job titles and/or have worked for big-name employers
Your work history has no gaps
|You are changing careers and utilizing your transferable skills|
You have been employed by the same company for a long time
You have held several jobs that are dissimilar OR very similar in nature
You are a new graduate with limited work history, but DO have relevant coursework or training
Your work history contains gaps in employment
|Each position you have had involved a different job|
You want to highlight internships or volunteer positions that are related to your field of interest
Significant skills are highlighted and supported by your employment history
|Cautions||Calls attention to employment gaps|
Skills may be difficult to spot if they are buried in job descriptions
|Employers are used to viewing reverse chronological resumes. Be clear about why this is the best format for you!|
May be more difficult to write
|Be sure your format supports your objective and is arranged in a logical, easy-to-follow manner|
Friday, October 5, 2012
Deciding What to IncludeThis may vary from job to job, so keep your mega-data file accessible. In order to clarify what is relevant to a particular job, ask yourself the following questions:
- What skills do I want to use in my next job?
- What do I do best?
- What skills have I developed?
- What work experience have I found satisfying?
- If I am looking at a specific job description, what skills and experiences are identified?
- What is important about my education? (This usually includes degrees and perhaps specific courses.)
- Are there unique experiences or talents I want to share?
Thursday, October 4, 2012
Part 1: Gathering Information
In order to write an effective resume, you need to understand why you are writing one. In general, if you are applying for a specific job, you need to tailor your resume to meet the requirements of the position. So, grab your job description! It contains valuable information for you to use in your resume.
If you are trying to write an initial resume without a specific job in mind, think about the type of job you want and what will be important skills or experiences you need to include.
Create a Mega-Data FileMake a list of all items that could be important to your resume. Gather information or write notes about previous work experiences, job descriptions, performance reviews, previous resumes, transcripts from educational programs, papers you have written, presentations you have delivered, volunteer programs, certifications, licenses, curriculum you created, awards, honors...whatever you feel is relevant to your work. If in doubt, include it. We tend to forget the things we have done, so think of things that will help you remember. If you are just out of school, you might want to think about extracurricular experiences, volunteer work, internships, etc.
This mega-file is an important step in managing your career. Continue to add
to it as you take on new jobs, attend classes, etc. This will make it much easier in the future!
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Behavioral Interview – Interview style in which candidates are asked about past experiences. Questions may start with something like, “Tell me about a time when…”
Best Qualified Candidate – A candidate who ranks among the top when compared with other eligible candidates; earning “best qualified” does not guarantee an interview.
Competencies – The personal and professional attributes that are critical to successful performance.
KSAs – knowledge, skills, and abilities.
Keywords – words, or short phrases, that describe skills and knowledge needed for a specific position; often found in a position announcement, particularly in the job description, duties, and self-assessment questionnaire.
Module – Questions about a candidate’s qualifications are divided up into Modules in the Vacancy Questionnaire; these can indicate key skills required for a position.
Self-Assessment Questionnaire – a part of the federal application process in which you rate your skill level on a number of job-related functions and then indicate where on your resume the reviewer can find supporting evidence. You can preview questions in the “How You Will Be Evaluated” section of the job announcement. The Modules and questions can provide insight into some of the skills that are important to include on your resume.
STAR – A technique that can help structure answers in a behavioral interview by reminding candidates to answer with a description of the Situation, Task, Action, and Result.
Structured Interview – Interview format where all candidates are asked the same questions to make the process fair for all.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
USAJOBS.gov can help you find out how federal jobs are filled, learn more about the hiring reform, find tips for your resume, application and interview as well as how to apply for federal jobs. Most federal jobs are listed on USAJOBS, however, some excepted service agencies post jobs independently on their own website or elsewhere. If you’d like to work for a specific agency, do a targeted search of their job sections or check this list of excepted service agencies and their employment information pages.
Federal Government Jobs
Thursday, August 23, 2012
The Federal Government values the contributions made by students and recent graduates of all ages and backgrounds. We have been placed at a competitive disadvantage, though, compared to other sectors in recruiting and hiring students and recent graduates. To address these difficulties, President Obama signed Executive Order 13562, entitled "Recruiting and Hiring Students and Recent Graduates," on December 27, 2010.
This Executive order established two new programs and modified another. They are the Internship Program for current students; the Recent Graduates Program for people who have recently graduated from qualifying educational institutions or programs (2 years from the date the graduate completed an academic course of study); and the reinvigorated Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program for people who obtained an advanced degree (e.g., graduate or professional degree) within the preceding two years. These programs, collectively the Pathways Programs, are streamlined developmental programs tailored to promote employment opportunities for students and recent graduates in the Federal workforce.
As directed by the Executive order, OPM issued a final Pathways Rule to implement these programs. The final rule aims to improve recruiting efforts, offer clear paths to Federal internships for students from high school through post-graduate school and to careers for recent graduates, and to provide meaningful training and career development opportunities for individuals who are at the beginning of their Federal service.
Director Berry talks with students at the DC Robotics Regional Competition.
The Internship Program is for current students. It replaces the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) and Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP). The new Internship Program provides students in high schools, colleges, trade schools and other qualifying educational institutions with paid opportunities to work in agencies and explore Federal careers while completing their education. To find out more about the Internship Program, go to the Program Fact Sheets webpage.
Recent Graduates Program
The Recent Graduates Program provides developmental experiences in the Federal Government. It is intended to promote possible careers in the civil service to individuals who, within the previous two years, graduated from qualifying educational institutions with an associates, bachelors, masters, professional, doctorate, vocational or technical degree or certificate from qualifying educational institutions. To be eligible, applicants must apply within the previous two years of degree or certificate completion except for veterans precluded from doing so due to their military service obligation, who will have up to six years after degree or certificate completion to apply. For more information about Federal employment information for veterans, go to OPM's Feds Hire Vets website. To find out more about the Recent Graduates Program, go to the Program Fact Sheets webpage.
Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program
For more than three decades, the PMF Program has been the Federal Government's premier leadership development program for advanced degree (e.g., masters or professional degree) candidates. Executive Order 13562 expands the eligibility window for applicants, making it more "student friendly" by aligning it with academic calendars and allowing those who have received a qualifying advanced degree within the preceding two years to participate. It also directs OPM to set eligibility requirements and minimum qualification standards, and to make the PMF experience more robust and substantive for participants. To find out more about the changes to the PMF Program, go to the Program Fact Sheets webpage.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
It's common knowledge that most people don't stick to their goal. Of those who do, less than half will have successfully maintained their goals after six months, according to research by psychology professor John C. Norcross of the University of Scranton.
Here are some goal-setting tips to help you be successful in keeping your resolution and making the most of your career in 2012-13.
First, be honest with yourself. Take time to reflect on your goals and determine whether you truly are committed. What is your motivation? Psychological research suggests goals set on intrinsic rewards such as personal satisfaction and increased self-confidence are more effective motivators than extrinsic rewards such as money, approval from others or status.
In setting goals, the field of executive coaching commonly uses the acronym SMART, which stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. Consider each one:
Specific: The specifics of your goals should be articulated by identifying who, what, when, where and why. Rather than having a general goal of "finding a better job," identify the parameters and requirements you are looking for in a new job.
Measurable: You should be able to translate your goals into measurable factors. For example, rather than "increasing your professional network," say "I will add two new contacts to my network every week" or "improve my job performance score by 10 percent."
Attainable: Many resolutions don't pan out because they were never realistic. Lower your standards if needed and set smaller goals. Once you've achieved your goal, you can always set another one. This is better than deflating your motivation by setting daunting goals. You can set a series of goals for yourself as needed or break larger overall goals into smaller, more manageable steps.
Relevant: If you accomplish this goal, how will your life be better? Write a paragraph about what your new life will look like after you achieve your goal. If this doesn't invoke excitement and enthusiasm then you probably will not follow through.
Time-bound: Give yourself a deadline with a date and time. When do you want to accomplish this goal? What is a realistic time frame? You are more likely to keep to a task if you schedule time to do it and keep working at it regularly.
Finally, you need to set yourself up for success by controlling your environment. It not only works for weight loss or cutting unhealthy habits, it applies to career goals.
Do you have a supportive social network? Tell someone you trust and who you think will support you with your new goal, and ask for support. Ask for the person's honest advice and refine your goal until you are absolutely convinced you can achieve it.
Find others with like-minded goals for support as well. If your goal is to have a more positive attitude about your job, surround yourself with the positive people in your office, not the ones feasting on sour grapes or gossiping at the water fountain.
If your goal is to find a job, join a job club. A job club is a group of individuals who meet to discuss and share information about job searching and career enhancement.
While it's better to set goals for yourself than not have any goals, you want to be SMART in your goal setting.
Monday, August 20, 2012
1. Discouraging labor statistics. The last couple of years have been extraordinary in the emergence of numbers-based reporting on the jobs issue. At base, these numbers are most helpful to corporations, governments and other entities that use the information in longer-term planning. In my opinion, job seekers are not as well served by the data since they can't actually use it; but they certainly are impacted psychologically - and rarely in a positive way.
What to do about it -- Stop focusing on statistics, at least until you're re-employed.
2. Generalized career information in occupational directories. As guides that describe a variety of jobs, these are wonderful tools for career changers and others who need information to choose career paths. Unfortunately, some of the guides are misleading, particularly in overstating the need for degrees or specialized certifications. Sadly, job seekers sometimes turn away from promising careers when told authoritatively that the field requires those degrees. This holds particularly true with government jobs.
What to do about it -- Confirm information by talking with people working in the field.
3. Inflated job postings. Perhaps you already knew this, but many postings ask for more skills than are actually needed. Why? One reason is that an inflated posting discourages casual responses. The employer benefits by having fewer people to consider. The practice is not without its casualties, however. Job seekers frequently review postings to determine their own marketability, then stumble away in disbelief at how "unskilled" they are.
What to do about it -- Lean away from job postings and focus on networking, where candidates are judged individually.
4. Unproductive networking. Speaking of networking, it's sad how often job seekers drop the process after a few coffee meetings. Since networking is partly a strategy and partly a lifestyle, it's unrealistic to expect leads to sprout from every encounter. That said, some types of networking are more effective than others; to be involved in the latter can knock the wind out of a job search.
What to do about it -- Troubleshoot your networking and improve it.
5. Feeling that things aren't fair. We know that you know life is not fair. So why are people so discouraged in their job search after discovering that candidates with connections get more breaks?
What to do about it -- Accept the "unfairness" and make it work for you.
6. Anticipating age bias. Mind you, I didn't say "experiencing age bias." When and how often age bias occurs is its own question. Separate from any actual occurrence, however, is the psychic burden carried by candidates who worry that it will happen. And the worry alone is enough to make people say, "No one will hire me. I'm too old" - which can lead to curtailing one's search.
What to do about it -- Face your fear and get out there. Other people your age are getting hired; how are they doing it?
7. Unresponsive employers. It's hard to get fired up about a search when no one calls you back. Worse yet is to be interviewed and then ignored. One tends to avoid rejection when possible, so the natural reaction is to stop reaching out to employers.
What to do about it -- Get a thicker skin and improve your odds by contacting more, not fewer employers.
8. Hanging out with unemployed people. That's ironic, isn't it? On the one hand, you benefit from the support of others in the same boat. But if you spend too much time with people who aren't working, unemployment starts to seem normal. Sometimes unemployed people slow each other down.
What to do about it -- Pay attention to how you feel after a session, then eliminate meetings that bum you out.
9. Scary anecdotes. Why do people tell you terrible stories about whatever situation you're experiencing? Pregnant women routinely hear about complicated childbirths, while job seekers are treated to tales of someone's cousin who's been looking for three years, lost everything and had to sell a kidney.
What to do about it -- Put your fingers in your ears and sing loudly. Ignore. Put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward.
10. Comparing current options to your last position and concluding there aren't any decent jobs out there. Sometimes we're our own worst enemies. If you've been measuring every opportunity against your last job, you're likely holding yourself back.
What to do about it -- Review opportunities with an open mind. Sometimes "good enough" is all you need, at least for now.
Friday, August 17, 2012
Last week, my blog talked about being positive and taking advantage of what we know about the human brain.
Visualizing is playing a future event in our minds before it goes real time and if we do this well, it seems visualizing will enhance the pre-played event turning out successfully on the day.
Naturally, some people are skeptical about visualization. A friend pointed out to me, having read my blog last week that you could visualize yourself winning the race till the cows come home, but it won't make the slightest difference if you’re running the 100 meter race against Usain Bolt. He is right, but what the concept does is help us to be our best; even if that is not being the best.
I remember visualizing every single race I had run in years past, particularly the marathons. It really helped me in the long run (no pun intended). If the race was going according plan then it meant that my visualization was accurate and that gave me confidence.
So often, we know we are capable of a far better performance than what we achieve, be it in sport, work or other aspects of our lives. Lots of things just get in the way and visualizing will help us remove those road blocks.
A subject closely allied to visualizing is self talk, and no, I am not going crazy. Scientists agree the human nervous system cannot tell the difference between an actual experience and one vividly imagined. This means we can make a difference by making sure the inputs into our brains are accurate and appropriate.
We talk to ourselves in words, pictures and emotions at 300 to 400 words a minute. The effects of these conversations are huge in determining our self-image and therefore our beliefs in what we are capable of achieving.
What all of this means is the conversations we have with ourselves about ourselves, experiences we have and the comments we receive from others have a strong influence in determining our future: when the mind talks the body listens and acts accordingly.
So it seems we need to be aware of the messages we are giving ourselves about ourselves, because by doing this well we can change the legacies of past conditioning.
The net effect of passed inputs and current self talk manifests the attitude we have about people, things and circumstances today.
So many of the circumstances we get landed with we cannot change right now, but the choice that no-one can take from us is how we choose to act towards the circumstances. That choice is ours alone.
So much of our attitude can be attributed to the self talk we carry out minute by minute.
Sometimes the self talk is quite accurate, while other times we get fed information that leads us to wrong assumptions and wrong self talk.
For example, if we watch the TV news we will be deluged with all of the things that have gone wrong on the day, here and around the world. After a while it would be easy to put the message into our minds, through self talk, that our country is populated with drunks, child molesters, and crooks running for president.
With the exception of the horrible political ads we are seeing right now, the reality is that the horrible deeds are being performed by less than 1 per cent of people in our country. Unless we remember this, we can easily let self talk say our country is a terrible, violent and unsafe place to live in.
Some see a rose bush full of thorns and others see a thorn bush full of roses. Our attitude towards the thorns and roses will determine our success.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
- the name, address, and phone number of the company that supplied the credit report or background information;
- a statement that the company that supplied the information didn’t make the decision to take the adverse action and can’t give you any specific reasons for it; and
- a notice of your right to dispute the accuracy or completeness of any information in your report and to get an additional free report from the company that supplied the credit or other background information if you ask for it within 60 days.