Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Deciding Between Experience and Youth

Many organizations seem obsessed with having a "fresh pair of legs" in their leadership teams.There is a common belief that younger people bring with them higher levels of energy, vigour, risk-taking ability and the latest management thinking; whereas those with experience beyond a certain number of years, are classified as conservative, slow and cautious. Are these generalizations correct? Do we have data to support these beliefs? What weightage needs to be given to experience? When do we need to discount grey hair in favour of black?

But why should there be such a debate at all? Don't organizations have institutionalized, scientific, job-evaluation processes for determining the relative worth of each position, and detailed job descriptions to define the core competencies and demographic profile of the incumbent for a given position? Don't these job descriptions, besides defining the knowledge and skill requirements, also detail the experience-range that would be ideally required to deliver a standard level of performance?

While these job descriptions and specifications are very useful in ensuring a better fit between the role and the incumbent in the majority of cases, they also have inherent limitations. All such systems assume that a standard time frame, defined in years, is required for honing competencies to the level required for effective performance in a given role. These time frames, while generally accurate for a standard performer, fail to fit those who are high performers or fall at the lower end of the performance continuum.

Secondly, these organizational systems assume that a person acquires the job competencies required for a given role by spending a defined time frame performing the same or related jobs, while discounting unrelated experiences. For example, a person who may have volunteered for a year in Syria, working with civilians affected by the civil war there, could have also acquired competencies that may be useful for certain roles in organizations as well. However, such experiences are often summarily discounted as not related to or useful for roles in federal organizations and the corporate world.

Therefore, while defining experience in terms of years may be an accepted practice (and rightly so), managers also need to evaluate experience beyond a simple numerical value and see it more in terms of a complex qualitative and quantitative equation with a clear consideration for the outcomes desired for a role. During my career, I have utilized job descriptions extensively as a general guideline for sourcing candidates or making promotion decisions. I have also developed certain "experience analysers" for taking decisions where factors like experience and age seem to play a crucial part, and share them here.

Length of service or breadth of experience

One of the factors that I have found useful in either discounting or considering experience, is the quality and variety of the experience the person brings. We can define the range of experience with the help of three parameters:
  • variety of specializations and situational contexts;
  • level of specialization; and
  • period defined in terms of the number of years, volume of work, etc., in addition to behavioural competencies.
In certain roles that have a high degree of routine and repetitive activity, experience beyond a limited number of years doesn't result in additional expertise or competencies to perform that role.

Formal versus informal experience

How does one treat experience gained from doing full-time volunteer work, let's say, with AIDS patients in Thailand? How should the two-year experience gained from serving customers part-time at McDonald's be treated? In my view, rather than trying to measure such experience in quantitative terms, it is more useful to evaluate the same in qualitative terms. People who have made the effort to take on such assignments, for whatever reasons, show their inclination towards independence, hard work, keenness to learn and above all, their lack of fear at being different from others.

Diversity of experience brings balance

All forms of diversity, be it gender, cultural, regional, etc., add value to any work group. Groups with greater diversity usually demonstrate greater degrees of creativity, adaptability, flexibility and self-discipline over a longer time-frame.

Youthfulness is not a function of age

The spirit of youthfulness, characterized by flexibility, speed and desire to learn, grow and excel, is not inversely correlated to age and experience as is normally perceived in many organizations. Numerous people, despite their advanced age, exhibit youthfulness while many youngsters display the emotional and perceptual rigidness usually associated with old age.

The trophies on the mantelpiece determine the value of experience

The real worth of experience can be rightly determined by the recognition received during his or her career to date. Recognition can be in the form of appraisal-grades, promotions, additional responsibilities, special projects, international assignments, special bonuses and rewards. While choosing between two potential candidates with similar experience, asking them to detail their performance-grades during the past five to seven years can be much more revealing and informative than hours of detailed interviews. For any query with respect to this blog or any other content requirement, please contact Editor at

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Career Tips for Teens
Finish high school. Nearly every job requires basic communication and math skills. Compared to workers at higher education levels, high school dropouts have more difficulty getting and keeping jobs. They also have lower earnings throughout their lives.

Consider continuing your education. The more education you get, the higher your earnings are likely to be. On average, high school graduates earn more than high school dropouts. Those who receive postsecondary training earn more than high school dropouts and graduates. And workers who have bachelor’s or higher degrees usually earn more than those with less education.

Research career information. A small investment of your time will help you make an informed career choice that could pay dividends throughout your life. There are hundreds of occupations, so choosing and planning a career is a lot more complex than it may appear. The ideal career for you might be something you’ve never heard of or thought about. The careers web page at are loaded with helpful information.

Plan your career. Seek out information about occupations with favorable career prospects, high earnings, and other attributes that are important to you. Having a solid career plan can affect your future prospects more than how much education you have. True, college study increases opportunities for careers with above average earnings—but not in all fields. Good opportunities await workers without college degrees who spend several years learning a sought-after skill or craft.

Develop basic computer skills. Take advantage of every opportunity to acquire computer proficiency. Regardless of whether you continue your education beyond high school, chances are that you will need at
least minimal computer skills to do your job.

Value your personal interests and abilities. You shouldn’t be dissuaded from a career that interests you just because it’s competitive. If your interests and abilities draw you to a field like acting, journalism, law, piloting, or some other competitive occupation—go for it. Just be prepared for the challenges that may lie ahead.

Learn how to conduct a good job search and develop a résumé. No matter what you do after high school, you will have to market your skills as you search for a job. Learning about résumé preparation and job search techniques will help you get through the process more easily. Workers average more than 8 different jobs by age 32, so prepare to change jobs— even careers—until you find the one that’s right for you.

Gain experience early. Learning by doing is a great way to approach a prospective career. Internships, part time jobs, and volunteer work are some examples of ways to get handson experience while still in school. Not only do these opportunities help you make smarter career decisions, they may help you get hired after graduation; most employers value work-related experience.

Keep learning. Take every opportunity to learn new skills. The more you upgrade your skills to the constantly changing world of work, the more likely you—and your career—will adapt along with it.

Dreamfedjob - Turning unemployed into employed.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Evaluating a Job Offer
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Once you receive a job offer, you must decide if you want the job. Fortunately, most organizations will give you a few days to accept or reject an offer.

There are many issues to consider when assessing a job offer. Will the organization be a good place to work? Will the job be interesting? Are there opportunities for advancement? Is the salary fair? Does the employer offer good benefits? Now is the time to ask the potential employer about these issues—and to do some checking on your own.

The organization. Background information on an organization can help you to decide whether it is a good place for you to work. Factors to consider include the organization’s business or activity, financial condition, age, size, and location.

You generally can get background information on an organization, particularly a large organization, on its Web site or by telephoning its public relations office. A public company’s annual report to the stockholders tells about its corporate philosophy, history, products or services, goals, and financial status. Most government agencies can furnish reports that describe their programs and missions.

Press releases, company newsletters or magazines, and recruitment brochures also can be useful. Ask the organization for any other items that might interest a prospective employee. If possible, speak to current or former employees of the organization.

Background information on the organization may be available at your public or school library. If you cannot get an annual report, check the library for reference directories that may provide basic facts about the company, such as earnings, products and services, and number of employees. Some directories widely available in libraries either in print or as online databases include:
  • Dun & Bradstreet’s Million Dollar Directory
  • Standard and Poor’s Register of Corporations
  • Mergent’s Industry Review (formerly Moody’s Industrial Manual)
  • Thomas Register of American Manufacturers
  • Ward’s Business Directory
Stories about an organization in magazines and newspapers can tell a great deal about its successes, failures, and plans for the future. You can identify articles on a company by looking under its name in periodical or computerized indexes in libraries, or by using one of the Internet’s search engines. However, it probably will not be useful to look back more than 2 or 3 years.

The library also may have government publications that present projections of growth for the industry in which the organization is classified. Long-term projections of employment and output for detailed industries, covering the entire U.S. economy, are developed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and revised every 2 years.

Trade magazines also may include articles on the trends for specific industries.
Career centers at colleges and universities often have information on employers that is not available in libraries. Ask a career center representative how to find out about a particular organization.
During your research consider the following questions:
    Does the organization’s business or activity match your own interests and beliefs? It is easier to apply yourself to the work if you are enthusiastic about what the organization does. How will the size of the organization affect you? Large firms generally offer a greater variety of training programs and career paths, more managerial levels for advancement, and better employee benefits than do small firms. Large employers also may have more advanced technologies. However, many jobs in large firms tend to be highly specialized. Jobs in small firms may offer broader authority and responsibility, a closer working relationship with top management, and a chance to clearly see your contribution to the success of the organization. Should you work for a relatively new organization or one that is well established? New businesses have a high failure rate, but for many people, the excitement of helping to create a company and the potential for sharing in its success more than offset the risk of job loss. However, it may be just as exciting and rewarding to work for a young firm that already has a foothold on success.
The job. Even if everything else about the job is attractive, you will be unhappy if you dislike the day-to-day work. Determining in advance whether you will like the work may be difficult. However, the more you find out about the job before accepting or rejecting the offer, the more likely you are to make the right choice. Consider the following questions:
    Where is the job located? If the job is in another section of the country, you need to consider the cost of living, the availability of housing and transportation, and the quality of educational and recreational facilities in that section of the country. Even if the job location is in your area, you should consider the time and expense of commuting. Does the work match your interests and make good use of your skills? The duties and responsibilities of the job should be explained in enough detail to answer this question. How important is the job to the company or organization? An explanation of where you fit in the organization and how you are supposed to contribute to its overall goals should give you an idea of the job’s importance. What will the hours be? Most jobs involve regular hours—for example, 40 hours a week, during the day, Monday through Friday. Other jobs require night, weekend, or holiday work. In addition, some jobs routinely require overtime to meet deadlines or sales or production goals, or to better serve customers. Consider the effect that the work hours will have on your personal life. How long do most people who enter this job stay with the company? High turnover can mean dissatisfaction with the nature of the work or something else about the job.
Opportunities offered by employers. A good job offers you opportunities to learn new skills, increase your earnings, and rise to positions of greater authority, responsibility, and prestige. A lack of opportunities can dampen interest in the work and result in frustration and boredom.

Some companies develop training plans for their employees. What valuable new skills does the company plan to teach you?
The employer should give you some idea of promotion possibilities within the organization. What is the next step on the career ladder? If you have to wait for a job to become vacant before you can be promoted, how long does this usually take? When opportunities for advancement do arise, will you compete with applicants from outside the company? Can you apply for jobs for which you qualify elsewhere within the organization, or is mobility within the firm limited?

Salaries and benefits. When an employer makes a job offer, information about earnings and benefits are usually included. You will want to research to determine if the offer is fair. If you choose to negotiate for higher pay and better benefits, objective research will help you strengthen your case.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Dreamfedjob - Turning unemployed into employed.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Getting Along with Co-Workers Goes A Long Way
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“The single most important ingredient in the formula for success is knowing how to get along with people.” – Teddy Roosevelt

Have you ever dreaded going to work because of a colleague?  Many of us spend more waking hours at work than at home.  Imagine the total hours this will be by the time we retire.  Consider today to be a participant in building positive relationships with your colleagues.

How do we start?
  • Find common interests.  Usually in our social interactions we can find some common interests with people we meet.  This is no different in the work environment.  By indentifying common interests, we share a part of ourselves.  This helps to break the ice.
  • Communicate with your co-worker.  It is important to openly and tactfully express positions and feelings.  Rather than going behind your co-worker’s back, say what you need and how you feel about a situation.  In order for someone to know what we want, we have to express it.
  • Treat others with respect.  Listen to your colleagues, so that you can understand their views.  Avoid judgments that are based on rumors or prejudice.  If you feel good about yourself, it will be easier to see the good in others.
  • Team work.  When working together on a team, give credit where credit is due.  Support each other and work to help each other to succeed.
When you are in rapport with your colleagues, you can agree to disagree with what they say and still relate respectfully with them. The important point to remember is to acknowledge other people as unique individuals.
Dreamfedjob - Turning unemployed into employed.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Is a Balancing Act: Work/Life
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While people around the world toil to achieve work/life balance, financial security and favorable relationships, the benefit of emotional intelligence (EQ) is becoming increasingly important. Access yourself in the following areas to determine your personal emotional intelligence. Many studies on the subject suggest that individuals with high EQ often experience greater success regardless of their IQ.

Five crucial components of Emotional Intelligence:

Self-awareness: You must recognize your emotions influence on yourself and others. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Recognize emotions involvement in how you think and approach things and how you respond, both physically and verbally. The assessment piece of this area means you learn from experiences and are open to constructive feedback and criticism. This area is an example of a personal continuous learning and improvement model. You exhibit a presence of confidence and integrity.

Self-regulation: You must manage how you feel and handle your emotions in relationships, decision making, and work. You must demonstrate self control. Reaction and attitude are factors of this component. Keep emotions and impulses in control and appropriate. you shake off anger, sadness and anxiety.

Motivation: Evidence of a high degree of emotional intelligence is often visible in terms of self motivation, initiative, drive, energy and optimism. Motivation is indispensable to develop self-efficacy and to make values-based decisions. You must keep your actions goal-directed even when distracted by emotions.

Empathy: This component is how you relate to others, relationship based. You must interpret the needs and feelings of others without influence from your emotions. More specifically, it is the ability to put other’s needs ahead of your own.

Social skills: This component may best be described as the outward demonstration of an inward maturity in EQ. This component involves how you influence, communicate, and relate to others in personal, professional and social settings. You must learn how to effectively and appropriately manage conflict and resolve disputes. Listen to others with the intent of mutual understanding and respect of varying opinions. Characteristics like respect, helpfulness and cooperation are vital.

Dreamfedjob - Turning unemployed into employed.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Are You Being Perceived as a Rude Person?
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Are you intentionally rude to your colleagues or do you not realize that you are being rude?

In case you fall in the “not realizing you are rude” category, take a look at the following:

Constantly interrupting colleagues translates to them that your time and ideas are top priority.   You have no interest in what the other person has to say.  We all do this on a rare occasion.  It’s the constant interruption that is offensive.

As children, many of us were taught to say, “please” and “thank you.”   Unfortunately, this important childhood lesson is lost on many adults.  Employees can receive a lot of positive mileage by using words of gratitude.

Many employees are fortunate to have access to workplace snack areas.   There is a reason that, in many cases, a sign is posted detailing kitchen courtesy – dirty dishes in the sink, spoiled food in the refrigerator are just a few offenses.

There is nothing objective about language.   We each have our unique way of speaking.  However, when it comes to using profane language in the workplace, it can be offensive to many colleagues.

The day of private offices for all employees is long gone.     Some employees, however, speak as if they are in a private office or at a football game.   So, as we often tell children who are yelling in the house, “use your inside voice.”  For the offending colleague, “use your cubicle voice.”

Some conversations between employees are meant for only them.   When an employee eavesdrops and/or enters the conversation without an invitation, the employee is being inconsiderate.

It is easy to acknowledge a colleague – say “hello”, give a smile.   Yet, we know colleagues who will simply ignore others.  What kind of message is sent when a colleague refuses to greet another?

Dealing with rude colleagues. Many surveys reflect that there is more rude behavior than 20 or even 10 years ago.  The rising tide of workplace rudeness seems to be linked to a growing number of chronically angry workers.  Also a lack of impatience and growing inconsiderate behavior may be associates with technology, which contributes to a sense of hurriedness.

Workforce rudeness can be exhausting for colleagues and costly for the organization.  There is no simple explanation for the inconsiderate behavior, and there is no easy formula for avoiding the impact.  However, there are some ways to better handle the situation and minimize the stress caused by rude colleagues.

Realize when it is not about you.   “Rudeness” is when one person is treating another person without consideration.   Sometimes rudeness is intentionally directed at one person.   However, there are some people who go through life in a state of “unfocused” rudeness.  They never learned good manners, and they are not sensitive to other people.   Don’t waste your energy on colleagues like this.  Just recognize that it is not about you and learn to just let it go.  

Practice compassion.   Some colleagues behave rudely when they are anxious and overwhelmed.  Consider the source of their inconsiderate behavior and try to listen to them with empathy and try to see their perspective.   If you must disagree, be gracious. 

Get to know your colleagues.   Invest your time and energy in getting to know your colleagues.  Usually more tolerance and kindness is shown to people we know well.  It is easier to insult strangers, for example road rage.  Also, if you have friends at work, they will be a source of support, when and if you have an experience with a rude colleague.

Be contagious with your consideration.   Anger and unhappiness can be contagious, but so can civility.  Your positive tone can affect your workplace. Walk the talk.  Pay attention to others’ needs, and frequently validate your team members.

Respond to some issues without anger.   While usually the best way to deal with rudeness is to turn the other cheek, this is not always the rule when it is interrupting your ability to complete your tasks.  There are some issues, such as excessive noise or cell phone interruptions, for which you can tactfully and calmly approach your colleague about how it is affecting your ability to work.  Another way is to request management to allow a more general discussion about workplace standards.

Ignore the bully.  The rudeness that is targeted at a specific individual can be considered bullying.   In human resources circles, “a bully” describes a person who abuses victims who are unlikely to defend themselves.  They use tactics, such as taunts, snubs, withholding information or setting someone up to fail.    Unfortunately, bullying can be subtle, thus making it difficult for victims to convince management that bullying is happening.

There are suggestions in dealing with bullies:

Stay out of the bully’s way as much as you can, and try not to get into arguments. If you must interact with the bully, stay cool.   Bullies thrive on getting reactions.  Don’t make a big deal about the problem with your teammate, but discuss the situation with a trusted mentor or colleague.

Since many businesses are becoming more and more concerned about patterns of bullying behavior, take notes of your experiences.   Be specific in the notes in case the situation turns into a harassment case.

Sources:   Are you this rude at work? The Money Hospital, Funny Bones;

Dreamfedjob - Turning unemployed into employed.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Becoming a Better Employee
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When thinking about their job performance, some employees do not take in consideration that it includes getting along with others.  This is true for senior leadership and support staff.

Author, Kate Lorenz , says that "taking a moment to think about how we may be viewed by co-workers is an important exercise that could have far-reaching effects. 

While you may not care what Bob down in accounting or Mary the administrative assistant thinks of you, it's important to remember that Mary may go on to become the administrative assistant to the potential new boss you have an interview with. And one day Bob just may be in charge of auditing your expense receipts at a future company."
"The single most important thing to remember is to be considerate," says John Challenger, chief executive officer of global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
Below are a few tips that will assist you in being more courteous and thus a better co-worker:
  1. Dial it down a notch. “Whether it's talking on your phone, singing to your iPod, or slamming file drawers with a deafening bang, reduce the volume of noises emanating from your office or cube,” Challenger warns.
  2. Keep your ego in check.   It’s great that you came up with a great idea, but most of your co-workers don't want to hear the endless reasons why you are so great. So stop bragging and wait to earn a compliment.
  3. Avoid office politics (Part 1).   When someone confides insider information to you, don’t fall in the trap of responding especially if it is about someone you really don’t like.   The grapevine flourishes and any words from you may come back to haunt you.
  4. Clean up after yourself.   Make sure you wash your dishes in the break sink, don’t leave food spoiling in the refrigerator, and clean up your crumbs.
  5. Silence it.   Avoid annoying phone ring tones or computer sound effects. You may enjoy hearing this over and over, but your colleagues probably don’t.
  6. Cut cube clutter.  Try to make sure your cube looks relatively clear of clutter, and make sure your belongings don’t cascade into the adjoining cube.
  7. Avoid office politics (Part 2).  Keep your opinions about politicians and how to solve world peace to yourself.  Political issues can start a fire quickly.
  8. Temper your toxicity.  Try to be positive around your colleagues, even when you are not feeling so great.  Work hard not to put a negative spin on things.
  9. Good hygiene never fails.  Don’t be complacent about your grooming.  Take pride in your appearance and hygiene.
  10. Keep the small talk small.  Since we spend so much time at work, it is natural to want to share experiences with our colleagues.  While this is important for bonding with co-workers, don’t overdo it.  You are there to work.
"The best environments to work in are those where people really get along and have built friendships in the workplace," Challenger says. "However, if there ever is an issue between co-workers it's very important to recognize it and repair it," he advises.

It is in the best interest of the employee and company to have a cooperative, friendly workforce.

Source:  Be a Better Co-worker: 10 Tips By Kate Lorenz,   Editor Kate Lorenz is the article and advice editor for She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.

Dreamfedjob - Turning unemployed into employed.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Do You Have an Inventory of Your Skills Set?
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Ah... the summer is in full swing.  For some of us everything slows down a bit, which is usually a good time to complete an inventory of our personal skills.  Yes, we all can benefit from doing this, since these skills impact our jobs.  So, let’s take a look at a list of personal skills that can benefit us and then decide which ones could use some improvement.

Carefulness: Thinking and planning carefully before acting helps reduce the chance for costly errors, as well as keeping a steady.    “Look twice before you leap.” - Charlotte Brontë.
Cooperation: Willingness to engage in interpersonal work situations is very important in the workplace.   “It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.” Irish Proverb.  

Creativity: You've heard of "thinking outside the box"? Employers want innovative people who bring a fresh perspective.  "Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity." Charles Mingu.   

Discipline: This includes the ability to keep on task and complete projects without becoming distracted or bored.    “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” Chinese Proverb.

Drive: Businesses want employees who have high aspiration levels and work hard to achieve goals.   “There's no ceiling on effort!” Harvey C. Fruehauf.

Good attitude: T his has been shown to predict counterproductive work behaviors, job performance and theft.  "A healthy attitude is contagious but don't wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier." Anonymous.

Goodwill: This is a tendency to believe others are well-intentioned.   “Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds.”  George Eliot.

Influence: Groups need strong leaders to guide the way. Influence includes a tendency to positively impact social situations by speaking your mind and becoming a group leader.   “Setting an example is not the main means of influencing another, it is the only means.”Albert Einstein.    

Optimism: A positive attitude goes a long way toward productivity.   “The average pencil is seven inches long, with just a half-inch eraser-in case you thought optimism was dead.” Robert Brault.

Order: "Where did I put that?" A tendency to be well organized helps employees to work without major distractions or "roadblocks."   “I must create a system, or be enslaved by another man's.”  William Blake

Safe work behaviors: Employers want people who avoid work-related accidents and unnecessary risk-taking in a work environment.“It is better to be safe than sorry.”  AmericanProverb

Savvy: This isn't just about job knowledge, but knowledge of coworkers and the working environment. It includes a tendency to read other people's motives from observed behavior and use this information to guide one's thinking and action.  “It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.” Henry David Thoreau.

Sociability: How much you enjoy interacting with coworkers affects how well you work with them. “In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”   Albert Schweitzer.   

Stability: This means a tendency to maintain composure and rationality in stressful work situations.  “The beauty of the soul shines out when a man bears with composure one heavy mischance after another, not because he does not feel them, but because he is a man of high and heroic temper.”  Aristotle. 

Vigor: This is a tendency to keep a rapid tempo and keep busy.“Vigor is contagious, and whatever makes us either think or feel strongly adds to our power and enlarges our field of action.” Ralph Waldo Emerson.


Dreamfedjob - Turning unemployed into employed.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Do You Want to be Promoted? Prepare in Advance.
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I know, I know. It doesn’t seem likely that many of us will be selected for a promotion in the current economic climate, but now is a great time to prepare to advance your career. There are a number of ways for employees to prepare for promotion, including:

Create a career path for yourself. This tip requires some level of research to determine what skills and competencies are required for upper-level positions in your career. Seek out job descriptions and other online resources to determine the skills most needed and any minimum requirements. Make a checklist to keep track of different skill sets you need to develop.

Develop yourself. There are a number of ways to develop yourself for future career growth. While formal classroom instruction is the most common approach, it is not the only approach, especially now that tutorials and development tools are available online, sometimes free of charge. Of course, you will have to commit to learning on your own time and resources. But the payoff would be worth it in the long run.

Network. Long ago, networking was identified as one of the most underutilized resources to advance your career. Join professional clubs or associations to meet others in your career field. Find discussion forums or bloggers relative to your field and get involved.   Fortunately, networking can be online or in person without compromising the overall benefit of this job growth strategy.

Find a mentor. A mentor is someone in your chosen field who is an established and a seasoned professional willing to offer guidance, support and coaching for someone who is up and coming in their career field. When mentors share their valuable, first hand experience, employees gain the benefit of growing in the industry as a result of someone else’s knowledge and experience. When you select a good mentor, often times the relationship sustains well past the work assignments. Be careful to select someone who is committed and trustworthy.

Uncover new challenges or opportunities in your organization. Once you identify a problem, challenge or opportunity within your organization, provide yourself as the needed solution. Notify your supervisor or governmental leadership to highlight your skill sets and how they can be utilized as an answer or solution to lower costs or improve efficiencies within the organization.

Be proactive. Step outside the box and ask for additional responsibilities or assignments. This will get you needed visibility for upward mobility. Even if your effort does not result in a promotion, you get to demonstrate your value to the organization during a time of downsizing and mass layoffs.

Attitude. You must demonstrate a positive attitude regardless of pay and recognition, if you want to get ahead. Be a positive change agent for your organization to gain the respect of colleagues and leadership. This is easier said than done. Encourage yourself by remembering the workforce environment will rebound eventually. It may not be today or tomorrow, but borrowing from biblical text: “the race is not given to the swift or the strong but those that endure to the end.”

Dreamfedjob - Turning unemployed into employed.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Maintaining Focus in the Workplace
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Our economic recovery is moving slower than the 13 year locust. Each day seems to bring the same unemployment numbers that we had a year ago. This is the reality of our current market and the working environment. With cost-cutting, hiring freezes, and canceled pay increases employee morale is at an all time low.

With the barrage of bad news daily, it is no wonder we can become so distracted with our daily work schedule; staying on task can be very challenging. There are many distractions that keep you from staying focused. How should you deal with these types of interruptions?

1. Co-workers stopping by to chat
If your co-worker stops and chats and you’re in the middle of a project, kindly tell them you’ll be happy to stop by when the project is complete or at a scheduled break. If you’re not too busy, it’s ok to chat a couple of minutes, because this builds camaraderie and good working relationships.

2. People coming by your office to ask questions while you’re working or maybe while you’re at lunch
Consider saying, “I want to give you my undivided attention and I’ll be glad to stop by to see you.” At this point, please schedule a specific time and location to meet with them.

3. Handling e-mails or instant messaging
Unless you need to answer e-mails as part of your daily tasks, I suggest responding to e-mails no more than three times per day -- first thing in the morning, before lunch, and late afternoons. Keep instant messaging turned off unless it’s a part of your daily tasks.

5. Working on multiple projects
Studies have shown that multi-tasking is actually counterproductive. Keying in on one project at a time is more effective in getting it done in less time with a better outcome. You will be much more focused and not distracted by other tasks that bombard your mind. Also, being focused on one task at a time will give you more energy for your next project.

6. Non-work calls at work
Unless you need your cell phone in your daily work schedule, it should be turned off or at least on “vibrate”. A ringing cell phone is not only poor office etiquette, but is very distracting to your co-workers. Return calls during a scheduled break or at lunchtime. Family and friends should be reminded that you can accept calls only in the event of an emergency.

With so many interruptions in our daily lives, it’s up to us how we effectively manage and prioritize our daily tasks.

Dreamfedjob - Turning unemployed into employed.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Are You a Multi-Tasker?
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How can you be more productive and efficient as an employee with so many different tasks to complete in a days work? It’s hard to complete anything well you’re your attention and focus is spread over a variety of projects and approaching deadlines. Yes, multi-tasking can be an unexpected culprit for decreased productivity. But everyone has to multi-task, right? Yes, it’s almost necessary in today’s environment. Here are a few considerations so you can manage your day with increased efficiency.
  • First and foremost, prioritize. It is necessary in all things, especially daily tasks. It allows you to determine where to spend the majority of your time and effort.
  • Schedule a specific time to do other activities, projects and tasks. Until the schedule time is upon you, focus your full attention on the project at hand. Don’t allow any distractions from the other items on the to-do list until the scheduled time. Even if you scheduled task B for 1p.m. but receive a call or an email concerning project B at 11 a.m. - kindly indicate that you will need to follow-up with the person sometime after 1 p.m. This way, you keep your focus and stay on track.
  • Be resourceful and mindful of steps and processes that prolong the task without adding any value. Make any needed recommendations to your manager or supervisor to eliminate the extra work. Some practices are passed along although they were developed to address issues that may no longer be relevant.
  • Create and check off task on a to-do list.
  • Notify manager or colleagues as soon as possible when you determine that you are overwhelmed and may not be able to complete your assignment. Ask for any additional resources needed.
  • Clarify all assignments and create a management plan or system to handle the different requirement of each task.
Dreamfedjob - Turning unemployed into employed.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

We all Do It -- Procrastination.
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“Maybe it will just go away, if I put it off.”   “I really am not into this.”  “I can’t concentrate.”  The list can go on and on when we try to put off a task.  Procrastination prevents us from moving from one task to another.  We cannot quite get the flow, and then we do not feel good about ourselves.

Since it is often difficult for us to recognize our faults, the web site, provides the following signals that you may be a procrastinator:

  • Do you find yourself setting unrealistic high standards, thus making it difficult for you to begin the project?
  • Do you get so lost in the details of the project that you find it difficult to complete the work?
  • Do you put off projects until the last minute thinking that the deadline pressure will motivate you?
  • Do you over load yourself with projects and consequently cannot focus on what needs to be done?
  • Do you avoid doing a task when you think you should not be doing it and are angry about it?
  • Do you avoid a task because you fear doing it?
Reasons for Procrastination and Ways to Beat It

There are many reasons for a person to procrastinate, but the basic reasons are perfectionism, fantasizing, fear, crisis making, anger, overdoing, and pleasure seeking.   Let’s take a closer look at these reasons.
Perfectionism. This reason is very common.  The employee becomes absorbed in the minute details and tells himself that the project must be absolutely perfect before it can be completed perfectly.  If the task does not get done, the employee does not have to face the fear of the imperfect project.

To help yourself change, substitute the “shoulds” and ‘musts” to “It would be nice.”  “Let’s see how it turns out.”  Then set a deadline for yourself and the actual deadline for the project.  Your goal is to meet your deadline.  Your reward for meeting your deadline is that you have more time to make the project perfect.
Fantasizing.   These employees are better in their dream world of ideas rather than putting the ideas into reality.

Bring yourself back to earth.  Fantasize more in your head than in meetings.  If you find that you have backed yourself in a corner, tell your colleagues that you realize that the project needs to be broken down into smaller tasks.  Set up an earlier deadline for you.

Fear.  The employee is afraid of the task because it pushes him out of his comfort zone.  Since he is afraid a negative outcome will occur, the thought of doing the project makes him freeze.

Fear is good.  Repeat that mantra to yourself.  It is easier to defeat fear in the beginning, so it will not snowball.  As soon as you feel fear, do it!  About 90% of what we worry about does not happen.

Crisis Maker.  This employee thinks that he cannot become motivated until the last minute of the deadline.  He may intentionally create a crisis and then solve it at the last minute trying to make himself look good to his manager.  However, this does not endear the employee to his colleagues.

Your goal will be more difficult, since you have actually felt a psychological reward by being under many deadlines.  Set early deadlines and create your own rewards for preparing ahead of the deadline.

Anger.  The employee is angry because he has been assigned the task.  Therefore out of spite and anger, the employee does not complete the project in order to get back at the person he is angry at.

Attempt to resolve your anger by perhaps speaking directly to the person whom you are angry.  If this is not realistic, try to see a personal worth in completing the project.  Feel pride in completing the project timely.

Overdoers.  This employee avoids the tasks by taking on other tasks of lesser importance.  Therefore, his reason for not completing the task timely is because he has too many things to do.

Even though it is difficult for this person to prioritize and delegate, this is exactly what he needs to do.  Force yourself to prioritize so that you can see what is really just busy work.

Pleasure Seeker.  This employee wants to do positive things.  He may delay completing a project because he has more fun things to do.  The results of the project usually reflect that attitude.

Concentrate on being realistic.  Rewards come after work, not before work.  Visualize how good you will feel when the project is completed.  Then “double” your reward for finishing the project on time.

Dreamfedjob - Turning unemployed into employed.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Government Job Opportunities for Bilingual Candidates
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The interpreter must be exceptionally fluent in the languages that he or she interprets, and his or her speech must be free of any objectionable accent or impediment. At the very least, the aspiring interpreter should be well and broadly educated and almost bilingual, with a fairly long period of residence abroad being almost indispensable. Practical experience in several specialized fields is helpful and a knowledge of political science and economics is important.

Knowledge of language is only one prerequisite. The other is a genuine aptitude for interpreting, which is by no means synonymous with being bilingual. A surprising number of bilingual persons cannot listen to a speech or a statement in one language and then repeat clearly and precisely in another language the ideas that have just been presented. Simultaneous interpreting requires an additional skill of listening intently to one language while speaking another language at the same time.

ESCORT INTERPRETING:Escort interpreters accompany visiting delegations or individuals and interpret for them in generally informal situations. There are more escort interpreters than conference interpreters because more languages are in demand for escort interpreting. The temporary assignments in this field are just as uncertain and sporadic. Escort interpreting should not be viewed as a permanent career or as a sole means of livelihood; while the work is extremely interesting and educational and can be most rewarding as a contribution to international understanding, most people eventually tire of the frequent and even constant travel involved.

CONFERENCE INTERPRETING:Opportunities in the field of conference interpreting (generally known as simultaneous interpreting) are fairly limited.The United Nations has a staff of some 98 interpreters, all of whom are required to know extremely well at least two and preferably three of the UN conference languages, which are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish. The next largest group of interpreters in a national or international organization in the United States (not including the Armed Forces) is in the State Department. The State Department normally has 50 or so linguists on its interpreting and translating staff, of whom 20 or so are primarily interpreters. The World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, INTELSAT, also hire a small number of interpreters on full-time basis in national and international agencies. Vacancies are few and far between, with many applicants applying for each opening.

The free-lance conference interpreting field in the United States is made up of experienced interpreters, who compete for the opportunity of interpreting at international conferences on scientific, economic, political, and other subjects. Except for the very few best known and most experienced interpreters, who are frequently multilingual rather than merely bilingual, free-lancing as a conference interpreter is, therefore, rather an uncertain occupation. Practically the only languages used in international conferences in the United States are English, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

TRANSLATINGTranslators of written documents are in greater demand than interpreters in both national and international agencies as well as in private industry. The United Nations has 250-300 translators; the State Department has about one-tenth that number; most international agencies and some United States agencies have smaller translating staffs. Most translator positions require the ability to translate from several foreign languages into English, or to write (advertising copy; technical specifications; or diplomatic, informal, or scientific material, for example) in a foreign language at an educated native level. A broad background of education and experience is required to translate documents on many diverse subjects.

There are also other vocational opportunities for students of languages (such as bilingual secretary or teaching) but the most widespread use of linguistic ability is to supplement other skills and knowledge. The United States Information Agency, for example, uses foreign-language announcers and script writers. Other agencies employ analysts in any scientific and technical fields who may be required to read a foreign language. In many fields of specialization the person who knows one or more foreign languages has a distinct advantage in competing for a job and in keeping up with what is going on in his or her professional field in other parts of the world. In the field of foreign affairs, the State Department is placing increased emphasis on the language knowledge of its Foreign Service Officers.

U.S. Department of State
Office of Language Services
2401 E Street, NW., SA-1 14th Floor
Washington, DC 20522
Translating: 202-261-8777
Interpreting: 202-261-8800

Dreamfedjob - Turning unemployed into employed.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Telephone Interview
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As you pursue career opportunities, expect a few telephone interviews along the way. If you seek a position in another geographic location, it's likely you'll be responding to questions from an interview panel by telephone.
In the private sector, phone interviews are often used to narrow the pool of applicants who will be invited for an in-person interview. Within the government however, a telephone interview may be the only interview.
Government managers who evaluate candidates through both written application materials and phone interviews say many applicants with outstanding credentials and experiences fall short in the phone interview.
How can you avoid this? Treat the telephone interview just as seriously as you would a face-to-face interview. Prepare for it just as well. And don't be too casual when you take the phone call.

You won't see non-verbal reactions or cues from the interview panel, and the panel can't see your enthusiastic expression or your professional appearance. So pay close attention to your phone manners, clarity of speech, voice tone and the content of your answers.
Preparation is critical. Just as you would for a face-to-face interview, anticipate the kinds of questions you'll be asked and be ready with specific examples to demonstrate your abilities. Without visual clues from the panel to guide the conversation, keep your responses concise. Use the STAR Interview Response Technique (see the resources below) to help you keep your responses focused and strong.
Dial up a friend for a mock interview. Ask for feedback not only on your content, but also how you sounded. Consider recording this mock interview -- when you play it back, you'll be able to hear the "ums," "uhs," and "okays" which are especially noticeable on the phone.
Verify ahead of time the exact day and time of the interview, and make sure the chair of the interview panel has your correct phone number. If the panel schedules the interview at a time that is out of sync with your time zone, feel free to request a different time that better fits both your time zones. Ask who will be on the phone call – names and titles.
Find a room with no distractions. If you are home, make sure no one will bother you including children and pets. One hiring manager told us that a candidate completed the telephone interview at the airport – with flight announcements blaring in the background. Needless to say, this candidate was not offered the position.
Try to sit at a good-size table or desk with only the following in front of you: resume, notes, and pen and paper to take notes about the call. Use a landline telephone, and disable call waiting so your interview is not interrupted. If you are using a cordless phone, be sure the battery has a full charge.
Many job search experts advise clients to wear business attire as a reminder that the appointment is a professional interview, not an informal telephone conversation.

The interview begins the moment you pick up the phone. Answer in a professional manner and with energy. Consider standing, as this technique allows your voice to project with more confidence. Smile! That might sound silly, but experts say facial expressions reflect through your voice. If you are frowning, you will sound disinterested.
If you cannot hear the interviewers' questions clearly, say "I'm having trouble hearing you. Can you hear me clearly?" These questions are less confrontational than "Can you speak up?" and will help you determine if the problem is with your connection or on the panel's end.
Be "UP" and enthusiastic in your tone of voice. Speak directly into the phone. Do not smoke, chew gum, eat or drink – and no multitasking! Turn your computer off, and keep your papers and cards quiet.
Speak clearly and slowly – many people tend to mumble on the phone -- and avoid using slang.
Use the technique of repeating or rephrasing the questions. It tells the caller you are listening carefully and gives you time to think about your answer. If you need more time to think, ask for it. But remember as in radio, silence during a phone conversation is dead air time.
Keep your energy and enthusiasm throughout the interview, and end on a positive note. Don't forget to say "thank you" to the interviewers. Let the interviewer panel hang up first.

After the call ends, write down notes about the interview and your performance. What did you learn from this interview? What did you do well, and what should you do differently for the next interview? If you don't receive the job offer, don't become discouraged. It is an accomplishment just to get the interview.
Finally, be sure to ask the interview panel for their feedback on your interview – it will help you do better next time!

Dreamfedjob - Turning unemployed into employed.