Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Millennials are typically team-oriented, banding together to date and socialize rather than pairing off. They work well in groups, preferring this to individual endeavors. They're good multitaskers, having juggled sports, school, and social interests as children so expect them to work hard. Millennials seem to expect structure in the workplace. They acknowledge and respect positions and titles, and want a relationship with their boss. This doesn't always mesh with Generation X's love of independence and hands-off style.
All Millennials have one thing in common: They are new to the professional workplace. Therefore, they are definitely in need of mentoring, no matter how smart and confident they are. And they'll respond well to the personal attention.
Provide lots of challenges but also provide the structure to back it up. This means breaking down goals into steps, as well as offering any necessary resources and information they'll need to meet the challenge. You might consider mentoring Millennials in groups, because they work so well in team situations. That way they can act as each other's resources or peer mentors.
Because they appreciate structure and stability, mentoring Millennials should be more formal, with set meetings and a more authoritative attitude on the mentor's part.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Today, we work in a multicultural, multigenerational workplace. For the first time in history, our workplaces can have four generations working together. It is important to understand how the four generations can make the workplace conflict-free, less stressful and productive.
Each generation brings different values, beliefs and behaviors. For instance, women and men work side by side in the workplace, something our parents, or grandparents, might have found unusual or improper. Being respectful of differences, even when they pose challenges, is part of today’s job.
Generational diversity becomes a challenge in the current workplace. This reality demands that we understand the different perspectives of four generations of workers just to accomplish our everyday work.
Common experiences within generations tend to affect their attitudes, expectations, and values concerning work. The experiences of people in their twenties are markedly different than those who have worked for over 30 years. The generation who has been downsized multiple times, versus one which has worked for only one company, verses one which has changed jobs each year, are quite different from each other.
Issues that have created increased generational conflict include the economy, outsourcing, elimination of middle-management positions, and technology advances. For instance, changes in the workplace have generally reduced information jobs and have slowed upward mobility, causing people from different generations to compete for jobs.
Add to that the different value systems of each generation, and it becomes difficult for managers and colleagues to know how to treat two workers in the same job if they are different ages.
Differences in value systems can impact ambitions, perspectives, behavioral norms, and emotional reactions to various work scenarios. Communications can also be tricky, since each generation is motivated by different workplace messages.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Here are some factors that can have an affect on the time it takes for you to find a job.
- Do you know what you want to do? Taking the time to evaluate your purpose, values, accomplishments and skills will expedite the job search process.
- How big is your network? A large network can give you access to more unpublished openings and get you hired faster.
- Update your skills. If you have not kept your skills up to date, you may need to go back to school for a period of time.
- What is your mind-set? Potential employers will pick up on your attitude. Seek that positive attitude!
- Do you have the financial strength to withstand a longer search? If you received a substantial severance package, you will not be inclined to accept the first job offer out of the desperation felt by many job seekers.
Plan your job search and consider all avenues of support. It is an opportunity for reflection, positive change, and perspective. Preparation is key.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
- What would the inside of my car look like if we were to go look inside of it right now?
- If you were fruit, which fruit would you be?
- When is it OK to lie at work?
Share your worst job interview questions here.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Here are three questions you need to ask yourself:
1. Can you make money doing where your passions lead? Can your ideal job meet your needs in salary and benefits? Make note of your minimum requirements, and your maximum requirements. What is the average salary and benefits for your chosen occupation? You can also ask intentional questions during informational interviews with people working in your targeted industry.
2. Are there enough positions open to launch an all-out job search? While you may have identified an ideal job, it is a good idea to look at three to five possibilities that seem interesting. Your dream job may be too specialized for many openings, or there may be so many openings and options you may have a difficult time planning your search.
3. How long will it take to find your ideal job? Most of us underestimate the time it will take to become re-employed. The general rule is 3-6 months for a professional or manager, regardless of the economy or other factors. You can also estimate that it will take one month for every $10,000 of salary you were making at your previous job.
Be patient, realistic and open minded about your job search. Following your passion is a good thing. But beware of the pitfalls.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
A cover letter creates a strong first impression of you and it will play a large role in determining whether or not your resume should be considered.
The purpose of the cover letter is:
- To quickly highlight your most valuable skills related to the specific position.
- To match your skills and interests to the job
- To demonstrate your personal qualities (tact, judgment, selling and communication skills)
- To request an interview
A cover letter should consist of:
- OPENING PARAGRAPH: Indicates the purpose of the letter, such as response to advertisement, acting on a referral or writing a letter of inquiry, as well as references company research.
- THE BODY: The place to highlight your interests and key skills and relate them to the position advertised.
- CLOSING PARAGRAPH: To be used to request an interview.
Every cover letter you write must be:
Write a new cover letter for each job application you make and tailor it specifically to each job.
If your cover letter is poorly written, long-winded or difficult to read, the employer may never read the attached resume.
- Do not be too aggressive, too friendly, or too vague.
- Make certain your cover letter does not exceed one page in length.
- An effective Cover Letter:
IS AN INTRODUCTION TO THE RESUME: formally introduces you to the employer, indicating the source of your information about the job for which you are applying.
- SUMS UP WHAT YOU HAVE TO OFFER: highlights the particular aspects of your education, work experience, activities or personality which would make you an asset to their company and this job.
- BRIEFLY STATES HOW YOUR QUALIFICATIONS RELATE TO THE JOB: links together your experiences and abilities to the company's needs, indicating your knowledge of the job for which you are not applying at random, but have taken the time to inform yourself.
STATES THAT YOU INCLUDED A RESUME : mentions the fact that a resume follows this short introduction.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Don’t make spelling, grammar or punctuation errors
Don’t appear conceited or arrogant about your ability to do the job
Don’t focus on what they can do for you – focus on what you can do for them
Don’t discuss unrelated skills and qualifications
Don’t address any skills or qualifications that you may lack in your cover letter
Don’t forget to sign your letter
Don’t wait until the last day of the job application deadline to submit your cover letter & resume
Do include your contact information in the cover letter.
Do let your enthusiasm for the job, the industry and the company show
Do maintain your professionalism in your letter
Do keep your letter brief – cover letters should be limited to one page in length
Do use specific examples of your skills & experiences
Do use specific letters for each application
Thursday, May 14, 2009
A cover letter should be short, specific and no longer than one page. You should specify your career objectives in relation to the position, what appeals to you about the job and a short summary of your experience and skills. Here are some tips for your cover letter.
- No spelling or typing errors. Not even one.
- Address it to the person who can hire you. Resumes sent to the HR department usually get lost. If you can find out (through networking and researching) exactly who is making the hiring decision, address the letter to that person. Be sure the name is spelled correctly and the title is correct. A touch of formality is good too: address the person as "Mr.," "Ms.," "Mrs.," "Miss," "Dr.," or "Professor." (Yes, life is complicated.)
- Write it in your own words so that it sounds like you - not like something out of a book. Employers are looking for knowledge, enthusiasm, focus.
- Being "natural" makes many people nervous. And then even more nervous because they are trying to avoid spelling errors and grammatical mistakes.
- Show that you know something about the company and the industry. This is where your research comes in. Don't go overboard--just make it clear that you didn't pick this company out of the phone book. You know who they are, what they do and you have chosen them!
- Use terms and phrases that are meaningful to the employer. (This is where your industry research and networking come in.) If you are applying for an advertised position, use the requirements in the ad and put them in BOLD type. For example: the ad says--
"2 years' experience processing magnetic media (cartridge, tape, disc); interface with benefit plan design, contracts and claims; and business background with strong analytical & technical skills--dBase, Excel, R&R, SQL."
Make sure your cover letter contains each of these requirements and shows how you measure up.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
It is regarded as a sign of laziness (sorry about that) to send out a cover letter that is not tailored to the specific company. In the days before word processors, you could maybe get away with it. Not anymore.
Yes, it adds to the wear and tear of looking for a job! But the good news is: the cover letter gives you another chance to emphasise what you have to contribute to the organization. Don't give the person screening the resumes a second to entertain the thought: "But how can this person help US?" Your cover letter will answer that question in your own words. Your resume will answer the same question in a somewhat more rigid format.
It may take a few more minutes of your time...but it is worth it...Just do it!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Cover letters are necessary when sending your resume, but remember to keep your cover letter short. The purpose of a cover letters is to obtain an interview, not tell a lengthy story. The focus should be on your qualifications, and setting up an interview. There are two types of cover letters - specific and general. The specific cover letter is directed at a specific company, specific person, and position. The specific cover letter personally addresses the company’s needs. It also sends a positive message to the employer that you are truly interested because you took the time to write an individual letter. A general cover letter is often addressed to the Recruitment manager or department and emphasises your qualifications in hopes that a position will be available to utilize your skills.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Merrill Lynch economist David Rosenberg recently wrote that he expects unemployment to reach 5.75% by year end and 6% by early 2009 (vs. 4.9% last month) "To be sure, this is low by historical standards," he wrote, "but would still be very close to the peaks posted during the 2002-03 jobless recovery." As the job market tightens, it becomes more important than ever to have the right approach when you are job hunting.
Here are ten techniques for a successful online job search. Use them to search for jobs more effectively and increase your odds of getting hired.
1. Job Sites: There are thousands of different job sites out there. Be selective. Use sites that specialise in your area of expertise.
2. Refine Your Job Search: Use keywords. Add more string terms. Narrow your search. Use the advanced search feature.
3. Email Alerts: Set up Email Job Alerts. Save your searches to receive daily or weekly email alerts . You can also save your searches as an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) job feeds using any reader. This will help you apply for jobs as soon as they are posted.
4. Focus!: Only apply to jobs you are qualified for. Ignore the rest and don't lie about your skills.
5. Scam Job Listings: Do not be tempted to apply for " quick money" jobs. If it is too good to be true...it probably is....
6. Customise your Cover Letter: A well-written customised cover letter shows the employer you are serious. Show how your skills and experience can help the company.
7. Post Resume on Job Boards: Post your resume on as many job boards as you can. Allow companies to find you online. You will be surprised how many people are able to find you.... including your current employer.
8. Clean Up Your Act: Check your resume and cover letters for typos and grammatical errors. Use consistent font sizes and formatting in your resume. Potential employers may look at any online profile of yours, so keep them up-to-date and free of content that would embarrass you.
9. Brush up your Interviewing Skills: If you have not interviewed for a while, make sure you rehearse and practise your interviewing skills. Practise...Parctise...Practise
10. Research: Learn as much as you can about the company's products and services. Read up on company news and trends in the industry – use sites like Wikipedia and ZoomInfo. Find out who is interviewing and Google their names to learn about them.
It is always easier to find a job while you are in a job. Keep your options open if your job is vulnerable.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
5. It's all about Attitude! Go to any job networking session you learn about. All of them are valuable. Part of it is just feeling like you're doing everything you can to get back on your feet. If you have an attitude that you're going to work at this that will come across and will bring opportunities to you.
6. Volunteer. Let's say you are going to be out of work for six months. What could you do with six months of your time? Make sure you come away with it with a great project under your belt. Why not volunteer your time with a charity that could use your skills? Not only will you feel good about yourself, you'll come away with job experience so you won't have a hole in your resume. build a website for Amnesty International. This is impressive - saying you were "on the beach" for six months is NOT. Plus you'll make great friends.
7. References - Get in touch with your old boss and coworkers as quickly as possible to ask for references. You never know when these references will come in handy.
8. Join or update your socu=ial networking profiles such as LinkedIn or Facebook. These sites are invaluable networking tools in the internet age.
9. Consider becoming a consultant. Depending on your career, freelance consulting work may be a viable option. It could at least provide some temporary income while you look for long-term employment.
1. No one owes you a job.
2. If you want a job, you’re going to have to work hard to get it. Job-hunting success is in direct proportion to job-hunting effort.
3. Successful job-hunting requires a willingness to change tactics. If what you’re doing doesn’t work, then try something else.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
1. Don't get lazy. You will find a job. Take a week off to internalise your job loss and communicate with your family and friends about loosing your job. do not allow yourself to go into a downward spiral by getting into a rut.
2. If you qualify for unemployment, go and sign up. You have paid into the system and you will pay into it again. It is a financial stop gap between jobs.
3. Think strategically. Network. Network. Network. Call your family, friends, acquaintances and your Christmas card list. Let them know your situation and that you are looking. If they give you a lead, follow up. Start a blog or newsletter. It is a great way to keep everybody posted on your comings, goings and progress. It is a fabulous networking tool.
4. Spend at least 40% of every day trying to find a job. Work on your resume. Your cover letter and Practise interview questions. Practise everyday. Send out as many resumes as you can.
More tips to follow in my next blog..
Monday, May 4, 2009
This information is important because how an employee behaves in completing responsibilities is as critical as the responsibilities of the actual job. Identifying and assessing required key behaviors should contribute to the overall success of an employee in their position.
Prior to asking behavioral interview questions, I always begin with general introductory questions. I will share these general introductory questions in my next blog.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
The key is to give better answers than anyone else. To do this, you must:
1. Anticipate likely questions;
2. Develop excellent answers;
Be enthusiastic and confident when responding to questions. Don't rush your answers, but don't ramble on and on, either. Try to, um, avoid, like, using unnecessary words, right? And um, repeating yourself or, like, annoying phrases, you know?
A good technique is to write out your answers to the questions outlined in the guide. Then practice your polished answers out loud, over and over. If you can have someone help you do a "mock interview," that would be the best way to do this.
Your time has finally come! You've been called for an interview. Now what? Don't sweat it! Prepare yourself to win. You know you're ready for the job...now you have to convince the employer!
General Introductory Questions
1. Please highlight your past jobs, telling me the employment dates when you worked for companies and what your job duties were. (Candidate should not have resume in hand and should be able to recite from memory). If there are any gaps in employment, I probe further.
2. I have reviewed your resume but would like to ask you to begin by giving me an overview of your education and experience as they relate to this position and why you are interested in this position.
3. Please elaborate on one of the work experiences listed on your resume.
4. What were your major responsibilities?
5. What were some of the most difficult duties of that job?
6. Who did you report to and who reported to you (title)?
7. What special skills and knowledge were needed to perform the duties in your previous jobs?
8. Your resume lists many job changes. Tell me about them.
9. How has your present job changed while you have held it?
10. What unique talent do you offer? Why do you feel it is unique?
11. What else should I know about your qualifications for this job?
It is essential to review your resume and be completely familiar with your work history. A good interviewer will probe. Make sure you are fully prepared.
Friday, April 24, 2009
4. Experiment much more...for goodness sake take risks..
So, you know that you want to change, but not sure what you want to change into. Well here is a secret - you don’t need to know. The only way to find out is to start taking risks and experimenting. Go shadow someone, volunteer your services, try new and different roles. Then start noticing what you’re drawn to. What you are drawn to is usually a good sign of the type of work you should be transitioning into.
5. Stay focused on the dream...dream are the wings of the mind
Everybody has a dream! A vision or grand plan is a good starting point. A tough job market is an opportunity to tap into that dream - reinvention is the vehicle to help you get there much quicker.
How can you use these 5 tips I have shared in YOUR reinvention process? Can you go ahead and do it now? Can you utilise your skills and find that ideal job.
Reinvention should be part and parcel of your growth and development. The recession and tough job market is merely an excuse to reinvent our careers and lives.
Go ahead! Start reinventing yourself today!!
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Here are 3 tips I have put into practise about reinventing your career during a tough market:
1. Stay informed...but pace yourself
Awareness of market trends is a very good thing. But, no need to surround yourself with bad news stories and gloomy economic forecasts. Find a niche, invest time and energy into the niche and prepare for that next job.
2. Stay focused on your strengths....and develop weaknesses..
Every organisation is rationalising, surviving and the smart ones are preparing for the upturn. They are looking inward to see what has made them successful in the past and how they can capitalise. So should you. Focus on reinventing yourself around your key strengths and unique talents and then offering them to organisations.
3. Focus on YOU
Yes, you read right - “YOU”
If you are chasing something which does not bring YOU happiness or which YOU have little enthusiasm for, then you have to reinvent and rediscover your strengths.
Focus on indentifying roles which involve activities which you enjoy. Jobs which will utilise your skills and strengths and which keeps you fulfilled and happy. After all it all about YOU.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
The promotion you were working towards may have gone. The performance bonus you have worked so hard for 11 months, may not materialise. The organisation you wanted to work for may no longer exist. The long-term exit plan you had in your mind may well seem unfeasible now.
I see tremendous opportunity ahead. Opportunity to upskill, redirect, refocus and reinvent yourself. Later this week I will share 5 tips about reinventing yourself and your career.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Place a high value on your skills and a strong belief that there are employers out there who will value your contribution.
Preparation and Action
Have you taken the time to prepare and practise. Have you prepared a professional resume? Do you know how to prepare for an interview? Are you prepared to go into an interview this afternoon. Do you know how to anticipate interview questions? Are you persistent in your approach and open minded at the same time. Are you open to new possibilities?
Monday, April 20, 2009
Your professional outlook and appearance definitely contributes towards the overall decison making process to hire you.
Even though the dress code in the work place have become much more informal, the job interview attire remains strictly professional. A pair of jeans and a shirt should only be dooned once you enter the workplace - not during the interview. Both men and women shoul wear business suits to any and every interview.
For women, the best choice of interview attire is a smart business suit in a conservative color such as navy blue or black. For women, if you are wearing a skirt, be sure to use good judgment as far as the length of the skirt is concerned. When in doubt as to the appropriateness of skirt length, think of knee-length as the ideal.
Other tips for women include making sure to tone down any makeup. If you are going to wear nail polish, a very light color or clear coat is the best option. If you choose to wear jewellery, make sure that the styles are conservative.
For men, a suit is still the required uniform. A conservative colour like navy blue or black is your best bet. Men too should choose to leave their jewellery at home, as the only thing you want to call attention to is your world of experience.
Careful grooming is something that both genders should pay careful attention to. Make sure that your hair is neat and professional looking. Long hair should be pulled back and out of your face. For men with facial hair, be sure that your beard or moustache is neat and trimmed.
A caution!– for men and women alike – go easy on the perfume or cologne. Though you certainly want to smell good for the interview, you don’t want to send an allergic interviewer running out in the midst of a sneezing fit.
In summary, be conservative, conform to "old school" rules and dress professionally.
Friday, April 17, 2009
The ringtone sounded like farm animals mooing, swearing and making really inappropriate comments about the corporate world. The ring tone gave me more insight into the candidate than anything his resume or comments did.
Suffice to say, he did not get the job....
Turn off your cellphone during an interview and never, ever put an inappropraite ringtone on your cellphone, especially something that mocks the hand that feeds you..
Appraise Yourself. Review your accomplishments by thinking of specific examples. Write them down and say them out loud. If you have babysat a total of 16 children aged six months to six years over the past four summers, say so. If you haven't missed a day of work (or school) in two years, say so. If you've catered seven banquets of up to 100 people, say so. If you won an award for the best safety record in your company, say so. These are noteworthy accomplishments; give yourself credit where credit is due.
Think Benefit. Job interviewers want to know how you can benefit their business. Period. Why isn't a list of job responsibilities good enough? Because:
It doesn't show proficiency or skill level.
It doesn't show initiative, creativity, or problem-solving ability.
It doesn't distinguish you from other workers doing the same job.
It doesn't show how an employer benefitted from having you as an employee.
If you were an employer, would you rather hire someone who says "I did month-end mailings." or someone who says "By computerizing our month-end mailings, I reduced an 8-hour job to 1 hour." Would you rather hire the applicant who says "I transported pallets to a sanitary landfill." or the applicant who says "They had always taken their pallets to the dump. I used the pallets to make compost bins, and sold them for $20 each."
Give employers enough good reasons to hire you, and they probably will.
Prepare Questions. Make a list of questions to ask the interviewer. Topics might include the company, the industry, products and services, work environment, job details, who you report to, when you'll be contacted, etc. Whichever questions aren't answered during the course of the interview can be asked at the end.
Contact Your References.
1. Tell them the date of your interview, the company's name, and the position you're applying for.
2. Make sure they have a copy of your resume. Remind them of your goals and why you would be a great candidate for this job.
3. Ask if they have any questions, and thank them for their help.
Plan Ahead. Don't be late for the interview. Ever! If you're not sure of the location, phone and ask for directions. The day before the interview, go to the location and note how long it takes to get there. Are there train crossings, detours, or road construction along the route? Don't worry if you take a wrong turn and get lost, or you end up at 450 Park Ave North instead of South: the interview is tomorrow, and you won't make the same mistake again.
If you're not doing all of these things in advance, you're not as prepared as you could be.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
1. Are you able to do the job?
2. Are you willing to put in the effort to make the job a success?
3. Are you manageable?
Every aspect of the interview is geared toward answering one of these questions, with the thousand-dollar question being this: "Do you show promise as a potential employee?"
Studies have shown that the single greatest contributor to performance failure and job dissatisfaction has to do with a lack of fit with organizational culture. If you don't align well with the boss's core beliefs and values, it will be very difficult to develop an effective working relationship.
Enter every interview with these three questions in mind and you will find the process not as stressful.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Here are some subtle, yet effective, job interview follow-up techniques you can use to increase your chances of success.
* follow up and questions you might still have about the job
* remind the interviewer who you are
* address anything that didn't go so well in the interview
Friday, March 27, 2009
Here are three techniques that may help:
1. Clench your left fist, preferably for 30 seconds or more, especially if you are right-handed. Clenching the left fist activates specific circuits in the brain’s right hemisphere. These circuits have been shown to enhance people’s capacity to reach decisions and alleviate unpleasant emotions.
2. Pactise your answers to standard questions, especially the ones that relate to your attributes, limitations, preferences and values.
3. Try not to conceal your anxieties, concerns or limitations. As an interviewer I know what you are nervous and I take it into account during the interview. By admitting that you’re nervous you can prevent your anxiety from getting worse.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
- Dress appropriately for the industry; if you not sure, dress conservative and always come across professionally. Remember first impressions...
- Know where you are going, know how long it takes to get there and DON'T ever be late.
- Treat all people you encounter at the company with courtesy and respect. You don't know who the decison makers are.
- Offer a firm handshake, make eye contact, and have a friendly expression when you are greeted by your interviewer. Don't giggle and don't be overly enthusiastic...
- Listen...Listen...Listen. Be sure you understand your interviewer's name and the correct pronunciation.
- Sit still in your seat; avoid fidgeting and slouching.
- Respond to questions and back up your statements about yourself with specific examples.
- Be thorough in your responses, while being concise in your wording.
- Be honest and be yourself.
- Treat the interview seriously. Behave as though you are truly interested in the employer and the opportunity presented.
- Exhibit a positive attitude. Behave like someone you would want to work with.
- Have intelligent questions prepared to ask the interviewer. Limit it to three questions. Don't interview the interviewer.
- Make sure you understand the employer's next step in the hiring process.
- When the interviewer concludes the interview, offer a firm handshake and make eye contact. Depart gracefully.
- Write a thank-you letter to your interviewer promptly.
I know that common sense is not very common, but is very important to make a good...no excellent......first impression..
Behaviourbased questions seek demonstrated examples of behavior from your past experience and concentrate on job related functions. Questions are always open ended and often begin with: Tell me about", "Describe a time", "Give me an example of"
Here are some examples I use when i interview candidates:
- Describe a difficult problem that you’ve had to deal with and how you resolved it
- Describe a situation when you found yourself challenged. How did you handle it.
- Tell me about a situation in which you were able to satisfy a difficult or irate customer
Sunday, March 22, 2009
This book is useful to anticipate interview questions. Preparation for any interview will allow you stand out and make it easy for the words to come out..
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Why are you looking for a new job?
Bad Answer: My boss is a jerk and I do not get along with my colleagues.
Tip: Keep the answer positive, in terms of where you want to go, not what you want to get away from.
Better Answer: I have been promoted as far as I can go with my current employer. I'm looking for a new challenge that will give me the opportunity to use my skills to help my employer's business grow.