Tag: Personal Development
When telling a prospective employer about yourself, avoid the chronological approach and try this.
For many people, job interviews are the most stressful part of the job-search process. And it’s true that an interview is often a make-or-break moment: If you flub the interview in a big way, you probably won’t make the cut–no matter how good your resum is, or how excellent your qualifications are.
You can combat nerves and increase your chances of success by practicing your answers to difficult interview questions. Here are some of the toughest, with suggested answers:
1. Why do you want to work in this industry?
“I love to shop. Even as a kid, I spent hours flipping through catalogs.”
Don’t just say you like it. Anyone can do that. Focus instead on your history with that particular industry, and if you can, tell a success story.
“I’ve always loved shopping, but my interest in retail marketing really started when I worked at a neighborhood boutique. I knew that our clothes were amazing, but that we weren’t marketing them properly. So I worked with management to come up with a marketing strategy that increased our sales by 25 percent in a year. It was great to be able to contribute positively to an industry I feel so passionate about, and to help promote a product I really believed in.”
2. Tell us about yourself.
“I graduated four years ago from the University of Michigan, with a bachelor’s in biology–but I decided that wasn’t the right path for me. So I switched gears and got my first job, working in sales for a startup. Then I went on to work in marketing for a law firm. After that, I took a few months off to travel. Finally, I came back and worked in marketing again. And now, here I am, looking for a more challenging marketing role.”
Instead of giving a chronological work history, focus on your strengths and how they pertain to the role. If possible, illustrate with examples.
“I’m really energetic, and I’m a great communicator. Working in sales for two years helped me build confidence and taught me the importance of customer loyalty. I’ve also got a track record of success. In my last role, I launched a company newsletter, which helped us build on our existing relationships and create new ones. Because of this, we ended up seeing a revenue increase of 10 percent over two years. I’m also very interested in how companies can use web tools to better market themselves, and would be committed to building on your existing platform.”
3. What do you think of your previous boss?
“He was completely incompetent, and a nightmare to work with, which is why I’ve moved on.”
Remember that if you get the job, many of the people interviewing you will someday be your previous bosses. The last thing they want is to hire someone they know will badmouth them. Instead of trashing your former employer, stay positive, and focus on what you learned from him (no matter how awful he really was).
“My last boss taught me the importance of time management, didn’t pull any punches, and was extremely deadline-driven. His no-nonsense attitude pushed me to work harder, and to meet deadlines I never even thought were possible.”
Self-confidence isn’t something that you’re born with. But it certainly is something that you can learn. And the more you practice it, the more confident you will become. Here are six tips that will help you look — and feel — self-confident:
1. Figure out what you’re good at and capitalize on it. Make a decision to be an expert in one area of your business or job.
2. Whenever your area of expertise comes up, take a position and share it with others. Don’t sit back and wait to see which direction everyone else is going and then follow along.
3. Make your points without apologizing. Sit or stand up straight, and speak clearly without mumbling or fumbling around.
4. Accept compliments graciously. Don’t say things like “anyone could have done it,” when in reality, you’ve put a lot of time and effort into the finished product.
5. Admit mistakes. When you make a bad decision, acknowledge it; share what you’ve learned and move on. Don’t dwell on the bad stuff.
6. Don’t be over-confident. If you’re an intern, you probably need a little more experience before you apply for the CEO job.
When you act self-confident, you inspire confidence in others and put yourself on the road to success.
Speaking at least three times in each meeting can help you get a promotion.
Fortunately, you are not under the illusion that if you are talented and hardworking, kind people will notice and you will get your just reward.
Many people are still there waiting for a promotion or increase future, more disillusioned and depressed with each passing day. Getting promoted means getting noticed, which is not something that happens on its own. But you can do it using the four strategies as often as possible.
Volunteer for assignments
Stay alert for opportunities that allow you to do any or all of the following:
Submit your best skills
Align your efforts with the main interests of your boss.
You must remain vigilant and monitor the situations to occur. Make sure your hand goes back before the others in the class to realize that there is an opportunity.
Speak Up at least three times at each meeting
If you are an introvert, this might be a stretch for you, but there are ways to train and prepare. It is a world dominated by extroverted, where people who take more time to formulate their thoughts often find that the conversation has ridden in a different direction before they have a chance to respond.
Here’s a simple solution: Get the agenda ahead of time, and read the script (writing for yourself so you can check your notes during the meeting) some of the ideas you have developed. Then a glance at your notes during the debate moving fast will help give some ideas of dynamite into the fray. When you are calm, one can think that nothing happens in your head. Do not let people, especially your boss, you think about this.
Stay informed and let it show
Read, surf the Web or chat with colleagues in your field, and keep in touch with what’s happening in your profession. Then be sure to drop nuggets of what you learned and your conclusions on the information you have gathered in conversations, memos or other material relevant work. Take time to have some interesting and useful ideas, and make sure other people know about them.
In today’s organizations, being informed of what’s happening this week is only half the battle, who will be rewarded with raises and promotions are those who prove that they think ahead to be strategic rather than reactive.
Document Your Success
Let people know what is happening as a matter of course. When you have a brief encounter with someone and a plan is set, send an email confirming who does what and copy those involved. When you receive a positive comment or a thank you for someone to forward it to your boss, assuming she’ll want to see good news coming in about the work unit, its control. After all, your success is ultimately its success.
So many people complain that they are simply not appreciated and their colleagues and bosses take them for granted. Remember that you have to act so that your efforts are rewarded and your work is noticed. And if the rewards are not forthcoming, start a job search so you can find a better opportunity.
If any of these work scenarios sounds familiar, meet with your boss and rethink your attitude.
Your career may lose power for several reasons: a lack of opportunities, changes in industry and the plain old boredom are just a few of them.
Wondering if your career has stalled? Here are some of the signs above, according to experts:
1. Your role and responsibilities have not changed in a few years or more.
2. You have bounced from one employer to without much change in job title or salary.
3. You can not remember the last time you learned something new about your industry or field.
4. People hired after being promoted faster than you.
5. You are not invited to important meetings or discussions of the kind you used to attend.
6. You have fewer tasks you used to.
7. Review the performance contain words such as “consistently meets expectations” or “adequate performance.”
8. No one at work asking for your help – or anyone in your professional network application advice.
9. You dread going to work in the morning.
10. Your manager and colleagues to stop communicating with you – usually your phone rings less and less e-mails you get.
11. You spend a lot of time complaining about work, where and when you tell stories about work, you’re history “victim”, not his hero. Sound familiar? Do not be afraid – there are many ways to get your career back in the fast lane.
Here are some ideas:
Talk to your boss
A first step is to solve the problems head on. For example, if you were stuck in the same position with the same employer, request a copy of the hierarchy title and job descriptions in your organization, says Debra Vergennes, author of the Resource Guide Job Safety creation. “Working with Human Resources and your boss to know what steps you must take to get from where you are in the next step up,” she said.
Otherwise, tell your boss that you are ready for new challenges and new assignments. If you have been quietly doing your job and keep your head down, it may not make you feel dissatisfied.
Ask what you need
Alan G. Bauer, President Recruiter Bauer Consulting Group, says you can ask your manager for advice on what you need to improve. Also, it says you can ask your HR department what happens with a late raise. “If your merit increases are below ‘to your colleagues, there may be a problem,” he said, “The company budgeted a certain amount for salary increases. – If you do not get you, you need to know why.”
Brad Karsh, founder and president of the firm JobBound career services, said to look for ways to be more effective, efficient and strategic. “Ask your manager about the possibility of a rotation program to see the inner workings of the company and sit back and new ideas,” he said.
Taking the initiative
Karsh also suggested to determine what your boss keeps up the night. “Find a way to solve this problem,” he said. “You must be a key player.”
You can also take courses or work for a degree, suggests Marie Greenwood, author of How to Interview Like a Pro.
Or look on the job. “If you value learning, you can volunteer for a project that will require new skills,” says executive coach Elene Cafasso. “Perhaps you can transfer to another area of the business or to learn what is necessary to save a colleague.”
Rick Dacre Uncomplicating author of Management, suggests active involvement in professional associations. “Get a leadership role to address the group or write an article for the newsletter, for example,” he said.
Adjust your attitude
Negativity is one of the most career killers. “If you spend a lot of your energy to moan and whine about your situation, it’s time to try to make a fresh start before you become so emotionally costly that the organization feels the need to cut,” said Cy Wakeman, author of Reality-Based Leadership.
Identification of your dissatisfaction and take action to solve is the first step. The next step could be to update your resume and start looking for a new job. “He may cling to a working relationship is unhealthy and unproductive is holding you back,” Vergennes said: “I attended a handful of people this year who identified their dissatisfaction and set a date to quit smoking -. Even without a job waiting – and found something just before or after the date of their resignation Sometimes you just have to take this action”
If your career has stalled, perhaps a new career is the right answer. Start exploring the options by reaching out to your professional network, twinning or talk to your HR department about an internal transfer.
Use some free time to take online classes and work toward a new degree.
Thinking of switching careers or adding some skills to your resume? Looking for the right time to go back to school and get your degree? Summertime may be the right time to get started.
Summer classes are quickly becoming a popular option for college students of all kinds, according to Kyle Brown, director of online learning at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Canton.
Summer enrollment at SUNY Canton, for example, has jumped nearly 300 percent over the past four years, says Brown. Much of that growth is due to the fact that 90 percent of its summer classes are available online.
Want to use the summer to get a head start on your education? We’ve spotlighted some of the fastest growing careers through 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, and separated them into three different career categories. Using this data, we also included the most common degree or preparation needed in each career. Keep reading to see why summertime may be the right time to start these programs…
Head Start Option 1: Health Care Programs
Looking for a red hot degree program to start this summer? Consider pursuing a degree in health care. With health care reform in full swing, it’s an exciting time to dive into this rewarding profession.
Associate’s in Medical Assisting
Medical Assistant – $29,450
Dental Assisting Certificate
Dental Assistant – $34,000
Associate’s in Nursing
Registered Nurse – $66,530
Did You Know? Ten of the 20 fastest growing jobs in the country through 2018 are in health care, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, and nursing and medical assisting careers are on the list!
Head Start Option 2: Business Programs
Looking to give your career a boost? Start the process this summer and consider studying business. As a whole, the industry is showing positive signs of heating up. In March 2011, small businesses in the U.S. added 50,000 new jobs, according to the Intuit Small Business Employment Index.
Bachelor’s in Accounting
Accountant – $67,430
Bachelor’s in Business
Personal Financial Advisor – $94,180
Master of Business Administration
Marketing Manager – $120,070
Did You Know? Personal financial advisors are enjoying a 30 percent increase in employment opportunities through 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Head Start Option 3: Technology Programs
Summer is a perfect time to start gaining the skills one would need to start a career in technology, which is an industry always in search of the next hot thing. What it will be isn’t clear, but it’s safe to say that professionals with a background in technology will be behind it, just like they were for Twitter, iPads, and the like.
Bachelor’s in Information Systems
Computer Support Specialist – $47,360
Bachelor’s in Network Administration
Network Systems Administrator – $70,930
Bachelor’s in Computer Science
Computer Programmer – $74,690
Did You Know? Network systems analysts are enjoying a whopping 53 percent increase in employment opportunities through 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Decide what matters most to you, and then check out these fields for a suitable match.
At the end of the day, a job is just a job. It’s getting what you want out of it that can make the difference between loving it and hating it. So how do you determine what’s most important to you?
Brainstorming a list of things you like to do or don’t like to do can help you find the right path, says Jessica Hernandez, a former HR manager who is now president and CEO of Great Resumes Fast.
“Sometimes, simply making a list will cause you to see a common theme and you can easily identify a career that would best suit your talent, passion and interests,” Hernandez says.
To help you figure out what careers might be the best fit for you, we’ve broken down some popular professions by the following benefits: balance, earning potential, satisfaction, and stability.
Keep reading to find the career you want and deserve…
Careers with Work-Life Balance
Striking the proper work-life balance means different things to different people. Some people want a steady 9-to-5 gig while others want the ability to design their own schedule or even work from home.
Just remember, any successful work-life balancing act depends on your ability to control your career as opposed to it controlling you.
Registered nurses, who usually have a bachelor’s or an associate’s degree in nursing, often enjoy a wide variety of work-life balance perks, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. These can include:
• Flexible work schedules
• Child care benefits
• Educational benefits
Making a comfortable living as a writer is not easy. Technical writing, however, can be a more stable career choice. Employers often prefer grads with degrees in English, communications, or journalism, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, which cites the following perks of the profession:
• Most technical writers work steady hours and are employed full-time.
• Freelancing is an option.
• Advances in technology allow you to work from almost anywhere.
A spate of studies prove that females top men in dozens of arenas, including driving.
Contrary to jokes and one-liners, women are better drivers than men. They’re also better at getting the joke. And better with hammers. And video games. And social networking. And did we mention, they get dressed faster than guys? This isn’t opinion, it’s fact, and Dan Abrams can prove it.
In his new book, Man Down: Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt That Women Are Better Cops, Drivers, Gamblers, Spies, World Leaders, Beer Tasters, Hedge Fund Managers, and Just About Everything Else, Abrams collects research from leading studies over the past few years to make the case for the ‘fairer’ sex. A legal analyst for ABC News and former lawyer, he approached the topic as a defense attorney, using evidence that already exists to debunk popular myths about women.
How did you decide to do this book?
Dan Abrams: I was hired to write a light article for a magazine about certain areas that women are better in than men. Some of the evidence surprised me, so I went and looked into the underlying research. Most of it was true, some was exaggerated, some anecdotal. But I kept finding more and more real studies and the evidence is compelling when you look at it all together. I couldn’t believe there’s been no major book about it.
There’s a lot more evidence now. A lot of the studies from the book are from the last three years. It’s only been in the last twenty or so years, that women have been on a relatively even playing field in terms of work to do many of these studies. We weren’t able to make fair comparisons before, because women were a fraction of the working world. Now we’re see women taking over the majority in many professions. But only recently has there been enough time to look back to compare men versus women and only recently has there been real interest.
In today’s economy, you can’t just wait around for someone to hire you, say young entrepreneurs.
Five years ago, after graduating from New York University with a film degree and thousands of dollars in student loans, Scott Gerber moved back in with his parents on Staten Island. He then took out more loans to start a new-media and technology company, but he didn’t have a clear market in mind; the company went belly up in 2006.
“It made me feel demoralized and humiliated,” he says. “I wondered if this was really what post-collegiate life was supposed to be like. Did I do something wrong? The answers weren’t apparent to me.”
Still in debt, Mr. Gerber considered his career options. His mother kept encouraging him to get a “real” job, the kind that comes with an office and a boss. But, using the last $700 in his bank account, he decided to start another company instead.
With the new company, called Sizzle It, Mr. Gerber vowed to find a niche, reduce overhead and generally be more frugal. The company, which specializes in short promotional videos, was profitable the first year, he says.
Mr. Gerber, now 27, isn’t a millionaire, but he’s paid off his loans and doesn’t have to live with his parents (he rents an apartment in Hoboken, N.J.). And he thinks his experience can help other young people who face a daunting unemployment rate.
In October, Mr. Gerber started the Young Entrepreneur Council “to create a shift from a résumé-driven society to one where people create their own jobs,” he says. “The jobs are going to come from the entrepreneurial level.”
The council consists of 80-plus business owners across the country, ages 17 to 33. Members include Scott Becker, 23, co-founder of Invite Media, an advertising technology firm recently acquired by a Google unit; Lauren Berger, 26, founder of the Intern Queen, a site that connects college students with internships; Aaron Patzer, the 30-year-old who sold Mint.com to Intuit for $170 million; and Josh Weinstein, 24, who started CollegeOnly.com, a social networking site that is backed by a PayPal founder.
The council, which has applied for nonprofit status, serves as a help desk and mentoring hotline for individual entrepreneurs. People can also submit questions on subjects like marketing, publicity and technology, and each month a group of council members will answer 30 to 40 of them in business publications like The Wall Street Journal and American Express Open Forum, and on dozens of small business Web sites.
Council members assert that young people can start businesses even if they have little or no money or experience. But whether those start-ups last is another matter. Roughly half of all new businesses fail within the first five years, according to federal data. And the entrepreneurial life is notoriously filled with risks, stresses and sacrifices.
But then again, unemployment is 9.8 percent; Mr. Gerber’s in-box is flooded with e-mails from young people who have sent out hundreds of résumés for corporate jobs and come up empty. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, only 24.4 percent of 2010 graduates who applied for a job had one waiting for them after graduation (up from 19.7 percent in 2009). What do some people have to lose?
THE lesson may be that entrepreneurship can be a viable career path, not a renegade choice — especially since the promise of “Go to college, get good grades and then get a job,” isn’t working the way it once did. The new reality has forced a whole generation to redefine what a stable job is.
“I’ve seen all these people go to Wall Street, and those were supposed to be the good jobs. Now they are out of work,” says Windsor Hanger, 22, who turned down a marketing position at Bloomingdale’s to work on HerCampus.com, an online magazine. “It’s not a pure dichotomy anymore that entrepreneurship is risky and other jobs are safe, so why not do what I love?”
When we think about leadership, we tend to focus almost entirely on the leader. Yet without followers, there is no leader. Leadership is participatory: leaders and followers exist in a mutually beneficial relationship where each adds to the effectiveness of the other.
Key to this process is listening, because leadership is as much about listening as it is about talking, or perhaps more so. From the beginning, a leader must be informed by the followers’ values, beliefs, and aspirations, the followers’ identity. The commitment gap people frequently experience, the difference between what the leader desires and what the followers actually do, can often be traced back to not aligning the elements of leaders’ and followers’ identities—who they think they are—to find common ground on which to function and grow.
In an article that appeared in the August 2007 issue of Scientific American Mind, titled “The New Psychology of Leadership,” authors Stephen D. Reicher, Michael J. Platow and S. Alexander Haslam present research supporting the idea that effective leaders—those who can move followers from one behavior to another—grasp what their followers believe they are and represent, and then create a shared identity. They write, “The development of a shared identity is the basis of influential and creative leadership. If you control the definition of reality, you can change the world.”