Archive for the ‘Professional Development’ Category
Thursday, February 21st, 2008 |
I found some excellent reading on the Internet this week for all you midlife career changers. So here’s my recommended reading list for today:
Creating Brand You – Have you considered how important it is to market yourself? Paul Brown examines the importance of seeing yourself as a brand to be marketed and valued in this New York Times article.
The Answer to the Toughest Interview Question – Penelope Trunk from Brazen Careerist helps you answer the trickiest question a potential employee will ask: “What salary are you looking for?”
Authenticity in Business and Other Lies – I love this blog. Catherine Lawson offers great advice for business, and this time she exposes some of the more common lies told in the business arena.
Overcome Your Fear of Career Change Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 – Maret McCoy has a wonderful website for women called Compass Life Designs. But this series of articles is relevant to anyone frustrated with their current employment.
Tips to Fine-Tune Your Resume for a Career Change (Podcast) – If you’re looking to start a new career, here’s a podcast interview with Kim Isaac’s, Monster.com’s Resume Expert, talking about creating a resume design just for the career changer. It’s worth a listen.
I will try to keep you informed of the best career change information on the Web at least every couple weeks. So be sure to check back for great original posts and the Coryan Recommends reading lists.
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Sunday, February 17th, 2008 |
Whether its the singing in the cubicle or the mess in the break room, anyone who works in an office has had to deal with annoying coworker behaviors. But what’s the best way to address these problems? Here are some strategies for making your work environment a little less frustrating and your coworkers a bit more tolerable.
My first recommendation is to just be honest. Let the person know what it is that bothers you and why. Be polite, but direct. I believe most annoying coworkers simply don’t know that they are bothering others in the office. Maybe Tom figures that since his office mates loved his rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody during Karaoke Night, that his singing might be welcomed in the office as well. When this happens, just mention to Tom that you have a hard time getting your work done when he signs. By saying the problem is with your concentration, it lessens the blow to Tom’s ego.
Here are some specific tips you can try when simply being honest is not working:
When a coworker drops by frequently to chat – The next time Wanda comes by your office to chat, stand up to greet her. Then remain standing during the conversation. Don’t offer her a seat or comment on what she is sharing. At the first pause, smile and let politely say something like, “Interesting, well, I have to get back to work.” Oh, and don’t have a candy jar on your desk unless you want to invite coworkers to drop by.
When a coworker uses their speaker phone in a cubicle or office with the door open – If they are in an office with a door, simply get up and close the door yourself. When you do this, nod to the person as if you are trying not to disturb them. Maybe they will get the hint. If there is no door to close, you may just have to have another talk about your problem concentrating with loud conversation around you.
When a team member isn’t doing their share – First, be sure that the team member feels comfortable in the group and understands their role. Provide opportunities for them to get involved. Sometimes their lack of work is simply not being sure what is expected of them. If that still doesn’t work, you may want to have a talk with your supervisor. It’s not fair for the group to carry one team member.
A coworker with an offensively strong odor – Odors from cologne, food or just lack of good hygiene are difficult to address. People tend to take odor issues very personally. But these matters must be addressed head on. If this is a problem that others have also noticed, I suggest having someone who gets along well with the coworker talk to them in private. If no one wants to do this, or the problem persists, the coworkers supervisor will need to get involved.
Your coworker always needs your help resolving problems or completing tasks – First, be sure the person has been properly trained for the position. Try giving them written instructions for the problem tasks. If the problem is with office equipment such as the computer or copier, show them where the manual is and suggest they try to solve the problem before seeking help. Next time they ask for help, you ask them if they have tried everything in the manual. Make them responsible for working out the problem.
Some coworker problems are best handled by the person’s immediate supervisor. In the end, the boss is responsible for creating a pleasant and productive work environment. If your attempts to handle a problem have proven unsuccessful, speak to your supervisor and ask them to resolve the matter. Sometimes the worse office problems such as gossip and worker laziness must be addressed by management. Don’t hesitate to speak to someone higher up when the problem is affecting your workday.
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Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008 |
Okay, your burned out, feeling unmotivated, and maybe considering a career change. But do you really need to change jobs? Maybe what you really need is a change in your current work situation. It might be a promotion or a transfer, or it could also be a much simpler change.
Here are four simple steps to getting changes in the workplace:
1. Identify the source of your frustration. Are you bored? Is the work too challenging or easy? Are co-workers a problem? Are the tools and resources you need not available or of inferior quality? Take a good look at why you are unhappy and try to pinpoint what it is that needs to change.
2. Decide who can make the change happen. Once you know the source of your dissatisfaction at work, you can then identify the person who can make the change you desire. Most often this person will be your boss. It’s usually the boss who controls office assignments, allocation of resources, work partners, and job duties. Be sure you know who it is that controls the thing you want changed.
3. Find out what is important to that person. Now that you’ve decided who holds the key to making the change, you need to find out what is important to them. You need to know their motivators. For most people, they are motivated by looking good to their supervisor. Other motivators could be making their job easier, having a positive relationship with coworkers, and making more money. Find their motivator and you will have the key to making workplace changes.
4. Use the motivator to convince them to make the change. Simply stated, you need to sell them on the idea. When requesting the change, be sure to explain how the change will benefit them. Don’t focus on your needs, but show them how the change will make things better for them.
Yes, the steps are really that simple. Figure out what needs to change, who controls it, what motivates them, and then use the motivator to convince them to make the change.
For a humorous example of creating change at work, visit JobSchmob.com and see how Doug got his boss act on the change Doug desired. Doug definitely knew what would motivate his boss. By the way, I don’t recommend Doug’s strategy, but it makes the point. Read Doug’s story>>>
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Friday, January 18th, 2008 |
I’m starting a new feature on U-Turn Ahead called “Coryan Recommends.” Every week or so I will point you to one of the many great resources on the Net for those considering a midlife career change. This week’s recommendation is the New York Times Shifting Careers Blog at http://shiftingcareers.blogs.nytimes.com.
Located in the small business section of the New York Times online, the Shifting Careers blog showcases the knowledge and writing talents of Marci Alboher. If it is true that great content is critical to creating a great blog, then Marci’s posts pass the test. Her style is engaging while the information she shares in insightful and resourceful. And, like any good blogger, she is alert to the wealth of information around the blogosphere as can be seen in today’s post, “Friday’s Links: Dads Go Back to Work, Freelancers Name Their Rates.”
The Shifting Careers blog is a regular read on my stingy RSS list. I suggest you give it a visit.
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Sunday, January 6th, 2008 |
On Friday, Monster.com, the online employment company announced the purchase of Affinity Labs. Based in San Francisco, Affinity Labs began less than two years ago operating industry specific websites. Each website provides an online community for social and professional networking, job searching, information and resources. The purchase will cost Monster $61 million.
Monster’s chairman and CEO, Sal Iannuzzi stated,
“Our investment in Affinity provides Monster with an efficient vehicle for developing future revenue streams in vibrant career fields while permitting us to actively invest in product, technology, and brand support in our core business. We believe Affinity’s model complements the core Monster business and significantly enhances our presence in key verticals within the online vocational and networking market.”
This move by Monster into the social networking arena follows a trend in Internet development. Social networking sites such as Facebook and Konnects provide online connections, but each Affinity Labs site narrowed the industry focus and expanded the services and resources.
Here is a list of the existing Affinity Labs communities. They are worth checking out:
PoliceLink – law enforcement
NursingLink – nursing
TheApple – education
FireLink – fire and rescue
ArtBistro – artist community
GovCentral – public sector
TechCommunity – IT professionals
IndiaOn – Indian professionals working in US
WomenCo – Professional women
I believe this is a trend from the traditional employment website with top-down information sharing to a more horizontal resource for career development. I suspect we will see Monster develop similar sites for other communities in the near future.
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Saturday, December 29th, 2007 |
Okay, if you read my 8 Tips for New Year’s Resolution Success, then you know that I have advocated choosing just one resolution for 2008. I suggest this because of the largely unsuccessful attempts that I hear about every year…often because of making too many lofty goals without a plan for success. But I suspect that many of you will not take my advice. Nonetheless, whether you make one resolution or many, you should have some system for tracking your success.
Well, Lawrence from A Long Long Road has some excellent recommendations. His recent blog titled 7 Cool Tools To Help You Manage Your Goals for 2008 has a tool to fit just about everyone. From a simple, but effective paper and pencil solution to the Franklin Covey ultimate software, Lawrence presents seven tools for tracking your New Year’s success.
“It’s the time of the year to review our goals and set new ones again.
For those new to A Long Long Road, I’m a firm believer in making New Year Resolutions and setting goals. When I first started setting goals, I did it with simple, old paper and pen. Later, I typed my goals into Word documents. After a few years, I moved on to goal setting/tracking software.
Goals management tools are really important to help us set goals and track them. With good tools to facilitate good goals, you’ll have a better chance of achieving them. As such, I went scouring the Internet for goal management tools for different types of users…”
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Thursday, December 27th, 2007 |
Okay, it’s almost the end of 2007 and you know what that means…time to make those New Year’s resolutions. Sure, we break most of them in the first month, but why not make 2008 a little different. So, here are my suggestions for making a New Year’s resolution that really makes a difference:
- Choose only ONE goal for 2008. We want success, not an entire personal makeover. So, what is the one thing in your life that you most want to change? Is it your career? Or maybe a relationship, or your health. Pick just one thing you will commit to changing and focus your energy on that goal.
- Spend some time thinking about the specific change you want to make. You have five days to really consider what change would be the most meaningful. You also have time to consider the specific goal you will set, how you will make the change and what support will be needed. So, don’t just go with the first idea that comes to mind. Read the next few suggestions and set a plan that you can follow.
- Choose a goal that is measurable and realistic. Don’t shoot for the sky here. If you know you have to lose 60 pounds to be at your ideal weight, set a goal to lose 20 pounds. Remember, reaching a goal is not the end of change. Life is all about change and when you reach that goal you can set a new target. Even if the 20 pounds is all you ever lose, you are still far better off. So, break up big goals into smaller, meaningful changes. Remember the saying, every journey begins with one step.
- Don’t set a goal that will take all year to achieve. This is a continuation of the last recommendation. Many people fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions simply because it takes too darn long to achieve it. So, set a goal that you can reach in a couple months, even shorter, if you would like. Success is not measured in how long it takes you to achieve your goal, but rather whether reaching the goal improves your life in some way.
- Write your goal down in a place you will see it every day. You need to be reminded of the goal you choose, and I also suggest adding a couple lines about how reaching this goal will improve your life. You want to keep focused on the change you have chosen and the difference it will make. I like to carry my goal around with me, or post it where I most need to be reminded (at work, the refrigerator, on my mirror).
- Tell others about your goal. But there is a caution here…only tell individuals that will support and encourage you. If your goal is to start a business (which, of course, you will break down into smaller steps/goals), don’t wait time telling someone who is just going to tell you how most businesses fail and your idea will never work. I have found support from people I meet online to support me in my efforts. Telling someone supportive will give you extra motivation to meet your goal.
- Keep a daily log of your progress. Several studies have shown that simply tracking the results of your efforts will result in some change. So, make a simple log and keep track of the steps you make toward your goal. Seeing improvement in writing will help move you closer to your target.
- Plan now how you will celebrate your success. Along with your goal and a plan for achieving it, you should have a plan for celebrating that accomplishment. Be sure you don’t forget to reward your own hard work. Sure, achieving the goal has it’s own rewards, but the extra celebration will add some additional incentive.
So, there you have it. Time to begin planning and make 2008 a year of real change. Do you have other tips and ideas for making resolutions? Leave a comment and let us know about it.
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Thursday, December 20th, 2007 |
Finding the right career is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity. And opportunities to find the right job are significantly increased when you are connected and actively networking. So, why not consider blogging as the launching pad to a new career?
Last year Fast Company.com published an intriguing article by Leslie Taylor titled, “How to Launch a Career With Your Blog“. It opens with…
“Silicon Valley start-ups and media behemoths aren’t the only ones realizing the rewards of the rebounding Web economy. Already, many A-list bloggers have generated significant income from running advertisements on their blogs. Though with an estimated 53.4 million blogs expected to launch by year-end, according to Perseus Development Corporation, it’s safe to assume that not everyone is going to get rich from blogging. So what’s in it for the up-and-coming blogger, beyond creative self-expression?…” go to article>>>
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Saturday, December 8th, 2007 |
Time to recommend a great website for those of you planning a career change. Take a minute to hop on over to QuintCareers.com. They have a few hundred articles on the topics of college, career planning and job hunting. You could spend hours reading through the articles or jump over to the job posting and try to find the perfect fit. QuintCareers’ job board is run by the powerhouse, Beyond.com. When I checked today, Beyond listed 235,815 job openings.
Here a list of 10 important keys to career change success. These are from a QuintCareers article by Randall S. Hansen, PhD titled, The 10-Step Plan to Career Change.
1. Assessment of likes and dislikes.
2. Research new careers.
3. Transferable skills.
4. Training and education.
6. Gaining experience.
7. Find a mentor.
8. Changing in or out.
9. Job-hunting basics.
10. Be flexible.
Go To Article>>>
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Thursday, November 22nd, 2007 |
I was recently asked for a copy of my resume for a conference presentation I will be doing. I hadn’t updated my resume for a couple years and it got me thinking. What value, if any, is a resume if you aren’t actually looking for another employer.
Well, after reading the opinion of others and thinking this through, I have come to the conclusion that a resume is VERY important. This, I believe, is true whether you are self-employed for working for someone else. Think about it. A resume is a summary document of your skills and talents as an income producer. The fact is, a resume is probably your most important marketing material in print.
When job seeking, your resume is almost always the first contact you will have with the potential employer. The key to the resume is to get you the interview. That is where you can make the real sale of your knowledge and abilities. Douglas B. Richardson wrote an excellent article describing how an employer actually reads a resume. See his article, Skeptical Resume Reader Tells How He Really Thinks at CareerJournal.com (a Wall Street Journal publication).
Even when working for yourself, your resume can help sell your services to others. If you start a service business, your customers will want to know why you are the best person for the job. Your resume speaks to your ability to perform, even if the work is not identical. Even if your business sells things, your resume describes your business acumen and experience. This can be key when selling wholesale to a company that needs to know you can meet your obligations.
To learn more about writing and updating your resume, check out the information at Monster.com.
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