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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Highest Paying Trades

Their jobs may be low on glamour, but tradespeople do the important stuff. They build roads and skyscrapers, fix broken-down machinery, and keep America moving over roads and waterways. Careers in the trades offer a chance to work with your hands, and often let you earn while you learn through apprenticeships or on-the-job training.

Right now, federal green initiatives are driving up demand for workers in many traditional trades including electrician, pipefitter and sheet-metal worker, says John Gaal, vice president of the trade and industrial division of the Association for Career and Technical Colleges. These new-economy jobs mean tradespeople often need additional skills, and are flocking to new certification courses in green technology. The demand for more highly-trained trade workers is keeping pay rates high despite the general construction downturn, Gaal says.

Here's a look at some of the best-paid jobs in the trades:

1. Commercial diver-- $74,100
This is a great career for folks who love to be in the water. Demand should be high for years to come, especially for workers near the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, notes Al Lee, director of quantitative analysis for online salary database
-- Find diver jobs.

The differences between these three roles lie in the location where work is done plumbers tend to work in homes, while pipefitters work in commercial buildings, and steamfitters work mostly in commercial plants where gas, steam or water are under pressure. Along with electricians, plumbers command higher pay because they must be state licensed. Today's plumbers also need to learn electrical and sheet-metal skills to work with today's more high-tech plumbing products.
"When's the last time you bought a heater and it didn't have an electrical panel on it?" Gaal asks.

3. Sheet metal worker -- $52,300
Metal fabricators are playing a vital role in building and installing clean-energy equipment such as wind turbines and solar panels. To earn more, Lee says, look for work on the commercial/industrial side, rather than on home installations.

Many workers in maritime trades get started in the U.S. Navy. Most jobs outside the military are with state or private ferry, touring, tugboat or shipping companies, says Lee. If you don't want to be separated from friends and family long, he adds, be a harbor pilot there's demand for people who know local currents, tides and waterways to guide boats into port.

5. Millwright-- $50,900
A job with an old-fashioned title, millwrights are essentially the trade equivalent of a mechanical engineer, says Lee. This is the trade for people who love to tinker with and repair machinery. Most millwrights work in factory settings.

6. Certified electrician -- $50,400
For better pay as an electrician, seek out commercial work, be state licensed, and belong to a union, notes Lee. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes job prospects are best for workers with new-technology skills including expertise in video wiring, voice, and data lines.

Contractors in this field are well-paid because of the wide variety of jobs they handle installing vinyl flooring and tile, hanging cabinets, and updating light fixtures and plumbing. They need expertise for installing countertops made of stainless steel, marble, tile, concrete or modern surfaces such as Corian.

Fire inspectors make sure homes and commercial buildings comply with fire codes, checking that fire exits are clear and required fire alarms are in place. Then, Lee notes, after a fire, investigators determine the cause and figure out how to prevent future problems.

By Carol Tice for

Monday, November 29, 2010

10 Ways to Manage Bad Bosses – according to

Do you ever think your boss behaves like a child going through the "terrible twos," throwing tantrums or reverting to a little lost lamb when in over his or her head?

I call this regression "Terrible Office Tyrant" (TOT) behavior. TOTs can act like schoolyard bullies afraid to reveal the slightest incompetence, or like helpless children. They can be fickle, stubborn or needy or have irrational fears. And they can consume your workday, not to mention wreak havoc on productivity and profits.

A bad economy, workplace pressures and stress can trigger the many striking similarities between bad bosses and terrible tykes. We're all human, and behind a boss's professional facade is often a grown kid who can't handle his or her power.

When your boss slips into any of the 10 classic TOT behaviors, including the "bratty" type (overly demanding, stubborn, self-centered or tantrum-throwing) or the "little lost lamb" variety (fickle or overly fearful), you can use proven parental techniques and actually thrive in your job. By seeing the childlike motives behind a boss's (or co-worker's) actions, you can better manage even the most difficult situations.

Use C.A.L.M.
The top four tips to keeping your office from being a corporate playpen are best described by the acronym C.A.L.M.: communicate, anticipate, laugh and manage up:

1. Communicate
Communicate frequently, openly and honestly. Savvy TOT-tamers take the initiative to establish an open dialogue. At work, stay aligned with your boss's objectives rather than focusing on your pet projects, so that your work remains consistent with what's most critical to management.

By bravely opening the dialogue, you'll also avoid misunderstandings with co-workers; other factors may be contributing to an ignored e-mail or seemingly unfriendly response, such as a tight deadline or pressure from the boss.

2. Anticipate
Be alert for problems and prepared with solutions. Offer answers to emerging issues; don't add to the pile of problems if you want to avoid triggering bad behavior. Your boss wants to delegate as much as possible -- as long as you make the process worry-free. Know when to stay away if you expect a tantrum is coming down the hall.

3. Laugh
Use humor, or what I call "the great diffuser" of tension, to break down interpersonal logjams. Laughter helps create bonds and reminds us of our larger purpose: to work together with upbeat, constructive energy. We can and should be able to accomplish great things as a team at work, while having some fun. Take the initiative to do this and watch the seething subside.

4. Manage up
Let yourself shine by being a problem-solver and collaborator. You can be a beacon of positive energy for your boss, co-workers and team. Part of managing up also means setting limits to bad behavior. Oftentimes TOTs are unaware of the effect of their actions. You can influence these actions, and your skills will be transferable to any job.

Advanced TOT-taming tips
Here are some specifics on how to tame your TOT and humanize your workplace. Try these time-honored "parenting" techniques:

5. Don't fight fire with fire
If your TOT is tantrum- or bully-prone, mirroring his childish behavior is a downward spiral. Avoid the temptation to win the battle and lose the war. Instead, calmly and concisely tell your boss how his or her actions affected you. Keep a matter-of-fact tone and be factual. Use "I" statements rather than "you" to avoid an accusatory demeanor.

6. Use positive and negative reinforcement
When bosses set aside their worst TOT traits, respond with gratitude and comment on how it inspires you to do your best. Praising positive actions is a powerful way to foster better behavior. Over time, your boss will link the better management style with positive employee morale and results. Remember, if there's something in it for your boss, you can effect change.

7. Know your timing
Timing can be everything, with a child or an office tyrant. Learn the best times of day to approach your boss. Study his or her patterns, mood swings and hot buttons and plan your interactions accordingly. It can make the difference between a pleasant "yes" and an irrevocable "no!" If you anticipate problems with solutions, you become indispensable.

8. Be a role model
Project the highest ethical standards and radiate positive energy. Maintain a balanced demeanor and approach each crisis (real or imagined) with a rational style. Your boss often needs a sounding board and you can be a valued voice of reason and calm when issues emerge.

9. Package your information well
Some TOTs can be frustrating when they're inattentive or unavailable. It can seem like a form of corporate ADD, or as I call it, BADD (boss attention deficit disorder). BADD bosses can't focus on important tasks and allow e-mails, text messages, phones and people to interrupt their (and your) flow.

Make sure you understand your boss's ideal communication method, package your work in an appealing way and make your presentations engaging and interactive. Make it irresistible for your boss to find out about your projects.

10. Set boundaries
Let bosses know privately when they've gone over the line, but do so diplomatically. Keep the conversation focused on your work product. If your manager is intentionally malicious, that's another matter that requires more serious action. If, after repeated efforts for cooperation (such as with a bully boss and unsupportive management), you may be best off looking elsewhere. You have to determine how much strife you can handle.
By Lynn Taylor

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Life Planning: Go Big or Go Home!

"Make no little plans, they have no magic to stir your blood... MAKE BIG PLANS. Aim high in hope and work." So wrote Daniel H. Burnham in the last century. The big plans are important. They capture your vision. The next step is to break them down into "do-able" chunks, chunks that can be done in even one day. That is what gives you a definite sense of accomplishment, isn't it? The big plans are necessary, the baby steps, imperative!

My daughter shared a marketing tip with me the other day. She said, "Go big, or go home." I thought about this quite a bit as it seemed so brash and arrogant. Great slogan, but what about the little guy? Then, it all made sense. Each person has the opportunity to define "big" for himself or herself. If we are to live our dreams and visions about how we want our lives to be, how we want to be remembered, what our contribution to our daily world could be, it IS true. Go big or go home!

Have a vision. Have a master plan for your whole life as you presently see it. What would you like to be doing, experiencing, being or having in your life, sometime in your life? What are the things that are most important, significant and valuable to you? That's big!

After you have created the "big picture" then you can decide what you would like to create immediately and pay attention to that. Timing is only one difference between short- and long-term goals. Another important difference is that short-term goals lead directly to long term goals that fit perfectly into the master plan. And the good news are in charge! You can change your master plan, and your approach to it, as your interests and priorities shift and grow. You are not locked in. A master plan is a plan for joy and passion, not a plan for duty and obligation.

It is useful to break your goals down into three categories: current, near future and far future. Once you have put your future goals into your subconscious mind, they are begun. It is not only action that is required. Keeping your goals in the forefront of your mind is key. Thoughtfully craft your current goals. Know how you will measure your success and plan for it.

Think big! Think limitlessly. Think "out of the box." People are often limited by their minds unwillingness to stretch. Remember what Napoleon Hill said: "...if you can conceive it, and believe it, you can achieve it!"

If you find yourself surrounded by people who are "thinking little," it might be difficult to find support and acceptance for your big plans. You may have to include some new associates who want to play "big," too! You have probably heard that, if you want to run with the big dogs, you have to get off the porch! Jump off that porch and get running!

Reflect on the biggest view of your life your master plan. Is it big enough for you? Does it cause you to stretch to get your arms around it? If not, think a little bigger and see where it takes you. If it does, be sure you have planned the route that will get you there. Then, follow it. As you embark on each task today, ask yourself, "Am I on the road to my vision by doing this?" If not, make a correction.

Go big or go home! That one little phrase keeps me on my toes.

by Rhoberta Shaler, Ph.D.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

How do I go about finding the ideal career for me?

This question is one of the toughest to answer because all I can really do is point a job-seeker in the right direction and offer some resources… you have to do all the work. You have to do the self-analysis and reflection. The good news is, though, that if you complete all my suggested exercises, you will not only have a better handle on your career direction, but you should have a better handle on who you are as a person.

Step 1: Develop a personal mission statement. What's your focus I life? What are the underlying forces that guide your decision-making? Most people have some kind of informal mission statement  developed by the people, religion, and philosophies around us. Now is the time to spend some time contemplating your life's mission and put words to paper.

Step 2: Conduct an interests self-assessment. Spend some time analyzing the things you really love to do and not just at work. What do you like to do in your spare time? What are your hobbies and interests? Develop a list of the things that you like to do as well as a list of things you do not like doing.

Step 3: Perform a SWOT analysis on yourself and your career. What is a SWOT analysis? It's a tool to help you look both internally at your strengths and weaknesses as an employee as well as the opportunities and threats in your current (or future) career field. It's a tool that we use in analyzing businesses and industries all the time. The goal is not simply a snapshot of where you are when you complete the analysis, but the development of strategies for how you can capitalize the situation. If you still do not have one career path in mind, take the time to research the careers that do interest you.

Step 4: Complete a workplace values self-assessment. Job-seekers expect to achieve certain ideals from their jobs, employers, and careers. These workplace values, concepts, and ideas that you hold dear have a direct impact on your satisfaction with your job, with your career, and even with your life. When you understand the values you cherish most highly, you can make an evaluation about whether your current employer (or a prospective employer) supports those values.

Finally, if you are still having some difficulty with finding career direction  even after completing all these steps, I strongly recommend that you find a guidance counselor, career counselor, or other career professional who can work with you on a one-to-one basis and help you develop a career plan.

by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Your Boss is Paying You an Extra $8 per Hour

Maybe it's time to stop complaining and give your boss a break. Did you know that if you have a job that includes benefits, on average your employer is paying you an extra $8 per hour, that's in addition to your salary. According to the latest numbers released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, that's what it costs the boss to cover things like your paid leave, health benefits, Medicare and unemployment insurance.

Here's the break down of the extra $8/hour the boss is paying you:
  • Paid leave benefits (sick and personal leave, holidays and vacation time) = $1.86
  • Insurance benefits (life, health, and disability insurance) = $2.54
  • Savings = $1.29
  • Legally required benefits (Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, and workers' compensation) = $2.27
  • Supplemental pay (overtime and premium, shift differentials, and nonproduction bonuses) = $0.74

Who gets most, who gets least?

Of course these numbers are averages, and vary widely by occupation, sector and region. Private industry paid leave benefit costs, for example, were highest for management, professional, and related occupations, averaging $4.05 per hour. Costs were lowest among service occupations, at 58 cents or 4.2 percent of total compensation. Paid leave benefit costs are often directly linked to wages; therefore, higher paid occupations or industries will typically show higher estimates.

And union workers have it better than non-union workers. Employer cost for paid leave benefits average $2.71 per hour worked for union workers, significantly higher than the $1.76 per hour average for nonunion workers. It's also interesting to note that paid leave costs in goods-producing industries are $2.08, greater than the average for service-providing industries, which is $1.81.

It also depends on where you live

Among the nine census divisions, paid leave costs range from $2.49 in the New England division to $1.30 in the East South Central division. Total additional compensation above and beyond wages is highest in New England, averaging $10.41 per hour, and lowest in the East South Central, averaging 6.03 per hour.

Knowing the costs, you can now see why so many companies are reducing employees to part-time status in order to avoid paying additional full-time expenses--although that doesn't justify the action. Those who do have benefits might be just a little more appreciative of them when they know their value. Here's to your full-time employer!

By Lisa Johnson Mandell

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Build a More Meaningful Career

11,000 days. That's the number of days you'll probably work over your lifetime. You'll likely have six or seven career changes and 11 or 12 jobs in total. You may be wondering if you need a change now.

30 million people go to work each day to a job they hate. The harmful feelings permeate their entire life, putting a negative cloud over the home, their friends and many of their other activities. They may lack the know-how to change, may be afraid of leaving the security of a paycheck, or have a hundred excuses for why it's okay to be so dissatisfied and stay at their job.

There is a better way to live your life. Meaningful purpose is a driving force that adds enthusiasm to your days. Taking a passion and making it your career, living a dream can be not just a wish, but a true and certain reality. Here are a few steps to get the new career rolling:

Do some self-analysis. Ask yourself What really matters to me? What problem or wrong would I like to fix? What do I enjoy? Where are my interests and hobbies? What are my priorities? What is my secret passion? What do I want to do with the rest of my life? Reviewing these questions can give you new insight to where you want to go.

Use your unique genius and talents. Every person is born with a unique set of natural abilities. Talents, such as managing, creating, researching, training others, drawing, can all seem like easy work because you have a natural flair for them. True happiness comes from combining your natural talents, developing and excelling in them, and working in a field, job, industry that you have a passionate interest in.

Others have done it and so can you. Sometimes it's easy to forget that we can change if we really want to. Although she was a prominent lawyer, my client Sarah was dissatisfied in her work, and glad to take a few years off to have two children. She told me she hated “practicing law.” She found it boring, yet she felt enormous guilt at abandoning a career she spent years training for and made great money in. We worked together, focusing on her real interests and natural talents. Sarah landed a terrific new job as an executive director for a nonprofit organization. She leads others, influences policies, develops programs, and is a very happy person. “I even make a great salary, but I love my job so much, I'd do this for free,” she said.

Make a decision. Many people flounder for years and never turn their dreams into reality. They let themselves remain in a negative or stuck place. Only action can change your life. Read a book. Take vocational tests. Use a good career-management professional. Do some career exploration and gather all the information you need. Then make a decision and go forward. Outline the action steps to reach your career goal. The only thing at stake is your happiness. Finding meaning, passion and purpose every day you go to work is the wonderful reward, so don't wait any longer. Begin right now and set in motion your own plan to live a happier, more satisfying life.

by Robin Ryan

Monday, November 22, 2010

Negotiating Salary After Disclosing Current Salary or Salary Expectations

Oops, you already told the employer what you're making or expect to be making. Now what?

All is not lost! Just because they know your current salary or salary expectations doesn't mean you can't negotiate for a fair market value.

Once you've broken the sound barrier, so to speak, on your salary, you at least have one advantage: no more tug-o-war between you and your potential employer about revealing salary.

If salary bumped you out of interviewing, it will be hard to gain reentry at all, and even if you do, it might be at the price of an informal pre-interview agreement that if chosen, you'll consider a pay cut.

If you're still in the running, however, your "disclosed" circumstances make it doubly important to do your research well. In this case, you don't need to address salary again until there's an offer. At that point use researched facts, not your past salary, to substantiate your salary request.

When they've decided on YOU, that is, when they're making you the offer, not your competitor(s), then it's time to make the move away from the number you disclosed to your ideal compensation. Don't let your past salary be the starting point for negotiations. Let your own satisfaction and joy of receiving great pay be the motivating force behind you at this point.

Remember that what you negotiate now is what you'll live with for a long time. A minute or two here can engender months and months of satisfaction -- or the opposite if you miss this opportunity. Let's assume they've made an offer. What do you say?

Respond with: "I know I've discussed my [current] salary/salary expectations. I want to make sure from this point forward that we're looking for a compensation package that is not just a 'raise' from my previous job, but rather a motivating, fair, value-based salary we will both be satisfied with. Can we agree on that principle?"

Once you have your agreement on that, then follow the rest of the salary negotiation rules.

by Jack Chapman

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The New New Best Careers/Jobs in the Hottest Markets (with salary range & who’s hiring?) – according to CNN Money

The United States may keep shedding jobs to foreign countries, but it cranks out new occupations like no one else. Here are just five of the hottest you can get into now.

Disease Mapper
Salary range:$40,000-$150,000
Experience/skills: A Ph.D. or master's in a tech field, plus expertise in a particular disease.

Perks: Flexible hours and travel to exotic locales

Who's hiring? Universities, governments, the United Nations, some consultancies

Early in his career, Andy Tatem became so proficient at analyzing fuzzy satellite images of English farms that he could tell wheat crops from turnip fields by studying the way the sun reflected off each.

Interesting stuff if you're a farmer, but not sufficiently inspiring for Tatem. Then came a call last year from Simon Hays, an Oxford University researcher who was developing a global map of malaria that could explain current outbreaks and help predict future ones.

Today Tatem, a 29-year-old Ph.D., is among a new class of researchers using the latest satellite imagery, cheap computing, big databases, and free tools like Google Earth to show how epidemics spread around the globe.

It's a new twist on a very old concept. When cholera and yellow fever spread during the 18th century, "medical geographers" drew maps to show infected areas but had no way of knowing where an epidemic would strike next. Tatem pulls data from NASA satellites to plot a picture of rainfall, temperature, vegetation, and other variables in regions where malaria has struck. He correlates it with infection rates and hospital reports to create a map of the disease and its projected spread.

Robot Programmer
Salary range: $40,000-$100,000

Experience/skills: Associate degree in a technical field and extensive training. People skills also come in handy.

Perks: Lots of travel, helping clients customize each machine to a particular task

Who's hiring? ABB, Fanuc, Motoman, Panasonic, Toyota

Back in 1990, Matt Zeigler was pulling 12-hour shifts as an arc welder for a forklift manufacturing firm in Indiana when a technician in a white lab coat came into the factory to work on a new $85,000 robotic welder. "I said, 'Why aren't I doing that?'" Zeigler recalls. Self-training eventually got him out of blue-collar work and into a top robot programming position at Motoman in Dayton, Ohio, one of a growing number of industrial robot manufacturers that train humans to make sure their products perform as advertised.

Industrial robots, once a fixture in the auto industry, now are doing everything from analyzing blood samples to mixing cocktails. The latest innovations include multi-armed robots with vision systems and enough machine intelligence to read labels and pick out the parts they need from nearby bins.

Zeigler, 35, spends most of his time behind a PC and a custom hand-held controller, calibrating the robots' moving parts to be in just the right place at just the right time. He is also on the road a lot, acting as salesman, engineer, and installer for Motoman's customers. "I wear a lot of hats," he says.

Far from eliminating jobs, Zeigler says robots are "creating better jobs and better-paying jobs. They're just more technical and not as repetitive."

Information Engineer
Salary range: $70,000-$120,000

Experience/skills: Data analytics, network administrator experience, writing skills

Perks: Stock options, free food

Who's hiring? PayPal, Slide, and other Web 2.0 startups unable to stay on top of the data

Every Sunday the three 20-something founders of Meebo, an instant-messaging startup based in San Francisco, meet to talk strategy and almost always end up wanting new data before making any decision. "We'd walk away wanting to know things like where is our churn rate the greatest, or how are the users in Brazil different from those in India with regard to how they navigate the site," says CEO Seth Sternberg.

So Sternberg created a new position "information engineer" dedicated exclusively to digging up the answers. The first person to fill it: Bob Lee, 34, a former network engineer at Apple, who now sits in front of three monitors poring over an estimated 200 gigabytes of data every day from more than 5 million users. It's Lee's job, using a combination of networking chops and statistical analysis, to point out trends, explain network hiccups, and reveal what new features are hits or duds.

Other Web 2.0 companies, like PayPal and Slide, have begun adding similar positions to answer queries that off-the-shelf analytics tools can't handle, such as calculating churn rates. "There's all this data available to help make decisions," Sternberg says. "But it takes someone really focusing on it to get the benefit."

Salary range: $200,000-$800,000

Experience/skills: Certified radiation oncologists must take three-week training course.

Perks: A broader base of patients and a long-term source of high-margin revenue

Who's hiring? Large hospitals, universities, pioneering small medical practices

For years San Diego radiation oncologist Donald Fuller relied on the standard tools of cancer therapy: radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery. But late last year, Fuller and several partners invested $4 million in a high-energy linear accelerator fixed to a robotic arm. The CyberKnife zaps radiation beams with submillimeter precision at tumors inside patients' bodies. After as many as five, one-hour treatments, tumors can disappear in a matter of days.

So-called radiosurgery has been used for years to treat cancer in the brain, where conventional operations are usually too risky. The CyberKnife manufactured by Accuray and approved by the FDA in 2001 to treat tumors anywhere in the body is only now reaching a broad population of patients with early-stage lung cancer, spinal tumors, and other cancers.

But it's turned Fuller, 49, into an entrepreneur. If he can treat 150 patients a year for the average insurance reimbursement of $19,000 each, he'll break even on his radiosurgery business by the end of 2008. Afterward, he could be looking at as much as $2.6 million a year in new revenue. "This is the way we are heading in medicine," Fuller says. "It's the way technology is taking us."

Second Life Lawyer
Salary range: Too early to say

Experience/skills: Software and intellectual property law expertise

Perks: The freedom to be talking to a client while getting a beer out of your home fridge

Who's hiring? Programmers looking to patent their code

Of the 2 million or so Second Life members, more than 25,000 are aspiring entrepreneurs. Most are buying and selling land, designing homes and clothes, or creating products, from jewelry to virtual pets. The stakes are small, but they're rising fast: According to Linden Lab, creator of Second Life, only 116 members made more than $5,000 in February, but that number is triple what it was six months earlier.

Count Stevan Lieberman among the virtual world's earning elite. Instead of trying to practice purely virtual law which few if any lawyers have turned into real money Lieberman has taken a hybrid approach, using Second Life as a meet-and-greet area for new clients, who then take their real-world legal needs offline. And since he took in $7,000 in fees in the first two weeks after hanging up his virtual shingle, he's optimistic: "I fully expect to keep getting more business this way."

So bullish is Lieberman that he's helping to set up the site's first "law island," a place for other members' practices and legal entities to do business. The American Bar Association and the FBI have asked him to help them set up their outposts too.

By Michael Copeland and Kevin Kelleher  For CNN Money

Friday, November 19, 2010

10 Tips To Become A Better Boss

It's pretty hard, says Bernie Erven, to find someone who says, “I've got good employees, but they've got a lousy boss.” More often, says the Ohio State University professor emeritus in employee and labor management, he hears this complaint: “I don't have any problems. It's my employees.”

The reality, he says, is “You will be about as good a boss as you choose to be.” Your reputation as a boss, and how that reputation influences your relationship with your employees and fellow managers, is the sum of the choices you have made and continue to make.

“Being a better boss is about you and your standards and your choices. It's not about natural ability.”

It is, however, all about being willing to change, he adds, because becoming a better boss is no different than becoming better at anything else: You have to work at it and you have to be willing to learn how to do it differently if what you're doing now isn't working to your satisfaction.

“That's at the heart of being a better boss,” he says. “Can you be a good boss for the next 10 years if you refuse to change? You'll still be on your employees' bad list. Or you won't have any employees at all.”

Here are 10 areas where supervisors can make choices to help their bottom line:
  1. Welcome change. “Accept the fact that change is difficult. And so, if you're going to be a leader, what does your own attitude about change have to be? Positive”. Say you want to introduce a new procedure. If you want your employees to change, you've got to give them information about the what, the why and the when. “Some of your very best employees might resist change because they aren't yet persuaded that the change is reasonable, is justifiable, and is worth the risk”. That means employees need the information, but also some time to work it through. They need to be able to ask questions. “So if you're going to welcome change and lead change and help people change over time as part of being a good boss, you've got to allow time. It can't be done in a crisis.”
  2. Emphasize communication. Supervising employees is about building relationships, Erven says, and you can't relate if you can't communicate. “The most important single skill that can be learned, practiced, improved and evaluated is communication. You've got to make communication your key to building relationships”. The two most important places bosses can improve are in how they send messages and their ability to listen. Some people are readers; some aren't. “So you've got to know the people you're communicating with.”
  3. Have clearly understood procedures, policies and rules. “Is it fair to hire someone, not tell them what the job is, and then criticize them for not doing it well? Absolutely not,” Erven says. “Whatever the critical tasks are, teach the procedures. Leaving employees to figure out how to do what they've been hired to do is a sign of poor leadership. Make procedures understandable, practical and simple. Have clear policies and rules to guide and explain the whys.”
  4. Show enthusiasm. “How many of you had a high school coach who announced, ‘We're going to lose all our games, but let's practice anyway’? I'm absolutely convinced that enthusiasm is an invaluable personal characteristic for bosses,” Erven says. “I'm talking about having an interest in your job and I'm talking about if sometimes you have to pretend to be enthusiastic until your bad mood passes, do it. Your employees don't want to know your problems. They want you to be enthusiastic.”
  5. Be fair. Consistently enforce rules, Erven says, and in all cases avoid bias, dishonesty and injustice. Doing this means you will be accused of being unreasonable at times, because you will make decisions based on careful reasoning, whereas employees often make decisions based on emotion. It's also wise to separate your personal world from your employee-boss world. “Be friendly with all the people you supervise, but be buddy to none of them,” Erven says.
  6. Show empathy. Just because you have to make decisions based on clearly defined policies and procedures doesn't mean you shouldn't empathize with your employees. Empathy, Erven says, is understanding the other person's situation. For example, two people are vying for a promotion and you choose Kendra over Kirk. “Who should get the news first? Kirk. Give him the chance to save face with everybody else by giving him the information first, rather than by learning it from Kendra coming away from your talk with a big smile on her face. That's showing empathy.”
  7. Display trust. “Believe in your employee's word, their integrity, their strengths, their assurance,” he says. “In other words, be in a position where you can trust the people around you. To have to say to an employee ‘I don't trust you’ is a damaging relationship.”
  8. Continue learning. You will never know all you need to know, he says, and there isn't a supervisor out there who is ready to manage a 2012 business. Many bosses have been supervising people for longer than some of their employees have been alive. “And you don't understand them.” But they're your workforce and you've got to continue learning to be an effective boss.
  9. Be flexible. “Adjust your leadership style for each person you supervise,” he suggests. “Delegate as much authority and responsibility as you can. That's part of being flexible.”
  10. Envision the success you're working to have. What is your vision for your people? What is your vision for your relationship with them? Having that clearly in mind will make it an easier goal to accomplish.

Grade yourself
Erven suggests supervisors honestly grade themselves on each of these 10 points. “Then ask one of your employees to ask the same thing of everybody you supervise, anonymously. Ask a trusted co-manager or supervisor to give you a grade on each of them.”

Then look at the results. “If you gave yourself an A on communication and everybody else gave you a C, what's that telling you?”

Finally, develop a plan for improving your performance on these 10 items. “What will increase your chances of success? Having specific, measurable goals. And what will also increase your success is a coach, mentor, someone around you who helps you be honest with yourself and see the choices.”


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Taking Networking to the Next Level: Getting Your Name Out There - Have you ever Googled yourself?

You know... have you entered your name into the well-known Internet Google search engine to see how many times your name appears on the Web. To get a fairly accurate reading of how often your name appears, place it in quotation marks in Google, e.g., "Katharine Hansen." If you have a very common name, add some other identifying information, such as the town you live in or your employer, e.g., "Katharine Hansen" "DeLand, FL" "The Career Guide."

What does this little exercise have to do with networking? Even if you've never Googled yourself, it's possible that an employer or recruiter has. It's part of an emerging practice especially at senior and executive levels to find out how visible a prospective employee is. The number of citations or "hits" on Google is considered a reasonable gauge of a candidate's visibility.

Networking has long been considered one of the most effective ways to job-hunt, in part because of the old adage that it's not what you know but who you know. But increasingly, in the Information Age, success can spring not just from who you know but from who knows you.

This article explores a new type of passive networking with some very active elements. While some may consider getting your name out there to be a form of personal branding or horn-tooting, networking can provide avenues for raising your visibility and building your aura as an attractive candidate for hire. Symbiotically, elevating the world's awareness of you creates new opportunities for networking.

Keep in mind that employers and recruiters aren't just looking for how many times your name pops up in a Google search. They're also interested in how positive your online image is. Thus, you need to be very careful of how you project yourself online. The Internet is a highly public medium, and personal information floating out there in cyberspace about your political affiliation, religious preference, and even your family, could unfortunately work against you. A comment that you innocently post to an online discussion group could be viewed negatively by a prospective employer. The advice of an anonymous contributor to a Web log is worth heeding: "Never post anything that you wouldn't be willing to read on the front page of the New York Times."

A New York resume writer, for example, tells the story of submitting names of two executives to a recruiter who was unimpressed with both candidates one because his name was nowhere to be found on the Web, and the other because his published-online controversial political views turned the recruiter off. Another career expert tells of trying to look up an old colleague and finding only outdated information on him on the Web. Had he ensured that his online information was current and visible, the career guru would have told him about a great job opportunity

Before we get into ways you can pump up your online image, try this exercise: Take about a minute to write down what you are most known for. In what area(s) could you offer yourself as an expert? Ideally you are considered an expert in some area of your career or professional life, but hobbies and interests can be fair game, too.

And that brings us to the first way to get your name out there:
1.  Be known for your expertise. Offer yourself as an expert to the media. Contact local, regional and if you're really hot stuff national newspaper, magazine, and online editors to let them know you'd be willing to be quoted on the topic(s) of your expertise. Your communication with editors could take the form of an e-mail, phone call, letter, or even a "media kit" with business card, resume, and list of story tips for which you're qualified to serve as a source. I recently had a client, for example, who unfortunately did not receive tenure from the university at which he was a professor. He happens to be an expert on terrorism, however, and is often called upon by the media for quotes and insights. His visibility through this media exposure should help raise his currency as he seeks a new job.
2.   Be visible in professional, volunteer, and civic associations (such as the Chamber of Commerce and Rotary). Membership in these organizations is a great way to network, but to really get your name out there, run for office and volunteer to serve on committees.

3.   Speak in public. Organizations are always looking for speakers. For most smaller, local organizations, speakers are not paid, but they gain excellent exposure by talking about subjects of interests to the group membership. The same topic(s) in which you offer your expertise to the media can make fascinating fodder for presentations that will familiarize audiences with your talents and expertise. Your talk will likely be publicized, further enabling you to get your name out there. Oh, and even if it's just rubber chicken, you'll usually get a meal out of your speaking engagements. If you're not comfortable as a public speaker, consider boosting your confidence by joining Toastmasters, which can be a great networking venue in itself.

4.   Offer your services to local colleges and universities. Make yourself available as a guest speaker for collegiate groups and clubs. Consider applying as an adjunct instructor. Many schools welcome professionals even those without terminal degrees to bring their real-world business experience to the classroom.
5.   Write articles. Just as groups seek speakers, both print and online publications often seek writers and columnists. The pay may be minimal or nonexistent, but having your name in print and your expertise disseminated can be priceless. Quintessential Careers' own Career Doctor, Dr. Randall Hansen, for example, widened his horizons and became better known in his community when he offered his Career Doctor column to the local newspaper, the Daytona Beach News-Journal. Don't forget about professional, trade, and industry publications in your field. Newsletters and magazines published by professional organizations may be clamoring for expertise like yours.

6.   Contribute to online discussion groups – but watch what you say. Speaking your mind in online groups, especially those connected with your professional field, certainly adds to your online presence, but don't forget the very public nature of the Internet and the possibility that a prospective employer could read what you have to say.

7.    Serve on advisory boards and boards of directors. At some point in your career, you may be asked to participate on a corporate or nonprofit board, either in a decision-making or advisory capacity. If you're looking for a terrific networking opportunity as well as a way to get your name out there jump at the invitation to join a board. Membership on some boards is by application rather than invitation; check into boards associated with your local government, for example. My county government in Volusia County, Florida, has several dozen advisory boards open to local residents from the Commission on the Status to Women to the Cultural Arts Advisory Board. Although board membership is a serious responsibility and time commitment (boards generally meet anywhere from quarterly to monthly), it can be a rewarding networking opportunity because of the accompanying clout and prestige. Board membership frequently affords you the chance to rub elbows with some of the most powerful members of the community or corporate world people you might not normally get to meet. To maximize the opportunity, don't just sit there at meetings and say "yea" or "nay;" get actively involved. Volunteer for committees. The more you do for the board, the more important people you'll be able to network with, and the better known you'll become. The Web site BoardSeat is a good source of board vacancies.
8.   Consider a personal Web site with a portfolio. The foregoing ways to get your name out there are generally indirect paths to ensuring that your name will pop up in a Google search. For a more direct approach, a personal Web site with portfolio is the wave of the future. Having a portfolio presence on the Web shows employers that you are technically savvy, open to new trends, and poised on the cutting edge.
Consider the message you'd like to convey with your site and portfolio. Try this exercise: Take a few minutes to identify what your "brand" is. Think of three major trends that have spanned your career ongoing patterns for example, you've always been a people person. Try to convey these consistent branding messages throughout your portfolio.

A portfolio published on the Web enables you to include links to all kinds of items that tell more about you, your capabilities, and provide evidence of your accomplishments (writing samples, graphic-design samples, ad campaigns, photographs, PowerPoint presentations, reports, graphs, charts, lists of accomplishments and awards, executive summaries, case studies, testimonials, project deliverables, and even multimedia items, such as video and sound clips) that employers can access 24/7.

Be sure your Web site and portfolio look professional and avoid un-businesslike content. There's a fine line between opening enough of a window into your personality to intrigue a prospective employer and turning a visitor off with inappropriate family photos or off-color humor. Still, you'll often find some elements in a Web portfolio that you wouldn't find in a typical resume accessible language and photos of the candidate, for example, which facilitate a sort of virtual networking through which employers can get to know prospective employees better. The portfolio provides a great opportunity for the candidate and employer to build rapport before an interview even takes place.

Final Thoughts
Most career experts agree that a portfolio alone or the other get-your-name-out-there activities alone may not do a lot to boost your "Googlability," but an online portfolio plus efforts to raise your visibility can be a potent combination.

by Katharine Hansen, Ph.D.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

How To Make Yourself Three Times More Likely to Get Hired

Research done by the executive search industry has shown that the first person interviewed gets the job only 17.6 percent of the time. But the last person interviewed is hired almost 56 percent of the time, or more than three times more frequently.

The reason: As in most human endeavors, people are wary of accepting the first choice offered. Therefore, do what you can to position yourself among the last candidates interviewed, and definitely not among the first. Other reasons include corporate inertia. It's often customary to move at a glacial pace. The sense of urgency may not exist at the beginning of a search.

Wait 10 days to two weeks before responding to a help-wanted appeal. (Aged ads are excellent for this purpose). If you have a good relationship with your executive recruiter, ask him or her to wait it out and not propose you too early. And if the interviewer asks you when you can set up an appointment, push the day back as far as possible. Other studies have shown that Monday is the worst day of the week to be interviewed for a job. The worst time for an interview is late afternoon.

Let's examine this guideline one step further. Research indicates that almost two-thirds of the time the best qualified candidates don't get the offer, and the person chosen often meets fewer than 50 percent of the job qualifications. How can this be?

The reason is because job offers are given most frequently to those candidates who, regardless of formal qualifications promote themselves best, intimidate least and listen the most. Strong listening skills allow the candidate to determine or uncover just what the interviewer is looking for. This approach provides a perfect way to maximize your opportunity to sell what your prospective employer is buying. When you have this vital piece of intelligence, you have everything you need to make a masterful presentation. A by-product of this is likeability. After qualifications, the most important reason an employer will advance your candidacy is because he or she likes you. And the easiest way to get other people to like you at the start of your relationship is to listen to them attentively.

Proceed from there to develop a mental database consisting of past situational anecdotes describing how you achieved success in similar situations. Use the CAB formula to respond to certain questions especially tough ones. Describe the Challenge confronting you, the Action you took and the Benefit gained. This approach is also known as the SAR, STAR, PAR, or CAR approach. What a great way to steer clear of canned responses. You're on your way to making it to the top of the short-list.

by Arthur I. Frank

Saturday, November 13, 2010

9 Secrets to Getting the Job You Really Want

Interviewing for a job is a very stressful and difficult process made more intense today because so many companies are reducing their workforce, thus increasing the number of applicants for a shrinking number of jobs. The competition for available jobs is fierce. Yet, you can beat the competition and actually get hired in the job you really want. Here are nine secrets to consider.

1. Discover what you really want out of your work and life. Discover your true passions, desires, beliefs, and talents so that you can paint a picture of your true work and life goals, from your own perspective.

2. Develop and define the job you really want. That's right! Design and define the job that will allow you to fulfill your passions, desires, and beliefs and maximize your talents. What you are doing is building your ideal job around what you want as opposed to looking at job opportunities that come along to evaluate. Believe it or not, your ideal job actually exits in more than one way and within the personal parameters you set.

3. Find out what companies have positions that meet your ideal position requirements. Look at and research all of the possible companies within the geographical area you designated to discover what positions within these companies you would want. Do not worry about whether they have job vacancies or are in a hiring mode.

4. Evaluate the companies that have your desired jobs. Make sure you would want to work for the companies that have your ideal jobs. They need to have integrity and treat their employees and customers in the manner you would want to be treated. Determine whether they operate in an industry that you want to work in.

5. Research the companies you selected. Once again, do not be put off or discouraged if the companies are not hiring. Why? Because companies are always looking for the right employees and will have to eventually hire new employees to survive. Determine who actually makes hiring decisions, and what is important to them. Many companies disguise this information through HR departments or hiring committees. If possible, try to find out how you can contact hiring decision-makers directly. Get their e-mail addresses, direct telephone numbers, or find someone in the company who can be a liaison for you.

6. Contact the decision-makers and tell them you want to work for them in the specific jobs you chose. Express your enthusiasm for that specific job or jobs. The fewer jobs you designate the better. You want them to know you can be trusted by truthfully exposing your commitment to seeking your dream job, even though they may not have an opening. You are, in essence, recruiting them to work in your dream job. Let them know that you will be very productive because you will excel at the job, and also that you will be a very grateful and energetic employee because you are doing what you love. You are not just asking for a job so they will pay you, but you have targeted a specific job at that company, and you are committed to contributing in that position.

7. Ask them if there are any special skills or qualifications you will need to be accepted in the position. If you do not have the sought-after skills and qualifications for the job, either find a way to get them beforehand or see if you can attain them within the company as an employee. This approach directs attention to what the employer wants and away from your resume compared to others' resumes. It will also show them your commitment to attaining that job. Stay in contact to alert employers of your new skills, qualifications, and continued interest.

8. If necessary, be willing to take an interim job. This way you can work on the required skills and qualifications, and you can obtain an income while you prepare for the job. You will also be in a better position to take your dream job when it becomes available.

9. Get support from somebody during the process. Some of the secret steps discussed above will probably appear to be daunting to you, which is to be expected. Enlist the help of another person to discuss all of the above steps and to map out the best strategy to get your ideal job. This person should be a trusted and strong supporter of your goal, as well as someone who will offer you another perspective to assist in the execution of your plan. Getting your ideal job is an extremely important objective, and it is worth enlisting the help of someone to actually get it.

Final Thoughts
Employers constantly face the problem of finding and surrounding themselves with the right employees who want to work for them, whom they can trust, and who will be very productive with the least amount of supervision. You will definitely get their attention, when you recruit employers for the specific job you chose, because of your honesty, your commitment, your enthusiasm, and your desire to produce for them. In fact, you may even appear to be too good to be true. Many times the people who are filling the jobs that you want are not happy in the position. They are not producing or are causing other problems for the employers. Your request for employment for these specific jobs will give employers an option that they only dream about.

by Bill Dueease

Thursday, November 11, 2010

15 Myths and Misconceptions About Job-Hunting

How much of a job-hunting expert are you? Read over these 15 myths and misconceptions about job-hunting and see how many of them you believed in and how many you knew were incorrect. Once you know the truths about job-hunting, you should have more job search success and less stress.

Myth 1: Registering at Several Internet Job Boards Will Result in Multiple Job Offers
One of the most prevalent misconceptions in job-hunting is that job-hunting on the Web is some magic elixir that will result in employers lining up to interview you. While job-hunting on the Web should be one component of a job search for most job-seekers, it should not be viewed as having any higher success rates than applying to help-wanted ads in the newspaper or trade magazines. Only about 5 percent of job-seekers obtain jobs through ads.

Myth 2: Want Ads and Other Job Postings Represent the Majority of Jobs Available
At the very most and some say this number is too high only about 15-20 percent of all available jobs are ever publicly advertised in any medium. The vast majority of job openings are part of the "hidden" or "closed" job market. And the higher the position and salary, the less likely the position will be advertised at all. How can job-seekers discover these jobs? Through networking. Networking is by far the most effective job search tool you can use. Networking is all about building relationships with people who can help you in your job search; it doesn't mean that you need to ask everyone you know if they have a job for you.

Myth 3: Job-Seekers Who Change Jobs Often are Frowned Upon by Employers
The notion of "job-hoppers," those job-seekers who had multiple jobs with short stays listed on their resumes, has been disappearing for years. Ever since the great "downsizing" and "rightsizing" of companies during the 1980s and 1990s, employers have recognized that there rarely is any logical progression or corporate ladder within any one company anymore. To get ahead and gain new skill sets, job-seekers often need to make multiple moves. Avoid really short stints under a year but otherwise don't be too concerned with moving around. And if you are concerned, focus on your transferable skills with a functional rather than chronological resume.

Myth 4: A Cover Letter is Not as Important as Other Job-Hunting Materials
Every time you apply for a job, you should send a cover letter written specifically for the position and company you are applying to. The only exception to this rule is when the employer explicitly states that it does not want a cover letter. A cover letter, also known as a letter of introduction or letter of application, must be an integral part of your job-search strategy. A resume is useless to an employer if s/he doesn't know what kind of job you are seeking. A cover letter tells the employer exactly what job you are seeking and how you are uniquely qualified for that position.

Myth 5: A Resume Must Show a Logical Progression of Jobs and Increased Responsibility

The most important part of a resume is showing that you have the skills, education (or training), and experience that the employer seeks. Most employers will spend less than 20 seconds reviewing your resume, which means you need to focus on the key components of your resume that will result in getting a job interview.

Myth 6: As Long as You're Sending out Cover Letters and Resumes, You'll Get Interviews
Maybe in the tightest of job markets, or maybe if you are only applying to specific positions for which you are perfectly qualified, will this kind of passive job-search strategy produce any job interviews. Job-seekers must be proactive in your job search. You must follow-up every job lead. Call employers and request an interview. If you are under-qualified for a position or changing careers, request an interview anyway. You may not be qualified for that specific position, but the employer may have other openings (or know of other openings).

Myth 7: Lowering Your Salary Demands Will Make You a More Attractive Job Candidate
Job-seekers should never lower reasonable salary demands because doing so will just make you appear desperate for the job and will likely result in your not getting the job offer. And even if you got the offer and accepted it, you would most likely never be happy in your job or with your employer because you would feel you were cheated out of the salary you deserved. As long as your salary demands are within acceptable range for the job you're seeking as well as the industry and location of the employer, stick to them. And never be the first to bring up salary; let the employer raise the issue.

Myth 8: If You Can't Schedule Job Interviews Between 9 am and 5 pm You're Out of Luck
While it's certainly true that a majority of job interviews are conducted during traditional business hours, employers will certainly find time during “off-hours” to interview desirable job-seekers. And it's often better to interview during these times because there are fewer distractions.

Myth 9: The Most Qualified Job-Seekers Get the Best Jobs

Probably the biggest misconception about interviewing, it is not always the best qualified person who gets the job, but the job-seeker with the best mix of qualifications, interviewing skills, and rapport with his or her interviewer(s). So, don't be too cocky if you feel you are the most qualified person for the job and don't be too discouraged if you don't feel you exactly match up with the job. If you get a job interview, it's because the employer thinks there is a strong enough match of your skills, education, and experience to do the job and at the interview, you need to prove why you are the best person to fill the job.

Myth 10: Headhunters and Executive Recruiters Have Your Best Interests at Heart
Headhunters and executive recruiters get paid by the companies that hire them to fill their open positions, so where exactly is their loyalty? With their client companies, of course. Recruiters will not market job-seekers to companies; instead, they try to fit job-seekers into well-defined positions with the companies that employ their services.

Myth 11: Changing Careers is Nearly Impossible
As the workplace continues to change and evolve, more and more people will change careers in their lifetimes and many will change careers multiple times. As long as you have a plan and do your best to stick with it, you should be able to switch careers. That said, switching careers is not easy. It takes much effort to switch careers and may involve getting more education (or training), getting experience in the new career field, and focusing on how the skills you currently possess transfer to the new career field.

Myth 12: Job-Seekers Should Not Have to Sell Themselves to Employers

For better or worse, job-hunting is all about marketing yourself to employers which often means using some key selling skills to close the deal and get the job offer. You are the product, and you need to show the employer why you are the best product for the job. In today's job-hunting environment, the most successful job-seekers are those who understand the value of marketing and apply to themselves those principles that companies have used for years to successfully sell their products.

Myth 13: If You're Over 50, You Will Have a Hard Time Finding a Job

The baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) are completely redefining the meaning of age and older works, and thus older workers should theoretically have a lot fewer problems finding new jobs than in the past. The critical issues are whether you have the skills, education, and experience that the employer seeks and whether all those are current. You also have to have the proper attitude that you are a team player, not a seasoned professional who knows all the answers and is unwilling to change. And, of course, if you are employed in an industry that focuses more on youth, then it may still be harder for you to find a new job.

Myth 14: It Takes One Month of Job Searching for Every $10,000 of Current Salary
No one seems to know where this calculation comes from and no one has ever substantiated it. The fact is that every job search is different. And external factors such as the economy and demand for your particular set of skills and experiences will impact your search time. Noted career expert Richard Bolles (of What Color is Your Parachute?) states in a Q&A we conducted with him: “I think people adopt unrealistic guesstimates about how long their job hunt is going to take. We should expect that our job-hunt may take months, but if we persevere, we will find a job.”

Myth 15: When Times are Tough, Take the First Job Offer You Get

In all my years of experience, the one truth is that job-hunting is streaky. You'll have weeks where you interview for positions and you are sure you'll get an offer and no offer ever comes, and then there will be weeks when you get multiple interviews and perhaps multiple offers. Should you take the first job offer that comes along? Only if you are sure that the job and the compensation represent the right career move. If not, a better offer will come along and as long as you are not about to lose your house or suffer other financial or emotional consequences, you should hold out for the job offer that best fits the direction you want to move in.

by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

10 Tips for Successful Career Plannig

Career planning is not an activity that should be done once in high school or college and then left behind as we move forward in our jobs and careers. Rather, career planning is an activity that is best done on a regular basis especially given the data that the average worker will change careers (not jobs) multiple times over his or her lifetime. And it's never too soon or too late to start your career planning.

Career planning is not a hard activity, not something to be dreaded or put off, but rather an activity that should be liberating and fulfilling, providing goals to achieve in your current career or plans for beginning a transition to a new career. Career planning should be a rewarding and positive experience.

Here, then, are 10 tips to help you achieve successful career planning.

1. Make Career Planning an Annual Event
Many of us have physicals, visit the eye doctor and dentist, and do a myriad of other things on an annual basis, so why not career planning? Find a day or weekend once a year more often if you feel the need or if you're planning a major career change and schedule a retreat for yourself. Try to block out all distractions so that you have the time to truly focus on your career what you really want out of your career, out of your life.

By making career planning an annual event, you will feel more secure in your career choice and direction and you'll be better prepared for the many uncertainties and difficulties that lie ahead in all of our jobs and career.

2. Map Your Path Since Last Career Planning
One of your first activities whenever you take on career planning is spending time mapping out your job and career path since the last time you did any sort of career planning. While you should not dwell on your past, taking the time to review and reflect on the path whether straight and narrow or one filled with any curves and dead-ends will help you plan for the future.

Once you've mapped your past, take the time to reflect on your course and note why it looks the way it does. Are you happy with your path? Could you have done things better? What might you have done differently? What can you do differently in the future?

3. Reflect on Your Likes and Dislikes, Needs and Wants
Change is a factor of life; everybody changes, as do our likes and dislikes. Something we loved doing two years ago may now give us displeasure. So always take time to reflect on the things in your life not just in your job that you feel most strongly about.

Make a two-column list of your major likes and dislikes. Then use this list to examine your current job and career path. If your job and career still fall mostly in the like column, then you know you are still on the right path; however, if your job activities fall mostly in the dislike column, now is the time to begin examining new jobs and new careers.

Finally, take the time to really think about what it is you want or need from your work, from your career. Are you looking to make a difference in the world? To be famous? To become financially independent? To effect change? Take the time to understand the motives that drive your sense of success and happiness.

4. Examine Your Pastimes and Hobbies
Career planning provides a great time to also examine the activities you like doing when you're not working. It may sound a bit odd, to examine non-work activities when doing career planning, but it's not. Many times your hobbies and leisurely pursuits can give you great insight into future career paths.

Think you can't make a hobby into a career? People do it all the time. The great painter Paul Gauguin was a successful business person who painted on the side. It actually wasn't until he was encouraged by an artist he admired to continue painting that he finally took a serious look at his hobby and decided he should change careers. He was good at business, but his love was painting.

5. Make Note of Your Past Accomplishments
Most people don't keep a very good record of work accomplishments and then struggle with creating a powerful resume when it's time to search for a new job. Making note of your past accomplishments keeping a record of them is not only useful for building your resume, it's also useful for career planning.

Sometimes reviewing your past accomplishments will reveal forgotten successes, one or more which may trigger researching and planning a career shift so that you can be in a job that allows you to accomplish the types of things that make you most happy and proud.

6. Look Beyond Your Current Job for Transferable Skills
Some workers get so wrapped up in their job titles that they don't see any other career possibilities for themselves. Every job requires a certain set of skills, and it's much better to categorize yourself in terms of these skill sets than be so myopic as to focus just on job titles.

For example, one job-seeker who was trying to accomplish career planning found herself stuck because she identified herself as a reporter. But once she looked beyond her job title, she could see that she had this strong collection of transferable skills such as writing, editing, researching, investigating, interviewing, juggling multiple tasks, meeting goals and deadlines, and managing time and information skills that could easily be applied to a wide variety of jobs in many different careers.

7. Review Career and Job Trends
Everyone makes his or her own job and career opportunities, so that even if your career is shrinking, if you have excellent skills and know how to market yourself, you should be able to find a new job. However, having information about career trends is vital to long-term career planning success.

A career path that is expanding today could easily shrink tomorrow or next year. It's important to see where job growth is expected, especially in the career fields that most interest you. Besides knowledge of these trends, the other advantage of conducting this research is the power it gives you to adjust and strengthen your position, your unique selling proposition. One of the keys to job and career success is having a unique set of accomplishments, skills, and education that make you better than all others in your career.

8. Set Career and Job Goals
Develop a roadmap for your job and career success. Can you be successful in your career without setting goals? Of course. Can you be even more successful through goal-setting? Most research says yes.

A major component of career planning is setting short-term (in the coming year) and long-term (beyond a year) career and job goals. Once you initiate this process, another component of career planning becomes reviewing and adjusting those goals as your career plans progress or change - and developing new goals once you accomplish your previous goals.

9. Explore New Education/Training Opportunities
It's somewhat of a cliche, but information really does lead to power and success. Never pass up chances to learn and grow more as a person and as a worker; part of career planning is going beyond passive acceptance of training opportunities to finding new ones that will help enhance or further your career.

Take the time to contemplate what types of educational experiences will help you achieve your career goals. Look within your company, your professional association, your local universities and community colleges, as well as online distance learning programs, to find potential career-enhancing opportunities and then find a way achieve them.

10. Research Further Career/Job Advancement Opportunities
One of the really fun outcomes of career planning is picturing yourself in the future. Where will you be in a year? In five years? A key component to developing multiple scenarios of that future is researching career paths.

Of course, if you're in what you consider a dead-end job, this activity becomes even more essential to you, but all job-seekers should take the time to research various career paths and then develop scenarios for seeing one or more of these visions become reality. Look within your current employer and current career field, but again, as with all aspects of career planning, do not be afraid to look beyond to other possible careers.

Final Thoughts on Career Planning
Don't wait too long between career planning sessions. Career planning can have multiple benefits, from goal-setting to career change, to a more successful life. Once you begin regularly reviewing and planning your career using the tips provided in this article, you'll find yourself better prepared for whatever lies ahead in your career and in your life.

by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Companies Hiring This Week

The newest unemployment figures are released on Friday morning. That means all eyes will be on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ report to see how many people were unemployed in October and how it compares to previous months. We’ll certainly  have something to say about the numbers when they’re released, as we always do.

Since we’ll have that topic covered, don’t worry about spending the next few days anticipating whether or not the unemployment rate will go up or down. Instead, feel free to use that time to browse this list of companies hiring right now. These employers have job openings and need you to apply if you’re qualified and looking for work.

1. Harry & David
Industry: Retail
Sample job titles: Merchandise planner, retail assistant store manager, keyholder

2. Clifton Gunderson LLP
Industry: Finance
Sample job titles: Senior auditor, technology specialist, tax manager

Industry: IT
Sample job titles: SharePoint architect, QA analyst, IBM storage

4. Kimberly-Clark
Industry: Health care
Sample job titles: Medical device sales, scientist, process engineer

5. Resources For Human Development, Inc. (RHD)
Industry: Education
Sample job titles: Child development specialist, behavioral specialist consultant

6. Roehl Transport, Inc. Driver Recruiting
Industry: Transportation and delivery
Sample job titles: Refrigerated-truck driver, curtainside truck driver

7. Yoh
Industry: Medical
Sample job titles: Senior associate scientist, drug safety associate, biomedical process engineer

8. Dreyers Grand Ice Cream
Industry: Sales
Sample job titles: Territory sales representative, pre-sales route representative

9. Nigel Frank International
Industry: Consultant
Sample job titles: Dynamics NAV consultant, Dynamics AX consultant

10. Robert Half Legal
Industry: Legal
Sample job titles: Legal secretary, legal director, litigation associate


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Formula for Finding the Right Headhunter: Trust and Clout = Trout!

When you start fishing the waters for recruiters, focus on a good "trout" stream because Trust and Clout are two determinants of a winning catch.

Let's first consider trust.

Do you sense that you can trust a particular recruiter? Do his or her client companies trust him or her? The more you can answer these questions regarding a potential "career partner," the better. On a personal level, the gut speaks volumes that the mind can't always absorb, so you may just need to go with it. Client trust, however, may be more difficult to determine given that many headhunters will not necessarily divulge their client's identity until absolutely necessary. But here is the very nature of the beast reticence to reveal the names of clients they service may reveal something about the strength of foothold established with those clients an indicator of the level of trust and clout in those relationships.

Don't blame a recruiter for not spilling proprietary-information (client list) when first meeting you. After it has been determined that the two of you might be a good working match, the client list should not be an issue. Some headhunters, as in any service industry, might even have letters on file from satisfied clients or candidates. It's not a must, but it might be an avenue to explore in determining a recruiter's muster.

Another simple way to assess the trust factor -- turn an oft-used interview question back on the recruiter: "What would your candidates say about you as a recruiter? What would your clients say?" Initially, the headhunter might be thrown off to be interviewed by a candidate. But, whatever the outcome, you win. Either 1) the recruiter is caught off-guard and reveals a power-trip mentality that says "I am in charge, not you" or 2) the recruiter reveals an interesting perspective of himself or herself that you can process through your own BS detector or 3) your chutzpah and professional savvy in asking makes an incredible impression, upping the recruiter's desire to work with you. As I said, whatever the outcome . . . you win.

A word about trust, it's a two-way street. Don't expect a headhunter to let her hair down and begin revealing more than the usual cryptic information unless and until you are willing to do the same. The successful recruiter/candidate relationship is founded on the same principles as all human relationships mutual trust, mutual respect. If you view a new recruiter through past-tainted glasses, know that what you see will be tainted. Best to always be the one to demonstrate trust by sticking your neck out first. This gesture opens the gate for reciprocity.

What are some recognizable elements of trust? Basic openness, honesty, and authenticity -- letting your guard down to let someone really get to know you . . . where you've been, where you want to go.

When considering the trust dimension, it is important for you to know a recruiter's basic fear about disclosing client information. It's that the candidate will go around the recruiter, doing an end-run straight to the company. I'm sure those reading this article have more integrity than that. But to understand the motivations and mindset of a headhunter, know this: "Going around" means that the candidate takes the information gained from an initial conversation with a recruiter and uses it to contact the hiring company, thus bypassing the company's obligation to pay the recruiter's fee. As low-down as it seems, it does happen, and the fear has been genetically ingrained in headhunters, whether or not they've actually experienced it. You see, recruiters are in the information-brokerage business; they broker the information they gather on clients and candidates to make a living. If a client or candidate utilizes information gained from a recruiter to either hire an employee or get a job, unquestionably that recruiter is entitled to compensation.

If, on an initial call, you've ever asked a headhunter "What's the name of the company?" and you've heard him hem and haw, now you know why. Certainly you have never entertained the thought of using such information unethically but, on the first call, a recruiter doesn't know you from Adam. Over time, as in any budding relationship, when the candidate and recruiter learn more about one another, more is revealed. So don't be offended if you can't find out everything up-front - understand the headhunter's situation. In time, however, if an open and relaxed relationship between recruiter and candidate has not begun to coalesce, you may wish to reassess your choice of recruiters.

Now let's take a look at clout.

The Price Upon Their Heads
The question arises in venturing out:
What bounty to place on a headhunter's clout?
To choose a pro player, not loser or lout,
The highest, the Highest, the HIGHEST no doubt.

Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary defines clout as "pull" or "influence" and it is another vital ingredient in your total recruiter evaluation picture. One way to determine it is by asking outright "What is the range of fees you charge client companies?" Again, it may well elicit surprise -- a candidate turning the interview tables, but the reaction will be revealing. A headhunter who is highly respected by clients is well paid. She may not want to reveal this information, claiming that it is proprietary in nature. Don't let this failure to respond be an immediate turn-off; your relationship may not yet be at that level of openness. Then again, it may mean that this firm is a “bargain shop,” a cut-rate recruiting house that undermines the professionalism of the entire industry by charging fees far below average. If you were proud of your services, don't you think you should enjoy the privilege of charging prevailing rates?

by Darrell W. Gurney, CPC, JCTC, RScP

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