Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
1. Tangible financial benefit.
2. Address issues that employees understand to be important.
3. Achieving early measurable results.
New managers secure early successes by identifying problems that can be tackled in a reasonable period of time and whose solutions result in tangible improvements in performance.
Early initiatives should focus attention on the few key issues that you believe to be central. In doing this, seek to get results, set the right tone, and energize people.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
1. Understand Who’s Who
To transform an organization, new managers must gain the support of internal and external groups. Influential players must perceive it to be in their interest to help realize your goals. You must begin to identify them and at least begin to gain their support during the transition. Doing so lays the groundwork for building coalitions to drive key initiatives. It also enables you to decide whom you can count on; who you need to invest time in winning over; and who you need to confront. Typically, a relatively small percentage of others will be either very supportive or very opposed at the outset. Most will be between these extremes. Neither strong supporters nor staunch opponents, they will be undecided and therefore persuadable.
Friday, October 3, 2008
Cheshire Cat: “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to!”
Alice: “I don’t much care where….”
Cheshire Cat “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
From Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Competition for talent in key positions is fierce, even in these difficult economic times. In the past, many organizations preferred the flexibility and informality of unmeasured hiring practices. This approach was satisfactory provided the practices were executed effectively and administered with consistency. Experience has proven that in many cases unmeasured hiring processes perpetuate themselves and result in misunderstanding, inefficiency and hiring the wrong people.
Using effective selection measures can greatly enhance the quality and productivity of an organization’s workforce. Measures such as cost per hire, inter-rater reliability, measures for testing , validity, and many more can tell the real story of how a selection process performs. Unfortunately, many HR professionals have misconceptions about the value of selection measures and, if used, are confused as to which measurement tools are right for their situation. They believe an unstructured interview yields better results than structured assessments. Others think the existence of selection measurement programs are too abstract and attributable to the many consulting companies trying to make a buck. The reality is that well-placed measurement tools are very reliable and in these days of ever-tightening budgets are increasingly finding an audience. HR professionals must take positive steps to measure the effectiveness of their hiring processes, and be ready to hold themselves accountable for the results.
“If you don’t measure it, people will know you’re not serious about delivering it.”
James Belasco in “Teaching the Elephant to Dance.”
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
The following is a list of 15 attributes and behaviors leading companies want to see in job candidates for manager positions. This list was compiled from a review of advertisements for managerial positions posted by 12 Fortune 100 employers.
o Can identify real or perceived problems, gather data and determine action.
o Follows-up decisions.
o Ownership in work by giving clear expectations and delegating authority.
o Communicates well verbally with clarity, and speaks well to individual or group.
o Communicate in writing so that the reader clearly understands.
- Continuous improvement and quality focus.
o Involves others in pursuit of systematic improvement.
o Delegates what should be done, reasons for it, and authority.
- Develops talent.
o Manages individual development by providing coaching, feedback and reinforcement.
o Establishes systems that encourage employees to evaluate their own performance.
o Seeks and builds upon ideas of others.
o Guides individuals toward goal achievement.
o Builds trust by communicating in a non-threatening manner.
o Considers pros and cons of each course of action.
o Makes effective decisions.
o Prepares for and conducts meetings effectively.
o Establishes measurable goals and objectives.
o Plans effectively and sets priorities.
o Makes best use of time.
o Identifies concerns and works to achieve collaboration whenever possible.
o Establishes success criteria and reinforces performance goals.
o Reviews and evaluates objectives on a regular basis.
- Systemic awareness.
o Understands a systems perspective – everything is connected.
- Teamwork and collaboration.
o Contributes to discussion and actively listens. Can disagree tactfully.
o Shares credit for good ideas.
o Resolves indifference, disagreement, and conflict.
o Communicates a clear vision of desired outcomes and organizational values.
o Gains commitment.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
What is your body language saying? Do you look trustworthy, confident, and competent, or ill-at-ease and timid? Much has been said about the importance of body language when greeting people, yet examples abound every day of people getting it wrong. Here are a few things to remember when greeting people.
I used to report to an organizational VP who said he decided on a job candidate at the handshake. No matter how much I howled my disapproval, he was resolute in his belief. Studies show that he was not alone, and apparently lots of people size you up in the first few seconds. In that brief moment, it is not what you say that matters most but often what your handshake says about you. A limp, sweaty, or weak handshake leaves someone with less confidence in you. A firm handshake with two or three slow but steady shakes usually meets the need. Please avoid squeezing too hard. Maintaining eye contact and smiling (if appropriate), while shaking hands is almost always advisable.
LOOK THEM IN THE EYE
Making eye contact is very hard for some people. If done right, it is associated with being trustworthy, confident and sincere. If done poorly, it can make a person feel very uncomfortable. How do you feel when in a group setting and the person talking to you is continually looking around the room for someone else? This makes people feel less important. The goal is to make people feel as though you are having a one-on-one conversation with them.
To maintain appropriate eye contact makes people feel included and important. Look at the eyes of the person you're speaking to. If you are addressing a small or large group, mentally break the room into three parts. Find one one individual in group #1 and focus on them for 4-5 seconds, then shift your gaze to someone in group #2, etc. People sub-consciously will feel you are including them.
To keep communication open between you and those your are meeting, it is important to keep your body language open, as well. Standing behind a podium, crossing your arms or hands, is considered a closed position. Avoid putting anything in between you and the listener. Keep hands and arms unfolded, and if appropriate, do not hold anything either (e.g., papers, binder, etc.).
KEEP GESTURES IN-CHECK
Some people use hand gestures to punctuate virtually everything they say. Vigorously using both hands while conversing with people can be distracting for your listener if done to excess. It is OK to use your hands in a way that feels natural. If gesturing while speaking, try keeping your hands within the “TV box” (i.e., roughly where you would see someone’s hands if they were delivering the news on television), Gesturing that is outsie the TV box may be too wild, and a distraction to the point of discomforting for someone you are greeting.
Poor posture almost always telegraphs a lack of enthusiasm, confidence, and ability. Staying balanced on both feet, standing tall, with your eyes ahead sends the right message: strong and confident. If seated, do not slump or lean the chair back on two legs. Either of these behaviors is distracting to the listener and gets in the way of your message.
Please remember to practice these basics and close the "sale" every time.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Some organizations are better at encouraging ethical behavior than others. A few characteristics of these highly ethical organizations include:
1. Presence of a clear ethical vision; members at any level can generally describe what it means to have integrity.
2. The ethical vision is owned and embodied by senior leadership over a sustained period of time. 3. The reward system is aligned with the vision of integrity. Pay and incentives encourage employees to “do right.”
4. Policies and practices are aligned with the vision; no mixed messages.
5. It is understood that every significant management decision has ethical value.
6. Everyone is expected to work through questions in light of the ethical vision.
Watch this space for reasons why it helps to pay attention to ethical behavior in the workplace and what to do when you do not like what you see.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
We’ve all seen them. The person who seems like he/she has a way with words in personal conversation and always gets their point across. What do they do that makes them different? How do they do it? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could do it too? Though some people are born with natural ability to communicate, you can learn to be a better communicator with a little practice.
Following is a random series of observations regarding good communicators and what you can do to be more like them.
- Smile, even if it hurts a little. A smile puts the listener at ease and in a frame of mind to listen.
- Be first to say “hello.” Greeting someone recognizes them as a person you value.
- Take risks. Don't overly anticipate rejection as it can make you seem timid.
- Change the topic of conversation when it has run its course.
- Prove you are a good listener by briefly restating others comments back to them in different words.
- Be able to tell others what you do in a few short sentences. A few words will go along way. Plan ahead and choose words carefully.
- Always use good eye contact, but especially when making your first contact with people. It shows someone you are focused on and value them.
- Greet people you see regularly even if you don't know them. When the time comes for conversation with them, you will find a ready audience.
- Seek common goals, interests, and experiences with the people you
- Let others play the expert. Be ready to let someone be an expert, unless their advice or information is wrong in the extreme, and even then use tact when offering correction.
- Get enthusiastic about other's interests. Have several pre-developed questions ready ask in order to show interest.
- Balance the giving and receiving of information. If things go too much in the direction of one party in a conversation things quickly become boring.
- Be open to other's feelings and opinions. You will be amazed at what can be learned.
Express your feelings, opinions, and emotions to others. It is OK to show a little passion about a topic.
- Ask people their opinions. Most people have an opinion about almost everything but will not share it unless asked. Be tolerant of other's beliefs if you don't agree with them.
- Look for the positive in the people you meet. There is a positive side to almost everyone no matter how they seem.
- When you tell a story, present the main point first, and then add the
supporting details afterward. This makes the difference between someone who tells a good story and those who do not. It gets the listener engaged and the story is in the details.
- Be aware of open and closed body language. Crossed arms and legs, diverted eyes, etc., may mean that someone does not want to hear what you have to say.
- Make an effort to help people if you can. They will remember you forever.
Monday, June 30, 2008
- Do not count on a personal review of resume. Managers are busier, and more often these days they let systems narrow the field of candidates for them.
- Find and use key words. Key words are vital and will help applicants get past the initial screening to a live person. To determine what the key words are for a position you are applying, do an Internet search of online ads or job descriptions for similar positions (e.g., by job title: “Chemical Engineer” or “High School Math Teacher.” Scan the ads, and make a list of descriptive words you see repeated (note: expect from 3-4 key words to as many as 10 or more for complex jobs).
- Salt resume with key words sensibly. Use the key words in ways that make sense and provide a natural, even flow. Use of key words should not be obvious and get in the way of your message.
- Win the “space race.” Remember, the resume is basically an advertisement. You want it to gain attention, picque interest, and get you to the next stage of the hiring process. Therefore, resist the need to tell your life story. Keep your resume from 1-2 pages in length, with a readable font and some white space. Save the rest of your story for the interviews.
- Use resume to highlight areas not covered on a job application. Some organizations fail to ask about such things as language skills, technical skills, volunteer work, and professional organization involvement. Including brief mention of these items in a resume can help set you apart.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Here are my favorite things to see included when preparing a great resume:
- One page in length (generally), and I prefer no more than two pages in most situations.
- Neat appearance. Use bullet points as needed. Save room for white space. Make it readable.
- Provide an honest assessment of skills and experience.
- Make it concise and use good action-oriented words (e.g., developed, handled, organized, created, etc.), when describing experience.
- Ask someone to check your resume and be sure they really critique your work.
- Include name, address, phone number, education, and experience.
- If re-entering the job market or beginning an entry level job, claim the experience you actually have achieved. Experience can include such things as:
Lawn Care/Snow Removal
Working for relatives
- Create a list of awards/honors received, along with information for at least three references, and set aside to use if requested.
- Depending on position, include a personalized cover letter stating reasons qualified and why desire that company.
- Follow-up resume by phone to show interest.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
When writing your best resume, remember to always think about your audience. Consider your readers based on their: expectations; characteristics (Who is the reader?); goals (What are your readers planning to accomplish?); and context (For what type of situation do readers need this information?). Be sure to identify information your readers will need and make that information easily accessible and understandable.
Workplace writing of any kind should be persuasive. The writer developing their best resume must have a persuasive goal: to get a job interview. In a similar manner, someone writing a report almost always needs to persuade someone to take action. Workplace writing, since it's persuasive, must keep in mind: Purpose (why the document is being written, the goals of the document); Audience (who will read the document); Stakeholders (who may be affected by the document); Context (the background in which the document is created).
Friday, February 29, 2008
Since the resume is a key tool in finding a job, taking some extra time preparing it is time well-spent. While updating your resume on a regular basis is a very good thing to do, there are definitely some “do not’s” when it comes to making a best resume. I am sure the following list is not all inclusive, but represent items that bother me the most:
· Do not give reasons for termination or leaving a job on the resume. The reader can invariably find negative connotations to even the best reason. It is much better to discuss it in person.
· Do not include items like hobbies, sports and social activities. They rarely help in getting the job, and may bias readers against a candidate (e.g., membership in a hunting or gun club could be viewed negatively by someone who is against guns or in favor of animal rights).
· Do not include social security number, spouse's occupation and/or personal philosophies toward religion, politics and related topics (i.e., unless germane to the position applied for).
· Do not list references on the resume. They can easily be provided separately if requested. There is nothing to be gained for candidate or referencing individuals by exposing names of references to prospective employer.
· Do not use exact dates (e.g., 10/23/07). Month and year are sufficient.
· Do not include the date your resume was prepared (i.e., this is auto-formatted in some word processing templates). If your search takes longer than a few months, the resume will appear outdated.
· Do not include height, weight or remarks about physical appearance or health unless somehow germane to the position applied for.
· Do not list high school or elementary school if a college graduate.
· Do not state job objectives on resume unless resume is targeted to a particular job or occupation.
· Do not use professional jargon unless absolutely sure resume will be read by someone who understands those terms.
· Do not provide salary information on the resume, but save it for the interview. If required to provide that information, do so in cover letter.
· Do not lie. If it is discovered before a job offer it can prevent an offer. If it is discovered after being hired, it can result in loss of job.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Since the resume is a key tool in finding a job, extra time spent preparing it is time well-spent. In fact, some people update their resumes on a regular basis. Following are some important must do’s when writing your resume.
Resume Writing Do’s:
· Write your resume on standard letter size, white or off-white paper.
· Write your resume with plenty of space between paragraphs, and allow for adequate
· Use conversational English. Stay away from multi-syllable words when a one or two syllable
word is clearer, and no “slang.”
· Only use short paragraphs: nothing longer than five lines.
· Make sure the resume and the cover letter are completely error-free. Proofread the resume
yourself, and ask others proofread it also.
· Write your resume for a specific job or company, if applicable. It is more work, but often worth
· Include some significant contributions from each job.
· Allow more space for most relevant jobs.
· List memberships with professional, trade and civic associations, if appropriate.
· Keep a permanent file of achievements, no matter how small.
· Give your references a copy of your resume.
· Send a brief, customized cover letter with each resume.
· Send your resume by overnight mail if applying for a high salary position.
· Re-read resume before the interview to refresh your memory regarding key points.
There may be other Do’s that are pertaining to specific industries.
Watch this space for things you must not do if you really want to write your best resume.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Some of the new rules for better resumes start with the fact that there are fewer rules. What tends to work today is a more conservative style and focus on key achievements (especially those of particular interest to the employer).
Getting a career job is more competitive than it used to be. The best jobs require more specialized and diverse skills than ever before. Remember what interests an employer for one job may not fit for an employer offering a different job. This is why it is essential that people who qualify for several different types of jobs have different resumes for each one. Each resume should be accurate and truthful, but highlight different strengths related to open job.
Watch this space in coming days for some reality-based resume writing do’s and don’ts.
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Up to now, you have selected the best approach (chronological, functional or a combination of the two), and have defined important elements in your resume. These elements are:
· Job Objective (Stated in a clear and concise manner).
· Qualifications (Brief, honest and to the point).
· Relevant skills and experience (Emphasis on “relevant”).
· Work History (Frequently presented in chronological order).
· Education and training (Includes formal programs and certifications earned).
Assemble the five elements of your resume and type a draft.
· Omit anything personal and unrelated to your Job Objective (age, marital
status, height/weight, hobbies, etc.).
· If possible, omit the details of less important past jobs that create a less favorable image.
· Keep resume to one page if you can.
If your resume is on two pages:
· Present your key points on page one (job objective, skills, accomplishments).
· Use page two for the work history and education.
· Always write your full name plus "page two" at top of second page.
· It is sometimes helpful to write "continued" on page one.
· Print it on two sheets of paper, and don't staple them together (permits the two pages to
be placed side-by-side to view the whole resume at once; also the staple makes an
unsightly lump in envelop).
Thursday, January 31, 2008
In Part 2, you must determine which skills and experiences are relevant to the position objective. You are writing a word picture of yourself in the proposed new job, created out the best of your past experience. Steps in building this word picture include:
Study your Job Objective and ask yourself “what are the 4-5 most important skills required?”
Create a series of columns on a spreadsheet for each of those skills or special know-how areas and label each column.
Then ask yourself, "When did I use those same skills in the past?"
Under each of the skills write action-oriented, simple statements that clearly and concisely describe how you used or developed those skills in the past.
Assemble the Relevant Skills and Experience section of your resume by putting the contents of those 4-5 skill columns together on one page.
The primary message this section should be:
1. You are generally qualified. You have the experience, credentials, and basic skills needed for the job.
2. You are uniquely qualified. You own unique qualifications in the areas that really matter for this particular job.
Examples of what to include in this section are :
Amount of relevant experience.
Formal training and credentials.
One significant accomplishment
One or two outstanding skills or abilities.
A reference to your values, commitment, or philosophy if appropriate.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Once you have selected an overall approach to writing your best resume, you need to spend time on defining several foundational elements: work history, education and training, and defining your job objective.
Work History. An important first step to writing your best resume is to create a "Work History List." It is important to keep in mind that not everything on your list will necessarily appear on this version of your resume. For positions that are paid and volunteer, list the dates started and ended, your job title, and the name and city of the company or organization. All such positions listed should be in chronological order.
Education and Training. Compose an Education and Training List, which should include :
1. The schools you attended, with all dates, degrees, and honors.
2. Additional study in your field (e.g., classes taken, workshops/conferences attended, along with other informal learning).
3. Certifications: Note any professional certifications achieved (e.g., Professional in Human Resources-Society for Human Resource Management, etc.).
Job Objective. Write a clearly stated Job Objective, using a minimum number of words. The objective statement should answer the following questions: What do I want to do? Who or with whom do I want to do it? Where do I want to do it?
With this completed, you are well on your way to that best resume. But wait, there is much more. Watch this space for important next steps.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Combining the two approaches recognizes inherent drawbacks of both the chronological and functional approaches when used in their purest forms.
The pure chronological resume runs the risk of being too dull; a boring autobiography of work. Even; if it is descriptive, it may not be persuasive about personal qualifications.
The pure functional resume can be too free-floating and read like a set of statements about abilities that are not linked to verifiable sources of confirmation.
Whether you prefer the chronological or functional approaches, a really effective resume often blends the best of each.
The Chronological/Combination Resume:
This format retains the structure of a job-by-job outline of experience and emphasizes accomplishments, the foundation of the functional resume.
The Functional/Combination Resume:
This format retains the structure of key skills, knowledge and accomplishments, incorporating an EXPERIENCE section, which shows career-related time/space anchors, the foundation of the chronological resume.
After deciding on the right format, the way to organize the information is equally as important.
Watch this space for some guidelines to assist you in creating your best resume.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Your key skills, knowledge and related accomplishments are the primary organizing principles of this approach by citing relevant examples of effectiveness as proof of your ability to contribute.
This approach provides an opportunity to establish the transferability of skills and accomplishments for candidates who are starting or changing a career. Grouping these items in self-contained categories builds a case for your ability to function in a new situation. The conventional resume format dilutes or contradicts this talent.
Not limited to paid employment, you can give status to qualifying experience from every area of life. This format widens the scope of informal experiences supportive of your career objective, including special projects, internships, community service and relevant leisure pursuits. It eliminates distinctions that discount their importance.
For qualified candidates with a linear career path, this format challenges the standard presentation of personal strengths. Executive recruiters and other employment professionals prefer a job-by-job description to trace with clarity exactly what has been done, for whom, where and when.
Some employers may suspect that this format hides background information of importance.
In a purely functional resume, key time/space anchors that employers expect are not given. This information can be essential to credibility.
When to use:
The functional approach is particularly effective and highly recommended for people without direct experience in the area of their career objective. Since it accents skills and achievements, it is effective and often desired by people who are well established in a career.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Your employment record is the primary organizing principle for this format, a job-by-job historical narrative of your work effectiveness.
This format emphasizes formal qualifications for the work you are seeking. It is most appropriate for directly qualified candidates with linear progression paths and showcases the track record of clearly pertinent, often increasingly responsible experiences. Use of judgment in grappling with job challenges is emphasized.
Recruiters and some hiring managers are accustomed to, and often prefer, the chronological format. Many find it familiar, straightforward and easy to use when making preliminary decisions concerning the candidate.
For candidates who are starting or changing a career, this format emphasizes the lack of direct, in-depth experience in the targeted career area. It underscores past identity rather than future potential.
Gaps in employment, conspicuously brief or long affiliations, and time periods elapsed since certain qualifying experiences are spotlighted.
Rather than accenting accomplishments on the job, it lends itself to a somewhat dry, repetitive recitation of job responsibilities.
It often does not help the candidate who is in the latter stages of their career. Someone with many work experiences can struggle making their pitch with a chronological resume because their best skills and attributes can get lost in the details.
When to use:
The chronological format is particularly effective for people with clear-cut qualifications, who are continuing or advancing in a particular career direction. It can be acceptable for other, less qualified people. This format is productive if you cite relevant skills and tasks that support your career or job search objectives.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Deciding upon the best approach for your resume format is a major decision. Real and compelling differences characterize the two most common formats, which have impact on the receptivity employers have to your initiatives.
No universally "right" format is appropriate for all people. Your review of your own objective and background will be your most effective guide to selecting the best format for you.
Most resumes are served by two approaches: Chronological or Functional. The chronological approach states work experiences in the order they were incurred. The functional approach focuses on particular job functions the person has experience with. I will provide the pro's and con's of each in coming posts.
Monday, January 7, 2008
Writing a resume is frequently an after-thought. You see an advertisement or hear of a job opening and need to send a resume. So the precious document is hastily created or revised from an old resume, without taking time for a little planning and forethought.
A resume is still the first introduction most organizations have to a candidate, and that makes it extremely important. Your resume should be written before you actually need it, and produced with particular attention to its overall structure. Watch this space for steps to take in deciding the best approach to take, how to write a great resume, and lists of some do’s and never do’s.