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Posts Tagged ‘Career Growth’

November 2nd, 2012 by Robert Moskowitz   Posted in Career Advice, In the Workplace

Think Better on Your Feet - Part 2When you’re put on the spot and under pressure to answer an unanticipated tough question or respond to a pointed remark, it’s useful and important to be able to “think on your feet.”

Once you master this skill set, you’ll find it far easier not only to come up with something worthwhile to say, but to say it quite effectively. As a result, others will feel more confidence in you, and respect you as smarter and more trustworthy than someone who seems to babble and bumble under pressure.

Last time we talked about speaking from a place of confidence, and mentally preparing in advance. Here are four other, equally valuable techniques to help you think better and faster on your feet:

Relax First, Speak Second

When you’re put on the spot, your first reaction might be to take action. Since you probably can’t run away, you’ll often feel the urge to start babbling. Resist it. Whenever a spotlight hits you, adrenalin immediately tenses your muscles, which in turn tends to impair your performance. The better response is to take a few slow breaths and consciously relax before you open your mouth.

It’s easy to develop a few facial expressions and hints of body language that convey: “Fascinating question. Give me a second to think about it before I answer.” Get in the habit of using them while you prepare to dazzle the crowd.

You can even use silence to improve how others perceive you. A brief pause before you speak, or between a few of your key sentences, can convey the idea that you are in control of the situation, and can also add impact and layers of meaning to relatively simple ideas.

Observe in Depth

It’s a big mistake to shoot from the hip in unanticipated situations. You might respond to a less important part of the whole situation, or overlook the largest opportunity. Instead, get in the habit of observing the people around you in depth: not just their words, but their tone of voice, the expression in their eyes, their behavior, body language, and the words they don’t say as well as those they do.

By processing all this information you’ll come to a deeper understanding of the unanticipated situation that confronts you, and you’ll automatically have a basis to formulate a smarter response.
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September 26th, 2012 by Robert Moskowitz   Posted in Career Advice

How to Help Others ImproveOne of the best ways to make yourself more valuable on your job, and in your life, is to learn some of the basic skills involved with helping others to get what they want.

You don’t have to make a career of coaching to offer other people significant help in dealing with a crisis, making tough choices, or gearing up to improve themselves.

First Steps

The start of any helpful encounter with another person is to work together to establish both the problem to be addressed, and the details of what a solution would look like.

Is the person out of shape? What would being “in shape” look like? Does the person face a difficult decision? How can he or she know they’ve made a satisfactory choice? Is the person having difficulties at work? What’s the standard for knowing those “difficulties” are over?

In setting these criteria for monitoring improvement, remember to make them as specific as possible. That way, they’re more likely to stay fixed and achievable as the situation improves.

These standards should also be measurable in some way.

You also want to make sure, as a helpful person, that these performance standards are realistic, so there’s a fair chance of achieving - and recognizing - success.

Second Steps

With the problem defined and the goals or standards for success established, it’s important to take some time and clarify the problem situation. Try to identify the important actions the person is taking, as well as the people and the forces in play. Any or all of these may be contributing to the problem or become a pathway to a solution.

The more details that are explicitly itemized about what’s going on in the person’s life and work, the more likely you’ll find the best path to an acceptable solution.
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August 20th, 2012 by Robert Moskowitz   Posted in Career Advice, In the Workplace

AccountablilityIt doesn’t take a genius to look around our world and see that it’s sorely lacking in accountability. People in both prominent and obscure situations say and do the strangest things, and rarely are they held fully accountable.

That’s a real problem, particularly in the practical worlds of jobs, business, and the professions, but also in human relations.

Whether you’re leading a team or simply managing your own life, you can kick up the levels of effectiveness, responsibility, and success by practicing (and where possible, encouraging in others) meaningful accountability.

Here are some guidelines to help you:

Stop Ducking Responsibility

We live in an intertwined world, so it’s rare that a simple, single cause (”I overslept”) can result in a problem, a missed deadline, or a lost opportunity. Sure, it can happen. But, it doesn’t have to happen to you.

Practice accountability by taking meaningful steps to honor your commitments and live up to your responsibilities. If you take these seriously enough, you can be pretty sure you’ll never have to say “it’s entirely my fault”.

Set Up Accountable Situations

Airplane maintenance is a wonderful example of how to set up an accountable situation. Every maintenance procedure is clearly spelled out, and every mechanic who performs a procedure must attest to what he or she did with a signed and dated form. Many procedures also require a supervisor to check the work and sign to affirm his or her approval.

If you’re not in a life-and-death situation, you may not need such a rigorous, formal system. But you increase accountability when you have a plan of action with clear steps to be followed, and when you are careful to follow that plan. It’s even more accountable to have multiple layers of inspection and supervision.

With such a plan in place, results can more easily be traced back to the plan, and to everyone who implemented it. Whether the results are positive or negative, there’s clear accountability.
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August 9th, 2012 by Juliana Weiss-Roessler   Posted in Resume Writing

Dynamic LaptopThe next time you update your resume, you may want to consider going online - and not just to look for sample resumes to emulate! Some companies, particularly those in the tech and finance industries, are now requesting digital resumes.

What exactly does that mean? Well, instead of sending them a PDF or Word doc attachment, they want candidates for their positions to send along a link (or links) to their web presence. Even if a position you are applying to doesn’t request  a digital resume, sending one along with your traditional resume can help you stand out from the crowd. That’s never a bad idea, but in this crowded job market it’s practically a necessity. It also has the added advantage of showing that you are web savvy, an important skill in most workplaces today.

So what exactly is a digital resume, and what do employers expect you to include? This is a new format, so there are no set standards like there are for traditional resumes. What one company means by “digital resume” can be very different from another’s idea.

While this may seem overwhelming and confusing at first, it’s actually a wonderful opportunity for you to get creative and highlight your particular strengths.  Here are two of the most popular formats for digital resumes.

LinkedIn

The most basic digital resume is LinkedIn, which is a site that allows you to list your work history, skills, etc., just like you would on a traditional resume. It’s also a social network that allows you to easily connect with people in your field. Many people include the URL for their LinkedIn page on their business cards, providing people with an easy way to discover their work history.
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July 10th, 2012 by Juliana Weiss-Roessler   Posted in Career Advice, On the Radar

How to Enjoy the Job You Currently HaveAs Americans, we’re taught to shoot for the stars. To always be looking towards the horizon for that next big thing, and never be complacent. In many ways, this is great advice. It keeps us fighting to better ourselves, get promotions, and achieve our dreams.

Unfortunately, it can also lead to us feeling unsatisfied and unable to enjoy where we are because we’re always looking to the future for happiness. Sometimes, these dissatisfied feelings can bleed into our work performance, and in the current employment climate, that is a very bad thing. With that in mind, here are a few ways for you to take a step back and realize that there are a lot of things you like about your current job, even if it’s not your dream position.

Think about the money. Chances are, you probably wish that you were making more. Fair enough. But if you asked him, even someone like Donald Trump would probably say he wished he was making more money. We don’t stop dreaming for more, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be thankful of what you have - a steady paycheck coming in that allows you to cover your expenses and keep dreaming.

Relish the security and stability. If you’re a person thinking about striking out on your own as a freelancer or with a small business, think about all the worries and stresses that come with that. It’s not just money that may fluctuate from week to week, but the ability of this new career or business to work out at all. Most likely, your current job is relatively stable and secure, even if it doesn’t seem to be leading anywhere.

Enjoy friendships and relationships. Even if you don’t like your job or your boss, most likely there are people you work with that you consider friends. If the work itself is beating you down, concentrate on these relationships. You might end up finding ways to help each other and make work (and life) more bearable.
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