Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Are Your Employees Not Happy with the Career Opportunities in Your Organization?

Are the employees working for you happy? Do they feel that they have the right career opportunities in your company? These are major questions you should address if you want to retain talent in your organization

According to CEB, a US based technology company that offers insights on best practices, more than 65% of employees are not happy with the career opportunities available in their organizations. Due to this, these organizations are losing millions of dollars in turnover. Only if these entities realize the importance of improving engagement of their work force by putting in place growth-based cultures, they can stop incurring this huge loss. 

The traditional system is offering career paths that are linear in nature. This means employees will get only one promotion at a time. In such flat organizational structures, employees will be spending more number of years at each level. Studies conducted about this in 2010 revealed that during that year, employees spent three or more years at the same job level. Experts call this as 'stalled progression' and this has resulted in dissatisfaction among 70% of employees. These employees have started feeling that their career opportunities are not satisfactory and hence, they decide to leave their companies. This results in huge turnover costs for the organizations.

In fact, promotional opportunities have shrunk during the last decade because companies have removed positions as well as management layers with an intention to save money. CEB conducted a survey in which over 12,000 employees throughout the world participated. These employees categorically stated that the main reason for their decision to quit a company is lack of career opportunities. 

Apart from employee turnover, companies will face another issue also and that is their existing teams will face more stress. This will slow their productivity and this may cost the companies to the tune of about $25,000 per employee. In large enterprises, this may add up to a whopping figure.

Career experts suggest that companies should dispense with the concept of measuring career progression with promotions. They should instead infuse career cultures that are growth based. Such cultures mainly involve planning and encouraging employees to move across functions. This will improve employee engagement and chances of improvement of career growth also increase. This can reduce employee turnover to the extent of 33%, say experts. An organization with approximately 10,000 employees can save $7.5 million dollars a year.

According to Brian Kropp, who belongs to the HR department of CEB, "Employees don't jump for joy at the idea of a lateral move because companies don't promote such movements as being beneficial to career development. To continuously improve skills and build job satisfaction, employers and employees need to start thinking about careers in terms of continuous growth rather than focusing on promotions. Increasing job satisfaction does more than keep employees happy – it can save significant money by reducing unwanted turnover."

In short, creating reciprocal value by creating a synergy between the interests of an organization and employees can build a career culture that is growth-based. Instead of encouraging and expecting employees to chart the course of their career paths, organizations should find ways for building career partnerships so both employers and employees can work together for ensuring development opportunities, encouraging personal growth and fulfilling the needs of the organization. This strategy will help the employees have the growth they seek. This will help the organizations reduce the gaps in skills because they will be able to build needed capabilities for their business. Experts firmly assert that this strategy is three times more powerful than if employees are expected to chart their own career growth.

Kropp adds, "While employees should play an active role in their own development, they shouldn't be encouraged to go at it alone. When organizations approach employee career paths as a partnership and make development a regular part of conversations, not only do they improve employee engagement but they also ensure development happens where the business needs it most."

Simply put, for creating growth-based cultures, organizations should design careers around the experiences of employees so they can grow along with the organization. 

Secondly, employees must be motivated with employability which means their capabilities, knowledge, skills, experiences, personal traits and achievements and not just title progression will make them more valuable to employers. 

Organizations should make available to employees targeted job opportunities before the employees decide to look for alternative jobs.

Managers should be allowed to export or import talent for which a talent brokerage must be created. This will help in overcoming the problem of "talent hoarding."

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Breaking Out Of Your Comfort Zone In Your Career

When can you conclude that you have reached your comfort zone in your career? If you feel that you are getting your tasks done not only effectively but smoothly as well, if there is no fanfare in the meetings you conduct, if you meet the milestones without any issues and if you do not encounter any pressure situation in your operations, you can construe that you are working on autopilot. This also means that you are in a comfort zone in your career. 

But experts say that this is dangerous. In fact, this is not an ideal situation at all because this shows that you have started stagnating. You may start feeling complacent very soon and may find your workplace boring. Therefore, risks of your performance beginning to waiver may increase.

The main problem is you may not be able to propel your personal growth. Reaching the next levels of personal growth should involve challenges and since you are not facing any of them, you may not have the right opportunities that will take you to the next levels.

Unlike a few people who are hard-wired to experiment or take risks, you may be afraid of facing risks. But you must make a big leap if you want to have significant personal growth in your career

The best way to come out of the comfort zone in your career is to foresee and avoid getting into such a situation. But if you can not avoid it, you should assess the situation properly and make efforts for getting out. If you delay taking action, it may be hard for you to avoid your career stagnation.

Here is the checklist that may help you find out if you have entered into a comfort zone in your career. Ask the following questions to yourself:

1. Am I feeling bored?
2. Are possibilities to progress drying up?
3. Am I being ignored when new responsibilities, projects and opportunities come up?
4. Am I not facing pressure-like situations in my current role? 
5. Is there no necessity to prove myself? 

If 'yes' is the answer to the above questions, you can pretty well construe that you have entered into a comfort zone in your career. You should immediately focus on taking suitable actions.

How do you start?

1. Develop a plan because if you have an outline, you will be able to identify the opportunities that may help you move on to the next steps. 

2. Seek out a mentor. There may be many people whom you have been admiring. If you choose the right mentor, you can learn from him or her. The mentor may give you a lot of advice also. In fact, studying the career road-maps of such mentors may itself teach a number of invaluable lessons. You may get inspired also.

3. Keep track of all the innovations that are happening in the industry in which you are working. A study of the job market of the industry will help you identify the opportunities using which you can plug the gaps you may find. Another benefit of studying the job market is you can compare your resume with what is required in the field. You can acquire new skills or fine-tune your current capabilities so as to suit the current requirements of the job market.

4. Make the right decision. This means you should not commit the mistake of jumping on to a job that is only slightly different from your current job. At the same time, there is no necessity for a 180-degree turn in your career. The best suggestion is you need not change all the variables. You can change the industry in which you can carry out the same functions or there can be changes in the job functions in the same industry or company.

The intention is you should look for the right opportunities that may push you towards higher levels of decision-making, thinking or performance. Experts opine that humans can accomplish great feats when they face pressure situations. When you feel the pressure of proving yourself, you will be able to tap the mental energy you do not know you possess.

5. Do not allow your team to enter into a comfort zone

In addition to not permitting yourself to enter your comfort zone, you must prevent your team also from this danger. Otherwise, the performance of the entire team may suffer. As a leader, it is your duty to ensure that your team members are also groomed to become achievers. Therefore, you should not allow them to become complacent and stagnate.

If you are always on the look-out for opportunities that may help your team members play various new roles or new functions, they can also have personal growth in their career. Ultimately, you will also get unstuck.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Road to Your Career Success

Many people find themselves at career crossroads and there may be a number of reasons for this. They may not be getting as much income as they used to get, they may not like the repetitive work they are doing and so on. So, they have reached a point in their career where they need to make changes. 

If you are one among this group, you should recall what you planned to become when you were young. Of course, things might not have happened as you wished but you should not have regrets because you may have learned many things in your career path. But since you need to make a change, you can use the following tips so you can be on the right road that may take you to success.

1. It was Jack Sparrow who said that whatever plans you had made about your career were sheer guidelines and were not rules. This means you need not bind yourself to a single path in your life. You can change it any time. If you had all along been a technical person, you can now plan to write fictions. Similarly, if you have been a teacher till now, you can now become an artist. Never forget that Winston Churchill, the shrewd politician, got his Nobel Prize for Literature.

2. Experts advise that mentors can be invaluable in putting you in the right career path. This suggestion holds good regardless of the age at which you decide to change your career. Mentors can help you with new ideas. They will help you look at things with a new perspective so you may decide to develop a few new skills. They may help you in overcoming your weaknesses and developing your strengths.

Mentors can be of great value even if you are doing your business. They can help you in the growth of your business by improving your leadership qualities. You can use such mentors for coaching your managers and improving the morale of your staff so they will love to work in your company.

3. When you change your career, you must first learn to like what you intend to do. You are not asked to LOVE your job but you should at least LIKE your job. Not everyone may get a job that they love. Even those who get the job they love may not like the environment in which they have to work and this may ultimately result in loss of interest in the job.

Be a realist because you will be spending long hours in your workplace. You can not spend such long hours by doing a thing you do not like. Of course, you may have bad days but that does not mean you should not make efforts for liking your job.

Here is a simple formula and this has been suggested by Dale Carnegie in his book, "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living." If you use this formula, you can make even a dull and boring job interesting. The formula goes like this: If you do the work and imagine that you like it, you will then start liking it at least to a certain extent. This "act-as-if" principle will tend to convert your imaginary liking into reality very soon. You can delve deep and find out the ways to make your work interesting also.

4. Take action for seeing the change. Change your attitude and approach because this is the first step to succeed. In her famous book entitled "Eat Pray Love", Elizabeth Gilbert elaborates this with a short Italian joke. "A poor man who goes to church every day and prays before the statue of a great saint, begging, 'Dear saint - please, please, please... give me the grace to win the lottery." This lament goes on for months. Finally the exasperated statue comes to life, looks down at the begging man and says in weary disgust, "My son - please, please, please... buy a ticket."

So, take the required steps for making the change you want. Sometimes, you may need to put in extra efforts but you should not hesitate. This means if you want a change, you should change yourself.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Career Growth Overseas

It appears that Gen Y of Australia has started feeling that the country's economy is slowing down. Therefore, they are exploring the possibilities of heading overseas so they can have good career growth. This trend has been corroborated by Robert Walters, a recruitment firm also.

James Nicholson, Managing Director of Robert Walters ANZ, adds that many of the Australian employers are not willing to offer overseas opportunities to their employees. He says "Millennials, or Gen Y, have grown up in a borderless world with greater access to international travel, so their sights are set high to begin with."

But according to some experts “moving abroad tends to inspire a giddy optimism in people.” Those who move abroad may learn how to lead their life differently because they have to eat, socialize, work, study and think like the original residents of the country to which they have relocated. At the same time, they have to take into account a few other aspects also while trying to relocate to a new country. 

One of the most important aspects they have to consider is the culture shock they may encounter. Secondly, they should think about the effects on their career and on the relationships they leave behind at their home country.

Pressure from family members, relatives and friends

If you move to another country, you may have to answer the following few questions that may be posed by your family members and relatives after a couple of years.

“When will you be coming home?"
"Will you be able to come for the festival this year?"
"Isn't the right time to give up the fantasy life of living abroad?"

Of course, the tone, tenor and timbre of the questions may vary but the common thread that may be running through them will be your family members, relatives and even friends want you to come back. Though they pretty well know that you can have good career growth if you continue working overseas, they can't remain without asking these questions. Almost all those who shift to an alien land for their career growth are likely to face this pressure.

Apart from heading home occasionally, you are advised to call your family members and other loved ones as often as possible. Getting a Skype number can be the best way to be in frequent and constant touch with them. This will substantially reduce the pressure. 

Having career growth abroad may take longer for some folks

Not everyone can grow in their overseas career as fast as they imagine. In fact, it can be more difficult than how they can build their career in their home country. But for those who have the right capabilities and have identified the right opportunities, growth may be rapid and highly rewarding. Especially, if you choose a country that is having a very high growth trajectory economically, you can grow faster. But remember that there are certain other countries in which the government bureaucracy, unfamiliar culture, etc. may not allow you to grow as much as you desire though they may be growing fast economically.

Home country is the best for some people

For those who are contented with climbing their career ladder one rung after another, home country is the best. But career growth need not be linear. Overseas careers exemplify this fact. So, if you are adventurous-minded and capable of facing uncertainties, you can choose overseas careers. But ensure to add two more attributes to your arsenal. The attributes are thinking out of the box and learning things like an autodidact. These two attributes will help you build your overseas career ladder. You will be able to recognize opportunities and so, switching to new jobs will also be easy. 

Your overseas experience will help you when you get back

Employers will certainly take your overseas experience into account when you return to your home country and look for a job. You may be considered resourceful mainly because you have proved your worth by climbing the career ladder overseas. But avoid talking frequently about your away-experience lest should be alienating a number of people.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Low-Paying Jobs Can Also Do Good To The Career Of Fresh Graduates

As soon as you step out of college, you may wish to land in a high-paying job. But experts advise that you should look for a job that lays the best foundation so you can have a good career growth at a later date. Just because the job does not pay you as much you expect, you need not hesitate to take it up.

Since the job will lay a proper foundation for your growth, you need not worry about the economic loss. This loss is only temporary. But once you learn the right skills and get hands-on experience from the job, you can expect to have accelerated growth in your career very soon.

In other words, you are investing in yourself by making this decision. This is similar to making a wise investment decision because what you are aiming at is nothing but value maximization. 

Life is not about making a single move. In fact, experts compare life with a chess game. If you do not execute each and every move judiciously, the game will be over very soon. 

It is not that you are advised not to have big ambitions but your progress in your career will purely be based on the strength of your foundation, the skills and experience you gain, etc. So, you should adopt all possible ways to do complete justice to your current job. This means that you should constantly aim and strive to enhance your performance level. 

In short, your execution of tasks in your current role will earn you much more than the monetary benefits you get from it. How you deliver will add weight to your profile. 

Meeting deadlines, delivering high quality work and seeking constant feedbacks are very important for developing yourself professionally. You should ensure that the feedbacks you get are candid and they come from experts and talented professionals . 

This means you should be ready for a few early sacrifices to reap rich benefits at a later date. You can be certain that the next opportunities will be much better. Sometimes, the new opportunities may be different from your current job but your hands-on experience will help you grasp things faster. Since you have successfully handled challenging situations and have learned from experts, your career development will be faster. 

To summarize, the initial investment you make on yourself by taking up a low-paying job that provides you with a lot of opportunities to learn, may lead to rewarding careers in future. As experts say, you will enjoy the benefits of a long horizon if you willingly make this initial investment on yourself.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Lateral Moves And How They Help Employees' Career Growth

That there is stiff competition in the job market is an inconvenient truth. So, it may not be possible for people to climb up the career ladder as fast as they desire. In fact, organizations are thinking of moving employees laterally. In this context, you must know whether a lateral move will enhance your career or not.

What do you mean by a "lateral move?"

A lateral move is that in which you, as an employee, will be moving to almost an equivalent position, in a different department or the same department in your organization. You will get the same salary or there may be a very small increase. The job title may also be the same. But your responsibilities will change.

In the organizational chart, your level will be the same as that of your former job. If you are shifted within the same department, you will be reporting to the same manager. On the other hand, if you move to another department, you may have to report to a new manager. Likewise, whether there will be changes in the work areas or groups will depend on whether you continue to remain in the same department or shift to some other department.

Earlier, employees were not ready to accept lateral moves. But now, the situation has drastically changed, points out Kirk Hoyle, a headhunter from Los Angeles. He says “everyone has a subconscious weakness right now. There’s a lot of insecurity about the future.”

More and more organizations are becoming flatter. In fact, organizations are trying for more output with less number of employees. So, it is not surprising that the number of companies that explicitly encourage lateral moves has been on the increase. For example, Deloitte has replaced "career ladder" with what is known as "career lattice" which is a metaphor that denotes sideways, diagonal and up-or-down moves. Similarly, Erin Hand, one of the vice presidents of Cox Communications that is a popular cable provider company, says that they have initiated discussions over the value of opportunities 'sideways moves' can bestow on their employees as well as on the organization. 

But you must choose a lateral move carefully. This means you should do your home work and study your responsibilities in the new position as well as the future opportunities that may be available to you. Especially, if you are holding a senior position, this study is all the more important, says Donna Schwarz, a career consultant from New York. In short, you should be certain that you can have real growth once you make the lateral move.

Whether your lateral move is within your company, a different organization or another industry, you must be prepared to feel the cultural differences you may encounter in your new position.

Advantages of a lateral move

1. You will be able to expand your skills. You can expand your network also because you will work with a new group of employees, managers and customers. 

2. Secondly, there are chances that you may be able to expand opportunities in your career path. Since available roles in senior positions are becoming lesser and lesser, opting for a lateral move, if you are in a senior position, may be beneficial.

3. You can overcome the problem of dissatisfaction and boredom thanks to your new position and new responsibilities.

4. When you face new challenges, you will have more chances to prove your potential. 

5. You can learn the tasks and functions of new departments and so, your organizational knowledge will expand.

6. Your visibility in the organization will increase as more managers and coworkers will come to know of you. In fact, management will be impressed with your readiness to embrace new responsibilities. So, your lateral move may lead to career growth.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Tips To Succeed In Your Career

"How to succeed in my career?" This is a common question that may haunt the minds of almost all employed people. Though this appears to be a tough question to answer, everyone should find out ways to succeed in their career because there is competition everywhere. If you are also obsessed with this question, you can use the following tips for beating the competition in your workplace and getting ahead.

1. Set your goals

You must first set your career goals. Unless you are clear about them, you can not achieve success in your career. You should have short-term as well as long-term goals so it will be easy for you to cross your milestones one by one. By setting goals, you can monitor your progress easily also.

2. Have priorities

Secondly, you should learn to set priorities and the task of setting priorities should be done on a daily basis. In fact, planning your day involves making a list of urgent and important tasks you should complete.

3. Never lose your focus

You may carry out a number of tasks during the course of your work but at no point of time, you should lose sight of your goals. Even if you go on a holiday, the aim should be to rejuvenate yourself for working with added vigor so you can achieve your goals on time. There may be a number of distractions but you should never give in. 

4. Keep widening your skills

The job market is never static and your organization may not be an exception. You should therefore keep acquiring new skills. Sometimes, you may have to acquire skills that you think are not related to your current position. But companies expect that people should have complementary skills. For example, a marketing executive should know the basics of accounting, an accountant should know administration and marketing and so on. In short, you should be a continuous learner.

5. Never hesitate to socialize

Though man is a social animal, not everyone may be willing to socialize. But you should learn to socialize if you want to advance in your career. By making friends with new acquaintances and attending social functions, you can gradually develop your social skills. You should be genuinely enthusiastic when you meet new people. If you improve your listening skills, you can certainly become popular among people. Being a good listener will help you learn new things on a continuous basis.

6. Use the SWOT tool wisely

You should do an honest assessment of yourself to know your strengths and weaknesses. If you feel that you deserve a pay rise or promotion thanks to your merits, you should not hesitate to claim it.

7. Face challenges squarely

There are many people who are afraid of challenges. They can never advance in their careers. But if you want to develop into a complete person, you should accept challenges. This attitude will help you explore areas you have never ventured earlier.  On the contrary, if you cozily remain in your comfort zone, you can never grow or learn new things. This attitude will impede your progress. 

8. Communicate effectively

Effective communication is the key to success in any career. Effective communication involves not only passing on your ideas and thoughts but listening also. When you imbibe ideas and communicate effectively, you can persuade people and will also be able to gather all the information you may require for carrying out your tasks.

9. Never indulge in gossips

This rule is applicable not only for career advancements but for leading a successful life as well. You should show respect to everyone and be good to the company as well as other employees.

10. Get sufficient rest

This is for rejuvenating yourself so you can execute your tasks more efficiently. You need not be a workaholic for succeeding in your career. Instead, you must learn to relax and manage your work-related stress effectively so that your productivity keeps improving constantly.

11. Be responsible

You should have a responsible attitude. If you own responsibility for whatever you do, others will respect you. On the other hand, if you disown your responsibilities, you will very soon earn the wrath of your co-workers as well as managers.

12, Work to boost your confidence levels

You can be confident only if you acquire the required knowledge and skills in the job you do. If you work with confidence, you can move ahead very quickly. But there is only a thin line that divides confidence and arrogance. You should understand this and refrain from being arrogant. While confidence can help you advance in your career, arrogance will demolish all your dreams.

13. Try building strong relationships

You should make efforts to have strong relationships with everyone in your company. Developing strong relationships does not mean developing friendships. It means building trust. Likability, respect and trust are very important factors that will make your journey towards your goals smooth.

If you bear in mind these tips and work sincerely, you will certainly succeed in your career.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Are You A Good Negotiator?

If your company has assigned you with the job of negotiating contracts, it means they expect you to work hard for getting satisfactory agreements. This does not mean that the contracts you negotiate should favor your company alone. The other party of the contract should also be pleased with it.

Reasons why you should ensure that the other party is also satisfied

1. The foremost reason is that satisfied parties will never fail to uphold the clauses of the contract. Even if you draft a lengthy contract and get it signed by the other party, you can not assume that it will cover all the contingent situations. Satisfied parties will willingly fulfill even if a particular situation is not covered in the contract.

2. If the other party is satisfied, they will automatically come forward for future contracts also. They may even do word-of-mouth publicity for your company.

3. The party will adopt an open and cooperative attitude when you negotiate future contracts with them.

On the other hand, if you aim to negotiate a contract that favors your company alone and that contains clauses that are detrimental to the other party, they will make all-out efforts to score when you call them for negotiations for your future contracts.

When the company assigns you with the job of negotiating a contract, they may have certain expectations. Likewise, you may also have your own expectations. But once you negotiate and finalize the contract, you as well as your company will tend to compare the contract terms with what you had been expecting prior to finalizing the contract. This aspect has been researched by Richard Oliver and Bruce Barry, professors at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Another member of the research group was Sundar Balakrishnan of the Seattle-based University of Washington. These researchers have corroborated this comparison theory. They also said that the feelings of different negotiators will not be the same though the deals and the outcomes are similar.

How to be a skilled negotiator?

1. You must start managing the situation even much earlier to the beginning of the negotiation process. Let us take a particular situation as an example. Most of the companies negotiate rise in salaries of employees once in 3, 4 or 5 years. If you are a skilled negotiator, you should create a situation through which employees should start perceiving that the company is passing through a tough phase. This will lower their expectations. 

2. Show a reaction that may deflate the expectations of the other party. Especially, when the other party makes an initial offer, your reaction should be such that it lowers their expectations. On the contrary, if you talk with a cooperative tone, you may increase their expectations.

3. Never make a steeply favorable counter-offer. This will inspire the other party to ask for more. 

4. Never agree very quickly also. Researchers like Adam Galinsky and Victoria Medvec, both of North Western University and Vanessa Seiden of Chicago and Peter Kim of the University of Southern California have categorically established that if you agree very quickly, the satisfaction levels of the other party may be less. They may think that they could have achieved a better deal had they made a higher offer. 

If you keep in mind these points and negotiate wisely, your company will certainly think that you are an asset to them.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Will Your Resume Help You Succeed?

If you have completed your studies and are looking to land in a suitable job or if you are trying for a change of job, the most important thing you should do is to compile a resume or update the one you already have.

You may want to enter an organization that suitably feeds your aspirations. At the same time, you should not forget the fact that companies also think that if they recruit wrong employees, that may dent their image. So, according to them, having such wrong employees with them is a sacrilege. This means that your resume should show to the recruiters that you are the right person for them.

It is true that the space available on your resume is very limited and it may not be possible for you to pour out everything in that limited space. Therefore, you should execute this task very skilfully. Some of these tips may help.

Try to keep your resume crisp

There is no point in beating around the bush. At the same time, your resume should not be bland or stale. Employers may not be impressed with monotonous resumes.. You should therefore think out of the box because your aim is to impress employers who may have very limited time for scouring through your resume. In fact, they will be getting scores, if not hundreds, of resumes and so, they won't spend much time on your resume if it is boring or stale. One of the best ideas is to provide your information in short sentences and space them evenly so employers will find the information easy to go though. This style will help them learn more about you in a very short span of time.

Your aim will certainly be to grow in the organization but the company will expect that you should help them grow also. So, your resume should focus on how you will help the organization grow. The recruiting authorities should be convinced that you are a better bet for the company's growth than the other candidates.

Be explicit about your achievements

You should explicitly prove how you can contribute to the company. For example, you may have led a team in your previous organization. Or if you are freshly stepping into the job market, you may have organized events in your school or college. You can elaborate on these points in your resume and explain how you can capably handle such assignments or situations. 

Further, the achievements, the hobbies or the work experiences you elaborate in your resume should be exclusive to you because these factors alone will bring you on the recruiters' radars.

Never lie or exaggerate things

There are candidates who may exaggerate their skills and accomplishments and incorporate untrue points in their resume. This is dangerous. You should never add skills you do not possess or achievements you have never made. You are certain to be caught very soon. Companies want trained people and you can not expect that you will be trained after you land in the job. Of course, some companies provide training but that may be for imparting the special skills that may fulfill their special needs.

Recruiters should know that you are a worthy candidate to spend time with

You may justifiably think that recruiters are harsh because they are trying to judge you just by spending a few minutes going through your resume. You may also think that first impressions need not be the right impressions. But when you make your resume creatively by using the space on it optimally and by expressing your ideas, achievements, etc. clearly and in an interesting manner, you can certainly impress recruiters who may ultimately decide to spend time for interviewing you. Nowadays, there is no paucity of ideas for making such creative resumes. You can use graphical representations, pie charts, animated illustrations, etc. You can even opt for tri-fold brochures, video resumes or those printed on fabric. These ideas infuse life into your resumes. 

Know your recruiters

You should first try to know your recruiters. Certain companies may not like quirky resumes while some companies may welcome them. So, your Curriculum Vitae should suit the company to which you are applying for.

When to stop talking about yourself

This is a tricky thing because no one can know clearly whether they have given solid information about themselves. You may also have this apprehension. Though you cannot fully overcome this apprehension, the best way is to end your resume with a summary of your details, aspirations and what you wish to accomplish.

Simply put, if you put in creative efforts for making your resume, you can show to recruiters that you stand out from the crowd.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Can You Increase Your Income?

You may have an obsessive desire to increase your income. But at the same time, you may have apprehensions about how you will be able to fructify this aim. Especially, in the current situation when the remnants of the economic downturn are still ruling the roost, there are chances of your aim losing its steam. But whatever may be the situation, you can certainly increase your income. Kindly read on. 

When you increase your income, you will have more scope for enriching your life in the real sense. Not only that, there are a number of other allied benefits also. You can lead a quality lifestyle and will be able to manage emergency situations easily. So, use these practical tips for increasing your income.

1. Add value to your worth

Everyone has some amount of self-worth and so, by investing time, money and efforts in yourself, you can add value to it. This investment will certainly give unimaginably high returns. One of the ways to improve your self-worth is to keep learning. You can acquire new skills, learn to speak, write and read new languages or try uniquely new things that are on your favorite list.

Internet can be a great aid to learn things but unless you set aside dedicated time on a consistent basis for reading the materials related to the chosen field, you can never learn. Likewise, attending workshops, webinars or training sessions for keeping abreast of the latest information on the field will help you fast-track your learning. 

Learning does not stop with acquiring information. You must trigger your creativity for generating new ideas and perceptions so you will become a new personality. Stay away from your grinding time so you can introspect and retrospect for regaining your focus.

If you doubt how learning will increase your income, the fact is your new skills, in-depth knowledge and unique perceptions will open up very high levels of opportunities.

2. Never make momentary investments but make smart investments

Monetary investments should be aimed towards increasing your income and this is what experts call as smart investments. The first step to begin investing smartly is to start at a very young age. It does not matter if you have not begun investing till now. Make a beginning at least now. Another important point is your investments should be for the long haul. 

If your investment options are right and are aimed towards the long haul, your income will certainly increase. This does not mean you should not do investments for a period less than 4 or 5 years. Debt instruments can be an ideal choice for such short-term investments.

3. Monitor your career progression and invest your time and efforts with a long-term perspective

By monitoring your career progression, you can plan strategies for building it. This means you must use the SWOT concept for analyzing your traits both professionally and personally. Once you identify the opportunities that are in synergy with your strengths as well as weaknesses, you can plan your strategies purposefully and with a long-sighted vision. There may be short-term challenges but if you have back-up plans, you can surmount them and build on your strengths.

The results of such purposeful planning will be you will possess the right skills and capabilities and will be in the right place at the most appropriate moment which will ultimately improve your income phenomenally.

4. Come out of your comfort zone and invest wisely in risks that you can bear

Taking risks means you will be pushing yourself out of the comfort zone in which you are now living cozily. If you keep challenging yourself constantly and push limits beyond your daily monotony of mediocre performances, you can protect yourself from the vagaries of instability in the employment market. Never forget that the day when machines and devices will replace huge numbers of human workers in every field is not far off.  So, by building your capabilities, you can stabilize your situation even if such drastic changes take place. In the present, by stepping out of the bubble called the comfort zone, you can have a clear view of innumerable new possibilities.

5. Never ignore your health

By investing your time and efforts in your physical and mental health, you can fast-track your aim of increasing your income and transitioning to higher living standard. Your social interaction capabilities will also improve thanks to your improved mental and physical health. Of course, bills towards your healthcare will come down drastically also.

The basic steps for maintaining good health are eating home-cooked, nutritious foods, exercising regularly and maintaining the right work-life balance.

Never forget that the lifestyle you lead will impact your social life and when your social environment improves, it will influence your thinking in a big way. So, by increasing your income and leading a decent and healthy lifestyle, you can improve your life itself. At the same time, you will have a broad perspective and will become socially more responsible. Ultimately, you will be able to play your part in making this world a better place to live.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Negotiating A Better Salary Than What You Are Offered

If you are embarrassed to negotiate a higher salary than what your employer is offering, you should then remain contented with the offer. You should realize that most of the employers will not offer the best salaries to their new hires. You should therefore know the right ways to negotiate and get a higher salary than what is offered. 

Jim Hopkinson, a former associate director for Wired Magazine has come out with a compact book entitled "Salary Tutor: Learn the Salary Negotiation Secrets No One Ever Taught You" in which he gives the basic tips for negotiating salaries. The book contains a lot of first-person anecdotes because Hopkinson has been a "rolling stone" and has switched several jobs during his career. He is now a consultant who also writes blog posts. Let us have a look at some of the tips Hopkinson gives in his book.

1. Hopkinson advises that you should prepare a document called IRS that is an acronym for Industry Research of Salaries that contains the salary data or the salary range for the job or position that you intend to land in. Websites such as Salary.com, Payscale.com and Glassdoor.com can be used for gathering these data. Of course, you can gather information from personal networking as well. If you are not confident of handling this, you can even seek the help of an expert for making this document. Of course, you should take into account your achievements, experience and the skills you have acquired for arriving at the salary range. You should carefully avoid taking into account general skills because employers will look only at specific skills.

2. Do not name the number first. Hopkinson says that you must allow the employer to spell out the offer. Even when you fill out your application, you should write "competitive" in the “previous salary” column. In the "desired salary" column, write “negotiable.” Even if employers say that applications without full details of salary history will be rejected, they do not really mean it.

3. While answering salary-related questions during your initial interview, you should let the HR manager know that you have done a you have done a good homework and gathered the details of the salary range that prevails in the industry. If you come out with the details of your research, the manager may be cautious while handling your case. But if she insists that she cannot move you to the next step of the hiring process without knowing your salary history, you can say that you are not supposed to share that information because you are bound by the employment contract of your current employer. You can further add that you will reveal the information when the hiring process reaches the stage of salary negotiation or when the employer names his number.

4. When the employer names his number, push it still higher. Repeat the higher figure in the suggested salary range so the employer hears it. You should then push it still further. You can also negotiate and get perks such as bonuses, title, regular salary reviews, vacation and other benefits so the overall package is better than what was offered to you originally.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Are You Popular In Your Workplace?

You may be wondering how some of your co-workers are highly popular and some are not. You may also wonder how you can become one among the former group because those who belong to this group may get better opportunities as well as more recognition. You may justifiably think that you can also get such opportunities if you make efforts and become popular in your workplace. But what are the steps you should take for achieving this aim?

Make an honest assessment of yourself

Spend some time and make an honest assessment of yourself. This is for finding if you are putting enough thought or making adequate efforts for developing a strong rapport with everyone in your company. If you develop a good relationship with those around you including the other members of your team, those in the other departments and even seniors, this will culminate into mutual liking, trust and mutual respect. So, those people will not hesitate to share information with you. If you develop the same type of relationship with the clients or customers of your company, they are more likely to place orders for the products you offer or the services you render. They may even do 'word-of-mouth' publicity for your company thus helping even in the brand-building efforts of the organization. 

If you do not focus on this aspect, it may pull you down in the organization at both professional and personal levels. The most important step you must take for developing your interpersonal skills is to stop being mean. It is a known fact that people do not like mean folks because they consider them as nasty. 

Secondly, understand that everyone deserves respect, regardless of their position in the organization. So, show respect in whatever dealings you have with others. If you are courteous to your co-workers, subordinates, service providers and customers or clients, they will start liking your welcoming demeanour. This also means that you will remain approachable as well as beckoning. According to experts, this type of behavior will never go out of fashion.

Know where your territory ends

Being friendly with everyone doesn't mean that you will intrude into their privacy or allow them to use all your space. There is nothing wrong in being assertive about this aspect. Know where your territory ends and make sure that others understand where your boundaries begin. This will help in having a durable and sustainable relationship.

Humour and its efficacy

If you are able to make others laugh, you can win their hearts. But refrain from being offensive or sadistic. You can build strong relations only with light-hearted humour that can tickle the funny bones of people.

Allow people to talk about themselves

There are a number of people who have the habit of always talking about themselves, their accomplishments and achievements, the problems they face and so on. The only way to develop a good rapport with these people is to allow them to talk. But you should be sincere in listening to them lest should you be found soon.

Pay attention when people talk

If you do not pay attention when people talk, you can never succeed in developing good relations with them. You may have noticed that good listeners are more liked than chatty individuals. 

Smile, smile, smile

Flash your smile at every opportunity. Some people may think that they do not look good when they smile or laugh. But experts are of the strong opinion that you should smile or laugh whatever your looks may be or however ugly you think you are. After all, smiling and laughing belong to the heart whereas beauty and appearance are only skin deep. Remember, no one will like to keep company with negative, sulking and whiny folks. On the other hand, if you smile or laugh, you will transform the whole ambiance because the mood is contagious. 

Be sincere while giving compliments

People like to be complimented but when you do so, you should be sincere because they may soon find out that you are faking. 

Find out the commonalities between you and others and work on them

There may be commonalities like beliefs, interests or hobbies between you and others. You should find them out and work on them to develop relations with them.

Never succumb to the temptation of gossip-mongering

Speaking behind people is a dangerous habit and it will soon turn even friends into foes. Apart from showing you in negative light, this habit will never take you towards your aim of establishing a strong connect with people.

Accept people as they are

Everyone has both positive and negative traits. Some people may have eccentricities also. In fact, everyone of us exhibit our eccentric side some time or the other. You should accept people as they are. Never force your habits, thoughts or ideas on to others. If you stop judging people with the parameters you have defined or set on your own, you will find it comfortable to connect with everyone. In turn, they will also feel comfortable in your presence.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Questions You Should Not Ask During An Informational Interview And Those You Should Ask

As a job-searching individual, you may be eyeing a particular company and if you are lucky to get acquainted with an important official in the HR department of the company, you may request for an informational interview with her. You should be very careful during this interview because if you handle this in the right manner, this may be a major breakthrough that may fulfill your desire of working for the company. This means you should ask the right questions and refrain from asking the wrong ones. Let us have a look.

According to Tara Goodfellow, a former instructor of career development, she, on more than one occasion, had to force herself from giving advice that was not solicited or sought. This leads us further into the way such informational interviews should be handled, what questions should be asked and what should be shunned.

Questions not to ask

1. May I know the career path you traveled?

According to experts, no question can be worse than this. In fact, you can find everything online and so, you are wasting not only your time but that of the official as well. 

You should instead ask nuanced questions and let the official know that you have done adequate research about the company. This will in turn convey that you are professional in your approach and are also interested in the company. 

You can also try wording the question differently to show that you are seeking advice for growing in the company. Such questions may inspire the official to help you with her suggestions. In general, people like helping and so, you must go to such informational interviews after doing a good research. A carefully and well-done research may help you converse much beyond the normal or the surface level.

2. What is the controversy or the scoop surrounding the company?

If you ask such probing questions as if you are an investigative journalist, you will be putting an abrupt end to the conversation instead of building a rapport with the official. It sets an awkward dynamic, say experts.

Instead, embrace an open-ended approach by asking questions like the challenges the company may be encountering in their field. Such open-ended questions will give a lot of scope for the other person to interpret them in their own way. When the official starts talking about such challenges, you may certainly have an opportunity to let her know that some of your skills will be useful for the company in overcoming those challenges. In short, the focus will be more on bringing to the table what you can offer to them.

3. How much remuneration do you get?

There is nothing wrong in being curious but you must not ask such blunt and point-blank questions. They are not only inappropriate but may be off-putting as well. In fact, the other person may think that you are invading her privacy. You can word the question differently and ask a general question that can get you the details of the going rates in their industry. You can also ask the general salary range of the company and impress upon the person that this detail may be useful as a benchmark for applying for such jobs.

4. Can we be Facebook friends?

If you are able to develop a fast rapport, nothing like that. But it doesn't in any way justify asking if you and the other person can be Facebook friends. The official may have developed a liking for you but she may not be ready to connect with you on a personal level. Further, she might have been a part of many such informational interviews and she cannot be a Facebook friend for everyone.

Of course, you can express your interest for staying in touch with the person by showing a genuine interest in her. Questions like how she became attracted to the company when she was searching for a job may inspire her to share her story more naturally. Never forget to send a "thank you" note within two days after the informational interview is over.

Questions you should ask

1. What is the culture of the company and which personality type may suit that culture?

Every office has its own culture and not everyone may be able to adapt to the culture of every company. Only if your personality suits the company culture, you can be successful there. So, don't stop with asking this question. Listen attentively and try to understand what the official says. This question may also help in creating a positive impression that you are exploring the ways to succeed in the ambiance of the company and also demonstrating your macro-level perspective about the factors or variables that may impact your growth and success in the company.

2. How is a typical day in the company?

Such informational interviews are informal and hence, the official may be freely expressing her honest thoughts. She may even tell the things that are not going well.

Since she will be freely sharing her thoughts, you will be able to envision yourself in the role you intend to play within the limitations of the ups and downs of a typical day in the company. This may help you in determining if if you can play on your strong points if you join the roll of the company.

3. Should I reach out to someone else?

If your desire to join the company has grown stronger after the informational interview, you should ask the official if you should reach out to someone else. By asking this question, you are accelerating the momentum of the process. The official may suggest some known people in the same company. If there are no vacant positions in the company, she may even suggest the names of people of some other company in the same field.

4. Will I be of any help to you?

This question will end the interview on a pleasant note because it will show to the official that you are willing to give back. You should be sincere while asking this question. This may blossom into a relationship that may be mutually beneficial. If you do not ask this question, you may not be able to send another contact to the official in the event of you determining that you are not the right fit for the position.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Military Concepts That Will Help Your Company

Your workplace is certainly not a war field and hence, you may wonder how military concepts will help your company. It is not  that you are advised to wear combat boots and military fatigue to fight enemies in your office. But some of the concepts that are being followed in training army-men may be highly useful for achieving success in your business endeavors. In fact, several corporates have started adopting these warfare concepts to derive great benefits.

A company resembles a war-zone in many ways. Uncertainties are a part of a business as they are in a war-zone. As soldiers are suitably trained to deal with uncertainties, you and your employees should also be equipped with plans for dealing with such situations. This concept is known as VUCA that is the acronym for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.

If your company is VUCA-hit, you must take the required lessons from the models of training that are designed for army units that face an imminent war. 

Another military concept that can help your organization is the OODA loop. This concept can provide you with an upper hand when you face extreme competition. This concept is the brain-child of John Boyd, the famous military strategist as well as fighter-pilot of the US. According to him, "every action flows in a loop" that consists of stages like "observation, orientation, decision and action (OODA)."

This means you should observe quickly, orient yourself also quickly, make a fast decision and act immediately. Almost all challenging situations may warrant that you take such urgent steps. When you act with such a swiftness, your opponents will be put on the back-foot and in a state of shock and confusion, they are likely to commit mistakes.

But there are experts who advise that you should be choosy while using military concepts for your organization which means you should choose the most appropriate ones that suit your company and business. Wrong choices may land you in trouble because you may be committing costly mistakes.