Category Archives: Job Seeking Tips

Writing to Win: The Great Untapped Talent Pool

by Royce Murcherson

Royce top pictureIn previous posts, I have always stressed the fundamentals of persuasive business writing found in my book, The Guide to Persuasive Business Writing: A New Model that Gets Results. But lately, an important book, Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg has come to my attention. It’s an honest, frank work that focuses on an untapped talent pool in the business world. It continues offering vital information on how these talented individuals can become leaders, champions, and partners. Who are the people that make up this untapped resource? Women.

At first sight, you might think this is just another self-help book full of advice you’ve already heard. I did, until I spoke with a female executive in a fortune 500 corporation. I suddenly realized a simple truth.   Chances are many women in the business world have lived the challenges presented in Sheryl Sandberg’s book and may not have realized that there are reasonable and available options for overcoming these challenges.

What does all of this come down too? It comes down to women being assertive and understanding the value of internal networking. It comes down to collaboration and communication. There are companies that encourage women to seek a more visible role as senior leaders.

In my conversation with the executive who is currently involved in a women’s internal networking group, I asked, what is the biggest value? She responded, “It’s the opportunity to meet with my peers, other women, and be sponsored by senior leaders who are also women.” She went on to explain how rewarding it was to be in a group with like-minded high performing women with ambition. But most importantly, she stressed the importance of having ‘confidants’, other women who share the same goals and challenges.

I pressed for more specific reasons on how women could benefit from internal networking circles. She said, “…it gives you the opportunity to meet peers from other areas of the company and expand your awareness of opportunities within the organization.”

As I understand it, there are three big advantages to networking circles:

  • You build relationships.
  • You are able to increase awareness of greater leadership opportunities.
  • You build knowledge with specific discussions on issues that help women to increase their effectiveness and exposure in the workplace.

Being a teacher, I needed more examples of real-time value, so I asked her what chapters in the book have ‘stayed’ with you, that is, the biggest simplest rules to remember? Quickly, she said chapters two and four.

Chapter two according to Sandberg is time to “Sit at the Table”. So what does this chapter boil down too I asked? She said, “…from what I have learned from reading the book is that women should take their proper place and not defer to eat the children’s table, be assertive.”

She went on to talk about chapter four, “It’s a Jungle Gym, not a Ladder.” I asked her to elaborate and she spoke about yet another great metaphor, the jungle gym. Apparently, the author wants women to understand that the way to success is not always a straight line. Lateral moves are good, but sometimes backwards moves can be made to build your skill set and advance.

So, if someone were to ask me what was the value in sitting down and talking to someone actively involved in a women’s group whose intent is to expand their reach professionally and personally, I would have to say this. Think Chess.

Royce Chess

 

It’s all about strategy and patience. Be strategic and recognize that women represent the great untapped pool of talent. Be strategic and do something about organizing this vast pool. Be patient and know that knowledge building and forging relationships may take time, but the rewards can be great.

In his review of Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg, Sir Richard Branson, chairman of the Virgin Group stated, “…women in leadership roles is good for business as well as society.”

For a more expanded discussion on workplace etiquette, look forward to further posts, and see my book, Royce Murcherson, Ph.D., The Guide to Persuasive Business Writing: A New Model that Gets Results. (Iowa: Kendall-Hall, 2013)

Clip Art, provided by Microsoft Office Professional Academic, 2010

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For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu 972-238-6215.


Does Your Social Media Business Bio Contain These “Must Have” Ingredients?

10-06-2014 final 187440476Take a “working tip” from Richland College’s POFT 2312 Business Correspondence and Communication course on what you should do to improve your business social media bio:

Regardless of whether you are using LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or other SM sites, follow this link to read Courtney Seiter’s excellent post on several important points to include in your SM business bio.

Because each site has its own unique characteristics, the web site Unbounce has created a terrific best practices reference chart to help you make the most of your bio information on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. They also recommend reviewing your SM bios every 3 months to ensure they are still relevant.

Finally, you will want to make sure your bio is free of any spelling, grammatical, or logical errors—did you use the word “form,” when you should have used “from” or “do” when the logical word should have been “due”?  Check and re-check for errors that scream “careless or unprofessional”!

If you want to improve your communication skills and learn more about how to use Social Media professionally, consider taking one or more courses in the BOSS program at Richland College.

Richland College, which is located in northeast Dallas at 12800 Abrams Road, offers both online and on-campus courses. For more information contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu 972-238-6215.

***Get a Free Copy of Microsoft Office Pro Plus 2013***If you are a student in the Dallas County Community College District, you are eligible to download a free version of Microsoft Office 2013 Pro Plus (or 2011 on the Mac) which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, Publisher, and OneNote


Keeping Up with The Times

TimeIn order to stay in touch with what is going on in your industry, how do you keep up? In order to advance or even just stay current in your field, most of us have to read industry materials, like blogs, online articles, and magazines.

While reading one of these in an education article, I came across the following quote that had been attributed to the UCR University Honors Program in California, “While ever you are talking, you’re not listening. If you’re not listening, you’re not learning.” It encapsulated so well some of my thoughts lately.

So, how do we keep up with technology and our career field? Below are a few tips:

  1. Don’t just randomly read information. Find the blogs/websites of a few respected experts in your field. In my case, I found a few blogs of some internationally known educators. They will be constantly scanning the horizon, enabling me to digest the summaries from their blogs.
  2. Always keep a magazine or other reading materials with you. Or, make sure you have the online materials bookmarked on your phone or mobile device. If I am standing in line or sitting in a waiting room, I can be learning something related to training or technology instead of just reading whatever is available.
  3. Set aside time each week, maybe during your lunch hour or instead of watching a television show, to learn. After turning off the television more at my house, I realize how little I miss some of the shows that I thought I could not live without.

I know that these tips may not work for everyone. They are just my plan to help me learn more effectively and efficiently. I’m keeping up with new technology more, which makes me feel more confident when I’m teaching or talking with others. I hope some of these tips work for you, too!

Richland College, which is located in northeast Dallas at 12800 Abrams Road, offers both online and on-campus courses. For more information contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu 972-238-6215.

***Get a Free Copy of Microsoft Office Pro Plus 2013***If you are a student in the Dallas County Community College District, you are eligible to download a free version of Microsoft Office 2013 Pro Plus (or 2011 on the Mac) which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, Publisher, and OneNote


2014 Trends in the Job Search Process

04-07-2014 - Classified Ad Image 466158975Technology and its offspring, social media, continue to impact the way people look for jobs. Not only are recent graduates competing for jobs but also mid-career job seekers and, yes, even baby boomers are all in the job market.

No matter your age or experience level, Arnie Fetig, who is head coach at JOBHUNTERCOACH.COM, offers readers some valuable advice on how to make the most of the job search process. He offers 10 important job search tips that job seekers should definitely keep in mind.

1.  Consider the use of both online and offline tools to help create a “best fit” for prospective employers and yourself. Realize that you must stay actively engaged with today’s employers through the use of social media and mobile apps. Using friends to help boost your visibility and availability is also a great “offline” strategy.

According to career adviser Hannah Morgan and the web site Jobvite, personal job referrals accounted for 40 percent of the job seekers finding their best or favorite job. On the other side of the coin, the employer side, 64 percent of the job recruiters rated referred candidates as those of the highest quality—so personal contacts DO matter!

04-07-2014 - Mobile Job Apps 4619913072.  Get yourself acquainted with mobile apps and realize the role they play in looking for employment. Understand that mobile apps will continue to be BIG in the job search process, and the use of these tools will only expand.

3.  Vary your communication types. While older job seekers still tend to use paper resumes to present themselves to employers, younger people are a lot more comfortable with video and online forms of communication. Older workers will need to consider more flexibility by incorporating newer communication types into their job search.

4.  Present your material in a manner that is clear, short, and targeted! According to Fertiz, job recruiters use to spend roughly 20-30 seconds reviewing each resume. Well, folks that review time is now down to 6 seconds!

5.  Make your information engaging. Become savvy at using links, video bios, infographics as part of the job search process and as part of the resume as well. There are a number of helpful online resume tools. These tools, which can help you build your online presence, include Resume.com, CV Maker, and LiveCareer among others.

6.  Become part of the LinkedIn community, if you haven’t done so already and create a LinkedIn profile that shows more of your personal side (yet presented in a professional manner). Also, use the LinkedIn tool “Who’s Viewed Your Profile,” to help you use the analytics collected by LinkedIn for making your profile more appealing to potential employers and to engage with them. This tool is available to free users (some limitations) as well as to paid users.

7.  Follow companies of interest on Twitter.

8.  Prepare for group interviews. This interview process is being used increasingly by employers. You need to be ready for the prospect of being interviewed by a team as well as the possibility of being one of several job candidates being interviewed in the same session.

04-07-2014 Business Writing Skills 787719059.  Make sure your written communication skills are up to par. The use of “hard copy” may be on the decline, but good writing skills are very high in demand. You need to (a) be flexible, (b) have good grammar skills, and (c) be sensitive to and aware of the right tone and style needed for various communication platforms used today.

10.  Follow up your interview with a polite thank you message. Use this opportunity to get your name across the interviewer’s screen/desk again by highlighting the key points of the interview and how your skills can benefit the company.

For more details on Arnie Fetig’s job suggestions, visit his web site.

Get information on the BOSS program and how it can help you prepare for a successful career, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu  972-238-6215.


WRITING TO WIN: Boost Your Job Application to the Top!

11-25-2013 Book Image - Royce MurchersonUsing the Toulmin Model to Write Persuasive Job Application Letters–One of the most effective ways to write persuasive job application letters is to use the Toulmin Model of Argumentation. This model is based on the work of Stephen Toulmin in his book, The Uses of Argument.

Persuasive job application letters are also arguments. You are arguing for your future. You are selling the idea of you being the best person for the job. And to sell yourself effectively, you will need to understand the three essentials in job application letters. These essentials are found in the Toulmin Model.

Three Essentials
Claim – This is a straightforward declarative statement. It could be something as simple as completing the sentence, “My years of experience and broad knowledge of financial analysis make me supremely qualified for this position.”
Support – It can emphasize work experience, or if recently graduated, emphasize academic accomplishments
Employer Expectations – Assumptions as to what the employer expects in a prospective employee

02-24-2014 Guest Blog - Royce Murcherson Image_1Types of Letters
Job application letters sometimes called cover letters will work in tandem with the resume. The cover letter puts forth a claim that you are the best candidate for the job while at the same time addressing the prospective employer’s stated or unstated expectations.

There are several types:

  • Letters that respond to a job opening
  • Letters that are general inquiries when no specific opening has been posted
  • Letters that are targeted inquiries when you are interested in a specific job
  • Follow up letters such as a post-interview letter

All of these letters should include the Three Essentials:

  1. Claim – Why you are the best person for the job
  2. Support – Reasons why you are the best person for the job
  3. Employer Expectations – Attributes the employer will want to see in you

02-24-2014 Guest Blog - Royce Murcherson Image_2The Need to Know Employer Expectations
After your initial claim, you must address the prospective employer’s expectations. Remember ‘the need to know’ mentioned in my previous blog?  The need to know your reader or prospective employer is very important. You must try to figure out what qualities and skills the employer will want in a new employee. You’re probably thinking, how do I figure this out? This is how you do it.

02-24-2014 Guest Blog - Royce Murcherson Image_3Ask Yourself One Simple Question…
Why would this person want to hire me? Remember these are only assumptions, but common sense assumptions, so make a list. It might be reasons like experience, education, communication skills, interpersonal skills, and leadership skills.  Writing about yourself in these areas will help to address unanswered questions the prospective employer may have about you.

How You Can Remove Some of the Guess Work?
Research the Employer – Locate all relevant information on the company such as corporate vision, profit and loss, stock performance, and long term industry outlook. Knowing something about the company demonstrates your interest.
Research the Position – Locate information on salary range, customary duties and responsibilities, potential for growth.

02-24-2014 Guest Blog - Royce Murcherson Image_4Persuasion is Power!
Understanding the art of persuasion, the power it wields, and the success it can yield is absolutely necessary in the job search. You will have many opportunities to sell your ideas when you’re on the job, but first you will need to land the job. And to do this, you will need the best tools. Think of the Toulmin Model as a new kind of toolbox, one that contains the essentials of success.

For a more expanded discussion on writing persuasive job application letters  and using the Toulmin Model of Argumentation in business writing, see my book, Royce Murcherson, PhD,  The Guide to Persuasive Business Writing: A New Model that Gets Results. (Iowa: Kendall-Hall, 2013) 1-11.

Clip Art, provided by Microsoft Office Professional Academic, 2010

Toulmin, Stephen. The Uses of Argument. Cambridge University Press. New York, 1958.

This article is the last in a four-part guest series written by Royce Murcherson, PhD, on how to improve your writing skills and behavior. Dr. Murcherson is a faculty member in World Languages, Cultures, and Communications at Richland College in Dallas.

For more information on BOSS course offerings in communications, the BOSS degree and certificates, and how the BOSS program can help you with your career, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu  972-238-6215.


Mistakes You Should Never Make During a Job Interview

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You probably get lots of advice from friends, family members, and current or former coworkers when you mention that you are going to interview for a job.  Most of this advice is about what to do and/or say during the interview.

Have you ever thought about things you SHOULD NOT DO during an interview?

Below is a link to an excellent article by Maureen Mackey in Fiscal Times discussing the 7 worst mistakes people make during a job interview.

7 Worst Job Interview Mistakes People Make

If you are job-hunting, this is a must-read and remember article!

 

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For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu 972-238-6215.


Are Tattoos Part of the New Workplace Normal?

09-09-2013 Are Tattoos the New Workplace Normal--118234840There was time when there was no doubt about your chances of getting a job if you had a tattoo—you didn’t stand a “ghost” of a chance!

However, times and attitudes have changed tremendously. Many employers have become more accepting of tattoos, but take a look at the infographic below to see some facts and helpful tips you can use as you navigate the world of job hunting and employment.

09-09-2013 Are Tattoos Part of the New Workplace Normal

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Let Infographic Tools Help You Create That Dynamite Resume!

07-01-2013 Infographic Resume Thinkstock 166471388

Exactly what is an “infographic” and how can these infographic tools help you create that winning resume?

First, there are several basic factors you need to consider when creating a resume today–(1)  You are going to have lots of competition for those good jobs. (2)  Your resume should be worded and designed to make it stand out from the crowd. (3)  Employers tend to be drawn toward resumes that are professionally appealing and easy to read—time is a precious commodity. (4)  Our society now relies more and more on (a) short, clearly written bursts of text, (b) meaningful visuals, and (c) the use of color.

The five infographic resume tools briefly described below can help you craft a resume that gets to the point in an attractive manner, and you don’t have to be a graphic arts designer to accomplish this goal! In fact, some of the examples, especially at the first site, illustrate resumes from job areas that are considered traditional business positions. It’s just further proof that many business professionals are moving towards the use of the infographic resume.

1.  VisualCV is a web-based company that allows you to create a free online visually attractive resume/portfolio at their site, which can then be viewed by employers and recruiters. The good news is that there is a template provided, and you can watch the online tutorials to get helpful hints on promoting and branding your professional image. You can share your online resume by placing your VisualCV-generated url at social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter in order to increase your networking circle. Visit their site as http://www.visualcv.com to learn more details.

2.  Visualize.me is another free infographic tool, and this one relies heavily on the use of shapes and data to covey your employment history message. Once again, you can have a “dashboard” of sorts by connecting to any of your existing social media accounts, or you can have an account at their site. Check them out at http://visualize.me.

3.  This app, Re.vu, allows you to make your work history very visually pleasing; and according to Erica Swallow who is an infographic resume blogger, this particular app had the most visual appeal of the four apps infographic apps that were reviewed by her. You can see all of her reviews at http://mashable.com/2011/10/15/infographic-resume-apps/. Re.vu is free, and it connects to LinkedIn. This app does a great job of helping you tell your work story visually, and you can keep track of who is looking at your page.

4.  The next resume app, Kinzaa, is one that could be easily used by many people who are looking for traditional positions. It makes excellent use of text as well as pie charts and bar graphics to help you show your skill set and experience. The competition among infographic resume companies is helping to keep good things free, and Kinzaa is no exception! You can visit their site at http://kinzaa.com. There are a number of helpful blog posts at the site, which can assist you in getting into the groove of things as well.

5. The last app in this list has a little bit different twist—Brazen Careerist focuses on putting you together with employers via virtual events such as employer recruitment events, university career fairs, and other networking occasions—all virtually. They also have a regularly featured career tips blog on Pinterest and Facebook, among others. You can read more about them at Erica Swallow’s Mashable article that was mentioned above.

Things are constantly changing in today’s workplace, so take a look at these resume tools and use them to help you become more competitive!

If you want to learn more about how the Internet and social media channels are changing the way we write business messages, consider taking the following BOSS class this fall, POFT 2312 Section 81501 Business Correspondence & Communication, which will focus on exploring and incorporating social media into business messages in a professional manner, contact Gwen Hester at ghester@dcccd.edu.

For more information on BOSS software offerings, the BOSS degree and certificates, and how the BOSS program can help you with your career, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu  972-238-6215.


To Achieve Your Dreams, Remember Your ABCs

This is the another post from Dr. Wright L. Lassiter, Jr., the Chancellor of the Dallas County Community College District.  We are honored to learn from his experience and leadership knowledge through these posts. Check back monthly for his posts!

From: Chancellor’s Weekend Memo #280

TO ACHIEVE YOUR DREAMS, REMEMBER YOUR ABCs

This is the time of year when all institutions of education have commencement — graduation and completion programs.  We who speak on those occasions share messages in the hope that the graduates/completers will remember at least one or two cogent points.  It occurs to me that the messages at commencement are also appropriate for each of us in our personal and professional lives.  Watch your “ABCs” that are offered for your consideration:

Avoid negative sources, people, places, things, and habits.

Believe in yourself.

Consider things from every angle.

Don’t give up, and don’t give in.

Enjoy life today; yesterday is gone, and tomorrow may never come.

Family and Friends are hidden treasures.  Seek them and enjoy their riches.

Give more than you planned to give.

Hang on to your dreams.

Ignore those who try to discourage you.

Just do it!

Keep on trying.  No matter how hard it seems, it will get easier.

Love yourself first and most.

Make it happen.

Never lie, cheat, or steal.  Always strike a fair deal.

Open your eyes and see things as they really are.

Practice makes perfect.

Quitters never win, and winners never quit.

Read, study, and learn about everything important in your life.

Stop procrastinating.

Take control of your own destiny.

Understand yourself in order to better understand others.

Visualize it.

Want it more than anything.

Xccelerate” your efforts.

You are unique of all God’s creations.  Nothing can replace you.

Zero in on your target and go for it!

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For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu 972-238-6215.


Are You Really Prepared For That Interview???

Whether the administrative assistant career path is one of your short-term or long-term goals, you need to have in-depth, quality responses ready for potential interviewers.

The online job bank, Monster.com, has provided an excellent list of questions and suggested responses for you to examine in order to help you prepare answers that will help you outshine the competition.

Certainly if you are currently employed as an administrative assistant, you are aware of the fact that your duties may cover a wide area—you have to be proficient in software, have good interpersonal skills, be able to research information competently, be able to demonstrate good writing skills. You may also be responsible for delegating or overseeing projects through to their completion, arranging travel schedules, and handling aspects of the company’s social media site—just to name a few.

According to Robert Hosking, who is executive director of OfficeTeam and who is mentioned in the Monster.com article, you need to have your skill sets delineated into two broad categories—hard skills and soft skills. You need to think of responses that will clearly show off your abilities and initiatives to potential employers.

The bottom line is that employers want to know how you can use your skills in their organization, and you should be prepared to explain scenarios that give them an idea as to whether your skills are good match to the culture of their organization.

For more information on the BOSS program and how it can help you prepare for a successful career, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu 972-238-6215.