At the beginning of each new year, we all tend to pause, reflect, project and to think about what is needed to be successful in the new year. Ruth Mantell, who is a writer for the online Wall Street Journal’s Marketwatch, provides employees, and those looking for employment, with four key skills needed to be successful in 2013.
Use clear communications—the ability to articulate your point clearly and concisely is absolutely essential in today’s high tech world. While tweeting and texting are part of the toolkit, you also need to be able to communicate effectively in expanded written correspondence and oral conversations. According to leading employment experts, careful writers and speakers also observe spelling and grammar rules. Remember, good communication skills are seen by many as a measurement of workers’ ability, their understanding, and their potential.
Create a personal brand—if you are tech savvy and use blogs, or Twitter, or LinkedIn, etc., then please be aware that recruiters and other HR types scour these sites constantly. Because so many companies have a social media presence, they are looking for employees who can tweet or post on their behalf. For your sake, both now and in the future, it is important that your tweets and posts are attractive, positive, and interesting. With that said, your Internet postings should also reflect common sense and decorum.
Be flexible—for some bosses, an employee’s ability to literally “turn on a dime successfully” is viewed as the principal worker asset. You have got to be ready to learn new tools or work on new projects with a willing and open attitude. Many employers expect their employees to get out of their comfort zone and to be ready to adapt to change quickly and willingly.
Improve your productivity—employers expect their workers to operate in a “growth mode.” According to one consultant cited in the article, “My clients are looking for employees that have a great ability to understand what is wanted and needed, rather than needing to be told.” That means you have to keep your skills and knowledge of technology updated in order to help you increase your productivity.
If you need to take one or more classes to help you enhance your technology skills and productivity, consider taking one of the Microsoft Office classes or other skills/productivity development classes from the BOSS area at Richland College. For more information on BOSS software and productivity course offerings, the BOSS degree and certificates contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, firstname.lastname@example.org 972-238-6215.
There have been a lot of great articles and posts written by professionals about the phenomenon of social media and how to use it effectively when looking for a job. However, taking the advice of a fellow student might be one of the best methods to use as you navigate the world of social media when seeking employment. Courtney Cartwright, who is currently a student in the BOSS program at Richland, offers us some great insight into her experiences with social media and job hunting.
When Courtney was recently asked to respond to a discussion board on the topic of social media and whether it could be helpful in finding a job, here is what she had to say:
I do have a social media site, Facebook.
When I was laid off in August, I used my Facebook account to help find employment. I have several friends who work for major companies, and so I would ask them privately if they knew anyone who was hiring, and if so, if they could obtain the information for me to send my resume [to their companies].
I also used Craigslist to locate jobs. I actually got the job I am on now through Craigslist. However, after I was hired, I was told that they did a search for me on Facebook to make sure I wasn’t a “bad” person, or that I wasn’t posting things I shouldn’t be.
Some people don’t like to admit it, but employers do search for you online to make sure you are not going to embarrass their company, and they want to make sure [the people] they are hiring are good people. There are also several other job posting sites within Facebook that can help people find employment. Some temp agencies use Facebook as a tool to search out people who may be looking [for employment].
One of the most important things that Courtney mentioned in her post was the fact that employers do search social media sites to find out more about potential job candidates AND as a way to “weed out” people they consider as inappropriate for employment with them.
Some words of wisdom to job seekers include: “Be careful of what you post (this includes photos) because once it’s on the Internet, it is truly public!”
For more information on the BOSS program and how it can help you prepare for a successful career, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, email@example.com, 972-238-6215.
We’ve all had that happen at one time or another, and we tend to walk away thinking, “What just happened? I was feeling so good before I started talking to Person X.”
Vivian Giang’s blog in the businessinsider.com offers nine important tips written by Trevor Blake in his new book, Three Simple Steps: A Map to Success in Business and Life. Blake offers these invaluable recommendations for avoiding the negative trap spun by complainers. The nine easy rules to remember are listed below, and more details can be viewed by clicking on this link to Giang’s blog.
- Become self-aware.
- Redirect the conversation.
- Smother a negative thought with a positive image.
- Don’t try to convert others.
- Distance yourself when possible
- Wear an invisible “mentality shield.”
- Create a private retreat.
- Transfer responsibility.
- Forgive your lapses.
For more information on the BOSS program and how it can help you prepare for a successful career, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 972-238-6215.
Developing and refining good listening habits can help you in all aspects of your current job as well as future employment. The first rule of thumb is to acknowledge the difference between hearing and listening. Hearing is defined by Merriam-Webster as “the process, function, or power of perceiving sound…the special sense by which noises and tones are received as stimuli. Therefore, hearing is recognized as one of our five physical senses (sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch). Listening, on the other hand, is defined as “hearing something with thoughtful attention…to give consideration to what has been heard.”
How many times in the past have you thought you “heard” what your boss or a fellow coworker was saying only to find out later you missed a key point, or that you got the opposite impression of an idea or result? Poor listening results in costly mistakes that require refunds, lost customers/clients, accidents, etc. Undoubtedly, poor listening is also a factor in lower productivity and higher expenses.
The good news is that good listening skills can be developed with practice. Successful listeners are aware of and understand the importance of good listening. They make a commitment to practicing good listening habits, and they understand the fact that maintaining good listening habits is an ongoing process. The rewards, however, are unlimited; so keep these ten points in mind as you refine your listening:
- Control external and internal distractions.
- Become an “active” listener—lean forward and maintain eye contact with the speaker.
- Separate facts from opinions.
- Identify important facts.
- Avoid interrupting.
- Ask questions that clarify your interpretations.
- Paraphrase to increase your understanding.
- Capitalize on lag time—as you wait for the speaker’s next idea, use that time to review what the person is saying.
- Take notes to help with comprehension and retention.
10. Be aware of gender differences. According to authors Mary Ellen Guffey and Dana Loewy, there are distinct differences between the communication styles for men and women. By being aware of these differences, you can bridge these communication gaps more successfully.
Source: Mary Ellen Guffey and Dana Loewy, Business Communication: Process & Product 7th edition, Mason, OH: South-Western, Cengage Learning, 2011.
For more information, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, email@example.com 972-238-6215.