Tag Archives: professional development

Millennials: Make Sure Your Soft Skills Are Up To Par!

10-19-2015 Millennials Need to Work on Soft Skills 528314961It doesn’t matter whether you are looking for a job, currently employed, or thinking about a promotion; if you were born sometime between the early 1980s and the early 2000s, please, please pay attention to your soft skills and make sure you are on par to make the most of your career success.

Take the time to do an in-depth self‑assessment your skills and then answer the following questions honestly:

 

 

  • Do you take your writing skills seriously—is your writing clear, coherent, and free of misspelled words and incorrect word usage—example: their versus there?
  • Do you check, double check and, yes, even triple check your facts and accuracy of numbers?
    How well do you really know Excel and Word (make sure it’s more than just “getting by”)?
  • Do you really know how to use Word and Excel to increase your work productivity and come up with better workplace solutions? You may know how to text, IM, post to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but that may not be enough!
  • Do you really understand the background and goals of your current company?
  • Have you done your homework thoroughly and researched companies where you’d like to work?
  • Can you ask intelligent questions about these companies, their products and services, and their societal impact?
  • Do you look for logical, but innovative ways, to solve work problems?
  • Finally, as simple as it may sound, do you know how to follow directions?

One of the things that research has shown is that employers place high value on whether employees can communicate effectively in person as well as online, and that means you have to have a well-rounded, competent soft skills set.

As, you, the Millennials come of age, it is important to keep in keep in mind that you will be in the workforce for many more years to come, so it is important that your generation strive to be competitive on a global as well as national level.
Sources: http://blog.aarp.org/2015/04/27/millennials-need-to-work-on-bridging-skills-gap/
http://www.ets.org/s/research/29836/

If you need to improve your job skills, consider enrolling in the Business Office Systems & Support program at Richland College. There are a wide variety of courses (offered online and face-to-face) from which to choose.

These courses range from basic keyboarding, computer literacy, business communications, business English, office procedures, records management, Microsoft Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and Access (in preparation for the Microsoft Office Specialist certification exam**). These courses can all lead you towards a college-credit certificate or a 2-year associate’s degree.

Richland College is located in northeast Dallas at 12800 Abrams Road. For more information contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu at 972-238-6215.

**Richland College is an authorized Microsoft Testing Center.

***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.


Speaking Is Believing! Use Windows 10 Cortana to Help Your “Old School” Computer with Work Tasks!

That’s right—the tech geeks have proclaimed that you can use Microsoft’s Cortana digital assistant system found in Windows 10 with your “old school” computer to help you navigate and search the Internet, open some applications, make appointments, and remind you of to-do lists by simply plugging in a microphone.

According to Sean Hollister who reviewed Cortana for Gizmodo and who tried a number of microphone scenarios, Cortana seems to be able to recognize and perform voice-activated requests very handily. Marc Chiappetta who writes for Forbes, was impressed with the speed at which Cortana was able to perform requested tasks, although he does provide a wish list of improvements. One improvement he would like to see is for Cortana to be able to handle compound questions—Example: “What is the time and temperature in Chicago?”

 

Attention SmartPhone Users! Although Cortana has been available on Windows phones for a while, you’ll be happy to know that Cortana is coming to iPhones and Androids later this year—yeah! It will be nice to compare Cortana to Siri and Google Now—you be the judge.

 

If you want to upgrade or develop skills that can help you in today’s job market, consider enrolling in the Business Office Systems & Support program at Richland College. You will have a wide selection of courses (offered online and face-to-face) from which to choose. These courses range from basic keyboarding, computer literacy, business communications, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access (includes preparation for the Microsoft Office Specialist certification exam**), office procedures, etc. These courses can all lead you towards a college-credit certificate or a 2-year associate’s degree.

Richland College is located in northeast Dallas at 12800 Abrams Road. For more information contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu at 972-238-6215.

**Richland College is an authorized Microsoft Testing Center.

***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.

 


Do Your Administrative Professional Skills/Talents REALLY Measure Up to What Today’s Employers Want?

04-13-2015 Talent 188065235Talents, skills, talents, skills—these words are thrown around a lot today by employers and job seekers alike. And yet, what do these words really mean to people who want to get or upgrade their job marketability so they can be as attractive as possible to potential employers? What can you do to maximize your administrative skills/talents so that your earning potential is increased?

If anyone out there thought that careers in the administrative professional area were disappearing or boring, they need to read the latest reports to see how admin careers and roles are expanding and changing.

According to the 2015 salary guide for administrative professionals that was prepared by the Robert Half Company, 1.5 million new administrative professional jobs will be added between 2012 and 2022. Today’s administrative professionals will share a bigger role in company communications with customers and customer relations, and their salaries will be increasing.

Question: What does the changing role of administrative professionals mean if you are interested in the administrative professional field?

  • Answer: It means you need to have top-flight written and verbal communication skills—if you are bilingual, that could be a big plus.
  • It means you need to demonstrate to employers that you are flexible and willing to learn new tasks. Your related work experience is also a valued commodity.
  • It means you need to display professional behavior and keep abreast of trends by joining at least one professional organization.
  • It means you need to learn all you can about social media tools and how to use these tools in business settings. Some of the most widely used SM tools that are used by companies today include LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram. It means you will need to show potential employers that you have excellent problem-solving abilities.
  • It means your technical skills need to be proficient, and in some cases advanced, in software applications such as Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook. You can prove your software proficiency to employers by passing one or more of the Microsoft Office Specialist certification exams. These exams are available in Word (Core and Expert), Excel (Core and Expert), PowerPoint, Access, and Outlook.

04-13-2015 Career Ladder 81387343Question: What are some of the job titles for administrative professionals?

  • Answer: There are a large number of job titles in the administrative professional area; and while some of the traditional titles include Executive Assistant, Senior Office/Facilities Manager, Receptionist, there are new titles coming on the scene. These new job titles have been created by some companies to reflect the new duties many find admin personnel find themselves performing. According to Robert Hosking, who writes a blog for administrative professionals and employers, these new titles include Chief Executive Administrator, Administrative Services Manager, Director of Administration, and Administrative Chief of Staff.

Question: What are some salary ranges for administrative professionals and related jobs?

  • Answer: The table below, which was taken from data reported in the Robert Half Company survey, Administrative Hiring Trends Salary Guide 2015 reflects a “snapshot” for just a few of the titles reported and the salary gains from 2014 to 2015. For a more complete look at administrative salaries, click this link to visit the Robert Half Company web site and download the PDF 2015 salary guide (begins on page 10) for Administrative Professionals.

04-13-2015 Salary TableIf you want to upgrade or develop skills that can help you in today’s job market, consider enrolling in the Business Office Systems & Support program at Richland College. You will have a wide selection of courses (offered online and face-to-face) from which to choose.

These courses range from basic keyboarding, computer literacy, business communications, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access (includes preparation for the Microsoft Office Specialist certification exam**), office procedures, etc. These courses can all lead you towards a college-credit certificate or a 2-year associate’s degree.
**Richland College is an authorized Microsoft Testing Center.

Richland College is located in northeast Dallas at 12800 Abrams Road. For more information contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu at 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.

 

 


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


Are You Just Hearing, or Are You Listening Your Way to Success?

09-15-2014 final 478293049

Take a “working tip” from Richland College’s POFT 2312 Business Correspondence and Communication course on how to enhance your career and leadership success by developing effective listening skills.

Some people don’t realize that there is a big difference between hearing and listening. As a result, they run the risk of jeopardizing their success at work as well as in other aspects of their lives.

According to experts, hearing is one of the five human senses—vision, hearing, sight, smell, and touch; while listening is a communication technique.

Developing an effective listening technique is vital for anyone who wants to be successful in today’s workplace. The ability to demonstrate effective listening is key to your success, and to ignore important listening strategies is to invite failure.

Review the list below that was developed by authors Thill and Bovée on important listening strategies that can help you succeed in your career. These authors also look at the flip side of the coin and identify behaviors that can reduce your effectiveness and ones that may actually be harmful to your success. So don’t just “hear”; learn to “listen”!

09-15-2014 Table FinalIf you want to improve your communication skills, 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.

Source: John V. Thill and Courtland L. Bovée, Excellence in Business Communication, 11th edition, Pearson, Boston, 2015, p. 49.

 

 

 

 

 


Make Your Business Charts More Effective!

06-30-2014 Effective Charts Thinkstock Photos 164540686Take a “working” tip from Richland College’s POFT 2312 Business Correspondence & Communication course:

Tip: Understand that the use of charts in today’s communications is accepted, and actually expected, as a way of getting your readers to understand your message faster and easier.

So what can you do to make your charts more effective?—in essence how can you make your charts “do the talking?”

Consider these six key points when creating business charts:

Effective Business Charts

If you want to improve your written communication skills, consider taking POFT 2312 Business Correspondence & Communication, which a course in the BOSS program at Richland College. 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.

Sources:

Bovee, John V. Thill and Courtland L. Excellence in Business Communication. 11th. Boston: Pearson, 2015.

HubSpot. Data Visualization 101: How to Design Charts and Graphs. 2014. Document. 21 June 2014. <http://offers.hubspot.com/data-visualization-guide>.

Visage. A Business Guide to Visual Communication. 2014. Document. 21 June 2014. <http://visage.co>.

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Essential Skills That Should Be in Every Employee’s Toolkit!

10-21-2013 - Essential Skills That Should Be in Every Employee’s Toolkit!--142327423When we think about jobs and their various requirements, the tendency may be to focus on the specialized skill such as accounting, marketing, IT, nursing, HR, etc., but blogger Sharlyn Lauby suggests that there needs to be a closer look taken of  basic skills. She has put a lot of emphasis on the fact that every employee should have these skills—regardless of the job position.

The list below may sound simple and basic; but according to Lauby, employees and applicants who lack one or more of these items is the reason why job recruiters and employers are becoming more and more frustrated!

So even if you are currently employed or if you are looking for a job, take a look at this list and make sure you are proficient in all of these areas:

 

#

Skill Comment

1

Good Communication Skills Both your verbal and written skills need to be proficient. A review of grammar can help you with the spoken and written word.

2

Computer Many of the job descriptions have the expectation that you are already competent in widely-used software such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

3

Customer Service Companies expect their employees to know how to interact with their customers in a professional, respectful manner.

4

Diversity Awareness While this item was not a part of Lauby’s original list, the decision was made to include it because we work in environments today that are made up of people from many different backgrounds and cultures.

5

Empathy There may be a number of times throughout your career when you will need to “put yourself in the other person’s position” to understand your customers or co-workers better, and having empathy will help you tremendously in the communication process.

6

Learning This may appear to be a “no brainer,” but you should be prepared to be a lifelong learner. Whether you take formal classes or workplace training, new knowledge is the order of the day.

7

Math Unless your job requires a higher order of math, you should be familiar with business math concepts such as percentages, decimals, etc., These concepts can help you apply, interpret, and understand some of those spreadsheet functions better. Remember, most decisions are data driven today.

8

Organization Getting your work completed accurately and on time requires you to manage your time and tasks in an systematic fashion. Use time management software tools to help you organize your work life.

9

Problem-Solving When confronted with a problem, it is very important for you to (1) understand the problem, (2) develop a workable plan for solving the problem, (3) carry out the plan, and (4) evaluate the plan—did it work? Don’t expect others to solve all of your problems. You will be expected to find logical solutions to issues.

10

Research and Information Gathering If you need more information in order to get a task completed or to solve a problem, you must be ready to research the area and look for workable solutions. Employers don’t have much time for people who throw their hands up every time they are confronted with a new situation.

11

Teamwork You’ve got to be able to work with others! In today’s world most jobs require us to spend time working with others on projects—both real world and virtual. Having a respect for others, being able to communicate your thoughts effectively, and having a sense of empathy all play a part in successful, productive team outcomes.

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

Join us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/RLCBOSS/


If You Think Good Grammar Doesn’t Matter, Think Again!
Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit, which is the largest online repair community, and also the founder of Dozuki, which is software designed to write technical manuals, says he won’t hire people who don’t have good grammar skills, and here’s why:
  • Grammar is relevant for all companies.
  • Good grammar is credibility, and especially on the Internet—your words are all that you have in blog posts, social media, e-mails, and company websites. He goes on to say that your words, “are a projection of you in your physical absence…for better or worse, people judge you if you can’t tell the difference between their, there, and they’re.”
  • Good grammar just makes good business sense. Wiens’ company, iFixit, has the  responsibility of producing clear, correct online instructions for repairs—just think what would happen if some poorly written instructions caused the wrong wires to get crossed!
Wiens says he has found that people who make fewer mistakes on a grammar test tend to make fewer mistakes in other work-related areas. Details do matter, and grammar is his litmus test to test potential employees’ capabilities. Anyone who wants to work for his company MUST pass the grammar test!’ Read Wiens’ complete blog, “I Won’t Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar. Here’s Why,” which appears in the July 20, 2012 online issue of Harvard Business Review.

If you want to improve your grammar and writing skills, consider taking grammar review and business writing classes in the BOSS program. For more information contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu 972-238-6215.


Register Now for Fall 2012 Semester!
Registration is already underway for this Fall semester at Richland College, so get a head start by signing up today! Fall classes begin Monday, August 27 and end on Thursday, December 13.

There are plenty of on-campus and online BOSS classes to choose from. Click this link to look at the BOSS lineup for Fall.

The BOSS class offerings range from classes in computer literacy basics, basic keyboarding, business math, records management, office procedures etc., to becoming proficient in the Microsoft Office applications—Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Access, and Publisher that so widely used in offices today.

Get a “leg up” and improve your employment chances by getting your Microsoft Certification in Word or Excel or Access or PowerPoint! The BOSS dedicated Microsoft Office application courses are designed to prepare you for the Microsoft Certification exams.

If you need to improve your business writing or grammar skills, consider the Business Correspondence and Communication class or Business English.

***IMPORTANT***If you plan to take on-campus classes but you did not attend the Spring 2012 semester, you must show proof of having had the meningitis vaccination. Please have your doctor fax the appropriate form to the Registrar’s office. This form must be received BEFORE you can be cleared to register. You can get more details by clicking this link.

However, if you plan to take online BOSS classes, you can secure a waiver for the meningitis vaccination by clicking this link also.

Don’t delay! Enhance your professional growth and skills by taking BOSS classes that can help you right now as well as in the future!

For more information on BOSS Fall course offerings, the BOSS degree and certificates, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu 972-238-6215.


Don’t Let Twitter Be Your Downfall!
Social media has arrived on the work scene, and Twitter is one of the most widely used social network tools for personal and professional messages. If used properly in the workplace, Twitter can be a powerful, positive tool. If used inappropriately, however, Twitter can lead to your professional/career/job crash! Amy Levin-Epstein presents five important tips you should keep in mind and some practices to avoid “like the plague” when using Twitter:
  1. If It’s Top Secret—Then Keep It Top Secret! If you get labeled as the “company blabbermouth” and tweet sensitive, confidential information, your career (and your job) could spiral downward very quickly.
  2. Don’t Get Too Familiar—After all, this is your job and you need to maintain a professional image and tone. Tweeting personal information (and for goodness sakes avoid profane language!) is a no-no. What happens at home and in your personal life should stay that way—at home and personal.
  3. Don’t Get Addicted To Twitter—Aside from preserving your thumbs (and your other fingers), you need to focus on your work tasks. Just remember the company didn’t hire you to tweet friends and family, you were hired to work for the company—if in doubt, check your job description!
  4. What Did You Say About Your Boss?—Use common sense and control the urge to blast your boss via Twitter. Even if your boss is wrong, the social media network is not the place to vent, and if you think your account is private–think again!
  5. Avoid Unflattering Comments About Clients/Customers—Keep your thoughts private and to yourself and away from Twitter. Clients and customers are to be valued and respected, and unflattering observations about them should not be broadcast on Twitter.
In conclusion, you need to remember that anything you put on the Internet has the potential for being there for anyone to search. And please don’t live to regret some poorly worded unprofessional messages that made their way to your boss’s screen!
For more information on BOSS software offerings, the BOSS degree and certificates, and to see how the BOSS program can help you with your career, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu 972-238-6215.