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The Howling Sessions – How To Communicate Effectively With Your Colleagues

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Aug 10, 2016 in Self Improvement

HowlingWithin the Job Jungle, plenty of animals work in packs. Wolves, monkeys, many kinds of birds – all of these rely upon group coherence to survive. And the most successful packs are the ones which can work together effectively. In order to work together, pack animals need to be able to communicate clearly and well, without conflict or confusion. If you want to join one of these successful packs, you, too, will need to demonstrate these exemplary communication skills. Here’s why communication is important, and how you can improve your working communication skills.

Without Effective Communication, There Is Chaos

Every company, and everyone working within a company must balance the needs of the collective with the needs of the individual. Humans are social animals, and a large part of our brains is given over to working with others. However, we’re also individuals, and our own individual needs and desires often clash with the needs and desires of others in the group. When this happens, conflict occurs. In most cases, conflicts within organizations work to the detriment of the organization as a whole. Conflict can sometimes be an essential precursor for necessary change – but in order for this to be the case, the conflict needs to be framed within civilized communicative boundaries. On a lesser level, failures to communicate effectively can result in tense working environments, frustrations, and even damage to the fabric of the company. A surprising amount of insurance claims result from people misusing equipment etc, simply because what they were supposed to be doing and how they were supposed to be doing it had not been communicated effectively. In order to create and preserve constructive working relationships, companies need people who are good at both talking and listening. If you can prove that you’re good at communicating, you’re more likely to get the job than someone who’s otherwise highly qualified but can’t communicate as effectively as you.

Listening

When people think of ‘communication’, they tend to think of chatter and words. However, a huge part of what makes someone an effective communicator is their ability to listen. This doesn’t just mean staying quiet while someone else talks – your mind really needs to be on what they’re saying, absorbing their words, and considering the implications of them. Listening is as much a character trait as a practical skill. If you’re the kind of person who decides on their line and sticks to it whatever the other person says, you’re not really listening, however much you ostensibly hear their words. Chances are that you’re using the time while they’re talking to think up counter-arguments, rather than critically and open-mindedly assessing what they’re telling you. Listening well does not necessarily mean agreeing with your co-converser. But it does mean giving their words a chance. It’s also worth noting that good listeners tend to be more respected and liked than those who are less skilled at listening A good listener will:

  • Not talk over other people. Don’t interrupt, and don’t finish their sentences for them. If you really feel the need to engage while they’re talking, do so through non-verbal cues like nodding and smiling.
  • Encourage the speaker. They won’t display disinterest or frustration. They will signal that they are interested and focused and wish the speaker to get their point across.
  • The listener will not let their attention stray from the speaker, either visibly or invisibly. They will concentrate on what the speaker is saying, and let their meanings fully sink in.
  • The listener will do their best to understand and empathise with the other person’s point of view. This does not necessarily mean agreeing with them – simply appreciating where they’re coming from, and the experiences or considerations which have led them to this viewpoint.
  • Be patient. Sometimes it can take a while for speakers to get their point across. A good listener will have the patience to wait this process out and remain engaged throughout, even when they feel that they know where the speaker is going.
  • Listen to volume, tone, and body language as much as words. Non-lexical cues can tell a good listener a lot about what the speaker is really saying, and add a valuable dimension to their comprehension of the speaker’s point of view.
  • Work out the bigger picture. Rather than snatching isolated soundbites, a good listener will try to look at the bigger picture which the speaker is painting.

Speaking

Speaking is, obviously, another aspect of effective communication. To properly engage with your colleagues, you will need to be able to talk to them in an equable and clear manner. People who can’t make themselves clear through speech, or whose speech isn’t received well will not be as able to get their ideas or points across as well as they might, which can cause conflict-creating frustrations. Nor will they be as able to make friend and form effective team bonds. If you wish to be a good speaker, try thinking about the following things:

  • The pace of your words. Often, if we’ve grown up with our words marginalized, we may speak in a rush to try and get our points out before someone else speaks over us. There is no need to do this. If someone speaks over you, that is a problem with their listening skills – do not make it become a problem for your speaking skills. Pace your speech comfortably, so that people have time to absorb your words, and you don’t come across as desperate, harried, or panicked.
  • The thought behind the speech. Don’t launch in without thinking first about what you’re saying, and the implications of that. One well thought-out piece of speech is worth a thousand vague and inconsequential words!
  • Get to the point. While a good listener will stick with you while you go off on tangents and beat around the bush, it’s still best to avoid doing this as much as possible. If you’ve thought out what you’re going to say, you should know the point you’re trying to make. Get to the point while talking, and don’t waste unnecessary words. You can explore avenues arising from your point in ensuing conversation.

Also – be yourself. Ok, so we’ve just told you to control what you’re saying, and now we’re telling you to ‘be yourself’. What if the ‘real you’ speaks quickly, beats around the bush, and doesn’t think before they speak? Don’t worry – you can still be the genuine ‘you’ while taking care to make your speech clear and concise. Simply make sure that you’re staying true to your own ideas, and keep your mannerisms and tone natural. People appreciate and will listen to someone with integrity – and staying true to your own self is a great way to demonstrate integrity.

This Guest Post was contributed by Gemma Matthews.

If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

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The Cassowary – Cutting A Path Through The Networking Jungle

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Feb 19, 2016 in Self Improvement

Cassowaries are flightless birds native to the tropical forests of New Guinea and Australia. It is the second heaviest living bird and the species subsists mainly on fruit. Cassowaries are identified by a prominent boney casque protruding from their wedge-shaped heads. Several purposes for the casque have been suggested including use as a weapon for dominance, protection against fruit falling from trees, or even as a sort of knife; aiding their ability to cut a speedy path through the forest vegetation.

As professionals, we continuously work to hone our networking skills. Those in business development are always working to uncover a new business prospect. Job seekers are continuously building their networks to obtain job opportunity referrals that might not be advertised using the “friend of a friend” network.

But how did those people originally become friends?  I can promise you, it wasn’t from reaching out only when they needed something. They checked in from time to time and had recurring mutually beneficial exchanges that exemplified that they could trust and rely on one another. They created a relationship.

Relationships are built over time and go far beyond networking. If you are working to expand your network for personal or professional reasons, try changing your paradigm to cut through the jungle of networking and focus on expanding your relationships. How can you help someone else in their pursuits and, at the same time, reach your own goals?

Networking can be a painful part of job searching if you haven’t been building relationships along the way that are mutually beneficial. Job seekers who work tirelessly to get referrals while they are looking for work often neglect to continue the efforts that got them there after they get the job. I have heard countless stories about people who never received even a thank you note when they referred someone for a job. The job seeker was so focused on getting the job that they didn’t consider (or possibly remember) the person that made the intro for them.

Referrals are often made out of kindness without expecting anything in return, but when they are overlooked, it really sticks out in the referring person’s mind. I can almost promise you if you lose sight of building the relationship with the person that referred you, it’s highly unlikely you’ll get a second referral down the road. And the cycle will have to start from scratch again.

When you receive a referral, thank the person. Send a gift card, or a note in the mail, invite them to lunch or happy hour, but don’t just send another email. Referrals are a gift, not a right, and your own personal reputation is on the line when you refer someone to another person. Ask others how you can help them meet their goals this year as they were kind enough to assist you in meeting yours. That’s how you build a relationship.

People do business with people they know, trust and like. Rarely does a vendor get selected when they rub someone the wrong way.

Like the cassowary, use the tools you have to cut through the forest to reach your goal. Take time to keep good notes, thank people who help you along the way, and help them as well. Building relationships is far more important in building your network than just showing up and attending an event. Get involved at a higher level with your networking groups.  Remember, It’s a two way street.

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The Transformation – Caterpillar To Butterfly – Will An MBA Transform Your Career?

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Sep 29, 2015 in Career Path, Self Improvement

CocoonAfter eating a lot of food for a few days, caterpillar suddenly stops eating. It creates a cocoon around itself and, within a few days, magically transforms into a butterfly! Have you been working hard for a long time and are still not happy with your job? Are you yearning for freedom to fly high in your career? Will it help to take a break from your job and get an MBA degree and come out of a business school (b-school) with a more powerful profile?

Do you need an MBA for a career shift

The relevance of an MBA degree has been widely contested by many. While some firmly believe that the MBA degree can boost the career of any professional and help him reach the top of the corporate ladder, others tend to say an MBA is not a necessity. While it’s true that you don’t necessarily have to be an MBA to be a great manager, it’s a great asset to have in helping you acquire managerial skills if you don’t consider yourself to be a stellar manager. Let’s compare both the sides of the argument and see if an MBA is really worth it if you are looking for a career shift.

Benefits of an MBA for a career shift

Helps in the long climb: An MBA can easily help in climbing the corporate ladder. Employees complain about how difficult it is for candidates who do not have a management background to succeed in the climb. While managerial skills can be learned on the job, and there are many non-MBA managers running the biggest of brands, sometimes organizations have rigid requirements that a manager needs to have a MBA to move into certain roles.

Networking: A B-school is not just a platform to acquire managerial skills and get the opportunity to make a career shit. It’s also about networking. All good business schools have great alumni networks that students can be a part of. The two years that you spend in a B-School can be one of the best ways to expand your network and increase your contacts. Your alumni network can become one of the best sources of opportunities to make the career change you need.

Leadership skills: A b-school can help you to acquire leadership skills that allow you to manage teams and take on senior roles which are currently evading you in your professional life. An MBA can serve as proof that you are capable of managing people and getting results in the most efficient way possible.

Opportunities: Most working professionals who join MBA courses often do it for the potential placement opportunities top of the line business schools can provide. Top performers with work experience often get a huge boost to their careers upon completing their MBA and it makes complete sense for professionals to invest time in developing their managerial skills for a career shift.

It is important to keep in mind that MBA degrees are becoming more accessible and it is not necessary to go for a full time MBA. An MBA degree can acquired through distance mode also. Other options are include part time and executive one year MBA programs.

But the MBA degree does come with some downsides

An MBA can be a huge investment: Most MBA courses are significantly expensive and even though the returns are massive at top B-Schools due to stellar placements, repaying educ
ation loans can be difficult and managing finances often becomes a problem for professionals in the initial years after graduation.

Experience disparity: Even as a working professionals there may be some disparities when opting in for placements. It’s quite likely that top managerial positions available at placement drives will be filled up by more experienced professionals. It’s often a cause for concern for candidates who do have less than 2 years of work experience or no work experience at all. While an MBA is platform to help your career grow, you have to give it time until you get the managerial positions you seek.

An MBA does not prepare you for real life managerial problems: While you acquire the skills needed to solve managerial problems, it’s only in theory. There is a vast difference between learning hands-on and learning in a classroom by working on real life examples.

An MBA is not a must-have for getting help in your career shift. But it does come with solid benefits especially in long term. It allows you to access more opportunities and have great learning experiences that allow you to know more about the intricacies of management. Some get into an MBA merely for networking and come out of the program satisfied with what they go out of it. Finally, each student needs to assess her dreams and financial situation to decide what makes the most sense for her. All that we can say is that it is not a must to get an MBA to have a rocking career!

This Guest Post was contributed by Paresh  of www.TargetAdmission.com.

If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

Image Source – https://justinahurley.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/522988_10150768096746740_1918938162_n.jpg

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The Competition – Surviving Competitive Workplaces, The Natural Way

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Sep 25, 2015 in Career Path, Self Improvement

CompetitiveCompetition in the workplace is nothing new and if you cannot make your mark in it, you are going to lose in the long run. There will always be someone looking to fill your position and will try all methods to get ahead of you. Doesn’t it sound a bit like the jungle? Yes, a competitive workplace is like a jungle, where everyone competes with each other for their survival.

You will find the strong cats in there sneaking upon its prey, bullish elephants pushing ahead of everyone and the sneaky reptiles slithering its way, biting anyone that challenges them. A competitive workplace is sometimes a good thing for an organization to get the employees motivated and productive. But as an individual you may feel that this is all too overwhelming.

As nature is the best teacher, we can learn a lot from nature about adapting in the cut-throat competition that is seen in some workplaces. Here are some of the acts that can be attributed to the likeness of surviving in a jungle, which will help you to get ahead of the competition:

Survival of the ‘skillest’

This is in analogy to the popular concept of “survival of the fittest” put forward by the great naturalist, Charles Darwin; which states that the fittest always survives and moves forward in the evolutionary ladder. In a competitive workplace, to be fit means to have the skills necessary to remain an important part of it. You will have to learn new skills whenever necessary in order to step up the corporate ladder, as skills are the only determining factor that will make you stand out of the rest. Take time out to learn new skills that you think are connected to your industry. There are various online courses nowadays that help one to gather new skills at your convenience.Just like squirrels hoarding nuts for the winter, you will understand that hoarding skills may help you in the future; if you ever have to face that allegorical ‘winter’ of your career.

Evolve to adapt

I will give you an example of the Darwin’s finches here. It is a group of finches which shows highly developed beaks to adapt to the different environments they live in. If you feel that remaining the same person in this competitive workplace is not going to help you, then you should know that it is time to evolve into something which no one is expecting. Be unpredictable and along with the new skills that you might have learned as mentioned above, you will become an eye-turner. Today’s world is dynamic and change can happen any moment. You will need to learn to evolve in accordance to the environment you work in.

Mimicry

You may not be aware of the fact that corporate culture is developed upon the theory of mimicry. What is meant by when one says we have a typical work culture? So where did this work culture actually start from? It all started one face at a time from emotional contagion. Emotions are highly contagious and before you realise anything, you are mimicking the posture of the person in front of you to receive his attention. Someone smiles, you smile back unconsciously; this is what mimicry is all about. You can use this mimicry in order to survive a competitive workplace. In nature, animals mimic their surrounding in order to not arouse any suspicion among the preys or attackers. Even though it is not highly recommendable, you can always mimic your way to be accepted in a working environment.

Pounce upon opportunities

In a competitive workplace there is no place for chivalry. This may come hard but it is true. Just like in the jungle where every moment is a struggle for existence, a competitive workplace is a continuous struggle for leapfrogging ahead of others. No big cat is chivalrous enough to give a deer a head start. If you are the deer in this environment, you will be wiped out of the workplace’s existence.

Remember to pounce upon any opportunity to show that you are superior and that your work is valued. Volunteer to do things that no one else does and gets noticed by the right people in your organisation. If you let others do it, you might have well lost one great opportunity to show your competence.

Territory master

What happens when a dog enters into the territory of another dog? All hells get loose and the second dog viciously protects his territory. No, I am not asking you to bite or kick anyone; just learn to protect your territory (aka position). If anyone tries to give a challenge to your position, use your experience and the skills to know who the alpha-professional is.

You can no wonder learn a lot from nature and if you use the lessons provided by nature to get the most out your professional life, you can cruise smoothly through all the competition. Instead of going through job sites to get out of the competition, try following the tips mentioned above.

This Guest Post was contributed by Hasib. Hasib is a professional writer working with the job portal –naukri.com and often writes articles related to career and education. He is an avid reader and lives for two things – football and food. If he is not involved in any of those, you can find him contemplating existential issues. Follow him @ twitter, Google+, LinkedIn

If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

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The Army Ant – It’s Not About The Size, But Being A Team Player!

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Aug 6, 2015 in Self Improvement

Army AntWhile singing the praises about the dominant creatures in the jungle, we often forget the ones who are timid, but portray equally significant characteristics. The dynamics are such that each member, be it big or small have their own role to play. Don’t you sense an analogy here?

Likewise, the workplace too has its own dynamics. Every employee has a definite role to play with an indispensable need to work in a team. We often wonder that how can two completely different job roles be intertwined!

Well, a machine never works without each component functioning in the most synchronized way, right?

To proliferate further consider an army ant. It might seem small, but you would never see one moving alone. There’s always a group of them, either carrying granules of food or simply one of their own when injured. In simple words, it exemplifies the importance of team work, something which can be well applied at the workplace. For it helps you to stay motivated at workplace, the discussion to follow will build on the same line of thought and suggest some ways to be a team player at work.

Don’t Ignore Delegation

A team that works in cohesion, always knows the strengths and weaknesses of each member, much like the army ants. They always have roles assigned to lead the lot, carry food and look after the route to be taken. This way synchronization is never compromised on and every task is accomplished in the most efficient way possible. Likewise, at work you need to divide assignments and project responsibilities according to the proficiency level of each member. This way the work load on each member can be minimized and objectives can be achieved within a smaller time frame.

Take Ideas From Every Member into Account

You’ll never see a group of ants having members being treated unequally, may be that’s the reason for the impeccable team work they put on display.

Similarly, at workplace for a sense of equality to be inculcated, there is a need to respect every opinion that’s voiced, because you never know what idea might just click right and solve a problem. No employee would want to work in the same team as yours, if you don’t take everybody’s viewpoint into account. The need of the hour is for you to create an environment, where each of your co-workers is comfortable suggesting different solutions and ideas.

Be a Pro-active Participant

Seldom are the chances that you’ll see an army ant resting in a shade, being least considerate about its lot. Well, there’s immense you can learn from the same. To be a good team player, you need to be pro-actively involved in what’s going on with your co-workers and friends at work. Come prepared for all team meetings and instead of watching things passively, give valuable inputs.

Team members holding this feature always take an extra step to make things happen efficiently. Be it volunteering for assignments or extending a helping hand to your colleagues, there’s so much you can do.

Adapt To Your Surroundings

An essential quality that is direly required to be a team player is being adaptable in different work environments. Ants make their shelters in deep lying places, cool enough to sustain themselves. But, as soon as it gets uprooted, they quickly move out with speed and bore a new hole in the vicinity. That’s exactly how you can be a team player.

In the modern corporate environment, people join and people leave. Plus, with the increased amount of diversity at workplaces, being adaptable is something that can really set you on the right track!

It’s amusingly beautiful how you can learn so much from a creature as small as an Army Ant. However, the glance alone wouldn’t work. Putting the aforementioned into application is what that’s required at present.

This Guest Post was contributed by Anshuman Kukreti. Anshuman is a professional writer and a keen follower of the global job market. An engineer by qualification and an artist at heart, he writes on various topics related to employment across the globe. Reach him @ LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+.

If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

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The Expedition – Trust In The Jungle

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Jun 26, 2015 in Building Confidence, Self Improvement

ExpeditionOur office has recently seen many individuals make significant employment changes from one large company to another; leaving behind the teams they built over the last 5-10 years for the unfamiliar terrain of a new executive position filled with fresh faces to groom and lead. The conversations about how the new role is going seem to center around a common theme – the first priority of building a new team that they can trust. This begs the examination of what is really the definition of trust.

Webster’s Dictionary says, trust is the “belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective.” Wikipedia offers a social definition as when the “trustor” is willing to rely on the actions of another party (“trustee”).

It takes time for people to build credibility with each other. You must exemplify trustworthiness in order to receive it from your team and build your own trust in them. Consider these 5 tips for making a daily effort towards building your leadership trustworthiness offered by Jennifer Miller from SMARTBLOGS:

  • Get to know people’s minds and hearts.
  • Keep promises.
  • Maintain confidences.
  • Ask, “How are you doing?” Then shut up and listen.
  • Back your people up.

Jennifer stresses as her first point that building and promoting your team’s skills is not enough, you also need to understand their motivations. Recognize the underlying influences that drive your team beyond the technical so that you can better position them for success in the group, and in their career path. This will solidify your team’s confidence in your abilities as a leader. Ask your team members what gets them to work in the morning beyond salary and social aspects.

Equally important is keeping your promises, both positive and negative. Creating a track record of consistency will allow you to ask the same of your team. Nothing erodes trust in a leader faster than broken promises and false hope. Be especially careful about assurances that could be undone because of a lack of information or support from senior leadership. It will be viewed by your team as a significant weak point in any future promises you make no matter how much they trust you.

Get to know your team and their individual personalities to maintain confidences. Your team’s observance on how you treat privileged information about them builds, or destroys, a foundation of trust in what they are willing to share about themselves to you. This can extend to simple praise and criticism where one employee may not mind being corrected or complimented in public and another may prefer to receive any feedback in private.

In this age of technological progress where communication is faster than ever, people seem to have less and less time to truly listen. This is especially true the further you are in your career. Asking how someone is doing and then being able to take the time to truly listen to the response is very rare. Schedule time on your calendar for members of your team to discuss ideas and concerns with you to avoid only half listening while writing an email or having to cut them off to rush to a meeting. Making yourself available to be able to respond with your whole attention will help you develop a deeper relationship with your team.

To err is human and to pass the blame is the mark of a team’s shaky confidence in its leader. If the team makes a mistake, correcting that mistake in the work product should take precedence over whose individual fault it is. If the fault is yours, own it. Even if your only mistake was not catching the error before the project was submitted. When your team is comfortable knowing they won’t have to waste time and energy constantly covering their own rears at the expense of the team’s cohesion, they will be able to get back to business more quickly after a minor slip-up. A single team member can be coached in private if they are the source of reoccurring issues.

Trust must be built over months and years but it can be shattered in an instant. Maintaining trust requires continual investment in the leader-employee relationship. Show your trustworthiness by getting to know your team personally to position them for success, keeping your promises, maintaining confidence, and really listening to and backing your group is the fastest way to develop a team that you will be able to trust. In the wild Job Search Jungle, your team may be your only hope for survival so make sure the trust you build can get you through any obstacle.

(http://smartblogs.com/leadership/2015/03/10/building-trust-its-not-a-one-and-done-deal/)

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The Bird’s Nest – Building Your Professional Bio

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on May 22, 2014 in Self Improvement

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Tips to write an effective, professional bio.Nest2

As a talent acquisition and search services firm, we have the frequent opportunity and pleasure to neaten and expand resumes and professional profiles. This helps our clients to better see the experience of a candidate and also helps our candidates land the perfect job. You can find many articles in this blog about tips to write the perfect resume.

This week I had the occasion to help one of my longtime friends write their professional bio. Unlike a resume, cover letter, or profile, a bio should highlight your current company, your immediate related professional background, and also include a bit of your personality in a few short paragraphs. Your alma mater, interests, major projects, and accomplishments should be a couple of sentences and, if applicable, media mentions or notable clients can be included. Incorporate as many numbers as you can and mention if you are involved in any outside activities and member organizations.

All of these points are the “eggs” that need a home outside of your resume. The nest of your professional bio can be used on company websites, requests for proposals, and many other areas. Your nest can only hold a few eggs at a time, so as your career changes and grows, be sure to swap out your accomplishments. It is good to update your bio once a year along with your resume so you aren’t scrambling for it at the last minute.

Below is an example:

 

BEFORE

Harry Miles is the Field Operations Director for Interior Design Company Inc. He has over 25 years of healthcare planning, activation, and patient move planning experience.  He has developed proprietary tools to accurately budget and plan complete facility activations.  Most recently he planned a 300,000 sf in patient facility located in Guam: equipment delivery and installation, activation, training, transition planning, patient move planning and relocation of reuse all completed forty five days. The project was a huge success and finished on time and within budget.  In his career he has planned and executed over 200 projects with an emphasis on patient care and staff safety, budget and schedule.  He has a great deal of experience organizing, training and motivating people toward a common goal.

 

AFTER

Harry Miles, PMP, is the Director Field Operations for Interior Design Company Inc.

Harry attended the University of Notre Dame on a full football scholarship where he played as a linebacker for 4 years while he obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science.

Harry brings 20+ years of healthcare operations, logistics and planning experience to his role at Interior Design Company Inc. This boutique Alaskan and Native American Minority Business Enterprise is equally adept at meeting the needs of clients in the contiguous 48 states and all US Territories.

He recently delivered a 300,000 sf inpatient facility project located in Guam on schedule – 45 days from receipt of equipment.  This comprehensive, complex start to finish project included design, equipment procurement, delivery, installation, activation, training, transition planning, patient move planning and relocation.

He has a great deal of experience organizing, training and motivating people toward a common goal.  He has developed proprietary budgeting and scheduling tools that have uniquely allowed him to successfully execute over 200 projects with an emphasis on patient care and staff safety both domestically and internationally.

Harry and his family live in the Washington, DC area. He grew up in South Bend, IN and is an expert in University of Notre Dame sports trivia.  He was a high school State Champion in Tennis, speaks Zulu, the bush language of South Africa, and has a unique passion for large scale implementation and delivery projects.

For more information on Harry and Interior Design Company Inc. services visit his website or email him at Harry’s_email@email.com

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If you need help reworking or creating your professional bio, email Lindsay at lindsay@meritogroup.com with your resume and to inquire about pricing.

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The Human Being – Not The Human Doing

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Mar 7, 2014 in Executive Coaching, Lessons Learned, Self Improvement

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Lisa Nirell of Energize Growth LLC writes in her blog, The Wealthy Business, about her experience at the Febraury Washington Women’s PhoneLeadership Initiative (WWLI.org) Luncheon where Arianna Huffington presented the Third Metric to attendees. Lisa uses Arianna’s message and urges her readers to build a lifestyle around frequent moments of being “unplugged” from technology to improve health and quality of life. “It takes a leap of faith to unplug. Several senior marketing leaders and CEOs whom I have met think of their lives as an “either/or” proposition where they are either relaxed and unplugged, OR overworked and hyper-connected. Today, I believe it’s about living a “both/and” life. We are human beings, not human doings.”

Read the rest of Lisa’s article “How Successful Marketing Leaders (Like Arianna Huffington) Unplug” on her blog.

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Travelers In The Jungle – Set Your Goal To Become A Great Networker in 2014

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Dec 30, 2013 in Building Confidence, Self Improvement

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Boots
Taking a hike in the Job Search Jungle can be a daunting experience, but there are so many people to meet! Put your best foot forward and make your 2014 goal be one of confidence in networking.

Many people find networking a very painful exercise. Why? It exposes us at our deepest level of vulnerability. Executives who are accustomed to controlling a meeting with an agenda can find networking a paralyzing experience because they are planners who have yet to master living in the moment.

One sure fire way to master these skills is to make a plan that you can execute in any situation. In preparing for my upcoming Networking Know How presentation at the National Education Association Leadership Summits in January and February, I found this great article by Shane Parrish, (Farnam Street) on TheWeek.com highlighting Robin Dreeke’s book: It’s Not All About “Me”.

Here are the top 10 points from the book:

1. Establishing artificial time constraints – The first step in the process of developing great rapport and having great conversations is letting the other person know that there is an end in sight.
2. Accommodating nonverbals – You want to look nonthreatening. Smile and make eye contact. How you shake hands matters too – match the strength of the other person.
3. Slower rate of speech – Speaking fast may mean you’re excited, but speaking slowly gives you more credibility.
4. Sympathy or assistance theme – If you’re like most people, you’ve felt a bit of regret when turning down someone seeking help. As human beings, we are biologically conditioned to accommodate requests for assistance.
5. Ego suspension – Put the other individuals’ wants, needs, and perceptions of reality ahead of your own.
6. Validate others – through mindful listening, demonstrating thoughtfulness and honestly understand the other person’s point of view and then build upon that base with your ideas that are not contrary but rather complimentary.
7. Ask … How? When? Why? – Open ended questions require detailed answers; generating two way conversation as opposed to a simple yes or no answer.
8. Connect with quid pro quo – Giving a little information about you will help you engage someone who is either very introverted, guarded, or both
9. Gift giving – This is conversational reciprocation in action. The key is to do this without an agenda. If you have an agenda you’ll come across as insincere.
10. Manage expectations – Underpromise and overdeliver- The surest way to avoid disappointment is to meet expectations.

Purposefully networking to advance your own professional needs is paramount to your success. Mastering the art of networking know how where there is a two way reciprocation and development of a meaningful relationship takes time. Establish trust, be available to others and don’t put your own needs first and your network will ultimately pay off in spades.

So get out there and network!

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The Gorilla – Ego In The Interview

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Nov 15, 2013 in Executive Coaching, Interviewing Skills, Self Improvement, Thinking Positive

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Conflicts among gorillas are most often resolved by ritualistic displays intended to intimidate without becoming physical. These displays can include chest beating, ground stomping, and other showings of strength.

Gorilla-like behavior can surface under a wide variety of circumstances in the workplace. Perceived “threats” such as:
• authority being taken away
• new policies and procedures
• company reorganization

can cause the “gorilla” to emerge by making individuals feel self-doubt or under appreciated. Skill sets might be stretched into previously un-treaded territories, new responsibilities can trigger inner feelings of self-doubt, or the person isn’t feeling as challenged in a new role which they feel is beneath their abilities.

Consider this interview scenario; a management level person is participating in interviews where the new employee will become their peer. How will they view the interviewees if they are experiencing self-doubt about themselves and their own work?

It’s important to know as much about whom you are interviewing with and how your level of experience compares with them so you might be able to spot areas that would cause the interviewer to pound their chest and try to intimidate you. If you find yourself in this Gorilla’s cage, seek common ground where you can show how you will be a supportive experienced member of their team working towards a common goal.

But don’t be afraid to pound your chest a little in the interview. For example, I recently had a conversation with someone who had performed 4 general ledger systems conversions in his career and they were interviewing for a job that required that type of experience. Having successfully completed this work “only” 4 times before had left this person feeling that there were other, more qualified consultants in the world who perhaps had far more experience. The truth of the matter was, that in the interview setting they were the expert in the room because no one in that company had ever completed more than one system conversion. So, while you might suspect you aren’t the “most” experienced at something, it doesn’t mean you aren’t the most experienced person at that moment and, therefore, the immediate subject matter expert in the eyes of the hiring manager.

Be proud of your accomplishments and achievements. Prepare for every interview by researching the individuals you will be interviewing for and do a personal inventory of what you have made, saved, or achieved in the past and how your accomplishments will benefit your potential new employer in the future.

Have a bit of the gorilla’s confidence while steering clear of threatening territory!

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