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The Monkey – Swinging Through The Interview Questions

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Jun 27, 2014 in Interviewing Skills

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Interviewing Questions Series: 5-6 of 29 Monkey2

Answers to popular (and sometimes tricky) questions you might hear in your next interview. Suggestions and requests are welcome in the comments. If you are currently a job seeker, a great way to help you prepare for the interview is to prepare a brief answer to all of the questions here. Download all of the questions here: Interview Prep Guide.

What led you to leave your current job?

If you are currently employed and a recruiter calls you, you don’t necessarily have to find something glaringly wrong with your current employer or work scenario to consider the position(s) they describe. You can actually focus on the positives of why this new company/role is of great interest to you. Perhaps it offers you something new to learn or an innovative way to apply your talents to the benefit of the new organization. Surrounding yourself with new people you can learn from is also considered a positive reason for seeking a job change.

If you are discontent or unhappy at your current employer, do your best to avoid speaking poorly about your boss, the company, the business strategy, the work environment, or politics that may be at play causing your to seek a new position. You never know who knows whom, so keep it light. You could be walking into the office of the spouse of someone you work with. People gravitate toward positive energy, so focus on the good rather than looking for negative reasons to leave your current job.

If you are no longer employed, you will need to be comfortable discussing why you left; especially if it wasn’t by choice. Being let go or transitioned out of a job is a very difficult emotional experience, particularly when you didn’t see it coming. Take some time to reflect on what you could have done differently and what will be important to you going forward so that you can find a positive reason for the separation. Even if it is only in your mind, this will make it easier to discuss in an interview. If you really did make a grievous error and were let go for cause, it’s ok. As long as you can admit to your mistake, know what you need to do to avoid that mistake in the future and be comfortable discussing it factually rather than emotionally, you can get past it.

“When would you be able to start?”

“Within 2 week of acceptance of an offer” is a good place to start when you are still at the interview stage. If you know you need to give 3 weeks at your current employer, then tell the recruiter. What you don’t want to do is get into particulars about your summer vacation plans, your prepaid cruise trip, holiday trips with your family that you always go on and couldn’t possibly miss, or that you will need 2 weeks off for you wedding or your kids’ wedding at a certain point. These are all topics that can be broached AFTER you start. It’s normal for people to have life plans; everyone does. Be aware that you may have to take some of that time off without pay if you haven’t accrued enough personal paid time off.

Plans like this are not something you bring up until you have a written offer in hand and a better understanding of the job cycles and how they correlate with your vacation plans. Many cruises can be rebooked for another date if they coincide with a major deliverable or a beach house deposit can often be moved to another week should need be.

 

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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’[email protected]

———–

If you need help reworking or creating your professional bio, email Lindsay at [email protected] with your resume and to inquire about pricing.

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The Social Wolf – Planning Your Career Pack With Social Media

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on May 22, 2013 in Career Path, Job Search, Self Improvement

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How to Utilize Social Media Effectively in Your CareerWolf

Wolves live predominantly in packs to search for food, raise pups, and defend hunting territory. When a wolf leaves their birth pack, it could be in order to join a new pack that may not have as many members or packs that have better opportunities in the hierarchy. Sometimes the searching wolf may even establish their own pack. If a wandering wolf doesn’t find the right pack, it is usually possible to return to their birth pack. Wolves may cover a large area and travel long distances in search of the perfect fit and it often seems to be a hit or miss process. Social media networking can take much of the guess work out of finding your career pack.

People have always looked for ways to interact with their colleagues in order to develop a way of getting a step above the other competitors in their career. Many social networking websites that represent digital social media like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and others present an excellent way of not only staying close to your friends but at the same time offer various growth opportunities for one’s career. Let’s see how social media can help you in your career by allowing you to stay connected with professionals in the community.

How social media works to boost your career

Websites that focus on maintaining and managing one’s professional networks, like LinkedIn, utilize social networking software and principally work on the concept of managing and gathering multi-tiered contacts. “First connections” are those individuals with whom you have a direct connection, as in a co-worker or friend, and the further tiers, such as second or third connections, are professionals that are in your network sphere as a result of having relationships with your direct connections. An individual needs to become a registered user of the website in order to benefit from it. However, once registration is completed, that person can interact with thousands of professionals of the same or different fields as well as maintaining and managing a chain of direct professional connections.

With such career oriented social media websites one can look at companies in their respective fields and even apply for relevant jobs in order to plan a career move. This can be a great benefit to the individuals who are either looking to move companies or researching the first job in their career. Job seekers and employees are not limited by geographical boundaries, but only their own network. These websites realize the importance of personal branding in a job search and hence, suggest their users develop appropriate profiles which can help them represent their accomplishments, strengths, skills and academics to their potential employers or clients. Developing a personal brand with these social sites can make the professional a more valuable asset for the company they work for, their own enterprise, and for the potential employers as well.

Social media has evolved as a great advancement in social networking that boosts professional networking activities and career management for people in a resourceful manner. This electronic way of person-to-person networking is quite an effective marketing tool, which an individual can utilize to market his/ her professional skills. These social media platforms allow any individual to manage his/her own future and career just with a click of a mouse. These have made the professional connections and interconnections possible which grow into a wonderful professional web community. Not only does it offer career prospects, but professional discussions through forums and groups enable individuals to continue to learn many new things pertaining to their field or career.

The social media platforms have revolutionized career development for self management, personal and professional empowerment, as well as networking. It would not be wrong to say that one can indeed utilize the social media effectively for his/her career as it is a valuable way for building professional brand statement in the long run and for finding appropriate opportunities in their career.

Don’t be the lone wolf wandering aimlessly, research a pack with social media and develop the connections to move forward in your career.

This guest post was contributed by Patrick S. Patrick has been recently employed by a professional research paper writing service at SolidEssay.com, where he helps students fine tune their research papers and other academic work.

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 Squirrel – Bargain Hunting in the Jungle

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Nov 21, 2012 in Career Path, Executive Coaching

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Squirrel2As the holiday shopping rush starts, it has dawned on many that the New Year is now just a few short weeks away. It’s that time of the year to grab a moment and simply take stock of what you’ve done well this year, what you want to improve upon for next year, and set goals. Most importantly, it’s resume update time!

Many people don’t take the time to update their resumes annually which creates a monumental chore when you suddenly need it (job change, promotion, bio, etc.). As we all rush through the malls and stores on Black Friday trying to get in the bulk of our Holiday shopping, think about another way you will be able to save during this season. Instead of wracking your memory for accomplishments from the previous 5 or ten years and taking days or weeks to pull your polished resume together when it is needed, make updating your resume a part of your holiday list. It is so much easier to keep things in perspective and keep track of what you have contributed year over year if you have an annually designated time to update. This year’s accomplishments might not be as significant as next year’s but it can become more difficult to remember details of projects as your work evolves. Making note of these things every year will save you time and worry. Time is money, so save yourself both by being prepared.

Just as squirrels collect and store nuts so they’ll have food to last through winter, you can stockpile your accomplishments in your resume every winter. TEN EASY STEPS TO A PERFECT RESUME is a convenient source for you to download from Amazon.com with real life examples of how to organize your resume in order to find the PERFECT JOB.  A good job description with your specific accomplishments listed under each role showing what you have made, saved or achieved will give future readers of your document a great picture of not only what you have done but what you can do for them if they hired you.  Use numbers, specifics, percentages, etc. to quantify your contributions. Definitely note any special awards or accolades you may have received.

Try answering these questions:

  • What change occurred in my company this year and how was I involved in that?
  • How has my department and/or role evolved this year?
  • What were the major projects I worked on and how did they affect the division/ company’s performance?

Year end is also time to make sure you have completed your necessary CPE (continuing professional education). If you have earned licenses, keep your continuing education current so you aren’t scrambling to find classes that will meet your needs at the last minute.

The squirrels who have gathered the most nuts will be prepared for any kind of winter, so follow their example and you won’t have to go nuts to catch up!

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The Underbrush – New Nannies Navigating The Jungle

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Oct 16, 2012 in Career Path, Job Search, Thinking Positive

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In a jungle there are many layers. The top layer is the canopy, where birds flutter from treetop to treetop. A little farther down are the branches. They are a bit harder to move through but still navigable. Then you get to the lower layer. Shadowed by the treetops overhead and tangled with underbrush, this layer is full of snares and entanglements that can trip you up.

The job market is like a jungle. You have the top layer of well-educated and experienced job searchers who seem to flit and fly from job to job landing where they please. Then you have the middle layer of individuals who are either well-educated but not experienced or experienced but not well educated. These job seekers have a little bit of climbing as they grasp and swing from branch to branch collecting experience and education. Then you come to the bottom layer. This layer can contain job seekers who may only have a basic education, little or no experience, or have decided to change fields and are starting from scratch. It is the most difficult layer to navigate and not for the faint-hearted explorers. Experience will come with time and many in this layer are also pursing higher education, but challenging and rewarding employment opportunities may seem few. Someone on this path in the jungle who loves children may want to consider becoming a nanny. You get to spend time one-on-one with a child and really get to know them.

Being a nanny is very different then working in a day care facility or even as a teacher. You get to spend time with one child or maybe a couple of children inside their home, where they feel comfortable. Typically, nannies are also paid more than a day care worker depending on the number of children they supervise and the family. But how do you become a nanny?

Nannies do not generally need any special qualifications. A degree, for instance, is not necessary to get started. What you do need, however, is a clean criminal and driving record. If you are or wish to be certified in CPR or other childcare related things such as early education, it is certainly helpful but not necessary.

The lives of many nannies involve traveling the world and making money. Some nannies vacation with families while others look specifically for work overseas. Job seekers who enjoy children and are interested in exploring can take steps to prepare themselves for a career as a nanny.

1.Consider Your Skills

Nannying seems similar to babysitting, but parents take the job very seriously. You should list all qualifications that make you capable of caring for a child like your educational background, volunteering experience or aspects in your personal life. Miscellaneous jobs and hobbies may also be relevant. If you know how to play an instrument or had a job cooking, then your experiences can add value. Taking the initiative and being CPR certified or learning a families’ native language also shows you are serious.

2. Applying

Taking the time to consider your skills and build the strongest resume helps for the next step. The easiest way to find opportunities is to join an online agency. Nanny boards appeal to families because they usually require ID verification and a background check. You can search through families and apply to good fits, and many sites cater specifically to opportunities abroad. Applications will vary, but most will require a resume, personal statement and references. Agencies usually charge a fee. Ensure the site you choose is easy to navigate and can send applications to as many available jobs as possible.

3. The Fine Print

When vacationing with a family or residing in a new country to nanny, various details should be considered. Find out if you have to pay for airfare, dining, or other expenses. If residing in a country, research the specific requirements for work visas and nannying. Pay rates may be different than what you are used to in foreign countries. You may also be paid less if the family provides accommodations. Not all nanny jobs are lucrative, but you are given spending money and a chance to visit foreign locations.

4. Meet The Family

Impressing the parents with an application and interview sets you on the right track. However, the real challenge is meeting the child. Communicate honestly with parents because you may not meet the child before traveling. You and the parents will have to decide if your personality and skills will work well with the child. You may have plans, but do not be afraid to make changes. Start friendly and tailor your approach to the child’s attitude. It may take time for them to see you as an authority and trust you.

Patience, adaptability and determination are crucial when nannying overseas because you cannot back out easily. Considering your skills, researching, and finding and communicating with families that you work well with will make the process rewarding.

To look for a nanny job close to home, simply contact a local agency or go online to a site like enannysource.com or nannypro.com. There you will be walked through the application process and your resume and application will be seen by families in your area that are looking for a nanny. If you have any previous childcare experience, like babysitting or even taking care of younger family members, that is a plus. Parents also love multi-lingual nannies.

Being a nanny can mean different things to different people, so be very clear on what your expectations are and what the parents expect from you. Some nannies also do light housework, like picking up after the kids, or even some tutoring. It all depends on what the parents want and what you are willing and able to do.

Being a nanny can be an extremely rewarding job. If you love children, then you may want to look into becoming a nanny.

This guest post was contributed by Ken Myers. Ken is an Expert Advisor on multiple household help issues to many organizations and groups, and is a mentor for other “Mom-preneurs” seeking guidance.  He is a regular contributor of www.gonannies.com.  You can get in touch with him at kmyers.ceo @gmail.com

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 Ostrich – Head In The Sand With A Criminal History

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Sep 10, 2012 in Interviewing Skills, Job Search, Lessons Learned, Thinking Positive

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Ostriches will attempt to avoid dangerous situations by burying their heads in sand and pretending the threat does not exist. Although this saying comes from a false legend about Ostriches, it is true that you cannot avoid risky situations, such as a criminal history in a job search, by pretending that it does not exist.

A criminal history is one of the most difficult things to overcome when it’s time to find a job. Many employers require criminal background checks, or at least self-disclosure of criminal history on applications, and the thought of losing out on an opportunity due to even minor charges lurking in your background can be nerve-wracking. But, this is no reason to lose hope for future employment or faith in your career. In fact, there are many steps you can take to overcome a negative background check during the interview process and even give off a better impression than you would have otherwise. Read on for some steps and ideas:

1. Address it head-on.

If you already know that you have some criminal history on your record that could potentially affect your employment, then it’s a very good idea to address the issue head on. This is something that you have to balance, though. If the charges are light enough, such as a few parking tickets, then you may not want to bring them up at all. If there are some serious misdemeanors or felonies on your record it is never a good idea to stay silent.  Rather than waiting until your interviewer brings it up or (even worse) hoping they don’t notice, take the matter into your own hands and let him or her know in the initial interview stages. You will look much more professional by addressing the issue clearly and honestly than by skirting the possible hesitations of the employer.

2. Tell the truth.

This is probably one of the most important pieces of advice when it comes to dealing with a negative history during a job search. It can be tempting to simply keep this information off your application or make certain charges seem less serious than they really were, but this is almost certain grounds for dismissal if your employer ever learns the truth. If you are honest about your past, many employers will take your honesty into account when they are considering whether to hire you. If you are dishonest, an employer would not be wise to ever consider you for hire. Besides, it is much better to approach a job interview knowing that you are being forthright. Getting through an interview based on lies will only mean that you have to keep up those stories to your boss and everyone else who works there.

3. Discuss what you’ve learned.

If you need to bring up some criminal history during a job interview, try to turn this potential negative into a positive. Depending on the charges and how long ago they occurred, you can use this as an opportunity to discuss your own life with a potential employer and what you’ve learned from past experiences. Everyone has a past, and no one is perfect. If there were issues in your life that caused you to go down the wrong path, own up to them and express why you are a different person now than you were then. Learning from your mistakes does not make you less of an employee, it simply makes you human, and every successful person has gone through trials to get to where they are today.

4. Don’t be picky.

Even though the thought of a future employer uncovering a less-than-stellar background in your past makes you cringe, there is no reason to feel like your life and opportunity for success is over. However, knowing that you have a record that would make many employers look the other way, you have to be prepared for multiple rejections. But, there is always opportunity to re-build and start again. If you have to work in less than desirable positions for a while, then that is what you have to do, but there is always a way to come back from a criminal past, as long as you have a true desire to work hard and continue moving in a positive direction. So keep your head out of the sand!

This guest post was contributed by Jane Smith. Jane is a freelance blogger and writer for http://www.backgroundcheck.org/. She specializes in career issues, managing an online reputation, and making healthy life choices. She welcomes you to email her any questions or comments and can be reached at janesmith161 @gmail.com.

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 Chimpanzee – Social Tips For Internship Survival

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Jul 10, 2012 in Career Path

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“5 Tips for Impressing Your Boss at an Internship”

In the African jungle, chimpanzees groom each other daily to solidify bonds with other community members. In the corporate jungle, helping out your co-workers during an internship can also help you develop relationships and improve your chances of survival.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, as the economy improves paid internships are on the rise. However, whether you are interning for a salary or for the learning experience, the relationships you develop at an internship will lead to valuable references and recommendations for the next steps in your career. Of all of these relationships, the one that you have with your boss is probably the most important. So how do you make the most of that opportunity? Here are five tips for impressing your boss at an internship.

1. Act like an employee.

One of the biggest mistakes interns make is acting as though an internship is just something that they are required to do. To make the most of your internship, whether it is paid or not, pick out the most positive cues that full-time employees are giving and follow them. For example, dress like others in the office even if the dress code for interns is more relaxed; offer to take a turn and bring in a treat if the office you’re working in has a snack day; or re-fill the coffee machine or copier as often as you can if it’s a shared responsibility. Make yourself part of the team and show that you have the savvy to fit into the environment of the workplace.

2. Keep busy – even when there is no work to do.

Since even a paid intern isn’t likely to be making as much as a full-time employee, managers often assign tasks to full-time employees first. By the end of the week, this might mean that there is no work for you to do. You should always ask your manager first if there is something to be done, but if there isn’t any work or your manager isn’t available, see what you can do besides surfing the internet. If the office plants need dusting or the shared copy room needs tidying, lend a hand. Offering to do filing for employees who seem to be drowning at their desks or just an extra hand to put together marketing packets will get you noticed as someone who is proactive and motivated. Even if your offers are not needed at the moment, advertising that you are available and enthusiastic will leave a great impression.

3. Be yourself.

When you leave your internship, you want others to remember you as a person, not as the temporary summer intern. The best way to make an impression is to be yourself, and not try to be someone else for the sake of impressing others. Be friendly, discuss common interests, and don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with someone you haven’t met yet. They could be a valuable reference.

4. Keep a positive attitude.

Interns have a unique place in the office hierarchy, and occasionally this can engender bad feelings. For instance, a manager might assign a project to an intern that a full-time employee wanted to work on. This isn’t any fault of the intern’s, but it isn’t as though the intern can re-assign the project to the employee who wanted it, either. When office conflicts like these come up, it’s best to keep a positive attitude and not get caught up in recriminations. The worst thing you can do is be remembered as the intern who couldn’t rise above office politics.

5. End with a thank you.

Whether or not you learned anything impressive during your internship, if you want to encourage your boss to remember you in a positive light you should make an effort to thank him or her before your departure. Save the thank you letter for your next job interview; schedule a face to face meeting with your manager and let him or her know what you learned because of their leadership and direction. At this stage, it’s okay to exaggerate a little – for instance, if your manager tried to teach you something but you ended up having to ask someone else for further clarification, go ahead and give your manager the credit. On the same note, you can also let your manager know who else really helped you. Giving out such kudos will definitely help your manager remember you later, as the intern who made the most of the opportunity and wasn’t afraid to give credit where credit was due. You might even get called back for the next open full-time position.

This guest post was contributed by Laura McPherson. Laura writes for Masters in Accounting, a career resource for learning about getting started in the accounting career field.

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 Jungle Guide – Transformational Leaders

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Apr 3, 2012 in Executive Coaching

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In the jungle, there aren’t many signs to direct you away from danger.  Beautiful plants can be poisonous, lethal fungi can sneak in and kill an entire species of trees in a short period of time, and if you lose your bearings without a compass, you only have your instincts to help you find your way out… but the right guide can help tremendously.

At lunch this week, I was discussing a particularly difficult leadership situation with a Director at a publicly traded company and we got on the topic of transformational leadership.  Anyone can take on the traits of a transformational leader and be effective in the right situations where that type of leadership is particularly successful.

According to leadership researcher Bernard Bass, Transformational Leadership occurs when a leader transforms, or changes, his or her followers in three important ways that together result in followers trusting the leader, performing behaviors that contribute to the achievement of organizational goals, and being motivated to perform at high levels:

  • Transformational leaders increase subordinates’ awareness of the importance of their tasks and the importance of performing them well.
  • Transformational leaders make subordinates aware of their needs for personal growth, development, and accomplishment.
  • Transformational leaders motivate their subordinates to work for the good of the organization rather than exclusively for their own personal gain or benefit. (1)

Let’s suppose you are a leader in an organization that, like many, has gone through extensive change due to external economic influences.  Consider that the people leading the organization are doing as much as they can to attempt to adequately predict the next quarters’ results and have worked with you to ensure you understand your responsibilities within the overall execution of the strategic plan.  You, as the leader of your group, need to steer your team to achieve the pre-established benchmarks despite the undercurrent of uncertainty.

It’s not easy.  (If it was easy, everyone would do it!)   

Realize that you are not alone and many companies and managers are in the same situation.  Leaving your job because of these circumstances may not solve the issue at hand.  Instead, think about what you can do personally to create stability within an environment of uncertainly.  It’s easy to get caught up in what’s going on around you every day and lose sight of the big picture.  No matter what interpersonal drama is happening in your office, take a moment to take stock of yourself in relation to the traits of a transformational leader.   Consider what both your subordinate team and executive team need from you and the answers will become clearer.  Remember, you can’t change other people, only how you react to them.  If you need more leadership directives from the executive team, selectively seek out the proper person to mentor you.  Those with more experience than you have just that….more experience. There is a lot to be learned from others’ experience and style.  Recognizing both positive and negative traits in others helps you mold yourself to be a better leader overall.  Make yourself transformational no matter your personal set of circumstances and find yourself to be the jungle guide your team needs.

(1)    Jones, Gareth R.; George, Jennifer M. (2011-04-26). Understanding and Managing Organizational Behavior (6th Edition) Pearson HE, Inc.

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The Path – When there’s no “Path” to your Career Path

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Nov 22, 2011 in Career Path, Job Search, Thinking Positive

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Those of us who reach a certain age with a resume full of professional disconnects are going to be in for a hard sell.  If you’ve cut a path through the jungle over the years, it’s OK if that path has a lot of twists and turns as long as it gets you from A to Z without encountering flooded rivers or giant waterfalls.  But if your path starts under this tree and then stops one hundred yards away, only to continue from a fresh starting point over on the other side of yonder savannah, it’s going to be tough to get a recruiter to talk to you.

There are several posts on this site that talk about assembling relevant experience to address this sort of issue; my suggestion is that you turn your resume into a theme park with clusters of job experience wrapped around a single skill set, such as marketing or advertising or regulatory affairs or whatever fields you’ve delved into more than once.  I’m assuming that you’re a serial career changer like me, with the resume of a dilettante.

To me the resume and cover letter is all about getting in the door.  What I have gotten results with on a couple of occasions is a resume that stakes my profession firmly in the ground where the recruiter is searching, and then leading with all of the experience I had with the various employers I’ve worked for.  I generally flat list prior employment companies and titles, going back as far as I think is necessary to establish my credentials.  Then I’ll list my accomplishments by function: twelve years of marketing experience in this role for Company A, five years as marketing director for Company B, providing marketing analysis for Company C.

The next mini-paragraph might list my accomplishments in advertising: managing the annual media buy for Company A, closing X deals with product distributors for Company B, launching the online sales and marketing effort  for Company C fifteen years ago.  And the following cluster might talk about another skill that I’ve developed as the result of employment requirements: working with governmental agencies on policy and rules as they relate to my employer.

All of that adds up to what I discuss in the cover letter, which is management in multiple environments for various functions involving public and commercial outreach.  Given the hand I’ve dealt myself – working with media companies, for mayors in two major American cities, for a professional baseball team, for a multimedia development startup – that’s the closest I can come to a thematic approach that (hopefully) shows a path through the jungle with one stretch connected to another.  And what I’ve found is that the more programmatic HR professionals will hit the delete button, but the recruiter who is intrigued by such a mix of experience might just give me a call.

This guest post is contributed by Bob Hartzell. Bob has been writing for five years about education and other life essentials on a variety of websites.  He writes about continuing education, career oriented degrees, both the baccalaureate and the graduate degree online, in recognition of the fact that the job market has undergone tremendous changes in the last twenty years.

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The Rat – Psychology Jobs In and Out of the Lab

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Oct 24, 2011 in Career Path

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When they’re not raiding alleyways for garbage, rats are best known for being the subjects of countless scientific studies and tests, especially in the field of psychology. But did you know that rats are one of the world’s smartest animals? They are incredibly curious, learn quickly and have amazing senses of smell and hearing. They even dream in a similar way to humans.

Careers in the field of psychology are for those curious about the human mind. Many jobs involve research with rats or human subjects, but there are also jobs in psychology that allow you to work directly with people through counseling. Like a rat, you’ll need to be smart, as most positions require a master’s or doctoral degree. Here are some psychology jobs that will allow you to explore the wonders of the human—and perhaps rodent—mind.

1. Career or Vocational Counselor

Career counselors may help college students looking for a first job, or experienced individuals searching for a new job in their field or a new career path. They look at a client’s interests, job history, education, skills and personality characteristics in order to determine what careers may be right. They may also use tools such as assessments and evaluations. In addition, career counselors help clients develop job skills, practice interviewing, improve their resumes and find job openings.

2. School Psychologist

School psychologists help children deal with emotional, academic and social problems, usually in a school or other educational setting. School psychology has rapidly become one of the top job trends due to increased attention to children’s mental health. As it is a relatively new field, demand for qualified school psychologists is high.

3. Counselor

Counselors help a people with a wide variety of problems, but often specialize in a certain issue, such as marriage, family, emotional, educational and substance abuse issues. Most states require at least a master’s degree in order to become a licensed counselor. Typical work settings include schools, colleges and universities, hospitals, mental health clinics and private practices.

4. Genetics Counselor

Genetics counselors help provide individuals, couples, and families with information about genetic disorders. They usually work with other medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, and geneticists to offer support and guidance to families who have a family member with a genetic disorder or who have a risk of passing down an inherited disorder to their future offspring. They usually have graduate training in genetics and counseling, and most have doctorate degrees.

5. Forensic Psychologist

Forensic psychologists apply psychology to the field of law. This career may not be as flashy as it is depicted on shows like CSI, but forensic psychology is still an exciting choice with potential for growth. They often work with other investigative experts to form criminal profiles, examine insurance claims, evaluate child custody reports and investigate suspected child abuse.

6. Engineering Psychologist

Engineering psychologists study how people interact with machines and other technology in order to design and improve the quality of the workplace and its products. For example, they could redesign a product to make it more efficient and easier to use in a work situation. Most work for private corporations performing research or consulting, but some may also be professors.

7. Clinical Psychologist

Clinical psychologists assess, diagnose and treat clients suffering from psychological disorders. These professionals typically work in hospital settings, mental health clinics or private practices. Clinical psychology is the single largest employment area within psychology, but there are still plenty of jobs available for qualified professionals. In order to become a clinical psychologist, you must have a doctoral-level degree in clinical psychology and most states require a minimum of a one-year internship. Most graduate school programs in clinical psychology are fairly competitive.

8. Sports Psychologist

Sports psychologists focus on the psychological aspects of sports and athletics. They research topics such as motivation, performance and injury in order to improve athletic performance. They may also look for ways to use sports as a way to improve mental and physical health. Sports psychologists work in a variety of settings including universities, hospitals, athletic centers, private practices and research facilities.

9. Industrial-Organizational Psychologist

Industrial-organizational (I-O) psychologists focus on workplace behavior and look for ways to increase worker productivity and select the best employees for certain jobs. Some I-O psychologists perform research through employee and workplace assessments, while others work directly with people by evaluating job candidates and training new employees. There are many opportunities at the master’s-degree level, but those with a doctoral-level degree in the field are in greater demand and will earn higher salaries.

10. Special Education Teacher

The field of special education is a wonderful opportunity for those who love helping children. Special education teachers work with students who have a variety of learning disabilities. You may work with several children for shorter periods or work one-on-one with just a few each day. A special education teacher must have a relevant bachelor’s degree and along with a teacher training certificate in special education. Enrollment is increasing in special education programs, and so job demand is high.

This guest post is contributed by Patricia. Patricia has a Masters in Psychology degree and maintains the site Psychology Degree. She writes about various subjects within the psychology field.

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