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The Crocodile – Being an Opportunist During Your Job Search

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Dec 29, 2015 in Job Search, Thinking Positive

Crocodile2A trip to the Zoo or any natural habitat would definitely allow you to observe one of the most static yet mystical creatures the jungle has to offer – a Crocodile. A large tropical reptile that preys on animals and sustains itself, the crocodile surely is one of the slyest creatures any living being can learn from.

A crocodile stays silent and calm until the right moment arrives and then lunges with its full force to capture prey. This draws us towards an analogy fit for the job search jungle as well. Be it any field you aim for, job offers start falling into your lap only when you are truly an opportunist and move ahead with the right approach. The discussion below talks in the same regard.

Growing should be the Only Thought in Mind

An opportunistic attitude is often viewed as a negative trait, one which makes you the ‘undesirable’ amongst others. Think about the Croc for a moment. It might be considered one of the most dangerous and harmful creatures in its vicinity, but isn’t that the way it sustains itself?

As far as a learning attitude is maintained, grabbing chances by the bud and making the tide turn in your favor is nothing to be worried or embarrassed about. Whether it is applying for new jobs, generating employer leads, networking or working on your personal branding efforts, there are numerous ways you are growing. Just don’t take it as another job, rather, it’s a new opportunity to grab!

It is the Only Way to Take Control of Your Career

There are people who keep waiting for the right opportunity throughout their lives and end up with nothing to show for it. There are also people who don’t wait, but create chances from whatever comes their way. Well, that is one attitude which ensures survival in today’s competitive work arena.

Chances to work and earn crucial skills come in all shapes and sizes. It’s up to you and your plans to make the right pick. In short, you take control of your career and propel it to greater lengths.

Being Opportunistic Makes you Time Efficient

With the world crunching down to the dire needs of the moment and everything coming with a sell-by-date, time efficiency is one of the major constraints one has to deal with. It might be nothing less than a piece of news, during one’s job hunt campaign, opportunities get out of hand as fast as they come.

Having realized the same, you definitely have a good reason to abstain from any detour on your path to the desired career goal. You realize how precious every small chance/option is, hence availing them the moment they arrive. There’s a reason the opportunist drank the glass of water while the optimist and pessimist were busy fighting over whether it was half full or half empty.

Critics Shouldn’t Matter

An old saying iterates that if you’re doing something different, criticism is obvious to follow and the same applies to the job search jungle as well. For many might despise the Crocodile, think of ways to prey on it and save themselves, but none succeed in stopping it from having a nice and healthy meal. Likewise, no matter what your peers talk about, reasons are plentiful for you to make full use of the opportunity. Give it a shot and see what follows next in your career!

This Guest Post was contributed by Anshuman, Anshuman Kukreti 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 Rhodesian Ridgeback – Keeping Mobile Can Keep You from Harm

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Jun 11, 2013 in Career Path, Self Improvement

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RidgebackThe Rhodesian Ridgeback is a beautiful animal that is used to hunt lions and other prey in Africa. They have great speed and are built for agility. The Ridgeback will use hit-and-run tactics wearing down its target while the hunter closes in for the kill. By keeping yourself mobile, you too can keep yourself from being harmed in a proverbial sense. Rely on your own fancy footwork in order to prevent from being laid-off or outright fired.

1. Agility – Using superior agility, the Rhodesian Ridgeback will attack its prey from various locations by moving around it. As the metabolism of this canine is extremely high, this animal can wear down prey due to exhaustion from trying to keep up. Each attack is meant to weaken until it can no longer fight against the onslaught of speed and agility. You should view your work ethics in the same manner.

By keeping yourself motivated to try new aspects of the company, you can keep yourself in high regards to management. By taking on several tasks bit at a time, you can eventually learn a new skill that will put you that much higher on the totem pole of employment. The more versatile you are, the more valuable you are.

2. Speed – Although not as fast as the Greyhound, a Rhodesian Ridgeback can show great demonstrations of speed. Few canines are as fast as this animal on a dead run which allows them to hit their prey fast while giving the necessary speed to evade being attacked themselves. If a battle goes badly, the Ridgeback can easily escape in many situations.

Your speed should be equally as great when it comes to your career. If an opportunity presents itself, you need to be able to snatch it up as quickly as possible. If you are too slow, someone else could easily take your place. If a co-worker is putting the company in jeopardy with poor decisions, you need to distance yourself from that project as quickly as possible and wait for reinforcements to arrive. If that co-worker will not listen to reason, there is no sense involving yourself in the situation.

3. Metabolism – Although the Rhodesian Ridgeback has an extremely high metabolism, the canine has an eating disorder. They will consume every morsel of food regardless if they are hungry or not. This can be detrimental to the breed’s endearing qualities and consumption needs to be monitored in order to remain healthy.

Biting off more than you can chew can put yourself in jeopardy as well. Unlike the Ridgeback, you have the ability to determine when too much is too much. Taking on various tasks is one thing, but you can put your career at risk if you’re in over your head. Be realistic to yourself and your career and not take on tasks that are beyond your capabilities.

Few employers want to hire someone who is good at their job but not interested in pursuing greater aspects within the company. Those who are lazy and uncaring about the greater whole of the location could find themselves on the chopping block when it comes time to let someone go. Even if there are those who are more skilled at a single aspect of the task, those that perform extra duties and are willing to learn more are still the last to be let go. Keep your attacks at life balanced and frequent, for the Rhodesian Ridgeback knows that slow reflexes will equal elimination.

This guest post was contributed by Ken Myers. Ken is the founder of  http://www.longhornleads.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 Migration – Two Weeks Notice

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Jul 5, 2011 in Career Path

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When the going gets tough, sometimes the tough get going, but that’s no excuse to not give two weeks’ notice.

Migration is in all major animal groups, including birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and crustaceans. Migration “triggers” may include changes in local climate, local availability of food, the season, or mating reasons. In the workplace, migration could be caused by an offer of better opportunity elsewhere, insufficient pay, noncompetitive benefits, inappropriate pressures, stress, etc.

The sudden recent resignation of Washington Nationals manager, Jim Riggleman, ignited a lot of lunchtime and watercolor conversations about quitting without proper notice and whether he was justified in his decision or just plain unprofessional.

As Dave Sheinin reported in the Washington Post, On the day that the Washington Nationals moved over .500 since 2005 in their latest win, Manager Jim Riggleman abruptly resigned, taking a stand against what he saw as an unfair contract situation.

Riggleman made his dissatisfaction with both his salary and short term nature of his contract known from almost the moment it was decided in 2009. He gave his ultimatum before the game on June 23 in a sudden and brief meeting with General Manager Rizzo: a better deal by the end of the game or he quit. Riggleman didn’t get the terms he wanted and he resigned.

Quitting without proper notice is certainly within your rights but what is the true cost to your reputation? There was nothing wrong with what Riggleman wanted, but how he tried to get it is another discussion. Who would hire someone with this seeming lack of professionalism and consideration? Riggleman walked out on his team in the middle of the season, and may have doomed his career while attempting to improve it.

It’s worthwhile to note that Riggleman was replaced within a week’s time, which is true for pretty much anyone. But why damage your personal reputation and close a door you can never open again by walking out without notice?

There is no law around this, but it is customary and professional to offer at least two weeks’ notice to your employer, where able, even if you are a consultant on a project. Leaving people in a lurch is not the way to create goodwill around your name and reputation, and at the end of the day, no matter how hard you have worked, an ungraceful exit is what people will remember you for.

Executive Coach Scott Eblin who contributes to GovExec.com offers the following points to consider before you do something you might regret in his article Three Things to Consider Before You Quit Your Job in a Huff

Think Long Term: It sounds like Riggleman was really focused on what was eating him in the short term. He wanted a longer term commitment from his employer. It’s easy to get so caught up on what you want in the short term that you lose sight of long term considerations like, ‘What will this do to my reputation, my future employment prospects and how I think of myself down the road?’

Ultimatums Rarely Work: If you’re going to deliver an ultimatum like give me a better deal or I’m out of here, you better have a lot of leverage on your side. Before you go in with guns blazing, step back and ask yourself if you’re really indispensable. Chances are that you’re not. That’s why Charles DeGaulle said, ‘The cemeteries are full of indispensable men.’

Why Quit a Winning Team?: Apart from the fact that he was hired to coach the Nationals through a full season, why would Riggleman or anyone else quit on a team that’s improving and winning? Even if you’re not happy with your deal, you can get stuff done, learn a lot and position yourself for better opportunities down the road by nurturing a winning team.”

Quitting without notice in the middle of a project (or a season) is never going to be considered professional, no matter the situation. Your reputation is one of your best assets so approach your employer professionally to work out an exit strategy that is graceful and keeps the door open. Burning bridges is very often one of the worst career mistakes.

Companies merge, change names, etc. You never know where the future will take you, or those around you, so always conduct yourself in the manner in which you want to be treated by others and you will keep your career on a positive trajectory.

If someone (like a recruiter) encourages you to quit your current assignment without notice so you can start a job for them, THINK TWICE! It is YOUR reputation that will be damaged, not theirs.

These situations are always resolvable so talk to your supervisor about solutions BEFORE you migrate through the door, and it hits your reputation from behind.

More migration facts can be found here

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The Koala – Clinging to Success After A Bad Interview!

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Sep 23, 2009 in Interviewing Skills, Job Search, Lessons Learned, Self Improvement, Thinking Positive

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Have you ever left an interview thinking that you could have done better? Or maybe it was the interviewer who prevented you from showing what you are worth? It seems that bad interviews happen more than good ones and we shouldn’t cling to the negative aspects. Companies interview more than one person for every available position; and it usually takes more than one interview to finally obtain the job. It is understandable that you can’t ace them every time. 

“BAD INTERVIEWS” can fall into a couple of categories:

 1 – An interview where you feel you performed poorly or

 2 – An interview where the interviewer was not prepared or ill-equipped to perform the interview

1.     There’s nothing worse than getting in the car, cab, or subway after an interview and remembering something you wish you would have said better.  It’s the old “shoulda woulda coulda” game and it happens to everyone at some point. Knowing how to let go of the bad and cling to the good is how the Koala stays in the tree. Keeping a journal or jotting down your thoughts helps you to avoid the same mistakes twice and recognize and avoid the “weak branches”.  If you are keeping a well organized job search folder, you can refer back to your previous notes as reminders before the next interview. 

Then there’s the time where you realize you said something you shouldn’t have.  Again, making notes of what went well or poorly will help you avoid repeating mistakes. Do your best to avoid negative topics like, what your boss does wrong, what you don’t like or (worse yet) who you don’t like. Even if you’re feeling comfortable with someone, don’t let them drag you into the gossip mill. Find something positive to say about all those people instead of the easy to point out flaws. The more positive or stronger the topics or branches, the higher you will climb in the interviewer’s regard. For example, working for a boss that is never available could be re-worded to something like “my boss was very active in many parts of the company which required me to make special effort to get on their calendar to get my questions answered which, ultimately, made me a better time manager.”

2.     It is possible a bad interview stems from the interviewer themselves being not adequately prepared or in the proper frame of mind to focus on you at the appointed time. The interviewer seems distracted reading their emails, taking phone calls, or someone pops in. In today’s hectic business climate, interruptions are expected. Don’t take them personally!  Arriving well prepared with a list of questions about the job, the company, and specific projects that have been going on the past six months or so help you to bring these frequently distracted interviewers’ focus on you, the job, and why you are the fittest for the climb.

There’s also the interview where you just don’t hit it off with the person with whom you are interviewing.  There are certain techniques you can use to establish rapport quickly to ensure you navigate the sparse branches and make the best first impression every time. For instance, people like to talk about themselves, so attempt to draw them out!

Remember, interviewing is a subjective exercise. There’s no way you can predict the outcome so the best way to win is to listen carefully to the questions being asked, thinking about “what’s in it for them (the company)” not “what’s in it for you”.  Focus on the company’s needs as they state them and offer specific examples of how you have performed those duties in the past or could contribute directly. 

Be like the Koala and steer clear of the weak branches of conversation, look out for opportunities to climb high on positive topics, and be prepared to wade through a sparse tree and help the interviewer focus.

A few quick tips to keep in mind: Show good manners. Say please and thank you to everyone you meet, not just the decision maker. Dress professionally, even if it’s a casual environment Sit up straight, be engaged in the conversation, and DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Research the company so you know what they do and who their major competitors are so you can ask thoughtful questions. Show them you’re into them…and always send a thank you note!

For a webinar on this topic, please visit http://www.carolynthompson.net/interviewingskillswebinar.htm.

Carolyn Thompson

Author of TEN EASY STEPS TO A PERFECT RESUME…available on Amazon.com!
and TEN STEPS TO FINDING THE PERFECT JOB…available on Amazon.com!  

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