Dynamic Career Solutions – Issue 2 – Jan 15 – Jan 31, 2011 2
Contents Feature Article Don’t forget the big picture
Expert Career Tips and Advice Climbing the ladder of success
It's one of those sticky questions that divides career counselors
Getting a New Job in 2011
How to Maximize Your Chances
Baby Boomers beware! Don’t let your resume date you
Resume presentation is key
Key words are important
Just for fun Good humor is the key to career success
How to tell funny jokes and impress your boss
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Don’t forget the big picture By: Michael Howard
Michael Howard is a professional resume writer based in British Columbia, with clients all over Canada and the United States. www.alternativeresumes.com
It defines the environment you worked in and how your position fit within the framework of the overall company. Using a retail district manager as an example, here are some things to consider incorporating into your resume:
1. Describe the company. Many retailers are famous around the world, while others are barely known outside their own community. If you Michael is the author of Alternative think there‘s a chance your targeted Resumes: Definitely Not Your employers won‘t be familiar with the Parents‘ Resume Book, which was companies you worked for in the published in 2010 by Writing on past, include a brief description of Stone Press. His previous selfthem. Are they local, regional, published titles, national, or including Alternative international? What Resumes for the Young Past employment experience commodities do they and Creative, Teen is usually the most sell? How many stores Resumes, Alternative significant section of a do they have? What Resumes, and type of stores? Are they resume, and therefore it’s Alternative Resumes for a division of a larger important not to leave the Teens, sold more than company? How do they reader guessing. 5,000 copies to schools, rank in their colleges, career centres, Industry? employment programs, and public libraries across Canada and the US. 2. Describe your accountability. Past employment experience is usually the most significant section of a resume, and therefore it's important not to leave the reader guessing. Most job-seekers like to "zoom in" by describing duties and responsibilities, highlighting achievements, and listing awards and formal recognition. There is nothing wrong with that (achievements are particularly essential on a resume). However, it's equally important to "zoom out" and look at the big picture of each position. What does the big picture look like?
How many stores did you oversee? What geographic area? Where were you based? Were they specialty-size stores or big-box outlets? How many of each? Were they in shopping malls or free-standing? Did your district increase in size under your supervision? How many districts were in the company? How did your district rank in comparison to other districts in sales and other key performance indicators? 3. Describe the organizational structure. What position(s) did you report to -
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regional manager, director, vice president, owner? How many people reported directly to you? Were they all store managers, or did you also oversee visual presentation or other departments? How many people worked in your district in total, including all store staff? What other departments did you work closely with?
better enables them to compare your background to the requirements of the position. If you leave it to the reader to guess these aspects of your work experience, they most likely will not guess favorably.
Including this type of information on your resume allows the reader to put your experience into context, and
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Climbing The Ladder Of Success By Steve Tobak
Five Qualities for Climbing the Corporate Ladder We all know executives who are completely clueless and employees who would make better managers than the CEO. Time and again, we see political players get promoted while smart, hardworking folks (like you) get passed over. There‘s nothing more mysterious than the apparent randomness of promotions into the management and executive ranks. At least, that‘s the way it seems. The truth is that, while executives may not always know what they‘re looking for, they usually know it when they see it. Of course, there are exceptions. Everyone makes mistakes. And of course, a significant percentage of executives are dysfunctional (and we will come back to this in a bit), which certainly bleeds into their hiring and promoting practices. That aside, there is more method than madness when it comes to climbing the corporate ladder. Whether they know it or not, here are five qualities top executives look for in up-and-coming managers. They‘re not necessarily the obvious or most common traits, rather they‘re qualities that truly distinguish potential executives from their peers.
Five Qualities for Climbing the Ladder of Success 1. Flexibility. Willingness to change direction, do what it takes, let go of personal agenda, and swallow pride, all for the greater good and the overall health of the business. Also being a team player when it counts most. There‘s a maturity factor, for sure. This is the trait that surprises people most. 2. Honesty. Courage to look people - especially customers and authority figures - straight in the eye and tell them the genuine truth, regardless of consequences. Telling the story straight without sugar-coating bad news. ―Yes men‖ are toxic to companies. Ethics and morality are related. 3. Leadership. This is not as complex or subjective as you might think. Leadership is the ability to encourage people to follow you, especially when they don‘t have to. It also enables executives to drive consensus, or pull a diverse group together, united behind common goals, strategies and plans. 4. Accountability. Willingness to take responsibility, own a problem, and be held accountable over the long haul, regardless of the risk. Maturity to take it on the chin without pointing fingers and wasting time on CYA activity. Stickwithitness and loyalty are related.
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5. Intelligence. Anybody who denies this is full of it. Everything else can be learned, but not this. Forget old notions of book smart versus street smart. You have to be both. Ability to rapidly digest and analyze information, reason, solve complex problems, and make critical decisions. Do You Have Workplace?
Does your boss act out and throw tantrums like a spoiled child? Are you afraid to bring up certain hot-button issues in meetings for fear of being humiliated? Do you spend more time covering your ass than you do sitting on it? Is your company in a perpetual state of limbo because nobody can make a decision? Does your company‘s statement change weekly?
Does your company ship most of its product the last 24 hours of the quarter? These are all signs of a dysfunctional workplace. But don‘t fret; you‘re not alone. In fact, an entire lexicon has grown up around dysfunctional corporate behavior. See if you can recognize some of the issues that drive you and your co-workers nuts in these definitions: Analysis paralysis. Chronic debating that obstructs the decision making process and leads to operational failure.
Breathing your own fumes. When executives actually start to believe the spin they spew out to the media, analysts, investors, customers and employees. Committing political suicide. Pissing off or going toe-to-toe with your dysfunctional boss or some other self-important executive. CYA. Everyone should know what this means. It‘s what weak, small-minded people do when they should be doing the right thing instead. Disruptive management style. Euphemism for an executive who chronically swoops into meetings, mucks with projects, and generally makes everyone affected want to strangle him. End of quarter panic. The last week of the quarter when everybody wakes up and actually does their job. Usually followed by 11 weeks of partying. Going down a rathole. When two or more people get into a nonproductive argument over a hot topic where neither side will give in so it spirals out of control. Hallway meeting. Executives meet in some obscure place and make decisions in the absence of people who are actually responsible for this sort of thing. Ivory tower mentality. When self-important executives make decisions in a vacuum because they actually have deep feelings of inferiority and fear healthy interaction.
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Moral flexibility. I first heard this expression in John Cusack‘s movie Grosse Pointe Blank. It‘s when narcissistic executives commit fraud and think it‘s fine. Passive aggressive behavior. When somebody agrees to a plan and then does something completely different without telling anybody. Sacred cow. A self-important executive‘s pet project that‘s immune to the company‘s standard processes. Silo mentality. When departments or divisions act as if they‘re independent from the rest of the company, often in a defensive way (similar to bunker mentality). Strategy du jour. When dysfunctional executives consistently overreact to a
single data point or hallway meeting and take the entire organization in a new direction. Take it offline. What to do when people get completely off-track, often in a raucous display of childish emotion, in what‘s supposed to be a productive meeting. If you identify chronic evidence of several of these afflictions in your company, you may wish to consider alternative employment options. If, on the other hand, you‘re the cause, a little psychotherapy, medication or both probably wouldn‘t hurt.
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Getting a New Job in 2011: How to Maximize Your Chances By Jessica Stillman Economics may be the dismal science, but even its gloomy practitioners aren‘t immune to a little New Year‘s optimism. According to a recent CNN survey of a dozen economists, the consensus view of the coming year is that hiring will improve on a grim 2010, while not exactly offering a jobs bonanza. Unemployment will remain high at nine percent, but the economy will add between 1.3 and 3 million new jobs, according to the economists. Great, say the 84 percent of you who told Manpower that you wanted to change jobs in 2011. But with nearly one in ten Americans likely to remain
out of work, how can you improve your chances of standing out in a crowded labor market? Two career experts offer two different tacks to help you reach your goal of getting a great new gig in 2011. PayScale.com‘s Carol Tice focuses on which industries are going to be offering the most openings in a recent post for HotJobs. Her technique is to follow the jobs and focus your search in the following industries, which are set to grow quickly in the coming months:
High tech —The explosion of new mobile gadgets is driving high demand for computer programmers and analysts, says career expert Robin Ryan, the author of60 seconds and you‘re hired. IT program managers and IT project managers are also needed to oversee technology projects. ―You don‘t have to be a programmer, either,‖ she says of the management-level positions. ―You need to be able to communicate well and collaborate, to get things done across departments.‖ Human resources — When companies look to grow, they need to expand their HR staff to handle recruiting, interviews, hiring, and compliance issues, according to Ryan. Management — Ryan is seeing more promotions within large companies, and that‘s creating demand for a range of management roles–for instance, supply-chain manager, marketing manager, and finance manager. Federal government — The days of the low-paid civil servant are over– nearly half the new hires made during the Obama administration have started at salaries over $100,000, notes Laurence Shatkin, the author of 2011 Career Plan. It‘s also easier than it used to be to get into federal jobs, because the lengthy civil-service exam has been eliminated. There‘s major Dynamic Career Solutions – Issue 2 – Jan 15 – Jan 31, 2011 9
hiring taking place at nearly every federal agency, for a wide variety of jobs, including paralegal, auditor, and electrical engineer. Health care — The turmoil created by health care reform is making this field a busier place for hiring, says Ryan. To start, there‘s a need for health care IT specialists who can help hospitals and doctors implement new requirements for sharing electronic medical records. Education — While K-12 hiring is stymied by state budget cuts, there are plenty of opportunities for training instructors, who teach practical skills at private institutes, at vocational training centers, and through online courses, according to Shatkin. For average salaries for each of these positions, check out the complete post. Meanwhile, blogger Dorothy Dalton suggests job seekers focus on self-improvement to up their chances of a new gig for the new year. Her advice includes: Check if you have what has become known as a personal brand – Do you have an updated modern resume and a well maintained professional online profile, both reflecting your career achievements and highlighting what you can offer any potential employer? Do you even know what I‘m talking about? If any of this sounds like a foreign language, seek professional help. Evaluate your life and career goals — Create a strong mission statement with a clear
job seeking strategy within a specified time frame. Invest in some personal development – Take a workshop or course, extend your reading list, renew a subscription to a business magazine or blog and supplement your career goals with some dedicated research or study. Don’t burn bridges – Now you have committed to making that change, tempting though it will be to slacken off slightly, don‘t. It‘s still important to maintain 100 percent motivation. If you‘re starting to feel hopeful, great, let‘s just hope the good feelings last through the release of the latest Labor Department jobs report.
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Baby Boomers, Beware! Don't Let Your Resume Date You! by Deborah Walker If you're a job-seeker of the Baby Boom generation, you may be feeling a little left out by the job market. You're certainly not ready to retire, but the young recruiters you send resumes to don't seem to respond to your skills and experience. If you're experiencing symptoms of age discrimination, you should know that your resume could be the culprit, categorizing you as out of date and over the hill. There are three ways your resume can put you in the over the hill category. Your resume is due for an update if it contains: 1. Outdated technology skills 2. Outdated industry or occupational terminology 3. Outdated resume trends Don't despair if your resume is out of date. You can perform an extreme resume makeover by using the tips below. 1. Make sure you are up to date on your industry's technology. Check multiple job descriptions within your industry to see what technologies employers really want. Determine which technologies are missing from your resume. Then decide what you need to learn or do to fill that technology gap. Consider adult-education classes, college classes, or even online learning. You should be aware that technology terms are often used as keywords to filter the best resumes from electronic databases. If your resume doesn't have them, it may never be seen. Make sure your technology skills aren't leaving you behind.
2. Make sure your resume is using current terminology. If you have just been adding to the same old resume over the years, then your early entries may be using outdated terms. One way to bring your resume up to date is through publications from your industry's professional associations. If you don't belong to any professional associations, you might be missing out on the latest industry-speak. Another good resource is job descriptions. Search job descriptions in your field for recurring terms. Learn to use the current terminology for your industry correctly and effectively.
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3. Make sure your resume reflects today's trends in resume format and style. Some of the old resume rules just don't apply any more. For example: Old Rule: Limit your resume to one page. New Approach: This is a really old idea that limits your ability to show all of your skills and expertise. Old Rule: End your resume with References Available Upon Request. New Approach: You don't need to say that; it's assumed. Old Rule: You should show every job you have ever held and give each equal importance. New Approach: Your employment history should only go back as far as it related to your current employment objectives. Think of your resume as a marketing piece that highlights the best parts rather than as a tell-all. Old Rule: Your resume should go back no more than 10 years. New Approach: Don't use an arbitrary number to determine how much to include on your resume. Use the rule of relevancy to decide how many of your jobs to include. Old Rule: One resume should handle everything. New Approach: Not anymore! In addition to tailoring your resume to different fields or industries, you'll also need to tailor the way that you save it. You'll want to have a standard Word format (for printouts and as email attachments), and a plain text version for online forms, which will save you a lot of time in repairing lost formatting, which often occurs when cutting and pasting a Word document into a text-only form. Let your experience work for you rather than against you. Using these tips to update your resume can make a noticeable difference in interest from employers. And your new resume will be a better reflection of your hard-earned skills, talents, and expertise.
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Resume Presentation is Key By Richard Moore Key words are important when a résumé is being scanned, particularly when being scanned by software which a very few companies are doing now. However, when a human being is reviewing resumes, which is 98% of the time, resume presentation also plays an important role in winning an interview over the other candidates who are applying for the same position as you. When a resume looks almost exactly the same as the one before it and the one before that etc. they tend to be overlooked regardless of the keywords. The majority of resumes sent to potential employers, employment agencies and recruitment agencies by jobseekers tend to be a word document resume and all of them are very close in structure and format. Let‘s put it this way: You are the marketer and sales agent for yourself, your skills and work experience. This means that you need to sell yourself and your skills to a potential employer in a better way than the competition for any particular job position being offered. In much the same way that an advertising company has to sell their
services by impressing the potential client with a presentation that will get their attention, so must a resume do the same thing. The first impression and presentation is the key to getting a potential employer to then look for keywords and go on to look at skill sets and experience. Times have changed! There are more people applying to every job offer than ever before. Employers are receiving 100‘s if not thousands of resumes for every job posting they advertise. Finding a way to present yourself with your resume which will get the potential employers attention is the first step in getting that all important interview. In order to be a step ahead of most everyone else, the text document resume evolved into a Bio Resume. The Bio Resume offered a glimpse into a person‘s character and personality as well as showcasing their skills and experience. These bio resumes have worked very well for those using this format.
To build a resume that will get you noticed there are a few things that need to be considered. 1. Be creative in the look, format, layout and presentation of your resume. Remember, your presentation, if done properly, will get the potential employers attention
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2. Take a close look at the job being offered and the company offering the position 3. Breakdown the job posting and pick keywords used in that posting for use in your resume 4. Write your career objective in a way that emulates the company‘s business model that you are applying to 5. In your Career Skills and Employment History sections, make sure you show bottom lines; numbers that show you helped grow the business of your previous employers and the ideas or projects you implemented that were successful in helping the growth of the company These 5 things will make your resume shine and give you the competitive edge. To give you more insight into what this means (offering a better
presentation than your competition) and for further research into increasing your percent of resumes sent to interviews received. I have found this to be an amazing resource. Dynamic Bio Resumes
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Good Humor is the Key to Career Success Workplace Humor Done Right By Margot Carmichael Lester
Joan Steffen worked in a highpressure sales office. On one particularly stressful day, Steffen decided to lighten the mood. ―The boss couldn't find something she needed, so she hollered, ‗That does it! I WANT EVERY THING IN THIS OFFICE CORRECTLY LABELED BY TOMORROW MORNING!‘‖ Steffen explains. ―So I labeled all her file folders correctly -- and stuck small labels to everything else. Desk. Chair. Copier. Phone. Stapler. Dead Bug in Light Fixture.‖ It got everyone in the office laughing and relaxing -including the boss. ―Laughing releases tension and creates a feeling of camaraderie and connection among people,‖ explains Mark Chalfant, artistic and executive director of the Washington Improv Theater in Washington, DC. ―When people feel closer to one another, it's a lot easier and more pleasant to work together. Plus, if you make everyone laugh, maybe they will forget that you took the last glazed doughnut at the team meeting.‖
―Last Comic Standing‖ to make humor work for you. Much of what makes people laugh isn‘t snappy oneliners, but cogent observations through a slightly twisted lens or making light of the obvious absurdities of life. ―Levity is a learnable skill that can enrich your workplace culture and your personal life,‖ notes Scott Christopher, co-author of The Levity Effect: Why It Pays to Lighten Up. ―It's not something you have to be born with. If you're a brow-knitter or a jaw-clencher by nature, it's not too late.‖ To get your funny on, follow this advice from Steven Sultanoff, a professor at Pepperdine University and past president of the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor: Teach yourself to look and think outside the box. Poke fun at events, not people. Look for absurdity and incongruity in situations to develop your sense of humor.
Find Your Funny Bone
Suppress Your Inner Rickles
You don‘t have to be a candidate for
One person‘s joke is another person‘s
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insult, so humor in the workplace shouldn‘t be used indiscriminately. ―Always double-check your attempts at humor to make sure they wouldn‘t generally be considered offensive to most people,‖ counsels Cathy Hart, vice president, human resources and central services for Opus Corp. in Minneapolis. ―Mean-spirited humor isn‘t, in fact, humor at all. It‘s a passive-aggressive way to take out stress on others.‖
disagree,‖ de la Vega adds.
How do you know? ―If you have to say, ‗I was only kidding‘ or ‗Can‘t you take a joke?‘ then you are likely using hostile humor,‖ Sultanoff says. To keep it playful, ―use props like foam balls, wind-up toys, humorous signs, etc.‖
―We worked with the Great Place to Work Institute -- you know them from Fortune's annual Best Places to Work issue -- and found that companies that scored the highest in fun and levity were the ones that made the list,‖ Christopher explains. ―These companies, incidentally, produced up to five times higher returns on investment than the S&P 500 in one study.‖
Get Playful For instance, when tensions get high at Social Sauce, a user-generated content and communication platform in New York City, combatants break out foam swords. ―In an office of mostly Internet and tech males, the sword fights diffuse tension by allowing coworkers to play similarly to the online games they play or develop,‖ explains Jenn de la Vega, a marketing assistant there.
Realize the Value of Workplace Humor In the end, levity among the cubicles isn‘t just good for you and your coworkers -- it benefits the business. ―Fun and humor at work are proven characteristics of organizations with higher retention, engagement and profitability,‖ Christopher says.
―I believe that the playful attitude associated with the swords allows a degree of comfort where coworkers can talk to each other honestly and approach each other when they
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Dynamic Career Solutions is a magazine focused on providing career advice, tips and solutions to obtaining and keeping the career of your dr...