Career Planning – Some Do’s And Some Don’ts

Career planning ideally should start during the final years of your education. If you are lucky and your educational institute has a career guidance counsellor” so much the better, as he/she can open a number of avenues for you depending upon your skills and temperament. If you did not have this luxury then you need to go it alone keeping in mind the following:

  • You must have some idea on what you want and in what sector you would like to make a career. This is very important. Initially at ground level it is necessary to have a goal. You might change tack later in life but the initial decision is by far the most important one you will take. This should be your personal mission.
  • Once you know the type of job you want educate yourself on the intricacies of this job. Attend seminars, courses etc and get to know about the job better.
  • You are most likely to encounter road blocks but NEVER give up and be your own agent of change. You must consider yourself as a commodity to be sold and sell yourself effectively by using a well constructed résumé.
  • Preferably do not look for a job which pays more but look for one where you enjoy working as this would pay back in the long run.
  • Be positive in your interviews and convince the interviewers that you are capable of handling the job if given a chance and stick to your promise.
  • Be always open minded in everything in the work place.
  • Follow your heart because sometimes a “gut feeling” works better.

Never fall into the following traps:

  • Having no clear focus, not being able to articulate properly, lacking in clarity and direction etc..
  • Diffidence, uncertainty, lack of self-confidence, fear of the unknown – all these will drag you down.
  • Negativity in any form would be your downfall and so avoid thinking negatively.

Telephonic Interview Tips

Everyone is different. Personally I don't think it has as much to do with what time of the day that you do a phone screen as it does how prepared you are for that phone screen.

Speaking from the experience as someone who is in the recruiting industry and has done numerous phone interviews, if a recruiter or hiring manager gives you the choice of when you would like to conduct the phone screen, obviously pick the best time of the day that you think works for you. However, in many cases, that recruiter or hiring manager has a full schedule and you may have to accommodate their schedule.

In any regards, here are the things you need when conducting a phone interview. If you prepare ahead of time, you should have no problem doing very well on the phone.

In any regards, here are the things you need when conducting a phone interview. If you prepare ahead of time, you should have no problem doing very well on the phone.

Items needed:

  • COPY OF YOUR RESUME: It's important that you are looking at the same document as the person interviewing you on the phone. Chances are high that they will have your résumé in front of them and ask questions based on what you have listed on your résumé.
  • A STORY FOR EACH BULLET: To be 100% prepared for any questions that could be asked based on your résumé, you should be able to tell a story for each bullet point you have listed on your résumé. This means you should go through your résumé and think about a time you can tell the interviewer about for each bullet item.
  • LINKEDIN PROFILE OF YOUR INTERVIEWER: When conducting a phone screen, you should be sitting in front of your computer with the interviewers LinkedIn profile pulled up. The more you know about the person interviewing you, the better chances you have to make a good impression.
    When you are scheduling a time for an interview, whether in person or via the phone, you should ask for the name(s) of the person conducting the interview. Look them up on Google and LinkedIn to find out as much as you can.
    Side note: Don't let your interviewer know you have checked them thoroughly out, otherwise it could feel awkward for the interviewer. Just use the information to your advantage when interviewing (i.e. mentioning an organization you belong to if they belong to the same organization).
  • ANSWERS TO EXPECTED INTERVIEW QUESTIONS: There are several books at your local book store that can provide you a list of the most commonly asked interview questions. Get easy interview bonus points by preparing your answers ahead of time for these types of questions.
    Side note: Also be prepared to answer hard questions such as gaps in employment, frequent change of jobs, etc. The better prepared you are to answer these tough questions; the more at ease you will put your potential new employer.
  • COMPANY'S WEBSITE: You should also have the company's website pulled up on your computer while interviewing. There could be something stated during the interview process and by having the company's website up you might be able to pull off a comment that helps your cause.
  • QUESTIONS TO ASK: You will almost always be asked if you have any questions. NEVER say you don't have any questions to ask. Be proactive and ask your interviewer questions about the company and position you are interviewing for.
    If you prepare yourself with these things, it will not matter what time of day your phone interview takes place because you have prepared yourself. Remember, the interviewer can't see you during a phone screen so take advantage of that and have all your tools and resources directly in front of you.
  • Resource: http://www.linkedin.com/in/otiscollier

Three basic steps involved in planning a successful career

Everybody wants to have a successful life, but not everyone knows how to go about achieving it. Many people don’t know what they’re interested in or even how to make good decisions. That’s where career counseling can help.

One of the most important decisions you will ever make in your life is choosing a career. Too many people just drift into jobs, and end up staying there because they don’t know what else to do. If this sounds familiar to you, career counseling can help you identify what you want to do, and show you that what others want you to do is less important. Career counseling will help you identify what you really want to do with your life. Do you dream of a fast-paced career in investments? Perhaps you wish that you had more time and no money worries, so that you can do something altruistic, like working for a non-profit organization. Finding out what will make you happy is absolutely essential.

Career counseling will show you that you need to take risks in order to realize your dreams. If you haven’t already done so, explore various career options. Research alternative careers on the internet, or attend talks on interesting careers. If an opportunity comes your way, experiment with careers which interest you by taking on an internship or trying a brief work stint.

Career counseling will also reveal that a career doesn’t have to center on a job. You can have a very rewarding and profitable career without being an employee.

Good career counseling will have you examining the lives of successful career builders and asking what did they do to get to where they are today? Given your current skills and experience, will you be able to achieve what they have? If you need new skills to accomplish your goals, career counseling may show you that you need to equip yourself by taking up courses. Busy? Do what many resourceful people do - take internet-based, bite-sized courses. With determination, you will realize your dreams.

Career counseling facilitates the career planning process. These are the three basic steps involved in planning a successful career:

  • Self Assessment
    Gather information about yourself, such as your interests, aptitudes, values, preferred environments, realities, roles and needs. Career counseling can help you sought out your priorities.
  • Options
    Explore the options and industries you are interested in, as well as the job market. Get more details after narrowing down your options. Do detailed research through reading, taking up short courses, doing brief job stints, like internship, part-time work or even volunteering. If you’re short on time, you can get ‘career counseling’ from an online learning success center by studying the various career options and education offered.
  • Action
    Take concrete steps to achieve your goal. Goals without appropriate action are worthless. Career counseling can help motivate you. Develop a career search strategy, prepare for job interviews, and identify sources for acquiring new skills and education, including life skills like communication and money management. Be disciplined.

Tips to Safeguard your jobs

Here are a couple of tips to safeguard your job during recession.... There could be more, please feel free to add!

  • Attitude and behaviour - Generally companies wait for a chance to cleanse the organization of people who don't have a great attitude and behaviour! So be POSITIVE.
  • Performance: Critical factor... in cases where it is difficult to define "productivity" as in the IT/BPO service space, please ensure that your supervisor knows about your performance! Pay extra importance to productivity and Quality... Clients can be most demanding at this time.
  • Avoid long holidays: At this time it is important that you prove yourself and you are around in the office. If the company can manage without you being around, then you might not be needed! Avoid taking leave at this time.
  • Avoid short holidays as well!!! Ensure that you spend longer hours at work. Both quality and quantity of work is important now.
  • Extra work: Take in extra work when existing employees take leave or are terminated
  • Initiative and Involvement: Show initiative and take up additional responsibility.
  • Acquire New Skills: Acquire new skills that are useful to you and the company! Multitasking is the favourite buzzword these days.
  • Relax and Medidate: Job related stress factors that adversely affect health can be minimized by taking up yoga and medidating. This should help counter the day to day problems!
  • I am sure there is light at the end of the tunnel... but it is best that we continue to follow the above to safe guard our job at all times :)

Managing a difficult colleague

The ability to resolve conflict in the workplace is a valuable skill to have. When workplace conflict is not managed efficiently this can lead to disastrous repercussions. In any given relationship conflicts and disagreements are part of it. When we live in a society or in a work place we need to work in tandem with others with different viewpoints, backgrounds, mental abilities, attitudes, hang-ups and plain simple ego and arrogance. Some people are difficult to get along with, some are not. But before we label one of our colleagues as a difficult colleague we must rule out the possibility that we could be the cause for him/her to be a difficult kettle of fish. Before rushing off to investigate the psyche of a “difficult” colleague, begin with yourself. Take a self-assessment test. You may be the difficult one to others with your own certain character faults. Be aware of these before you go ahead to deal with your colleague who you think is difficult. It may be that he does not react well to your suggestions or works in contradiction to your way of thinking and acting but have you done a thorough self-appraisal which might give you a clue as to why the person behaves in the way he/she does? If you discover that you have really no great faults and the colleague is genuinely a difficult hard nut then you can go about in managing the situation.

  • Practice patience when dealing with a difficult co worker. Trying to get a word in when someone is upset. Ranting and raving is not really worth your trouble. Allow the difficult colleague to argue his or her case. Try to stay calm and unemotional.
  • Change your actions: When faced with a difficult colleague, you have a better chance of getting him/her to understand you by focusing on what he/she needs from you.
  • Don’t let one bad meeting escalate into an ongoing difficulty. The longer you ignore a problem, the more entrenched it will get. Often a simple conversation can sort things out immediately.
  • Communicate his/her way. Far better to identify how your style ... differs from theirs and adapt your own accordingly.
  • Prepare for the worst, Don't reward bad behaviour, Be clear and consistent, Focus on goals not methods,
  • Finally remember if all fails: Some things can't be fixed

Positive Thinking - Better Career

Think positive all the time. Life is too short to live in a continual state of conflict. Therefore, you must strive to rise above bitterness to become the best you that you can be. You will be a person of a greater influence and have a greater impact on others without bitterness in your life. So the question is, how do you overcome bitterness? Sometimes you may feel like the world is against you and no matter what you seem to do nothing ever comes out the way you want it to. With all the stresses and strains of life during what are now difficult times it is understandable that you might find it difficult to feel positive about things but why don't you opt for a change and see what happens.

Bringing a little bit of positivity into your life is a good thing and can help get you out of your depressed state. If you think negatively the chances are that only negative things will happen to you. It's very important that you make sure that you have time to yourself. Try to get yourself organized at home and make a list of the things that you have always wanted to do but have never got around to doing.

If you can't stand clutter and feel that this is draining your positivity then make an effort to tackle this head on and rid yourself of things that you don't really use anymore. At the office do the same with your desk and have a sort out of your inbox at work. A clearer mind will help you think positively. Surrounding yourself with positivity will be great for your well-being so get out the photos that make you smile, frame them and hang them up where you will see them. If flowers or plants make you happy buy some or dedicate some time to your garden so that you can see them through your bedroom or kitchen window.

If the rooms in your home are a little drab then why not invest in some brightly colored throws to cheer the place up? If it's a rainy day try not to let it get you down, instead tackle it head on and invest in a fun and colorful umbrella that will brighten up your day as well as passersby. If you enjoy listening to music and it makes you feel happy they why not invest in an I pod or another Mp3 player that you can listen to on your way to work.

Positive thinking and positive attitude goes a long way in building ones good and bright future. So think positive and live happy.

When you become your manager's boss!

Be frank. Isn’t this something you have always wished for? To become your manager’s boss so that you can give him back in kind for all the real and perceived slights you have suffered during his tenure as the boss? Revenge is man’s commonest and oldest action known to man and there is a curious delight in taking revenge. How many times have you said to yourself “when I become the boss this is how I will deal with this situation, this is how I will take decisions, this is how I will treat this person” etc..

But the fact is, in our blindness, we fail to realize that the manager behaves in the way he does not because he is the boss because the circumstances under which he is operating. Many times we do not know the inner world of the manager’s life and we see only the outer shell and on this we base our judgement. He may be stressed due to various other compulsions (handed down no doubt from his bosses) and he cannot deal with them and hence “takes it out” on others. This is the common perception. It is not every day you get a boss who is genial, jovial and likeable. If you do you are very lucky indeed.

Hence have a heart and understand and empathize with the manager when you become his boss. First of all you need to be a gentleman all the time. Revenge should never be considered. You treat your previous manager with all the respect he deserves as he did have a role to play and did his best for the company. When you step into your manager’s shoes you will realise that there are many issues which you were not aware of and you will find that you have a new found respect for the manager. You need to keep your erstwhile manager in good mood and go to him occasionally to ask for advice (which he will appreciate) although you may not necessarily take action on this! You treat him like a gentleman not because he was your manager, but because you are one. You must rise above all pettiness and show a grandiose, larger than life attitude and only thus you can extract good work from him. You should make him feel that he is one of the more important cogs in the machinery of your company and his views are respected because of his experience in that company.

Your previous manager could be a very useful tool in your hands when you decide to treat him well and show him respect.

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