Saturday, June 11, 2011

Saturday Night Classic Music Video

It's time to crank it up...

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Getting Hired (Part 5)

Today, the final in a 5 piece series on getting hired.

I wrote this series 5 days ago on Sunday.

The subject has been on my mind a lot recently as I know a couple of people who are looking for work.

The best time to look for a job is when you already have a job.

It is being proactive instead of reactive.

Rarely have I been unemployed. Only once in my life did I ever collect an unemployment check, and by the time the first check arrived, I had a new job.

Oh, I've lost jobs before.

My first radio job while in high school, I was laid off from.

My 2nd, 3rd and 4th full time jobs in radio I was let go from. It was the nature of the radio business which is very insecure when you are on the air.

I also quit a few jobs, fought for a few jobs and even started new careers a couple of times.

I turned down job offers and have been turned down from jobs that I thought were in the bag.

What has happened the past few weeks however in my life breaks all the rules.

What began as a conversation between a couple of friends on April 21st, has led to a new career which starts officially on June 20th.

You can click here to read about it.

There was no resume, no H.R. department, just someone who knew me, who found out I was interested in a new opportunity and everything fell into place.

There are risks involved. I'm giving up a few things in exchange for new challenges, but the pay off for the risks are ones I am willing to take.

I urge you to not wait until you are unemployed to start looking. Prepare now for your next step.

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Thursday, June 09, 2011

Getting Hired (Part 4)

Most resumes are not used to find the right person for a job.

Most resumes are used to eliminate the wrong people from a job.

When I was looking to hire people, that's what the resume process was all about.

So if you think you can use a generic resume for a specific job, you are probably wrong.

If there is a specific job you are applying for, write your resume for that job.

Focus on relevance.

Connect your skills, abilities and experiences to the skills, abilities and experiences that they are looking for.

And if you are just applying for a job where no resume is needed, you still need to come prepared with all the information that you will need to fill in their application.

Come prepared with the info, a pen and dress up a bit.

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Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Getting Hired (Part 3)

Ready for the 3rd part of this series?

Let's talk about your attitude.

Odds are if you are unemployed, your self esteem has taken a hit.

And it shows.

You need to change it.

You need to put on a happy face, but it has to go deeper than that.

You need to believe in yourself and your ability to do the job that you are applying for.

It's called confidence.

If you were let go from your last job because of something you did, or didn't do, in other words you were fired, then you need to take responsibility and promise yourself that you will not do "that" again.

If you lost your job due to cutbacks and it honestly had nothing to do with you personally, then don't take it personally.

Use the negative self-talk you are hearing and tell it to shut up and replace it with positive messages.

This is what salespeople have to do every week, sometimes everyday.

And those examples I mentioned, they have all happened to me in my life.

Tomorrow, the subject will be resumes and applications.

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Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Getting Hired (Part 2)

Continuing 5 days on the subject of getting hired.

Let's start with that first job and a story about one of my kids who told me that she couldn't find a job.

She was in high school and we took a drive with a piece of notebook paper and a pen.

I told her to number each line on the paper and then we were going to drive around as she wrote down names of businesses that she would later contact to see if they were hiring.

She felt a sense of accomplishment when she filled up that sheet of paper, then she scowled at me when I told her to turn it over and we were going to do the same on the other side.

When we got home she had over 50 businesses to contact by phone that week so she could see which ones were hiring and she could go apply.

The next afternoon she called me excited because she had some leads of places that were hiring high school students and she was going to apply.

Before the week was over, she had 2 or 3 job offers to choose from.

These were not perfect jobs, they were money jobs, jobs you work to earn money, not necessarily to change the world.

If you are unemployed, are you doing the real work to get a job to earn money?

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Monday, June 06, 2011

Getting Hired (Part 1)

This week at this time each afternoon I'm going to address the unemployment/employment issue.

First off Words of Wisdom from Harvey Mackay:

Harvey Mackay's Column This Week

Look beyond human resources to find a job

By Harvey Mackay

A big stack of my mail comes from frustrated people who have tried very hard to find jobs without success. With the slow economic recovery, it's still mighty tough out there.

As I researched my last book, Use Your Head To Get Your Foot in the Door: Job Search Secrets No One Else Will Tell You, I frequently heard concerns from people who were upset at human resources departments. One person said that of the more than 300 résumés he's sent out for jobs for which he was qualified, he's only heard from 17, positive or negative. He was hoping for some better feedback so he could improve his employment odds.

HR people don't deserve the bad rap. Let me shed a little light on the subject. First, you have to realize that human resources is not a profit center and because of that, they will often be short staffed. When cuts occur, human resources is among the first to be hit.

For example, here at MackayMitchell Envelope Company, we have one HR manager to service our three plants. Our company recently received 900 applications for one position. And that was through e-mail alone. There were hundreds of applications sent through the mail as well.

Being an envelope guy, it pains me to say this but my advice is to always e-mail your résumé. It's much easier to get a response. You will seldom get a response if you mail your résumé. Don't sabotage your chances, because the amount of paperwork that is handled by human resources is astounding.

Be aware that big companies have software that scans résumés for key words, so use language that computes. Use key words in your résumé that tie in with the requirements of the position. You may need to tailor your résumé for each job. Be specific and clear about your credentials. Don't send out résumés blindly. Write to make sense to both the software and a human reader. At some point you will need to win the hearts and minds of real human beings.

Always try to differentiate yourself. Don't be boring. Don't be predictable. Don't be just another candidate. Stand out. Be different. Use a little creativity.

Your résumé has one purpose: to win an interview. Focus on the employer's needs, not yours.

If you are fortunate enough to get a job interview, pay particular attention to how your résumé is read and physically handled by an interviewer.
  • If the description of a particular phase of your career or some other section of your résumé is constantly being questioned, you almost certainly need to improve the statement. Listen carefully. It's not enough to know that something is troubling people. You need to find out what in particular is bothering them.
  • Do readers find it hard to follow the organization of your résumé? Are they constantly jumping between pages or paragraphs when they read it?
  • Do interviewers find the language hard to penetrate? In an interview, are you constantly being asked to restate what you are saying? In particular, do they take your description of a position and restate it in terminology which uses more mainstream language?
  • Is the information clearly laid out and presented in an appealing and inviting way?
If you lose out in a search, find out as much as you can about the person who won the job. Perhaps HR staff or a recruiter will be willing to share the qualifications of the successful candidate.

The great dilemma is that you are unlikely to find out you have a poor résumé because -- if it's bad -- you won't get an interview in the first place.

In addition, in these times HR staffs are overwhelmed with requests from people who are just looking for jobs to meet unemployment requirements. HR personnel want serious candidates who meet the job criteria.

Remember too that HR departments have many other functions besides screening and hiring candidates. They must also focus on benefits management, staffing issues, compliance with state and federal rules, among other duties.

My #1 piece of advice is to try to find the person doing the hiring in the company and contact him or her. You will still have to eventually go through HR, but if you can get someone to shepherd your application/résumé, you have a much better chance of landing the job.

Mackay's Moral: The purpose of your résumé is to enable you to resume work.

Fort Wayne Site of the Day

Wrapping down Media Monday over the next 4 weeks....

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Sunday, June 05, 2011

Leadership is Not A Title

So don't let the lack of a "title" hold you back.

Unless you are a high school drop out wanting to be a surgeon. Please get that Doctor title first!

From the DLM blog:

7 Simple Tips That Will Turn You Into a Powerful Leader

Posted: 14 May 2011 06:50 PM PDT

You don't have to be in a position of authority to be a leader. Conversely, just because you have authority doesn't mean that people will follow you. You must be a leader to get others to follow you.

There are many books on leadership. They can have lots of great examples and in-depth explanations, but sometimes you just need something simple to help you focus on the essentials. This article intends to do just that. These are the habits that will help you and your team achieve great things if you focus on them.

  1. Goals
    Make it simple and easy for your team to understand the mission and to understand their part in achieving it.
    • Concise Goals. Keep them simple and easy to understand.
    • Focus your team on as few goals as possible.
    • Communicate the team's goals often and through various means (team meetings, individual meetings, emails, posters, slogans). And then do it some more.
    • Track progress on goals.
    • Involve team players in tracking the goals so that they own the results.

  2. Motivating People
    What you reward gets done. It's that simple.
    • Incent team players to do the tasks that are most critical for reaching the team's goals. Make sure the rewards are meaningful to people. Understand each player and what they want from their job and in life. That's how you'll know how to reward them.
    • Praise, Thank, and Recognize big and small contributions by individuals. Do this often and then do it some more.
    • Set High Expectations. People will live UP to or DOWN to the expectations you set. Set them high and you're saying, "I believe in your ability to do great things!"
    • Empower people by delegating responsibility.
    • Celebrate team accomplishments often.
    • Encourage Fun. Make the work place a fun place to be. Yes, work needs to get done but short fun breaks can make all the difference in the culture of your team.
    • Pride. Foster a sense of pride in your team. As a team you could establish a mascot, create a team chant, and have a meeting that is focused solely on each individual's strengths and the team's overall strengths.
  3. Walk Your Talk
    You need to practice what you preach. This is how you establish trust and credibility.
    • Model the Way by participating in the team's tasks as much as your position allows.
    • Be Honest. Deliver on your promises. Actions speak louder than words.
    • Challenge Yourself. Do your best (and then some) just like you ask your team to do their best.
    • Speak Up. Just like your team members sometimes need to let you know what they've done in order for you to be able to recognize and praise them. They, in turn, need to know what you've been working on and what you've accomplished. So find ways to communicate this, modeling this key behavior.
    • Stay Sharp. You need to be competent for others to follow you. If you're not improving, you're falling behind. Always be learning and keep on top of the latest skills, technology, and knowledge in your field.
  4. Inspire through a combination of
    • Unwavering Positive Future Vision
    • Commitment to Improve things along the way that will make that positive vision a reality.
    • Ability to Bootstrap as necessary when resources are tight.
  5. Process Power
    Good process is like having a high performance machine. Sloppy process makes things fall apart. So be sure to establish these key habits with your team.
    • Establish Routines. Do this for the team and also work with each individual to come up with their own high productivity routines. These are routines that dictate what work is done when.
    • Establish Processes for all the tasks that are done repeatedly. It takes time to set up at first, but after that it will pay off in saved time and less errors. Processes describe how work is done and might involve systems for doing the work.
    • Task Assignment. As much as possible, assign tasks according to the strengths of each teammate.
  6. Change
    Embrace change by seeking it out. This will tread a path for your teammates to follow.
    • Change Routines Quarterly. Look for better ways to achieve the team's goals.
    • Take Risks. Don't be afraid of failure. No one ever reaches great heights without a few failures.
    • Learn. Learn as a team from failures. "How can we improve it the next time?"
    • Encourage team members to take smart risks too by making it safe to fail. Focus on learning from past experiences and building upon them to find better solutions.
  7. Advocacy
    Support your team and they'll support you.
    • Promote your team members. Make sure others outside your team know about the individual team members' successes. You want your team members to excel and even graduate away from your team possibly. Don't worry. If your team is great there will be plenty of others who will want to join! This natural turnover of team members is like the renewal of cells in your body. It is necessary and healthy.
    • Promote your team. It's your job to market the great accomplishments of your team in order to get the rewards, recognition, and resources that your team deserves.
    • Fight for the most important resources and changes that will benefit your team and the organization overall. Remember to pick your battles wisely.
What else do you think is essential for a good leader? Got a good story? Please share in the comments. We'd love to hear from you!

Written on 11/7/2007 by K. Stone, the author of of Life Learning Today, a blog about daily life improvements. Republished on 5/14/2011.
Photo Credit: The U.S. Army

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