Connie’s Career Corner “Is your dream job just a dream?”

Posted March 13, 2014 by ncacstaff
Categories: Uncategorized

Tip for the day:  Of all the things you wear, your expression is the most important. Janet Lane

Dear Connie:  I am not happy in my job.  How can I tell what job I would be happy doing?

Dear Looking for My Dream Job:  Happiness is a state of mind and is defined differently for each of us.  Most people are happiest doing work they love.  When you find the job that is best suited to your skills, abilities, and values, you will look forward to going to work instead of dreading Mondays.

If you love working with people, you probably will not enjoy sitting at a computer and entering data all day.  If you like to give a lot of thought to your projects, you will probably not enjoy being in the middle of a place where there is constant noise and phones ringing.  If you love talking to people, you may really enjoy the daily interaction of a salesperson. 

You need to spend a little time thinking about what you like and dislike about your present and previous positions.  Take a sheet of paper and on one side list all of the things that you enjoyed about the jobs you have held and on the other side list all of the things that you disliked about the jobs you have held.  You will want to be specific when making this list.  “I do not like working in retail” is too general.  List what you did not like about working in retail, such as, “I did not like the seasonal cutback on my work hours.”

There are websites you may want to check out to get ideas about the kind of work that might be a good fit for your interests and skills.  Go to www.princetonreview.com and click on the tab at the top “College” and in the middle of the dropdown you will find “Career Search.”  This is a quick free online quiz to help you find careers by identifying your career interests and working style.

Another online free quiz called MAPP, the Motivational Appraisal of Personal Potential, gives you a more detailed evaluation.  Go to www.assessment.com to try this assessment.  This is longer and will take you about half an hour to complete.  You can find other quizzes on sites such as www.CareerBuilder.com and www.Jobstar.org  

Remember, no one should ever decide what job you should do.  Assessments and tests should be used only to provide you with information to help you make a good decision.  Only you know what type of work will really interest you and will lead to an enjoyable career path.

Connie’s Career Corner

Posted March 6, 2014 by ncacstaff
Categories: Connie's Corner

CONNIE’S CAREER CORNER

“Do not get caught in Junior High Drama”

Tip for the day: Guard your reputation. It is the best asset you have.

Q: Dear Connie: I have a co-worker who is constantly trying to make an issue out of whatever is happening. She spends more time talking about things that do not apply to the workplace than working. Can you give me some tips to avoid this drama?

A: Dear Wanting to Avoid the Drama Queen: One thing that can derail a career faster than anything else is to be a part of “junior high drama” in the workplace. Supervisors will not deem a person an asset if that person is always spreading gossip. I am glad you see the situation for what it is and are seeking ways to avoid being involved with this type of behavior.

Some people thrive on the excitement that they can generate by making personal issues a workplace problem. Often trying to cause problems between co-workers is a result of needing attention or a low self-esteem.

The question is, “What is your responsibility in this situation?” You will want to always approach workplace problems with professionalism. When you bring personal problems into the office, it opens up the opportunity for other to share their opinions and even gossip about your personal life. Share the positive things in your life, but consider keeping conflicts at home out of the workplace.

Ask yourself, “Is this situation a part of my job?” If it is work related, address the challenge. While at work concentrate on your business life; not your personal life. If you share your personal life with this person, you are opening the door for their involvement.

Do not get caught up in “he said, she said.” Remove yourself from interoffice drama by keeping your opinions of others to yourself. This will avoid comments you make from being repeated and maybe misrepresented. Sometimes it is best to just walk away from a conversation.

When this person learns that you will not engage in talking about co-workers or be a part of spreading gossip, she will probably leave you alone and move on to talking to someone else. Professionalism is they key.

Connie’s Career Corner: The “Don’ts” of an Interview

Posted March 6, 2014 by ncacstaff
Categories: Connie's Corner

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CONNIE’S CAREER CORNER

 

The “Don’ts” of an Interview

 

Q:  Dear Connie:  I am worried about going on an interview.  I have practiced answers to difficult questions with my friend and feel confident I can represent myself well in the interview.  Is there anything else I need to do at the interview? 

 

A:  Dear Ready to Go:  I am glad that you are practicing how to answer questions regarding your skills and abilities for your upcoming interviews.  Here at the Career Center, we give our customers a list of questions they may be asked during an interview so they can do the exact preparation work that you have done.

 

The one thing that is overlooked many times is what should not be done before, during and after an interview.  You will be observed from the time you enter the building until you are offered or denied the position you are applying for with a company.

 

Two things to avoid before the interview are arriving late and being rude to the receptionist.  If you arrive late, you are really saying, “The possibility of working for your company really isn’t that important to me.”  When you arrive and are rude to the receptionist you are saying, “I am not easy to get along with and you are not important enough for me to try to get along with you.” 

 

During the interview you want to be original, ask questions, stand out and be professional.  If you answer every question with standard responses you are really saying, “I have nothing original to say about myself.”  If you do not asked questions about the company and the position you are applying for, you are conveying that you are not really interested in the company or the available job.  When asked the standard question “Tell me about yourself,” this is your time to shine and stand out.  Tell the employer what makes you special.  Using inappropriate language during the interview says,” Just imagine how unprofessional I will be as one of your employees.”

 

Your job is not finished when the interview is over.  If you do not thank the interviewer, you are saying, “I did not really value your time and I have no manners.”  Finish the interview process in style and write a personal Thank You note to every interviewer you met with during the interview process.

 

Interviewing is a process.  Be prepared for what you should and should not do and you will come out the shining star.

 

Connie’s Career Corner is your source for career information.  E-mail questions for future columns to ConniesCorner@Nashville.gov .  

Connie’s Career Corner: Phone Interviews

Posted February 7, 2014 by ncacstaff
Categories: Connie's Corner

CONNIE’S CAREER CORNER

“A phone interview may be your first step to a new job.”

Tip for the day: “Leadership is a choice, not a position.” By: Steven R. Covey

Q: Dear Connie: I have been applying for jobs and several companies have said the first step will be a phone interview. I have not done an interview on the phone. Can you give me some tips?

A: For most companies, a phone interview is the first step. You may do several phone interviews with different groups at a company before you are invited to come in for a face-to-face interview.

The phone interview has become an excellent way for employers to screen out applicants who are not a good match for the position they are trying to fill. This allows them to “meet” the applicant without the time and expense of a face-to-face interview. Here are some tips that can help you use phone interviews to your advantage:

• Have a friend call you and roll-play a mock phone interview to gain confidence in presenting your skills over the phone.
• Make sure that the room you are in is quiet with no pets, children, or TV, music or cell phone interruptions.
• Have a copy of your resume, a pen, and paper for notes by the phone. The interviewer will probably have a copy of your resume, and this will help you focus on the areas the interviewer is asking questions about.
• Dress up before your interview to put yourself in a business frame of mind.
• Try standing as you talk. You will tend to do a better job of projecting your voice and sound more confident.
• Over enunciate your words. If the interviewer can not understand you, he may assume that potential customers will not be able to understand you either.
• Answer the question clearly and then be comfortable with silence. Your interviewer may be writing down your answer. You do not need to keep talking to prevent silence.
• Prepare a short summary of your skills and how you can benefit the company so you can end your conversation on a positive note.
• Have your calendar with you and be prepared to schedule a face-to-face interview if one is requested.

When you have finished your interview, thank your interviewer for his consideration.

Connie’s Career Corner is your source for career information. E-mail questions for future columns to ConniesCorner@Nashville.gov .

Connie’s Career Corner: Rewards as Motivators

Posted January 31, 2014 by ncacstaff
Categories: Uncategorized

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CONNIE’S CAREER CORNER

“Rewards as motivators”

Tip for the day:  A kind word is always well received.

Q:  Dear Connie:  Can you suggest some ways I can let my staff know I appreciate the excellent work they are doing for the company?

A:   A good supervisor knows that it is their responsibility to find out what motivates their staff.  If you learn how each person wants to be rewarded, you will be able to do a better job showing your appreciation and motivating your staff to do their very best work.

Here are some ways to reward your staff:

  • Public recognition
  • Certificates and plaques
  • Verbal praise
  • Movie tickets
  • A written “Thank You”
  • Flexible work schedule
  • Assign new projects

A good way to  find out what each person values as a reward is to ask your staff to write down how they would like for you to show your appreciation when they have exceeded company expectations.  Some employees are excited to be recognized by their peers or management for their accomplishments.  Other employees will welcome new responsibilities as validation of the work.  There are those who want a simple “Thank You” or a written “Thank You.”

Do not make the mistake of rewarding every employee the same way.  If you assign new projects to someone who prizes a written “Thank You” you may find their performance decreases.  They may think, “What good does it do to work hard.  I just get more work assigned to me.”  If you send movie tickets to someone that wants public recognition they may wonder what they have to do to get their work noticed.

You can know how your staff feels about rewards by taking a little time talking and listening to the things that make up each employee’s personality.  Knowing how to motivate your staff will move your career forward and keep your staff happy and appreciated.

Connie’s Career Corner is your source for career information.  E-mail questions for future columns to ConniesCorner@Nashville.gov .  

Connie’s Career Corner

Posted January 10, 2014 by ncacstaff
Categories: Connie's Corner, Job Search Tips, News & Trends

CONNIE’S CAREER CORNER

“Your ability to adjust to change is a big deal.”

Tip for the day: If you are bored, you should change something in your life.

Q: Dear Connie: I have a co-worker who is older than me and she does not seem to be able to adjust to change. She becomes highly irritated if she is put in a position to have to make any changes. Is it important to go along with the changes that our supervisor requests?

A: Dear Must I Change: In today’s workplace, change happens and it happens frequently. It sounds as though your co-worker has not learned the skill of being flexible and you are wondering should you follow her lead and resist change or learn to be flexible and make changes in the workplace as your supervisor requests of you.

There was a time when you learned a job and the job never changed. You were successful if you went to work and performed the same task using the same process consistently day after day. Your co-worker may have started her career during this time.

Now the marketplace demands that you be flexible. Many companies are looking for employees that can adjust to change. In today’s market, companies are constantly looking for ways to be more productive while decreasing cost. This means that at times you may feel that you are being asked to make change on a frequent basis. Companies need people who will go with the flow and not be difficult to work with because they are holding to the “old” way of performing a task.

Changing from a person who likes things to always be the same to a person who can not only accept change but thrive on it can be quite difficult. Since you are just starting out your career, you do not have the “old habit” of being inflexible to break.

Here are some suggestions to help you be a person of change:

• Look first at the reason the change is proposed
• Identify how the request for change will affect your job
• Develop a plan listing steps you will need to take to make the change
• Keep a positive attitude
• Remember that change affects everyone–not just you
• Work as a team to accomplish the change

If your co-worker gets upset and takes it out on you when she is requested to change, it is best to just ignore her comments. Do not let her pull you into her dissatisfaction or she may say you agree with her. If this approach does not work, discuss this with your supervisor.

I would take my cues regarding how to accept change from your supervisor. If your supervisor is requesting that your team makes a change that means she is making changes also. Watch how your supervisor reacts and adapts to change. Try to make the skill of being flexible your own. Pretty soon you will not feel discomfort when you are asked to make changes in your work.

Connie’s Career Corner is your source for career information. E-mail questions for future columns to ConniesCorner@Nashville.gov .

Connie’s Career Corner: What Constitutes a great resume?

Posted November 15, 2013 by ncacstaff
Categories: Uncategorized

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CONNIE’S CAREER CORNER

“What constitutes a great resume?”

 

Tip for the day:  Take time developing a great resume because your resume is a reflection of how you are and where you have been in life.

Q:  Dear Connie:   In your articles, you refer to the need to have a great resume as part of my marketing package.  What constitutes a great resume?

A:   Dear Job Seeker:   Many people confuse an “attractive resume” with a great resume.  I have seen where many job seekers have paid $200 for someone else to write their resume.  While most all of them were attractive, some were good and some were not good and even fewer were great.

A great resume is a resume that shows the skills and abilities you can offer a company in a clear, concise, and easy to read format.  Most importantly, a great resume focuses on clarity. 

Statistics show that your resume will probably be read for no longer than 12 seconds during its first read through.  Depending on how clearly you have expressed your value to the employer, you will be rejected or move on for further consideration.

If your resume is difficult to follow because of misspelled words and poor grammar, your chance of making it through the first read with a positive outcome is not great.  Consider some of these major read through detractors and rid your resume of them:

  • Abbreviations
  • Personal information
  • Misspelled words
  • Passive tense verbs
  • Lack of work history information
  • Repeating the same information over and over
  • Typed in an usual resume format
  • Resume paper with designs or non-business colors
  • Pictures/graphics
  • Year you graduated from High School or College (unless you graduated within the last five years)

If you have not spent some time writing and rewriting your resume, you probably have not invested enough of your time in this part of the job searching process.  You may be a great interviewer, but you need a great resume to get an opportunity get to the interview.

 

Connie’s Career Corner is your source for career information.  E-mail questions for future columns to ConniesCorner@Nashville.gov