Friday, November 15, 2013
“There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
Establishing yourself in the workplace or beginning the hunt for a new job is probably one of the scariest things you can ever do. Most people express a great deal of fear when faced with new opportunities. But it’s time to get past your job search fears once and for all!
Finding a new opportunity can be one of the most powerful and rewarding experiences. We grow the most when we overcome things we fear, and can learn new things about ourselves that can add dimension and depth to our character as well as our understanding of the world.
Someone once told me change is the most terrifying when we actually desire or need it the most. This, in turn, can make us feel like we are standing on the edge of a precipice; uncertain as to whether we can make that leap of faith or not.
Understanding the building blocks of your career management strategy will help you become a smarter and wiser job seeker, and ultimately help you overcome the very fears that could be holding you back.
Friday, November 15, 2013
You know the saying, “Applying to jobs is a full-time job”?
Don’t listen to it.
5 Things You Should Be Doing If You’re Unemployed
Applying to jobs you’re not qualified for (which 50% of job seekers reportedly do!) is counter-productive to your job search. Competition is too fierce. Even qualified applicants aren’t getting callbacks. So, stop applying to so many jobs and allocate time each week to becoming more hirable. Here’s how…
Volunteering can increase your chances of being hired if you’re strategic about it. Unemployed teacher? Help out with after school programs or volunteer to be a coach’s assistant. Web designer? Find a local non-profit in desperate need of a re-design and offer your services pro bono. By volunteering somewhere relevant, you’ll keep your skills fresh while enhancing your resume.
2. Keep Your Skills Current
If you lack a skill commonly required for jobs you’re seeking, spend time each day building that skill. Take advantage of numerous free resources online, including tutorials, e-books, and how-to videos. If you’d rather have more of a class setup, then look for free or affordable adult education classes in your area. Alternatively, if you already possess the necessary skills but haven’t been practicing, the do so. Skill atrophy is a huge concern for hiring managers, so practice and get yourself ready for pre-employment skills tests.
There are two parts to networking: reconnecting with your old contacts and forming new ones. Depending on where you are in your career, reconnecting might mean contacting professors, college advisers, and internship supervisors, or it might mean getting in touch with old colleagues, bosses, and business acquaintances.
Find them, e-mail them, call them. Ask them to coffee. Ask how they are (networking is social, after all) and let them know the specifics of your job search (industry, location, etc.). See if they know of anything or anyone.
Most importantly, follow up!
At a temporary dead-end with your current contacts? Make new ones. Go to networking events sponsored by your university, industry, city, and so on. And look beyond traditional networking events. Consider going to lectures, neighborhood council meetings, even community bar crawls (go easy on the sauce). Each of these provides an opportunity to meet people with similar interests, and you can have fun in the process.
Again, follow up!
Some job seekers are opposed to anything that’s not a full-time job. If this sounds like you, it’s time to change your mindset. Freelancing is a great way to boost your skills, resume, portfolio, professional network, income, and confidence.
Friday, November 15, 2013
Recruiters have one job: Find the right person for the position.
Their performance is evaluated on how efficiently and effectively they match top talent to job requirements.
Ironically, in the current economy, recruiters are finding their jobs harder than ever.
There’s too much talent for them to weed through. What used to be “finding a needle in a haystack” has now become “finding a needle in ten haystacks.”
As a result, recruiters have to determine a candidate’s marketability much quicker.
Translation: Candidates must pay even more attention to the power of the first impression factor.
People skills, attire, etc. all become more important when competition amongst talent is this fierce.
Reality check: Those who are failing to make a good first impression get put in the “no” pile and are never contacted again.
So, if you aren’t getting called back by a recruiter after either an in-person meeting or talking by phone, there’s a good chance that, in addition to the fact you didn’t have the right skills, you also might have displayed one or more traits on the “I can’t market them” list.
Now, most recruiters won’t tell you what you did wrong.
For one reason, they aren’t paid to give you the bad news. Second, they don’t want to burn a bridge. And third, as I mentioned, they just don’t have the time.
And yet, how are you going to fix the problem if you don’t know it exists?
I’ve put together the most common reasons why a recruiter writes a candidate off. You may not like what you read, but the good news is with a little attention and practice, all of them can be improved upon. So, ask yourself, “Am I guilty of the following?”
Top 10 Things Recruiters Won’t Tell You
Your interview attire is outdated/messy/too tight/too revealing/too flashy.
Your physical appearance is disheveled/outdated/sloppy/smelly/overpowering (i.e. too much perfume).
Your eye contact is weak/shifty/intense.
Your handshake is limp/too forceful/clammy.
You say ah/um/like too much.
You talk too much/use poor grammar/say inappropriate things (i.e. swearing) when you answer interview questions.
You appear overconfident/pushy/self-centered/insecure/aloof/ditzy/scatter-brained/desperate.
You talk too fast/too slow/too loud/too soft.
You giggle/fidget/act awkward/have facial tics/lack expression.
You lack sincerity/self-confidence/clarity/conviction.
So, How Do You Fix These?
Well, given 93% of communication is non-verbal, I can tell you that many of the negatives above can be improved by focusing on one thing: attitude.
Friday, November 15, 2013
What are the best resume fonts? If you’re not sure, you’re not alone.
Of course, there are hundreds of fonts out there from which to choose, but not all are appropriate for use in a resume. Let’s take a look at the ones that are considered to be the best—and which ones are good to avoid.
Serif And Sans Serif Fonts Are Most Recommended
There are two font families that recruiters and HR managers seem to like the most: Serif and Sans Serif. The Serif font family means the fonts have tails; and Sans Serif means they are missing the tails on the ends of letters.
Popular font types in the Serif family include Georgia and Times New Roman—while popular Sans Serif fonts include Verdana and Arial. It’s a good idea to note, however, some managers have disdain for Times New Roman and Arial because they tend to be used so often.
Find Fonts That Work On All Types Of Computers
There are some cool fonts out there you may be tempted to use because they look both professional and appealing. But if you want to ensure your resume translates well on PCs (Windows) and Macs, it’s better to pick fonts available on both.
For instance, you may love Palatino Linotype as a Serif font on your PC. But since it doesn’t have an immediate translation on a Mac, aside from the similar Palatino, it could look different from your original copy when pulled up on anything other than a PC. It’s good to keep this in mind as you choose your fonts.
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Friday, November 15, 2013
In the workplace, image is everything. Wearing the right colors while on the job can help you boost your career in amazing ways and give you the confidence you need to move forward. Likewise, the wrong colors can give others a bad impression of you. Learn the best colors to wear for your job, and the hues to avoid. After all, you want to make the best impression you can every day, and the right style choices will do that for you.
Colors To Wear At Work
These types of colors all suggest different things about you, so how you use them should depend on what you’re looking to portray:
Bold And Beautiful
If you want to make yourself appear confident while still maintaining your friendly demeanor, aim for jewel tones. Deep purples, dark blue hues, and dazzling golden tones emit a friendly and feminine attitude while still turning every head in the room. Aim for these types of colors in a single piece of clothing, like a jeweled blouse with a neutral slate gray skirt or slacks, and you won’t look like Barney the Dinosaur.
However, don’t make this clothing choice backfire by wearing jewel tones from head to toe. If you are pairing accessories with bold colors, you’re more likely to come across as a crazy bag lady than a successful powerhouse, so choose your bold jewel tones with care. A common rule of thumb was mentioned above; limit your jeweled clothing to a single piece to be on the safe side.
Black Is Always Back
Black is a subtle constant that demands attention, and is a go-to for anyone wanting to move their way up the corporate ladder. Boost your career in all the right ways by pairing a black pencil skirt with black fishtail (or Chevron, or floral) stockings and you have yourself a fun and aggressively female style trend that is sure to take you places.
Just be careful with how much black you’re trying to pull off, and make sure your black pieces fit your body without being too tight or too loose. After all, looking like a dominatrix or the Grim Reaper isn’t going to get you the promotion you are hoping for, and is more likely to get you a trip to counseling instead. You can end up with a lot of explaining to do, as BRW explains. Respect black in general, and it will respect you back.
Pretty In Pastels
There is nothing more soft and feminine than pretty pinks, lovely baby blues, and breathy minty greens in the workplace. You can feel approachable and eager in these type of hues, and they pair perfectly with their darker neutral counterparts of tans, grays, and even black.
Saturday, November 02, 2013
On a brisk but blissfully sunny Christmas Eve morning, en route to visit family with a car full of cookies and presents, I was not expecting to make this particular detour.
I was only a block away from my home when I came to a stop sign across from a local park. I witnessed a man lying supine on the pavement and receiving CPR. From a distance the scene looked so serene, I thought it wasn’t real.
I pulled the car over and rushed to the man’s side. My keys were still in the ignition and I’m sure I was blocking traffic. Someone — I later learned he was an off-duty EMT — already was performing CPR. The unresponsive man was surrounded by nervous onlookers.
I immediately went over to the first responder and said, “I’m a nurse; I know CPR. Can I help”? He quickly responded yes, and before I knew it I was doing chest compressions. From what I understood, the man may have been taking a leisurely stroll in the park on that beautiful morning and suddenly collapsed. Now his life was in the hands of two strangers.
After a round of compressions and breaths, I heard the sirens of an emergency vehicle approaching from a distance. Before I could learn the man’s name, he was taken by ambulance to the nearest hospital.
As the clinical nurse specialist for a rapid response team in an inpatient setting, I spend my days working with the RRT and helping patients with emergency situations and end-of-life issues. On any given day, I might respond to two or three rapid response calls or cardiac arrests. I am a basic life support instructor, and often provide classes to residents and nurses on resuscitation skills and CPR. I coordinate mock codes and am an active member of the hospital’s code committee. I approach my job with the utmost confidence on a daily basis, but often wondered how I would respond in an emergency away from the staff support and equipment we have in the hospital setting.
On this occasion I found out what most nurses and healthcare professionals probably already know — that this particular day was no different than any other day. Well, maybe there were some differences. Instead of mannequins, automated external defibrillators, ECG monitors or SBAR reports, there were birds chirping and children playing on swings in the distant background. Instead of a hospital bed, there was cold, hard concrete. Instead of qualified staff, there were frantic onlookers.
Still, I quickly realized the setting did not matter. Knowledge and confidence seem to transfer from the workplace and classroom to everyday life. It’s amazing how your clinical skills and critical thinking just kick in, and you go into a mode where you know exactly what to do and how to remain calm. I was proud to realize I acted in the same manner I teach to my staff every day. Moments like these help solidify why I became a nurse.
Saturday, November 02, 2013
One day, as I was relaxing during some quiet time, it dawned on me that I was a seasoned nurse with the ability to influence some of my younger or less-experienced co-workers. I have worked as an RN for the same organization for 23 years, and I had something to offer them.
Too often, older nurses are seen as being a bit crotchety, negative or uncaring to some of the younger nurses or newbies. That has to change; why make people feel uncomfortable?
Years ago, as a new nurse, I went through an orientation to the unit. Once competent with some skills, I became the team leader for my patients. If I had questions, I knew I could ask my charge nurse, but I never had a mentor or felt there was one particular nurse to whom I could always turn. I knew I wanted to become that go-to person for my younger counterparts. I enjoyed teaching and helping new employees master skills and tasks.
I am a spiritual person with Christian beliefs. This is part of what makes me who I am. On my commute to work, I get motivated for the day by listening to Christian music. I understand others may not share similar beliefs, but I think everyone needs to find what fulfills them and practice it daily before work, whether it is exercising, reading or just spending time alone.
Make it a point to bring your best to work each day. After all, that is what we are getting paid to do. Once at work, acknowledge everyone with a smile, eye contact or a simple “hello.” I’ve seen how acts of inclusion or kindness filter down to others. On occasion, unfamiliar colleagues may come by my unit and I smile at them, furthering the process of encouragement to others. Kindness can be contagious.
My mantra or focus is to encourage young nurses so they will establish themselves at our facility and become great, seasoned nurses. I have watched some start out as new graduate nurses and then continue their education and grow professionally. I have seen many nurses come and go, but others stay and continue with their education. I support my co-workers who decide to go this route.
For the longest time, I talked myself out of obtaining my certification in pediatric nursing. Once I chose to pursue it, I immediately wondered why I waited so long. Now I routinely ask my co-workers, “When are you going to do it?” Supporting them and encouraging their growth adds more satisfaction to my daily work. It will be gratifying when all my immediate co-workers obtain and maintain their CPNs.
We all have different strengths we can bring to work. Some nurses have a soft touch. Others have a friendly smile or a knack for speaking kind words. All of these can be examples of conduct for the young nurse.
Remember, just like young children who watch and mimic their parents, the newbies are watching our responses toward one another and our patients. Positive expressions are necessary for their growth.
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Saturday, November 02, 2013
As an oncology nurse, I witness how ordinary people living with cancer cope with their extraordinary disease; how common people summon the uncommon strength to receive the toxic cocktail of chemicals that medical professionals call “treatment.” Each case is different, each patient unique.
About two years ago, I was fortunate to develop a relationship with a woman who had a special way — quiet, gentle, dignified — of handling her disease. At 66, she had been diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia.
When we first met, she looked up at me from her hospital bed and solemnly said, “I should be in Switzerland today … .” Her husband finished the thought — they had booked a week-long trip to Germany and Switzerland. Recently retired, the couple had reserved a place in their minds for that special spot to drink tall glasses of wine in a cabin overlooking the Alps.
Yet here they were, in a hospital room in Philadelphia. Their updated itinerary consisted of eating tasteless scrambled eggs and lying on an uncomfortable mattress overlooking the brick buildings of the hospital’s sprawling city complex. It was not fair.
In that moment of our first meeting, I felt a profound sadness. This woman had an exciting life that she shared with her husband, who one could instantly tell was head over heels for his wife. Cancer was robbing her of this life.
She never said she was scared or upset or angry. She was appreciative of everything I did. When the physician’s team came in, she fooled them with her sweet smile and upbeat attitude. It almost was worthy of some kind of perverse Oscar award for “Best Performance in a Terminally Ill Role.”
But I could see through the act to the deep pain and hurt of the “actress” lying in bed; someone who was struggling to come to terms with the fact that as recently as a month prior she was enjoying a vibrant life with her husband and friends back home.
A few weeks later, on St. Patrick’s Day, she could barely wait to tell me as I walked in, “I should be at a great party today.”
“A great party? Tell me about this party,” I said.
Her face lit up as she told me how her neighborhood opened its homes on St. Patrick’s Day to hold a sort of bar crawl. Again, though, there was the hint of disappointment.
I listened with a smile on my face and said — as I always said when we talked about events she could no longer attend — “When you get out of here, you will do these things. I promise.” These words felt like equal parts truth, lies and hope mixed together in some kind of phrase that needs to be said on such occasions.
Later, as I was unhooking her blood transfusion, I noticed she had found a few moments to sleep. I stood there for a moment, silently, my eyes filling with tears. It occurred to me just how disappointed she must have been every time she woke up and was confronted with the reality that is cancer.
Saturday, November 02, 2013
A new study highlights the central role nurse practitioners can play in treating chronic geriatric conditions.
Researchers with the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA screened 1,084 patients at two primary care facilities in Southern California for four chronic geriatric conditions: falls, urinary incontinence, dementia/Alzheimer’s disease and depression. Of those patients, 658 had at least one condition; 485 of the 658 were randomly selected for medical review.
Of those 485 patients, 237 (49%) were seen by a nurse practitioner for co-management with a primary care physician of at least one condition. The rest were seen only by a primary care physician.
As reported in the June issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, the researchers examined whether a set of measures known as Assessing Care of Vulnerable Elders quality indicators were performed for each condition. For patients whose cases were co-managed by a nurse practitioner and a physician, the percentage of quality indicators that were satisfied was higher than for patients seen only by a physician.
For falls, 80% of quality indicators were satisfied for co-managed cases, compared with 34% for physicians alone; for urinary incontinence, 66% of indicators were satisfied, compared with 19%; for dementia, 59% were satisfied, compared with 38%; and for depression, 63% were satisfied, compared with 60%.
Much of the difference stemmed the fact that the nurses were likely to take far more detailed patient histories and to perform other assessments, according to the researchers. For instance, the pass rates — meaning whether the measure was performed — for taking a patient’s history of falls was 91% for co-managed cases, versus 47%; vision testing was 87%, versus 36%; and discussion of treatment options for urinary incontinence was 79%, versus 28%.
Saturday, November 02, 2013
States with the fewest restrictions on nurse practitioners’ scope of practice had 2.5 times more patients receiving primary care from NPs than did the most restrictive states, according to a study.
Facing a nationwide shortage of primary care physicians, some states in recent years have eased up on regulations that create barriers for NPs who want to work as primary care providers, according to the study, which was published in the July issue of the journal Health Affairs.
“We wanted to look at what happened in states that allowed nurse practitioners more or less authority,” the study’s lead author, Yong-Fang Kuo, PhD, of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, said in a news release. “As you would expect, it makes a big difference. We can now clearly show that states with fewer regulations means more patients get the primary care they need.”
The UTMB study looked at the growth in care provided by NPs from 1998 to 2010 using state records and national Medicare data. The researchers found that the number of Medicare patients nationwide seeing NPs as their primary care provider increased from 0.2% in 1998 to 2.9% in 2010. (In Alaska, the rate was nearly 15%.)
Over the 12-year time period studied, the highest growth in NP primary care was in states that allowed them to practice and prescribe independently: Alabama, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Maine, Oregon and Vermont.
“Relaxing state restrictions on NP practice should increase the use of NPs as primary care providers, which in turn would reduce the current national shortage of primary care providers,” the authors concluded.
Increasing access to primary care is a key focus of national health reform efforts. States with a higher ratio of primary care providers to patients have lower Medicare expenditures and lower mortality rates, according to the researchers.