Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Usually knowing someone at a company where you’re seeking employment is a good thing. But dropping their name without any tact could rub a human resources official the wrong way and it might even cost you the job. “HR folks can sabotage a search if they feel one-upped,” said career coach Kelley Rexroad, a former human resources executive with more than 25 years of recruiting experience. “It is an ugly but true fact.”
Name-dropping is a technique that might seem smart during an interview, but experts say that most good hiring managers will see right through it and the ploy could backfire drastically.
“I have a saying given to me years ago by a friend: ‘You can’t unring a bell,’ “ Rexroad said. “Don’t name-drop until you need to. You could see the person you know in the hallway when you interview. If he (or) she speaks to you, you will get big points for not name-dropping.”
Chad Oakley, president and chief operating officer of the Charles Aris recruiting firm, has personally placed hundreds of people in 100K-plus jobs, but he says that some have missed out because of name-dropping. “If it’s done inappropriately, it can come across as egotistic and pretentious and can backfire,” he said.
However, in some fields your most valuable attribute could be who you know. In these cases, it’s not inappropriate to mention your contacts — just do it directly. “If you’re a salesperson and you have a world-class Rolodex, that’s an asset that should be discussed,” Oakley said. “If you want the person on the other side of the table to know that you know someone, you should just say it. Don’t name-drop it.”
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Are you looking for that next career challenge but unsure how to get there? Climbing the corporate ladder might not be the only way. Today more than ever, a career detour just might lead to your career destiny. At every level — including the top — professionals, managers, and executives-in-waiting commonly zigzag through several lateral lurches before stepping up to their destination position.
Why has lateral become the new way to the top? The recession is partly to blame — the hierarchy in many companies flattened and compressed during the recession, effectively eliminating rungs that were previously part of the expected climb.
Because of this reality, it has become more important to “think sideways.” If you don’t plan ahead by considering lateral rotations as part of your career development plan, you may end up stuck on your current ladder rung indefinitely, unless you find a way to take a larger-than-usual step up. Yet paradoxically, exceptional advancement is less likely if you haven’t taken the time to boost your experience and confidence with lateral moves.
Cheryl Palmer, career coach and founder of Call to Career, suggested a helpful analogy: “If you’re stuck in a traffic jam and it may be hours before you’re able to move forward, it makes sense to change lanes and exit on a side road where you can more quickly navigate around it. Sitting in the traffic jam and fuming doesn’t get you anywhere.”
For advice on how to effectively turn a side step into a step up, TheLadders asked several career-development experts to weigh in:
1. Make It Make Sense. Without a strategic career path, lateral moves can become merely a merry-go-round. Joanne Cleaver, author of the new book The Career Lattice: Combat Brain Drain, Improve Company Culture, and Attract Top Talent, suggested you must proactively plot your own career plan to make sense of diagonal and lateral moves. “Your employer won’t do it for you, so the first thing to know is that it’s up to you to pursue and land opportunities that advance your career agenda,” said Cleaver.
A great place to start is to envision your next “up” move, and then reverse-engineer the qualifications you need to make a serious run for that position. Cleaver recommended assessing your current experience and skill set to determine what you might need to get where you want to go.
“Ask yourself: Am I lacking hands-on operational experience? Proven expertise in a business skill, such as client retention? A working knowledge of a relevant slice of technology? What skill set would tee up my success in that position?” suggested Cleaver. By comparing the skills required by your next-step job to the skills you currently have, you’ll quickly see the gaps that a lateral move can fill.
2. Do What Needs to Be Done. Your informal self-assessment will likely uncover areas where your skills could be stronger to get you to the next level. Determine specific strategic actions that will help you reach your career goals faster.
“If you are a project manager who wants to become a department manager, you might need two things: a stronger network outside your department so that your reputation is already established with your potential new peers, and broader exposure to customers and clients so you can show that you can drive growth as well as get work accomplished,” said Cleaver.
In this case, she suggested considering a short-term rotation to cultivate relationships with other departments and functions, or working on an assignment that puts you and your team on a customer-facing project.
3. Volunteer Strategically. It can be difficult to find time for volunteer projects in the midst of your primary career responsibilities. But strategic volunteering can be a powerful way to rapidly expand your network of influencers and to backfill business skills, according to Cleaver.
To spin community service into an opportunity for lateral rotation, Cleaver suggested joining an organizational committee whose volunteers complement—yet don’t duplicate—your existing network. Look to your current skills for a logical toehold (for example, if you work in marketing, join the marketing committee).
“Your end game is to transition to an assignment that builds your business skills, once your credibility is established,” explained Cleaver. “So a marketing exec, needing operational and financial management experience, might volunteer to co-chair an annual appeal.” Such assignments tee up results-driven case studies for employees to bring back to their day job, illustrating business skills that prove their qualification for general management.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
At 76 years old, Bill Ellermeyer is an elder statesman of the job search world. He founded an Irvine, Calif. outplacement firm in 1981, which he sold to staffing firm Adecco Adecco in 1990, then ran that office as a division of Adecco subsidiary Lee Hecht Harrison until going out on his own as an independent coach in 2004. He specializes in what he calls “career transitions” for people who have lost their jobs at the executive level, mostly from the c-suite or as vice presidents. Some of his clients have been out of work for more than a year when they come to him. He pushes them until they find a new position. After three decades in the career coaching business, he’s come up with eight rules, some counter-intuitive, that he says promise to land his clients a job.
1. Stop looking for a job.
Too many unemployed people equate looking for a job with sending out a résumé or answering an ad on a job board. “If you send out 500 résumés to friends, family and companies, nobody is going to take the time to help you,” he says. The only time you should send a résumé is when you’ve established there is a real job at a company for which you’re being considered, or a headhunter is trying to fill an open position and requests one. Instead of presenting yourself as an out-of-work job seeker, come across as a resource. Let people know you can solve problems. Approach your job hunt as a search for quality relationships. Instead hand out business cards that portray you as a consultant.
2. Stop working on your résumé.
You need to have a printed résumé but increasing numbers of employers prefer to just look at your LindedIn profile. Also many companies just want the basic facts about your career, rather than a long, carefully crafted story about you in the form of a C.V. I’m not sure I agree with Ellermeyer on this point, but I like his basic advice: Your résumé should be clean, clear, simple and no more than two pages. It makes sense to update it when you’ve made a major accomplishment, like increasing sales by 75% in your department or in journalism, writing a cover story. But you should be able to make those fixes in a few minutes. Do keep your LinkedIn LNKD -0.18% profile up to date.
3. Hold your elevator speech.
“After 20 seconds, no one can remember your elevator speech,” contends Ellermeyer. Instead, he recommends telling a story about yourself that runs for 60-90 seconds. “People remember stories,” he says. “Nobody wants to hear facts and figures.” You should come up with a short, possibly humorous moniker for yourself. Ellermeyer calls himself a “connector.” One of his clients branded himself “rent-a-CFO,” and then told a story about how he had gone from project to project over the last year, and how he had found success at each job. Other possible short-hand titles: IT Problem-Solver, Deal Finder, Resource Solution-Finder.
4. Don’t talk about yourself.
Instead of leading a conversation with the latest news about your life, says Ellermeyer, “find out how you can serve other people.” Be inquisitive about others and when you learn about them, try to suggest a book or article they may want to read or an event they might want to attend. Many people think that networking requires that they list their accomplishments. But it can be much more effective to ask others about their interests and needs.
5. Don’t go to networking events.
Instead try hosting them yourself. Form your own breakfast group of eight or ten people. In other words, create your own network with people you hand-select. Though it’s tempting to sit at your computer and meet virtually, make the effort to get together face-to-face.
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6. Take breaks.
The job search process can make us pretty emotional, especially when you go on the fifth interview and then you’re told that the firm has hired someone else. “Don’t take your downers to the outside world,” advises Ellermeyer. If you’re having a bad day, do research or catch up on email. I agree with this piece of advice but I also have to acknowledge that it can be awfully tough to keep your spirits up if you’ve been job hunting for a long time with no success. A single day off may help but you might need to seek more support from family and friends.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
After all the hard work, goal setting and focus you didn’t get the promotion you thought would be coming your way. Now you’re sitting there wondering what your next move is and whether or not any move would make a difference. This has rocked your world and has left you with more questions than answers.
There are some things for you to do immediately and other things best left to later in the week or next week.
Things to do now:
1- Stay cool. The worst thing you could do is stomp into the boss’s office and throw what feels like a well-deserved fit. Even if their decision was biased and unfair a rampage from you won’t make your case. It could even be career limiting. If you need to vent, pick someone outside your company who will just let you be however you need to be.
2- Don’t make any big decision. When we’ve been hit with a big, negative event our brain isn’t functioning too well. Simply dig back into your work and let that be your focus for the next week. If you move into action too quickly, it might not be well thought out which could result in regret. Pick a day for reentering into the decision and action space. You need time to pull yourself together.
3- Don’t vent to your peers. While venting does have its merits, right now you shouldn’t vent to anyone at work. It seems that those conversations have a nasty way of making their way to the boss regardless of how close a work peer they might be.
Things to do later – like a week from now:
1- Clarify the message. Chances are good that your brain shut off the listening function when you heard the message you didn’t get the promotion. The boss did probably give you some important information for you to use. Circle back around to any notes or even the boss for a quick, clarifying conversation. No debate just gather information.
2- Move into problem solving. You have a problem. You had expectations of a promotion and you didn’t get it. This means one of the following:
Expectations of you/the promotion changed and you didn’t know it.
You weren’t communicating well with the boss on what it takes and how well you were doing.
The decision was arbitrary.
3- You can’t solve a problem you don’t fully understand. You also may not be objective enough to completely assess the problem. If you have a work mentor, now is the time to get with them. You need to make sure that whatever action you take will truly address the underlying problem. If you executed the previous step you should have some good information that will shed light on the problem you need to fix.
4- Get the right attitude. You aren’t “owed” a promotion. You need to take the approach that you will make adjustments that will put you on the right track. Don’t over compensate, simply resolve that this is a problem to solve. It also doesn’t mean that you aren’t worthy of a promotion so don’t act like a whipped dog.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
When an employer is interviewing you for a job, the question they usually don’t ask, but want you to answer most is… “Why should I hire YOU?”
If you can’t answer that question to their satisfaction… you simply won’t get the job. Think about what the employer likely has running through their mind during the interview, and address those concerns for them, whether the questions get answered directly, or not!
They may be thinking things like…
We posted the job description and got over 400 applicants.
We picked 8 that appear to have experience that prepares them well to do this job.
There are sharp people in this group. As one of those 8, would this person be the best hire?
Can they do the job better than the others?
Do they bring something the others don’t?
Do they add skills that we don’t currently have?
How well would they fit in with the team?
Would they help raise the team’s productivity, morale, and effectiveness… or bring it down?
How well can they represent us to other areas of the company, or to our customers?
In 6 months, will I be glad I hired this person, or regret a mistake?
Would my boss congratulate me on a great hire, or question why I would hire this person?
Would I enjoy working with this person each day?
Can I trust them?
Answering these non-verbal questions are your most important task in the job interview!
Here are some things to do that may help…
Know yourself! Know your strengths, weaknesses, accomplishments, and interests
Present yourself professionally. It builds confidence and trust
Be prepared. Solid, concise answers express competence
Smile, and be warm and friendly! No one enjoys working with a grouch
Succinctly give examples of your successes
Succinctly give examples of your teamwork
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Want to demand the hiring manager’s attention from the start? Instead of utilizing a generic or jack of all trades (and master of none) resume, we should be using (and with great success) a brand-driven, focused, and customized resume. In fact, if you have expertise in more than one area, then you should be broadcasting more than one resume.
After working recently with a client who had an extremely unfocused, all-over-the-place resume, I was prompted to sit down and write about how important a focused, customized, and branded resume really is. This particular client had his resume nicely written, and to tell the truth, it wasn’t half bad. It contained great wording, had an appealing format, and even included some great accomplishments. The problem was that this resume had multiple personalities—ten different job titles and no clear direction. It was no wonder the client hadn’t even received one call back. Hiring managers were probably reviewing the resume and thinking, “I have no idea where to put this person or what he really wants to do.”
If you have experience and expertise in several different areas it certainly is not a negative, but blasting everything you have ever done all over your resume—where it looks like job titles and keywords just threw up all over it—is not going to get you an interview … or a call back for that matter. Here are three points you should consider in order to clean up your resume, communicate your brand, and customize it:
1. Clear focus and intent. Pick one position, one role, one industry. Then convey your achievements, contributions, experience, expertise, talent, passion, and vision for that one key role. This does not mean you can only apply to that one position; this is where the technique of employing multiple resumes which are focused in different areas comes in to play.
2. Brand-driven is the best. Create your personal branding statement, and then tie in all of the other elements of your resume to support that statement. If you are an amazing sales manager in the XYZ industry, then what makes you so great? How do your talent, passion, and vision play into that?
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
A NICU nurse is a medical professional with specialized skills in caring for newborn infants who are either premature or born with congenital deformities and life-threatening illnesses.
NICU nurses work within a specialty area and are part of a multi-disciplinary team. In the US, the first neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) was established at the Yale-New Haven Hospital in 1960. Since then, NICU nurses have gradually formed a specialized field that cares for infants who are in the first 28 days of life.
NICU Nurse: Job Description
Today, the terms “NICU nurse” and “neonatal nurse” are used interchangeably. A NICU nurse cares for the needs of newborn infants who require strict medical attention while neonatal nurses are RNs trained to care for neonates regardless of their condition.
NICU nurses are registered nurses who have earned a diploma, baccalaureate, master’s or doctoral degree. Most NICU nurses work under the supervision of a physician. On the other hand, advanced practice nurses like neonatal clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) often act as consultants, educators, administrators, or researchers.
NICU nurses are trained to provide round-the-clock Nursing care to premature infants or babies with serious birth defects, delivery complications, or other life-threatening conditions. They provide basic as well as advanced infant care such as changing of dressings/diapers, administration of intravenous (IV) fluids, giving of specialized feedings, and management of ventilators among others.
Wednesday, February 05, 2014
Prior to discussing my opinion of what the attributes of a great nurse are, it is important to first understand what nursing truly is and how we evolved into the most honored and trusted profession in the world. The reasons are simple; nursing is a profession steeped in rich values based on the work of Florence Nightingale, which has not degraded over time due to the character of the individuals that commit to the calling. Nursing, in my opinion, is a much higher spiritual calling than merely a profession. Our fundamental tenets have not changed over time, either. Those are described as:
•Nursing is founded on specific human values.
•Nursing is a scientific knowledge.
•Nursing is a technical skill.
These tenets are based on specific nursing values that have been studied in literature and remain pretty consistent globally. These include:
•Sense of accomplishment
•Prevention of suffering
In my opinion, a great nurse lives these values and clearly understands themselves and their role in this fine profession. In an attempt to translate the values into behaviors, I would identify the actions as follows:
1.A great nurse is compassionate. Compassionate is defined as the feeling of concern and sympathy for others. We need to remember that our patients, apart from cosmetic work or delivering babies, are generally not in the healthcare setting because they want to be. They are fearful and at risk of losing their health, possibly their lives, and concurrently, those visitors with them may be at risk of losing precious loved ones. They are not in control and are frightened, and they need us for support. This also means that we are consummate advocates for the patient and willing to speak up when we do not feel the environment is as safe as it can be.
2.A great nurse is empathetic. Empathetic is defined as the ability and willingness to share in the feelings of others. It does not mean that we agree with the patient or completely understand what they are going through. It simply means that we are willing to make a concerted effort to listen to them, to put ourselves in their place and to attempt to understand their challenges. This needs to be done without judgment and with the understanding that everyone has their own set of values and their own life experiences that have brought them to this point.
3.A great nurse is selfless. Selfless is defined as the ability to give to others at the expense of themselves. I have countless stories of nurses over the years that illustrate this ability to give to others. This could be as simple as missing lunch to hold a patient’s hand or to do something extraordinary for someone else. I had one trauma nurse I will never forget who was caring for a homeless man hit by a car. When the patient was being discharged back to the street, the nurse realized that his shoes were not removed during the trauma because he did not own any. His foot size was the same as the patient’s, so he gave him his shoes and wore shoe covers for the rest of the day. I felt that this was a tremendous example of selflessness. We recognized him as an everyday hero. The stories go on and on and we need to celebrate them when they happen.
Wednesday, February 05, 2014
This month I focus on “awareness.” What a task! Awareness in and of itself is often interchanged with numerous terms: consciousness, mindfulness and/or presence. Even as I sat down to write about what these terms mean, I realize there is so much to say, more so than I can write in just this one article. One thing I need ask to come out compose myself: How can awareness help nurses?
I have read several books on these concepts, a lot of great information. Jon Kabat-Zinn is often seen as the founder of the “mindfulness” terminology. Anthony DeMello and Michael A. Singer are two other great authors in terms of these concepts. These concepts could actually be a lifelong process of study and reading and experiencing.
Watching the Present Moment
This brings me to a concept I read in DeMello’s book, “Awareness.” He doesn’t ever really lay out one definition of awareness, but, rather, dedicates his entire book to the subject. From reading it and from my understanding of the concepts, I share with you some of the ideas about this term: awareness.
To me, awareness means observing, self-observation without judgment or interference. Just simply observing and noticing. It is not labeling or thinking or remembering or any of that. It is not bringing in what we have already experienced or know. It is simply watching the present moment. DeMello writes:
“Self-observation means to watch everything in you and around you as far as possible and watch it as if it were happening to someone else. It means that you do not personalize what is happening to you. It means that you look at things as if you have no connection with them whatsoever.”
So what we want to do is passively observe our thoughts. We are not to interfere. We are not to “fix.” We are just to watch and observe. Instead of trying to “fix” everything; understand things. Understand by observing. Understand them and they will change.
Wednesday, February 05, 2014
Nurses have distinct intellectual qualities that they use to adapt to patient needs. Nurses are bright, critical thinkers and assertive decision makers. Yet, there is a quality that launches a good nurse into a great one. It is a quality that is sometimes hard to put a finger on. It is called Emotional Intelligence.
Emotional intelligence or EI is the ability, capacity and skill to identify, assess and control the emotions of oneself, of others and of groups. This quality plays an important role in nursing success whether they are working in management or at the bed side.
There are several different EI models and some disagreement on a specific definition, but the overall concepts and applications to nursing are the same.
Although a nurse may be born with general EI and related personality traits, Daniel Goleman (author of the book “Working with Emotional Intelligence”) and other researchers agree that the ability to develop, learn and improve EI is possible.
As nurses, we must be open to developing our EI skills in order to meet the needs of our patients, just as we would if we were learning a new clinical technique.
Goleman’s model outlines four main EI constructs:
The ability to read our own emotions and recognize their impact while using gut feelings to guide decisions.
This concept is not new to nurses and tightly follows the Peplau nursing theory. We have to “know ourselves” and our reactions before we can help manage others appropriately.
The ability to control our own emotions and impulses and adapt to changing circumstances.
Once we, as nurses, have identified where our strengths and weaknesses lie, we must look for opportunities to improve those skills. My favorite skill is modeling. Find people you respect who use a particular skill well (i.e. listening to angry families or managing an intense meeting) and then “mimic” them until you get the hang of it.
Other ideas include reading articles and self-help books, attending Webinars and learning everything you can on leadership, conflict resolution and communication in nursing.
The ability to sense, understand and react to others’ emotions while comprehending social awareness as a nurse.
Now comes the difficult part. We have to look for opportunities to use our new skills so that they become a part of who we are. In a hospital, opportunities abound. Every minute we have the opportunity to show openness, gratefulness or compassion towards patients or coworkers.
My favorite personal quote is “everyone deserves a little grace.” I use this to remind myself to keep my emotions in check. I then proceed to implement newly learned EI skills.
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