Thursday, August 21, 2014
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Rachel Burge for CareerBuilder.co.uk
Looking for work can be a hard (not to mention lonely and frustrating) experience and the last thing you want to do is scupper your efforts. Take a tip from the experts and discover the common pitfalls to avoid.
1. Going for jobs you don't really want
Casting your net wide can open up opportunities but beware of a scattergun approach.
'Apply only for jobs that you genuinely want and for which you have the relevant skills and experience,' advises Corinne Mills, Managing Director of Personal Career Management.
'No employer will consider you unless you meet their exact requirements or if you seem half-hearted about working for them.'
Not sure what you want or what is possible for you? Corinne suggests spending time researching your options and perhaps working with a career coach to help with your career planning and decision-making.
'Job-search campaigns which are clear and focused are far more likely to be productive and enable you to present confidently to employers.'
2. Not tailoring your CV
You might have spent hours writing your CV - but the work doesn't stop there. Once you have a basic template, be prepared to tweak sections for the particular job you're going for.
'I know this sounds strange, but your CV isn't about you,' says recruiter and careers coach, Aimee Bateman of Careercake.
'It's about how relevant you are to the job you're applying for, and how you can benefit the employer reading it.'
That also means sending a tailored cover letter.
'Don't make an employer feel like you have sent out a batch full of CVs, hoping someone (anyone) invites you for an interview,' says Aimee. 'If you want an employer to be genuinely interested in you, you need to make them feel like you are genuinely interested in them.'
3. Don't make finding work a full-time job
Finding work is often described as a full-time job - but there are good reasons why you shouldn't let it become the sole focus of your day.
'Looking for work can be lonely and frustrating but staying glued to your computer all day can do more harm than good,' says career coach Richard Maun.
'If you sit bashing out job applications you could very well be getting into bad habits and making the same mistakes. Take time out for a networking 'coffee and cake' chat (with friends, ex colleagues or LinkedIn contacts) and you're likely to come away invigorated with new ideas and inspiration.
'Keep a balance and make time for hobbies and family and friends and you'll be a happier and more positive - and that will come across to employers too.'
4. Not practising for interviews
When it comes to interviews, fail to prepare and prepare to fail. As well as researching the company and preparing answers to typical questions, think about how you come across.
'When you are preparing for interview, you need to practice your answers out loud,' says Corinne.
'Ideally this will be a mock interview with someone you trust, but even if you say your answers in front of the mirror, what you often find is that the message is clumsy and will need refining and you can only do this by practising different versions until it works.'
5. Not asking for feedback
If you've been job hunting for a while, seeking a second (objective) opinion can reveal areas you need to work on. Don't be afraid to ask the interviewer for feedback - and ask someone you respect for more general advice on how to approach your job search.
'Always get feedback to ensure that you are presenting your skills and capabilities in the best way possible. This means asking others for their views on your CV, Linkedin profile and interviews,' says Corinne.
'While you may understand what you are trying to say, the employer may not, so test it out beforehand with someone who can give you honest and constructive criticism.'
6. Not giving examples or quantifying achievements
The jobs market is more competitive than ever and having the right skills and experience is just the start - to stand out from the crowd you need to differentiate yourself.
'Focus on your key achievements (not just your skills and experience) and make sure to communicate these to a potential employer,' advises Richard.
'Have you made a difference and done something out of the ordinary? Is there a particular situation you did well in that is unique to you?
'Try to quantify the achievement (how much money you made/saved for the company) and include this on your CV - recruiters are more likely to remember an interesting achievement than the usual list of skills and experience they've read 100 times before.'
7. Not taking control of your career
Things can change quickly - so make sure you keep up to date with your chosen industry and what today's employers are looking for.
As Richard explains: 'The days of the traditional career where we worked for one organisation for years are gone. Today we're expected to move between 9-to-5 jobs, consultancy work and self employment - and perhaps do several at the same time as part of a 'portfolio career'.
'To survive in this brave new world we need to develop new talents and be able to spot and create career opportunities for ourselves - rather than waiting for them to fall in our laps.
'Put time into networking (at real-life events and online) and research your chosen industry, whether that's making contacts with key figures, reading trade magazines or keeping up with new technology. Keeping up to date and demonstrating a good awareness of advances in your sector could be what makes you stand out from the next candidate.'
Image: © Picture-Factory - Fotolia.com
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Many chances of a promotion or career change have been lost by not getting the CV written properly. To be provided with a high quality, personally tailored CV writing service, I will provide you with information on how to write a professional CV online help and advice also by email.
Please be careful if you decide to write your own CV.
There is a significant amount of misinformation and poor advice regarding how to write a CV re: the content, targeting, presentation, formatting, writing etc. There are also people who are all too willing to "help" give advice - again this is dangerous as it will probably be "general help and advice" and not "person specific". This is a general guide on how to write a CV. This part deals with how to write a career statement or objective statement and should not be considered specifically the right advice for you and your approach to the job market.
* * *
How to Write a CV: The Objective Statement or Career Statement;
A growing trend in new CVs or resumes is eliminate the "career" or "objective" statement. Below are some reasons to include this very important career or objective statement in your CV or resume and a top-10 tips list for writing a memorable one.
Submit as many applications as possible.
Some job applicants are omitting the career statement or objective statement within their CVs and resumes. Rewriting objectives to accommodate every possibility seems challenging, while including over-generalized career statements seems to do more harm than good. Nevertheless, when one considers the real purpose of an objective, the inclusion of it appears to be mandatory.
Whether written as "Career Statement", "Objective Statement", or "Position Desired"
When a cover letter cannot be submitted, the career or objective statement may be the job seeker's only chance to introduce himself. The statement serves three purposes. The first purpose is to state clearly, what type of position an applicant desires. Second, this introductory sentence suggests to the employer what type of skill set or qualifications the applicant possesses. A third purpose is for the announced career goal, one that is frequently misunderstood or under utilized all together, is the implied employer benefits, or the "what's in it for my company" angle.
Your Career Statement or Objective Statement
should include a job title whenever possible. Sentences that skirt job names, such as, "...seeking a position in marketing...", suggests two things to the reader; one, the applicant has no idea about what types of jobs may be available in marketing and two, the applicant is desperate, and willing to take any job. Eagerness is good. Desperation is fatal.
Defining the position desired
This is much more effective when the company's own job titles are used, such as, "...seeking a Sales Management position..." or "...pursuing an entry-level Public Relations Specialist position..
Capturing your qualifications
Use the identified job title combined with a descriptive term such as, "experienced" or "certified". Are your employment skills developed in areas of administration? In sales? Identifying your general abilities will give you some good leading sentences for your career objective. Consider the following examples:
Recent high school graduate, previously employed in fast-food service industry, and aiming for a new position --
Experienced specialty carpenter seeking a supervisor title -- Desire to obtain a Carpenter Shop Foreman position utilizing extensive trade skills and experience in the theatrical and special events industries.
Finally, when writing a career statement or career objective
You should consider the potential employer's point of view. In a competitive job market, where hiring personnel sit behind stacks of non-descript CVs and resumes, the inclusion of a little "self-promotion" is critical. Ask yourself, "what do I have that this company wants?".
Composing a C.V. or resume requires focused time and effort. Never try to hurry the process by leaving out the who, what, and why of your employment search.
10 Tips on How to Write A CV Career Statement / Objective Statement
Choose two adjectives to describe your work style such as, "Dependable and conscientious student seeking..." or "Detail oriented and quality conscious accounting clerk..."
Inform your potential employer of "what is in it for them", such as, "seeking to utilize 10+ years experience in the industry..." or "...proven sales record..."
One sentence is good, but making sense is better! If warranted, two sentences or in some cases a short paragraph will improve an objective statement.
If you know the job title for which you are applying, use it. There is nothing to be gained in trying to define a new position for yourself.
If you have read the job description in an advertisement, try to mirror one or two of the words listed. For instance, if the job indicated a desire for a self-starter, then experiment with using the same term or one with the same meaning.
Grammar and spelling count! It is expected that CVs and resumes will have short sentence fragments, abbreviations, and little punctuation, but your career objective statement should be written without error.
Avoid being too general. It is better to do a little research with the company and uncover some of what they may be looking for than to write an over-generalized objective.
Ambition is nice, but statements such as "work my way up to..." will impress no one and may undercut your credibility.
Experiment with writing an objective without the use of the word, "I". "I", is more appropriately used in a cover letter. Using "I" and "my" too frequently may loose a recruiter whose context and focus is on what the company can gain from a new hire.
Do not promise more than you can deliver! If you are chronically late, then describing yourself as punctual will only undermine your credibility later when it is discovered that you have misrepresented yourself.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Geoffrey James, BNET, Yahoo! HotJobs
Career advice from BNET: Like just about everything else in the workplace, the conventional wisdom about how to manage the boss has evolved considerably in recent years. If you hope to climb the career ladder by impressing your boss, these are the new and revised rules of the road.
Myth #1: Always be in the office before your boss arrives.
Conventional wisdom: If you're even five minutes late, the boss will think you're a slacker.
Why it's a myth: In an age of flex time, telecommuting, Blackberries, and instant messages, bosses care more about whether you're getting the job done than whether you're warming your seat.
Try this instead: Make sure the boss knows you're putting in extra hours at home or on the road, both by maintaining a rapid-response email or instant message presence, and by hinting at when you're putting in those extra hours.
Example: "I had to work over the weekend on this report, but I think you'll agree the extra effort was worth it."
Myth #2: Ask for permission before bringing up difficult issues.
Conventional wisdom: You want your boss to be in a good mood when you deliver bad news.
Why it's a myth: Thanks to email and cell phones, word travels faster than ever. If you don't tell your boss the bad news, somebody else will, and then you'll look evasive or stupid -- or both.
Try this instead: Deliver bad news in the context of what you're doing to fix the situation or make it better.
Example: "The Acme sale fell through, so we're launching a quick sales campaign with the other customers to make up the revenue loss."
Myth #3: Suggest ways to make the boss more popular with the team.
Conventional wisdom: The boss will appreciate your efforts to improve morale and teamwork.
Why it's a myth: If your boss is unpopular, there's very little you can do to change that perception.
Try this instead: When boss-bashing takes place beyond his earshot, don't join the fray. Instead, give the boss credit for things he does well. When the department spy (there always is one) reports back to the boss, he'll learn that you're an ally.
Example: "Yeah, Joe loses his temper sometimes. But he's really good at defending our interests in front of the budget committee."
Myth #4: Protect your boss from your underlings, and vice versa.
Conventional wisdom: If your boss talks directly to your team members, information could be revealed that you'd rather keep under wraps.
Why it's a myth: Attempting to control the flow of information inside today's wired-up corporations is utterly pointless.
Try this instead: Cue your underlings to reinforce the message you're giving the boss.
Example: "When the big boss asks what you're doing, be sure to point out how well you're supporting our group's quarterly sales goal. She likes that kind of thing."
Myth #5: Never say anything to the boss when you're angry.
Conventional wisdom: If you're hot under the collar, you're likely to say things you'll later regret.
Why it's a myth: Your emotions aren't the problem; the issue is how you express them.
Try this instead: Don't lose your cool. When you're frustrated or angry, say so -- but without blowing up or exploding. Avoid whiny complaining. Instead, focus on fixing the things you want to change, and ask for the boss's help in changing them.
Example: "OK, I understand we need to get the report done. But let's come up with a plan that doesn't involve everyone working over the holiday."
Copyright 2007 CNET Networks, Inc. All rights reserved. BNET offers managers the solutions and tools they need to solve the most pervasive day-to-day business challenges and perform with excellence in today's demanding professional environments. For more information, visit BNET.com.
Also on Yahoo! HotJobs:
Caroline Levchuck, Yahoo! HotJobs, Yahoo! HotJobs
Even if you really enjoy your job, it's still possible to battle boredom as you work your way toward the boardroom. You may not be able to make big changes -- or change your job -- but you can make small adjustments to your routine that can make every day seem, well, a little less routine.
1. Switch Your Seat
Change your outlook at the office by changing your office -- literally. Ask your supervisor to help you find a new desk, office, or cube to call home. Even switching desks with a neighboring coworker can offer a fresh perspective.
If it's not possible to change your location, see if you can change how your desk is oriented. A new perspective can be just as refreshing as a new location.
2. Change Your Commute
Start and end your day in a different way by making changes to your commute. Consider a new mode of transportation, if it's possible. Take a subway. Ride a bike on sunny days. Carpool with a coworker. Use a new route to get to your job. You needn't change your commute permanently -- just long enough to help you escape the doldrums.
3. Find a New Way to Work
Shake things up at the office by changing how things get done.
Sick of attending that long-standing Monday morning meeting? Try to rally your boss to change it to the afternoon.
If you find yourself feeling most bored in the afternoons, try to arrange to do your favorite tasks then and tackle less desirable projects in the mornings.
If you usually communicate with coworkers via email and instant messaging, start dealing with people face to face. Increased interaction with coworkers may help improve your mood.
4. Get and Set a Goal
If you're not working toward something, it's no wonder that work has become boring. Identify a goal and set an "achieve by" date for it.
Your goal needn't be lofty as long as you have sufficient enthusiasm for it. Perhaps you want to tackle a new project. Maybe you'd like to pursue a promotion. Or you may even set a goal of finding a new job altogether. Whatever it is, actively moving toward an objective will make work much more interesting.
Also on Yahoo! HotJobs:
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Try These Sample Questions to Help Get Ready
By Tom Musbach
One of the easiest ways to build confidence before a job interview is to prepare answers to questions you might be asked. Whether you're applying for a position as a web programmer, accountant, or legal secretary, interviewers often use some general questions to assess candidates, so you'll increase your chances for success if you prepare for them in advance.
Six common questions are listed below, along with insights from several recruitment professionals about how to answer. As part of your interview preparation, take the time to formulate answers to each question, focusing on specific tasks and accomplishments.
"What are your strengths and weaknesses?"
This is one of the most well-known interview questions, and interviewers often ask it indirectly, as in, "What did your most recent boss suggest as areas for improvement in your last performance review?"
Lindsay Olson, founder of Paradigm Staffing Solutions, a firm specializing in hiring public relations professionals, suggests tailoring your "strengths" answer to skills that will benefit the prospective employer. Though you may have a knack for building gingerbread houses, it might be of little value for the job at hand.
When it comes to weaknesses, or areas of growth, Olson recommends building on your answer to include "how you have improved, and specifics on what you have done to improve yourself in those areas."
"Why did you leave your last position?"
"Interviewers will always want to know your reasoning behind leaving a company ? particularly short stints," says Olson. "Be prepared to tell the truth, without speaking negatively about past employment."
"Can you describe a previous work situation in which you ... ?"
This question comes in many forms, but what the interviewer is looking for is your behavior on the job. Your answer could focus on resolving a crisis, overcoming a negotiation deadlock, handling a problem coworker, or juggling multiple tasks on a project.
The theory behind this type of question is that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior, according to Yves Lermusi, CEO of Checkster, a company that offers career and talent checkup tools. "The key to responding well is preparing real job examples, describing your behavior in specific situations that demonstrate important skills that the job requires."
"What is your ideal work environment?"
This question is not about whether you prefer a cubicle or an office, so think broadly to include ideas about supervision, management styles, and your workday routine.
Bob Hancock, senior recruiter for video game publisher Electronic Arts, says that he uses this question with candidates because it can give "a sense of their work habits, how flexible they are with their schedules, and how creative they are."
"How do you handle mistakes?"
The best strategy for this general question is to focus on one or two specific examples in the past and, if possible, highlight resolutions or actions that might have relevance to the job you're interviewing for.
"Employers want to know they're hiring someone with the maturity to accept responsibility and the wherewithal to remedy their own mistakes," says Debra Davenport, a master professional mentor and columnist for the Business Journal in Phoenix.
"What is your most notable accomplishment?"
Paradigm Staffing's Olson suggests that candidates think of three or four accomplishments and quantify what their actions meant in terms of increasing revenues, saving resources, or improving resources."Being able to quantify your achievements in your career will launch you ahead of the rest," she says, "and demonstrate your ability to do the same as a future employee."
Tuesday May 8, 8:00 am ET
By AllBusiness.com Is there someone in your workplace -- a domineering manager, a difficult coworker, or maybe even a demanding client or customer -- who drives you crazy? Are there people at your job who make you feel inadequate, unworthy, or just plain miserable?
Difficult people exist at work as in all facets of life, and they come in every variety. Dealing with these types is easier when the person is just generally obnoxious or when their behavior affects more than one person. But it is much tougher when they personally attack you or undermine your professional standing.
While you probably can't change such a person, the good news is that by following these 10 tips for dealing with problem people in the workplace, you can avoid being their victim:
- Identify problem people. Learn to recognize when a coworker is "toxic." Difficult people come in all shapes and sizes: Some talk constantly and never listen. Others must always have the last word. Some coworkers fail to keep commitments. Others criticize anything that they did not create themselves. A toxic coworker can take the form of a cut-you-downer, a two-faced backstabber, a gossip, a meddler, an instigator, or a nasty competitor.
- Beware bad bosses. Bosses are in charge, whether you like it or not. If your intention is to keep your job, you will have to learn how to get along with an arrogant or controlling boss. If you need to confront your boss, avoid putting him or her on the defensive. This is the most risky situation with which to deal.
- Assess your situation. Initially, you might be shocked that you are being treated unprofessionally. Take a deep breath, and try to understand exactly what is happening to you. Realize that you are not alone.
- Take concrete action. Once you are fully aware of what is happening, deciding to live with the situation long-term is rarely an option. Your situation won't improve unless you do something about it. In fact, left unaddressed, it usually gets worse. Let the coworker in question know that you are on to his or her game and that you will escalate it to a higher authority if necessary.
- Don't let the problem fester. Make sure to take action swiftly. You may eventually become so angry that your efforts to address the situation could become irrational. It's far better to tackle the problem while you can maintain some objectivity and emotional control.
- Safeguard your reputation. Constant complaining about the situation can quickly earn you the title of "office whiner." Managers might wonder why you're unable to solve your own problems, even if their tolerance of the situation is part of the problem. If you are embroiled in a constant conflict at work, you may end up getting blamed for other problems.
- Don't sink to their level. As problematic as the person may be, there are many dysfunctional approaches to dealing with them in which you do not want to engage. Some no-no's: sending anonymous notes, gossiping about the person, bad-mouthing him or her to the boss.
- Keep it private. Be sure to keep all of your dealings with the person private. Never lose your temper at work or engage in a confrontation in front of your boss or colleagues.
- Make the first move. If you approach a difficult person with the belief that he or she is as eager as you are to restore harmony, you can make the first move. Start your conversation with Start your conversation with statements such as "I'm sorry for what I may have done to hurt you" or "I could be wrong."
- Agree to disagree. If you personally dislike a coworker or boss, you can still learn from their opinions, viewpoints, and ideas. If you can find something to appreciate about them, comment on it in a favorable way. If that person senses your allegiance, they will be naturally drawn to you, and you may both learn to get along despite your differences.
|Two Words To Boost Your Career: Thank You |
Thank-you notes should be printed on letterhead stationery or personal-business stationery, or -- for a little warmer tone -- handwritten on fold-over note cards. You can simplify the process by sending an email thank-you message (more on this later), which is not as distinctive as a handwritten note but far better than no message at all.
As you're writing, don't worry about being creative or clever or profound. People are so charmed to receive thank-you notes at all that they are seldom very critical. "Thank you very much" are words that everyone likes to read.
After the Job InterviewAn essential job-seeking technique as well as a gesture of courtesy is to thank the people who interview you. Write a note immediately after the interview and before a decision has been made.
- State what you liked about the interview, the company, and the position.
- Emphasize briefly and specifically your suitability for the job.
- Address concerns about your qualifications that came up during the interview.
- Mention any issue that you didn't have the opportunity to discuss. But primarily say thanks.
- If you felt you had a particularly friendly interview, you might close with a sentence or two referring to something you talked about unrelated to the interview (like sports, common interests, or family).
Keep in mind that several people spent time setting up the appointment, doing the paperwork, interviewing you, and doing the paperwork again. They'll appreciate a little recognition.A few letter-writing experts dislike the "thanks again" that concludes so many thank-you letters and notes. However, it is a popular and benign way of reminding the reader of the purpose of your note. If you like it, use it.
A Sample Note
A sample thank-you note for a job interview might look like this:
I enjoyed this morning's discussion of the research position you want to fill. I was pleased to know that my advanced degree is definitely an asset, and I was impressed by the team spirit among the other employees I met. Thanks so much for your time and for the congenial interview.
Other Factors To Consider
You can email your thanks, but in most cases, it's not as impressive. The point of a thank-you note is that it is personal and somewhat formal. However, if the company you're interviewing with tends to do business by email and if most of your contacts have been through email, then it's definitely the way to go.
Once you're hired, you'll want to send thank-you notes -- or notes of appreciation, which is almost the same thing -- to the interviewers, your new boss, and anyone else you dealt with throughout the interview process. Saying thanks is one of the least expensive, easiest strategies in creating a favorable environment for yourself wherever you go.Harvey Mackay, founder and chairman of the Mackay Envelope Corporation and bestselling author of "Swim with the Sharks (Without Being Eaten Alive)," says, "Anyone too busy to say 'thank you' will get fewer and fewer chances to say it."
Every day I receive e-mails and phone calls from women and men who say they're having trouble reaching their career goals. They express serious doubt about their abilities to accomplish what they really want to do.
Each time I tell them an anecdote about a young Michael Gelman.
While in journalism school at the University of Colorado, Gelman solicited much advice from his professors. Most of them said that if he wanted a career in television, he'd have to start in a small market and hope to work his way up. He let it all sink in -- and then abandoned their directives.
Confidence Pays Off
Instead, armed with an abundance of energy and determination, Gelman headed to the Big Apple as an intern on an early version of what ultimately became the popular talk show hosted today by Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa. Gelman once told me he knew that "someone had to get those TV jobs, so why not me? I realized that these were ordinary people -- nothing to put on a pedestal -- and if they could do it, so could I."
That passion, guts and logic worked: In 1987, after freelance assignments and staff stints, Gelman became the youngest executive producer of a national talk show, and he proceeded to turn the program into a ratings powerhouse.
It could be argued that his talents in television are on par other people's skills in their chosen lines of work -- from administrative assistants to electrical engineers. But it's his can-do attitude that really sets him above and beyond many of us.
Your Attitude Adjustment
Most of us let "reality" squash our career dreams before they've even had a chance to develop. Instead of listing all the reasons you can't do something, just this once list all the reasons you can, and should. Positive thinking takes practice. We all have negative thoughts from time to time, but it's possible to turn your negative thoughts into positive ones by following these simple guidelines.
Identify your negative thoughts. Negative ideas can spring into your mind so fast and so often that you are hardly even aware of them anymore. Consider the last dream or idea you rejected. Maybe you thought about asking for a new assignment at work, for example. Write down all the excuses and problems you came up with to reject the idea.
Weigh each excuse for validity. Take each item on the list and think through whether they are really obstacles that could block you from achieving your goals ... or just excuses based on fear or procrastination. In the example above, not having enough experience could potentially keep you from getting the assignment. But fears about handling the extra workload or wondering if it has already gone to someone else will not prevent you from getting the assignment. Let's face it: They are simply excuses not to go for what you want.
Think of ways to overcome your obstacles. So you don't quite have the experience to take on the project. How can you overcome this? Maybe you are willing to cooperate with a coworker who does have the experience, so you can learn what you will need to know on this project and you can work independently the next time. Or maybe you can take on a smaller project until you build up to the one you want. If your dream assignment has indeed gone to someone else, try to develop a few main reasons why that person had the advantage over you. Perhaps there are areas for you to focus on going forward to improve your chances for the next opening.
Reclaim your dreams. Once you have successfully broken down all your excuses, re-imagine the dream. You are the savvy team leader of the most important assignment for the company. You handle it with expertise and efficiency. Is it still a dream that fits?
Instead of figuring out why you can't accomplish what you've set your eyes on -- there's way too much competition or you "just don't have enough time" -- turn the tables on that negativity. Figure out exactly what it'll take to get you where you want to go and start heading down that path. Get going today.
Tory Johnson is the CEO of Women For Hire and the workplace contributor on ABC's "Good Morning America."? Connect with her at www.womenforhire.com.
Also on Yahoo! HotJobs:
Sometimes even the greatest jobs can run amuck, no matter how much effort and passion we put into them. No one ever wants to be laid off or fired, but the reality is it can happen to the best of us. What's important is to be aware of the warning signs that your employer may be considering letting you go.
Some clues are more subtle than others, so use -- and trust -- your intuition. If you get the feeling that things are going awry at work, you're probably right. Fine-tune your antennae to pick up the following potential signals:
Changes in communication.
Your boss avoids eye contact, maintains distance, and chooses to communicate via email rather than your usual face-to-face conversations. Smiles become infrequent, and communication becomes impersonal and matter-of-fact.
Responsibilities are diminished or taken away.
No matter how it might be sugar-coated, if projects or responsibilities are reassigned to someone else, this should be a red flag alerting you that you're not indispensable.
You sense your replacement has just been hired.
Be cognizant of new hires and their areas of responsibility. A new employee who is unexpectedly sharing your duties, supervising you or working closely with your boss might be in training to assume your position.
You're excluded, kept in the dark.
If you're suddenly excluded from meetings, projects and communications in which you've actively been involved, you need to ask yourself -- and your boss -- what the reason is. Often, when employees are about to be terminated, they're ostracized so that they're no longer privy to company information.
Praise turns into criticism.
Of course, we can't please everyone all the time, and positive criticism is necessary to improve our game. But if it seems that, no matter what you do or how hard you try, your efforts are met with disapproval, your job may be at risk. Continual criticism can have a negative impact on performance, productivity, and wellness. Before your job becomes unhealthy, take a step back and honestly assess your situation. It may be time to move on and find a new job.
You're passed over for a promotion or raise.
While not always a sign that you're about to be let go, being passed over is a signal to evaluate your competencies and skills, and identify areas where you might benefit from some professional development.
You're placed on probation.
Probation is not necessarily the end of the world. In fact, it requires that your employer point out his/her specific concerns about your performance as well as detailed suggestions for improvement. In addition, probationary periods provide a timeline and typically some quantifiable measure to determine if you're meeting expectations. Knowing the details of your employer's expectations and where you might be falling short can empower you to make prompt, positive changes.
The best way to avoid the above scenarios is to be proactive. If you sense your position is on shaky ground, take immediate action. Communicate with your supervisors. Ask questions. Get to the bottom of any possible dissatisfaction, address the issue, and document the steps you take to resolve it.
Have a backup plan, just in case. Polish your resume and reconnect with people who have provided references in the past. And, if you do lose your job, don't hang your head. Getting fired may actually be a positive sign that you've outgrown your current position, and that's certainly nothing to be ashamed about.
Debra Davenport, PhD, is a career expert, Executive Professional Mentor and the president of DavenportFolio, a licensed firm with offices in Phoenix and Los Angeles that mentors entrepreneurs and professionals. She is the author of "The Ten Commitments of Highly Successful People" and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also on Yahoo! HotJobs:
"Be courteous" is a fundamental rule of interviewing. But what do you do when the interviewer's behavior is offensive? You want to ace the interview and leave with your self-respect intact. Here are some strategies for responding tactfully to a discourteous interviewer.
Do a Reality Check
Sometimes we read more into a remark than the interviewer intended because of the pressure and heightened emotions of an interview. Before you take action, ask yourself: "Was that really disrespectful?" Some issues are clear-cut, such as age, religion, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation. Others, unfortunately, are not. If the interviewer's behavior is clearly disrespectful, then respond with the strategies outlined below. If you're unsure, then put it aside and continue with your interview.
Decide Whether to Salvage It
You worked hard to land your interview. Your priority is to keep the interview focused on what you have to offer the company. Take a deep breath and briefly consider some reasons to make the best of this challenging situation.
- You can decide about the company after you complete the interview.
- The interviewer doesn't represent the entire company.
- The job may not involve working with the interviewer.
- This behavior could be part of a "stress interview" in which they test your response to high-pressure situations.
Get Back on Track
Sure, it's a challenge to stay polite when you're dealing with less-than-polite behavior. Yet, there's a lot you can do to get your interview back on track.
- Be open-minded. The interviewer may recognize the problem with her behavior and try to fix it.
- Ignore the disrespectful comment and talk about your skills.
- Ask the interviewer a question that will shift the focus to an area of interest to him.
- Keep your sense of humor and make a light remark.
- Ask for feedback or clarification if the interviewer repeatedly contradicts or interrupts you.
- Use "I" statements and be polite when you give the interviewer your opinion.
Know When to Exit
Sometimes a graceful exit is a necessary last resort when you've done everything you can to save the interview. Thank the interviewer for her time. Then, politely excuse yourself from the interview without commenting on her behavior. If you must say something, be courteous.
Learn from Your Experience
Before you put this encounter behind you, identify what you've learned about this potential coworker. Then use this experience to improve how you respond to difficult people.
The final step is to practice dealing with negative interview situations with someone who'll give you honest feedback. In this way, you'll be ready to act with composure if you ever encounter another disrespectful interviewer.
Since 1989, Dr. Carla-Krystin Andrade has helped job hunters worldwide win jobs and achieve their career goals through her website, stressfreezone.com, books, and seminars. Her latest books are "Kick Start Your Job Search, Now!" and "How to Win the Job Search Game."
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We've all heard the warning: Don't repeat office gossip. While that's generally sound advice, there are times when quietly passing on a bit of informal news can be good.
But when you've got a juicy story on the tip of your tongue, how can you tell whether you should pass it on or clam up?
Intent Is the Key
One measure, experts say, is your reason for doing it. If your intent is malicious -- if you're telling a story about someone else to further your own position, or to tear that person down -- then speaking up will likely do more harm than good, to your team and to your professional reputation.
But maybe you're just trying to save a colleague from a potentially embarrassing situation, for example, or to help a new coworker make a good first impression. This type of information sharing is a crucial part of most organizations, said Roy Lewicki, a professor at the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University. "People want to know what's happening."
This type of "good" gossip can produce the following favorable results.
* Help a new hire fit in. New employees need more than an orientation about their benefits and an introduction to the computer system. They also need to understand the culture of their new workplace, key events in their workgroup's past and the personalities of their new colleagues.
This can include work-related idiosyncrasies, said Rich Martinez, executive vice president and chief operating officer of IS2BE, a high-tech company in San Jose, California: "'If you bring a report in to the supervisor, make sure you've done this first,' or 'If you're going to this person's meeting, make sure you're on time.'"
* Alert management to problems. "You often hear about the grapevine being useful for finding out things that are going on that you need to address," said Carole C. Edman, a human resources consultant and coach in San Jose.
It can be helpful for managers to be tuned in to what workers are saying so they can respond to and clarify, if possible, the latest worries about layoffs or rumors about the company being sold.
* Prevent awkward situations. Sometimes sharing more personal information about a colleague can keep new coworkers from embarrassing themselves. If a coworker's mother is ill and the worker seems distracted, for example, it can be helpful for a colleague who knows about the illness to tell others who are complaining about the worker's performance, Martinez said.
"Then people understand, and they deal with that situation differently," Martinez said. "If you can give someone the benefit of some knowledge you might have and prevent an embarrassing or ugly situation, you should."
* Humanize the boss. Telling new hires about the time the intimidating boss burned the hamburgers at the barbecue could be a good use of informal storytelling, said Eric Marcus, a consulting social psychologist, based in New York, who works with organizations on dealing with conflict. "It can be useful when it exposes people's humanity," he said. "I think the intent is the critical thing."
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