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Career Guide
Career Steps
Body Talk
Resume Tips
Interviews Advice
Salary & Negotiation
Leadership & Teamwork
Job Search Techniques
Career Steps
Purpose: Clarify what according to you is meaningful and satisfying work? What are the aspects in your job that are meaningful to you? How will this make you contribute effectively to your work and your organisation? Will this help you achieve your goal? Is it just the monetary gains you consider as value? Do the employers appreciate the long hours of work you put in?
Positioning: Optimally match your skills, abilities and interests with industries and organisations. What are your target job functions and titles? Have you assessed your skills and abilities sufficiently enough so that it helps you identify what your preferences are and at the same time gives you room for alternatives also? What kind of companies and industries look for the target skills you have?
Packaging: Packaging is everything! Present yourself in a compelling manner in order to successfully change industries or fields. How do you define yourself? What qualities do you want to be known by? Are you a fast-starter? Detail-oriented? A team player? You need to match well with your target employer. What are your problem solving attitudes? Can you cope with a crisis? What specific competencies, expertise and experiences will you use as an argument for your next job or career?
Preparation: Build a strategic plan. Make contacts and turn them into career opportunities. Compile a list of people who can be useful for networking. Networking is the key promotional technique. Join organisations; get involved; keep in touch; do what you can to help others; be visible in your targeted professional community. Have you developed relationships with search firms and recruiters? Think how often people are changing jobs now. Are you using online resources and Web sites, career fairs, conferences and trade shows to maximum advantage?
Presentation: Turn opportunities into interviews and interviews into offers. Employers certainly are interested in what you can do for them, but they will be glad if you will be interested in them! Research on the companies you have targeted at. Know what are the challenges they face, their problems and what their values and mission are. Use informational interviews to develop your understanding and knowledge about companies and create a network of contacts.
Performance: Master workplace competencies that enhance your personal success in any corporate culture. Can you cope with a crisis? Can you wade through office politics? Are your survival skills sharp? Can you perform well even when you are pressurised for work? Do you know how to effectively communicate the added value you bring to the organisation? Are you assuming if you just work hard and do a good job, you will be recognised and rewarded?
Planning: Long term planning is more effective than a short term planning. Know what you are getting into. Analyse where you would want to see yourself in a few years from today. This planning is equally imperative as it builds a thought process to which you need to find logical answers. Maintain a professional developmental plan that will serve as guidelines throughout your career. Is your resume updated? Do you regularly maintain a log of your accomplishments, training, awards and feedback to prepare for your annual performance evaluation? Do you know where you want to be and what you want to be doing in 5 or 10 years? What do you anticipate will be the challenges and life situations you will be facing and how are you preparing for them now? Do you have savings just in case of an emergency? Are you prepared to relocate? What are your plans in case your company decides to downsize?
Body Talk
Brisk, erect walk = Confidence
Standing with hands on hips = Readiness, aggression
Sitting with legs crossed, foot kicking slightly = Boredom
Arms crossed on chest = Defensiveness
Hand to cheek = Evaluation, thinking
Touching, slightly rubbing nose = Rejection, doubt, lying
Rubbing the eye = Doubt, disbelief
Hands clasped behind back = Anger, frustration, apprehension
Rubbing handss = Anticipation
Open palm = Sincerity, openness, innocence
Pinching bridge of nose, eyes closed = Negative evaluation
Tapping or drumming fingers = Impatience
Patting/fondling hair = Lack of self-confidence; insecurity
Tilted head = Interest
Stroking chin = Trying to make a decision
Looking down, face turned away = Disbelief
Biting nails = Insecurity, nervousness
Pulling or tugging at ear = Indecision
Resume Tips
A resume is as good as an advertisement for oneself. Ensure that you market yourself well
It's your resume, so make it as professional as you can
The sole purpose of your resume is to ensure that you are short-listed for that much-wanted interview
It is advisable to hand over your resume directly to the person who will be doing the hiring
Avoid making a flashy resume. Keep it simple and precise.
Avoid using coloured envelopes or papers
Get your resume proof-read! There should be NO mistakes! It reflects carelessness
There should be no misspelled words or incorrect grammar.
Print your resume on quality bond paper. Do not use dot matrix, it is not only outdated, but does not appeal to read either. Instead, use a laser print.
Use clean paper devoid of smudges, marks, or creases
Your resume should be easy to read. Using "bulleted points" is helpful.
Keep sentences short and concise. Use action verbs.
Avoid the usage of: I, me, my, and "Resume of."
Use text formatting utilities like bold, underline, or italic to emphasise relevant sections in the resume.
 
Name and address: Write the first and the last names without indicating marital status. The contact address must have residence telephone, fax and e-mail and not office numbers. Specify if somebody else's facilities are being used.
 
Work experience: List the assignments beginning with the latest. The challenges faced must reveal your forte. Divide the experience in each organisation in to tenures and list the accomplishments in a way that brings out the managerial expertise picked up by you while on the job.
 
Education: Give the academic qualifications especially if you are from prestigious institutions and have had an exemplary academic record. Briefly mention scholarships and medals. This is at the junior level. At the senior level, give the details of professional qualifications attained.
 
Personal information: This is optional. Do not go over board on hobbies. This gives an impression that personal interests supersede the professional ones.
 
Additional information: Details that might be relevant to employment objectives but do not fit in any category are to be given in this.
Interviews Advice
Tell me about yourself/your background: Here the interviewer is trying to ask "why do you think you are best suited to the job?" Give a short and concise statement about your background and relevant educational qualifications and experience that makes you suitable for the job.
Why do you want to leave your current organisation: This question is meant to check "how loyal a person you are" Be honest when answering this question, but never ever blame or badmouth your current company. Talk about challenges and learning, but ensure that you put your current organisation in a good light. Otherwise, the interviewer may think that if you can't be loyal to one organisation, you can't be loyal to any organisation.
Why do you want to work here: Read this question as "what do you know about the company?" Interviewers will expect you to have some knowledge about the company and the lack of it can reflect badly on your enthusiasm and interest in the job. So, put in some time to research about the company and get at least the basics right.
Where do you want to be in the next 5/10 years: In most probability, the interviewer here wants to know "how stable you are" Stability is a big concern with employees and interviewers obviously want to hire someone who stays in the organization for a long duration. Include internal growth and stability in your answer and you have caught the interviewer on this one.
What are your salary expectations: This question actually means "can we afford you?" This question again needs some research. Find out the average salaries earned by people in your profession in the industry and in the company you have applied to and then, based on these figures quote your expectations. You obviously do not want to settle for a lesser amount or ruin your chances by quoting a huge amount.
Be frank: The damage has been done and you can sense it. Giving excuses may be of no help and it can even piss off the interviewer. Just be honest and frank and tell the interviewer what went wrong. The best approach would be identifying the problem, explaining the reasons and apologising. An honest approach at least establishes you as a genuine person and things may start looking up.
Lighten up the environment: A serious environment that usually characterises interviews can add to the tension. Try to lighten up the environment through some ice-breaking jokes, compliments etc. You can crack a joke about the traffic quoting it as the reason for your getting late or you can tell the interviewer that you like his tie. However, ensure that you don't overdo it otherwise you will end up looking like an unprofessional fool.
Ask questions: If you feel your answers are not making the impact or getting you the response they should, there is some problem. Is it your style or the answer itself? The only way to know is to ask clarification questions. Questions like - "Am I going in the right direction?" or "Did I understand the question correctly?" - do not only act as ice breakers but also give you idea of what is going wrong and what corrective measures you can take.
Take feedback: An alternative to asking questions is asking for feedback. When you start feeling that the entire thing is slackening up, just ask the interviewer to share his views on your answer. You will know where you are going wrong and will also get an idea about what the interviewer thinks about you.
Move on: Now, after trying everything, if you feel that the damage cannot be undone, just move on. As they say, you win some, you lose some. Accept that you cannot clear all interviews, analyse and understand your mistakes and prepare for your next interview.
Salary & Negotiations
Never assume salaries to be predetermined by employers and that qualifications, experience and performance are determining factors. Negotiation is a vital aspect of getting the right salary, but try avoiding premature salary discussion until the employer questions your requirements - otherwise, you can get screened out by talking about money too soon.
Information is the key to any negotiation and a common mistake is to tell your employer what you would accept. Sometimes, it is hard not to disclose this, especially when asked about your salary history, requirement or expectations. But the earlier you give out the details; there is less room for negotiation when the time comes. Try to be noncommittal when asked about the salary requirements too early in the interview process.
Do not underestimate your worth and accept what is offered even if it is an urgent requirement. Avoid such desperate acts as even the best offers need review. Most employers give you time to contemplate and consider negotiating for a better offer if you feel it would be better. Remember, the amount of time asked for is the time in which you take your decision.
Do a thorough research on salary comparables and be aware of your worth. With unlimited online resources, you need to assess your market value and conduct adequate research on the prospective employer, the salary levels, negotiation policies and performance appraisals.
Avoid declining offers immediately when the salary is much lower than expected. It is best to ask for time before an outright rejection. If the money is below average, you may be left with no choice, however if it is good but not as per your expectation, other benefits should also be taken into account.
Always try and project an image commensurate with the negotiated salary and do not attach a high price tag without providing support to justify the salary figure, like previous salary history and performance indicators.
Calculate benefits as part of the entire compensation package, and not just benefits or just salary. Never accept whatever severance the company offers without negotiation and simply play "hard to get" when there is little or nothing to leverage.
Never negotiate salary over the telephone and use timing as part of establishing your value to the employers. Neither, lying about salary history or alternative salary offers would ever help.
Everything said and done and with acceptable terms and conditions, always ask for the final offer in writing. No employer will have issues with that.
Leadership & Teamwork
Listen: A lot of team members tend to feel lost between all this stress and pressure. Listen to what they have to say. At this time, it is important to be there for your team and lend an ear to their problems. Listen to their grievances and provide solutions, if possible. Your being there can provide a different kind of assurance to the team members that will lead to a reduction in stress and improved performance.
Plan: Difficult times call for stringent actions. Plan your work well. Analyse the skills and capacity of each team member and assign them work on the basis of that. Find out if there are any idle resources available in other teams and see if you can take their assistance. A well strategised plan can help you get your work done in a more effective manner, benefiting both the company and your team.
Support: Support your team members with their daily work. Most of the team mangers just distribute work amongst team members and expect them to complete the work on time. This approach may not work at this time. You may have to jump into the grind, taking up a part of the work, troubleshooting issues and answering technical queries. This not only improves work quality but also motivates team members and helps them perform better.
Motivate: It is natural for the team members to feel de-motivated at this time. If not curbed right now, this may create huge performance issues. As a team leader, it is your responsibility to motivate them and help them re-focus. Understand their feelings, show them the bigger picture and try to assure them of their jobs, if possible.
Job Search Techniques
Networking websites: There are many professional networking websites for professionals to connect and help each other with career growth. Create a robust profile and connect with recruiters and other people from your field. Apart from professional networking websites, there are some social networking websites that, if used properly, can open up a lot of opportunities.
Message boards: There are many online message boards like twitter etc that basically allow you to post small messages and read messages posted by others. You can use such websites to connect with people and let them know about your job search. Apart from people from the same industry who are ready to help, you may even come across very influential people who may be able to provide help and the right kind of career guidance.
Blogs: Subscribe to blogs that have job listings and create your own blogs with articles about your professional interests. A regular feed from other blogs will also help you keep in touch with the latest happenings in the industry and connect with other bloggers who share similar career interests and can be of help in your job search. Also giving links to your website or blog through comments on other blogs is a good way of attracting attention to your profile.
Video resumes: This is the latest craze in the resume world. Create a video resume and upload it on networking websites and video sites like youtube, metacafe etc. This helps people see your resume and get interested in your profile.
People search: Job search is one way of getting to know about available jobs, people search is another. Create a list of companies where you want to work in and use search engines to search for people working in these companies. You can then try and connect with them online through e-mails, blogs etc. These people can refer you for jobs in their organisations.
Performance: Master workplace competencies that enhance your personal success in any corporate culture. Can you cope with a crisis? Can you wade through office politics? Are your survival skills sharp? Can you perform well even when you are pressurised for work? Do you know how to effectively communicate the added value you bring to the organisation? Are you assuming if you just work hard and do a good job, you will be recognised and rewarded?
Planning: Long term planning is more effective than a short term planning. Know what you are getting into. Analyse where you would want to see yourself in a few years from today. This planning is equally imperative as it builds a thought process to which you need to find logical answers. Maintain a professional developmental plan that will serve as guidelines throughout your career. Is your resume updated? Do you regularly maintain a log of your accomplishments, training, awards and feedback to prepare for your annual performance evaluation? Do you know where you want to be and what you want to be doing in 5 or 10 years? What do you anticipate will be the challenges and life situations you will be facing and how are you preparing for them now? Do you have savings just in case of an emergency? Are you prepared to relocate? What are your plans in case your company decides to downsize?

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