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15 Questions To Ask Before Making A Career Change

February 26, 2013 Leave a comment

career_questionsIf you’re considering a major career change, you may find the process a little overwhelming at first. To help organize your thoughts and feelings on the topic, ask yourself the following 15 questions.

Remember to answer thoughtfully and honestly. This is for your eyes only. Also, be sure to write your answers down. Putting abstract thoughts and feelings into words can help you identify what’s really going on and it adds a tangible element to the reflection process.

 

 

  1. What is it about my current career that isn’t working?
  2. What does this new career offer that my current career doesn’t?
  3. What does this new career ignite in my soul?
  4. How does this new career align with my core values?
  5. What are the long-term opportunities associated with this new career?
  6. What skills or resources will I need to take advantage of these long-term opportunities?
  7. Who do I know who is already in this career and can give me an honest “insider’s” perspective?
  8. Will my friends and family support this new career endeavor?
  9. How long will it take to make a comfortable living in this new career?
  10. Do I have the financial resources to make this new career work? If not, how can I get what I need to feel secure?
  11. What struggles can I predict in my transition to this new career?
  12. What can I do now to minimize these potential struggles?
  13. What specific experience do I hope to gain in this career move?
  14. How will my previous experience help me in this new role?
  15. Is this career move one step in a larger plan? If so, what does this new career need to provide in order to help me move forward?
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Categories: Office

Frenemies at work

December 19, 2010 Leave a comment

The word ‘frenemy’ is a combination of the words friend and enemy. It refers to a person that you are friends with but may not have your best interests at heart, unlike a true friend. Frenemies exist everywhere, in college, neighbourhood, among one’s friend circle and work too. One needs to be especially cautious while dealing with frenemies at work, simply because chances are that you can face problems at work because of them and for whatever hidden or known reasons that they resent you.

One cannot avoid working with frenemies at work, simply because it’s impossible to work together in the same office with zero interaction. You can’t avoid interaction with them because your professionalism will be questioned for the fact that you are unable to handle personal differences and work together like a mature individual. What one needs to do is learn how to skillfully deal with frenemies at work. Here are some tips on how to do so:

Keep your personal life under wraps: This is the golden rule when it comes to dealing with frenemies. When conversing, do not reveal much about your personal life. You never know, when it might be used against you. Keep you conversation light-heartened, fun and general topics like weather, sports, music, movies etc

Maintain a certain distance: One should be carefully about how frenemies act. They can act like your best friend one day and a arch rival on another. Our advice is do not get over-friendly with your frenemies as this might encourage their frenemy behaviour.

Do not take their words at heart: Frenemies have their own motives for acting the way they do. Once you realise this, do not let their behaviour, comments and opinions bother you. Chances are that, he or she is just trying to get a rise out of you, just to see how easily you get irritated as a person.

Do not introduce them to your true friends: It is a bad idea to introduce one’s frenemies to one’s true friends. The last thing you want is your frenemy’s presence to affect your friendship.

Courtesy : TOI

Categories: Office

How to impress your boss

December 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Here are tips to impress your boss…

– Be on time to work everyday, if not early. Bosses always have a way of keeping a watch over everyone at work.

– When work is being delegated, instead of waiting for someone else to hand you over a task, take initiative by yourself, especially in your boss’ presence.

– If there’s some issue arising at the work place, brainstorm and offer solutions. You may not give the perfect solution but at least your boss will know that you are making efforts to deal with the crisis.

– Don’t be in a hurry to leave the office after completing your shift. Make efforts like joining some professional courses related to work and willingness to learn more about the company. This will help you score brownie points in terms of good impressions on your boss.

– Always maintain a positive and cheery attitude, even when others seem gloomy and lethargic. Staying upbeat and cheerful will lighten up your workplace environment, making you a hero in the eyes of your boss.

Categories: Office

USP (Unique Selling Position)

August 6, 2010 1 comment

The competition in the job market is increasing like never before. This is because many candidates possess similar qualifications and experience. So, why would an employer choose you unless you have something different to offer? In such a scenario, when applying for jobs, it would be a good idea to think about developing your Unique Selling Proposition, or USP. The term USP, which first became popular in the world of marketing, has traditionally been used by companies to market their products in the face of stiff competition. It refers to that one thing that makes their product different from others. To put it simply, it is the reason why consumers will buy their product instead of the competitor’s. The USP could be anything — it could range from a lower price to more convenient packaging to better taste, etc.

Why should we hire you?

Whether you are applying for a new job or looking for a promotion within your present job, it all boils down to marketing your skills well. Just like products have to be marketed to consumers, candidates have to market themselves to employers. The USP should answer a commonly asked question at job interviews, “Why should we hire you?”  What employers usually look for is a unique skill that can help them in difficult situations. For example, for an HR job in a factory, a person requires good negotiation skills for handling trade unions. If you can determine your Unique Selling Proposition and build it into your job marketing campaign (your cover letter, resume, interview, etc), you will have a solid advantage over other candidates.

Determining your USP

Take stock of your special skills; Ask yourself: What is that one thing that makes me unique? What makes you better than other candidates applying for a similar position with this company? What can you offer that no other candidate can? This could be a specialisation or experience in some specific area, which the hiring company views as significant. If you can recognise even one exceptional characteristic or skill-set that could slot you into a particular job, it will make a big difference in getting you the position. Some employers give a lot of weightage to personality, which can be observed by the increasing use of personality tests in the interview process. If you find it difficult to decide which skill-sets are your forte, it would be a good idea to talk to your seniors or mentor for objective insights. Once you know and develop your USP, you can ‘position’ yourself in the job market. Any skills that directly/indirectly affect your job performance should be taken into consideration. Analyse trends in your field. Smart candidates are always attuned to the latest trends and opportunities in their respective fields. The best strategy in this regard is to do a ‘macro analysis’ of your industry profile and determine the current trends, opportunities and goals of your target company. How do your internal capabilities fit in with the existing external realities?

Presenting your USP in your resume

Once you are aware of both yourself and what the company is looking for, you need to compile the information in your resume. Craft your USP into a statement of around 10 to 20 word statement. Keep the following rules in mind:
1) It is usually only one or two sentences long.
2) It is stated in clear terms, and is easily understandable.
3) It is believable.
4) It emphasises some unique benefit that you can provide better than other candidates.
Your USP comprises a unique amalgamation of skills, interests and talents, and is the golden wand that you should wave in front of your prospective employers. The USP statement is also referred to as your ‘elevator pitch’.

Examples of USPs

Your USP should be short but descriptive. What attributes distinguish you from others in your field? Maybe it’s your educational background, training, years of experience, business contacts, or your ability to motivate and inspire. You may need to adjust your pitch based upon the job profile. Here are examples:
“I have five years of information technology experience. My expertise is in technical support and troubleshooting computer problems. My technical knowledge will be beneficial in reducing call waiting times and will substantially improve the efficiency of your technical support centre.”
“I have strong credentials, a good reputation in the advertising community, and a track record of attracting and winning new clients. My personal values are in sync with the company’s mission with respect to putting clients first.”
Here’s a simple fill-in-the-blank statement for you to complete, which will give you your USP, or at least get you started in the right direction:
“Because of my _______, I can do _______ for you better than typical applicants.”
Your USP gives you that much-needed ‘competitive edge’. It could be the biggest reason why an employer wants to hire you. The end result will be more interviews and job offers. Develop your USP and flaunt it; you’ll find that getting the job of your dreams has never been easier.

Source : Economic Times

Your USP should be short but descriptive. What attributes distinguish you from others in your field? Maybe it’s your educational background, training, years of experience, business contacts, or your ability to motivate and inspire. You may need to adjust your pitch based upon the job profile. Here is an example:
“I have five years of information technology experience. My expertise is in technical support and troubleshooting computer problems. My technical knowledge will be beneficial in reducing call waiting times and will substantially improve the efficiency of your technical support centre.”
“When I was being interviewed for an advertising position, I used the following USP: ‘I have strong credentials, a good reputation in the advertising community, and a track record of attracting and winning new clients. My personal values are in sync with the company’s mission with respect to putting clients first.’ My USP worked and I was selected out of more than 100 candidates,” says Shailesh Singh, who works in an ad agency in Delhi.
Here’s a simple fill-in-the-blank statement for you to complete, which will give you your USP, or at least get you started in the right direction:
“Because of my _______, I can do _______ for you better than typical applicants.”
Your USP gives you that much-needed ‘competitive edge’. It could be the biggest reason why an employer wants to hire you. The end result will be more interviews and job offers. Develop your USP and flaunt it; you’ll find that getting the job of your dreams has never been easier.
Categories: Interview Tips, Office

Have a jealous boss? Make him an ally

Bosses are meant to be guides, to be people who show you the way, who manoeuvre the organisation and you towards the desired objectives, people who groom you to take on larger roles in your career. In short, from an employee’s perspective, bosses are meant to be the organisation itself. For most people, life in an organisation starts and ends with their boss.

The best bosses that I have heard of like to be surrounded by talent and ambition. In fact, they welcome it. But not everyone who is talented gets lucky. What happens when you are lumped with a boss who is jealous of your talents or turns hostile towards you? Boss jealousy is not uncommon. You need to be extremely secure as a boss to not suffer pangs of jealousy.

Neutralise the thinly-veiled hostility

If you feel that the person working for you is talented, articulate, has a good ability to network and even connect with other people at an intellectual and emotional level, it is normal for you to feel threatened. And that insecurity manifests itself as jealousy. This particularly becomes intense when one member of a group of peers is promoted to the next level and becomes the boss of the same team. Whatever be the reason, there is a good possibility that over your career, you will come across such bosses. If you are unfortunate enough to be stuck with such bosses, you need to neutralise their thinly-veiled hostility and, if possible, turn it into admiration.

Make them feel secure in your company

The only way to convert these bosses is to make them feel secure in your company. They need to believe that even though you have it in you to upstage them, you will never do so. It is this confidence that you need to build through both verbal and non-verbal acts, which will act as a positive tool for you. There are various ways in which you can do so. Consulting such bosses often is a means to buy confidence. Acknowledge their area of expertise and get their insights. It might be difficult for you in the beginning because you feel that you too are an expert. But in the interest of building a relationship, do consult them.

Dishing out genuine compliments

You would realise that often, the insights would match and it is quite likely that both of you would end up recommending the same approach,” says Vikram Menon, an expert in interpersonal relationships at work. Menon also sounds a word of caution: “It is quite normal for such bouts to generate negative energy. Don’t fall a prey to it.” Though you might not need to compromise on your self-esteem and suck up to your boss, dishing out genuine compliments, glorifying what you genuinely admire in your boss and praising his strengths normally work wonders. You can turn a jealous boss into a great ally.

By Ravi Subramanian, Banker & author of ‘Devil in Pinstripes’

Categories: Office

How to make friends at your new office

Switching jobs can leave you feeling very lost in your new environment. Most of us have faced this situation at some point or the other. But how do you make the new co-worker your friend and break into the already existing tight friend circle? It may seem hard at first but the only way to make friends is to get talking with them.

Introduce yourself to the group. Start with some basic details about yourself, your previous job experiences, etc. Ask them about their lives as well. Try to find some common points in your conversation and remember to listen as they speak. A good friend always listens.Try and keep in the loop about the happenings in your office. During your lunch and coffee break don’t sit by yourself at your desk. Instead, go and eat with your new workmates. This is the time they will discuss their post-work plans and there’s a good chance you’ll get invited too. If there’s a plan for drinks after work, go along. It’s a perfect way to get to know others outside of the office.

Look for hints around the workspace such as family pictures, plants or even posters. This can tell you a lot about your new mates. If your colleague has his/her favourite musician’s picture ask them about it. Similarly it is nice to ask about their kids or pet dog. Once you have broken into the friends’ group, ensure that you keep the bond alive. Why not invite them over for drinks and snacks or suggest your home as a meeting point for cricket match night? This way, they’ll feel you are part of the group.

Source : Economic Times

Categories: Office

Beat the Stress

Stress has become part and parcel of our life and, particularly, workplace today. However, while some stress is a normal part of life, excessive stress can cause numerous mental and physical health problems.

Workplace stress is generally associated with the pressure one is encompassed by the issues at the workplace. Thankfully, however, like other stressors, there’re means to manage that if you simply can’t avoid workplace stress.

Here’re some ways to live with the workplace stress or the stress caused by employment:

1) Learn to live with stress : The biggest issue at workplace is that we are trying to procrastinate and push work which piles up and comes back to haunt us. In today’s competitive world, each organisation in order to keep costs low tries to rightly expect improved efficiency levels with the passage of time. If we get aligned to this fact and spend some time in prioritizing our work and accepting the situation with a rational viewpoint, we shall be able to balance our schedules and also learn to adjust with the same.

2) Learn time management tools & techniques : A great way to live is to accept the world and adjust ourselves to enjoy the way it is. Today with the innovations in technology and training techniques, trainers all over the world impart tools and techniques to enable us enhance our time management skills. This is a sure shot way of knowing what is at hand, what is priority and then execution in a time-bound manner. One can attend trainings at the work place on time management or attend self paced courses to learn and master the art.

3) Trust and confidence : It is believed that the faith is a healer and hence an excellent stress buster. If one has accepted an assignment, the work should not be allowed to take over personal life nor should allow one to feel overburdened by the same. Maintain your confidence in your capabilities and handle the assignment with your utmost dedication and interest. If you enjoy your wok, the stress shall not take its toll.

4) Share rewards and concerns : The biggest advantage of working in the corporate world is the ability to work in a team. A great team player shares the concerns and deadlines with the team and also delegates the responsibilities. This not only takes off the burden but ensures a better result and hence enhanced productivity. Hence stop taking all the load yourself. Share the load and the recognition.

5) Yoga and Meditation : Yoga and meditation today have been proven to a boon for the harried mindset. Indulge in yoga and do meditation for at least half an hour daily preferably early morning  and maintain a good physical exercise regime to beat the toll-taking stress. Today most of the organisations have a gym or yoga facility in-house. Use them and shed your stress.

Source : Economic Times

Categories: Office