Monthly Archive for April, 2010

Career Coach: Take Action Now If You Are Not Satisfied With Your Job

Only 55 percent of employees earning more than $50,000 and 45 percent of those who earn less than $15,000 annually declare they are satisfied with their jobs.

Those findings ought to set off alarm bells with employers and employees alike.

It’s a proven fact that workers satisfaction impacts productivity and employee retention; therefore, employers’ bottom lines benefit when their workforce is satisfied. At the same time, employees who find satisfaction in their work earn more, and enjoy better health, both mental and physical.

How do you feel about your job? If you are among the huge number of those who are “unsatisfied,” it’s time to get cracking with an action plan to improve your life on the job. Left uncorrected such a state of mind slowly but surely breeds frustration and ennui, which in turn sap your strength and abilities to build a successful career.

Rate Your Job Satisfaction

The first step is to take inventory of your career path. Rate each of the following points on a scale of one to ten. The higher the number the more satisfied you are.

1. The total of your compensation: your paycheck, your benefits including health insurance, savings and retirement and vacation.

2. Your balance between work and time-off.

3. Your workload.

4. Your chances for advancement.

5. Your job itself.

6. Your boss relationships.

7. Your work environment.

Take the total of your ratings and divide the number by seven. On the scale of one to ten, how satisfied are you with your career?

Now, move to step two by answering these questions:

1. What changes can make to raise your satisfaction level to the seven to eight range in your present job?

2. Is the shortfall in your satisfaction score due to external forces that surround your job?

Are You At Fault?

To get at the root of your dissatisfaction, you have to ask if the source of your problem is within yourself?

If the problems are of your own making, you must know that they will follow you wherever you go until you make corrections in your own thinking.

If you are not convinced that you can achieve a seven or eight score on your present job it’s time to consider looking elsewhere.

Whatever, you do, if you are not reasonably well satisfied with your life at work take action this day.

Remember the frog.  Put him in a pot of cool water and set it over a flame.  The frog will frolic about happily as the water goes from cool to warm. He will continue to adapt, swimming about contentedly, even as the water begins to simmer.  It is not until the water reaches the boiling point that the frog finally recognizes he is in serious trouble and tries to get out.  But by that time, his strength has been sapped and it is too late.

I wish you career success!

Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach

Common Sense At Work

Learn About The Company Before Your Interview

Career Counseling

I think you will find the following by Terrence Anthony Anthony Lynch spot on advice for the next time you are interviewing for a position with a new company.

I wish you career success.

Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach

Common Sense At Work

Learning about an employer before a job interview can be an invaluable asset. The knowledge you gain by doing your homework on this subject can help you in the following ways:

It can be the difference between whether you receive an offer of employment or not.

It can be the reason or reasons you accept a position if offered.

Knowledge about a potential employer can boost your personal confidence and reduce your interview stress level and help reduce or eliminate stage fright before and during the interview.

The information you gather will help you to form intelligent interview questions of your own.

Anyone going into an interview without doing their homework will be at a serious disadvantage not only throughout the selection process, but possibly even after accepting a position.

A very good friend of mine gave up a very stable position for what she thought was the opportunity of a lifetime. Only to find out after three months in her dream job that the company was closing its New York City office and she was going to be forced to relocate to a lesser position or look for a new job.

If she had the readily available public knowledge that the company had been recently purchased prior to her acceptance of her knew position, she may have asked some pointed questions regarding the new owners plans. The answers may have given her pause.

If the company you are interviewing with is a public company it is more than likely traded on one of the major exchanges like the NY Stock Exchange or NASDAQ. These companies are required by law to publish and make available their annual financial statements, which are an excellent source of helpful interview information. You will learn about their stability, setbacks, successes, business philosophy, and their management style, their areas of expertise and their accomplishments to date as well as many of their future plans.

If the company you are approaching is privately held they can be a little harder to research because they are not required by law to publish their financial information. That said there are many good internet tools such as Wikipedia, Google, You tube, as well as the old standbys like The Better Business Bureau and The Chamber of Commerce. The list for a good detective does not stop there. Talk to their competitors. Current employees if you know someone who works there are a good source of information on the inner workings of the company.

Discover how to interview for your dream job. With a little coaching and direction you will find yourself in a position to land that job a surprising 95% of the time. You have to know how to research a company and what the interviewer is looking for. Take advantage of this advise from an expert in job placement and interview technique. You are serious about aceing your interview tune into

Career Coach: Send A Strong Message With Your Handshake

I think you will find the following career advice from Kathy Anderson at the University of Chicago Career Counseling Department to be very interesting and helpful. Her advice applies to every contact, not just a job interview.

You’ve probably heard the same tips over and over: tailor your resume and cover letter, dress professionally, learn how to tell your story succinctly, send a thank you note, etc. These are all important pieces of the application/interview puzzle.

But one aspect you probably haven’t thought much about is the “mating ritual” of the professional world: the handshake. Although it may seem like an insignificant part of your interview, this seconds-long gesture can have a big impact on an interviewer’s first impression of you. And as the old saying goes, there’s no second chance at a first impression.

So, you might be wondering, how can I convey that I am interested, excited and engaged just by pumping someone’s hand up a down? More importantly, how can I avoid scaring the interviewer, or creating an awkward situation?

Well, first things first. Here is a list of the five handshakes you should avoid:

1.The Bonecrusher

This is the person who seems to think that their interest in the position is directly related to the amount of pressure they can exert on the interviewer’s hand. In reality, this is just a good way to turn someone off from the very start. Unless you’re interviewing for a position in mud wrestling, avoid turning the other person’s hand into pulp.

2.The Eager Beaver

In many ways, a handshake is a bit like a first kiss, with both parties waiting for it but neither sure who should initiate it. Although there’s no surefire way to avoid this slight bit of awkwardness, make sure that if you do go for a handshake, the other person is paying attention. You should always avoid just grabbing the other person’s hand and pumping it up and down; this over-eager approach won’t earn you any points with the interviewer.

3.The Dead Fish

There’s almost nothing more off-putting than this type of handshake. When meeting a potential employer, you want to convey that you are assertive, professional and engaged-and the dead fish does exactly the opposite. If you’re uncomfortable shaking hands with someone, just remember to grasp, squeeze gently for 1-2 seconds, and release: polite and inoffensive.

4.The Cling-on

Not to be confused with the alien species featured on Star Trek, a clingy shaker is like an ex who just won’t let go. Nerves and excitement can be a heady combination, but battle through the fog and remember that three shakes is plenty. Now move on.

5.The Lefty Surprise

Sadly for the lefties of the world, the right-handed majority is keeping you down-or at least as far as handshakes are concerned. This is one case where it’s better to blend in with the rest of the crowd and just offer your right hand, since the alternative is ending up with an awkward dance as you both struggle to connect. Unless there’s a clear reason you can’t shake with your right (i.e., your hand is in a cast, etc.), jump on the right-handed bandwagon.

Now you may be thinking to yourself, honestly, it’s just a handshake; how important can it be?

The truth is, if you have a good handshake no one is likely to remember it. But if you have a poor handshake, it can become a stigma of sorts, and it can definitely impact your chances of getting a job, as a University of Iowa study proved.

Business professor Greg Stewart conducted an experiment in which students were sent into mock job interviews. In the interview, they met with a hiring manager and an undercover handshake rater. Afterward, each assessor gave the subject a score.

It turned out that the students who had the best handshakes were also considered the most favorable candidates. Could this be a coincidence? Maybe. But regardless, in today’s economy, you want to give yourself every advantage possible. So if you want to be a mover and shaker, ditch the dead fish and put your best hand forward.

Thanks to Kathy Anderson for this common sense at work advice.

I wish you career success.

Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach

Common Sense At Work

Career Tips For Saving Your Job In Tough Times

I recommend reading “Great Work, Great Career”, a new book by Stephen Covey, author of the blockbuster “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, and his colleague Jennifer Colosimo.

A highlight of the book is the tips about how to save your job in these tough times.

These career gurus recommend first of all: Sell yourself.

Keep a detailed record of what you accomplish and how your accomplishments contributed to your employer’s success.

Don’t be afraid to brag about your value.

“You need a summary of what you do that combines your strengths and passions, along with what you’ve done to make a clear contribution,” Covey declares.

Another piece of advice is summed up in the adage, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”

Aggressively reach out to identify and solve problems.

Be a team player.

“Everyone is stretched to the max these days,” says Colosimo.” Look for opportunities to offer a helping hand when your see associates are overloaded.

“Even a small gesture can help out,” Colosimo advises. For example, “If you read a helpful article that relates to something that your colleagues are working on, e-mail it to them. It shows you are not only aware of what they do but also that you care and want to help.”

Finally, the pair recommends that you look for ways to expand your role beyond the boundaries of your job description by exploiting your proven strengths.

The book is published by FranklinCovey. Price: $14.95.

I wish you career success.

Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach

Common Sense At Work

Job Tips: Ask Well-Informed Questions At Job Interviews

(This is the third posting on the subject of job interviews.)

Asking well informed, intelligent questions at interviews will increase your chances of success in your search for a job. Said another way, if you don’t ask questions you come off as uninformed, timid and/or without real interest in securing the position.

Here are some examples of the kinds of questions you should pose. You can ask them as opportunities arise in the flow of the meeting or you can save them until the end of the session.

Is there a formal description for the job?

Where is the job located? Is it likely I will be asked to move?

To whom would I report?

Is this a new position, or would I be replacing someone?

If this is a replacement, why did the other person leave?

How long has the job been open?

How many people have held this job in the past?

Is this a permanent position in the company?

Are other candidates being interviewed?

What are the prospects for advancement?

Are there downside risks associated with the position?

Is there a continuing education and development program in place?

How is performance on the job measured?

Are other candidates being interviewed?

When will a decision on hiring be made?

What are the next steps in the hiring process?

Note: Do not, do not ask questions about compensation and benefits until an offer is in hand.

I wish you career success!

Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach

Common Sense At Work