Monthly Archive for May, 2010

Don’t Hire Anyone You Can’t Fire

Career Coaching

Do not hire anyone you can’t fire, unless you are under pressure so harsh that you can not resist.

When you hire a new employee, hopes are high that the relationship will work out to everyone’s benefit, even if it’s a shotgun wedding.  However, the wise manager will take care to avoid a position where he can’t dismiss that person if things don’t work out.

This means resisting situations where employment is based on any reason other than the needs of the company and the particular worth and “fit” of the person being recruited.

When possible, run for cover when you are being pressured by a friend to hire his friend. Especially try to duck the bullet when the “do hire” message comes on a personal basis from the boss.

In the real world there may be no escaping.  If that is the case, protect yourself from the start. Have a clear understanding with all concerned of the basis on which you are acting.  Insist that everyone understands that so long as you are held responsible for the results of your department, you have the absolute right to hire and fire. You should insist on being let off the hook if that right is denied.

Be sure to document the performance of the offspring of the shotgun wedding.  You need facts, whether he or she is a raging success or a total disaster.

I wish you career success.

Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach, Common Sense At Work

Motivate Others To Achieve Your Career Goals

The ability to get things done through other people is the greatest skill one needs to become a successful manager. Said another way that means doing less of the assignment at hand and spending more time and energy delegating responsibilities and motivating others to get the job done.

That’s easier said than done. The idea of depending on others to get things done is inherently at odds with the traits normally found in successful people such as confidence in one’s own ability, controlled urgency, assertiveness and a yearning for control.

Career Tip: A manager is most likely to accomplish his responsibilities as a motivator by providing an environment that provides satisfactory answers to one simple question that everyone has on his or her mind: What’s in it for me?

Seven Motivators

As you consider motivation as an essential tool of management, keep in mind just what the word motivate means: “An emotion, desire, physiological need (a healthy or normal functioning) or similar impulse that acts as an incitement to action.”

Motivations may take many forms, but they usually are made up of one or more of seven elements.

1. Money is among the most important motivators.

Money represents the power to buy the necessities, as well as the perks of the “good life”. It provides a yardstick of success.

2. Respect and recognition combine to make a set of highly prized career rewards. Mary Kay Ash, who built a merchandising power house by creating opportunities for people to motivate themselves to success, declared: “There are two things people want more than sex and money; they are recognition and praise.”

3. People want to be engaged in work they can enjoy doing and take pride in. This need grows out of the fact that people are identified in society by the work they do and by the fact that their jobs occupy a substantial amount of their time.

4. People have a strong incentive to motivate themselves when they believe they have a hand in determining the purpose of their work.

5. Everyone wants to feel important and that they have an influence over the outcome of their work and the accomplishments of their employer.

Parachutes used by U.S. airmen early in World War II were failing to open five times out of 100 jumps. Obviously, nothing less than perfection could be accepted.  Repeated attempts to motivate parachute packers and inspectors to do a better job showed little results.

Finally, the workers motivated themselves to achieve 100 percent quality when they were required to jump from airplanes wearing one of the ‘chutes they had packed.

6. People will motivate themselves to do good work when they feel they have an opportunity for personal growth and advancement. These rewards depend on their being coached and mentored along the way, as well as their being assisted when they need help.

7. Everyone wants to be treated fairly. Equal pay for equal work.

What’s in it for you when you master the skills of delegation and motivation? Success as a manager with all the rewards that it provides.

I wish you career success.

Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach, Common Sense At Work

Career Advice: How To Handle Criticism

Nobody likes to be criticized, but face it; criticism is bound to come if you’re working all out  to achieve career success.

Here are five steps to turn criticism to your benefit:

1. Listen to it.

2. Evaluate it with an open mind.

3. Learn from it.

4. Forget it.

I wish you career success.

Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach

Common Sense At Work

Free Career Coaching, Yours For The Asking

Free Career Advice

Unless things are going exactly to your liking on your job, you ought to consider this offer.

This is your chance to receive free personalized career advice. No obligation, no charge.

All you have to do is “Post A Comment” below, describing any issues that may be affecting your career. I’ll respond with my best opinion as to actions you may take to help solve the problem. Hopefully, others who visit the blog will share their thinking, too.

Please post your comments anonymously.

I can’t guarantee the results, but I believe that participating in this blog can help you deal with the challenges you are facing everyday on your job.

Let’s work together to accelerate your career success!

Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach, Common Sense At Work

Resume Advice: Avoid Gimmickry In A Job Search

There is a strong temptation in today’s highly competitive job market to go for gimmicks to make one’s resume stand out from the crowded field. The temptation is particularly strong after a number of rejections.

Avoid gimmickry like the plague.

There are rare occasions when a really creative tactic works, but most of them will backfire and make a resume stand out for all the wrong reasons. Still some applicants–especially entry and mid-level professionals– resort to outlandish devices.

“It’s really disheartening when you send your resumes out and get nothing in return,” says Cynthia Shapiro, a career coach for those searching for jobs. “It just makes people feel like they have to do something crazy to get noticed.”

Here are some examples of the more off-the-wall gimmicks cited in a recent Wall Street Journal article.

A junior marketing professional attempted to send his resume by homing pigeon. The bird never returned.

In another instance, a resume was cut into pieces and enclosed in a Russian stacking doll.

An electronic key chain and note were attached to a resume, saying, “The only noise you’ll hear out of me are the ones generated by this letter.”

A candidate thought it was a good idea to bring a Rubik Cube to an interview to demonstrate problem-solving skills.

A job hunter dressed as a gorilla, accompanied by balloons, hand delivered his resume with a song explaining his qualifications. (In fact, personal delivery of resumes is fairly common, but they usually fail because they convey a sense of desperation.)

Some resumes include jokes, nutty photographs, “cute” gifts, or free tickets to ball games.

Slang or funky language and spelling are no-nos, as are industry and professional jargon. So are shorthand symbols and decorative symbols in emails.

Dale Winston, CEO of Battalia Winston International, an executive search firm once received a resume with two Pepto-Bismol tablets enclosed along with a note that read: “I’m one candidate that won’t nauseate you. However, since I don’t know how the rest of your day is going, accept some relief, compliments of me.”

Job seekers sometimes will send their cover letter inside an unsealed envelope without a resume. The idea is to make it appear the resume fell out with the idea that the recruiter will reply by asking for a resume.

However, there are rare instances when creative tactics to grab attention are in order, such as advertising, public  relations and marketing. But good taste as to subject matter is always required. Also, avoid costly gimmicks lest you appear to be attempting to bribe the recruiter.

It is far better, of course, to make one’s cover letter and resume stand out from the crowd by simple, straightforward communications that present qualifications that “fit” the position.

Appropriate follow-ups to keep the application in the recruiter’s mind are also highly desirable. The rules for cover letters and resumes also apply for notes that express appreciation for the opportunity to interview and state positive interest in the opportunity.

Where once snail mail was required, thank you notes via email are now acceptable, even preferred. Make messages concise and personalized. No “smiley faces.” Texting, Facebook and MySpace are not to be used.

After all is said and done, it’s really very simple. Jobs go to candidates who do the best job in convincing the recruiter that he or she can serve the needs of the employer, not who can be cleverest with gimmickry.

I wish you career success.

Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach, Common Sense At Work

Career Coaching: Dos and Don’ts For A Winning Resume

Your resume is the all-important first step in your search for a job, but don’t expect it to close the deal.

Therefore, craft it with a single objective in your mind: Get invited in for an interview where you can elaborate on and sell your qualifications in face-to-face communications with one or more decision makers.

Remember recruiters use resumes as an essential part of the screening process to help weed through the thousands of applications they receive. By force of time, they have only seconds to scan the first few paragraphs of each document and decide whether they will dump it the wastebasket or read on.

Career Coaching Provides Dos and Don’ts Guidlines

Here are some dos and don’ts that will guide you in constructing a resume that will be read and acted on.

• Keep your resume short and to the point. In today’s highly competitive job market, with unemployment in the neighborhood of ten percent, there is a temptation to go on and on, wanting to load the document with all of the positives that paint the best possible picture. But in the world of Twitter and the Internet, attention spans are severely reduced.

If you go longer, the reader can easily conclude that you can’t organize and focus your thoughts. You might be seen as one of those people who talk too much.

The ideal would be one page with about 300 words, but that’s next to impossible, so try for 700 words or about two pages single-spaced.

After all, one of history’s most praised documents, Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, took only 250 words.

• Be honest. With the aid of computer screening programs it is easier than ever to pick up discrepancies in a document.

Still some applicants try to fudge on their qualifications. One study shows that nearly one-half of the resumes in 2008 contained dishonest information in educational, employment and credential references. Honesty is always the best policy.

• Avoid trite, shop-worn words and phrases, as well as professional jargon and acronyms, like the plague.

Don’t spell out a litany of positions you have held. Instead, for example, if you were a sales manager, relate how sales

were increased under your leadership. Recruiters hire people based more on their accomplishments than their experience.

Don’t claim “strong communications skills.” Demonstrate the fact by the effectiveness of your resume and cover letter.

Don’t declare your ability “to think out of the box.” Cite examples of your creativity.

Don’t claim to be a “team player.” Provide examples of how you achieved a goal by working with a team.

• Since on-line searches play such an important role in recruiting be sure to embed key words in your resume and cover letter. Don’t go overboard to the point that you distort the syntax of your sentences. Research job postings and websites of companies and industry associations to identify words that are associated with the position for which you are applying.

• Whatever you do, don’t allow a single error in spelling and grammar slip into your resume. One mistake is enough to send yours into the wastebasket. Get a friend, preferably one well versed in rules of the English language, to proof read your documents.

On a related point, be sure to check your appearances on social and business networks such as Facebook. Get rid of those pictures that show you in a questionable light.

Remember the purpose of the resume is to entice the reader to want to meet the person who wrote it in order to learn more about their qualifications.

I wish you career success.

Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach, Common Sense At Work

Job Market: Surprising Stats In The World of Work

To say there are enormous changes taking place in the world of work is an understatement, to say the least.

One of the most significant changes is the number of laid-off workers who are returning to employment with a new set of skills, and moving to new employers, even new industries.

Consider these statistics reported by CareerBuilder:

Sixth-four percent of those who lost their jobs in the last six months, and found news jobs, achieved this goal by moving to different industries.

Sixty-three percent who landed new jobs in this period intend to remain in these positions when the job market improves.

Fifty-five percent say they enjoy their new positions.

Thirty-seven percent say they are planning to change employers when the job market improves.

Career Tip: Accept change as the rule of the day, and make the most of it.

I wish you career success.

Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach, Common Sense At Work

Career Advice: How To Suceed In A Down Job Market

It is very difficult to find much good news in today’s job market. However, there are signs of a sliver of silver lining in the dark clouds for ambitious young men and women.

With companies downsizing employees as a means for reducing operating costs, job opportunities are opening up for younger careerists, with lower salaries and less experience, to take on more responsibilities.

Fair or not, this is a reality of the workplace these days.This scenario offers opportunities to accelerate the gaining of experience and new skills; plus to get exposure to managers who make decisions about promotions and compensation.

Be aware, however, it also can mean getting pushed into water over your head and floundering –even sinking– if you are not provided with career guidance and support from your employer, or if you don’t work diligently to master the job.

Some people are certain to be elevated too fast without support they would ordinarily get when their employer isn’t in a crisis mode, advises Steven Lurie, an organizational psychologist who has written “Handbook For Early Career Success”.

Other ambitious men and women will take to the opportunity like a duck takes to water, remembering that in tough times employers are searching for employees who have the ambition and the capacity to learn and work above and beyond their current position.

“This is your chance to step up and show off what you’re able to do,” declares Jason Ryan Dorsey, author of ‘Y-Size Your Business’.”

Job Tip: Eleven Guidelines To Success In New Environment

1. Get clear information as to the scope of your new responsibilities…what is expected of you and how your performance will be graded.

Learn how your job contributes to the your employer reaching his goals.

2. Understand whether or not your compensation and benefits change with your responsibilities. Accept the situation and get on with your job if there are no immediate changes in your compensation package. Remember it is likely that you were handed more responsibilities as part of a cost-reduction effort.

3. Be above board with your supervisor about your career goals. Demonstrate your willingness to learn and work hard.

4. Don’t be reluctant to ask questions about your new responsibilities and to seek help and the resources you need to do your job.

5. Once you are settled in your new position, begin looking for ways to improve your performance, as well as that of your department and ultimately that of the company. Volunteer for more responsibilities.

6. Get regular feedback on your performance. Be ready and willing to act on both praise and criticisms.

Keep track of your progress on the job so that you can make the case for an increase in compensation when times improve and you have proven your ability to handle greater responsibilities.

7. Review your career path at regular intervals and revise your career goals where desirable.

8. Learn new skills that enhance your performance in your current position, as well as those that will take you to the next level. Push to get involved in management training programs

9. Dress and act in a style that is appropriate to your new position. Study your peers for guidance. If they dress up at work, you dress up. If they dress down, you dress down.

10. Be a visible presence in the organization. Reach out to get to know key players in other parts of the organization. Participate in activities beyond your present job.

11. Don’t burn bridges behind you. Keep in contact with those with whom you worked in your previous position(s).

Be sensitive to the difficulty you will encounter if you are supervising people with whom you previously worked as a peer.

Those who now report to you may have been your buddies on the bowling team. But there has been a shift in how you work together.

Career progress as a manager demands that you maintain relationships while establishing a necessary space in the connection between supervisor and those being supervised.

Don’t be surprised if some jealousies crop up.

It is a sobering fact that you are on trial until you have proven you can do the job. If you fall short, you may be reassigned to a job at your former level.

Keep in mind you will encounter the same people on the way down that you passed on the way up. Therefore, it makes common sense to build good relationships along the way.

Career Coaching: If you have not been assigned new or added responsibilities, survey the scene to see if changes in the workforce have created new opportunities. If so, volunteer for an expanded assignment and then put these 11 guidelines to work.

I wish you career success.

Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach

Common Sense At Work

Dale Carnegie–One Of The Greatest Books Ever Written

I think you will find this article by Sharon Hartman to be interesting and motivating.

If you are looking for a book that will lead you to success, I highly recommend you check out Dale Carnegie, ‘How To Win Friends & Influence People. If you have not read it, you need to get your hands on a copy, and if you have, you need to re-read it, study it, and live by it for it is an amazing book.

Dale Carnegie had an understanding of human nature that will never be outdated.

Whether you are in business or not, dealing with people is probably the biggest challenge you will face in life. Some years ago, research was done by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and they uncovered an incredible fact…about 15% of a persons financial success is due to their technical knowledge and… about 85% is due to skills in human engineering…personality and the ability to lead people.

Did you notice that little light bulb just turn on??

If you are using the technology and systems to grow your business, you need to connect with people and build relationships. Its not about how many friends you have on Facebook or Twitter. That will just add numbers under your belt for your ego.

True success comes when you can make connections on some level…and making an emotional connection is extremely powerful.

The number 1 requirement on how to get the most out of the book is this you must have a deep, driving, desire to learn, and, an unstoppable determination to increase your ability to deal with people.

The more you practice what is taught on the pages, the more natural it will become, otherwise the information will be forgotten. Learning is an active process…we learn by doing.

One of the deepest urges in human nature as stated in the book is the desire to be important. The way to make a person shine and help them to become the best they can be is by giving them encouragement and appreciation.

Praise carries people so much further than criticism. Take the focus off of yourself and direct it onto others. You will start to see immediate change.

The only real way to influence someone is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it. This book will explain questions to ask yourself before you communicate with someone. Questions like…’How can I make this person do…?’ It will make you stop and think before rushing into a situation prematurely.

There is a great quote that pretty much sums it up. ‘Learn to see John Smith thru John Smith’s eyes’. If you can master this art, and yes, it is an art, you will travel down the road to success.

This is a skill that must be learned, so give it time to get it right. As they say…’Practice makes perfect!’

My name is Sharon Hartman and I’m an Online Entrepreneur and Personal Development coach. To learn more, please visit my Blog at

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