Posted on

Delegating Effectively

Asking someone to do something is as naturally a part of conducting business as being asked. Employees need to know what is and is not negotiable in a way that defines specific requirements without dictating too tightly their way of accomplishing it.

The most obvious approach to asking someone to perform a task is simply to ask them. Differences in why some requests are met with contempt, complacency, or anxiety while others are well-received vary with each personality. Expressing the request as a need with a deadline can communicate a sense of trust in their ability to fulfill the task. It recognizes their need to prioritize their workload. It sets up a natural order for monitoring progress and follow up. It places the principles above the personalities.

The C.E.O. of one of the world’s largest apparel makers said that an environment of uncertainty produces a lot of fear. Some people need more direction than others, but all need an idea of when a task needs to be completed. Managers need to control some variables more than others. Employees need to know whether there are any specifics or if they are to use their own judgment. Deadlines are not reserved for time-sensitive tasks with dire consequences if missed such as those by physicians, news journalists and other professionals. Knowing when a task needs to be completed is a tool to help employees plan their time wisely. Communicating this points employees in the right direction. Ask if they have questions. Answer them directly. Avoid over-explaining unless prompted. Agree on a time to meet to review progress. This tact helps ensure they are comfortable with the work. Training involves more than teaching employees how to do a job. It means conveying how you want it done and why.

Managing people with finesse includes taking time to understand and acknowledge their strengths. People appreciate being recognized not only for their contribution, but also having their talents noticed. The chairman of a top hotel empire put it this way: Motivate your people, train them, care about them, and make winners out of them.

There is another piece of information most employees will not request, but that every human being needs once in awhile. Tell them what they are known for doing well within your company and thank them for it. Send a clear message that they are valued not only for what they do, but for who they are.

Posted on

Assembling a Career Portfolio

The main goal of a career portfolio is so that an applicant can show off their skills and accomplishments to an employer in an attractive format. It is important to choose the format that serves as the best platform for the individual’s prior work. They will want to show that they are the ideal candidate, a solution to the employer’s problems.

Benefits of a Career Portfolio
A career portfolio is a physical collection of evidence of an individual’s professional achievements. It serves as a tangible record of where they have been and what they have done; a portfolio therefore enables the easy transition from one job to another. Essentially, it provides a prospective employer with a reconstruction of the applicant’s professional life. A recent college graduate may not have much in the way of a professional life to reconstruct but they can use their portfolio to display their classroom accomplishments and interests.

What to Put in a Career Portfolio
The applicant should consider how best to present their skills and experience in a paper format. Evidence of prior accomplishments can come in the form of screenshots of work or as articles that the applicant has written. If they have designed products or have other materials that display their competence in a way that is relevant to the job, those should be included too. Such items as charts that display measurable improvements at a previous place of work may also be useful for filling up a portfolio. While the contents will differ from person to person, a career portfolio should focus on an individual’s ability to get a specific type of work done. It should provide all the data needed to convince the employer that the portfolio’s owner is right for the job.

Items in a portfolio should be in summary form if possible as it is unlikely that an employer will want to spend too much time on just one applicant’s presentation. It is also important to include those items that lend themselves to an easy, quick explanation.

Presentation of the Portfolio
How a portfolio is packaged is one of the crucial factors that decide how it will be received. The proper presentation of skills and abilities will require that the applicant pay attention to detail in every part of the portfolio’s assembly including the portfolio’s outward appearance. The applicant can go for a simple plastic binder or they can opt for something that adds something to the portfolio, like having it professionally bound. This kind of binding is a service offered by some office supply stores.

Job-applicants who are serious about providing a good first impression should carefully select and organize the contents of their portfolio and ensure that it is packaged to place them in the best possible light.

Posted on

Creating a LinkedIn Profile

It’s easy to create a LinkedIn profile that enables prospective employers to find you. Begin by writing a detailed description of your skills; highlighting your work experience, education and industry. Upload a representative photo of yourself that must be no larger than 80×80 pixels. These items help to create your “professional brand”.

At the top of your profile page put a Headline and Professional Summary that targets your primary area(s) of experience. Include your industry here, as this is where recruiters often commence their search. A LinkedIn signature in your email will add greater visibility to your profile. Consider LinkedIn your online “resume”. Include recommendations from your professional network. All of your pertinent information will be accessible in one glance.

LinkedIn is user friendly, featuring search headings that you or visitors to your page can navigate through easily. You should regularly update your profile as new career information becomes relevant. Keywords that relate to your skills are important, and will optimize your profile for the search engines. Continue to build your network, choosing contacts that you have some history with. It’s more effective than trying to link to people whom don’t know you. Join groups that relate to your interests, skills and goals. List the groups you belong to. Make your profile public and customize your URL like this, www.linkedin.com/myname. Consider contact settings that show your availability like job inquiries, consulting offers, project management, new ventures. These descriptors demonstrate your flexibility and openness to a variety of opportunities. Add Links to any websites you are associated with. This might be a personal or professional website a blog or an affiliation within your particular industry.

Marketing yourself is what each of the above items is designed for. Check the “News” and “More” categories. They offer up-to-date information on business and job trends, industry concentration by location and also an area where you can ask a variety of questions. There’s a Basic Plan and also pay-per-month plans that allow for greater SEO of your profile. Inform, Connect and Network. It all happens here!

Posted on

Common LinkedIn Profile Mistakes to Avoid

LinkedIn is a business-centered social networking website that allows you to search for and connect with recruiters, hiring managers, clients, and co-workers. LinkedIn makes it easy for you to communicate with professional contacts, which makes reference letters easier to obtain for potential jobs. Additionally, the site allows hiring managers and recruiters to find you, potentially giving you more employment opportunities. Ensure that your LinkedIn profile looks professional by avoiding these common mistakes.

Typos: Unfortunately, LinkedIn doesn’t have a spell checker. However, some web browsers, such as Chrome and Firefox, will underline misspelled words in red. Be as careful as you possibly can to spell everything correctly in your profile.

Profile Pictures: Research shows that profiles containing a picture get clicked on more often than profiles without one. Remember that LinkedIn is a professional networking site, so ensure that the picture you post is appropriate. It’s best to use a good headshot of yourself. Avoid posting pictures of you with your significant other, children, or pets.

Absence of a Custom URL: Having a custom URL makes it easier for recruiters and potential employers to locate you. To change your LinkedIn URL, log into your account, and go to, “Profile,” located at the top of the page. Click on, “Edit Profile.” You will see your current LinkedIn URL underneath your profile picture. Click on the, “Edit,” link next to your URL to change it. Change your URL from the combination of your name and numbers to your name only. Once you’ve changed your URL, ensure you put it on your business cards and resume so that potential employers can find you easily after an interview.

Lack of Keywords: LinkedIn has millions of users, which is why hiring managers and recruiters search the site with keywords to find potential employees. Ensure that keywords relevant to your industry appear somewhere in your profile, such as in your summary, current and past jobs section, skills and experience list, or education section. For instance, if you are a teacher looking for a new teaching position, some keywords you may want to include in your profile are, “teacher, teaching, and education.“ If you aren’t sure which keywords are best for your industry, search for other people in your field to discover what keywords they are utilizing.

LinkedIn is a valuable tool for social networking as well as finding employment opportunities. Maximize the benefits of your profile and get seen by recruiters more often by avoiding these common profile mistakes.

Posted on

Building an Effective Cover Letter

A cover letter displays the summary of information for the specific individual including their name, address, and contact information. Typically, a cover letter also incorporates a briefing for why the individual finds themselves a valuable asset to the company, as well as contributions that an individual can make. When writing an effective cover letter, it is important to include the information in the correct format; this not only allows the potential employer to quickly see the individual’s contact information, but also a quick summary of their skills.

Before an individual writes a cover letter, they must decide which format of letter they should write. An application cover letter is used by the individual when applying for a published job opening; while a prospecting letter is used as an inquiry letter for various positions. Lastly, a networking letter is used to find information, or assistance pertaining to the particular position. It is important for an individual to choose the correct styling of cover letter so their information is represented correctly and addressed for the right motive.

Once the format has been chosen, the individual may begin writing their cover letter by addressing the official in regards to their motive. Also, one must properly write their details among mission briefing in the right format. Including the proper details in the correct format will ensure the information can be read clearly and understood well. It is also important for one to remember that a cover letter is meant to supplement a resume, not clone it; a cover letter should effectively represent what the ensuing resume and other documents will entail. Finally, the individual should remember that the cover letter is not purely about themselves, but mainly about their inquiry and personal briefing with the specific company.

An example of a cover letter might be:

“Dear Human Resources, or Hiring Manager:

I have enclosed my resume within for the position of cashier clerk.

I am currently employed with Grocery Unlimited where I perform a variety of cashier related duties; I am responsible for handling cash, coins, checks including corporate checks as well as credit card transactions. My duties are to receive the correct payment amount, while giving the correct change back to the customer. Before working with Grocery Unlimited, I worked at a similar grocery outlet where I utilized customer service skills and was also in charge of setting displays.

I am seeking a position that will utilize my skills as a cashier, and to help me further my career.

I look forward to hearing from you with any additional questions.

Sincerely,

John Smith”

Posted on

Building Your Brand

The world is changing rapidly. Now more than ever people have to resort to self-promotion if they want to be successful in the business world. It’s called building your brand and it includes doing whatever you can to make yourself stand out in the marketplace. For many people building their brand begins right in the office where they work. Like any other product in order to build your brand you must show that it has value. It’s often wise to take on and complete high profile projects at work which allow you to showcase your skills. This can be of great help as it will be something you can point to when you begin to market yourself in earnest.

Building one’s brand takes planning. It requires a series of systematic steps designed to highlight your skills and your ability to handle responsibility with aplomb. Building one’s brand also requires networking with management and with people working on special projects in the workplace. One must also create a dynamic resume which highlights one’s strengths and experiences. If you have a series of degrees they can be featured. If not your resume should focus on your accomplishments. Once you have created a good package which showcases your talents, skills and experiences you are ready to market your brand.

Marketing one’s brand can take several forms. Part of it can be something as simple as handing out your resume and/or promotional package to human resources. This is a signal to them and to you that you are ready to take the next step in your career. Gradually you can widen the circle of people to whom you deliver your promotional package. Check with your employer to ensure you are not violating any workplace rules. Next you can begin to apply or bid on specific projects. Even if you do not receive the project your presentation should mark you as a rising star worthy of attention.

Creating a website which promotes you and your skills, talents, education and experience can also help. It starts the process of introducing you to the world at large. It also allows you to gauge the level of interest people have in what you have to offer. You should also have your presentation, promotional package and website assessed by a professional. Be prepared to continually tweak and update all elements of your brand building and marketing plan. Brand building is not a destination, it is a journey. One which can be lots of fun and very profitable.

Posted on

How To Build Relationships At Work

Workplace managers are in a position to build an efficient team who work together to meet the goals within the company. While managers must keep in mind and respect the differences in all employees and remember that each person is indeed a unique individual, they also must remember to motivate all employees, encourage everyone to excel, and always enforce the notion that working as a whole to accomplish the many tasks in a day is much more efficient than one person handling everything.

The position of manager is one that takes time and effort to truly perfect. The first step of any new manager is to earn the employees’ trust. Begin by building a rapport with the employees. Show the staff that the position of manager is not simply one that dictates the office with rules and deadlines. Listen to the employees. Take the time to get to know each person’s personality, strength, weaknesses, and concerns. Taking this time will help in the future when deciding who should take certain responsibilities or who can handle particular projects. A very crucial piece of information for any manger is to be sure to do exactly as promised. This not only demonstrates to the employees that you are listening to their needs or issues, it also shows that you keep your word. This is the beginning of a trusting professional relationship.

Another terrifice piece of advice is to take the time to help overwhelmed employees. This is crucial to the teamwork approach many companies strive for as a means of success. If an employee feels overwhelmed, he/she is stressed and productivity is going to be lower than usual. Help the employee prioritize his/her duties and offer some assistance to help him/her complete his/her tasks. This is a demonstration to the entire staff that you are not only preaching teamwork, you also believe in it enough to take action.

Always offer positive reinforcement and recognition. The staff works hard for the company. They sacrifice and want to succeed, so let them know that their efforts are appreciated. Showing support and appreciation will empower the team and keep them motivated.