Friday, November 26, 2010

Self-Imposed Limitations Can Harm Your Career

Do you remember a time when an opportunity opened up and you feel that you really like the job, believe that you can do it but do not have the nerve to try? You let it pass and then wonder later what would have happened had you grab the opportunity. In order not to feel bad, you sour-grape by telling yourself you made the right decision, you would have failed anyway.

What I just mentioned is a form of self- imposed limitation that hinders us from taking a risk in making a career decision. Our fear of failure can limit us and hinder us from achieving full potential. Here are some of the other self- imposed limitations that we should watch out for:

Negative Emotions
Sadness, anger, bitterness, self pity, anxiety and fear are just some examples of negative emotions that can manifest as we do our work. These negative emotions cause stress that lead to poor performance and you know how poor performance affect your career adversely.

Victim Mentality
Some people find it more convenient to blame others for their failures than to take the necessary actions. Some say they are never given a break, while others say they do not get the help that they need in order to succeed in their work. This is what I always share with people. Take responsibility for your own actions, and more importantly, take more responsibility for your own career growth. A break or opportunity opens up to those who seek it. Those who seek it do not ask for it, they show that they are ready for it. Self-driven people do not wait for the company to train them, they train themselves. They buy good books about their jobs, search the web for new methodologies or benchmark with successful peers. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

How Organization Savvy Are You?

While intelligence, technical know-how and experience help in getting the job done, it is organizational savvy that makes employees contribute more to the success of the organization that also lead to their own professional success.  There is so much more to joining a company than logging in for work and getting the work done. An organization is a living system and the condition of its existence is reflected by how well the people in it show their understanding of the importance of the organization. How well do you contribute to organizational effectiveness? Here are a few statements to reflect on. You may rate yourself using the following scale:

1 – Nope, absolutely not me
2 – There are those few fleeting moments when I think about it
3 – Somewhat like me
4 – I breath it, I live it, yep, definitely me

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Exercising Due Diligence in Job Hunting

Wikipedia says this about Due Diligence -"Due diligence" is a term used for a number of concepts involving either an investigation of a business or person prior to signing a contract, or an act with a certain standard of care.  BusinessDictionary.Com gave this general definition of the term "Measure of prudence, responsibility, and diligence that is expected from, and ordinarily exercised by, a reasonable and prudent person under the circumstances." Read more:

People or businesses exercise due diligence because they want to know if they are getting the best out of an engagement before they sign a contract. Employment is an engagement that involves signing a contract, hence it is wise to do the same before getting yourself engaged. Besides, your potential bosses are likely to do the same.

What are the things you need to look into before signing an employment contract?

Find out about the company's work culture. Ask yourself if the work environment is something that you would enjoy to be in. Remember, you will spend eight hours or more everyday in that environment. Make sure that it will not turn your working life into a living hell.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Managing Your Interviewer's Impression

I must admit that in my years of experience in the HR practice, I noticed that recruitment professionals have certain preference in applicants that often affect their hiring decisions. It isn't really just the recruitment people, even the hiring decision makers or the ones who do the final interview have certain stereotypical mindset about ideal candidates. Because of this they sometimes lose out on good candidates that do not fit their picture of that ideal candidate. Their loss, right? If it is a desirable job, it is your loss too!

Here are some suggestions that may or may not get you the job that you want but will unlikely ruin your chances. Ready?
  • Don't be late. need I say more? I know, sometimes it feels like the traffic and the rest of the universe is conspiring to make you late so make sure that you don't give them a chance to succeed. Wake up early and go to your interview early. If you come in too early, you can always kill time somewhere near and then come up to the client's office when it's near the time. If you are five to 10 minutes early, that will be very good.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Make Your Job Application Stand Out

This in an article I wrote for in 1988. It's a website dedicated to offering career opportunities in Misamis Oriental. Here's a link to the original posting
 First, let me show you how recruiters like me see your job applications. My team at ExeQserve and I receive hundreds of applications everyday, sometimes they even reach a thousand. In order to manage our work and our time, we need to implement methods for efficiently seeping through those bundles and bundles of job applications. We actually don’t get to see all of them. Most of the applications fail our auto-filter criteria and end up in a resume database which is a virtual junkyard that we mine from time to time, if we are not too busy with new applicants. Whose resumes are likely to end up there? Those who have no or poorly written application letters, those whose resume’s file name is “resume” and those whose resume contents are too far fetched for the job.

Here are a five  steps to what you can do to make your application stand out from thousands of other mediocre applications:

Job Hunting Tips for People With Not-So-Hot Backgrounds: 150 Smart Tips That Can Change Your Life (Career Savvy)

Step 1: Look closely at the requirements of the job as posted and ask yourself if there is indeed a match between what they are looking for and what you have to offer. Don’t bother sending your application if you yourself can’t find a match. 

Step 2: So you believe there is a match, great! Now, write a good application letter that describes why you think you are suitable for the job. Putting your personal qualities there is cool but you need to do more than chest beating, you need to specifically mention relevant experiences and skills. Emphasize also your desire to contribute to the company’s productivity and profitability. The web is teeming with application letter templates, go Google.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Finding Career Bliss

Have you been floating around all your professional life? Are you unhappy with the current state of your career and you just can't pinpoint the reason why? Do you feel you can do better but do not have the motivation to really pursue your passion? Or do you even know what your passion is? If you answer yes to all but the last question, you are absolutely not alone. Millions of professionals just go through the motions of work, finding it a necessary evil to get sustenance and maintain their lifestyles.

Whatever happened to find the work you love and you'll never have to work a day in your life? The truth is very few people know and dare to find that elusive road to professional bliss. Time to give your self a serious whack on the side of your head and wake-up from your zombie-like stupor of going through the motion and find the work that will really make you happy. It is now time to answer the important questions and make the necessary decisions that will lead you to the careers where you will truly shine inside and out.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Are You a Rock Star?

What comes to mind when you hear that word “rock star”?
Popular yes, lots of  admirers and yes, really, incredibly good at what he/she does.

Nowadays this word rock star doesn’t only mean guitar toting, decibel breaking singing and raging. It also pertains to a caliber of the person in whatever field she belongs to. For example a lot of people are given titles such as rockstar managers like Jack Welch formerly of GE. They call Seth Godin as the rockstar of marketing. I saw a website celebrating the rockstars of blogging in the Philippines which I hope to belong to in the near future. I also noticed that a lot of recruiters here and other countries use the term rockstar to mean hard to find, really excellent, awesome talents and those who can catch them are also called rockstar recruiters.

What qualifies as a rockstar in any field? I’d say that the numero uno requirement is PASSION. Rockstars love what they are doing. They get a certain amount of high when they make breakthroughs in their crafts. I remember a rockstar programmer that I had the opportunity of working with in the past shout “I am invincible!” whenever he is able to complete a difficult program.  That girl was an important asset wherever she went and she commands a high price too! You can’t keep a rockstar talent if you can’t afford her because IT PAYS! to be a rockstar!

Are You a Good Employee Material?

Companies love a good employee. One who knows what s/he is doing and does the  right thing in order to contribute to the organization’s goals. In this professional world teeming with mediocrity, good employees become rare finds. Companies treasure them and put them in their rightful places in the company. They also become target of poachers who want them to use their good performance in their companies. Wouldn’t it be great to be one of those employees who get juicy offers of better positions and perks in their company or sent offer fillers by other companies? It’s not easy, but wouldn’t you agree that its worth doing?

The next question that comes to mind is how does one become a good employee material? Here are my recommendations:

Social Networking and Your Personal Brand

Social networking changed the world in a radical way and changed the game in terms of managing one's own career and personal brand. In the olden times (about 5 years ago), when Friendster was THE social network and others were barely a blip in the radar, the network is being used for mostly personal reasons - connect with friends, share profiles and occasionally share photos. Today, that has changed. The advent of Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and the likes allowed people not only to share personal information but also share personal thoughts.

Recruiters and would-be employers also found social networking sites as a convenient tool for finding more information about potential employees. All of a sudden, people become like commodities that are open to scrutiny and examination of strangers. For this reason alone, I believe we need to be more careful about what we put out there because it will affect either positively or negatively our own personal brand. Let me cite some examples:


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