Tag Archives: skills

Job Search Step 2: Identify Your Skills

Many of us have the skills we need to successfully perform well in our ideal job. Unfortunately, an equal number of us find it extremely difficult to effectively describe those skills in a resume, cover letter, or to prove to an interviewer that we can do the job.

In other words, we fail in an interview to confidentially or effectively answer the question:

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In step 1 of the job search process, we identified and described our ideal job. In step 2, we will identify the skills necessary for our ideal job.

There are three types or categories of skills:  job-related, self-management and transferable. Job-related skills are the skills needed to do a particular job. For example, a systems analyst needs to know several programming languages to do the job.

Self-management skills are the things that make us good workers. Self-management skills are things like honesty, adaptability, and creativity and often form the basis of other skills.

It is super important to emphasize your self-management skills on your resume and in an interview. Even if the interviewer does not specifically ask you about your self-management skills, you should be prepared to list these skills in your responses to the questions you are asked.

Transferable skills are skills that can be used on more than one job or activity. These may be things that come to us naturally or a part of our personality. Transferable skills often form the basis of other skills.

Transferable skills are accumulated in one position and taken with us when we move on to our next position. Put another way, transferable skills are not job-specific skills but things that become a part of us like:

  • communication skills,
  • research and writing skills,
  • computer and technical intelligence,
  • emotional intelligence, and
  • interpersonal and leadership skills

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When looking at a job posting or job lead, you want to identify the skills needed to do that job. Hopefully, they are skills that you already possess or that you can pick up easily and quickly. You will want to emphasize these skills on your resume and quantify them with money saved or statistical data.  At the interview, you should be prepared to give examples of a time when you utilized those skills successfully.

Try this exercise:

First, make a list of the requirements of your ideal position as set forth in the job lead. You can supplement this list at O*NET Online (http://online.onetcenter.org). O*NET is easy to use and provides a wealth of valuable information. Follow these easy steps to use O*NET:

  1. On the main page, type each name of the career that interests you in the Occupation Search box.
  2. Choose from the list of results and click the job link that is closes to the position you want.
  3. Click the Skills link and you will see a list of the most important and relevant transerable skills for that job.

Second, list your matching experience next to each job requirement.

Third, complete the following sentence — I am confident that I have unique skills, knowledge, and abilities to perform this job because:

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If you are unsure about this exercise, begin by finding a position on O*NET that is similar to a job you have now or held previously. List the requirements for the job as defined by O*NET. Then list your matching skills and experience. Now, try this exercise for your ideal job or position and see how you match up or what you need to do to bolster your skills.

Now, get to it . . .

 

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This Blog/Web Site is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in Connecticut. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

 

Workplace Interpersonal Skills

fotolia_88316842Well-developed interpersonal skills are extremely useful in the workplace. Managers, co-workers, clients/customers, and vendors often perceive people with good social skills as more skilled and capable than those with poor social skills. This preception may be the reason some people succeed in their professional career while others with similar strengths and personal skills do fare as well.

No one can do everything on their own. We often to cooperate with others to achieve our goals and succeed in the workplace. To work cooperatively in the workplace, co-workers need to be kind to one another and demonstrate respect for each other, their clients/customers, and vendors/suppliers.

But working with others can present difficult challenges. To overcome these challenges and get along with people in the workplace you will need to interact with others in ways that are friendly, courteous, and tactful and that demonstrate respect for others’ ideas, opinions, and contributions.fotolia_75670432

  1. Be friendly and have a positive attitude. Exchange friendly, pleasant greetings. Say “good morning” as you walk into work each day, wish people a “good evening” as you leave the office at the end of the day, or ask your co-worker about their weekend on Monday morning. You do not have to be friends with your co-workers, just friendly. These pleasantries will open a dialogue and create a friendlier, comfortable work environment.
  2. Be courteous. Mind your manners. Be considerate of the people you work with. Clean up after yourself and keep your voice low if other people are working or trying to concentrate. Don’t forget to say “please” and “thank you.”fotolia_92579538
  3. Be tactful and polite. Think before your speak and communicate clearly. Respect the other person’s point of view. Watch your language. Avoid slang, offensive language and racy jokes. Also, speak clearly and use proper grammar — even in your emails.
  4. Respond appropriately to questions, compliments, and feedback. Answer questions to the best of your ability. If you don’t know the answer, don’t be afraid to admit it and offer to find the answer. Likewise, accept compliments by saying “thank you.” If you are offered feedback, accept it graciously and use information that will be useful in performing you job.

If a co-worker behaves in a way that is offensive to you, respond in a calm and professional manner. If the problem persists, consult with your supervisor or manager, or speak to a representative in your company’s Human Resources Department.

Keep in mind that these interpersonal social skills are quite easily transferrable to your private life.

Now, get to it . . .

bitmoji1895589661This Blog/Web Site is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in Connecticut. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

Money and Work – How Sharp Are Your Skills?

fotolia_61198618According to Jean Chatzky, an American financial journalist, author, and motivational speaker, today’s 20 to 30 year olds (born between the years of 1982 and 2000) have developed some useful and practical financial skills. Ms. Chatzky suggests that these skills are transferable to workers of all ages. Ms. Chatzky has given personal financial advice on various television shows and is the financial news editor for NBC’s Today Show.

In the December 2015/January 2016 edition of AARP Magazine, Ms. Chatzky suggests that we could all pick up a few financial pointers from millennials.

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  1. Save more money.
    • Millennials stick closely to a budget and increase the amount that they contribute to their 401(k) with each pay rate increase or job promotion.
    • The maximum 401(k) contribution for 2016 is $18,000.
    • If you are 50 years or older in 2016, you can make the 401(k) contribution plus an IRA catch-up contribution of up to $6,000 for a total maximum contribution of $24,000.
      • A traditional IRA contribution is tax-deductible.
      • A Roth IRA is a special retirement account where you pay taxes on money going into your account and then all future withdrawals are tax fee.       fotolia_77684650
  2. Don’t overuse credit cards.
    • Many people get into trouble with credit. If your balance is creeping up each month or if you are using one card to pay off another, you may be overusing your credit cards.
    • Many millennials pay with cash or debit accounts.
    • You may be tempted to cancel your credit cards but don’t. Canceling credit cards has been shown to negatively impact credit scores.fotolia_99648697
  3. Use technology to reduce the costs associated with investing.
    • According to InvestmentNews, financial advisors charge an average of 1.2% in fees annually to manage a $500,000 portfolio.
    • Many millennials use robo-advisers to manage their portfolios.
      • Robo-advisers are online wealth-management services that use algorithms, rather than people, to manage portfolios.
      • Robo-advisors such as Wealthfront, Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, Vanguard Personal Advisor Services and Betterment keep costs low by investing in exchange-traded funds.

Source: December 2015/January 2016 AARP Magazine, page 22.

Now, get to it . . .

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This Blog/Web Site is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in Connecticut. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

Knowing Yourself: Strategies for Resolving Conflict

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Conflicts with co-workers, supervisors, clients, customers, or vendors are not uncommon in the workplace and can be caused by all kinds of issues. The conflicts may be short-lived and easy to resolve, or they might be highly-charged and confrontational disagreements. No mattter the type of conflict, the outcome will be greatly influenced by the way in which you react.

 

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Being able to successfully resolve conflicts should make your interactions at work more productive and enjoyable. Below are several strategies to help you the next time you face a personal or workplace conflict.

  1. Once you have acknowledged a conflict, there are 4 possible options to resolve it:
    • Win-Win: you and the other person both get something you want or need.
    • Win-Lose: You get something you want or need but the other person does not.
    • Lose-Win: You do not get what you want or need but the other person does.
    • Lose-Lose: Neither you nor the other person get what you want or need.
  2. A conflict is only resolved when everyone is satisfied with the outcome. In other words, only a Win-Win option will successfully resolve a conflict.

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Negotiation is required for a win-win solution. That means talking to the person with whom you have a conflict or are in disagreement. Negotiation can be extremely challenging because you may feel strongly about the issue at hand or you may be extremely frustrated with the other person. And the other person may feel the same way.

 

The following are tips to help you work successfully with others to achieve a win-win solution to a conflict that meets the needs or wants of all involved:

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  1. Be calm and objective. Don’t attempt to talk to the person if you are upset. Wait until you are calm and relaxed before trying to resolve the conflict.
  2. Focus on the problem, not on the person. The disagreement is not about the other person, its about something you want or need. Explain the conflict objectively without accusation or supposition. Use explicit details and examples to make your explanation clear.
  3. Listen to the other person’s explanation without judgment or interruption. Really listen to the other person and hear his or her description of the conflict and explanation.
  4. Discuss options for settlement of the conflict. Talk to the other person to try to find a solution so that you both get something you want or need. Recognize that it may not be possible for both of you to get everything that you want. You may need to compromise to reach a win-win solution.
  5. Act on it. Once you idenitfy a win-win solution that is fair and reasonable, put it into practice. Check on the solution to make sure that it continues to meet your needs and wants. If not, negotiate a new or modified solution.

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SUMMARY

  • Acknowledge the conflict. Do not avoid it or denies its existence.
  • Think of ways to approach the conflict that could lead to a win-win solution. A win-win solution is one in which you and the other person both have some of your needs or wants met.
  • Negotiate a win-win solution in a calm and reasonable way. Speak honestly and listen openly and without judgement to the other person.
  • Make sure that the solution you choose continues to work. If necessary, renegotiate to modify the solution or to find another win-win solution.

Now, get to it . . .

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This Blog/Web Site is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in CT. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

Knowing Yourself: Resolving Conflict part 2

If you read the post I published yesterday, you know that conflict happens when one person wants or needs something that is contrary to the wants and needs of another person.

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Conflict can happen between individuals or groups of people in our professional lives . . .

 

 

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and in our personal lives.

Conflict can take many different forms. And once conflict is acknowledged, conflict can be handled in many different ways.

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  • Avoiding conflict or letting emotions control one’s response to conflict usually leads to additional or more intense conflict, including hostility and negative attitudes and morale.
  • Positive ways to respond to conflict are more likely to lead to a successful resolution of a disagreement. Further, a positive resolution to a conflict can lead to respect and understanding among employees and a much better outcome for all involved.

EXERCISE: Think back to how you resolved conflicts or disagreements with family, friends, and co-workers. Do you usually feel better or worse after the conflict is over? Why? Have you considered how you might improve your conflict resolution skills?

To help you answer these questions, pick two examples of conflicts you have experienced and answer the questions below:

First example:  A time I DID get what I wanted after a disagreement was . . .



I felt . . .



The other person or people probably felt . . . (you may think the person or people were satisfied with the outcome of the conflict when they were not. Think unemotionally and honestly about how the person or people reacted to you or interacted with you after the conflict to gauge how they may have felt about the outcome.)



I would / would not handle the disagreement differently now because . . .



 

Second example:  A time I DID NOT get what I wanted after a disagreement was . . .



I felt . . .



The other person or people probably felt . . . (you may think the person or people were satisfied with the outcome of the conflict when they were not. Think unemotionally and honestly about how the person or people reacted to you or interacted with you after the conflict to gauge how they may have felt about the outcome.)I would / would not handle the disagreement differently now because . . .



Now, get to it . . .

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This Blog/Web Site is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in CT. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

Knowing Yourself: Resolving Conflict

fotolia_73699781Wikipedia defines a workplace conflict as “a state of discord caused by the actual or perceived opposition of needs, values and interests between people working together.”

Workplace conflict occurs when one worker’s wants or needs do not match the wants or needs of another worker. Conflict can also occur between employees and supervisors, employees and customers, and employees and vendors/suppiers.

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Ignoring a conflict or denying that it exists can cause tension and turn a minor problem between employees into a major conflict that can affect productivity and morale. Workplace conflict can take many different forms.

Examples are:

  • differing goals or priorities,
  • distinctive styles, methods, or approaches to tasks, and
  • opposing personalities.

The ability to define and resolve conflicts can help you in all manner of personal and professional situations. Acknowledging these conflicts, although difficult at times, can help you to recognize their causes and identify constructive ways to resolve them.

Workplace conflict is stressful and difficult to manage. Rather than acknowledging a  conflict, some employees will deny the existence of the conflict. To do this, these employees may:

  • ignore the problem and hope that it will go away,
  • make excuses or try to justify the reason for the conflict, or
  • underestimate the extent of the conflict.

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These employees are making a mistake.

When employees refuse to acknowledge workplace conflicts, strong emotions such as anger, disappointment, frustration, and anxiety can build over time. Recognizing and acknowledging conflicts as they arise can control and keep minor workplace issues from growing into major ones.

If you find yourself involved in a workplace conflict you should acknowledge the conflict in order to bring it to a successful resolution. Acknowledging a conflict is a necessary step toward the goal of resolving it. To do this, you will need to:

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  1. Define the conflict clearly and objectively
    • Put aside emotions and any judgment about the other person involved in the conflictual situation,
    • Try to see the conflict from the other person’s point of view, and
    • Clearly and specifically identify the cause or causes of the conflict.
  2. Identify areas of agreement and disagreement
    • Identify understandings or goals that you and the other person share;
    • Identify areas of disagreement and contention, and
    • Answer the question, “How do we solve this conflict?
  3. Accurately restate the conflict using important details and examples
    • Once you undestand the conflict, its causes, and areas of agreement and disagreemment, you should restate the conflict in your own words to ensure your understanding of it, and
    • Objectively restate the conflict to the person or person you are having the conflict with to be sure that all people involved have the same understanding of the conflict. Use explicit details and examples to support your understanding of the conflict.

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Communication skills are critical for conflict resolution. Active listening during a conflict requires a great deal of concentration because anger and frustration can be distracting.

  1. Build on what you know. It is important to stop thinking about what you will say next and to put aside emotions so that you can focus on what the speaker is saying. Not listening can make a conflict worse.
  2. Develop your skills. Use listening strategies to identify and follow the speaker’s main points, identify the cause of the conflict, and figure out what is needed to resolve it.
    • Watch and listen for social cues, such as the speaker’s tone of voice, gestures, and other body language.
    • Listen for signal words and phrases that indicate order, cause and effect, or important facts.
    • Don’t be afraid to ask if you don’t know a word or its meaning.
  3. Finally, apply your knowledge to resolve the conflict. For example,
    • You just began working at an office. Supervisor A is very friendly and stops your workspace to greet you in the morning and ask about your family, weekend plans, etc. Supervisor B rarely speaks to you but often takes files off your desk and walks away with them without a word. Supervisor B’s behavior really bothers you.
    • Which of the following actions is the best way to resolve the problem?
      • Tell Supervisor A about the problem.
      • Politely approach Supervisor B about the issue.
      • Do nothing and hope that Supervisor B’s behavior will change.
      • Ask Supervisor A to speak to Supervisor B.
    • By now you should know that ignoring the problem is the worst thing that you can do. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away and may have the opposite affect of making the problem worse.
    • You should politely approach Supervisor B about the issue because she probably has no idea that her behavior is creating a conflict with you. Define the problem for Supervisor B, try to identify areas of agreement and disagreement, and restate the conflict in your own words.

 

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This Blog/Web Site is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in CT. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

Knowing Yourself: Skills

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All skills are important, particularly for your work-life success. Communication skills are overall the highest ranking cluster of skills. Research suggests that a job candidate with good communication skills could be selected for a position over a candidate with strong leadership skills or professional experiences.

Most people have hundreds of skills that they take for granted. For example, when you cook you utilize problem solving and planning and organizational skills. Problem solving comes into play when you are deciding what to cook, particularly if you have to substitute ingredients. Planning and organizing is necessary to make sure the food is ready at the right time and in the right sequence.

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When driving, literally hundreds of skills are at play all at one time. Drivers are constantly using perceptual skills to receive and interpret messages by sight, sound, touch, and smell to react quickly to road hazards and determine any counter tactics. A skier uses four types of movements whether on flat terrain or skiing downhill: balancing, edging, rotary and pressure control movements. Source: youcanski.com.

Part of knowing yourself is understanding your unique skill set. Each of us is better at some things than at others and you should know where your skills lie on the ability spectrum. Which of the following skills do you possess?

The basic skills are reading, writing, math, speaking, and listening:

  • Reading: Identifying relevant facts, locating information in books/manuals, computers, and other technology, finding meanings of unknown words, and judging the accuracy of reports or other information.
  • Writing: Communicating ideas completely and accurately in written documents with proper grammar, spelling, and punctation.
  • Math: Using mathematics, tables, graphs, and charts to solve problems and communicate information.
  • Speaking: Selecting appropriate language, tone of voice, and gestures for the particular audience. You will not use the same language, tone of voice, or gestures when meeting one-on-one with a co-worker as you would when addressing supervisors in a video conference call.
  • Listening: Responding appropriately to another person and noting his or her tone of voice and body language.

Thinking skills are creativity, problem-solving, decision making, and visualization:

  • Creativity: Using imagination freely, combining ideas and information in new and different ways, making connections between ideas that seem unrelated.
  • Problem-solving: Recognizing a problem, creating and implementing a solution, watching to see how well the solution works, and adjusting as needed.
  • Decision making: Identifying goals, gathering information and generating alternatives, weighing pros and cons, choosing best alternatives, and executing a plan.
  • Visualization: Imagine building an object or system from a bluepring or drawing.

fotolia_86393246People skills are social, negotiation, leadership, teamwork, and cultural diversity:

  • Social: Showing understanding, friendliness, and respect for the feelings of others, asserting oneself when appropriate, taking an interest in what people say and why think and act as they do.
  • Negotiation: Identifying common goals among different poeple, clearly presenting one’s position to the group, understanding other people’s positions, examining possible options, and making reasonable compromises.
  • Leadership: Communicating your thoughts and feelings to justify a position, encouraging or convincing others, making postive use of rules or values, demonstrating the ability to have others believe in and trust you because of your competence and honesty.
  • Teamwork: Contributing to a group with ideas and effort, doing your own share of the work, encouraging team members, resolving differences for the benefit of the team, and responsibly challenging existing procedures, policies, or authorities.
  • Cultural Diversity: Working well with people of various ethnic, social, or educational backgrounds, understanding the cultural differences of different groups of people, and helping the people in these groups make cultural adjustments when necessary.

Personal qualities are self-esteem, self-management, and responsibility:

  • Self-esteem: Understanding that beliefs affect how a person feels and acts, listening and identifying irrational or harmful beliefs you may have, and understanding how to change them for the positive.
  • Self-management: Assessing one’s own knowledge and skills accurately, setting specific, realistic, and personal goals, and monitoring progress toward your goals.
  • Responsibility: Working hard to reach goals, even if the journey is unpleasant, doing quality work, and displaying high standards of attendance, honesty, energy, and optimism.

Source: “Comparative Analysis of Soft Skills: What is Important for New Graduates?” Crawford, Lang, Fink, Dalton & Fielitz (2011), page 9.

Now, get to it . . .

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This Blog/Web Site is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in CT. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

Knowing Yourself: Skills Inventory List

“A diamond is just a piece of charcoal that handled stress exceptionally well.” Unknown Author.

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In the last few posts I’ve asked you to consider your personal values, strengths, and problem areas. Specifically, I’ve asked you to:

  1. Prioritize your life values and identify how each value might affect your next employment opportunity;
  2. Identify problem areas that your parents, family, friends, and employers see in you and how you might improve these problem areas; and
  3. Brag about your strengths by identifying what you think your parents, family, friends, and employers think of you.

Understanding your personal and professional values is critical in job search. My hope is that if you know what is truly important to you and why, you will uncover what actually motivates and drives you. If you can look at yourself deeply, honestly, and accurately in terms of your personal, professional, and educational skills and strengths, you will keep moving forward.

With that in mind, the next step in getting to know yourself is recognizing your most marketable employment skills. These are the types of qualities and attributes that employers are looking for in job candidates.

Remember, skills are the things that you have learned to do throughout the years. Skills are the ability to audit financial data, conduct interviews, counsel people, fix equipment, invent products, read blueprints and music, resolve/mediate conflicts, translate foreign languages, or teach/instruct. Source: November 19, 2015 post.

In this exercise you will make an honest assessment of your professional skill set. Put an “X” next to each skill that you think you possess in your professional bag of tricks. Then list at least one example of how your abilities relate to each of your skills.  Feel free to add to the list if I’ve omitted something that applies to you.


SKILL TYPE                                       X                   EXAMPLE OF YOUR ABILITIES


Administrative

Compiling Data

Computer/IT

Imagination/Creativity

Managing People

Managing Projects

Mathematics

Organizational

Persuasion

Presentation

Public Relations

Public Speaking

Research & Analysis

Supervisory

Teaching/Training

Writing

 

Now, get to it . . .

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This Blog/Web Site is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in CT. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

 

fotolia_83162573The Spice of (Business) Life is Communication, Part 2

Suggestions for effective listening:

  • I’ve said it before and I will say it again: LISTEN. Listen quietly to what the speaker says without interrupting. Listen obviously to what the speaker is saying and respond with quiet “verbal attends” such as “uh huh,” “um,” “yes,” and “I understand” to indicate that you understand what is being said.
  • Maintain an adequate distance from the speaker. Adequate personal space is about an arm’s distance length from the other person. Standing too close to the speaker may make him/her feel uncomfortable. Standing too far from the speaker may give the impression that you are not engaged in the conversation or looking to “get away.”
  • Avoid touching the speaker. While a handshake is usually acceptable, other physical contact with a speaker you are not familiar may make him/her feel uncomfortable.
  • Stand up straight (shoulders back) and maintain good body posture during the conversation will convey confidence and intelligence. Leaning forward toward the speaker (just slightly) will convey interest in the message.

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  • Control facial expressions. Your face communicates a wide variety of non-verbal cues related to your attitude and emotions. For example, raising your eyebrows may give the impression that you are surprised. Pursing your lips may convey anger, disagreement, or confusion.
  • Control your gestures. Like facial expressions, your gestures communicate a wide variety of non-verbal cues.
    • Closed gestures such as clenched fists may indicate aggression or anger. Crossing your arms conveys a defensive or suspicious demeanor.
    • Open gestures like keeping your hands to your side or crossed behind you portrays an openness or relaxed demeanor.
  • Maintain eye contact but do not stare to show that you are listening and interested in the message. Eye contact signifies trust, respect, and interest.
  • Avoid strong perfumes, colognes, and other odors that might distract or overwhelm the other person from their interaction with you.
  • fotolia_61859136Maintain your overall appearance. What you wear to work depends on the type of job that you hold. Whatever you wear, make sure that it conveys your competence and respect for your position within the company.

Combining effective communication techniques with networking will help you to connect with people. Poor communication can result in misunderstandings with others.

It should be obvious by now that the abilities and skills related to good listening are:

  • Attention to communication to ensure that information is passed on to others who should be kept informed.
  • Ability to express oneself clearly in oral conversations and interactions with others.
  • Ability to express oneself in written communications.
  • Noticing, interpreting, and anticipating others’ concerns and feelings, and to communicate this interpersonal awareness empathetically to others (part of one’s emotional intelligence or emotion quotient).
  • Influencing others by gaining their support for your ideas, proposals, projects, and solutions.
  • Building collaborative relationships to develop, maintain, and strengthen partnerships with others inside or outside the organization who can provide information, assistance, and support.
  • Demonstrating concern for customer orientation including satisfying one’s external and/or internal customers.

NETWORKING: At its core, networking it not about job search. Networking is about communication and connecting with people who can help each other with various events or issues. Effective communication techniques are needed so that you can successfully express your value and provide support in whatever way you can for the other person’s benefit.

There is a three-step approach to growing your network:

  1. Acquiring contacts. Contacts can be passive (meeting people at the gym or kid’s ballgame) or active (speaking to people at a networking event or professional group meeting).
  2. Building relationships using seasonal (speaking with a friend of a friend that you see at a Super Bowl party, July 4th cookout, etc.) or lifetime (in-laws) contacts.
  3. Creating opportunities online (LinkedIn, FaceBook or Twitter) or in-person (school group, coffee shop, or kid’s school fair or concert).

Now, get to it . . .

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This Blog/Web Site is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in CT. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

The Spice of (Business) Life is Communication, Part 1

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“I walk slowly, but I never walk backward.” Abraham Lincoln

 

Communication is the sending and receiving of messages. Everyday we send and receive thousands of messages.

The five types of communication are:

  • Verbal —  messages sent from one person to another through the spoken word
  • Non-verbal — messages sent from one person to another through actions or by observing another person’s actions
  • Written — reading or writing a message
  • Listening — receiving messages by hearing and focusing on the spoken word
  • Technological — sending and receiving messages through technology

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By definition, there is no communication unless someone hears or reads the message being conveyed.

 

 

Effective communication requires the listener to:

  • Stop what he/she is doing and be ready to listen to the speaker.
    • Often a speaker will state the main point of the message when he/she begins speaking. You do not want to miss this vital message.
    • This will also serve as an indication to the speaker that you acknowledge the importance of the message and that listening is required.
  • Use body language to indicate that he/she is engaged in the conversation and listening. Examples of effective body language are making eye contact, leaning in toward the speaker, and nodding the head.
  • Ask questions if he/she is unclear about the message. Don’t ask too many questions because this can be overwhelming to the speaker. Also avoid irrelevant or open-ended questions because this could lead to a misdirection of the original message.
  • Take notes and write down important details to avoid mistakes and misunderstandings. Listen for clue words that will help you identify these important details. Examples of clue words are names, dates, times, addresses, places, numbers, descriptions, etc. Listening for details will also help you to determine what is important and what is just a minor item.
  • Once the speaker has finished speaking, restate the main points of the message. This will convey that you understand what has been said or whether additional conversation or follow-up questions are necessary. Use your notes to remember the details and indicate your attentiveness to the conversation.

fotolia_96800120Some common listening mistakes are:

  • The listener spends too much time trying to formulate an answer while the speaker is speaking. Placing too much effort or concern on having the “right” answers might cause the listener to miss the main points of the message. It may turn out that an answer is not required; sometimes the speaker just needs to know that the listener understands the message and that an answer will be forthcoming.
  • The listener thinks that he/she knows what is going to be said before the speaker says it. This type of anticipation can cause the listener to “tune out,” dismiss what is actually being said, and focus on what the listener thinks the speaker will say.
  • Allowing interruptions when the speaker is conveying his/her message. If you are “multi-tasking” while listening to the speaker (opening mail, reading emails, looking at a device, or carrying on a side conversation), your non-verbal message to the speaker is that you do not think that the message is important and merits your full attention.
  • Reacting to specifics. It is easy to stop listening and focus on other stimuli if the speaker uses language or a style of speaking (including non-verbal cues) that distract you. Stay focused on the big picture and do not let the details overwhelm or distract you.
  • Daydreaming. A daydreamer pretends to listen but is really focused on some other stimuli. The listener will miss the message if he/she is not focused on what the speaker is saying or conveying through non-verbal communication.

Now, get to it . . .

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This Blog/Web Site is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in Connecticut. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. I am not an expert in any of the areas of job search. I am writing to share my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.