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Résumés

January 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Writing a resume for some jobs may be in the past according to the article “No More Résumés, Say Some Firms,” at Wall Street Journal and written by Rachel Silverman.  The article details different approaches some companies are taking to find the right employee for the job and that fits in their office culture.  At times going as far to have applicants submit brief videos as part of their job application, citing that it gives them a better chance to see the real applicant.  While I haven’t been through a non-cover letter/resume application yet, I think I would like the challenge and appreciate the ability to showcase my talents in different ways.

Lists and More Lists

January 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Lists and More Lists

I enjoy reading the lists Inc.com, or any other business, self-help, or magazine website publishes because more often than not they summarize what my family, friends, business professors, or common sense have been telling me for years.  They are like verification of the little tidbits you pick up along the road of life – anyways, I liked this list because lately I have mini-crises of motivation around the house.  It also puts some thoughts on work, and how to go about it, it better words than I could possibly.

Source: http://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/how-to-motivate-yourself-14-easy-ways.html?nav=pop

Creating Rituals

September 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Ritualize practice. Will and discipline are wildly overrated. As the researcher Roy Baumeister has found, none of us have very much of it. The best way to insure you’ll take on difficult tasks is to ritualize them–build specific, inviolable times at which you do them, so that over time you do them without having to squander energy thinking about them.

A post Tony Schwartz at FastCompany.com circled around the idea of determination and creating excellence within yourself.  Schwartz asserted that excelling at a skill isn’t something that we are simply born with, but instead put the weight of research behind the adage “practice makes perfect.”

His list entitled the “Six Keys to Being Excellent at Anything” are:

  1. Pursue what you love.
  2. Do the hardest work first.
  3. Practice intensely.
  4. Seek expert feedback, in intermittent doses.
  5. Take regular renewal breaks.
  6. Ritualized practice

Schwartz provides some explanation and support for each of the points in his post that are worth reading, and while some or all of it may appear as common sense its helpful to find it written out like this.

Out of all the points listed the last one is the one I thought about the most.  I know that once you get in the habit of something it becomes easier to do, in the sense that it becomes easier to motivate yourself to do it.  For me that is getting in the habit of regular visits to the gym, daily visits in fact.  Once I start going everyday it becomes a habit, and I don’t even think about it.  I just go.  Personally this becomes a cycle, one I have fallen out of a few times.

Schwartz writes in another post on the HBR Blog Network, called The Skill That Matters Most, about building our self control as a skill.  Developing that skill is one way that we can increase our determination, giving us the willpower to do or stop doing the things we know we should or shouldn’t.  Once we build a ritual, or a routine, around something it makes it easier for us to will ourselves to do it by making it easier to maintain our determination.

Ironically part of how we build this skill is by creating a healthy lifestyle, like visiting the gym, because getting to that stage requires energy.  It is easier to will ourselves to do something when we are at peak levels because all of this determination and self control depletes our energy reserves.  Maintaining our energy reserves obviously has an impact on our ability to contribute, but it also impacts our ability to will ourselves to do things.

Looking for Work?

September 6, 2011 Leave a comment

As a recent MBA graduate, who is about to finish an internship in India, I am looking for work.  To be more specific a place to start a new career.   In about a month I will be boarding a plane for the trip back to Milwaukee in a month with no guaranteed job waiting for me when I get there.  So like many who are “jobless” the economic and employment situation in the US causes me to fret more than is probably healthy, and paying attention to the news daily probably doesn’t help.  I feel I should keep myself somewhat informed though, because while here in India though I actually field a great deal of questions about the situation back in the US, and I want to be able to answer them.  So stopping by the Wall Street Journal’s website I happened to read a post where multiple economists reacted to the latest job report, needless to say it  didn’t really fill me with good emotions.

Then after reading numerous posts about the hollowing out of the middle-class, which I don’t personally feel will be as drastic in the short term as others feel, I saw this headline, “Study: Unemployed Spend Only 1% of Time Looking for Work.”  After reading that a soothing calm swept over me, why?  Well the reason I didn’t post over the weekend is because I spent the vast majority of my time searching for jobs, writing cover letters for the ones I found that I liked, and before submitting them doing my research.  So to skip a lot of other comments I could make about that, if I keep my dedication up, continue to research the companies I would like to work for, and set aside time I am sure I can beat the odds.

Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

August 24, 2011 2 comments

         I was reading Jessica Stillman’s blog yesterday, where she posted an entry about emotional intelligence (EI).  She wrote that EI is a more important quality than IQ to managers when evaluating new hires or whom to promote.  Being of particular interest to me, as I am someone on the job hunt, I did some more reading.  She wrote in reaction to a study done by careerbuilder.com where the company polled 2,662 hiring managers, finding that:

When asked why emotional intelligence is more important than high IQ, employers said (in order of importance):

· Employees [with high EI] are more likely to stay calm under pressure
· Employees know how to resolve conflict effectively
· Employees are empathetic to their team members and react accordingly
· Employees lead by example
· Employees tend to make more thoughtful business decisions

         I think it would be easy to assume that these perceived benefits of higher EI would be desirable to any manager.  Moving on to Wikipedia to get a better understanding of what EI is gave light to various definitions or models.  What I understood as the general feeling of EI is being able to not only understand and control one’s own emotions but also to grasp those of others.  This goes as far as being able to grasp what motivates others and their intentions.  These skills are not only useful while working in teams but also when involved with clients or other stakeholders.  Also, perhaps, they allow greater understanding of implicit communication, then someone with higher EI may be able to meet demands that were unclear.

         So now the question is how to make sure that I communicate EI in my cover letters and resume.  However, how sure can I be that I have high EI?  Would someone with it need to be concerned about demonstrating it?  Maybe those thoughts have something to do with her latest post.

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