Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How can U and Ur Job Security - Stay Marketable

Today, no job offers lifetime permanence; both organization and personal objectives change rapidly and frequently. Your job security comes from within you — it´s your ability to find another job quickly. 

Focus less on how secure your current job is and more on how to keep yourself market­able, your career flourishing, and your options open. To be continually employed, ready to respond in a tight job market, and in control of your professional destiny, you must steadily invest effort in staying marketable. 

Here are some broad recommendations for keeping yourself valuable; your personal and professional goals will determine how you apply them. 
·         Keep your network alive — Networking is critical to your job search and ongoing market value. Maintain contact with the members of your network, and look for ways to help them. Even when you are not actively seeking a new position, use your network to keep current on events and trends in your industry.

These professional contacts can help you increase your technical knowledge in or outside your own area of expertise.

·         Expand your knowledge and skills — Commit to lifelong learning. Amazingly, many chemists don´t take enough time to maintain professional viability. Keep current in your field by networking with colleagues in your professional society, enrolling in continuing education classes, reading, and attending seminars. When new technology is introduced, learn about it. Become expert in the latest technology in your area of specialization. Read broadly to stay on top of what´s happening in chemistry in general as well as in your field. Connect with related disciplines such as biology, physics, and nanotechnology. Learn science, but also improve your non-technical skills including oral and written communication, interpersonal skills, and teamwork. You´ll also need to continue developing business awareness; regularly browse business-related publications such as The Wall Street Journal and Business Week.

·         Monitor your growth — Periodically assess your values, drivers, and skills (refer to Chapter 2) and stay informed about employment trends (discussed in Chapter 3). This gives you control over your career and determining which options you want to explore, where your technical knowledge best fits, and what you need to improve.

·         Make yourself and your abilities visible — Take credit for what makes you special, and build on it. Make an effort to attend local, regional, and national ACS and other professional meetings related to your interests. Seek recognition for your work by writing patents and publications and giving presentations; also use your writing and presentation skills in support of your colleagues and managers. These activities are not self-serving; they add value to your work. Becoming a mentor in your organization and helping professional associations carry out their mission are other ideas for staying visible. For example, you might join a technical committee on consensus standards in ASTM or a committee organizing a symposium in ACS or EAS. Involvement will bring you not only recognition, but also more contacts and considerable satisfaction.

·         Be flexible — New directions may present themselves — an internal lateral move, relocating, taking a short-term assignment in another field, joining a task force or project team. Keep an open mind about these opportunities. Also consider furthering your education in a new or related field through after-hours programs or professional activities. Many chemists revitalize their careers and progress to new ones as a result of such initiatives.

·         Stay attuned to corporate culture — For example, if your boss sends a family photo to everyone in the group except you, that might be a signal it´s time to start examining your options elsewhere.

By acs

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thorough Personal Assessment for a Job

When considering a new job, you need to understand whether it can meet your values, satisfy your drivers, and match your skills. By conducting an honest, thorough personal assessment, you can proactively focus your search. You can seek out what will make you happy instead of molding yourself to fit what was/is available…

Knowing your desires and needs is essential to being happy and productive in your job. Use honest introspection and responses during your interview to answer these questions:
·         Do you want to do research and development? Applied research? Sales? A job outside the lab? Something else?
·         Do you have a strong preference to work alone, on a team, or to lead teams?
·         Do you have the skills to do successfully what you want to do? If not, what is needed?
·         Can you do the job you´re considering? If not, what training or skills do you need to develop?
·         Are your credentials or country of citizenship or residency an issue?
·         Is the geographic location of the job a problem? (It could be, for example, if you´re a regular caregiver for other family members.)
·         Is travel or time away from home required?
·         Do you want to be able to publish? To attend scientific or other meetings?
·         Are the benefits appropriate for your needs (health and other insurance)?
·         Are special religious holidays a concern?
·         What specialized resources would you need for your job? (Examples might be large expensive equipment like NMRs or mass spectrometers, or highly specific library publications and journals.)
Assess your values in relation to your target job and employer. The better you know your values and job demands, the better prepared you will be to find your ideal employer. 

In addition to your personal values, you have professional motivators that influence why and how you do your job as well as what you want your job to provide. Determine what motivators your job must provide to match what drives you. We´ve identified five principal drivers to get you started. Think carefully about which are most important to you, remembering that their relative importance to you may change with time:

·         Advancement. Individuals who want advancement seek recognition or promotions for their talents and accomplishments on the job. Apart from monetary rewards, a simple “thank you” for a job well done, praise in the in-house newsletter, or a new job title is also a welcome acknowledgment. Although most employees hope their careers will offer opportunities for upward mobility and growth, those driven by advancement feel this urge more profoundly. If not advancing to their satisfaction, they´ll move to another organization offering better prospects.

·         Autonomy. Autonomous individuals have a strong need to do things their own way, at their own pace, and in line with their own standards. These individuals may find organizational life too restrictive and may seek a work environment that offers more freedom, such as consulting, teaching, or starting their own business. Challenge. Those who thrive on challenge have a competitive nature that drives them to overcome obstacles and to solve problems. These individuals may consider salary, job titles, and work area as secondary to the challenge of the task at hand. Most chemistry jobs contain some element of challenge; the variation is great — from large challenges like creating a new technology platform to small ones like routine analysis.

·         Security. Security-driven individuals need stability and will seek an employer with a reputation for not reducing the workforce. They might look for jobs with tenure and predictable benefits, such as those in government. These individuals tend to be stable, reliable workers who will not challenge the system.

·         Balance. Those who desire life balance tend to seek equilibrium in all aspects of their lives. Time is especially important — for example, they don´t want to have to choose between family considerations and career success or self-development goals. Their life styles will influence decisions on such issues as relocation, family needs, work hours, and employee benefits.

A basic skill list is an important tool in your job search; use it to:
·         Identify areas in which you excel.
·         Determine which ads/postings to respond to.
·         Match your areas of expertise to employers needs to sell yourself.
·         Include skills in your résumé that are targeted to specific jobs.
·         Answer questions during interviews.
·         Assess a good job fit.
·         Increase self-confidence to market yourself.

Here are a few tips for generating a skills list:
·         Find a quiet place, away from distractions. Sit down with a pen and paper, packet of 3" x 5" cards, or a computer with a database-sorting program.
·         Divide your life into logical segments such as before college, college, graduate school, postdoctoral, job 1, job 2, and so on.
·         Think about each period and record all the accomplishments you can recall — everything you achieved personally or professionally, in any order. Try to remember things you have done of which you are most proud.

Do this exercise several times over a few weeks. 

Once your accomplishments list is complete:
·         Identify the skill categories that apply to each. Examples include chemistry sub-categories (organic, synthesis, natural products, whatever you excel at doing), communications, computers, literature searches, dealing with regulations, managing/ leadership, developing teams, testing, analysis (with subcategories such as NMR or mass spectrometry), business acumen, creativity, and so on.
·         Group and refine your skill categories until you have 8 to 10 main categories.
·         Beside each accomplishment, write the skills categories that were used.
·         Sort the list by skill category.
·         Edit the list to remove redundancies and non-meaningful entries.
When you´ve finished, you will have your skill list — a straightforward itemization of your abilities, with each backed up by specific accomplishments where you demonstrated that skill. Keep a current list of your abilities and accomplishments handy. Today´s chemist needs soft skills as well as technical competence. 

In addition to the uses described above, this process may reveal new career paths for you to explore. For example, an organic chemist could consider a job as a technical information specialist because of literature search skills. 

In summary, you want to give serious and considered thought to what truly stimulates and excites you, what you can tolerate, and what you can´t stand. Then look at ways to maximize the amount of time you spend doing the former, and minimize the latter.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Why Good Job-Seekers Fail

There are three main stages where jobseekers fail in the job search:

Marketing stage.  If you are a jobseeker who is not getting interviews, then your marketing is failing you.  If you are dropping your resume and not getting invited to interviews, then your resume is not engaging prospective employers. Another problem could be that your resume is fine, but you are not targeting the right employers.

First interview stage.  If you are getting invited to meet with people but not getting called back, then you need interview help.  There are 12 standard interview questions, and most every other question is a derivative of these questions. Practice your interview answers.  When we work with jobseekers, we don’t drill every question – it’s impossible to predict how a question will be phrased.  Instead, we explain the structure of these 12 standard questions so that our clients will recognize them regardless of how they are phrased (and regardless of what kind of curveball the interviewer tries to throw).

Final stage.  Always the bridesmaid and never the bride?  You might not be selling to the end.  Sometimes jobseekers let their energy drop after a long series of interviews.  Or they get arrogant assuming this job is “in the bag”.  Or they start debating the job in their mind, before getting the offer first, and their doubt signals to employers that they really aren’t interested.  Employers are in the driver’s seat in this market, so they can be choosy.  They will be considering other candidates.  The search is not over until you walk in the front door.

Overall, my biggest pet peeve when I was a recruiter was lack of enthusiasm.  You see this at all stages – with a lackluster pitch, with a disengaged interview, with boring follow up.  Remember that employers are people too – they want to be wanted.  I often saw cases where the less qualified but more enthusiastic candidate got the job over a more qualified but less engaged one.  So troubleshoot your search based on the above, and kick up the enthusiasm level.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Finding A New Job Quickly

Today's working environment is unpredictable. Economic downturns can arrive at any moment. Redundancy can swiftly follow. No-one is fully immune, and severance payoffs do not last forever. 

If you found yourself in that situation tomorrow could you cope? If you had to find yourself another job quickly in order to pay the bills, could you do it? 

Here are the steps to follow. 

1. Identify Your Skills 

Think hard about what you are good at, and about what you enjoy. Since you usually enjoy what you do well, the two are often the same. Think back over your career to date and dig deep into the experiences you have had and the skills you have acquired. 

List them all on paper. Leave nothing out. Be as objective and honest as you can. Don't put something down just because you think it is what you need in today's employment market place. Only put it down if it is a skill that you have here and now. Don't forget, you are looking here at how to get a job quickly. You are not planning your long term training needs. 

Think in terms of three main divisions of skill and divide up your list accordingly. 

Firstly there are physical skills. 

These are skills of aptitude, of working with your hands, manipulative skills, mechanical skills. These are skills required in a wide range of manual and hands-on jobs. Sometimes these skills have been acquired by way of a hobby rather than paid employment, but a hobby that can at some stage become the grounding for a new career doing something that you really enjoy. Don't ignore these leisure-acquired skills. 

Secondly there are knowledge based skills. 

These are academic skills gained by formal study. These are skills gained as a result of book learning and training courses. These are specific technical skills related to a particular function. This is specialist knowledge absorbed as a result of working in a particular industry. 

Thirdly there are people skills. 

These are the team skills, the relational skills, the ability to get on with and work with other people. These are the skills of management. The skills of leading a team, the skills of winning 
arguments and convincing others. 

2.Analyse Your List. 

Now look at your list. See where you strengths lie. Think what you would like to do using those strengths. Decide on the job you would like using those strengths. 

Be honest. Once again you must remember that your objective is to get another job in the shortest possible delay. Don't base your hopes on skills you would like to have. Plan on using what you already have. 

If your main skills are manual, base your plans on this. If you are more suited to a technical analytical job, go in this direction. If your aptitudes lie towards managing people and getting the best from a team, steer yourself that way. Play to your strengths. 

3.Identify the sources 

The easiest way to find jobs these days is on the internet. Just enter 'job site' or 'employment agency' or 'job search' into your search engine and see what you get. Your problem will be 
restricting the results to a manageable size. Limit your research by country or city or industry as appropriate in order to cut it down. 

If you have a particular company in mind look on its web site if it has one. Companies often advertise vacancies there. 

Look too at the principal newspapers of the geographic region in which you are looking. Again this could be country or it could be city. They can be a good source. 

Finally there are your local agencies at which you can enroll. 

4.Take Action. 

This is when it all comes together. 

Put your CV onto as many online jobsites as you can. It will be found by potential employers who will then come to you. This puts your name and qualifications up before a large number of 
employers quickly and easily. 

Search the sites and newspapers and apply to as many job offers as meet your criteria. Adapt your CV to suit each application emphasizing the particular skills and experience requested. Play the numbers game. If it looks suitable - apply. (But don't waste your time on jobs that don't fit your qualities). 

Don't be afraid to send out speculative letters to companies you like. You can often strike lucky, and your application is more likely to be seen when writing in this way. 

Above all, keep going. Don't give up. By knowing exactly what you are looking for and targeting your applications you stand a good chance of success. 

In conclusion

If you have not yet been forced to look for a new job it would not do you any harm to carry out the exercise of examining your skills. You will at least be forearmed should the need arise. 

If you have lost your previous job, try to look on your situation as an opportunity rather than a disaster. This could be your chance to set out again in the direction you really want to go instead of carrying on indefinitely stuck in the rut into which you previously fell more by accident than design. 

By: ph

Monday, May 16, 2011

How to Give Job-Winning Answers to Interview Question

Human Resources personnel, professional recruiters and various other career experts all agree: one of the best ways to prepare yourself for a job interview is to anticipate questions, develop your answers, and practice, practice, practice…
There are plenty of websites that offer lists of popular job interview questions, and knowing the types of questions to expect can be very useful. But knowing how to answer those questions can mean the difference between getting the job and getting the "reject letter."

How to Answer Questions

First, know these important facts:

1. There is no way to predict every question you will be asked during a job interview. In other words, expect unexpected questions--they'll come up no matter how much preparation you do.

2. Treat any sample answers you find, such as in discussion forums, books or on Internet job sites, as guides only. Do not use any sample answers word for word! Interviewers can spot "canned" answers a mile away, and if they suspect you are regurgitating answers that are not your own, you can kiss that job goodbye. You must apply your own experiences, personality and style to answer the questions in your own way. This is crucial, and it will give you a big advantage over candidates who simply recite sample answers.

3. Job interview questions are not things to fear, they are opportunities to excel. They allow you to show why you are the best person for the job, so instead of dreading them, look forward to them! The key is to give better answers than anyone else, and that's where your preparation comes in.

Now, take these actions:

1. Make a list of your best "selling points" for the position. What qualifications, skills, experience, knowledge, background, personality traits do you possess that would apply to this particular job? Write them down and look for opportunities to work them into your answers.

2. In addition to any sample job interview questions you find through various resources, you absolutely must develop your own list of probable questions based specifically on the job for which you are applying. Put yourself in the hiring manager's shoes… what kinds of questions would you ask to find the best person for this job?

3. Write down your answers to likely questions. Study the job announcement carefully. (If you don't have one, get one!) Note the phrases they use when describing the desired qualifications. You'll want to target these as much as possible when developing your answers. For example, if the announcement says they want someone with "strong customer service skills," make sure you include "strong customer service skills" in at least one of your answers. That will make a better impression than saying "I helped customers."

4. Review and edit your answers until you feel they are "just right." Read them over and over until you are comfortable that you know them fairly well. Don't try to memorize them; don't worry about remembering every word. Practice saying them out loud. If possible, have a friend help you rehearse for the interview.
Here are some more very important tips:

1. Be a (Short) Story Teller

Make use of this old marketing tip: "Facts tell but stories sell." During a job interview, you are selling yourself. Whenever possible, answer questions with a short story that gives specific examples of your experiences. Notice I said "short." You don't want to ramble or take up too much time; you want to be brief but still make your point.

For example, imagine two people interviewing for a job as a dog groomer are asked, "Have you ever dealt with aggressive dogs?" Candidate Joe answers, "Yes, about 10% of the dogs I've groomed had aggressive tendencies." Candidate Mary answers, "Oh yes, quite often. I remember one situation where a client brought in his Pit Bull, Chomper. He started growling at me the moment his owner left, and I could tell from his stance he wasn't about to let me get near his nails with my clippers. I think he would've torn my arm off if I hadn't used the Schweitzer Maneuver on him. That calmed him down right away and I didn't have any problems after that." (I know nothing about dog grooming; I made the Schweitzer Maneuver up for illustrative purposes.)

Don't you agree that Mary's answer is better? Sure, Joe answered the question, but Mary did more than that--she gave a specific example and told a quick story that will be remembered by the interviewers.

In today's job market where there are dozens of highly qualified candidates for each opening, anything you do that will make you stand out and be remembered will greatly increase your odds of getting hired.

2. Keep the Interviewer's Perspective in Mind; Answer His "What's in it for Me?" Question

While many questions asked during job interviews appear to focus on your past accomplishments, here's an important tip: they may be asking about what you did, but what they really want to know is what you can do now, for them.
The key is to talk about your past accomplishments in a way that shows how they are relevant to the specific job for which you are interviewing. Doing advance research about the company (such as at their website or at www.hoovers.com) and the position will be extremely helpful.

Here's another example with Joe and Mary. The interviewer asks, "What is the most difficult challenge you've faced, and how did you overcome it?" Joe answers with, "In one job I was delivering pizzas and I kept getting lost. By the time I'd find the address, the pizza would be cold, the customer would be unhappy, and my boss was ready to fire me. I overcame this problem by purchasing a GPS navigation device and installing it in my car. Now I never get lost!" Mary answers, "In my current job at Stylish Hounds, management ran a special promotion to increase the number of customers who use the dog-grooming service. It was a bit too successful because we suddenly had more customers than we could handle. Management would not hire additional groomers to help with the workload. Instead of turning customers away or significantly delaying their appointments, I devised a new grooming method that was twice as fast. Then I developed a new work schedule. Both efforts maximized productivity and we were able to handle the increased workload effectively without upsetting our customers."

Joe's answer shows initiative and commitment (he bought that GPS gadget with his own money, after all). But Mary's answer relates specifically to the job they are applying for (dog groomer). And Mary had done research about the company and discovered it was about to significantly expand it's dog-grooming operations. So she picked an example from her past that addressed an issue the interviewer was likely to apply to a future situation in his company. See the difference?

Here's one more example. Joe and Mary are asked, "What's your greatest accomplishment?" Joe answers, "I won two Olympic Gold Medals during the 2000 Olympics in the high-jump competition." Mary answers, "I was named Stylish Hounds's Dog Groomer of the Year in 2003 for increasing productivity in my section by 47%."
Joe's accomplishment is pretty spectacular. But remember the interviewer's perspective. He might be impressed, but he's thinking "What's in it for me? What does being a world-class high-jumper four years ago have to do with helping me to increase sales in my dog-grooming department?" Mary's answer is much less spectacular than Joe's, but it's relevant to the position and indicates that she has what it takes to be successful in this particular job. It tells the interviewer, "I have what you're looking for; I can help you with your specific needs."
Looks like Mary has a new job!

3. Do Not Lie

Last but not least, tell the truth. It's sometimes very tempting to "alter" the truth a bit during a job interview. For instance, say you quit instead of being fired. But the risk of being discovered as a liar far outweighs the potential benefit of hiding the truth.
If you are thinking about telling a lie during the interview, ask yourself these questions (this technique has helped me make many major decisions): "What is the bestthing that could happen? What is the worst thing that could happen? Is the best thing worth risking the worst thing?" In this instance, the best thing would be getting the job. The worst thing would be getting discovered as a liar, which could lead to getting fired, which could lead to unemployment, which could lead to more job searching, which could lead to another interview, which could lead to the stress of deciding whether to lie about just getting fired, and so on… a cycle that can go on indefinitely. Is all that worth getting the one job, perhaps on a temporary basis?
Always consider the consequences of your actions.

In Summary, Here's What You Need To Do When Preparing To Answer Job Interview Questions:

1. Study the job announcement.

2. Research the company.

3. Anticipate likely questions.

4. Prepare answers to those questions that are relevant to the position and the company.

5. Promote your best "selling points" (relevant qualifications, capabilities, experience, personality traits, etc.) by working them into your answers.

6. Practice. Practice. Practice.