Communications Chapter 13

Before entering the workplace you need to…
learn as much as you can about your capabilities, what employers seek, and the job marketplace.
Factors that affect different aspects of the workplace
Globalization, technology, diversity, teams, deregulation, shareholder activism, corporate downsizing, mergers and acquisitions, outsourcing, and entrepreneuerialism (people starting their own business or buying a franchise).
These factors affect:
*How often people look for work. Rather than looking for lifelong employees, many employers now hire temporary workers and consultants on a project-by-project basis.Likewise, rather than staying with one employer for their entire career, growing numbers of employees are moving from company to company.
* Where people find work. Fewer jobs are being created by large companies. One expert predicts that soon 80 percent of the labour force will be working for firms employing fewer than 20 people. Moreover, self-employment seems to be an increasingly attractive option for many former employees.
* The type of people who find work. Employers are looking for people who are able and willing to adapt to diverse situations and who continue to learn throughout their careers.
What Employers Look For In Job Applicants
*Communication skills. Most commonly mentioned skill set when employers are asked about what they look for in employees. Improving your communication skills will help in every aspect of your professional life.

* Interpersonal and team skills. Learn to work with others and help them succeed as you succeed.

* Intercultural and international awareness and sensitivity. Successful employers tend to be responsive to diverse workforces, markets, and communities, and they look for employees with the same outlook.

* Data collection, analysis, and decision-making skills. Employers want people who know how to identify information needs, find the necessary data, convert the data into useful knowledge, and make sound decisions.

* Computer and electronic media skills. Today’s workers need to know how to use common office software and to communicate using a wide range of electronic media.

*Time and resource management. Your ability to plan projects and manage the time and resources available to you will make a big difference on the job.

* Flexibility and adaptability. Employees who can roll with the punches and adapt to changing business priorities and circumstances will go further (and be happier) than employees who resist change.

Professionalism. Professionalism is the quality of performing at the highest possible level. True professionals strive to excel, continue to hone their skills and build their knowledge, are dependable and accountable, demonstrate a sense of business etiquette, make ethical decisions, show loyalty and commitment, don’t give up when things get tough, and maintain a positive outlook.

Adapting to Today’s Job Market
What Do You Want To Do
Analyze what you want to do, what you have to offer, and how you can make yourself more valuable to potential employers.This preliminary analysis will help you identify employers who are likely to want you and vice versa.

It’s wise to start your employment search by examining your values and interests. Identify what you want to do first, then see whether you can find a position that satisfies you at a personal level while also meeting your financial needs. Consider these questions:
*What would you like to do every day? Research occupations that interest you. Talk to people in various occupations about their typical workday. You might consult relatives, local businesses, and former graduates or contacts.
*How would you like to work? Consider how much independence you want on the job, how much variety you like, and whether you prefer to work with products, machines, people, ideas, figures, or some combination of them all.
*How do your financial goals fit with your other priorities? For instance, many high-paying jobs involve a lot of stress, sacrifice of time with family and friends, and frequent travel or relocation. If location, lifestyle, or other factors are more important to you, are you willing to sacrifice some level of pay to achieve them?
*Have you established some general career goals? For example, do you want to pursue a career specialty such as finance or manufacturing, or do you want to gain experience in multiple areas with an eye toward upper management?
* What sort of corporate culture are you most comfortable with? Would you be happy in a formal hierarchy with clear reporting relationships? Or do you prefer less structure? Teamwork or individualism? Do you like a competitive environment?

Adapting to Today’s Job Market
What Do You Have To Offer
When seeking employment, you must tell people about who you are. So you need to know what talents and skills you have. You’ll need to explain how these skills will benefit potential employers. Follow these guidelines:
* Jot down 10 achievements you’re proud of. Think about what skills these achievements demanded (leadership skills, speaking ability, and artistic talent may have helped you produce a successful presentation). You’ll begin to recognize a pattern of skills. Which of them might be valuable to employers.
* Look at your educational preparation, work experience, and extracuricular activities. What do your knowledge and experience qualify you to do? What have you learned from volunteer work or class projects that could benefit you on the job? Have you held any offices, won any awards or scholarships, or mastered a second language?
*Take stock of your personal characteristics. Are you aggressive, a born leader? Or would you rather follow? Are you outgoing, articulate, and great with people? Or do you prefer working alone? Make a list of what you believe are your four or five most important qualities. Ask a relative or friend to rate your traits as well.

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Adapting to Today’s Job Market
How Can You Make Yourself More Valuable to Employers
*Look for volunteer projects, temporary jobs, freelance work, or internships that will help expand your experience base and skill set.
*Also consider applying your talents to crowdsourcing projects, in which companies and nonprofit organizations invite the public to contribute solutions to various challenges.You can join these networks, and even if your contributions aren’t chosen, you still have developed solutions to real business problems that you can show to potential employers as examples of your work.
*These opportunities help you gain valuable experience and relevant contacts, provide you with important references and work samples for your employment portfolio, and help you establish your personal brand.
* Learn more about the industry or industries in which you want to work, and stay on top of new developments. Join networks of professional colleagues and friends who can help you keep up with trends and events.
*Take courses and pursue other educational or life experiences that would be difficult while working full time.
Building an Employment Portfolio
Employers want proof that you have the skills to succeed on the job, but even if you don’t have much relevant work experience, you can use your college classes to assemble that proof.

* Must check with employers before including any items that you created while you were an employee and check with clients before including any work products (anything you wrote, designed, programmed, and so on) they purchased from you.

* For each item that you add to your portfolio, write a brief description that helps other people understand the meaning and significance of the project. Include information such as this:
-Background. Why did you undertake this project. Was it a school project, a work assignment, or something you did on your own initiative?
– Project objectives. Explain the project’s goals, if relevant.
– Collaborators. If you worked with others, be sure to mention that.
-Constraints. Sometimes the most impressive thing about a project is the time or budget constraints under which it was created.
-Outcomes. If the project’s goals were measurable, what was the result?
-Learning experience. If appropriate, describe what you learned during the course of the project.

Building Your Personal Brand
*When people who know you think about you, they have a particular set of qualities in mind based on your professionalism, your priorities, and the various skills and attributes you have developed over the years.
* As you plan the next stage of your career, start managing your personal brand deliberately.
*Branding: “a way of clarifying and communicating what makes you different and unique.”

Basics of Successful Branding Strategy:
*Figure out the “story of you.” Where have you been in life, and where are you going?
*Clarify your professional theme. You want be seen as more than just an accountant, a supervisor, a salesperson. What will your theme be? (What do you want to be known by?) Dependable hard worker? Strategist? Get-it done tactician? Technical guru? Problem solver? Customer service specialist? Inspirational leader?
*Network. Build your brand by connecting with like-minded people, sharing information, demonstrating skills and knowledge, and helping others succeed.
*Deliver on your brand’s promise-every time, all the time. When you deliver quality results time after time, your talents and your professionalism will speak for you.

Finding the Ideal Opportunity in Today’s Job Market
*Once you have analyzed your goals and what you have to offer, you’ll need to begin by finding out where the job opportunities are, which industries are strong, which parts of the country are booming, and which specific job categories offer the best prospects for the future. From there you can investigate individual organizations, doing your best to learn as much about them as possible.
*Stay abreast of business and financial news. Subscribe to a major newspaper and scan the business pages every day.Watch television programs that focus on business. View forecasts about various job titles to develop ideas for a career. Check to see if your province has a Work Futures site.
*Research specific companies. Compile a list of specific organizations that appeal to you (by consulting directories of employers at the library, at your career centre, or on the web). Consult company profiles, press releases, financial information, and information on employment opportunities. Find out about a company’s mission, products, annual reports, and employee benefits.Send an email request for annual reports, brochures, or newsletters.
Researching Industries and Companies of Interest
*Don’t limit your research to easily available sources, however. Companies are likely to be impressed by creative research, such as interviewing their customers to learn more about how the firm does business.
Translating Your General Potential into a Specific Solution for Each Employer
Customizing your resume to each job opening is an important step in showing employers that you will be a good fit. From your initial contact all the way through the interviewing process, in fact, you will have opportunities to impress recruiters by explaining how your general potential translates to the specific needs of the position.
Taking the Initiative to Find Opportunities
Instead of searching through the same same job openings as everyone else, take the initiative and go find opportunities. Identify the companies you want to work for and focus your efforts on them. Get in touch with their human resources departments (or individual managers if possible), describe what you can offer the company, and ask to be considered if any opportunities come up. Your message might appear right when a copmany is busy looking for someone but hasn’t yet advertised the opening to the outside world.
Building Your Network
*Networking is the process of making informal connections with mutually beneficial business contacts.
*Networking takes place wherever and whenever people talk: at industry functions, at social gatherings, at alumni reunions-and all over the internet, from LinkedIn to Facebook to Twitter.
*Networking is more essential than ever, because the vast majority of job openings are never advertised to the general public.
*To avoid the time and expense of sifting through thousands of applications and the risk of hiring complete strangers, most companies prefer to ask their employees for recommendations first.The more people who know you, the better chance you have or being recommended for one of these hidden job openings.
* Start building your network now, before you need it. Your classmates could end up being some of your most valuable contacts, if not right away then possibly later in your career.Then branch out by identifying people with similar interests in your target professions, industries, and companies.
*Read news sites, blogs, and other online sources. Follow industry leaders on Twitter. You can also follow individual executives at your target companies to learn about their interests and concerns. Connect with people on LinkedIn and Facebook, particularly in groups dedicated to particular career interests. You can introduce yourself via private messages, as long as you are respectful of people and don’t take up much of their time.
*Networking is about people helping each other, not just about other people helping you.
*Pay close attention to networking etiquette: try to learn something about the people you want to connect with, don’t overwhelm others with too many messages or requests, be succinct in all your communication efforts, don’t give out other people’s names and contact information without their permission to do so, never email your resume to complete strangers, and remember to say thank you every time someone helps you.
*Be aware that your online network reflects on who you are in the eyes of potential employers, so exercise some judgment in making connections. Also, some employers are beginning to contact people in a candidate’s network for background information, even if the candidate doesn’t list those as references.
Avoiding Mistakes
Take care to avoid simple blunders that can torpedo a job search – not catching mistakes in your resume, misspelling the name of a manager you’re writing to, showing up late for an interview, tweeting something unprofessional failing to complete application forms correctly, asking for information that you can easily find yourself on a company’s website, or making any other error that could flag you as someone who is careless or disrespectful.
Planning Your Resume
Writing a resume is one of those projects that really benefits from multiple planning, writing, and completing sessions spread out over several days or weeks. You are trying to summarize a complex subject (yourself) and present a compelling story to complete strangers in a brief document.

Follow the three-step writing process and give yourself plenty of time.

Three-Step Writing Process for Resumes
1. Plan
*Analyze the Situation
Recognize that the purpose of your resume is to get an interview, not to get a job.
*Gather Information
Research target industries and companies so that you know what they’re looking for in new hires; learn about various jobs and what to expect; learn about the hiring manager, if possible.
*Select the Right Medium
Start with a traditional paper resume and develop scannable, electronic plain-text, HTML, or PDF versions, as needed. Consider using PowerPoint and video for your e-portfolio.
*Organize the Information
Choose an organizational model that highlights your strengths and downplays your shortcomings; use the chronological approach unless you have a strong reason not to.

2. Write
*Adapt to Audience
Plan your wording carefully so that you can catch a recruiter’s eye within seconds; translate your education and experience into attributes that target what employers find valuable.
*Compose the Message
Write clearly and succinctly, using active, powerful language that is appropriate to the industries and companies you’re targeting; use a professional tone in all communications, including email.

3. Complete
*Revise the Message
Evaluate content and review readability and then edit and rewrite for conciseness and clarity.
*Produce the Message
Use effective design elements and suitable layout for a clean, professional appearance; seamlessly combine text and graphical elements.
*Proofread the Message
Review for errors in layout, spelling, and mechanics; mistakes can cost you interview opportunities.
*Distribute the Message
Deliver your resume, following the specific instructions of each employer or job board website.

Analyzing Your Purpose and Audience
*A resume is a structured, written summary of a person’s education, employment background, and job qualifications. Before you begin writing a resume, make sure you understand its true function-as a brief, persuasive business message intended to stimulate an employer’s interest in meeting you and learning more about you. In other words, the purpose of a resume is not to get you a job but rather to get you an interview.
*Learn as much as you can about the individuals who may be reading your resume. Any bit of information can help you craft a more effective message.
Fallacies and Facts About Resumes
1. Fallacy:
The purpose of a resume is to list all your skills and abilities.
Fact:
The purpose of a resume is to kindle employer interest and generate an interview.
2. Fallacy:
A good resume will get you the job you want.
Fact: All a resume can do is get you in the door.
3. Fallacy: Your resume will always be read carefully and thoroughly
Fact: In most cases, your resume needs to make a positive impression within 30 to 45 seconds; only then will someone read it in detail. Moreover, it will likely be screened by a computer looking for keywords first, and if it doesn’t contain the right keywords, a human being may never see it.
4. Fallacy:
The more good information you present about yourself in your resume, the better, so stuff your resume with every positive detail you can think of.
Fact: Recruiters don’t need that much information about you at the initial screening stage, and they probably won’t read it.
5. Fallacy: If you want a really good resume, have it prepared by a resume service.
Fact: You have the skills needed to prepare an effective resume, so prepare it yourself, unless the position is especially high level or specialized. Even then, you should check carefully before using a service.
Gathering Pertinent Information
Gather all pertinent personal history you can think of, including all the specific dates, duties, and accomplishments from any previous jobs you’ve held, as well as educational experiences – formal degrees, skills certificates, academic awards, or scholarships. Also, gather information about school or volunteer activities that might be relevant to your job search, including offices you have held in any club or professional organization, presentations given, and online or print publications.
Organizing Your Resume Around Your Strengths
There are a number of ways to organize a resume, most are some variation of chronological, functional, or a combination of the two. The right choice depends on your background and your goals.
Organizing Your Resume Around Your Strengths
The Chronological Resume
* Most common approach, but it might not be right for you at this stage in your career.
* In a chronological resume, the work experience section dominates and is placed immediately after your contact information and introductory statement.
*The chronological approach is the most common way to organize a resume, and many employers prefer this format because it presents your professional history in a clear, easy-to-follow arrangement.
* If you’re just graduating from college and have limited professional experience, you can vary this chronological approach by putting your educational qualifications before your experience.
*Develop your work experience section by listing your jobs in reverse chronological order, beginning with the most recent position. For each job, start by listing your official job title, the employer’s name and location, and the dates you held the position (write “to present” if you are still in your most recent position). Next, in a short block of text, ideally in a list, highlight your accomplishments in a way that is relevant to your readers. This may require “translating” the terminology used in a particular industry or profession into terms that are more meaningful to your target readers. If the general responsibilities of the position are not obvious from the job title, provide a little background to help readers understand what you did.
Organizing Your Resume Around Your Strengths
The Functional Resume
*The functional resume is often considered by people with limited or spotty employment history, but many employers are suspicious of this format.
* A functional resume, sometimes called a skills resume, emphasizes your skills and capabilities, identifying employers and academic experience in subordinate sections. This arrangement stresses individual areas of competence rather than job history.
*The functional approach also has three advantages: without having to read through job descriptions, employers can see what you can do for them, you can emphasize earlier job experience, and you can de-emphasize any lengthy unemployment or lack of career progress. However, you should be aware that because the functional resume can obscure your work history, many employment professionals are suspicious of it.
Organizing Your Resume Around Your Strengths
The Combination Resume
* A combination resume is a hybrid of the chronological and functional resumes. If you don’t have a lot of work history to show, consider a combination resume to highlight your skills while still providing a chronological history of your employment.
* A combination resume meshes the skills focus of the functional format with the job history focus of the chronological format. The chief advantage of this format is that it allows you to focus attention on your capabilities when you don’t have a long or steady employment history, without raising concerns that you might be hiding something about your past.
Addressing Areas of Concern
*Frequent job Changes
If you’ve had a number of short-term jobs of similar type, such as independent contracting and temporary assignments, try to group them under a single heading. Also, if past job positions were eliminated as a result of layoffs or mergers, find a subtle way to convey that information (if not in your resume, then in your cover letter). Reasonable employers understand that many professionals have been forced to hop by circumstances beyond their control.
* Gaps in work history. Mention relevant experience and education you gained during employment gaps, such as volunteer or community work.
Inexperience. Mention related volunteer work and membership in professional groups. List relevant course work and internships.
* Over-qualification. Tone down your resume, focusing exclusively on the experience and skills that relate to the position.
*Long-term employment with one company.Itemize each position held at the firm to show growth within the organization and increasing responsibilities along the way.
*Job termination for cause. Be honest with interviewers and address their concerns with proof, such as recommendations and examples of completed projects.
Writing Your Resume
As you follow the three-step process to develop your resume, keep four points in mind.
*First, a single mistake or oversight can cost you interview opportunities.
*Second, give yourself plenty of time. Don’t put off preparing your resume until the last second and then try to write it in one sitting.
*Third, learn from good models. Don’t copy these models – make your own resume unique.
*Fourth, don’t get frustrated by the conflicting advice you’ll read about resume.There is more than one way to be successful with them. Consider the alternatives and choose the approach that makes the most sense to you.
Keeping Your Resume Honest
* One comprehensive study uncovered lies about work history in more than 40 percent of the resumes tested.
*If you are tempted to stretch the truth, bear in mind that professional recruiters have seen every trick in the book, and frustrated employers are working aggressively to uncover the truth. Nearly all employers do some form of background checking, from contacting references and verifying employment to checking criminal records and sending resumes through verification services. Employers are also beginning to craft certain interview questions specifically to uncover dishonest resume entries.
Adapting Your Resume to Your Audience
* The importance of adapting your resume to your target reader’s needs and interests cannot be overstated. In a competitive job market, the more you look like a good fit, the better your chances will be of securing interviews.
*Address your reader’s business concerns by showing how your capabilities meet the demands and expectations of the position and the organization as a whole.
* Adapting to your readers can mean customizing your resume, sometimes for each job opening. The effort can pay off with more interviewing opportunities.
*Use what you’ve learned about your target readers to express your experience in the terminology of the hiring organization.
Composing Your Resume
Write your resume using a simple and direct style. Use short, crisp phrases instead of whole sentences and focus on what your reader needs to know.
* Avoid using the word I, which can sound both self-involved and repetitious by the time you outline all your skills and accomplishments
*Start your phrases with strong action verbs.
*Provide specific supporting evidence, but don’t go overboard with small details.
*Incorporate keywords into your introductory statement and other sections of your resume.
*Study job descriptions carefully to understand your target audience’s needs.
*Keywords that catch a computer’s attention are usually nouns that describe the specific skills, attributes, and experiences an employer is looking for in a candidate.Keywords can include the business and technical terms associated with a specific profession, industry -specific jargon, names or types of products or systems used in a profession, job titles, and university degrees and college diplomas.
Name And Contact Information
* Your name and contact information constitute the heading of your resume, so include the following
– Name
-Physical address (both permanent and temporary, if you’re likely to move during the job search process; however, if you’re posting a resume in an unsecured location online, leave off your physical address for security purposes)
-Email address
– Phone Numbers
-The URL of your personal webpage, e-portfolio, or social media resume (if you have one)
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