Shine at Work: Guidelines III (7-12)

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  1. Be valuable

Being valuable means taking initiatives to do what is beyond the call of duty. It means being an excellent team player, positive, dependable, reliable, and doing what needs to be done on time. It is true that no one is indispensable in this world. But you should strive to make yourself valuable in the team you work in. To gain promotion and to shine at work, make “be valuable” be a silent part of your career goals. It means that it may not be a written goal, but you need to keep it in mind every time.

You need to do the activities and tasks in such a way that you make yourself valuable. You can make yourself valuable by striving to be a key competitive advantage to your team. When you take this career promotion advice to heart you increase your chances to gain promotion.

  1. Be reliable

Being reliable means to be able to dependent upon for getting the work done, support, or help. You can become a reliable employee by changing attitudes and aligning your needs and aspirations with that of the organization.

    • If you cannot come in for work or will be late than usual, call in or send an email or text message well ahead of time.
    • Ensure to do your job with minimal error.
    • Have impeccable work habits. This means being on time to work and working to your potential without compromising on quality.
    • Ensure to complete work on time—with the required quality.
    • Be willing to pay attention, follow directions and do the job.
    • Take responsibility for what you do. This includes being accountable for any mistakes you make.
  1. Communicate proactively

We all know that communication skills form a very important part of a successful career profile. Why only in career, communication is very important in any relationship that is formed—personal and/or professional. Knowledge, expertise, and opinions are only a part of the career-centric process. Communication in any form must be simple and straightforward.

    • Communicate your problems and issues to the person you report to.
    • Communicate the project status and information with your colleagues who are involved in the same project.
    • Do not withhold information. It will not make you important. On the contrary, it will have a negative impact on the project.
    • Articulate your thoughts clearly whether it’s in person, on the phone or through email.
    • Reply to emails on time; be courteous and polite in your communication.

Be honest about your progress at work. If you are struggling with an assignment or about to miss a deadline, let your manager or team leader know about it. Keep them in the loop, instead of leaving them to know about it a later stage. Make sure you manage expectations and stay honest about your progress. This is also about communication.

10. Show enthusiasm

Be enthusiastic at work. Do every task with equal passion and enthusiasm. When you put enthusiasm into every task, work becomes easier and lighter. You begin to enjoy it too. This will help you complete the tasks with more accuracy and speed.

You may not be aware of it, but enthusiasm is contagious. It doesn’t just fuel you alone—the feeling of passion in you gets easily transferred to fellow teammates. It then fuels them to work harder for that common goal. When you work with enthusiasm, you naturally shine at work.

  1. Be flexible and adaptable

These days, technologies change very frequently. The workplace is dynamic and change of any form is inevitable.

    • Projects change—projects plans are made and then scrapped, and new ones are suggested.
    • Keep up with the changing technology and the changing times. Better, keep learning and stay ahead of it.
    • The HR policies can change. Change your mindset with it. If you don’t like it, change the company.

Be aware that you can’t control everything. Be ready and willing to compromise and embrace change. It is also good to be prepared for the unexpected.

12. Take initiative

Do not have a laid-back attitude (especially when you are new to the company). Look for challenges and learn to meet them.

    • Take initiative, come up with newer ideas, new processes.
    • Pick challenging situations and handle them successfully.
    • Do all the activities the right way and put in your efforts in the right direction.
    • Take initiative to understand to what activities you can contribute to. Just make sure that nobody else is doing it and that you are not stepping on someone else’s toes.
    • Learn a skill that will help you stand out. For example, become the person everyone goes to when they need something to proofread or when they need help with a computer program.

Shine at Work: Guidelines 1

Instant gratification may be the buzzword, but it is not going to help you at your workplace.  You may be fresh out of college or a working professional with a number of years of experience, whatever the case is, you will have to prove yourself in an organization. Those with experience may have some idea what to do to shine at the workplace and make your presence felt.

Let the management feel that they have made the right choice by selecting you. They are happy, you are happy and all are happy. All is well if it ends well, isn’t it? But how does this happen? You need to follow some guidelines to shine at work.

For those who don’t know, here are some pointers:

  1. Get a feel of the big picture
  2. Understand the business
  3. Be positive
  4. Create your own identity
  5. Have the right attitude
  6. Be a team player
  7. Be valuable
  8. Be reliable
  9. Communicate proactively
  10. Show enthusiasm
  11. Be flexible and adaptable
  12. Take initiative
  13. Work hard
  14. Get out of your comfort zone
  15. Do not be a politician
  16. Avoid stress
  17. Do not complain or criticize unnecessarily
  18. Serious
  19. Be courteous
  20. Use the right words

Attending an Interview

You have crossed the first hurdle of getting selected for an interview. Now you have to face the next hurdle in the process that is interview. Now you have the opportunity to show how well suited you are for the job. If you perform well in this stage too you might land up with your dream job.
Preparation Success occur when preparation meets opportunity. You have the opportunity, not it is up to you to do the preparation and taste success. Preparation is required in all walks of life, even when you are cooking. The key to a successful job interview is preparation—it makes you confident and you can perform well during the interview.
Research the company. During the interview, knowing about the organization will show your attitude as a researcher (for collecting information from different sources). The employers will also get a feel that you are interested in the position and that is the reason why you have kept yourself informed about the company.If you are applying for a sales or a marketing position, try to know about the competitors of the company. If the interviewers ask you questions about the company, you can impress them with your answers. This will only show that you have taken the initiative to research the company and that you are go-getter.Prepare questions to ask the interviewer. These questions should be relevant to the job and organization. Asking questions will help you make an informed decision about taking the job as well as display your interest in the position. Have a mock interview. Prepare from your experiences that would relate to and benefit the position. Be prepared for open-ended questions (What are your career goals? And so on).

Guidelines for the ceremony

If you are well prepared, the interview will not be as bad as you might think. Just follow some guidelines!

  1. Dress neatly and appropriatelyYou do not have to wear a designer wear, but must be dressed neatly and cleanly. The dress must be appropriate for the organization and the position you are applying for. A male applying for the position of a marketing executive, should not go for an interview dressed in jeans and sports shoes. Look neat, clean, and well-groomed.You have to be dressed just right for the interview–not over or under dressed. Men should wear a formal shirt, trousers, and well polished shoes. You can also wear a suit with tie if the position and the organization demands it. Women should either wear a smart western suit, or salwar kameez, or saree (as appropriate). Avoid wearing lots of make-up and/or jewelry. Smell good, but definitely not like a walking bottle of deodorant or perfume.2. Be on timeWhat is new about it? The first thing that comes in mind when getting ready to go for an interview is to reach there on time. Unfortunately this also happens to be the most misunderstood statement. The applicants rarely turn in late for an interview. Most of the time they come in very early, and pester the front-desk executive to remind the interviewer that they are already in. This is very irritating. The people responsible for the hiring process are busy. They have tight schedules and probably they would be in the process of getting ready for the interview.If you happen to come in early, mention that you were supposed to come at a specified time, but have come in early, and that you would wait! Arrive about fifteen minutes before your scheduled time, so that any other formality can be covered before the scheduled time for interview.This will show of your attitude towards time management—not only your time, but also of the others involved.

    3. Take extra copies of your resume

    You have already sent in your resume, but having extra copies with you never hurts. If you are asked to interview with more than one person, then it becomes handy. Carry them in a file or binder so they stay clean and neat.

    This will show the interviewers that you are well prepared.

    4. Be confident

    Don’t have the lost look on your face. Be confident. An interview is an assessment of how well you might do in a given position. Demonstrate a general level of competence. Remain calm and avoid nervous habits such as tapping your foot, playing with your hair, or biting your nails.

    Being confident will show that you are secure in your abilities to do the job.

    5. Speak clearly

    Speak clearly and directly. Don’t beat round the bush. Do not fumble. Just be relaxed. You must know what is expected of you and clearly communicate that knowledge. Try to lead the discussion by answering the questions into areas that demonstrate your competence and skills and highlight your achievements and attributes.

    6. Body language

    Your body can speak a silent language that can tell a great deal about you. When we communicate, 15% impact depends on what we say, 40% on how we say it, and 40% of the impact is made by our body language. So ensure that your body conveys the right message.

    • When you meet the person(s) interviewing you, give a firm handshake (if they offer you their hand).
    • While talking, maintain eye contact and look at the interviewer in the eye confidently, but not challengingly. Also avoid staring at them
    • A smile lets you establish an instant relationship with people. Smile also tells you are open to discussion
    • If you normally move your hands around a lot when you speak, tone it down a little. Don’t look too stiff by trying to sit straight, but also ensure that you don’t look like a Bharatnatyam dancer by moving your hands very often
    • Hands resting casually in your lap rather than arms folded across your chest also are more inviting. Arms folded across your chest show stiffness and unfriendliness.
    • A slouch suggests lack of interest or enthusiasm.
    • Standing straight with your weight balanced on each foot makes you look confident and relaxed.
    • Touching the nose very often suggests that you are confused.
    • Do not stoop so low as though you are carrying some weight on your back, and don’t be too stiff like a mannequin. Just have a good posture. Yes, don’t forget to smile, but again don’t over do it.

7. Avoid one word answers

Avoid answering questions using yes or no. Give qualitative answers. If you are an experience person, give examples of your performances that stand out. Make sure to speak positively of your previous employers and experiences.

8. Avoid talking too much

Your talk should be balanced. If the interviewer asks you to tell them about yourself, don’t give them a detailed autobiography about yourself. Employers wants to know what you can offer the company. So talk in brief about your education and other topics. Talk about how your experience or skills can be of use to them.

9. Be honest

As a golden rule, never lie or exaggerate about your experiences. If you don’t have any hobbies, admit that. Lying about your work and your strengths would only cause distress in the future.

10. Ask questions

When given a chance, ask questions. Ask questions that you have practiced and any questions that you have thought of while being interviewed. You may want to know about the team/department, about the work process etc.

Standard Questions

The questions can vary depending on the type of attitude the interviewers are looking for in the person. You can add more to the list or customize it for your mock interview 🙂

  1. Tell us about yourself.
  2. Why are you interested in this position?
  3. What makes you apply for this position in this organization?
  4. According to you what are the skills that makes you the right choice for this position?
  5. While in the college what was your dream job?
    1. (depending on the answer) Then how is it that you are applying for this position?
    2. (depending on the answer) What did you do to stand by your dream?
    3. (depending on the answer) What if you don’t land up with your dream job?
  6. (to an experienced person) How will your experience help you in this position?
  7. (to a fresher) Do you think you will be an assent to the organization considering that there are experienced people who have applied for the position?
  8. According to you what are your strengths that will make you succeed in any position?
  9. How would you resolve a conflict between subordinates, superiors, and yourself?
  10. What are your greatest concerns about your first year with our organization?
  11. How would you handle a person who is a consistent behavioral problem?
  12. How do you rate yourself as a team player?
  13. How comfortable are you with constructive criticism?
  14. Describe a project on which you worked which had a very short deadline. How did you meet that deadline?
  15. Describe an incident where in you came out of a difficult situation.
  16. What is your greatest weakness? 
  17. (depending on the answer) Are you doing anything to overcome this?
  18. Do you know any thing about this company?
  19. Where do you see yourself in five years from now? (As far as the candidates are concerned, this is an irrelevant question. But this is always the second last question asked by the interviews. Even I ask this!)
  20. Do you have any question? (Depending on the question you ask there can be a question answer session.)

Those who are on a job hunt, hope you are ready for job interview opportunities that come your way. Preparing for the interview is the most important step in the interview process. If you are prepared, the rest should be a lot easier. Good luck to you all!

Resume: Basic Guidelines

Some basic guidelines to keep in mind while creating/writing a resume are:

Shorter is better

If you feel that the people are going to be impressed by a lengthy resume, you are sadly mistaken. The people shortlisting the resumes have to go through scores of resumes. Hence they will be impressed by a resume where the information is easily accessible to them at a glance.

  • Keep sentences as short and direct as possible.
  • Eliminate repetitions.
  • Writing should be concise and to the point.
  • Explain in the most direct way possible, rather than trying to impress with bigger words or complex sentences.
  • Resume should not be too long or too wordy (remember, it is a summary).

Improve readability

The person reading your resume will not make efforts to try to find information that get lost in the paragraph even if they are specific to the skill-set or other important issues. Hence avoid large paragraphs, which boast about the projects or work that you have done. You have to present the information to the readers. Use lists and bullets to make them stand separate. Also avoid using all capitals.

Give thought to the placement of information in overall structure of the resume, its location on the page itself or within a section, ordering of information, more impressive ways of phrasing the information, use of design elements (such as boldface to highlight skills, italics to highlight a phrase, etc).

Remove Clutter

It reminds you of Feng Shui does it not? Well, it is similar to the Feng Shui concept of removing clutter from home. Do not clutter your resume with unwanted information that does not add value for the job you are applying for (remember audience analysis?). Consider a resume crammed with information in a page. The prospective employer will have to take efforts to find information in this type of resume. It is pleasing to the eye to have some space spread around in the resume if it is organized properly using headings, paragraphs, and lists. It is the same as saying “use some white space”.

Be consistent

There should be uniformity, consistency, and parallelism in design decisions. Also, be consistent in style, format, and use of phrases. Remain consistent in writing decisions such as use of abbreviations and capitalizations.

  • Use the styles and formats consistently through out the resume.
  • Use uniform and consist use of italics, capital letters, bullets, boldface, and underlining.
  • Use the same font for a level of heading.
  • Make sure the alignment of the text is also consistent.
  • Use the same style of phrasing for similar information in a resume.

For example, if you have written a degree in boldface, all degrees should be in boldface.

Highlight your skills

Emphasize your technical skills and other plus points. List your technical knowledge first in an itemized manner. If you know a software package or computer platform or if you have a scientific background, make sure you give the details. The resume should reflect all the qualities you have all (or most of the qualities). Play up all the qualities that qualify you foe the job you are applying for.

Watch your verb tense

  • The trend is to use the first person (I), though some people still use the third person (he, she) point of view. Whatever you choose, use it consistently.
  • If the accomplishment is completed, use past tense.
    Example: I have conducted more than 15 training sessions.
  • If the task is still underway, it should be present tense.
    Example: I am conducting training sessions on communication.
  • If the skill has been used in the past and will continue to be used, use present tense.
    Example: I conduct training sessions on…. .

Give telephone number that will be answered

Be sure to add a phone number on the resume that will be be answered by a person or an answering machine. Do not lose the prize interview merely because there was no answer to your phone. Make it a practice to include the area code of the telephone number.

Stretching the Truth

Make sure that you can back up what you say. Keep the claims you make within the range of your own integrity. There is nothing wrong in adding things in your resume so you communicate who you are and what you can do at your very best. Convey a careful and a balanced portrayal of yourself!

Error free

Make sure that your resume is free of errors. Proofread, proofread, and proofread your resume. Spelling or typographical errors, grammatical weaknesses, unusual punctuation, and inconsistent syntax or capitalization stand out like a sore thumb. Proofread it to catch any hidden mistakes and take a final look before you press the send button!

When you have checked for grammar and style, all you need is to fine-tune it. If you feel that your skills need more emphasis using bold or italic, go ahead and do it, but don’t over do anything.

Let me conclude that a well-written resume should reflect your personality as an organized writer. You may have all the skills required for the job, but if you don’t present it properly in the resume, the chances are that you will not be short-listed at all.

Do what works

Do not blindly follow the rules or guidelines. Pick and choose what is best for you. Everyone freely gives advice on resume length and the most common advice is to restrict it to 1-2 pages.

In some situations you can divert from this rule. for example, you are a fresher. Since you don’t have a portfolio of your work to show off, you can write an essay on why you have applied for the job and how well you will fit in. You can add this to the end of the resume.

There is no harm if your resume runs into pages if you are sure of your writing capabilities. Such a resume should hold the undivided attention of the person reading your resume and should create an interest and excitement that leads them to call you for an interview.

The list does not end here…. you can add more to this.