Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Listen Up: Become a Skilled Listener

Most people are aware that good communication skills are consistently noted as highly desirable and important in both work and life; however, many may overlook that one of the foundations of good communication is being a skilled listener.

Good listening skills in the workplace can lead to increased productivity and can help you build good rapport with co-workers, managers, vendors, and clients. By focusing closely on what is being said, clarifying any uncertainty, and summarizing what you heard, you will be more successful in performing a task, meeting expectations and deadlines, and gaining overall business acumen.

The below are a few more tips that can assist you in sharpening your listening skills:

Avoid a wandering mind – First and foremost stay focused on your speaker. Don’t get lost in the conversation by preparing a counter response to an earlier point. Keep pace with your speaker. This is definitely not the time to make your things to do list.

Eliminate distractions – If possible find a quiet spot to meet so that you won’t be distracted by people walking by or talking on the phone.

Respond with non-verbal communication and keep eye contact – When you engage in what your speaker is saying, you will be more apt to respond with non-verbal interest, like nodding your head and keeping good eye contact.

Genuinely listen and display empathy, if appropriate – It is one thing to hear what your speaker is saying, but genuinely listening with care and empathizing with your speaker will be noticed and appreciated.

Take notes – In many instances taking notes is fitting, and will help you recall what your speaker shared in much greater detail. As a courtesy, you should ask your speaker if they are fine with your taking notes.

Keep working on it – Developing and maintaining good listening skills takes work and practice. So even what you might consider as a casual conversation should be viewed as an opportunity to exercise good listening. Plus, you never know when something important might be shared in an everyday exchange. And remember, showing respect to others never goes out of style.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spotlight on Oregon

Business Sectors
Over the past twenty years Oregon has decreased its reliance on jobs in the resource sectors like forestry, agriculture, and fishing by growing its high-tech industry. Despite the high-tech collapse in the late 1990s, which left Oregon with significant job loss between 2000-2003, the high-tech industry still plays a critical role in Oregon’s economy.

Unemployment Rate and Job Vacancy Survey
For the past several months, Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has remained around 10.5 percent (this is slightly higher than the national seasonally adjusted rate of 9.7).

In spring 2009, Oregon’s Employment Department implemented a Job Vacancy Survey that resulted in the following findings:

Total Job Vacancies 18,242

Top Job Vacancies by Industry:
Heath Care and Social Assistance (5,744)
Accommodation and Food Services (2,535)
Education Services (1,554)
Retail Trade (1,506)

Top Job Vacancies by Occupation:
Registered Nurses (1,004)
Retail Sales Professionals (556)
Nursing Aides (483)

Of all the job vacancies, 71 percent required prior work experience and 48 percent required education beyond high school. Almost half of Oregon’s job vacancies were in the Portland tri-county area.

Public Corporations
Oregon is home to its fair share of large public corporations like Nike Inc., Lithia Motors, FLIR Systems, StanCorp Financial Group, Columbia Sportswear, Harry and David Operations Corporation, and many others.

To explore careers and industries and view estimated and projected employment figures specific to Oregon, go to Career Transitions “Explore Careers” and set Oregon as your state target. For more information on the Oregon Employment Department Job Vacancy survey, click here.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Non-Verbal Communication Is Key In A Job Interview

You might say all the right words in an interview; however, interviewers are evaluating more than just what you say, they’re also sizing up your non-verbal communication. Your non-verbal communication, body language and voice tone, play a big part in whether you are viewed favorably during an interview. Pay close attention to your non-verbal behaviors, such as:

Hand shake: It should be firm but not over-powering.

Posture: Sit upright and lean slightly forward. This will convey confidence and that you are engaged in the conversation..

Hands: Keep your hands either folded in your lap or calmly placed on top of the table or desk.

Eye contact: Use regular and direct eye contact. It is fine to glance away or down at your notes, but do so only when there is a break in the conversation. And if there is more than one interviewer in the room, be sure to make eye contact with others.

Tone and voice: Use a varied tone that is genuine but not overly excited. Be sure to speak clearly and at a comfortable pace.

And remember most importantly, smile. Show them you're actually enjoying the interview experience.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Job Market May Never Look the Same

As America moves toward economic recovery, we might find that the job market may never look the same. Long gone are the days when the American worker stuck with one job or company throughout their entire career. What we’re more likely to see in the years to come is not only numerous jobs and companies linked to any given worker’s experience, but even multiple jobs performed for various companies during the same time period. This is reflective of the trend toward companies deciding to maintain a smaller core employee base that is augmented with temporary/contingent employees on an as needed project and work volume basis. This model is something that has been used quite successfully in the IT industry. For more on this topic, read “The New Employment Model Demands Worker Flexibility,”which ran in Philadelphia’s newspaper, The Bulletin.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

50+ Job Seekers May Find A Lot Has Changed

If you’re over 50 and haven’t searched for a job in a while, you may find a lot has changed in terms of hunting for a job. For one thing, it’s an electronic world—from Internet job postings to how resumes are submitted and flagged as a potential match.

Although you bring extensive work experience and industry knowledge to the job, potential employers may never find out if you don’t use today’s job search strategies and tools.

For a look at the then and now tactics of job hunting, check out the AARP article, “How Job Hunting Has Changed.”

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Are You Being Overlooked Because of the Stigma Attached to Your Former Employer?

You’ve got the right education, training, work experience and references, but recruiters and potential hiring managers can’t seem to get past the stigma of your former employer. If the flawed reputation of your past employer is resulting in missed job opportunities, you might be eager for tips on how to manage this matter. Check out the Wall Street Journal article “Dealing with the Stigma of Your Former Employer.”

Monday, March 1, 2010

Over 40 Job Seekers May Be Sending the Wrong Message

If you’re searching for a job and are over the age of 40, you might not even be aware that your actions and comments might have interviewers perceiving you as old. If you’ve thought placing emphasis on your years of experience or presenting a very formal facade would gain you favor with interviewers, you may want to rethink this strategy. CBS moneywatch.com recently offered sound advice to job seekers over 40 in their “Job Interview Tips: How Not to Act Old.”