Harvard Prof Says Hard Work Isn’t Enough
Hard work alone is not always enough to succeed in the workplace, according to new research published by Harvard professor Laura Huang. Huang says that many times racial stereotypes, gender inequity, and just plain unfairness surpass doing a job well.
In her new book, Edge: Turning Adversity into Advantage, Huang identifies tips to further careers.
- Know your strengths. Be aware of what separates you from others and adds value to an organization. Define your “circle of competence” and focus on what you do best.
- Understand your limits. Know what you cannot do, but do not let those constraints define you. Focus instead on what makes you unique.
- Surprise skeptics. The best way to overcome skepticism is to find commonalities, which Huang labels “points of connection,” and relate these shared ideas or experiences in a way that elicits a positive response: think storytelling.
- Control how others perceive you. Be mindful of how others see you. If they have the wrong impression, guide them away from those incorrect notions by leading them to the real you.
Cover Letter No-Nos
Since cover letters are critical for hirers to learn more about an applicant, experts suggest avoiding the following standardized phrases to avoid turning readers off.
To Whom It May Concern. The best choice is to address a cover letter to a decision-maker, but if a specific individual is impossible to locate, write “Dear Hiring Manager.”
Hope to hear from you soon. “Hope” suggests the possibility of not hearing from the hirer. Instead write “I look forward to speaking to you soon about the job opportunity.”
I believe, I think. These phrases are unnecessary; why else would you write what follows? Write assertively, “I am the best fit for the position because of X, Y, and Z.”
Finally, a cover letter should never describe how a particular job will help the applicant or that the job seeker needs the job. No company is in business to help employees’ careers. Rather, the cover letter should explain how the applicants’ skill set will help the firm.
Making Slide Presentations Short and Effective
Research has shown that people simply cannot listen and read slides at the same time, making long talks accompanied by wordy slides ineffective. However, a company with an odd name—PechaKucha, Japanese for chit chat—offers an antidote to long, text-heavy PowerPoint presentations.
Developed in Japan by two European architects some 15 years ago, PechaKucha (pronounced pe-chok-cha) was originally a slideshare presentation format. PechaKucha the company named itself after that format and was formed in 2018.
PechaKucha presentations use the 20×20 formula, a highly efficient narrative format that recognizes audience’s limitations and that has gained popularity over the last decade. It allows speakers no more than 20 slides that advance every 20 seconds, making the presentation last no more than six minutes and 40 seconds, similar to a YouTube slide show. The platform is used by students and businesses alike to drive a point home succinctly and effectively by cutting the copy and keeping the material snappy.
The app doesn’t offer users many options, which helps keep presentations short and more interesting. Slides may only contain images and a few words of text.