Category Archives: 1. The Scoop

Ask Questions and Make Connections… Build a Network Beyond Peers… Robot-Proofing Résumés

Ask Questions and Make Connections

People who ask questions and keep a conversation moving are better liked and succeed more than those who don’t, according to research from Harvard.

Follow-up questions—comments that indicate surprise or interest—were shown to be the most effective way to indicate attentiveness and keep a conversation from ending. Yet research has also shown that many people are hesitant to ask questions, fearing that doing so will make them appear rude, intrusive, or incompetent.

That reluctance is the conversation death knell, and, the researchers found, often marks the end of a job interview. Why? Because when job candidates ask questions, they show high emotional intelligence and showcase what they can contribute to the organization.

From Harvard Business Review

Build a Network Beyond Peers

Developing a plan to build a network that goes beyond the cadre of associates a job seeker regularly sees requires looking at one’s world from a 360-degree perspective. Experts suggest the following steps:

Tapping every aspect of daily life. People who go to a gym can start talking to the person on the Peloton next to them. Striking up a conversation with neighbors or at a place of worship can also lead to connections.

Joining groups. Professional organizations are tailor made for networking and offer opportunities to become involved in the group’s activities.

Harnessing the power of LinkedIn. Using first, second, and third-degree connections has become one of the best ways to grow a network.


Robot-Proofing Résumés

Applicant-screening systems are notorious for overlooking the résumés of young job seekers. Put into place to help make the selection of candidates less biased, the algorithms frequently eliminate candidates due to subtle misinterpretations of data, all the while the job seekers may not even realize they are being ignored by strings of code.

However, a recent article in The Wall Street Journal suggests ways to get around these robotic nay-sayers.

  1. Integrate specific results-oriented statements into résumé
  2. Choose words from the job description to weave into résumé
  3. Include keywords for technical and interpersonal skills.
  4. Quantify results with statistics.
  5. Use a Word document to upload your résuméinstead of a PDF.
  6. Try to find a contact within the organization to recommend you.

From The Wall Street Journal

Hearing Negative Feedback is Good… Employers Changing Job Post Language… Walking the Fine Line Between Confidence and Arrogance

Hearing Negative Feedback is Good

While no one enjoys being criticized, negative feedback can lead to growth. Below are some dos and don’ts to consider when receiving negative feedback.

  • Do listen politely and respectfully to the feedback, knowing that it may be just as hard for a supervisor to dole out negative input as it is for the receiver to hear it. Thank the boss for the information.
  • Don’t react emotionally.
  • Do allow some time to pass to evaluate the feedback objectively.
  • Don’t spiral into depression by remembering that negative feedback is part of working.
  • Do problem-solve ways to improve your performance. Then move on.


Employers Changing Job Post Language

In an effort to attract a broader range of applicants, many companies are changing the way they reach out to new hires by writing more specific job posts. Some firms provide detailed salary ranges; others describe a typical week on the job. More are even bringing up the negatives of a position, such as having to deal with lots of e-mails or being on-call for many hours.

These changes have come about due to widespread dissatisfaction from both candidates and hiring managers alike over poorly worded job postings. Candidates have complained that many job specs are so vague that a potential candidate cannot self-select out. Recruiters admit frustration about their own non-specific wording, which doesn’t weed out unqualified applicants.

In an effort to attract more diverse and qualified applicants, companies have become more tuned in to how certain language in a job description can turn away or encourage applicants. For example, the terms “digital natives” or “passion for social media” in a job spec can discourage older applicants from applying. On the other hand, using gender neutral language tends to attract more qualified female applicants.

Experts claim that badly written, unspecific job postings failing to explain how a role fits into a company just won’t work in an economy that is vying for diverse and qualified new-hires.

From The Wall  Street Journal

Walking the Fine Line Between Confidence and Arrogance

Job candidates who exude confidence appeal to hiring managers. In fact, 42 percent of HR professionals in a recent study considered confidence one of the most desirable traits in new-hires. However, a whopping 72 percent of respondents to the survey rated over-confidence as “the biggest personality turnoff” during hiring interviews.

So how to walk the fine line between confidence and arrogance? Here are some ways to avoid appearing overconfident in an interview.

  1. Avoid sweeping general statements. Don’t describe your skills in general terms. Saying “I was born to sell!” or “I can sell anything!” without backing up such a statement with specifics makes you sound egotistical. Instead, use a quantifiable statistic: “I was named most improved new salesperson after only two months and increased my close rate by 30 percent.”
  2. Don’t stretch the truth. If you were part of a team that worked on a proposal, don’t claim full credit. Rather, explain your role and how you contributed to the effort.
  3. Demonstrate selfawareness. Show you know yourself by giving an example of how you are working on improving a trait. Everyone has weaknesses, so don’t deny having any.


Writing E-mails That Will Be Read… Millennials Uncertain About Career Futures… Tips for Starting Conversations

Writing E-mails That Will Be Read

With employees spending more than one-fourth of their time dealing with e-mail, it’s no wonder some are ignored. To make sure your e-mails are read, follow these tips.

  • Write useful subject lines. Research shows readers are more likely to open e-mails that have two types of subject lines: those that are informative, and those that spark the reader’s interest.
  • Be concise. Readers are busy, so the faster your e-mail gets to the point, the more likely the recipient is to read it. Make every word fight for its life.
  • Limit scope. E-mails that try to deal with too many topics are often ignored. Instead compose an e-mail designed to elicit a response to one question.
  • Add a human touch. Make sure the e-mail goes to the correct person. Directly address that individual and use afriendly tone.


Millennials Uncertain About Career Futures

Younger workers tend to be optimistic about the future of their careers, but not millennials, according to a recent study. While the generation as a whole is willing to put in the most time for professional development compared to Gen-Xers or Boomers, its members voiced uncertainty about the future of their jobs.

The study was conducted by Champlain College in an effort to understand the needs of its student demographic. Julie Quinn, Champlain’s interim president, noted that the study’s results provide a guideline for colleges. She says that since students don’t believe their jobs are secure, they will need to regularly update their skills. Therefore, colleges must teach students how to learn.

From Edsurge

Tips for Starting Conversations

Many people find it difficult to start conversations that can help strangers connect. Experts offer these tips.

Start first. Strike up the conversation yourself instead of waiting for someone else to. A simple “hello” can be all you need. Then ask thoughtful questions and listen to answers before talking about yourself.

Tell stories. Once you’ve started a two-way conversation, be prepared to share well-rehearsed stories that demonstrate characteristics you want people to learn about you. However, make sure your stories don’t come off as bragging.

Look the part. People notice others who appear well-groomed, put together, and nicely dressed. By presenting yourself professionally, you send the message you are someone worth connecting to. It’s also a good idea to wear a piece of clothing or an accessory that is a conversation starter, as long as it’s not outlandish or outrageous.