How can you improve your leadership skills easily?

Career & WorkplaceExecutive ResumesGuest Posts

 

 

(The following post is a guest post from Alma Causey.)

 

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.”

John Quincy Adams

Finding actionable ways to motivate yourself and others towards achieving a specific achievement is a powerful thing. With more than merely focusing on coordinating everyone’s efforts, you need to aim at crafting a clear and compelling vision of success.

Leadership is all this and more.

You need to commit to being an exceptional leader. This begins with the desire to inspire. Therefore, you must learn to take the lead in every aspect of your life, whether that is at the office or a family gathering.

You’ll need to back your actions with a combination of features such as courage, confidence, sophistication, and savviness.

Ready to bring everyone on board?

To be an effective leader, you must possess the right skills for the job. Consider looking into the following tips to improve your leadership skills.

  1. Take the initiative to succeed

There are only a few people who are naturally born as leaders. But just about anyone can learn to become a good leader. All you need to do is develop the right mix of leadership skills. And that too, with dedication and sincerity.

And leaders are selected from the crowd. If you wish to stand out as an ideal candidate, volunteer to take on more responsibilities that go beyond your current position. Show to your superiors that are willing to learn and progress up the corporate ladder.

  1. Consider taking a course

Learning is a lifelong process. And with every aspect of our lives changing at a rapid pace, it is essential to acquire new skills and challenge yourself.

Enrolling in courses focused on building your leadership skills can help accelerate your career. Moreover, you will transform into a more confident person and an even better leader.

Make the most of this opportunity to push ahead in the crowd. Consider taking courses designed to develop self-awareness and leadership skills. In fact, joining a university to complete an MBA program could be a more suitable option.

But always register in a recognized institution that provides a comprehensive learning experience and a diverse curriculum. For example, a UT MBA is one of the most established and most exclusive ones in Florida. But also opt for ones that offer flexible timings so that classes do not coincide with your office hours.

  1. Build exceptional communication skills

Communication is an essential quality of a great leader. Therefore you will need to develop excellent oral and written skills. This can make you an outstanding employee and an even better leader.

When speaking to a team, don’t beat around the bush. List clearly what needs to be accomplished and how possibly repeating essential points a couple of times. But often, written notes and memos become easy reference guides when there are a lot of things that need to be done.

Set up regular meetings and check in on projects from time to time. This gives instant feedback to team members and offers them the opportunity to ask questions or clarify a particular matter.

  1. Listen effectively

Being a leader doesn’t mean you get to boss your colleagues around and coerce them into agreement all the time. Great leaders are even better listeners. They pay attention to what others have to say and reflect on it.

This creates a sense of comradeship and builds trust. Team members will know that they are being represented by people who care about them and their opinions.

To become an active listener, maintain eye contact and avoid getting distracted. Remember that your body language and gestures are equally as important.

It’s a good idea to summarize what you’ve heard and ask questions to see whether you’ve understood everything correctly. And when you respond effectively, this encourages positive feedback.

  1. Prepare a mindset that allows you to think critically

Good leaders are critical thinkers. That means they have the ability to foresee potential problems before they actually happen and develop ways to prevent them from occurring.

More importantly, leaders are aware of potential opportunities when they arise. They know how to bank on them for the benefit of the organization and the team. And remember it’s not about the facts at hand but rather the ability to utilize and evaluate them that matters.

To train your mind to reach these conclusions intellectually, you can try to employ the following techniques and become a better critical thinker:

  • Evaluate everything you hear and read.
  • Break the information down into simple aspects.
  • Ask relevant questions.
  • Consider reversing the information to get another perspective to the same situation.
  • Don’t be overconfident and assume that you are always right.
  • Become aware of biases and personal prejudices. Don’t let them influence your decisions or solutions.

Just remember not to think all the time critically. Utilize this tool to make crucial decisions, solve challenging problems, or lead effectively in pressure environments.

  1. Learn to delegate tasks

According to Theodore Roosevelt, the best leader is one who can pick out good men to do what needs to be done and enough self-restraint to let them do their job. Allowing others to work freely, not only empowers them but also makes people feel more involved.

Moreover, distributing tasks allows you to focus on other responsibilities. However, you must still oversee the entire project to ensure all goals are achieved on time and to the utmost potential.

  1. Become an inspiration to others

As a leader, you need to encourage and motivate team members to drive the company forward. But this can only happen if you plan to interact with employees on a personal level and understand them for who they are.

By possessing adequate leadership skills, you need to become a role model for them. Aim to influence people positively. And if ever a conflict does arise, learn to handle the situation diplomatically.

  1. Be ready to evolve

Highlight your strengths and weaknesses. With time and effort, you can significantly improve your shortcomings and expand on your innate abilities. Stay informed about everything.

Moreover, understand that there is more than one way to do the same thing. So you need to be open to new ideas.

Above all, admit that you are not perfect. It’s okay to make mistakes. More importantly, discuss them with your team, learn from them, and move on. In fact, have the courage to make fresh ones. It’s all part of the learning process!

  1. Learn to enjoy life

It’s one thing to be focused on the prize, but it’s entirely another to be obsessed about it. As an efficient leader, you should know how to live a life outside the workplace. Give the mind a break from time to time. This can help to refresh your objective and allow you to look at things from another angle.

You have to learn to live alongside work. So go to your family at the end of the day. Consider going on vacation regularly.

Wrapping up

It’s time you honed in on your capabilities as an effective leader. Developing these skills can influence various aspects of your life, especially your career. Take steps to discover your true potential.

Gain the hidden benefits of leadership skills, such as enhancing productivity and building your level of confidence. But above all, becoming a successful leader brings an insurmountable amount of personal satisfaction.

And remember that the key to transforming into a great leader is recognizing the importance of influencing others. Instead of becoming an authoritative figure, lead others towards a united force for success.

Ready to be an exemplary leader?

7 Things To Do To Get Ready For Your Job Search

Job Search

New-Year-2015-760x570
 
If your goal is to get a new job this year, here are seven things you need to do to prepare yourself for your job search.
1. Update your résumé. While ideally your résumé is customized for a specific job, having an up-to-date résumé targeted for a specific “type” of position is the next best thing. So if you’ve taken on additional responsibilities in your current job, or you’ve changed your job target, or you’ve added new training or educational credentials, now is the time to talk with your résumé writer about updating your résumé. (And if you don’t have a résumé at all, now is definitely the time to put one together! A professional résumé writer can help!)
2. Develop — or update — your LinkedIn profile. A LinkedIn profile doesn’t replace the résumé…it complements it. Someone looking for a candidate with your skills and experience might conduct a search on LinkedIn and find your profile. Or, someone in your network might be interested in recommending you, and forward your LinkedIn profile URL. So make sure you have a LinkedIn profile — and make sure that it’s updated. (Yes, this is something your résumé writer can help you with.)
3. Know what you’re worth: conduct salary research. One of the most often-cited reasons to consider a job search is to increase your salary. But how do you know what you’re worth? There is more salary research data available than ever before. Websites like Glassdoor.com and Salary.com can help you see how your current salary and benefits package stacks up.
4. Build your network. It’s estimated that 70-80% of jobs are found through networking. Networking effectiveness is not just about quality — although that’s important. It’s also about quantity. It’s not just about who you know. It’s about who your contacts know. Many times, it’s the friend-of-a-friend who can help you land your dream job. Grow your network both professionally and personally. You never know who will be the one to introduce you to your next job opportunity.
5. Manage your online reputation. More and more hiring managers are checking you out online before they interview you. What will they find when they type your name into Google? How about if they check out your Twitter profile? Or find you on Facebook? Now is the time to conduct a social media assessment and clean up your online profiles.
6. Define your ideal job. “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” That line, from Alice in Wonderland, is important to remember in your job search. If you don’t know what your dream job looks like, how will you know how to find it? What job title and responsibilities are you interested in? Do you want to work independently, as part of a team, or both? Do you like short-term projects or long-term projects? Who would you report to? Who would report to you? Answering these questions can help you define your ideal position.
7. Create a target list of companies you’d like to work for. Like your ideal job, you probably have a preference for the type of organization you want as your employer. Things to consider include: company size, industry, culture, location, and structure (public, private, family-owned, franchise, nonprofit, etc.). Once you’ve made your list, look for companies that fit your criteria.

Would You Wear An Executive Power Symbol?

Career & WorkplaceExecutive Resumes


Why do the powerful prefer to look obviously different than the rest of us?
Power symbols — those accessories that indicate status and authority — do vary according to the context. A number of years ago at a Presidential Inauguration it was striking to see that Republicans and Democrats clearly had preferred outerwear, but the wool dress coats and cowboy hats of the one party were just as expensive as the down parkas and accessories of the other. Equal in price, quality, and impressiveness but different in look and definitely different than the rest of the crowd standing in the streets for the ceremonies.
Today, questions like “are tiaras the new power scrunchies?” show up in the New York Times. In that particular article, the jeweled/metallic headband/tiara is a confidence booster that female executives are embracing in some circles. The idea that people of power have always worn a symbol of that power on their head is as old as time. Queens wear crowns, and when the women wear their versions of the crown they feel powerful.

Symbols Need To Have Context

The challenge in any career is to understand the way the corporate culture thinks. A status symbol can be an investment tool, but only if you are communicating effectively to those around you. Part of that communication is the confidence it gives to be wearing the status symbol, and part of the communication is the message the symbol itself sends.
As the wearable tech trends come available there will definitely be some new players in the status symbol arena. Smartwatches will join the smartphones and luxury watches already being sported in the C-level suites. But like all symbols, the context is everything. 
When you are selecting your wardrobe and accessories for an interview or for the workplace, make sure your status symbols are appropriate for the context. You want to look different and powerful, not just different. 

5 Reasons LinkedIn Is Important For Executives

Social Marketing/Online Branding

LinkedIn for executives
If you are an executive, then you should be on LinkedIn. Don’t think of it as just another social media website because it is not. It is a networking site for business professionals, and simply having a presence can improve your visibility tremendously. Many executives are finding that out the easy way.
Here are 5 solid reasons you should be on LinkedIn right now:

  1. Many professionals find their next job through contacts they meet on LinkedIn. The social network used to be considered the place to go when you wanted to find a job. Today, it’s much broader than that, but the networking possibilities are endless. And they often lead to better employment prospects.
  2. It’s a great place to generate leads for your business.
  3. You have the ability to share your content with your target audience seamlessly. If you are a blogger or routinely craft content on third party websites, you can share it on LinkedIn and reach your professional audience easily. No fighting through the noise on Facebook and Twitter.
  4. You can publish your articles on LinkedIn and give them wider visibility. You own all your content and can take it with you when you leave–if you ever leave.
  5. LinkedIn profile page acts like a professional online CV. Every time you make a career move–whether you change jobs, receive a certification, take a career enhancement class, get published, or earn an award for your professional achievements–you can add that to your LinkedIn profile. People do read them, and they do take notice.

Every executive should have a presence on LinkedIn, from CEO down to the middle manager who wants to be CEO.

The Top Reason Your Cover Letter Is Important

Cover Letters

the top reason your cover letter is important
Some will tell you that nobody reads cover letters any more, so there’s no good reason to write them. But there actually are very good reasons to write a professional, researched, compelling cover letter, and here’s the top reason why:
It is your opening argument that the attached resume is worth taking the time to read.
There are many helpful hints on writing your cover letter and it is a good idea to read up on this skill before you start drafting yours. Then start by taking the specific job description you are applying for and matching your qualifications to that description. Find the company’s goals and mission statement. Can you see how they mesh with the job and how you could be the best candidate for that opening?
If possible, discover who will be reading the resumes and use their name in the opening. Present your case for their consideration by a well-written and concise explanation of how your qualifications fit their needs and their goals. Reference any personal recommendations you have within the organization. Think of who will read your letter, what their goals are, and how to show them you can be the one to meet those goals.
An opening argument isn’t the entire database of evidence in a debate; it is the distillation of that evidence in a simple form that communicates conviction of opinion. Or to put it another way, it is the advertising copy that gets the buyer interested in looking at the product more closely. If that advertising is full of grammar mistakes and spelling errors, the product is seen as jokeworthy and will probably be rejected.
In the same way, if your cover letter is full of grammar mistakes and spelling errors, your resume will probably be rejected without being read because it will be assumed that your standards are lower than the reader’s. If you know you make grammar and spelling mistakes, use all the tools at your disposal to correct them. Computer programs like spellcheck and grammar checks are helpful, but a person will catch things they miss. Ask a friend who cares about writing well to proofread your cover letter. If you lack a friend with those skills, use a service like our Resume Critique and get a professional opinion.
Cover letters can convince a potential employer to consider a resume they might ignore otherwise. And that is a good reason to write one!
 
 
 

The Experience Problem

Job Search

The Experience Problem
The experience problem is one that many new graduates and those reentering the workforce both face. Not only do employers want experience, they want recent experience. No one is more desired than one who is already trained and already working. When you are looking for a job from a position of unemployment, then you have to make yourself seem even more desirable than the other candidates.
But how do you get experience when no one will give you a job so you can get experience? One way of doing this is to volunteer. No, you will not get paid but many volunteer opportunities lead to jobs and they can certainly lead to contacts. More importantly, they are something to put on your resume under ‘experience’ and that is a category that needs to be completed.
No matter how much education you have, no matter how impressive your degrees or your university, experience trumps all of that. When including volunteer work you don’t have to specify that it was volunteer unless asked. It’s quite easy to calculate how much your position as a volunteer was worth by exploring one of the online salary calculators.
Another way to get experience is as an unpaid intern. Few companies are going to turn away someone who is qualified and wants to work for free even if it is only part time. The bonus in this is that not only will you gain experience and networking contacts, you could also land a job. If a position in your area opens up the company is going to be more inclined to hire someone who already knows the job and how the company itself operates.
There are ways around the lack of experience issue. It just requires a little creativity and ingenuity.

Background Checks Are Being Used More Often

Career & Workplace

Hope I pass
Many companies are turning to background checks in an effort to reduce hiring questionable employees. While a lot of people do not like someone checking into their personal lives, it is becoming something whether you like it or not in order to get a job.
There are many reasons why background checks are being performed. Perhaps a company deals with security related products. It is very important to have employees that will not be enticed. For instance, if someone has been convicted of theft of money, and a company wants to hire someone who takes care of the finances, they will not want that personal dealing with the financial aspect of the business.
Other reasons are if a potential employee has possibly tried or has sued a previous employer. The potential employer will want to know that and then make a decision whether to hire that person or not.
The list is long that can be included in background checks but tax liens, bankruptcies or civil judgements cannot be included. However, this may not apply in your state if you have a salary of $75,000 or more.
Companies are required to let you know when they perform a background check. That is also the reason why you have to sign a release for certain types of information.
No matter what anyone thinks of background checks, they are here to stay. If you feel you have a background that may not pass muster, it is very important to be upfront about it in the beginning. If you hide information and it’s found out later, you certainly won’t get the job. However, if you are upfront with the employer, you may get the chance to be considered anyway.

Follow The Tweet
You’ve done everything you can possibly think of to get your executive resume out to businesses and still it’s hard to find a job. What else can you do? Think about social media sites such as Twitter.
Many people now use tweets to get their resumes out to businesses faster. It’s also a great place to look for jobs. A lot of companies are now advertising online versus the regular way of newspapers and job boards. It’s also very easy to tweet a resume.
As many know, tweets are usually only 140 characters or less. You don’t put your complete resume there; it’s impossible. But, you can do special coding in the tweet in order to link it to your resume.
Hashtags are used when searching for the best phrase for the type of job you are looking for. For example, the # sign will go before the phrase, such as #executivejobs. Place this in your tweet box and a number of phrases will appear for you to choose from.
You will need a Twitter account and once you have that you can enter the hashtags of your choice. You will also want to save your resume on your computer as a .DOC, RTF, PDF or TXT file.
You can use third-party resume tweeting service like TweetMyResume to share your resume online. When that is accomplished, you can add a tweet like #resume and add it to your tweet in order to share it. Also, put in your profile what job skills and the type of job you are looking for. Prospective employers will see your tweet and possibly contact you about an interview.
Social media has become the proving ground for job searches and resumes. In addition to Twitter, you can also use LinkedIn, Facebook and others. Make sure you retweet your resume weekly to keep it fresh and on top of other resume tweets. Hundreds of people have founds jobs by doing this on Twitter. This just may be the way to get that job you have been waiting around for.