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Blog: What Students Don’t Learn About Work in College

November 22, 2011 12:00 by Ann Pace

(From usnews.com) -- For all the talk about how college is essential to landing a good job after graduation, higher education often fails to prepare students for the workforce in several key ways. Even with a degree from a competitive school and a high GPA, many students graduate without ever having been taught these 10 essentials for the workplace:

1. Effort doesn’t matter; results do. It’s great to try hard, but if you’re not getting the job done well, it ultimately won’t matter. In the workplace, you’re judged by the quality of what you produce, not by how hard you worked to produce it.

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Six Tips for Enhancing Workplace Talent

November 8, 2011 12:30 by Ann Pace

(From Business Wire) -- At a time when many businesses are still doing more with less, The Vaya Group today released six tips for optimizing talent.

"Many business leaders start out with good intentions, but then get distracted by the urgent crisis of the day," said Paul Eccher, author and co-founder and principal of The Vaya Group. "However, when performed routinely, a few practical steps can keep talent fresh, current, and most importantly, productive for the organization."

1.   Visibly Recognize Learning and Skill Development. In addition to rewarding employees who develop new skills or take on challenging work assignments, it's important to celebrate the learning that comes from trying, even when the team falls short of their target. A little praise can go a long way in inspiring employees to push themselves to keep learning and adding new skills that will benefit the organization.

2.   Encourage Clear Learning Goals and Objectives. To foster increased productivity and employee satisfaction, ensure that everyone on the team, including you, has at least one clearly-defined learning goal. Then, make these goals public and give the team the time, support and encouragement needed to achieve these goals.

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ACT Launches Enhanced National Career Readiness Certificate

November 3, 2011 15:00 by Ann Pace

(From ACT) -- ACT recently launched an initiative designed to assist America’s job seekers and employers. By earning a National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC), job seekers have a way to stand out from those competing for the same jobs, and employers have an objective measure of an applicant’s workplace skills. The enhanced version introduced today as the National Career Readiness Certificate Plus (NCRC Plus) adds a valuable new dimension in terms of the work-related behaviors an individual is inclined to practice on the job.

“We are proud to mark the five-year anniversary of the National Career Readiness Certificate with this important enhancement,” said Martin Scaglione, president of ACT’s Workforce Development Division. “Employers have long requested this behavioral skills enhancement. In fact, many employers rate soft skills just as important as cognitive skills in identifying workers who will be successful and are more likely to stay on the job.”

Jennifer McNelly, senior vice president at The Manufacturing Institute of the National Manufacturers Association (NAM), commented, “We have been encouraging ACT to add the Talent assessment for some time, and we welcome this enhancement to the NCRC. The added dimension of important soft skill scores is directly aligned to what manufacturers are demanding of their current and future workforces. The combination of core academic and workplace skills with personal skills such as teamwork and customer service orientation ensures that an individual is ready to enter and move ahead in careers in advanced manufacturing.”

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When Great Performance Won't Get You a Promotion

October 27, 2011 12:30 by Ann Pace

(From FINS) -- If you're trying to move up the ladder, you're probably doing it all wrong.

So claims consultant and workplace expert Alexandra Levit in her new book Blind Spots: The 10 Business Myths You Can't Afford to Believe on Your New Path to Success, which was released earlier this month. Levit offers up 10 things people tend to believe about their careers and how following them will only set you up for failure.

FINS caught up with Levit in a phone interview to talk about some of these career assumptions and why they're not true.

Myth: Being Good at Your Job Trumps Everything

Even if you're the best employee the company has ever had, if no one knows about your numbers, it doesn't matter.

"Your department won't be perceived as important, even if you're doing a good job, if the right people don't understand what you're contributing to the bottom line," Levit said.

You need visibility. To get that, you'll have to self-promote without being obnoxious or overly "braggy." Start with your boss, Levit said. Update him or her with weekly status reports that quantify your results. Check in as often as he or she wants.

You can also send a gracious email to your boss and your team as well as a few higher-ups, thanking everyone for their input. That way, you highlight what you did while appearing to appreciate the help of your colleagues and superiors.

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Opportunity for Advancement Employees' Top Priority

October 25, 2011 15:00 by Ann Pace

(From PRWEB) -- Despite workplace pressures and slow growth for compensation, greater opportunity for advancement is the number one priority sought by employees in their next position, according to a survey by Right Management, the talent and career management experts within ManpowerGroup.

During September and October Right Management polled 561 North American workers via an online survey and asked:

What is your highest priority in your next position?

Greater opportunity for advancement     27%
Better management team    21%
More flexible work environment    21%
Better compensation    17%
Less work pressure    14%

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Executive Development Courses Launching at Georgetown's McDonough School of Business

October 20, 2011 14:00 by Ann Pace

Executive Development courses designed to enhance specific business skills of executives across industries will be offered for the first time by Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business this fall. These sessions will provide an in-depth analysis of specific business topics and challenges relevant to today’s managers and senior executives.

“As business globalizes and changes, executives who are able to adapt and grow their organizations will find success – this is why we design courses to help executives meet both today’s and tomorrow’s business challenges,” said Paul Almeida, senior associate dean for executive education at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business. “From finance to strategy to leadership, our Executive Development courses offer participants context, guide them through new concepts, provide them with the necessary tools and techniques, and help them achieve the mindset and approach needed to tackle an increasingly complex business world.”

These intensive, three-day courses are structured for individuals working executives to advance their careers, as well as their performance and impact for their organizations in a format that is compatible with their challenging schedules. Participants will hear classroom lectures, study and discuss relevant material and issues, discuss case studies, and focus on practical solutions.

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Talent Management Lessons From Apple: Part 2

September 20, 2011 12:30 by Ann Pace

(From ere.net) -- In Part 2 of this case study on Apple’s talent management practices, I look at its approach to innovation, compensation, and benefits, careerpathing, and online recruitment (its career site). Some approaches discussed are unique to sub-factions within Apple, as would be expected in any organization of significant size. It’s also quite rare for organizations that design, manufacture, and sell through direct retail to have consistent approaches across all units.

You should not be surprised to learn that the firm that made the term “think different” a brand uses talent management approaches that are well outside the norm. In addition to the lessons presented in Part 1, some approaches other firms can learn from Apple include:

Career paths reduce self-reliance and cross-pollination — in most organizations, HR helps to speed up employee career progression. The underlying premise is that retention rates will increase if career progression is made easy. The Apple approach is quite different; it wants employees to take full responsibility for their career movement. The concept of having employees “own their career” began years ago when Kevin Sullivan was the VP of HR. Apple doesn’t fully support career path help because it doesn’t want its employees to develop a “sense of entitlement” and think that they have a right to continuous promotion.

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Build relationships to help career

August 1, 2011 12:12 by jllorens

It is hard to imagine that my client — the confident, competent, smart, strong and impeccably dressed Debbie that I have known 15 years — felt invisible early on in her career.

But that's just how she and other black women in corporate America have felt — and still do at times.

It goes back to unflattering stereotypes and general perceptions that "make it easy to dismiss black women as unable to be power players," says Sophia A. Nelson in her book, "Black Woman Redefined."

Add that less than 1.2 percent of black females are executives in corporate America, and such women not only feel invisible, but to a third of the American workforce they truly are invisible, Nelson says.

For those who are present, it can be hard to be heard.

"I'd be in a meeting and give my opinion," Debbie says. "And it was totally discounted. My points weren't even acknowledged. One of my white counterparts could say verbatim what I said and the response was, 'Let's discuss that.' "

That's when she began to question herself: "Was it my tone? Did I present it in a manner that couldn't be heard? I was second guessing everything. It made me bitter."

It's understandable to point fingers and "get swallowed up in the long-standing workplace inequities" argument, says Nelson, who doesn't blame anyone for responding with anger or outrage.

But, she writes, "We must take stock of our professional battle scars and transform them into a powerful force for change," developing "built-to-last and nimble game plans focused on establishing meaningful relationships, strategic alliances and rock-solid career platforms."

One of the most important keys — and most lacking for black women executives and professionals, according to findings of a 2009 Executive Leadership Council study— is having "comfortable, trusted, and strategic relationships at the senior level with those who are most different from themselves, most notably white males."

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Blogs: Hourly workers need job-search skills, too

July 29, 2011 10:55 by jllorens

(From SFGate.com) We spend a lot of time here talking about the skills needed to land a good salaried position, but finding a well-paying hourly (often called nonexempt) position takes skills as well. I do get asked if finding these jobs is just a matter of going door-to-door, filling out applications and waiting for a call from a potential employer, and that is a common conception. The fact is, your chances of finding the best-paying nonexempt positions, positions that may have growth potential, increase when you use some of the same job-search tools as those looking for salaried positions.

Door-to-door job searching means turning in applications and hoping to get a response. In the past, that often was how you found a job. Today, hourly and salaried job seekers need to have a grasp of what they can offer an employer.


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Gillibrand Pushes For Veterans' Job Training, Employment

July 11, 2011 13:06 by jllorens

(From NY1.com) Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is advocating a new law that will provide more jobs and better job training for America's recent veterans at a time when many of them are unemployed.

She spoke in Manhattan to a group of New York City veterans Sunday and announced a push for the Hiring Heroes Act of 2011, which would provide job training skills to former soldiers.

The law would also try to make more job opportunities for veterans returning home, by providing training, personal assessments and workshops and easing federal hiring practices.

The Labor Department estimates that more than 20 percent of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and are currently unemployed.

In New York City, more than 13 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are unemployed.

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