June 2011 - Posts

The Silver Employee: Keeping Your Skill Set Vital Through the Years
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 9:02 PM
Wisdom may come with age but how about up-to-date job skills? Aging workers must continually polish their skill set: longevity doesn't always equal marketability. Older workers would be wise to repeatedly ask themselves an essential question: what...
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From Diploma to Desk: Job-Hunting Tips for the Parents of New Grads
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 8:59 PM
The valedictories are done, your new grad suitably feted. Next on the agenda: job-hunting 101. Given the state of the economy-high unemployment, dismal growth-it's natural for grads and their parents to wonder if the hard-earned (and expensive) diploma...
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Why Aren't You Using LinkedIn?
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 2:34 PM

More than 100 million people are using social media platform LinkedIn. Why aren't you?

In a tough job market, networking through social media is critical. LinkedIn allows job hunters, and even those not actively seeking work, to display their work and credentials to colleagues and recruiters alike.

Looking for a Job?

LinkedIn offers job hunters more than just terrific networking a click away. The service allows individuals to search geographically for contacts in HR departments and within specific industries. LinkedIn also allows users to follow what's happening at companies where a prospective candidate is looking. For more tips for optimizing LinkedIn, read Expert Tips For Using LinkedIn. 

Making a Career Switch?

Career changers can use LinkedIn as a bridge to a new industry. The service lets users easily alert their network of a desired shift and the Group Directory and search features allows for research on the trends and job-openings in your desired field. For more, read Change is in the Air: 7 LinkedIn Tips for Career Changers. 

Are You an Older Worker?

Don't let a job hunt fall prey to ageism. Demonstrate up-to-date tech skills with an active online personal brand. Many recruiters and career coaches view LinkedIn as the ultimate resource for job hunters. For the older worker, actively participating in LinkedIn shows relevancy and range.

Do you make effective use of LinkedIn? Have you had any networking or job hunting success with LinkedIn?  Share your thoughts here and at the Pendaflex Facebook page.

 

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Tips from Top Salespeople
Monday, June 27, 2011 2:29 PM

Selling is succeeding. Just ask anyone with a product languishing on the shelf. So what does it take to move the merchandise or sell your services?

Top salespeople share (sell!) their point of view in our round-up from across the web.

Service Trumps Price

Smart salespeople know that carefully targeted pitches and relationship-building trumps price, says sales consultant Clif Reichardin. In Salespeople: Don't Talk About Price on the First Date,  Reichard cautions news salespeople about offering cut-rate prices to secure a deal, arguing that long-term, mutually beneficial relationships can only be forged when salespeople deliver needed products and services, not merely cheap ones.

Get to Know the Customer

Understanding your customers' needs is key to selling, says Forbes writer Susan Adams in How to Sell Almost Anything.  Savvy salespeople resist the urge to jump into sales spiels, instead they open a line of inquiry with their customers. Uncovering what a customer needs makes it easier to sell a solution. 

One Size Doesn't Fit All

Effective sales people are nimble, recognizing that one solution, or one sales pitch, doesn't fit all, says consultant Steve W. Martin in Persuasion Tactics of Effective Salespeople.  Martin cautions sales teams from using a formula to pitch customers, instead suggesting that salespeople try forging personal connections with customers and building rapport through communications give-and-take.

What makes an effective salesperson? What traits or tools can elevate a salesperson from good to great?  Share your thoughts here and at the Pendaflex Facebook page.

 

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Selling Your Small Business to Investors
Friday, June 24, 2011 2:25 PM

Attracting investment dollars in a faltering economy requires creativity. Witness the efforts of the financially-strapped California state treasury,  now soliciting funds from an unusual type of bond investor: mom and pop.

When one of the largest states in the nation looks to borrow money from just-us-folks, what's a start-up venture in search of cash to do?

Bootstrapping: When every penny counts, it pays to be frugal, and self-funded. Get customers to pay upfront and get as much free advice and bartered services as you can. For more, read 7 Easy Steps to Bootstrapping Success. http://bit.ly/mySKPw

Friends and Family: Look close to home for investors but be sure to treat any loans from friends and family professionally. Put all terms in writing, including how much control the lender will have and when and how the loan will be paid back. Establishing expectations can help keep relations running smoothly. Remember also that mixing family and money can sometimes backfire; potential pitfalls are outlined in Help From Family Has Its Costs.

Debt Financing: Many start-ups rely on debt financing either though credit cards or personal asset loans. Both are viable options, both have potential pitfalls.  Read How to Use a Personal Asset Loan for Your Business and Read Carefully Before You Sign on the Line  for advice on avoiding financial minefields.

Angel Investors: The name says it all. When an investor swoops in with needed seed money or capital, it can feel like divine intervention. Studies estimate that angel investors provide 90 percent of all seed and start-up capital, compared to the venture capital community, which invests less than 2 percent in start-ups. Where to find an angel? Read How to Meet Angel Investors. 

Have you successfully attracted investors for a start-up? Share your thoughts here and at the Pendaflex Facebook page.

 

 

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Customer Service is King
Friday, June 17, 2011 7:47 PM

Unhappy customers vote with their feet. Fully a third of dissatisfied customers switch companies or products due to bad service finds a recent study. http://nyti.ms/kjX7HC That's a lot of customers walking out the door.

So how to deliver the "fast, friendly service"  that customers require?

Get Customercentric

Harvard Business Review examines the issue of customer service and satisfaction inside and out in a round-up of articles: Creating a Customer-Centered Organization.  Articles include creating brand superfans and why frontline workers are key ambassadors of your brand.

Or take a page from AmEx,  which boasts revamped call centers staffed with pros recruited from outside-the-box sectors such as the hospitality industry. Hiring customer service pros and tying remuneration to performance, drove up customer satisfaction metrics and decreased turnover: a winning combination.

For more case studies on companies that deliver unparalleled customer service, read Top 10 Companies For Customer Service. 

Does your company place an emphasis on customer satisfaction? Share your thoughts here and at the Pendaflex Facebook page.

by Bradley Eggers

 

 

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Ageism: Is It Hurting Your Career?
Thursday, June 16, 2011 7:45 PM

In a tight job market, every advantage counts. For some aging employees, plastic surgery, Botox and hair dye is seen as a necessary step to remain a viable job candidate according to a spate of recent articles. 

While ageism, like its brethren -isms, sexism, racism, no doubt rears its ugly head in certain work environments, it should not be viewed as an insurmountable obstacle: sharp, savvy job seekers can always market themselves, no matter their age.

We'll leave the issue of whether or not to combat those grays to you and your hairdresser. We prefer to stick to the basics, work basics. Ideas to take the focus off your age and onto your abilities include:

Recent Results First: Resumes get brief attention so be sure to highlight recent accomplishments up top. Don't overwhelm the resume with every single job over a decades-long career. Consider a functional resume that emphasizes your well-honed areas of expertise and shows your work experience is current.

 

On Trend: Dispell notions that old means dated. Be sure to be current on technology and trends; you and your prospective boss may have generational differences in music but you should have the same current technology skills. Staying fresh is imperative.

 

Up Your Energy: Demonstrate your energy and vitality with attention to detail. Make sure your handshake and body language convey energy, not fatigue. Avoid dated looks, hairstyles and eye-glasses; consider wearing bright colors that communicate vitality. Don't go overboard by wearing inappropriately young styles. The look should say seasoned and stylish, not desperate.

Work that Network: An advantage to a long-running career should be a well-established network. By continuing to actively network, and to mentor younger colleagues, you will keep your sensibility fresh, generate job leads and remain up-to-date in your industry.

Do you see ageism at play in your industry? How do you combat ageism?  Share your thoughts here and at the Pendaflex Facebook page.

by Candie Harris

 

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From Dorm Room to Desk: What I Wish I Knew When I Started My First Job
Wednesday, June 15, 2011 7:40 PM

Smart grads know hindsight is 20-20, so shorten the learning curve in your first job with been-there, done-that insight from experts further along the career path. Our round-up of advice offers both big picture wisdom and concrete, in-the-weeds details that will have you hitting the ground running.

Details, Details

You know the old aphorism about first impressions: make a good one. Be punctual, be polite and put in full days right off the bat. Other tips for impressing include learning co-workers' names and avoiding office gossip. For more ideas, read Your First Days Working at a New Job: 20 Tips to Help You Make a Great Impression.  

The Big Picture (Can Take a While to Come into Focus)

Author, speaker and career coach Curt Rosengren encourages young professionals not to obsess about making the "right" choice when selecting a job or career. In The Most Important Piece of Career Advice for New Grads,  Rosengren advocates viewing the first few years of work as "R & D" for a career arc. The odds of clocking 50-years at one job and retiring with a gold pocket watch are slim to none, so rather than obsessing about making the quote, unquote right choice, new hires should commit to continually making choices.

Rosengren urges novice employees to find a path that seems appealing and then to continually ask, "Is this work something I am passionate about?" and "What don't I like about this work?" Using the first few years as "research and development" for a career trajectory can allow a person to continually reset: exposure to different jobs and roles will provide a deeper understanding of what energizes and inspires you and betters the odds of achieving meaningful work.

What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started work? What piece of advice would you give your young self at that first real job?  Share your thoughts here and at the Pendaflex Facebook page.

 

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The Graying Workforce
Saturday, June 11, 2011 1:43 PM

Rumor has it Mick Jagger is starting a new band.  Why not? He's only 67.

Mick's not alone in working well past what was once considered retirement age. Gray is the new color of the American workforce according to the Department of Labor which estimates the number of workers 55 and over will jump 36.5 percent from 2006 to 2016. 

Where will all these folks be working? According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, certain sectors look rosy for aging boomers. 

They include:

  • Health care (nursing, home health care, medical assistants)
  • Education (teachers, teacher assistants and child care workers)
  • Nonprofits and government (business operations specialists; general and operations managers; receptionists and information clerks)
  • Social services: (clergy and social and human service assistants)

U.S. News & World Report also recently looked at the issue of  the aging workforce, finding that a quarter of Fortune 500 employees are 50 and older. Certain industries such as the airlines and insurance sector have more over 50 employees than other sectors such as hospitality and food.

A myriad of factors are contributing to the graying workforce: people are living longer and healthier lives, the financial turmoil of recent years has impacted retirement savings and technological advances are allowing older workers greater employment longevity.

Will retirement eventually, well, retire?

We want to hear your thoughts on retirement and the graying workforce.  Has your retirement goal shifted to a later date? What keeps you in the workforce? Share your thoughts here and at the Pendaflex Facebook page.

 

 

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Onboarding New Hires
Friday, June 10, 2011 1:40 PM

You've found the perfect candidate for that vacant position. Now what? Successfully onboarding new hires is as crucial as selecting the right candidate.

Hit the ground running with our round-up of advice from across the web.

Start Early

Onboarding begins before the offer letter even goes out according to the HBR post Get Immediate Value From Your New Hires. Hiring managers need to spell out company culture and the org chart during the hiring process. The greater the transparency during the interview process, the swifter the transition once aboard. Also, managers can shorten the learning curve by explaining the nuances of the "shadow" org chart such as what interpersonal dynamics are at play and who the key stakeholders are in each department or project.

Take Time to Make Time

Forget the sink or swim method and carve out time to help give a new hire their sea legs says The 10 Commandments of Employee Onboarding.  Other tips include scheduling plenty of time during the early days and weeks to help new hires navigate their roles and following up with 90-day check-ins.

Details, Details

Be sure not to neglect the details while mapping out the "big picture" for new hires. The little things speak volumes and having all paperwork, email and phones at the ready ensures your new hire feels welcome. For an onboarding checklist, read How to Build an Onboarding Plan for a New Hire. 

How does your company onboard new hires? Share your thoughts here and at the Pendaflex Facebook page.

 

 

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Hiring Overqualified Candidates: A Plus or Minus?
Thursday, June 09, 2011 1:38 PM

The uncertain economy is still creating an employment glut as job seekers continue to outnumber available roles. As more and more experienced workers pound the pavement, employers increasingly face a new problem: how to handle overqualified candidates coming through the doors in search of work.

Conventional wisdom says avoid hiring overqualified candidates. The rap on quote, unquote over-educated and experienced workers is that they will quickly grow dissatisfied with lesser roles, creating morale or managerial issues.

Not Necessarily a Negative

Not everyone agrees that seasoned candidates are a risk. A recent Harvard Business Review post, Should You Hire an Overqualified Candidate? cites a study that finds the risks of overqualified candidates becoming discontented and leaving are more perception than reality.

The post goes on to make the case that well-educated and experienced candidates actually present an opportunity for visionary companies and hiring managers to staff up on talent at a time when so many well-qualified candidates are ripe for the hiring. 

 

Overqualified Can Equal Opportunity

Hiring managers can make good bets on overqualified candidates by keeping two factors in mind. First, prospective employers need to suss out why talented candidates are willing to take a lateral or lesser role. Is the worker looking to career shift? Gain a better work-life balance? Or perhaps the candidate is looking to return to the workforce after time at home? Discovering why candidates want a certain role can help employers determine if they are likely to succeed in a give position.

Second, employers can improve the odds of a successful fit by giving seasoned employees autonomy and challenging work. Empowering experienced workers to bring their A-game to a B-role can help turn a potential awkward fit into a workable proposition, creating a win-win for both employer and employee.

For more on how to best utilize seasoned job candidates, we like the advice in the New York Times article Overqualified? Yes, But Happy To Have the Job. 

 

Does being overqualified rule a candidate out in your mind? Or have you had a successful hire with an overqualified employee? Share your thoughts here and at the Pendaflex Facebook page.

 

 

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How to Motivate Others
Friday, June 03, 2011 1:14 PM

Celebrity journalist Katie Couric's latest project is a book of collected wisdom from fellow celebrities the world-over. In the Best Advice I Ever Got, Couric offers wisdom from personalities as diverse as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, "Eighty percent of success is showing up...early," to comedian Jimmy Kimmel, "when in doubt, order the hamburger." 

Couric says her book is meant to inspire readers, to help them find "passion" in what they do. Couric is on to something. Motivating others to achieve peak performance not only feels good, it produces good work. Looking for ways to enhance productivity by motivating your team? Two excellent articles, Managing and Motivating Employees in their Twenties and Making Sure Your Employees Succeed offer concrete advice on moving employees from zero to 60.

Highlights include useful dos and don'ts such as:

Do:

  • Connect individuals' goals to broader organization objectives
  • Show employees that you are a partner in achieving their goals
  • Learn about and incorporate employees' personal interests into their professional goals

Don't:

  • Allow employees to set goals alone
  • Take a hands-off approach to high performers - they need input and feedback to meet their goals as well
  • Ignore failures - be sure people have the opportunity to learn when they don't achieve goals

How do you motivate direct reports? Have you benefited from any motivational techniques? Share your thoughts here and at the Pendaflex Facebook page.

 

 

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When Your Boss Bugs You
Thursday, June 02, 2011 1:09 PM

TV classic The Office is gearing up for a season finale where the Dunder Mifflen gang meets prospective boss candidates. Star-studded possibilities include Ray Romano, Jim Carrey and even Ricky Gervais.  Only on TV is a kooky, crazy, annoying boss cause for laughter.

Are you starring in your own personal dramedy with your boss? We've posted here and here about dealing with bad bosses. But what of the merely annoying boss? The boss whose antics don't add up to HR complaints but get on your nerves nonetheless?

Bosses are people first and whenever two personalities need to interact day-in and day-out, there's bound to be the occasional friction. And if you and your boss have dissimilar temperaments, work styles, or even different senses of humor, tensions can be exacerbated.

Looking to defuse tension? Hoping to become impervious to your boss's irritating habits?  Check out the advice in 5 Ways Your Boss Bugs You and How to Respond: tips include changing the subject when your boss attempts to over share personal stories. We also like the advice in  7 Ways to Deal with Annoying People and Still Get Things Done. 

Finally, we leave you with a must read: 3 Annoying Habits of Successful People. You may see your boss in this piece, but then again you may see yourself. Read on to see what traits can really irk colleagues.

Have you ever worked for an irritating boss? How do you shrug off co-workers annoying habits? Share your thoughts here and at the Pendaflex Facebook page.

 

 

 

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Standing Out from the Crowd: Aiming for Amazing
Wednesday, June 01, 2011 1:06 PM

Is your company amazing? Does it make an outstanding product, provide an unparalleled service? Do you do a top-notch job each and every day at work? If the answer to any of these questions isn't yes, it's time to examine why not.

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review, How to Turn Anything from Adequate to Amazing,  posits that in today's economy, doing a passable job is passé. Instead, businesses need to kick it up a notch and aim for amazing.

The article showcases two businesses, one a parking garage, the other a hospital, that have upended stereotypes (i.e. parking garages are ugly and dirty; hospitals have bad food) by creating businesses that so surpass expectations they generated unexpected revenue streams. The breathtaking parking garage not only houses cars, it's in-demand as a venue for parties and charity events; and the hospital's stunning looks and award-winning food brings makes it a wedding venue choice.

So what does it take to be amazing? Seek inspiration in others' excellence, you may find it fuels your own quest for aiming above the ordinary.

We take inspiration from the small business entrepreneurs in Inc. com's 10 Inspiring Success Stories.  And reading the profiles in Fast Company's The World's 50 Most Innovative Companies is like a Cliff-Notes of excellence.

Does your company have a culture of excellence? Do you believe "aiming for amazing" can help set you and your company apart from the pack? Share your thoughts here and at the Pendaflex Facebook page.

 

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About Beyond Folders™

Beyond FoldersTM is written by a team of Pendaflex associates passionate about time management, communications, productivity and workplace organization.  Believing in  "continuous improvement" on both a personal and professional level, they share their unique perspectives on subjects of common interest to our readers.

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