Tuesday, April 15, 2014

New grads--Maybe whiff of hope

Brittany Ducksworth, Arizona Republic, Mar 12, 2014, says employers may be hiring more of the Class of 2014 this year.

A little more than 7% more than the year before.

Many grads are underemployed--meaning a degree is not required for the job they hold.

As ever, employers are looking for business, engineering and computer, as well as communications, backgrounds.

About 84% of grads have a job or an offer 90 days after graduation.

So take heart.

Monday, April 14, 2014

How to SELL your house

The Wall Street Journal has me shaking my head sometimes. I love breaking out my thick (but devastatingly attractive) glasses and magnifier and picking through stories on the latest in backwoods restaurants in Brazil or what socks are "in."

It's like I live in a different world.

Sanette Tanaka, WSJ, Apr 11, 2104, writes about how to hype a listing.

First, describe individual characteristics--granite countertops, wood burning fireplace. Each individual breakout increases price by 1%. Pick offbeat features--just saying bedrooms does not count. To WSJ readers this means, dual dishwashers, wine safes, safe rooms, etc.

Each additional adjective--beautiful, fabulous--boosts the price by almost 1%.

Don't overdo the descriptives, though, or people glaze over.

Also you want agents and prospects to have things to ask--a reason to call.

Keep descriptions under the MLS word count.

I would add--don't get ridiculously creative--words like ultra-cozy, warm, old-fashioned garden can mean tiny, no air and over grown to some people.

Friday, April 11, 2014

IT skills beyond just the technical

Time was, an IT guy or gal could be a pocket protector type, quiet, pencil-chewing, peering into a computer.

Now this person needs tact, empathy, maybe even charm.

Look at a problem, craft a solution. This is not cut and dried anymore. Some techies even build parts on 3D printers.

The IT person should know how customers use the product, what level of expertise they can or care to bring to it, and what they expect the product to do.

I often wish just an inventor would have to use the product for a year. One year!

If the customer says you take over the computer and install it--don't sigh with the weight of the stupid nontech world on your shoulders. Just do it.

Take AOL--how many WHOOPS SOMETHING HAPPENED screens would this person tolerate?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Here's an idea--where do YOU want to work?

I knew a woman in DC who wanted to work for IBM. She studied the company, befriended people there, read business news, and did everything she could think of to get on there.

Eventually she did.

CareerBuilder is all for this approach, but says be sure you know why you are trying so hard to get hired by that particular company. Say you like a company because they have Friday happy hours--what if you get sick of those? After all, you are just socializing with the same people you work with.

Do ongoing research--set Google alerts. Find out who their partners are. What is their supply chain?

See if anyone you know knows people at the company.

In all, make your interest known before an opening happens.

There is one underlying principle that will help you--companies like people who want to work for them.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Break up the boys' club

Struggling for political advantage, the WH is trying to convince women they are being ripped off paywise. They had a "come to Jesus" type meeting there the other day in which women were invited to feel slighted.

Truth is, they may be in some cases--the the truth is also that this is not a federal issue, it's an HR challenge.

Audrey S. Lee, writing in Government Executive, Apr 8, 2014, says today's work force is not white men anymore--36% are other cultures. Forty-seven percent are women.

But the idea of a leader as strong, direct, confident, and take-no-prisoners persists--who does that remind you off--the white man of old.

Say you are petite, Japanese-American, speaking in uptones--management may ask where is her fire?

Instead you may want to study this woman's style--her troops are loyal, well organized.

Yet others who more closely fit the pattern of "the boss" may get chance after chance.

At least think about this.

But who may need to break up The Boys Club? The boys. This is a challenge. But, I think, one that the coming generation will do quite naturally.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Is work like high school?

Do you want to be popular? Sue Shellenbarger, WSJ, Mar 26, 2014, says social media has made likability more important past the HS years.

Likeable people are more likely to be hired, get help from their coworkers and get useful info from others.

People tend to like authentic (non-phony) people who are like them and seem trustworthy.

You can learn to be likable, they say. Make eye contact, make your voice warm and enthusiastic.

Also really listen to what the other person is saying. And don't make fun of others--if you are funny, make fun of yourself.

Monday, April 7, 2014

What if your boss calls you an idiot?

Well, call him a moron, of course. Or her. Have you ever HEARD of the internet?

Actually firing back will make things worse.

I know, I am a buzzkill.

Instead, ask for a meeting.

Be nice. Maybe the boss forgot he or she TOLD you to do what you did.

Or maybe the boss's boss got torqued and you are the scapegoat.

Then you may want to send an email the next day summarizing the meeting.

Ask everybody to "copy" everybody, one authority says.

I would advise you to say your piece, say you were hurt by the name calling and let it go.

I once thought I was writing to one person and I called a list manager (male) a little old lady. SEND! Ooops, it went to the whole list.

By the time I apologized etc it was a screaming federal case.

And he was---a little old lady.