• News You Can Use

    Shhhh...Things to Never Say at Work

    The words you choose tell a lot about the type of employee you are, says Darlene Price, author of a book on effective workplace communication. To be perceived as a positive and valuable member of an organization, Price advises avoiding the following phrases.

    1. "It's not fair." Don't whine if you weren't recognized or didn't get that raise. Be proactive. Build a case and present it to a person who can help you.

    2."That's not my problem/not my job/I don't have time." Deflecting a project could be perceived as self-serving behavior, a short-term and ineffective workplace strategy. Instead, show you can collaborate and help solve the problem.

    3. "I think." You'll sound more assertive and authoritative if you replace "I think" with "I know " or "I believe."

    4. "You should have/could have." Rather than blame someone, provide the individual with a productive piece of advice such as "In the future, I recommend..."

    5. "This may be a silly idea, but..." Such phrasing doesn't speak highly of your self-esteem and diminishes the impact of your statement.

    Discussion: Why do employers value collaboration? If taking on an additional task would make your workload too heavy, how could you respond without appearing unwilling to help? What kinds of proactive behavior can you show that will improve your status at a job?

    Source: Price, D. (2013, February 15). 13 things you should never say at work. Retrieved from www.forbes.com.

    When You Can't List a Former Boss as a Reference...

    If you don't think a previous supervisor will provide a good recommendation, you may want exclude the individual as a reference. Human resource experts have differing opinions about how to handle such a dicey situation.

    The first thing to do is to find out which information the company offers when providing a reference. Policy may limit reference requests to dates worked and title only. In that case, you are safe to include the individual. However, if you have heard that your boss has previously given bad references, you should definitely leave him or her off your list.

    Next, you may want to speak directly to your manager before you leave your current job and acknowledge the issues that led to the thorny relationship. Then ask about the kind of recommendation you can expect. Think about helping to find your own replacement, too. You may be able to earn some goodwill from the soon-to-be former boss.

    However, if you simply cannot include a reference, add other high caliber people who can speak to your qualifications for the position. But be aware that eliminating a previous manager as a contact will likely raise a red flag unless you can provide the potential employer with a solid explanation for the omission.

    Discussion: Why would a potential employer put so much weight on a previous employer's opinion about a job candidate? What behavior should you avoid when leaving a job? How could you explain omitting a current boss from your list of references?

    Source: (2013, April 28). Afraid to list your former boss as a reference? Los Angeles Times, p. R6.

    Employers Underwhelmed by New Grads

    Two recent reports support what many recent college graduates are discovering on their own—employers are not impressed.

    On the heels of a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, which found that hirers did not plan to take on as many entry-level college grads in 2013, another survey added to the bad news. The global human resource consulting firm Adecco released its own report that found 66 percent of hiring managers do not think new college graduates are prepared for the workplace.

    Hirers say recent grads' poor interviewing skills are one of the main reasons they remain underwhelmed. The generation's deal-killing behaviors include avoiding eye contact and checking cell phones during interviews. In addition, more than a third of hiring managers questioned found that young applicants were unable to answer questions clearly or to articulate their skills.

    Discussion: Why would an interviewer find it rude or inappropriate for a job seeker to look at a cell phone or to text during an interview? How can you improve your interviewing skills? Why is it important to practice stories that illustrate your abilities before an interview?

    Source: Mihelich, M. (2013, April 30). College grades, ready or not? Employers think not. Workforce. Retrieved from www.workforce.com

    Do Your Homework Even AFTER Graduation

    If you thought you would be finished with homework after leaving college, think again. One of the best ways to help land a job is to show you can add value to an organization. But you can't do that unless you have researched the firm you want to join. In other words, do your homework before the interview.

    Online career coach Adrien Fraise advises students and grads alike to know about trends and news affecting the industry they want to enter. Fraise says job seekers should be prepared to talk about how that information might affect a specific firm during an interview.

    A job or internship seeker should likewise learn about an organization's leadership, products, and services. Moses Lee is CEO of Seelio, a platform for recent graduates to highlight work samples. He suggests one way to show interest in a firm is to mention a recent advertising or marketing campaign the company launched. Bring up the campaign and comment about it in a positive way during the interview, he suggests.

    Finally, prepare questions to pose at the end of any interview. It may be a good idea to ask the interviewer about his or her career progress at the organization. And don't forget to investigate the company's dress code so you will look the part!

    Discussion: Why is it a good idea to walk into an interview looking as though you are dressed to start the job? How do you think an interviewer would respond to your cell phone going off during an interview? How can you show samples of your work to a future employer?

    Source: Zimmerman, E. (2013, June 2). Want the job? Do your homework. The New York Times, p. B 8.

    Start New Job with a Bang!

    The first few months at a new job will mark how a new hire is perceived, so it's a good idea to show dedication and professionalism from day one. The advice below will help a new employee hold on to a hard-earned position.

    1. Exceed expectations. Pitch in immediately and deliver results.

    2. Identify the environment. Learn the names of everyone, from co-workers to bosses. Get to know people and offer to help them.

    3. Show initiative. Come early, stay late, and be proactive about taking on responsibilities.

    4. Continue to learn. Identify what you need to know to advance. If you must take courses or require additional training, do so.

    5. Obtain advice. Ask a top performer to mentor you so you can learn the organization's dos and don'ts.

    Discussion: Why should you make a special point of being extra courteous and respectful at a new job? How can you make yourself stand out in a new position? Why is it smart to come to a new place of employment with a plan of action for the first few months?

    Source: Russell, J. (2013, June 23). Getting a start at a new job. The Washington Post. Retrieved from www.washingtonpost.com