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Posts Tagged ‘Communication’

My new favorite quote

“Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.” – Paul J. Meyer

This is my new favorite quote. I strongly believe this statement and couldn’t have said it better myself. I honestly believe that so many things can be solved with simple, open, honest communication. I strive for honesty and communication in my personal and professional life on a daily basis. For me, there is no other way.

Anyone agree or disagree? Share your own favorite quotes in the comments!

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In an interview awhile back I was asked about my major and minor and why I picked them. More specifically, the interviewer wanted to know how I felt my psychology minor related to my communication major. Thinking about the this question made me realize just what a great match it truly was.

For the sake of full disclosure, I have a psychology minor because I was originally a psych major. I took a year’s worth of classes before deciding I didn’t want to be a psychologist. I made psych my minor because I didn’t want those hours to go to waste. I never really gave any thought to how much those classes could benefit me in my future profession.

Different personalities communicate in different ways. My favorite class at Auburn was Interpersonal Communication. This class could best be described as a marriage between my previous psychology classes and my comm classes. We learned about communication dynamics in professional and personal relationships. The lesson about communicating between different Myers-Briggs personality types still sticks out in my head. You can learn more about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator here.

I am an INFJ– Introverted iNtuition Feeling Judging

The aspect that everyone is familiar with is probably the first letter – introverts and extroverts. Communication between these two types could not be more different. Introverts are quiet and think (a lot) before they speak. In an argument they prefer to take a step back and hash out their thoughts, figuring out what exactly they want to say before they actually say it. Extroverts are viewed as more ‘social butterflies’ and often say the first thing that comes to mind. In an argument they prefer to spit it all out and verbally sift through the problems. Put an introvert and extrovert in an argument together and the introvert gets flustered and silent while the extrovert does all the talking and become frustrated by the introvert’s silence, often misinterpreting it. See the communication differences?

These differences must be recognized by companies in regards to their professional communication. Any team will be comprised of many different personality types. It’s important to make sure the individuals understand their communication differences. It’s also important to make sure that company communications are fitting to these different types. If you are an extroverted communicator presenting to a group of introverts, your message may not come across the way you planned.

Communication between different personality types has to be a top priority of internal communicators. The most important aspect of communication is the audience that you are sending your message to. If you don’t take your audience into account, even the most thought-out, well planned communications will fall short.

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We already know that I love (and have a passion for) communication. It should come as no surprise that I want to talk about it a little more…

After working for a couple of companies, both large and small, I have realized just how vital internal communication is. I think that often companies don’t focus on it enough. The focus is usually on outside clients, customers and media. Companies aim their attention at keeping their customers and the public happy, but what about employees? Open conversations between managers, HR and employees lead to happier and more productive team members. Happy employees are the best advertising! I am more likely to do business with a company whose employees seem to enjoy their jobs and believe in the company they work for. Employee morale has a strong impact on business. Communication seems like such a simple thing and maybe that is why it is often overlooked.

Ask someone who is employed about problems that they have dealt with at their job, or listen to a random complaint from them. Often times, the problem is linked to a lack of communication. Maybe their benefits were messed up, they didn’t know about a policy change or their boss failed to mention something major that affected them. It’s all communication. Employees just want to be in the know… is that so much to ask?

Now, I’m not so naive to think that everyone can always know everything. Sometimes there are sensitive matters that can’t be discussed throughout the company. However, if something directly impacts an employee, I think it’s their right to be aware of it and have an opportunity to offer feedback.  

Communication is invaluable and shouldn’t be ignored or tossed aside. Lately I have read many articles about communication departments having to defend themselves. Showing the ROI of communication can be difficult and many companies are cutting corners. I hope that companies, large and small, realize the benefits of strong internal and external communication.

What are your thoughts on communication?

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One of the benefits of unemployment (yes, I admit, there are some perks!) has been the time to think, reflect and realize. When you take a step back from your job (or you’re pushed back from it) you can focus more on your field in a broader sense.

During college I changed majors several times. I couldn’t quite find my niche and didn’t feel passionate about my classes. Honestly, I was on the verge of my senior year and my dad kept reminding me that I had four years – and only four years– to graduate. I had been pre-physical therapy but realized I hated math and science. I remained undeclared for about a year and focused on general pre-req classes. I ventured into psychology and enjoyed it, but couldn’t see a career emerging from it. Then I somehow arrived at the department of Communication and Journalism. I started in public relations, taking classes in marketing, communication, PR and journalism. I realized that I loved to write and edit. I was fascinated by my communication classes. I switched my major to comm. after realizing that the communication classes were the ones I really enjoyed (and because I could graduate on time in Comm but not PR… just being honest!)  I left Auburn with an interest in everything I had studied but little direction. Majoring in communication isn’t like majoring in accounting or nursing… you don’t graduate with a job title, you have an entire list of avenues you can choose.

I now realize just how great my time at Auburn was. I enjoyed learning how to speak in front of an audience comfortably and how to work successfully in small groups. Interpersonal communication was my favorite course at Auburn by far. I loved learning how to deal with different types of people and the difference of communication style between men and women or introverts and extroverts (both have really helped in my marriage as well as my professional life!) Over two years later I can actually say that I am passionate about communication. I have realized how broad communication is and everything that it entails and I love it all.

I can wholeheartedly say that communication, in its broadest sense, is my passion. Have you found yours?

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I made the mistake to apply to basically anything and everything when I first graduated from college. I didn’t know that it was a much better idea to tailor your job search. If the position was at a company in my chosen location, I would apply without paying much attention to the qualifications. I realize now that I was HR’s worst nightmare. As an end result, I had an unsuccessful job search and wound up remaining at the company that I worked at part time through college.

Now I know better. I don’t apply to anything and everything. I have tailored my job search. My applications, resumes and cover letters reflect that. Still, sometimes there are jobs that I’m not quite sure about.

I know that I need to have the bare minimum qualifications but I read an blog from Keppie Careers that got me thinking. This blog post claims that sometimes you should consider jobs beyond your qualifications.

When “desired qualifications” include experiences you do not have, it can still be worth applying. As long as you can make a direct connection between what they want and what you offer, I advise going for it!

I’ve had to deal with this before. I read a job description, get excited as everything sounds fitting and then get slammed with something like 8 years of experience or advanced graphic design knowledge. It’s disheartening, especially when I feel that I could truly do this job! Should I ignore the basic requirements and apply anyway? Will my application even make it to a person?

A job opened up at a company that I would LOVE to work for. It involved social media, marketing and communication. I got excited reading the job description… and then I found out it’s a management position. They want someone with management experience. Darn.

Then I start to wonder… just because I don’t have management experience doesn’t mean I wouldn’t make a great manager. One of my career goals is to become a manager, but am I ready for that now? I decided to ask for feedback from you guys. What makes a good leader or a good manager? How much experience do you think someone should have before becoming a manager? Do you need to be an expert first then a manager?

Please, leave a comment and let me know what you think!

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I started to feel like my blog was focusing too much on the job hunt and not enough on communication and marketing. Then I realized, job hunting is communication and marketing. You are marketing yourself to potential employers. You look at who your audience is and figure out the best way to communicate with them and appeal to them.

This leads me to interesting marketing strategies in job hunting.

Resume Cake from Flickr

Resume Cake from Flickr

Thanks to a few tweets, I ran across this article on CareerBuilder about unconventional tactics that job seekers are using. This isn’t the first time that I’ve heard of weird and interesting approaches to job hunting. I’ve read about graphic designers putting their resumes on t-shirts and job seekers buying space on billboards. Yet I wonder, how practical are these oddball approaches?

 

A couple of my favorites from the above mentioned article:

Candidate sent a shoe with a resume to “get my foot in the door.”
Candidate sent a resume wrapped as a present and said his skills were a “gift to the company.”
Candidate sent a cake designed as a business card with the candidate’s picture.

What do you think about these tactics? Do HR managers take them seriously? Does it depend on what field you are in? Are these candidates praised and remembered for their creativity or frowned upon for not taking the job search seriously?

With massive amounts of candidates available for each job, the rules of the job search are definitely changing. A simple, generic cover letter and resume don’t cut it anymore. There are the Web 2.0 options like a VisualCVor other online portfolio, creating a Twitter account or joining LinkedIn. Then there are the guerrilla marketing style tactics. Some are mentioned in the CareerBuilder article: staging a sit-in to get a meeting with the director or handing out resumes at a stoplight.

Are these unconventional tactics necessary in today’s market or are these job seekers just getting laughed at? I would love to hear from any employers or HR pros! Should I put my resume in a shoe box and wrap it up?

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A resume is one of the most important tools of the job search. If you take the time to look, you will find loads of information from dozens of different sources. There are recruiters, career coaches and counselors, professors, professionals, bloggers and more all trying to tell you how to write your resume.

As a member of PROpenMic, I have joined a group for resumes. Members of the online network can post their resumes, get feedback and hopefully get noticed by recruiters. When looking at these resumes, it quickly becomes obvious that everyone has received different advice. Each resume is formatted differently and it’s interesting to see how they differ.

I spent a lot of time feeling less than happy about my resume, editing it, then still feeling unhappy. I just couldn’t quite figure out how to fix it. Thanks to Careerealism and their ‘Am I Money?’ Quiz, I gave my resume a complete overhaul after realizing just how much work it needed (Check out the finished product on this page or on the right sidebar of this page in the box widget!) I am so thankful for the opportunity and advice that I received.

The thing about the resume is the same thing regarding cover letters, interviews, fashion, television, books and music… everyone has a different opinion.

You simply can’t please everyone. What one recruiter may love, another recruiter may frown upon. Still, there are a few resume rules that most people agree on. I chose to focus on those and my own intuition to create my new and fabulous (if I do say so myself) resume.

J.T. O’Donnell from Careerealism advised me that unless you have over 15 years of experience, your resume should only be one page. (Hear that college grads?!) I had heard, over and over, that my resume needed to be one page. Still, no matter how many times I edited, I couldn’t narrow it down. At my last job, I had a variety of duties in multiple positions and I wanted to show my diversity and ability to take on many different tasks. I finally changed the format of my resume completely, from chronological to functional. This allowed me to focus on the duties that I feel will best transfer to future positions and that have quantifiable results.

Another piece of advice I received was from Dawn Bugni.

In it’s current format, your resume is trying to tell the reader absolutely everything you’ve ever done in the hopes they’ll take the time to see where you fit. It doesn’t work that way. You have to take your reader by the hand and lead them down your career path, showing them only what they need to see to determine they want to speak with you further.

This was my “ah-ha!” moment. I realized that I was leaving my readers standing in an open field unsure of where I fit instead of leading them down my desired career path pointing it out.

Writing a new resume was a time consuming and frustrating task. Like any other time consuming and frustrating task, the results are rewarding. I have a renewed confidence and excitement and hope that my next reward will be the perfect position!

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