Category Archives: Helpful Tips

Underpaid?..Need a Job Description?.. Want to Change Careers?

If you are looking for written job descriptions, salary benchmarks, and/or career profiles, here are some good resources from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Some of the data is based on 2015 and 2016, but the majority of the existing content is still valid. Unfortunately, the U.S. DOL has not updated their databases with more recent “jobs” like CISO, DevOps, CDO, etc…

  • My Next Move – this site helps you explore different careers (e.g., knowledge, skills, abilities-KSAs needed for a job, typical personality traits of successful individuals in a certain job, common technology used in a certain job, typical educational requirements, and a job outlook)
    • For Vets – a subsection of the above mentioned website that caters to veterans who may be transitioning. E.g., find a career that is similar to your military job
  • O*NET Online – this site was created for the general public to provide broad access to the O*NET database of occupational information. This is a great resource for helping you fine tune your job descriptions and profiles.
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook – this site provides facts about different careers as it relates to median pay (including state and area data), number of jobs, similar occupations, and the job outlook.
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Increase Your Productivity (Inbox Management)

During a recent Individual Development Plan (IDP) review session with a leader, we were discussing methods or frameworks to increase productivity and ensure quality. This conversation then led to a specific question of how do I manage my email inbox? I never thought much about this because my process seems to work pretty well, but it did spark my interest. So after sharing my method with this teammate, I did some quick research and came across a New York Times bestselling author, David Allen, and his book Getting Things Done. After studying his quick infographic below, I realized the method of managing my email inbox mirrored his workflow with one exception.

It starts with one simple question, does this email require action (yes/no)?

If yes, then you either:
(a) defer it for later using a calendar entry or task reminder
(b) delegate it to someone else and possibly set a personal follow-up reminder
(c) do it immediately if the effort is less than a couple of minutes. This may also include   following up with the sender for more information that may be required to take                   action. Note: this can have added benefits in terms of acknowledging the senders’               needs, demonstrating a sense of responsiveness, and potentially helping others by             seeking clarity for the group.

If no, then either:
(a) delete it, if there is no current or future value
(b) do nothing, keeping it for future reference. I don’t personally spend the extra time filing/sorting/organizing emails into folders these days because of how well the search features work. Note: you need to check your company retention policy to ensure your alignment.

If you are looking for something *new* to try, give it a shot!

GTD_mindmap_wall

The one word every leader needs to use more often…

Check this article out and read about a recent study from Stanford University who proposes the more frequent use of the word ” T _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ” ….

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Rethinking Your Focus as a Leader

strengths_weaknesses

I just read a great blog post by Brad L. Johnson entitled A Challenge to Principals: Focus on Staff Strengths. This entry really struck a chord with me. Thinking back to my primary and secondary education it is strikingly obvious how much emphasis our U.S. school systems place on improving upon our weaknesses versus developing our strengths. I believe this has then carried over and influenced the way most of us operate in corporate America, which has ultimately impacted all of us as leaders.

If everyone knew their strengths and were given opportunities to develop and use those strengths, we would have a lot of engaged, enthusiastic, committed, high-performing students, employees, and leaders joining together to balance each other out, in an effort to achieve great things.

For other great sources of information check out “StrengthsFinder 2.0” or “The Practice of of Management (1955)”

  • “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
  • “Do what you love; you’ll be better at it. It sounds pretty simple, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t get this one right away.” — LL Cool J
  • “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” — Marc Anthony
  • “When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.”
  • “Trying to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.”
  • “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” — Steve Jobs
  • “Focus On What You Control. Let Go Of What You Don’t.”
  • “It takes far less energy to move from first-rate performance to excellence than it does to move from incompetence to mediocrity.” — Peter Drucker
  • “Success is achieved by developing our strengths, not by eliminating our weaknesses.” — Marilyn vos Savant

Windows Explorer Sorting Tip

I admit I may be slow to the party on this feature/function, and there’s a good chance the rest of you have been using this trick for years.

You can sort by multiple columns in Windows Explorer or within a folder. You just use the shift-click (hold down the Shift key) command on a column.

For example, let’s say you want to sort by “type” (application, text file, etc) and then by “date modified.”

First click the “Type” column so that it shows an arrow pointing up, indicating ascending order. Hold the shift key and then click the “Date modified” column. The up arrow remains on the “Type” column, but now the date modified is a secondary sort key. Shift-click “Date modified” again to switch between ascending/descending.

Sometimes it is the easy things in life!

How to find opportunities at startup companies

AngelList is a website platform for startup companies to meet investors, candidates, and incubators.

Have an interest in pursuing opportunities at a startup company?
– or – 
Have a need to publicly raise funds for your startup company?
– or – 
Want to invest in startup companies?

If yes, check out their website.

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A trusted resource for researching companies

Every job seeker should spend as much time researching and interviewing a prospective company, as the prospective company spends researching the job seeker.

Don’t forget to leverage the resources of Glassdoor — company reviews (e.g. comments regarding leadership and/or company culture); rough salary ranges for jobs; and company interview processes and questions.

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