Today, companies are more concern about finding the right “fit” than just hiring someone who is “smart.” This article explains why it’s important for you to show in the interview who you truly are.
Career & Leadership
Here’s an article that shows the best 50 places to work.
Which company do you work or want to work for?
You’ve got to earn money in order to put it to work for you, regardless of which investment track you choose. You cannot make something out of nothing, and nothing is what many mid-career professionals find themselves working with after being laid off or outsourced out of a job. The globalization of the economy has changed the playing field for millions of professionals who find themselves with a dated set of skills; that’s why large numbers of them are returning to school to brush up on the latest technology and practices in their fields.
The academic centers have responded to this widespread need for continuing education by developing a number of degrees and certificates offering some degree of academic certification in newly developed practices. Some business professionals simply enroll in selected classes to gain the update they need. Because so many adults are returning to school, dozens of universities have developed these programs in an online format, catering to people who have family or business obligations.
Learning the Latest Management Tools
Whether or not you consider them new concepts, many universities have developed courses that give a contemporary twist on some of the basic business functions that today have redefined parameters in the eyes of many employers. For instance, Northeastern University in Boston offers online certificates in Organizational Communication, Human Resources Management, and Project Management. This last category, project management, has taken on new meaning with regard to information technology – it would be a good choice for middle management professionals who have found themselves in charge of network management or expansion. According to one database the average salary for a project manager in the U.S. is $87,000. It’s not easy to leverage a salary like that without some specialized, graduate level training.
Investment Updates for the Finance Professional
The world of finance and investment is changing at warp speed, as the readers here are well aware. It’s interesting to note that New York University offers the following areas of concentration for the MBA program: Finance, Corporate Finance, Financial Instruments & Markets, Financial Systems & Analytics, and Quantitative Finance. That’s a lot of professional niches, any one of which requires specialized training. The University of North Carolina offers online certificate programs in Business & Management and in several IT areas including analytics and information systems. Several schools are now offering master’s degrees in quantitative mathematics and in financial accounting, separate from their MBA programs.
Options in the Growth Industries
Many of the high growth industries are also experiencing rapid technology changes. Probably the best example of this phenomenon is healthcare, where both the methods of administration and treatment options are being reinvented on a yearly basis. IT is at the core of medical services today; for that reason the University Of Illinois At Chicago has four options now available: Master of Science in Health Informatics, MS in Health Informatics Research Track, Certificate in Health Informatics, and post-baccalaureate studied in Health Management. Most are available online. Many universities offer similar programs, for healthcare professionals and for career changers wishing to transition into healthcare. An HR director in healthcare earns an average of $79,000; an operations director in the field earns $78,000.
Another example of academic support for the so-called “evergreen industries” is the number of quality schools that have taken engineering programs online. The University of Florida, University of Southern California, Virginia Tech, and Norwich University are four quality schools that have online programs in the various engineering disciplines. Most of these degree programs are at the graduate level; several are also available in certificate format. In all cases they are great opportunities for professionals who have already entered the engineering field to bring their educational credentials up to date with the latest technological developments. And there are many fields – aerospace engineering, civil engineering, electronic engineering, and materials engineering for example – where technology developments in the last ten years have been vast. An established civil engineer can earn an average of $92,000.
All of these options are simply illustrations of the type of educational choices available to adults seeking to improve their career chances as well as the traditional students designing an academic resume for entry into the job market. If you’re struggling to get ahead professionally, you can likely improve your chances with some additional educational work, as well as demonstrate your resolve to a future employer.
About the author:
Bob Hartzell has been writing for five years about education and other life essentials on a variety of websites. Much of his recent work has been about graduate programs online and their value in career enhancement, in recognition of the fact that the job market has undergone tremendous changes in the last twenty years.
This post is an update on my rental property in Philadelphia. In this section, I talk about my landlord experience – the good, the bad, and the ugly. All my posts that are related to the rental property can be found in the Rental Property section, including the bad tenant saga series).
October was a quiet month, so there is nothing to report about my tenants in the month of October.
Below is a snapshot of the rental income and fees since the new tenants have signed the lease in June 2009. Boston Renter suggested to add in my monthly expenses such as insurance, taxes and interest on the mortgage to see the true cash flow. I have added those numbers in this post. The net has been in the negative territory for some time, but appears to be growing out of it. See it for yourself. (more…)
Unemployment in the U.S. rose to 9.5% in June 2009 and hit a 26-year high. Rumors of a layoff were floating around in my company for many weeks prior to June. Finally, at the end of June, the news broke out for our government-sponsored project. There was a huge cut in the government budget and many consultants had to be let go.
Everyone in my team knew that a downsizing was coming and we had anticipated it to be at the end of June. Our team was the biggest target, because we dealt with requirements gathering from the clients. Any cutback in the scope of the project would reduce the needs for us. I knew I would be part of the downsizing, so I had mentally prepared myself for it.
On the last Friday of June, the office was extraordinarily quiet. I had arrived early and packed a few of personal belongings. I still had a lot of things in my desk drawers so I store them in bags and would later assign them to people who could hold them.
That morning, all meetings were either postponed or canceled by management. The senior managers were scrambling back and forth on our floor. It was a tell-tale sign that something was going on even though nothing was officially announced. One coworker alerted us that stacks of packaging boxes were lying on the conference room tables. The packaging boxes would confirm that a layoff announcement was imminent.
Most of us tried or pretended to work, but we were all occupied in our minds, wondering what was going on. People around me were asking questions and gossiping. Many people were curious, some were nervous, a few were anxious, and I was just… myself.
At 11:00 AM, many people were called to a mandatory meeting in a huge conference room. The head of management came walked in about ten minutes later. Most of us had an idea of what was about to come. The head said that there was a huge budget cut and they had to downsize the project. We were asked to give up all our work and company equipment and pack our personal belongings. He gave a few words of thanks and good luck and dismissed us.
We went back to our desks and packed our stuff. It was a sad day for many people. The people who survived the layoff came to say goodbye to those who were leaving. Several people from the client side were surprised by the consultants who were let go. The people I worked with on the client side were upset that I was leaving. I said that things will be okay and that things happen for a reason. I reminded everyone, “They say that when one door closes, another one opens.”
There were no escorts and there were no time limits for us to leave the office. Many of us stayed around for at least an hour, chatted and took group pictures. I walked around the office, shook people’s hands, and distributed my personal office supplies and food that I had stocked up in my cabinets.
Eventually, we gathered all the members of my team at the building lobby and we went out for a group lunch. We talked about our time on the project, the good, the bad, and the ugly. We brought back memories, we joked and we laughed. Then it was time to go. We exchanged goodbyes, we wished each other the best of luck and we went off on our ways.
The day was still young, it was only two hours past noon, and the sun was high in the sky. I walked around the city with a coworker for hours and we had a long conversation about our future plans.
The downsizing of the company was huge. All the teams were affected by it. Our unit had the biggest cut, roughly 80% were gone. Some units only let go of one or two people. But no matter how big or small, the reductions brought up concerns to the remaining people. The surviving members of each team were more nervous now because they fear that they would be next to go. Rumors of another round of layoff were already floating around the office.
There were some people who did not expect to be let go in the first round and this news was a surprise to them. Then there were some people who were in this country on a work visa. It would be a complicated issue if they did not have work. They needed the job to stay in the country.
As for myself, I was more fortunate. I could stay in the country forever, I had a few bucks lying around and I did not have four kids waiting at home for me to feed. I had been in that work place for three years. The routines were getting mundane, so I thought it was time for me to move on. I took the layoff news with a smile.
I was mentally prepared for the layoff. I could have applied for another job, but I decided to take time off and relax for a while. I had not taken a vacation for more than a year, so having the summer time off sounded good to me. I had saved up for a few months in anticipation of the layoff. Also, I could use the extra time to work on my personal projects. Hopefully some good would come out of it and another door would open up for me.
Here is a good article that was sent to me from Citigroup.
Skill Build for Success: How personal investment can pay professional dividends
The begining of the year is the perfect time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished in the last twelve months and to prioritize goals for the future.
All too often, entrepreneurs focus solely on the ‘hard’, financial metrics to gauge their progress and underestimate the importance of building the softer skills that can also drive success. You invest in your business, but how much are you investing in YOU?
As you look to the New Year, think about what you can do in 2008 to build skills that will make you more successful at work. The following are tried-and-true strategies that can help take you, and your business, to the next level:
1. Take a training class
Take a step back and assess what personal improvements could make a professional difference for you. Ask yourself: “What skills am I lacking?”, “In what areas of my business can I do a better job?” Then, consider taking a training class to let the learning begin.
“Last year I looked at my business and realized that I could make a lot more money if I learned ways to create better contracts, terms and deals in general,” said Lisa Bodell, CEO of futurethink, an innovation research and training firm. “I couldn’t afford much time out of the office, so I took a two-day negotiating seminar with a local university. In just 48 hours and for a few hundred dollars, I learned critical tips, tricks and tools to close better deals. It’s probably the best thing I ever did – for me, and my business.”
Many universities and training associations offer seminars that build critical skills and require minimal time and money to participate. Consider classes that tackle skills critical for business owners to know, such as:
- Selling: Learn how to find better leads and land better clients
- Negotiating: Create solid contracts and close bigger deals
- Computers/Technology: Increase productivity with new tips and tricks
- Marketing: Reach out to new audiences in new ways
- Presentation and Communication Skills: Communicate with more clarity and impact
Do your research by going online, getting training catalogs, and talking to fellow business owners. Learn what types of training have been valuable for your peers.
2. Build your personal network
So much of our professional success is driven by personal connections. Are you connected? Get on track by getting in touch – with old friends, colleagues, or people you’d like to get to know. By making time for conversations over coffee or sharing information via email around mutual areas of interest, you can form important bonds and make valuable contacts for building your business.
“We were expanding and I needed to find an outsourced call center that we could work with ASAP to help handle our customer service,” said Laurence Lederer, CEO of GuidePoint Health, a Health Insurance firm in Stamford, CT. “I called a couple of fathers I knew from my son’s class at school and they gave me the names of two companies within an hour. My personal network has been invaluable in helping me professionally – they knew what I was looking for right away.”
When building your network, keep the following guidelines in mind:
- Commit time to connecting – Just shooting someone an email isn’t enough to build a relationship. Pick up the phone or meet for a quick lunch to make a deeper connection.
- Mix it up – To learn something new, meet someone new. The best rolodexes include people from different background, interests and age groups. You might be surprised by how much you can learn from someone who seems like your polar opposite.
- Give a little, get a lot – The best way to get help when you need it is to set an example by being generous with your own time and advice. Share articles or contacts with people in your network who could use them. You can be sure they’ll return the favor when you need it most.
3. Hire a personal coach
Ready to sharpen your skills, but not sure where to start? Consider hiring a personal coach. A coach can be enormously helpful in assessing your strengths, identifying areas of improvement, prioritizing goals for success, and helping you know where to better focus your business. Their goal is to not only build skills but build confidence:
“The most important thing I do with my clients is to help them overcome the obstacles between where they are and where they want to be. I ask them the questions they’ve never taken the time to answer,” comments Joe Watson, founder of No Excuses consulting in Reston, VA. “We explore things like: ‘What would your peers say are your biggest weaknesses? What’s your biggest professional fear? What gives you the most satisfaction – at work, and outside of work?’ My goal is to help people change old behaviors and build new skills to move forward in all areas of their life.”
Make 2008 the year of YOU. Chances are, your business and your clients will reap the rewards.
How well are you investing in yourself?
As part of my journey to achieving financial success, I have always been juggling multiple projects and pushing myself to learn more and work harder. I have a full-time job and a stable income now, but I always want to achieve more. I know I have to work harder and smarter everyday to become better than the person I was yesterday. I am always looking for opportunities to make more money and this year has opened doors to higher potential profits.
The stock market has dropped significantly and will become a good opportunity for long term stock picks as well as short term swing trades. I spend about two hours looking at the stock market and doing my personal research every day. I have been netting a profit of around 20% annual since the year that I started investing in 2002. I hope to make a nice profit by the end of this year and bring up my annual average percentage gains.
The house market has also tanked, and that be a signal to look for cheap real estate bargains. I plan on looking at some real estate this year and try to make a purchase while the mortgage interest rates are still low.
I already own a rental property in Philadelphia. I was happy about it until this year. My tenants have called me many times and reported issues. I have spent a great deal of time coordinating repairs since I live two hours away in NYC.
I have been discussing with people about creating e-commerce businesses. One of the businesses I wanted to do is create an online store for health products, and the other one is to create an online store for electronic products.
This year has been busy so far and certainly will become busier for me. I hope all things will go well and will keep posting status here.
Summary and Status
Full Time Day Job
I am currently working on a project to build a unified time and attendance system for the government. It is a long term project that will last several years and the estimate total cost of the whole project is $500 million.
Stock Market – Short Term Trading / Portfolio Building
I love to trade in the stock market. I have a long term portfolio, but I also like to play with short term trades. I spent my late evenings doing research on individual companies and the stock market and plan what to buy before the day begins.
Up until this year, the rental business has been doing well for me. However, this year, I have spent a lot of time dealing with the tenants and repair workers to maintain the house.
I am self-employed and have registered a company. I created a website for my consultant business. Currently, the website does not contain any information but the title of the company. I will need to work on the contents of the website and post up more information about the company.
E-commerce store #1 – Health Products
Health products are becoming more popular as people become more health conscious. This growing health trend will allow me to start up a business and grow in the health products market.
I am in the works of creating an e-commerce business that sells health products. I am currently talking to some people that will join me in this business.
E-commerce store #2 – Electronic Products
I want to start an e-commerce business that sells electronic products. I am looking for electronic products that has the potential to do well in this competitive market. I talked to some people that will be looking for these kinds of products, but I have no solid leads on this yet.
A friend from work recently received a wonderful job offer from an Australian company and had been contemplating whether to accept it. Let’s call my friend, Nav. The new job offered a competitive compensation package, but the new job would also require Nav to relocate to Brisbane, Australia. Nav was in a dilemma. He had to decide whether to stay in New York City, where he was having a good time or to move to Brisbane, where he was unclear of the lifestyle there.
I asked Nav to weigh the pros and cons of the two jobs, the one he currently had and the new job offer. First, I asked what the Australian company was offering him.
The job offer in Australia was a consultant gig for an Australian government project, with a 6 month trial period, but the project was expected to last 3 years. The Australian company offered him AU$125 per hour (about USD$114) for his compensation. The Australian company also agreed to reimburse him for the first flight to Brisbane, Australia. The working hours were generally from 9 am to 5 pm, which is common for most government-related projects.
Next I wanted to know more about his current position in NYC. I asked about his current compensation package and his thoughts on NYC.
Nav was currently working on a government project for NYC agencies and was offered approximately USD$60 per hour. The working hours were generally from 9 am to 5 pm. Nav was from Toronto and made flights back home almost every weekend. He enjoyed the short trips home and would have to sacrifice this luxury if he were to relocate to Brisbane, Australia.
He had moved to NYC for less than a year and had no plans to leave anytime soon. He lived in a key location in the city and was steps away from work. Furthermore, his home was in the center of a shopping area and was near the hubs to mass transportation. He had gotten used to the nightlife and enjoyed short cab rides home in the middle of the night. He was concerned if he would be able to live the same lifestyle in Brisbane.
I had never been to Australia, but I have been told that the people there enjoy nice lifestyles and night lives similar to NYC. Since Nav was young (27 years old) and single, I told him that there was little he could lose. If anything was at stake, his wallet would get fatter. The Australian company was offering more money, almost double his current rate.
I pointed out that Brisbane, Australia would be a new place for him and it would be exciting to explore new places. Nav agreed with my point and had also heard many good things from people who have been in Australia. He would like to visit a country in the Pacific Coast region and would like to experience the lifestyle there. I pointed out that the climate there would be warm and it would be fun to relax on the beaches during the weekends. Since he worked out often, he could show off his strong physique.
I told him that the decision ultimately lies in his hands. Nav was reluctantly to leave NYC, because he had come to love NYC and NYC had now become his second home. I pointed out that he could always come back to NYC if the Australian project did not work out for him, but he said that he would eventually return home to Toronto.
Comparing compensation packages, I pointed out that the Australian job offered almost double his current pay and in that respect, the Australian job offer would win hands down. As for traveling home, even though the distance was farther from Toronto, I suggested that he could visit his Toronto home for less frequent periods, say once every 3-6 months, but request to stay at home for a longer period, and if possible, to work from his Toronto home during his trip.
The Australian compensation was certainly attractive. At USD$114 per hour, it was equivalent to an annual salary of USD$228,000. He was currently making USD$60 per hour, or an annualized salary of USD$120,000. In my view, the extra money he would make in Brisbane would definitely aid in building a larger net worth and would be resourceful for future investments. However, Nav might have a different perspective, because his long term goals might be different. Regardless, even he might not have defined long term goals, I pointed out that making extra money would never be a negative thing.
I laid out the options of both sides for him. I introduced my point of view and pointed out things that he might have missed. Here’s a summary comparison that lists the pros and cons during our conversation:
$60/hour, or an annualized salary of USD$120,000
Vibrant lifestyle/night life
Apartment is close to work
Easily accessible to transportation and entertainment places
Closer to Toronto (one-hour flight)
$114/hour, or an annualized salary of USD$228,000
Possible fun lifestyle
Work experience in the Pacific Coast region
Nav had to make up his mind soon and respond to the job offer by the following Monday. I told him to think about it carefully and focus on his long term goals. I mentioned that it would be a win/win situation for him with either option. If he chose to stay in NYC, then he would continue to enjoy the city he always wanted to live in, and if he chose to relocate to Brisbane, then he would explore a new culture and be well compensated for it.
On the following Monday, he decided to accept the job offer in Brisbane, Australia. However, the Brisbane company would still need to confirm the position on their side, so Nav had to wait for a response. Since the ball was no longer on his court, Nav felt relieved and he would be satisfied with any outcome from the Brisbane company. For the time being, he would continue to live and party like a New Yorker.
Update: Nav received a confirmation from the company in Brisbane and will be departing to Brisbane on March 21, 2008.