A guide to weird words your teen uses

[To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]

This from USA Today. Well worth a read. “The times they are a changin” and society had better catch up — at least those of us who teach teens and millennials.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/2017/03/03/guide-all-those-weird-words-your-teen-uses/98688930/

[To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]

 

 

Cover Letters — are they less important?

[To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]

According to USA Today, only 26 percent of recruiters consider cover letters important. I respectfully disagree. Continue using pithy and effectivecover letters or cover emails. To help you please visit my website under Student Resources… 

http://www.larrylitwin.com/documents/70_ResumePackage.pdf (copy and paste)

[To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]

 

3 tricks for improving your body language in the office

[To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]

Your mother was right: Slouching makes you look bad.

By Vanessa Van Edwards, Monster contributor (The Philadelphia Inquirer — Feb. 12, 2017)

Up to 93% of our communication is nonverbal. This means that our body language, facial expressions and other nonverbal behavior is even more important than our verbal content. Yet most people don’t even think about what their body language is saying to others. As a result, many business people don’t ever realize how much their body language is holding them back at work.

I did body language coaching with a woman who was having a lot of trouble advancing in her career. She had all the right things going for her—great education, awesome performance reviews, successful sales, you name it—but still was not getting the promotions and upward mobility opportunities she deserved. Within the first five seconds of meeting her, I knew what was holding her back: her body language.

Her nonverbal behavior was timid, weak and disorganized, which was completely opposite of her quiet confidence and intelligence. I taught her a few of the tips below and as she adapted them, she started to get invited to sit in more high-level meetings. Then she got to represent her company at a big conference. Finally, she got an offer to head up a department in their new offices—a major promotion.

Here are a few tips you can use right now to start to improve your body language in the workplace.

Assertive body language 

Sometimes people need to show confidence and assertiveness in their opinions and points. There are a few body language techniques that are universal signs of strength.

  • Take up more space: Those who are timid tend to keep their arms close by their side and tuck their feet under their chair, taking up as little space as possible. If you want to show confidence, you have to claim space by firmly planting your feet shoulder width apart, or if you are sitting, leaning back in your chair and using the armrests during meetings.
  • Steepling: Steepling is when you press the tips of your fingers together with palms facing each other in front of your torso. This move (which looks like a steeple) is the universal sign of confidence. You can do this at a business meeting on the table or even when speaking and trying to emphasize a point.

Rapport-building body language

Building rapport is important for both men and women. It’s great for interviewing, networking and getting along with office colleagues. There are a few specific things you can do with your body language to help make connections.

  • Point your feet: Our brains actually subconsciously pay attention to a person’s feet. You will notice our feet tend to point in the direction we want to go. For example, at a networking event, someone who is itching to leave might be talking to someone but have their feet pointed towards the door. So, if you want to show you are actively engaged, point your feet and angle your body towards the person you are speaking with.
  • Mirroring: When we really get along with someone, we subtly mirror their body posture and movements. You can use this to your advantage when trying to bond with someone. Subtly (very subtly), mimic their body posture or try to speak at the same voice cadence as they do. Our brains register this as “friend,” not “foe.” 

Calming body language 

Negotiating, interviewing and tense situations in business are never easy. People need nonverbal ways to calm themselves down if they are nervous. They also need to make sure they’re nonthreatening to others who might be nervous in their presence. If you are a manager or leader in your organization, these tips are great for calming a hostile employee:

  • Uncrossed arms: When we cross our arms, we are protecting our vital organs. This is a naturally defensive position. If you want to stay calm and open-minded, be sure to leave your arms loose at your side. If someone else is crossing their arms, give them papers, coffee or even a pencil to hold. As soon as they get out of that position they will feel less close-minded.
  • Suprasternal notch: The suprasternal notch, the space in between your collar bones, is actually touched when people are nervous as a way of self-soothing. Lightly massaging this area or the back of your neck can help lower your heart rate and make you feel more calm.

Body language is a fascinating science that can only be applied artfully. The best tip I can give is to be genuine. People do pick up on inauthenticity.

Vanessa Van Edwards specializes in social and emotional intelligence research and development. The focus of her company is to combine human behavior research and tech trends. 

[To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]

7 Quick Tips To Improve Your Leadership Skills

[To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]

This week’s blog comes from 

Dale Carnegie Training Newsletter

By Anita Zinsmeister, President
Dale Carnegie® Training of Central & Southern New Jersey

7 Quick Tips To Improve
Your Leadership Skills
  • Word count for this issue: 562
  • Approximate time to read: 2.2 minutes @ 250 words per minute 
When a crisis hits, an executive’s instinct might be to focus on greater efficiency and productivity by tightening control.  But this is not always the best solution-giving up authority and granting employees independence can actually help improve innovation and success, even when the road gets rough.
 
So You Are A Leader At Your Company-Now What?
 
Without the proper leadership skills, you will find it hard to inspire your staff.  Below you will find 7 tips on how to brush up on your leadership skills.
 
 
7 Tips To Improve Your Leadership Skills
 
1.  Show Respect – If you want to be in a leadership position, start building relationships with people by respecting what they do.  Practically nothing is more important.   Additionally, it is important that a great leader never misses an opportunity to learn more about the people behind them.  Great leaders never skip an employee’s birthday gathering or a holiday party because they are too busy — they know that work will always be there. 
 
2.  Build on Relationships – As a leader, know who people are, what is important to them, and what motivates them.  This will help you understand everyone’s goals and how you can support your staff.  When you help people, they will care about you and your goals in return.
 
3.  Have a Good Attitude – Positive attitudes can be infectious.  As a leader, you need to find ways to stay upbeat and find the best ways to improve.  Do not expect too much from your staff — no one is perfect; while you do need to address poor performance, it is extremely important to acknowledge a job well done, which will build a positive work environment where people feel appreciated.
 
4.  Work on Your Strengths – Figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are.  While it is important to address your weaknesses, you might find it better to first start by focusing on your strengths.  This will allow you to rise to the expert level sooner than you would by working on your weaknesses.  Bottom line: Know what you are good at and keep at it.
 
5.  Find People Who Complement You – Again, we all have strengths and weaknesses.  Great leaders are aware of their weaknesses and find people who support their shortcomings.  This is not because they are weak and need to cover themselves, but because they know the benefit of having a strong team — and when the team wins, everyone wins. 
 
6.  Develop A Mentoring Program  – Mentoring someone will not only help develop that person’s career, but will also help leaders refine their skills.  It is a great way to help improve your staff members’ skills while also improving on relationships.
 
7.  Maintain Balance In Your Life – A big key to success is learning to balance work and family.  Life is too short for you to live at your job. Great leaders set career boundaries and know when to spend more time with family and friends.  Doing this will make you a stronger leader.
 
Executive Summary:  While some people are just great leaders, others have to work a bit harder to achieve the necessary skills.  Take the time to consider your strengths and weaknesses and get to know your staff; surround yourself with the best possible people to become an excellent leader. 
 
[To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]

Are you a mature job seeker?

[To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]

CareerBuilder’s Deanna Hartley offers these suggestions to help mature job seeker’s communicate their value. I add, younger job seekers should follow many of the same suggestions:

  • Know the current lingo and latest trends.
  • Provide examples of the value you would add to the team.
  •  Prove that you can be a leader (see next week’s blog on leadership)
  • Find out how age is perceived in your industry.
  • Outline your unique value proposition.

Deanna Hartley is a writer for the Advice & resources section on CareerBuilder.com. She researches and writes about job-search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.

[To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]

Time to start looking…

[To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]

CareerBuilder’s Mary Lorenz identifies some signs that  suggest you should quit your job. I summary:

  1. You are not advancing
  2. You dread going into work
  3. You’ve lost all ability to care
  4. Your boss doesn’t support you
  5. Your goals do not align with your employer’s

Mary is a writer for the “Advice & Resources” section on CareerBuilder.com. She researches and writes about job-search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.

[To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]

 

 

 

 

3 ways institutions can help students close the skills gap

Recently, our team attended the NACAC annual conference— a great event for admissions leaders and their industry partners. We were fortunate enough to attend a thought-provoking session led by Jeff Selingo, long-time higher ed researcher and reporter, who recently surveyed dozens of executives for his new book, There is Life After College. Much of what we heard from Selingo resonated with my experiences both working with higher ed leaders and as an employee of a 3,000-person company.

Selingo wanted to know what skills would help graduates land good jobs, so he interviewed and surveyed dozens of C-suite level employers to understand what they were looking for. What he found was that regardless of industry, most executives valued the same five traits: curiosity, creativity, digital awareness, critical thinking and humility.

The problem— there is oftentimes a disconnect between the higher education experience and the modern workplace, meaning many students are not always equipped with the skills to succeed post-graduation. This assertion is underscored by the Collegiate Learning Assessment Plus administered by the Council for Aid to Education, which estimates that 40% of college graduates don’t possess the complex reasoning skills required to make good decisions outside of the highly structured environment of the traditional four-year institution.

This disconnect may stem from the different environments. On one hand, you have the highly structured, scheduled environment of most academic programs, and on the other, there is the ambiguous, fluid modern workplace. Students succeed in college through strict adherence to schedules, syllabi and study guides. Employees succeed in the workplace with creativity, adaptability and self-direction.

These “soft” skills Selingo references are necessary to adapt to the constantly shifting responsibilities of most careers, executives believe, and can’t be taught from a text book or during a lecture. They must be gained through the higher education experience— a byproduct of the way students learn, rather than what they are learning.

In my 8 years of experience working with higher education institutions, I have had the opportunity to learn more about this gap first hand through our team’s direct interviews with many employers and program directors. To close the gap between what students learn in the classroom and what employers want in the workplace, I believe institutions must modernize their curriculum and the student experience. There are many ways to get there, but all roads include a hard look at programs and teaching methods. Below I’ve shared three ways we’ve seen institutions make changes that bring college skills closer to career skills.

#1. Provide students with opportunities for experiential learning

In his book, Jeff Selingo says that it’s important for institutions to help students fail – sometimes. The highly structured approach to higher ed learning leaves little opportunity for a disciplined student to experience failure. A less structured setting where students are forced to develop their own methods of critical thinking and decision making will lead to a culture of trial and error. To succeed, students must master the art of learning from failures, adjusting their methods, and trying again.

I believe one of the best ways for students to learn how to do this is by providing them with experiential learning opportunities. Making jobs and internships part of the higher ed equation helps students get comfortable with more personal responsibility, on-the-spot problem solving and contextual application of skills. It also drives home the idea that education should continue, in a self-guided capacity, throughout their entire career.

#2. Evaluate program viability and consider the job market

Program viability is one of the first things our team looks at when working with institutions to grow enrollments and build student success beyond graduation. Through employer surveys, labor statistics around future job demand, and other market indicators, we help institutions align their programs with the job market and promote them to the right audience.

The need for alignment between higher ed programs and the job market is especially apparent within the adult learner population. Those pursuing new careers or career advancement are especially affected by the skills gap, and many find post-graduation that they’re still not considered equipped for the job. Employers admit that many certification and continued education programs are great at imparting a number of hard-skills directly related to a specific field, but not as good at imparting the soft skills necessary for career advancement, like leadership, critical thinking and decision making.

By using data and research to evaluate the needs of learners when building programs, institutions can better position them on a path to success.

#3. Partner with area employers to inform program design

One of the ways we are working with institutions to close the skills gap is by helping them identify and connect with area employers to inform program design and align programs with the job market of the future. A partnership between an institution and a business can be beneficial to both parties. The institution gains valuable insight around the skills necessary to make student success post-graduation, and the employer gains access to a pool of uniquely qualified candidates.

These partnerships often grow to include other institutional benefits, like enrollment growth through tuition discounts or reimbursement, sponsored programs, research and labs, program promotion, and exclusive recruitment opportunities for students.

Many institutions have already begun making great strides and are enjoying the benefits of partnerships like these. We admire the work by Drexel University, Embry-Riddle, ASU, and many others who have embraced opportunities to connect learners to partner organizations. And there is no better way to close the higher ed/workforce skills gap than to position your students at the cutting-edge of their field with the employers they hope to work for.

Careers are changing across all industries at a break-neck pace, and this trend doesn’t show any signs of letting up. One of the best ways to ensure the success of both your students and your programs is keep your finger on the pulse of the ever-shifting job market and provide learners with the skills and experience they will need on day one.

[To comment:larry@larrylitwin.com]

5 jobs that will make you feel more relaxed

[To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]

For the details about these stressless jobs, read The (Philadelphia) Inquirer – Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016 – Page C6 – philly.com/Monster.

  1. Acupuncturist – $48,735 per year
  2. Gardner – $27,460 per year
  3. Librarian – $56,880 per year
  4. Message therapist -$38,040 per year
  5. Yoga instructor – $36,160 per year

[To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]