Nature of Work and Skills Sought by Employers

Teleworking: Approximately 16% of workers are in alternative employment arrangements today. Freelancing, “gig economy,” contract work, each of these terms describes a trend which will be more prevalent in the future. The internet, smart phones, online file sharing, and new technologies have all made it possible for us to work anywhere and everywhere.

What are additional changes that will impact the future workplace?

  • There are three forces that will influence the world of work in the future; demographic trends, ongoing technological progress and economic globalization of the U.S. economy.
  • The labor force has become smaller except for age 55-plus workers.
  • Employees will have the opportunity to shape their own career paths rather than climbing a “corporate ladder.”
  • The number of manufacturing jobs has dropped while the number of service-related jobs has grown significantly.
  • There’s no such thing as total job security so it’s important to have a backup plan and to continuously improve and broaden your skills.
  • Many jobs being filled now did not exist 20 years ago and it’s expected that in 10 years’ time, 60% of jobs will be entirely new.

Some of the new technologies which are anticipated to affect the workplace:

  • Light peak technology which enables data transfers at up to 100 GB per second
  • Mainstream Artificial Intelligence in average electronic devices that will enable multitasking to rise to new levels
  • Web 3.0 will offer new web-browsing capabilities and experiences

Skills Sough by Employers

These are qualities that employers will seek in the modern employee:

  • Basic soft skills: Advanced cognitive skills, socio-behavioral skills and the ability to adept to changes in communication and new technologies.
  • Self-directed: Now the employees have the ability to work from anywhere at any time, being self-directed is crucial. You must be able to execute on your deliverables whether you are in an office or at home.
  • Focus: In today’s  work environment information bombards employees from every direction which means employees need to become adept at filtering out and focusing on what’s crucial.

Source: Shirley Rowe, owner of Front Rowe Consulting.

3 Ways to Connect the Generations in the Workplace

When developing intergenerational connectivity, it is essential to focus on the connecting points that unite generations, rather than dissimilarities.

  1. Mentoring: Mentoring is the collective “how” in work. Organizations strive for mutual support and tolerance with a strong commitment to inclusiveness. In order to accomplish this, companies must train leaders to be better equipped to communicate, mentor, inspire, and authentically care about their employees. Developing a mentoring structure that identifies employee goals, needs, and then setting up support models, such as one-on-one sessions, intergenerational group sessions, and even “speed mentoring” where employees ask questions of the organization’s leaders, will encourage knowledge-sharing relationships. Baby Boomers can pass on the institutional knowledge, Generation X can bring structure and focus, Generation Y provides unique connections and Generation Z support innovation. “Reverse mentoring” can also be very effective, using technology to give younger team members the opportunity to share their skills with more senior colleagues.
  2. Mastering: Mastering is a creative “why” in work. Open communication with customized messaging tailored to individual need provides Generation Y and Generation Z with continuous feedback loops, while annual performance reviews continue for Baby Boomers and Builders. Training managers to develop strong interpersonal and communication skills will ensure an open and inclusive workspace where employees can share. Bringing generations togethers together by conducting awareness sessions provides an opportunity to educate one another about each generation’s history, values, culture, and norms. Developing a sense of purpose beyond profit by putting more emphasis on opportunities for growth, promotions based on competence and honoring social responsibility, creates an environment of ambition, connection and loyalty. Embedding the mission/vision of the organization into each employee’s ambitions provides a connective purpose between generations.
  3. Motivating: Motivating is the connective “what” in work. Each generation has wants and needs based on different ways they value work. Baby Boomers and Builders have less family obligations and may wish to work part-time but still want to be involved in decisions. Individuals from Generation X are the “sandwich generation”, caring both elders and children while paying mortgages and saving for their children’s college and retirement. Generation Y look for the “work to live” balance in their lives. Professional development, however, is a constant request of each generation. The best solution in providing training to a multi-generational workforce isn’t prioritizing but by personalizing the learning. This requires customizing development for each employee to engage them in the material and their growth. Learning tools can be a platform that provides customized pathways to achieve individuals goals or provide necessary training. Technology, in-person training, and experiential opportunities that fit the learning styles of individual employees provide awareness-building a Millennials move into management.

Summary: Organizations thrive leaders focus custom approaches based on how each generation sees the world and how values are shaped by their experience. Those values, in turn, shape their place in the workplace. They key to respect between generations is the recognition of uniqueness in each generations’ talent, potential, expertise and motivation in the multi-generational workplace by creating customized opportunities to collaborate, connect and foster successful relationships.

Source: Linda Sollars, MA, GCDFi, CMCS, President of Creating Purpose, LLC.


How to Build Your Team

There’s nothing as harmful to the success of a company than employees who sit on the sideline, too disengaged or intimated to contribute.

How do you overcome this problem and create a culture where everyone feels comfortable contributing?

If you lead a team where employees seem hesitant to collaborate and share their thoughts, it’s time to take a deeper look at why this is happening and how to overcome it.

They fire the coach first.

If a sports team consistently underperforms, one big loss after another, team owners might adjust the lineup or find new starters. But more often than not, they start by firing the coach.

If your employees are acting like spectators, disengaged, and non-collaborative, it’s easy to point fingers. But what if your employees aren’t the root of the problem?

The ultimate responsibility for team engagement falls on the leader.

It’s your responsibility as a leader to develop your culture and employees. If you’re struggling to build an engaged team, you might need to take a hard look at your expectations, processes, and leadership.

How do you own your role and use it to create engaged, collaborative employees? It starts by defining your purpose.

Define your purpose as a leader.

Is your purpose as a leader to manage the process or coach your team? If your goal is to help people get better, you will act differently than if your main focus is to get things done. Managers focus on accomplishing tasks; leaders focus on helping their team use their strengths to multiply productivity. While all leaders must also be good managers, not all managers are good leaders.

Ask yourself: What is my purpose as a leader? Do I live that out every day?

Talk less and ask more questions.

Good leaders ask questions. Poor managers make statements. If you want to collaborate but already have your final solution in mind, you’ll miss the opportunity to get feedback and improve the idea while earning the trust of your team.

It takes humility to realize you might not have all the answers. By asking questions and really listening to employees, you’ll have better ideas and have a more engaged, collaborative environment. But if you aren’t willing to change your strategy based on their feedback, you’re missing the mark.

A few questions to ask:

–       What do we need to do?

–       How does this relate to our goal?

–       What’s the root cause of this issue?

–       How can we get where we want to go?

–       Tell me more about your idea.

A coach brings out the talent of their team, challenging them and helping them grow. Act as a coach and lead your team toward collaboration by listening first, then asking good questions.

Pick your star players.

The next step to building an engaged team is looking at your current employees. Who on your team not only believes in collaboration but does it well? They should be your benchmark or “star player” as you look to hire and develop more employees.

For example, if Joe in HR is always asking questions, encouraging feedback, and building rapport with other team members, how can you empower him to continue and then hire more people like Joe? Take the time to ask questions about his thought process. What does Joe value in his work that makes him collaborate? What does he avoid that keeps him open to feedback?

Identify what makes someone a star player for your team and look for more people with the same mindset and motivation.

A game plan is useless without players.

You can invest heavily in your game plan and create the best process to accomplish your goals, but process strength alone isn’t enough to succeed. If you see people as a pawn in the game, hindering you from running the perfect play, you will end up overlooking their strengths.

A game plan is pointless without the team to run the plays. To bring out the best in your team, you have to know them and their strengths. Ask yourself:

  1. Do I know my employees’ strengths and interests?
  2. Where do they excel?
  3. Where do they struggle?
  4. If there is a gap in their skills, how do I help them fill that gap?

Many managers focus their time and energy on process strength. While it’s an essential component, your team will be discouraged and disengaged if your focus is entirely on the process. Additionally, your organization will only be “getting by” instead of excelling. You might feel like you have momentum, but it’s slow compared to what it could be.

Invest in the strength of both your processes and your people, and you will see your company excel and reap the benefits.

Get people off the sideline.

By investing in both processes and people, you can work to get your team off the sideline and out on the field. It starts with how you make decisions.

Bring employees into the planning process before a final decision is made and the process is set.  If you don’t, people will become disengaged, realizing that their opinion doesn’t truly matter.

Take it a step deeper and encourage your team to build a collaborative culture together. What matters to your team and organization? Where do you want to be in five or ten years? What roadblocks will keep you from reaching those goals?

Build a team instead of an organization full of spectators. Include people in all stages of the decision-making process.  Build a safe environment where employees are encouraged to offer their opinions. You’ll be rewarded with a team that’s fully engaged and wants to succeed.

Source: Paul Berggren is President of Crown Global HR

10 Unprofessional Work Habits — Korra-Shay

These 10 unprofessional work habits can be an eye-opener for anyone working in a professional industry but they are probably more helpful for anyone getting their first job or moving into the “corporate world” for the first time. It can be really difficult to navigate the culture and expectations at any job, especially one where […]

via 10 Unprofessional Work Habits — Korra-Shay

Effective Resumes for Education Majors

Even in this era of online applications and LinkedIn, your resume is still pertinent. This one or two-page document captures your teaching skills and experiences. The goal of your resume, along with the other paperwork districts require, is to earn you an interview. When used during the course of a job fair or on-site interviews, the resume provides the interviewer with relevant information about your qualifications.

As you gather and organize information for your resume, critically examine your skills, experiences, accomplishments and relate them to teaching. Self-assessment and reflection are excellent preparation for the interview as well.

Before writing your resume, read a job description of a teacher in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, O*Net, or another career reference resource. Talk to teachers about  what they do. Pay attention to the words of describing the profession and use these same words in your resume. Think about the skills teachers employ. Educators plan, organize, prepare, research, instruct, lead, listen, demonstrate, write, supervise, evaluate, motivate, implement, integrate, encourage, facilitate, enforce, advocate, collaborate, communicate, and assess.

While there is not simply one correct way to write a resume, effective resumes adhere to basic guidelines:

  • Beginning with most important material;
  • Starting sentences with vivid verbs describing your skills;
  • Using bullet statements or short paragraphs;
  • Being consistent in formatting;
  • Supplying specific, quantifiable information outlining responsibilities and accomplishments;
  • Eliminating all spelling and grammatical mistakes.

A reader spends only 20 to 30 seconds screening your resume; significant information must stand out communicating your competencies to be an outstanding teacher.

Resume Categories

  1. Contact Information. Your name, phone number, and e-mail belong at the top of the resume. Due to privacy concerns, an address on your resume has become optional. If you are submitting your resume to an online database which will be accessible to multiple users of that service, you may want to omit the address. Most educational employers will ask your address on an application, so providing your address on your resume is your decision. Include your cell phone number. Most of time, employers will call you to set up an interview. Therefore, make sure your voicemail greeting is one you want a potential employer to hear. At the same time, make sure your e-mail address is one that won’t embarrass you. Create an email account just for employers.
  2. Education. Most first year teacher candidates should list “Education” after the objective because the degree is the basic qualification for teaching. Include all college experience with the most advanced degree first. List your degree, major, and minor, the name and location of the institution, and your graduation date. Include GPA only if it is 3.0 or above. Be sure to include your certification or licensure area(s). If you have unique educational experiences, such as study overseas, include this information here. You may chose to include academic honors, activities, conferences, educational clubs/associations, and scholarships here, or you may do so in a separate sections.
  3. Student Teaching and Field of Experience. If you are earning your first teaching certificate, you do not have professional teaching experience yet. This section is the most important one and must be the salient part of your resume. You can use the heading “Student Teaching and Field Experience” or “Teaching Experience,” but make sure readers know these are pre-service teaching experiences and not professional teaching experiences. State the school, location, and dates. Include the facts of your teaching assignment such as the number of students you worked with each day (or week), the number or percentage of students with IEP’s you accommodated, and the classes, grade levels, and subjects you were responsible for. Then describe your instructional experience in specific terms. All student teachers write lesson plans – what specifically did you prepare and present? Leave off routine activities such as grading papers or creating seating charts. Consider addressing these issues as you describe your instructional experiences as a student teacher:
    • A unit plan you created that encompassed a variety of subject areas;
    • Lessons you designed to meet state standards;
    • Techniques that you employed to differentiate your instruction and the accommodations you provided to meet the needs of diverse learners;
    • Specific technology you incorporated into your teaching;
    • Creative ways that you connected the subject material with the students;
    • Collaborative activities, including co-teaching, with other teachers, school counselors, and administrators that you participated in;
    • Paraprofessionals an parent volunteers you supervised;
    • The classroom management system you used.
  4. Experience.  For your next section, you may want to create a section titled “Teaching-Related Experience” which includes paid and volunteer experiences such as summer camp counselor, Special Olympics volunteer, youth coach, or academic tutor. Describe these related experiences in a manner consistent with your student teaching descriptions. It should be written in similar format with “Teaching Experience.”
  5. Additional Categories. This section may include “Activities,” “Honors and Awards,” and “Professional Affiliations.” Administrators look to hire teachers who will be competent and active in a variety of school responsibilities. Include college or community activities (if you haven’t done so in a previous section) showing that you will participate in school and community activities as a teacher too. An activity may deserve a description because you developed professional skills or accomplished a significant objective.
  6. Format and Printing. The most common format is chronological where each section lists the most recent material first. Occasionally a functional resume may be appropriate, but if not done well, a functional resume can be confusing to the reader. Career Services professionals can review which format will work best for you. Technology provides you with the resources to create and print professional resume. Use an easy-to-read 11 or 12 point font, one-inch margins (although you could decrease them to three-quarters of an inch if needed), and plenty of white space between sections. Avoid using a resume template since your resume will look exactly like the resume of everyone else who uses this template. Print your resume on good bond paper using black ink. Do not include a picture. Use the same paper for your career letters. When you attach your resume to online application or an email, send it as a PDF to preserve your formatting.

Source: John F. Snyder, Associate Director, Career Education and Development, Slippery Rock University, Pennsylvania