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Archive for December, 2012

Time to reconsider that Twitter bio…

December 18th, 2012 Comments off

!Today I received my report of new Twitter followers for the @CareerTips account. The first new follower — to a career-oriented column mind you — had a bio line consisting of nothing but…wait for it…

“Occasional Alcoholic”

Now, do I really need to tell anyone that his is probably not the most appropriate bio for any Twitter account, let alone one being used to follow an account offering career advice.

Categories: Answer, Career Tips, Education, Question, Tips Tags:

Tips for the long-term unemployed – Career Opportunities Podcast

December 17th, 2012 Comments off

Career Opportunities podcast logo

Throughout my life, both offline and online, I meet many people who — for lack of a better term — find themselves among the long-term unemployed. They might be working in some capacity, as a freelancer, for example, but they would much rather re-join the ranks of full-time employees. They can find themselves in this situation due to a layoff, recovery from health problems or because they followed a career path that has not worked out. Regardless of the reasons, there are several tips that can help the long-term unemployed get back to work full-time.



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Sell your skills — and yourself

I am always fond of saying that job hunting — and your career in general — is the biggest and most important sales work you will ever have. Getting your next job requires selling yourself, but it also requires selling your skills. Yes, you must be personable and someone that colleagues wouldn’t mind seeing on a daily basis, but you also have to sell your most important skills to a company. This means telling great stories about times when your skills benefited you or your employers in the past. Nothing sells like a great story (make sure it is a true story, of course.) It quickly conveys the message that you are focused on results, not merely “showing up” each day.

Just like you hone the job descriptions on your resume, I want you to think deeply about the skill stories you can, and need, to tell when looking for a job. These are the stories that will bring the most impact to any interview or indeed, any conversation, you might have with a potential employer. Having these stories prepared is just as important as having ready answers for the typical interview “gotcha” questions that many interviewers ask. In some cases, these stories can short circuit those questions and lead you to have an actual conversation with the interviewer instead of a game of employment cat and mouse.

A conversation of equals

Too often, and in my own experience as well, we enter an interview feeling inferior. We feel and act as if we have come begging for a job. We are a supplicant coming on bended knee to our padrone. For me, this can kill an interview more quickly than anything else. You increase your chances for a successful interview by creating a “conversation of equals”.

Even if you have a hard time believing it yourself due to low confidence, you must project the image that hiring you is a win-win situation. Yes, the company has a job to offer, but you also have skills and knowledge that the company needs to accomplish their goals. When we approach an interview in a weak, fawning or obsequious manner, we damage our own credibility. We plant a seed in the interviewer’s mind that we are too weak to be considered for this very important position. It can seem counter-intuitive, as we are usually taught to be, quote, “respectful” of those interviewing us, but respect is one thing, debasing yourself in front of them is an entirely different matter. On your next interview, remember the phrase “a conversation of equals” as you walk through the door and it will help you bring the proper attitude to the meeting.

Create your own position

In this day of over-inflated (and impossible to fill) job descriptions, remember that you might be able to create your own position in a company. If you can fulfill a certain portion of the responsibilities listed in the job description there might be an opportunity for you to split the job into multiple positions. Those interviewing often need to hire someone quickly and if they could fulfill a major part of the job, they might be willing to work with you. If a job is available at all, it means that the company truly NEEDS that position filled. There is some sort of “pain” that the company needs to address and you could be the cure…at least for a portion of it. Don’t be afraid to take that approach in an interview.

For many long-term unemployed, the usual method of finding work is simply no longer working. You need to look at alternatives — new ways of being a solution to a particular problem, not just someone — among a hundred other someone’s — who can fill a seat from day to day. Discover the skills that make you unique and focus on those in any interaction with an employer.

***

Categories: Audio, Podcast, Show Tags:

News: 2012 Gift Guide Complete, new blog and podcast series, and more! Send me your feedback!

December 15th, 2012 Comments off

2012 Gift Guide Complete!

As the shipping window begins to close on this holiday season, and after 115 different items,  our 2012 Gift Guide comes to an end. I hope you have found my suggestions useful, practical and enjoyable and hope you have found gifts for your friends, family and yourself. Some of these items might be available locally or can be downloaded, so you still have some gifting time left.

Handmade Garden Projects: Step-by-Step Instructions for Creative Garden Features, Containers, Lighting & More Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age by Clay Shirkey Microwave-heated Plant Press Arriba Cases Gear Transport Bags Mophie Powerstation 4000mAh 2.1A External Battery Charger Garden House: Bringing the Outdoors In The Five Dysfunctions of a Team Behringer 302USB Premium 5-Input Mixer

You can find a complete list of all the gift guide items at the end of this message.


Books by Douglas E. Welch

My ebooks, can be “gifted” directly from Amazon.com and/or immediately downloaded to a eReader you might also be giving. I hope you’ll consider these book as a gift to your garden/careerbuilder/social media friends and family.

Cookbooks

All the recipes for my Annual Christmas Cookie Party are now available in these FREE cookbooks — available on your iPad or computer!


Video from Douglas

My video work has been growing over the last year and you can find all of my videos on my blogs and YouTube Channel. Subscribe to that channel, or the podcasts, to see each new video automatically.


New to DouglasEWelch.com

My gift to all of you this season is a collection of new blog and video series to feed your garden/career/new media needs. Some of these series have started already and you will see them in the appropriate blogs These include In the garden…New Media Gear, Garden Vocabulary, Subscribed, New Food, Recipes in Rotation and more. You can also catch me each week as co-host of #KitchenParty, a live interview show where we get to talk to all our foodie friends. You can see past episodes on the Bakespace.com YouTube Channel.

I am transitioning away from my computer consulting work and focusing more the blogs and podcasts, so you should be seeing more great content, on a more regular schedule, than ever before. I hope you will join me in the coming year. I would love to hear what you think about anything you see here.

Wishing you all the best in 2013!

Dewsig

 


 

2012 Gift Guide

More 2012 Gift Guide Items:

  1. Do the Work by Steven Pressfield
  2. Bulb Planting Tools
  3. Blue Snowball Microphone
  4. Seagate Backup Plus 500 GB USB 3.0 Portable External Hard Drive
  5. Logitech C920 HD Web Cam
  6. We Are All Weird by Seth Godin
  7. Sunset Western Garden Book – New Edition for 2012
  8. The Hobbit/The Lord of the Rings
  9. Garden Mysteries by Anthony Eglin
  10. The Creative Habit/The Collaborative Habit by Twyla Tharp
  11. Moleskeine Journals
  12. Pat Welsh’s Southern California Organic Gardening (3rd Edition): Month by Month
  13. Podcasting for Dummies/Expert Podcasting Practices for Dummies
  14. Wacom Bamboo Splash Pen Tablet
  15. Radical Careering by Sally Hogshead
  16. The $64 Tomato
  17. Blue Yeti Microphone
  18. BioLite CampStove/HomeStove
  19. Getting Things Done by David Allen
  20. The Curious Gardener
  21. Anything You Want by Derek Sivers
  22. GoPro HD HERO 3
  23. Flower Confidential by Amy Stewart
  24. The Starfish and the Spider by Orj Brafman and Rod A. Beckstrom
  25. Microphone Boom Arms
  26. The Information by James Gleick
  27. Handy Farm Devices And How To Make Them (1909)
  28. Zarrella’s Hierarchy of Contagiousness: The Science, Design, and Engineering of Contagious Ideas
  29. Apple iPhone 5
  30. Ignore Everybody and 39 Other Keys to Creativity by Hugh MacLeod
  31. Killer Ratings by Lisa Seidman
  32. Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It by Karen Solomon
  33. Zoom Portable Recorders (H1, H2, H2n, H4n)
  34. Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds
  35. My Teenager’s Favorite Games
  36. The Compassionate Instinct: The Science of Human Goodness
  37. In a Mexican Garden: courtyards, pools and open-air living rooms
  38. Fields of Plenty: A farmer’s journey in search of real food and the people who grow it
  39. Apple iPad/iPad Mini
  40. The Back of the Napkin by Dan Roam
  41. Cucina Rustica
  42. The Great Potato Book
  43. Rode Podcaster Microphone
  44. High-Tech Fitness Monitors
  45. Books by Douglas E. Welch
  46. Tribes by Seth Godin
  47. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  48. The Italian Slow Cooker cookbook
  49. The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need
  50. Classes from The Institute of Domestic Technology
  51. Olympus PEN E-P1 12 MP Micro Four Thirds Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera
  52. Backyard Giants: The Passionate, Heartbreaking and Glorious Quest to Grow the Biggest Pumpkin Ever by Susan Warren
  53. Cocoon GRID-IT Organizer Packs
  54. Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking
  55. Podcast Solutions by Dan Klass and Michael Geoghegan
  56. The Craft and Business of Songwriting by John Braheny
  57. Dexim Visible Green Smart Charge & Sync Cable
  58. Wells Lamont Wet and Muddy Latex Coated Gardening Glove
  59. Rosanne’s Top 5 Books for Film Buffs
  60. Bon-Aire HN-10C Original Ultimate Hose Nozzle
  61. Microphones from Giant Squid Audio Labs
  62. Re-Imagine by Tom Peters
  63. Razer Gaming Mice
  64. Garden Hod harvest carrier
  65. Nest Learning Thermostat
  66. Aha! 10 Ways to Free Your Creative Spirit and Find Your Great Ideas
  67. Yes, You Can! And Freeze and Dry It, Too: The Modern Step-By-Step Guide to Preserving Food
  68. A Whack on the Side of the Head: How You Can Be More Creative
  69. Fiskars 7936 PowerGear Pruner
  70. Chi-qoo Solar Power Pack Kit from Bootstrap Solar
  71. Read This Before Our Next Meeting by Al Pittampalli
  72. Sterling Audio ST51 Large Diaphragm FET Condenser Microphone
  73. DollarSeed.com – One Stop Seed Shop
  74. 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive
  75. Desktop Microphone Stands
  76. Logitech Harmony 650 Remote Control
  77. Maple Sugaring Startup Kit from Tap My Trees
  78. Sennheiser HD-280 PRO Headphones
  79. Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving with Grace
  80. Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bags
  81. The SeedKeeper Company
  82. Jump Start Your Brain by Doug Hall and David Wecker
  83. Joby GP1-A1EN GorillaPod Flexible Tripod
  84. Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirkey
  85. How Carrots Won the Trojan War: Curious (but True) Stories of Common Vegetables by Rebecca Rupp
  86. Fifty Plants that Changed the Course of History
  87. Behringer XENYX X1622USB Premium 16-Input 2/2-Bus Mixer
  88. Starter Kit for Newsite Arduino Uno R3
  89. RAM Vehicle Mounts for iPhone (and nearly any other device)
  90. The Weed That Killed Lincoln’s Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities by Amy Stewart
  91. Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity by David Whyte
  92. Seeing Trees: Discover the Extraordinary Secrets of Everyday Trees
  93. Don’t Send a Resume: And Other Contrarian Rules to Help Land a Great Job
  94. Olloclip 3-in-1 Lens for iPhone
  95. Rules of Thumb by Alan M. Webber
  96. Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Microphone
  97. Asus Google Nexus 7
  98. A Country Year by Sue Hubbell
  99. The Art of Possibility by Benjamin Zander and Rosamund Stone Zander
  100. A Book of Bees : And How to Keep Them by Sue Hubbell
  101. Blue Microphones Icicle XLR to USB Mic Converter/Mic Preamp
  102. Thinking for a Change: 11 Ways Highly Successful People Approach Life and Work by John C. Maxwell
  103. Fiskars 9625 18-Inch PowerGear Bypass Lopper
  104. Minecraft
  105. The Pursuit of Wow! by Tom Peters
  106. Urban Sanctuaries
  107. Twine – Your first step into The Internet of Things
  108. Behringer 302USB Premium 5-Input Mixer
  109. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
  110. Garden House: Bringing the Outdoors In
  111. Mophie Powerstation 4000mAh 2.1A External Battery Charger
  112. Arriba Cases Gear Transport Bags
  113. Microwave-heated Plant Press
  114. Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age by Clay Shirkey
  115. Handmade Garden Projects: Step-by-Step Instructions for Creative Garden Features, Containers, Lighting & More

 

Categories: Announcement, Special Tags:

Archive: Don’t let your (high-tech) clients fall behind

December 14th, 2012 Comments off

Career Opportunities podcast logoVisiting a new client this week, I was reminded of the pain clients can feel when their computers fall too far behind the state of the art. While no one wants to buy hardware and software they don’t need, neither do they want to make huge leaps when they are finally forced to upgrade. A slow progression of software and hardware updates is far more preferable to the “forced march” of an emergency upgrade.


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But it works fine!

If you ask your clients why they haven’t upgraded their computers or software, they often reply that, “it works fine for what I do.” Even in the best cases where the client can be productive there lies a bit of a trap. While the computer might fulfill their basic needs at the moment, I can assure you they are experiencing more problems than they might let on. Typically, smaller issues such as web pages that won’t load, videos and animation that can’t be played and more are already hampering their work. Perhaps they can’t read the files that friends and co-workers send them. Finally, you will be left with no recourse but to recommend they get a new computer. This is where the pain truly begins.

In my case, the client was using an older Mac and never upgraded to Mac OS X, even though the computer was capable of running the earlier versions. Further, they made only limited updates to their software over the years. Finally, though, time caught up with them. Their older web browser could not cope with the fancy web services provided by their bank. Even parts of Apple’s web sites would no longer load. They were finding it hard to do the small bits of client work they do as a sideline, as their software was too far behind. As it happened, I upgraded my own computer, which was very similar to theirs, to the latest version of Mac OS X and found that the computer could not run it acceptably. So, I now knew they needed a new computer. Suddenly our discussions of relatively simple upgrades turned to outright replacement and hundreds of dollars turned into thousands.

Pay me now, pay me later

Now, not only would they need to purchase a new computer, they would have to replace all their software, as well. Had they upgraded their software over time, they might have had versions that ran on the new operating system or been able to purchase them at a discount. Even worse, some programs were so old that no current version of the program existed or the current version would not longer read the file formats of the older version. In these cases, the client’s data had truly come to a dead end. Of course, I will use the older system to export their data and bring it forward in any way I can, but there will always be a few cases where this is impossible or nearly so.

A client, facing the costs of new hardware, new software and hours of my services can quickly become disheartened. While they hadn’t really done anything wrong, they found themselves caught in the nasty position of starting all over again with their new computer. As you might imagine this can be intimidating and frustrating and could cause some rough moments for you and your client.

Keep up

The solution for my clients doesn’t involve buying every new upgrade or every new computer system that appears on the scene. Instead I try to gently push my clients forward at a pace that is slightly slower than the speed of innovation. While I don’t expect my clients to have the latest version of an operating system, I will start to worry if they fall more than 2 versions behind. The same goes for all their software. Once you go more than 2 versions, you start to get into the danger zone where file compatibility begins to be an issue and you can miss out on upgrade discounts that can help to ease the cost of moving up. A gentle push here. A gentle nudge there. By offering good advice in small doses, you can insure that your clients won’t suffer when it comes time to upgrade.

While a stable, working computer that you paid off a while ago can be a good thing, it can also lull clients into a false sense of security. If they allow themselves to fall too far behind today, they could be facing a very nasty surprise in the future. Don’t let your clients place themselves in this position. Do everything you can to keep them moving forward, even slowly and you will be doing them a great service…and yourself as well.

***

Categories: Audio, Podcast, Show Tags:

Jobs Available – Listings of all types at Jobs.WelchWrite.com – Search by keyword and location

December 14th, 2012 Comments off

Looking for a job? There are a host of job listings available on Jobs.WelchWrite.com every day.

Enter the keywords you are searching for and your location to get fresh and focused listings.

Career jobs

Jobs.WelchWrite.com

Categories: Announcement, Jobs Offered, Special Tags:

2012 Gift Guide: Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age by Clay Shirkey

December 12th, 2012 Comments off

Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age by Clay Shirkey

I am in the midst of reading this book and enjoying it a lot Shirley seeks to provide some background as to why people volunteer their time and energy on various Internet-conncected pursuits as varied as online communities, sharing Instagram photos and raising money for charities online. I am finding that I am highlighting quite a few sections to consider later, as I read.

It is important for every careerist to understand how this new hyper-connected world effects not only what we do, but who we are. Understanding the tools and the motivations that drive their use is a great career advantage that should not be ignored.

From Amazon.com…

The author of the breakout hit Here Comes Everybody reveals how new technology is changing us for the better.

In his bestselling Here Comes Everybody, Internet guru Clay Shirky provided readers with a much-needed primer for the digital age. Now, with Cognitive Surplus, he reveals how new digital technology is unleashing a torrent of creative production that will transform our world. For the first time, people are embracing new media that allow them to pool their efforts at vanishingly low cost. The results of this aggregated effort range from mind-expanding reference tools like Wikipedia, which allows Kenyans to report acts of violence in real time. Cognitive Surplus explores what’s possible when people unite to use their intellect, energy, and time for the greater good.”

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2012 Gift Guide: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

December 11th, 2012 Comments off

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni

Dysfunctions is structured more like a short story or novelette than a traditional business book. This allowed me to get very involved in the story. Indeed, I believe a good story is always the best way to approach life and business. Whether you are writing a resume or trying to solve difficult business problems, a good story can illuminate the issue better than any combination of charts and reports.

The end of the book contains a more “business-like” restatement of the lessons, for those who want a more traditional review.

More importantly, I saw many aspects of my past business dealings echoed in the book. I think that anyone who is involved in business, in any form, has faced many of these same problems and issues. I requested this book from the library after seeing a short mention, possibly just the title in some magazine I was reading. I had no preconceptions about what I might find within, and I have been pleasantly surprised with the quality and importance of Dysfunctions.

While telling a good story helped to clearly explain the concepts, there were a few times when the characters came around too quickly to the lesson.The main character, a newly minuted CEO brought in to build a better executive team, seems a bit too assured with her process, but yet exhibits some moments of fear and regret.

Overall, this is a great book and I would highly suggest that it be recommended to your employees and your peers as a way of explaining how teamwork can and will develop if everyone is committed to making it happen.

More 2012 Gift Guide Items:

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2012 Gift Guide: The Pursuit of Wow! by Tom Peters

December 10th, 2012 Comments off

The Pursuit of Wow! by Tom Peters

While I don’t think I would ever pay the expensive fees required to attend a Tom Peters seminar in person, I am more than happy to read what he has to say. The constant instigator, Peters may say things you don’t agree with, but he will also make you think. My favorite parts of the book are the examples, using companies both large and small, that demonstrate how even the small things can have big effects. Peter’s bias towards front-line personnel is also heartening. I too believe that a company’s fortunes are made just as much at the front counter as they are in the company headquarters. Often, front-line personnel have access to important information that could help executives build their company, or in some cases, save it from destruction.

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2012 Gift Guide: Thinking for a Change: 11 Ways Highly Successful People Approach Life and Work by John C. Maxwell

December 9th, 2012 Comments off

Thinking for a Change: 11 Ways Highly Successful People Approach Life and Work by John C. Maxwell

This is on the short list of books which I will buy for my firends and aquaintances whenever they come to me with issues with organization or managing their time. Maxwell has a series of books and each one has its own strengths, but I have found that this one provides me the biggest triggers for further thought.

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Archive: What to do when your career is going well

December 7th, 2012 Comments off

Career Opportunities podcast logoDespite the fact that we all have challenges to face in our careers, there are times when things are going our way. There are times when we find the perfect job at the perfect moment with the perfect company. When this happens, you usually just want to sit back and enjoy. While you certainly should take pleasure in finding a job that is fulfilling and enjoyable, you should not forget to stay prepared for the time when desire or circumstance leads you out of this job and into the next.


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Take notice

One of the first actions you need to take when you find yourself in a good job is to actively investigate what makes it good. Is it the work you are doing? Your co-workers? Your management? Some combination of these and more? Recognizing what makes this job special and enjoyable will enable you to seek out similar traits whenever you are looking for a new job. Being able to identify what you want and what companies can offer is half the battle in developing a great career.

Don’t rely on your memory to hold this information. Take the time to write up what you see around you so you can revisit or reinvent it in the future. Should this job eventually end, you want to be able to revisit your feelings as they were at the height of your enjoyment. Too often we can forget there was ever anything good about a job once it begins to crumble.

Take Action

Too often, I see job satisfaction turn to boredom. Once we find a good position, we often want to preserve this position at all costs. Thinking that any change could upset the delicate equilibrium, we stall and stagnate. We stop challenging ourselves with new work, new thoughts, new ideas. Even worse, we will see outside influences, such as new products, new management or new staff, as a threat to our status quo.

Instead of enjoying our position, we start to worry that someone will shatter our perfect world. In reality, at that point it is we who are damaging it. Through our resistance and stubbornness we will create the exact opposite of the environment we desire. We become rigid and insular and often bring about our own destruction.

If you want to continue in a job you love, you need to see change as an important factor. Sure, the balance will be upset and your job may change, but it will often find a new equilibrium similar to before. You might even find that change will make your job better. Sometimes we worry so much about the negative side of change that we find it impossible to see the positive effects that it can bring.

Finally, no matter how comfortable you may feel in your job or how perfect the situation, you can never stop growing, both as a worker and as a person. If you are fulfilling all the aspects of your job today, find some way to expand your role. If you have all the knowledge you need, find an area of ignorance to fill. If your work life is perfect, work on your personal life.

Life and work lie on a continuum. If you perceive yourself as staying in one place, you are actually falling behind. Do not be seduced by the happiness of finding a great job. This doesn’t mean you should stop moving forward….stop trying. If you become too enamored of your current position, you may wake up to find that you have fallen behind.

Bask in the joy of finding and living with your great job. These are special times that come all too infrequently to most workers. Even so, be aware of the pitfalls that the best times can bring. Don’t just settle in for the next 30 years. Challenge yourself to increase your knowledge and increase your effect on the world. Don’t let happiness lull you into a false sense of security or a stagnate life. Happiness breeds more happiness, if you seek it out. Use the perfect job as a springboard to yet greater heights in your career.

***

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