Tag Archives: career

What are your talents?

Two months ago, a student introduced me to one of the most useful resources for developing a professional brand and persona. During a class break, the student pulled up a site called talentoday.com. I saw the student answering a series of questions, then studying a visualization and set of descriptors. All it took was a peek to realize that this could be a wonderful brainstorming and content-building exercise for developing a personal brand.

Talent Today is a free service whose goal is to help users determine their professional personalities, strengths, weaknesses, and motivators. The site is designed for current students and new grads, but the questionnaire and accompanying personality report can be enlightening to veteran professionals as well.

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Many of my questionnaire’s findings aligned with how I already perceive and define myself as a professional–I feel at ease in public and love to meet new people; I find it easy to take on a leadership role and readily volunteer for new initiatives; I believe that innovation is important; I don’t handle stress very well (or as well as I’d like); and I prefer collaboration to competition.

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A few of the findings challenged me to reexamine how I approach work, particularly how low on the motivations scale private/personal life was. I also appreciated the overall analysis of my talents (conscientiousness, responsibility, determination) and my areas of growth (identifying and dealing with sources of stress, remaining loyal to professional ambitions).

My Talent ID gives me a set of percentages based on strengths and areas of growth.

My Talent ID gives me a set of percentages based on strengths and areas of growth.

All in all, my report shows the areas in which I am already excelling (and can continue to grow in) and the areas that need more attention. Such self-analysis is critical for success in Pamela Slim’s “new world of work” (Source).

Take a moment to complete your Talent Today report. What were your talents? Motivators? Areas of growth?

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Data Display of the Day: How to choose the right job

The Professional Communication and Presentation reboot has entered the lesson-building phase; we’ve secured our new course textbook, developed assignments, and rubrics. Now, it’s time to craft lessons to help our students meet the objectives we’ve developed for the course. One of my primary tasks in creating lessons is drawing from and integrating strong sources related to our core outcomes. Today’s data display, courtesy of Daily Infographic and visual.ly, features a very important topic, how to find a job that will help you grow into your career. While this infographic features information you already think about when applying for a job, it puts the most important aspects that lead to career bliss first.

For me, the most of important of these are those that lead to a positive work environment–opportunities, people, and management. From my perspective, a strong leader develops his or her staff, creating worthwhile opportunities for growth, innovation, and fair acknowledgement of above and beyond effort. A strong leader further motivates those he or she leads to actualize their best selves. So, for me, when my students ask me how to choose a target market for their Professional Personal Project, my answer will be look to the leadership.

 

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What’s your key to a job that grows your body of work?

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Data Display of the Day: Climbing the Mountain of Resumes

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As the PCP reboot really takes off, Alex Rister and I are working on developing our weekly lessons/modules using a blend of video, image, and text-based instructional assets. Our ultimate goal for the reboot is to help our students understand what the true connection between effective presenting and professional success is. Why do they need to analyze their growth as professionals so far? How does this analysis better serve them when they present themselves online or in person? I truly believe that communicating and presenting your ideas to others is the most important skill a professional at any level can learn, especially when it comes to landing that dream job, keeping that dream job, and finding others with whom to collaborate. Today’s infographic can help our students take the project they create in Professional Communication and Presentation and present it in a way that is going to help them climb to the top of the resume mountain. This infographic, created by Kelly Services, provides job seekers with some excellent advice (some of which I really need to take on!). The connecting thread is audience awareness and adaptation. Just as in a strong presentation, a job seeker must adapt to his or her audience’s needs to better persuade and motivate them to act.

1. Make sure your resume aligns with your target company

Creating a different resume for each company may seem tedious, but it can make the difference between a resume that catches a recruiter’s eye and a resume that gets put in the virtual or physical trashcan.

2. Know your target company’s culture

As the infographic explains, in our age of connectivity and instant access to information, it’s easier than ever to conduct research on a company and adapt your approach to their needs.

3. Be confident and attentive

Those who are hiring you want to hire someone who is confidence in his or her abilities (not cocky!) and who is “present” during an interview. Show recruiters you are confident that you are not only a good fit for the job but also that you are confident in your definition of what it means to be a professional.

4. Don’t forget to say thank you

Whether via an email or phone call, show gratitude for the time your “audience” gave you.

What are your interview “must dos”? What did you do to land that dream job?

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Superteaching: A decade in review, a decade in progress

As part of professional development for the English department, my colleagues and I have been tasked with revamping our CVs, creating a teaching portfolio, or developing a professional online presence. As I’ve worked on creating a portfolio and have a website, I, of course, began revamping the CV right away and am currently working on ways to maintain the traditional purpose and format but still make the document more rich than just 11 pages of fluff. The process of creating an extensive body of work has led to a bit of retrospection.

A Superteacher in reflective mode...where am I going? Where have I been? (Source: JD Hancock)

A Superteacher in reflective mode…where am I going? Where have I been? (Source: JD Hancock)

January marks the end of my tenth year of teaching at the college level. I began as a green composition instructor at the University of Central Florida. My first and only UCF class was overwhelming, nerve-wracking, exciting and ultimately rewarding, but I still wasn’t sold on this as my career. I resisted the common “Oh, are you going to teach with that?” question that often came after I stated my major was English. In my mind, there had to be something else I could do with this degree. I was both right and completely wrong.

Source: gumuz via Flickr

Source: gumuz via Flickr

I entered the world of editing, copywriting, and marketing eager to prove myself, to dive into my favorite activities: consulting, editing, revising, and proofing others’ work. I applied for every job I saw on Monster and Career Builder; I bought a suit, a red pen, and waited…and waited….finally, I realized no one would hire me! Why not? Not awesome enough at English? No. No experience with professional writing outside of academia? Yup. That was it. So, to gain some experience, I worked as marketing writer and editor for my step-father’s A/V rental company and did freelance work for a local design firm, Lapiz Design.

To make ends meet, I also picked up an instructional assistant/writing center consultant position with Valencia College (Valencia Community College at the time). A short time later, I was offered the opportunity to teach English composition. Being the completely broke and desperate post-grad, I took the class, thinking it would serve as a good source of income until my editing ship came in. What I didn’t realize right away (but learned by the end of that summer semester) was that this would be my calling, that the hours I spent creating transparencies of poems, hunting down vinyl recordings of Dylan Thomas, and coming up with ways to engage beyond the assigned textbook for my course, would lay down roots that are now so ingrained in who and what I am that I cannot imagine my life without teaching.

Source: Mr. T in DC

Source: Mr. T in DC via Flickr

I was offered a full-time contract at a smaller campus of Valencia College. My acceptance would mean five wonderful years at the Winter Park Campus of VC. It was here that I really found my way, a mentor in my department chair, and learned important lessons about classroom teaching, curriculum development, and community and college involvement. It was here that I also began a love affair with the community college (RIP) model. I absolutely thrived in an environment committed to learner-based methodologies and initiatives. I also learned the impact faculty, staff, and students can have on the quality of education the entire community receives.

After five years and a poor judgment call, I was adjuncting, teaching 7 classes per semester with little room for growth at a small campus, so I accepted a position at Full Sail University, where I’ve had the pleasure of further expanding my skills as teacher, presenter, course developer, and now presentation designer. Regardless of challenges (teaching for a for-profit university is at times a sharper learning curve than at a community college), I would not trade the most amazing opportunity of my professional career so far, teaching Professional Communication and Presentation. I have developed a love for new subjects, public speaking and presentation design, that infuse every aspect of my professional and personal life. I have become a crusader for beautiful slides and dynamic delivery.

The last ten years have yielded a body of work I am proud of, and a constantly re-stoked fire for learning and responsible, sustainable education that I cannot wait to share with others. In the past decade, I’ve:

  • Taught 5,500 students
  • Taught 20 different courses or versions of courses
  • Developed 11 different courses either independently or in collaboration with amazing teachers
  • Have attended 30 final project presentations
  • Authored and delivered 17 presentations
  • Sponsored three student organizations
  • Have been inspired by amazing teachers, among them, Christin Upshaw, Sophia Buggs, and Alex Rister
  • Have been mentored by two incredible humans, Kim Murray and Chris Borglum
  • Immersed myself in three new subjects, the most current being my absolute bliss and joy

The first ten years have been fruitful and productive, but I have a few more goals to accomplish in the coming decade. Among them:

  • Truly bring my blog up to speed
  • Work on the balance between mastery and failure in the online environment
  • Continue to seek out opportunities that are learner-centered
  • Earn an Ed.D. in teaching and curriculum or educational leadership
  • Move into instructional design and administration

So, final words/thoughts on my first ten years: I’ve only just found my groove. I am stoked for more!

Source: pwbaker via Flickr

Source: pwbaker via Flickr

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November’s Outstanding Visual Resume

In an effort to promote the benefits of the visual resume as a worthy project for professionals in any field to take on (remember, this doesn’t and shouldn’t replace an actual resume), I am going to showcase a super student visual resume example each month. This month’s selection comes from Nick Weymouth, a student in this month’s Professional Communication and Presentation course. Nick does an impeccable job of designing this deck, and he conveys his story and unique point of view as a professional.

As I work to refine this project in the course, which began as a self-reflection project on the student’s month-long journey into public speaking, I look to find ways to adapt the approach to different professions. I am cooking up a survey to help me answer some core questions about the practical usability and adaptability of the project. So far, a few questions to consider are:

What has the response to your visual resume been so far? Do you feel the project represents you? What is the best means of delivering a visual resume? How much is too much in a visual resume? Is a movie stronger than a deck of slides?

I leave you with Visualizing Resumes 2.0, a work in progress deck I use in a visual resume workshop for teachers.

Do you have a visual resume? If not, what would your visual resume include?

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Be the Signal, Not the Noise: Develop a Visual Resume

Recently, I presented a workshop on visual resumes for faculty and staff at my school. Visual resumes have been a standard in the on campus Professional Communication and Presentation course. My students create amazing supplements to their traditional resumes. I shared a bit of information with faculty and staff about what a visual resume is, why it matters, and why a paper resume is just not enough. Check out my latest slideshare upload here:

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Tweak of the Day: LinkedIn Bootcamp

Ah, Monday, the end of vacation. Well, for a workaholic like me, it’s just another day to tweak and get ready for class tomorrow (though I think some much needed cooking and baking time is in order tonight as a sort of final farewell to the pure unadulterated joy that is holiday eating). This is what updating the overhaul of the online version of Professional Communication and Presentation was like:

But, now that that’s done and out of the way (thanks again to superteacher, Alex Rister), I can move on to today’s tweak of the day, which comes to us from Column Five Media.

LinkedIn Boot Camp

As the introduction to this awesome infographic asserts, LinkedIn is the “dark horse of social media.” I myself have a LinkedIn account, but rarely update it, in fact, it’s not even complete. However, devouring this visually delicious infographic, along with a bit of prodding from my resolutions center (one of my resolutions this year is to apply for x number of jobs and to really market myself effectively as a teacher and designer), has made me recall just how often I emphasize to my students the importance of a strong professional persona. I have gotten pretty good at building physical muscle and keeping active, I think it’s time I start working on building my LinkedIn muscle. What do you think? Is LinkedIn truly as worth the effort as this infographic claims?

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