Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Never Stop Learning

In an effort to "Never Stop Learning," the New York Chapter of NSHMBA will host two pre-conferences seminars. Mainly geared toward students and professionals planning to attend our National Conference in October. This yearly program will help you to impress the recruiters at the conference by fine-tuning your interviewing skills with personal branding tools, learning tips to navigate among the companies at the conference and by receiving advice and constructive criticism on your resume.

Start the morning with three (3) Concurrent workshops (about 40 minutes each)

-> Interviewing - What you need to know - Tom Monaco, Director Career Services at Fordham GBA
-> Resume Critique Workshop – Barbara Safani of Career Solvers
-> Personal Branding Workshop - Chandlee Bryan of Careers in Context

Lunch (included with registration)

Closing panel "Navigating the Career Expo" features panelists representing companies that recruit at the Expo. Meet them in a more intimate setting.

For more details on the agenda and workshops, click: for the New York City seminar or for the Rochester seminar.

*Non-member students must show a valid student ID at the door.

New York City:
Presented in Partnership with Latin American & Hispanic Business Association of Columbia Business School & supported by funds from:

Rochester event Sponsored by:

Keep Your Career Edge Part 1: Never Stop Learning
June 20, 2008
J. Nisen--HispanicBusiness.com

Every June, a legion of fresh, motivated, talented individuals don mortarboards and gowns to symbolize their ascendancy into the workforce. Indeed, recent college graduates tend to grab many of the employment-related headlines, as reporters and columnists seek to help them on the path to their first full-time jobs.

But what about the vast majority of the workforce? The journeyman professionals and mid-level executives who are discovering some challenges mid-career, whether driven by the economic business cycle, changes in career goals, or the shifting priorities that come with maturity? Just because they are road-tested professionals doesn't mean they have all the answers. With changing workplace and life dynamics, some may need guidance as much as the recent graduates.

Fortunately, taking a cue from those recent graduates, experts agree that there's a solution that can help mitigate economic doldrums, career burnout, and life's curveballs -- continuing education.

Economic Realities
Many economic factors -- including high gas prices, the shrinking dollar, fallout from the subprime crisis, and tight credit markets -- are forcing companies to cut costs and improve efficiencies. Unfortunately, personnel moves, such as layoffs or attrition, are common solutions. The positions most likely to be on the chopping block could be those that carry higher salaries. This practice, however, could prove to be shortsighted.

Gloria Castillo, president of Chicago United, an organization dedicated to fostering sustainable workplace diversity at the executive level, believes that "Retention should be a key goal for companies even in tough times."

She told HispanicBusiness.com that, "It is important for companies to batten down the hatches while also being prepared to aggressively compete . . . to acquire critical talent when the economy turns around."

However, should an institution take a shortsighted view of the economic cycle, how can a mid-career professional help ensure that he or she is indispensable? Ms. Castillo indicates that education and communication are key.

"Employed professionals should be constantly honing their skills and leveraging opportunities within their companies," she said. Additionally, "it is important that they inform their leaders and managers that they are actively engaged in helping the company achieve its goals."

Keith Wyche, president of U.S. operations for Pitney Bowes Management Services and author of the upcoming book "'Good is Not Enough,' and Other Rules for Minority Professionals," agrees. He says that during tough economic times a company will determine what its value in the marketplace is. Then, when making personnel decisions, it will ask, "Who are the people who, based upon performance and results, are best suited to help us to deliver that value to the marketplace?"

"Regardless of what your position is in the organization, there are results or expectations that define whether you are successful or unsuccessful in your role," says Wyche. "Make it a priority to understand what those critical success factors are, and take the time to document them and measure your performance against them on a regular basis."

However, even when taking precautionary steps, a talented professional could end up looking for a new position. All the more reason, says Josh Warborg, President, Pacific Northwest District for Robert Half International, to keep up with one's professional education.

"Staying current makes you competitive in the market," he told us. Specifically, he believes that mid-career professionals should continue to improve their skills.

"Don't be complacent and always continue to take your career seriously," he said. "Welcome more challenges at work as you improve your on-the-job skill set. Earning certifications, like a CPA or CMA, in addition to advanced degrees, can certainly benefit."

Updating your resume on a regular basis is also critical, says Bill Krutzen, Director of HireDiversity.com. Job candidates often only update their resumes when they are out of work and actively looking for a new job. Recalling specific job achievements or new skill sets can be difficult to remember over the past few years. Resumes need to be looked at as living documents that need constant updating.

Ms. Castillo also reminds professionals to "own their professional development programs," by pursuing educational opportunities both within the company and by utilizing external efforts.

Ultimately, bettering your skills will make you more marketable within your own company and more attractive to other companies.

Education can also be a very important function in combating career burnout--please join us for part two of this series next week.

Source: HispanicBusiness.com (c) 2008. All rights reserved.

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