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The Now, The New & The Next in Careers

Career Management Articles

Stay ahead of the curve with insights from our CTL Associates.

  • 18 Jun 2012 12:14 PM | Anonymous

    By Sharon Wiatt Jones

    Social media is spreading knowledge globally at the speed of a “Tweet.”  Jeff Bullas

    LOCALIZATION.  What’s a geo-lingual visitor to do when the language of a website is indecipherable?   Leave.  U.S. marketers using monolingual tweets are at a potential disadvantage, according to Common Sense Advisory, which found that 72.4% of consumers prefer to learn about products and services in their primary language. Language Lines Services CEO Louis F. Provenzano, Jr. reports that 60 million (20%) of U.S. legal residents speak a language other than English at home. The fastest growing language on Twitter is Arabic. Kindle’s vision is ambitious: “Every book ever printed in every language all available in 60 seconds.” Notable global trends in social media are:

    --Especially high online user engagement in Israel, China, Russia, Brazil, and India.

    --Exploding Internet use in emerging markets (India, China, and South America).

    --Increasing number of languages supported on major platforms, such as Facebook (70+) and Google (64).

    Kindle recruits software engineers who have skills to "dive deep on localization bugs, solving issues in multiple languages...” Nuance hires natural language processing and understanding engineers for applications in Japanese, Spanish, Korean, and Chinese. Linguist translation software designers and bilingual application support/helpdesk analysts are also in demand. Global SEO specialists perform multilingual keyword analysis. They adapt content and web sites for search engines in different languages and countries. Similar occupations include computational linguist or architect, search quality engineer, and internationalization engineer. A terminologist has expertise in a specialized subject. Localization professionals go beyond translation, selecting the most appropriate images, graphics, colors, music, and themes. Language Scientific seeks interns in multilingual graphic design in addition to localization marketing. Electronic Arts has found that game localization pays off. Its openings include social game localizer, localization testing manager, and social localization specialist. Geosocial networking is a growing field, with mobile users offered incentives for social shopping in their local area. Typical jobs in geolocation include GIS software developers, product engineers, and test engineers.

    SPEECH SCIENCE. Speech scientists develop intuitive touch and speech interfaces in various languages for use in mobile devices, applications, and services. Most people have heard of “Siri,” the Apple iPhone voice-activated personal assistant. Nuance has openings such as voice developer and speech output designer to work on entertainment and automobile products.  Ad copy advises consumers to simply tell Dragon TV what you want and it delivers…by name, genre, title. Dragon Drive will initially be available in six languages, provide navigation instructions, and play music selected by users. BBN Technologies, a Raytheon subsidiary, recruits for openings in Speech & Language Technologies: associate scientist, software engineer (speech recognition/NLP/multimedia), and language understanding intern.

    ADAPTIVE TECHNOLOGY. Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) technology helps those who cannot use natural speech to communicate due to hearing problems, autism, Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, and stroke. Apple’s VoiceOver, a mobile device interface in 36 languages, is user-friendly for those with disabilities. Braille displays and hearing-aid compatible headsets are some of the available features. Computerized gaming therapy can be used for children with autism. The results are moving, as a child says, “I love you mommy,” for the first time. DynaVox Mayer-Johnson hires clinical content developers with backgrounds in speech-language pathology to create applications for those with adults and children with disabilities. Graphic artists create Picture Communication Symbols.

    ENDANGERED LANGUAGES. Lise Dobrin, an assistant professor in linguistics at the University of Virginia, has found a new use for her digital archive of Papua New Guinea’s dying Arapesh language. Research she conducted 15 years ago was discovered by Facebook users who wanted to learn their native tongue.  Indigenous language advocates, teachers, and researchers are using mobile devices to promote literacy in countries with limited access to technology. “IT missionaries” now facilitate Bible translation using cell phones in countries that pose a danger to evangelists. In addition to Arabic, Hebrew, and Greek, SIL International employs font designers, who enabled script for an alphabet based on camel branding marks for readers in western Sudan and eastern Chad.

  • 11 Jun 2012 12:27 PM | Anonymous

    By Joan Runnheim Olson

    In a recent article published by The Glass Hammer, author Jessica Titlebaum shared the findings of what she discovered when attending the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) Summit in Chicago recently.

    At the Summit, Dr. Shelley Correll, a professor at Stanford University, shared findings of two studies on gender stereotypes and biases within the hiring process. I must admit I was stunned by her findings. In her presentation, Correll, referred to a study about the number of female musicians performing in orchestras.

    Females only represented 5% of musicians that played in symphony orchestras in the 1970's. Blind auditions where then introduced and musicians played behind a screen so the sex of the musician was hidden. As a result of this move, 50 percent of the musicians that moved on to the second round of auditions were females.

    As a result, today females make up 25% of the musicians in symphony orchestras. Gender stereotypes bias the evaluations of individuals while proving to be an advantage to male applicants. Through their use of a screen to hide the sex of the musician they discovered that biases can be reduced or even eliminated. Correll brought up about another study by Cordelia Fine, from the book, Delusions of Gender

    In her study, a group of hiring managers were given the same resume to evaluate. One group reviewed a resume with a man's name at the top while the other half reviewed the same resume with a woman's name at the top. According to this study, 79 percent of the hiring managers believed that the male resume was capable of the job while only 42 percent picked the female resume.

    Correll shared tips on how females can combat these stereotypes during the hiring process through self-promotion, staying positive and appearing confident.

  • 04 Jun 2012 12:29 PM | Anonymous

    By Cynthia Kivland

    Frantic, forgetful, fragmented and flummoxed. Does this describe your workplace or someone you work with? If so, you’re not alone. Many workplaces are driven by a frenetic, globalized, technology-driven, task focused climate. Has your workplace developed a culture of activity, aided by technology, iPads, latest gadgets, and email 24/7?  

    Are employees expected to work longer and be “on call” wherever and whenever? If this sounds like your workplace, then recognize that your leaders’ and employees’ “emotional and social pulse” is dealing with escalating demands often with conflicting life or work choices. The result is a workplace that zaps creativity, stalls innovation, minimizes social humanity, and decreases career engagement, laughter, and overall psychological well-being.

    Do You Work in an ADT Workplace? Since the mid-1990s, people have increasingly complained of being chronically inattentive, disorganized and overbooked. Most complaints originate from individuals who do not have clinical diagnoses of attention deficit disorder (ADD). Instead, they suffer from what ADD expert Dr. Edward M. Hallowell calls “severe cases of modern workplaces”—a condition he dubs Attention Deficit Traits (ADT).

    This is an emotional and social workplace condition that promotes over stimulation, multitasking, emotional distancing, and a socially disconnected environment. ADT sufferers have an environmentally induced attention deficit, he asserts—a phenomenon he describes as the “F-state:” frantic, frenzied, forgetful, flummoxed, frustrated and fragmented.

    Adrenaline Rush. For many people, working in the F-state is energizing. Using email, Blackberries, social networks and other devices provides constant stimulation. Some people are addicted to the adrenaline surge: doing everything faster feels exciting - and pumps their energies – for a while. However, working faster and acquiring and storing more data does not increase one’s sense of career fulfillment. While these behaviors may temporarily charge your emotional battery, they won’t deepen your emotional and social connections to what really matters. 

    Just like when a computer takes in too much data, or has too many programs running at the same time, it will eventually shut down.

    Career Deficit Disorder. One side effect of a frenzied pace is emotional and cognitive disorganization. We cannot keep up with all of the data, emails and piles of paper we accumulate to stay informed. We become buried in clutter, and don’t take the time to “pull the weeds”. 

    The result is that overloaded clients may resort to making decisions from this “F” state, that often bring emotionally hijacked, short-term and often unhealthy or unproductive solutions. Disorganization is a symptom—not the core problem. Getting organized may alleviate surface pain, but it doesn’t address the root cause. Sure, we can all benefit from being more organized and getting a handle on time management, but the issues run deeper than simply clearing off our desk.

    Emotional and Social Deficit Disorder. Too much electronic time, coupled with a lack of human moments, leads to an as-yet-unnamed medical and emotional condition. Symptoms include loss of personal vitality, an inability to converse, a craving for a computer screen, social isolation, emotional outbursts, to low-grade depression. What we know is that email or social networking communication is not a substitute for authentic human interaction. We may choose to send an email because a phone conversation requires too much time, emotional energy and social complexity.

    However, what we do know is that positive human-to-human contact increases creativity through social connectedness and reduces blood levels of the stress hormones epinephrine, norepinephrine and cortisol. While we may, indeed, produce more in less time, we are left with a gnawing feeling of emptiness and less career fulfillment. What resilient workplaces must realize is that human, emotional connections are critical to peak performance, especially in times of uncertainty.

    What Coaches Can Do to Tame the Crazy Busy Workplace. All too often, companies cause Attention Deficit Traits in their work groups by demanding fast, detached solutions, rather than taking time to feel, think and reflect before acting. Even worse, some workplaces reward those who say yes to overload and punish those say no to the constant “F” state.

    These workplaces are overly infatuated with fast-acting, non-emotional individuals who multitask and work long hours, often to their personal well-being —and the company’s—detriment. Workplaces that ignore ADT symptoms in their employees will suffer its unhealthy or unproductive effects: people underachieve, create clutter, cut corners, ignore ethics, make careless mistakes and squander their brainpower.

    As demands continue to mount, a toxic, high-pressure culture can produce a less civil and more toxic workplace, with higher turnover and a less resilient climate. Three important prerequisites for creating psychological healthy and resilient solutions are: a positive emotional environment; intentional social connectivity; and finding the right workplace rhythm.

    Creating a positive emotional environment starts with emotional and social intelligence!  Develop training, coaching or mentoring programs that teach the impact of emotions on workplace climate and motivation. 

    For example, perform an emotional positive action each day such as appreciating an employee’s, customer’s or boss’ support. Intentional social connectivity can occur by scheduling a friendly, face-to-face talk with a person every four to six hours.

    And, finding the right workplace rhythm begins with a healthy lifestyle. Get adequate sleep.  Monitor what and when you eat.  Avoid simple, sugary carbohydrates as an energy boost. Stick to complex carbohydrates (vegetables, whole grains, and fruit) first, and add protein. Moderate your intake of alcohol and caffeine. Exercise until you sweat at least 30 minutes every other day.  

    Move around every 2-3 hours - go up and down a flight of stairs. Taming the overloaded workplace starts with creating and rewarding policies to spark positive emotional moments (each day employees are to reserve some “pause time” that’s free from appointments, email and phone calls); or build social connectivity (share lunch each week with someone new), and finally, engage your best (before you leave work each day, create a list of three to five items that will engage your personal best the next day). 

    Often, workplaces consult a resilience or healthy workplace coach to develop social and emotional intelligence, to tame the overloaded tiger and then create new workplace policies and reward processes.

    Two resources to consult are the article  written by Dr. Hallowell “Overloaded Circuits: Why Smart People Underperform” (Harvard Business Review, January 2005), and the research and chapter written by Cynthia Kivland, CPS and Dr. Peter Weil,  American College of Healthcare Executives, Work/Life Balance Practices in Healthcare Organizations – A 2003 Status Report;  Supporting Women's Career Advancement: Challenges and Opportunities, Ronald J. Burke, Human Resource Management International Digest, Vol. 14 Issue: 4, Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

    Cynthia Kivland, Author and President Smart2Smarter Coaching, Training and Assessment Services (http://www.smart2smarter.com), has over twenty five years of accomplished career coaching experience working with very smart people, leaders and teams including MBA’s, military, scientists, CEO’s, and healthcare professionals.

  • 28 May 2012 12:53 PM | Anonymous

    By Cynthia Kivland

    Part Two: Seven Career Traps SMARTER People Avoid. In part one of the article, I introduced the concept of mojo, and Marshall Goldsmith’s definition of nojo. Mojo refers to the moment we do something purposeful and powerful- that leads to career success and significance. In sports, business and politics, the term has evolved to describe a sense of positive direction.

    Mojo can represent personal advancement: moving forward, making progress, achieving goals, clearing hurdles, passing the competition — and doing so with increasing ease. What you’re doing matters! Many athletes call this being “in the zone.” In my book Smart2Smarter, I refer to this state as being in “flow. Marshall Goldsmith calls this state “mojo”. “Nojo” is the opposite of mojo.

    Nojo people appear negative, bored, frustrated, dispirited and confused. They ask “Why is happening to me”! Individuals who choose not to look inward to identify their role in an event, lose their mojo and get stuck — and may stay stuck. Some people seem to have mojo one day and nojo the next. This volatility is often caused by a series of ongoing, hard-to-spot mistakes that can lead to a crisis. If we can recognize what triggers us to lose our mojo early, we can prevent nojo events from spiraling out of control. 

    The Seven Common Career Traps Smarter People Avoid…….and tell your smart friends! As you examine these potential career traps, try to pinpoint the ones to which you’re predisposed, and the next steps to take to regain your mojo.

    1. Over-committing. If you’re good at what you do and like your job, it’s easy to take on new challenges. You’re bursting with mojo and feel great! People want you in their meetings and on their teams. Does the old adage, “If you want something done, just ask a busy person,” apply to you? And if your ambition is hijacked, you will not admit to your boss or coworkers that you can’t handle EVERYTHING.

    If you believe you have superpowers, you will box yourself into a corner by taking on too many tasks. At that point, the quality of work and positive emotions and connections will begin to fail, and you’ll lose your mojo (and possibly much more). Ironically, the habit of over-committing has an unintended consequence: It makes us appear under-committed and not really serious about anything— a perception rarely appreciated by customers, colleagues or bosses.

    2. Waiting for the Facts to Change. When we experience a setback, it’s not uncommon for us to wait for the facts to change into something that fits our “iceberg” story or plan. Such wishful thinking is the opposite of over-committing, as it leads to under-acting. Instead of doing something, you freeze and do nothing. When the facts are hard to swallow, ask yourself: “What path can I take if the situation doesn’t get any better?” Then, get ready to pursue that path. Then reflect, did I choose the thrive or survive path?

    3. Looking for Logic in All the Wrong Places. We devote many professional hours to finding logic in situations and ignoring the intelligence of emotions. First rule of human behavior: human beings are first emotional, then logical. Our minds crave order, fairness and justice, and we’re trained to value logic. But much of life is simply unreasonable, unfair or unjust, which sets us up for disappointment and can kill mojo.

    We sometimes hope logic will prevail against all odds and that it will prove we’re in the right. If we stubbornly stick to our stance, then eventually everyone will see how right we are. In the meantime, we often seriously damage important work life relationships. Remember, the best decisions combine the heart (emotions) and the head (logic).

    4. Bashing the Boss. Talent-management firm DDI found that the average American spends 15 hours a month criticizing or complaining about his or her boss. While “bashing the boss” may relieve tension and get a few laughs, denigrating your boss is not a smart career move, as other people will wonder what you’ll say about them when they’re not around.

    Bashing doesn’t build a better boss. It only serves to infect the work climate, tarnish your reputation and lower emotional flow. The emotional negativity you spread will affect others’ mojo, too- and you may find yourself alone or out of a job.

    5. Refusing to Change Because of “Sunk Cost.” Each of us has sunk costs in our lives. Most people did not become successful because of luck; rather, we had to invest a big piece of ourselves – and soul – into our work. At some point, this emotional, physical and cognitive investment may have stopped paying off, without our conscious awareness.

    Once incurred, a sunk cost (what we invest emotionally, physically, socially and cognitively) as part of engaging in life, often cannot be recovered. This “sunk cost” can also be the basis for “impulse” decisions that go against our best interest. When you throw more of yourself at a problem and hope for different results, we can compound the negative impact — all because we cannot admit it is time to move on.

    6. Confusing the Mode You’re in.  We have two modes of behavior: professional and relaxed. Our professional selves are image-conscious. We pay attention to how we look, dress, speak and behave. We can’t afford to be sloppy. In relaxed mode, some of us go to opposite extremes. We’re less guarded about everything, including our speech, language and use of humor.

    So, what happens when we’re in relaxed mode, but still in the company of work colleagues and friends? Are we sarcastic and cynical in ways inappropriate to the office setting? The more you close the gap between who you are as a professional and who you are when relaxed, the greater the trust and confidence you’ll generate in the essence of you.

    7. Maintaining Pointless Arguments. Arguing happens anytime you put a group of smart, successful people into a room and give them a problem to solve. It also happens simply because people have egos or stance to defend, and it’s a primal instinct to compete. Arguing can put our career mojo at risk by needlessly creating enemies instead of allies.

    Many arguments are fought to improve our status or career success, rather than to solve a problem for the greater good- career significance. These four “losing” arguments have the same end result: no change in outcome. Look for ways to make your point, and then move on, with your mojo intact.

     a. Let me keep talking: Everyone has opinions and enjoys expressing them. In fact, we feel it’s our right to do so. Sometimes, however, we just can’t stop; we have to have the last word. It can be very hard for smart people to “just let it go and listen more.”

    b. I had it rougher than you: When we revel in how poor we were and how much we had to overcome to achieve our current station in life, all we’re doing is trying to elicit other people’s admiration–and possibly sympathy.

    c. Why did you do that? We’ll never really know why people do what the do – their true motivations. We can speculate, yet only have an educated guess. Why waste hours speculating why people do things? Stop tolerating toxic behavior and start appreciating the diversity of humanity. 

    d. It’s not fair: You disagree with a decision that has been made. You believe you haven’t been given the real explanation. Arguing won’t change the outcome. Deal with it. Save your precious mojo.

    Mojo Recuperation. What can you do when you recognize these behaviors in yourself? It’s easy to say, “OK, guess I’ll stop doing that.” Does anyone ever really change?” After surveying 86,000 former clients and, later on, more than 250,000 respondents from his leadership development seminars, Goldsmith’s conclusion is unequivocal: “Very few people achieve positive, lasting change without ongoing follow-up.

    Unless they know at the end of the day (or week or month) that someone is going to measure if they’re doing what they promised to do, most people fall prey to inertia.” The key words in Goldsmith’s statement are “measure” and “follow-up.” Very few people can succeed alone with self-help efforts, therefore many seek assistance from a mentor or executive coach. What about you?

    What career trap is most common in your workplace? For you? For men? For women? I’d love to hear from you, leave a comment. Cynthia Kivland, Author and President, Smart2Smarter Coaching, Training and Assessment Services (http://www.smart2smarter.com), has over twenty five years of accomplished career coaching experience working with very smart high achievers including MBA’s, military, scientists, CEO’s, and healthcare professionals.

    Join Cynthia’s Career and Workplace Resilience group on LinkedIn. To have a chat about emotional intelligence coaching, training and career resilience resources Contact Cynthia. To learn how to develop the seven skills every smart person needs and every employer wants, go to www.smart2smarter.com

  • 27 May 2012 12:46 PM | Anonymous

    By Cynthia Kivland

    Part One: Losing Your Career Mojo. If you’ve been progressing in your career, or a college student studying hard to maintain that “GPA,” chances are you’ve experienced at least one career “hiccup” or setback. These career hiccups can suck the air out of one’s spirit, making it hard to carry on with dignity and drive.

    Often, our mental energy is hijacked, our self-esteem bruised, and we limit our social connections out of shame or embarrassment. Some of the “hiccups” that can happen to hardworking, well-meaning, capable, and very smart people include:

    • Not going for that big opportunity
    • Getting passed over for a promotion
    • Losing money
    • Getting fired
    • Not getting into graduate school

    Career-altering events can happen to anyone — and they do. But when they happen to very smart people, they may seem incomprehensible, largely because smart people have worked so hard, have rarely experienced failure, may have few experiences of “bouncing back” and have dedicated their life to the task or company more than their well-being or relationships.

    But even when we can partially blame external events, there comes a time when we must take a hard look at what we could have done differently. Despite faltering companies, imperfect leaders, coworkers who don’t like us and other external variables, we must eventually engage in private, honest reflection to get our mojo back.

    This honest reflection gives the human spirit space and time to breathe. Reflection also allows one to tap into the intelligence of emotions to acknowledge, accept, and appreciate the event, and the wisdom that was gained. What part did I play in the events leading up to the career crossroads?

    What is Career Mojo? Historically and culturally, the word “mojo” has been associated with witchcraft and voodoo—specifically, the ability to cast spells. Over the years, it has become urban slang for personal power, magnetism and charisma.

    In career speak today, mojo refers to the moment we do something purposeful and powerful — an act lauded by others. In sports, business and politics, the term has evolved to describe a sense of positive direction. For some, mojo represents personal advancement: moving forward, making progress, achieving goals, clearing hurdles, passing the competition — and doing so with increasing ease.

    What you’re doing matters, and you enjoy it. Star athletes call this being “in the zone.” Others describe it as “flow.”  Mojo plays a vital role in our pursuit of happiness and meaning, as it involves achieving two simple goals: loving what you do and showing it.

    Losing Your Career Mojo. In Mojo: How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back If You Lose It (http://www.marshallgoldsmithlibrary.com/html/books/Mojo.htm), leadership expert and coach, Marshall Goldsmith introduces the term “nojo” — the opposite of mojo. Nojo sufferers approach their work negatively. They’re bored, frustrated, dispirited and confused about the dark tunnel that envelops their career — and they aren’t shy about sharing their dissatisfaction with others.

    Nojo happens when we experience a career failure and don’t get over it. Individuals who are incapable of looking inward to identify their role in a negative event get stuck — and stay stuck. As their spirit sours, they’re never able to recapture their mojo. In some cases, people seem to have mojo one day and nojo the next. This volatility is often caused by a series of ongoing, hard-to-spot mistakes that in time lead to a crisis. If we can recognize our errors early, we can prevent events from spiraling out of control.

    Common Career Mistakes. Goldsmith lists seven professional mistakes that contribute to career failures in otherwise competent, successful and smart people:

    1. Over-committing

    2. Waiting for the Facts to Change

    3. Looking for Logic in All the Wrong Places

    4. Bashing the Boss

    5. Refusing to Change Because of “Sunk Costs”

    6. Confusing the Mode You’re in

    7. Maintaining Pointless Arguments

    a. Let me keep talking.

    b. I had it rougher than you.

    c. Why did you do that?

    d. It’s not fair.

    In the next blog I will discuss these career busters in more detail! To learn the seven skills every smart person needs and every employer wants, go to www.smart2smarter.com.

  • 21 Mar 2012 6:05 PM | Anonymous

    By Sharon Wiatt Jones

    A “war for talent” in social media has arisen due to critical skill shortages, according to Dr. John Sullivan, labeled the “Michael Jordan of Hiring” by Fast Company magazine. Are you a problem solver who never quits until the challenge is met? Can you deal with chaos and ambiguity, unleashing creativity on demand? Can you spot new and emerging trends, acquire the combination of skills that few people possess, and become “The Rare Find” described by author George Anders?

    WEB/DATA ANALYTICS AND OPERATIONS. A data scientist, according to Fortune magazine writer Michal Lev-Ram, is “a new kind of highly skilled, nerdy-cool job.” It has been described as a combination of statistician, forensic scientist, hacker, engineer, and investigative journalist. According to an Amazon job description, a data scientist will “target the right product to the right customer at the right moment.”

    Big Data staff analyze user behavior in unstructured data (e.g. web clicks, audio, video, blogs, forums, search terms) to make content appealing and profitable. They may also predict future behavior of users and their lifetime value.  A statistical analyst uses survey research methodology, data mining and predictive analytics for development of new digital products and metrics. Similar positions include revenue research analyst and data engineer.

    DEVELOPMENT AND DESIGN. The Matrix Group, in Arlington, Virginia, uses colorful descriptions for some of its job openings: Mozart Meets MacGyver (Web Programmer/Developer); .NET Rock Star (Web Developer/Application Developer); Virtual Virtuoso (Web Interactive Designer). Google lists a vacancy as Doodler (Product Graphic Designer/Illustrator).

    The natural language processing (NLP) developer makes it possible for employees to read and understand user language in near-instant time. Mobile application developers specialize in Android, iPhone, iOS and BlackBerry devices. Tumblr lists an opening for a performance engineer “who likes to take things apart-- and then put them back together with twice the efficiency and half the code.”

    A user experience designer, interactive designer, or human factors engineer ensures that a website, mobile device, or computer game is easy to navigate, intuitive, and accessible to those with disabilities. Problems in user interface may be escalated to a sustaining engineering team. Tableau seeks applicants who “love mysteries and puzzles and want to be part of an elite bug-bashing team…” 

    Designers have become increasingly specialized. A data visualization designer uses infographics to help users easily understand data. The computer game industry offers positions such as iPhone game designer, associate sound designer, motion graphics designer, and augmented reality specialist.

    HOW TO BECOME MARKETABLE IN SOCIAL MEDIA TECHNOLOGY. IT professionals need to constantly update their skills in the newest technology: Hadoop, Python, BASH, AWK, and more appear each day in job descriptions. Data scientist jobs usually require an advanced degree with skills in areas such as computer science, (especially information analytics), marketing, applied mathematics, and behavioral economics. Entry level positions exist as a data cleaner or analyst.

    Take courses in computer or information science, such as data mining, machine learning, information retrieval, artificial intelligence, and data visualization. Related to market research, a senior statistical analyst or data engineer usually requires a master’s degree in statistics, mathematics, operations research, or social sciences with strong quantitative skills.

    Depending on the position, applicants for usability design jobs may need a degree in human computer interaction, cognitive or experimental psychology, applied anthropology, graphic design, computer science, information science, or human factors engineering.  

    A window of opportunity cracks open when the perfect applicant is nonexistent or is in critically short supply. Do you have what it takes to seize the moment in a ground-breaking field? Many people are self-taught or learn on-the-job through employers who hire for talent, aptitude, and passion for a field.

    Do any experienced professionals have other suggestions of emerging careers in social media? Are there college students who want to know about firms that offer entry-level jobs or internships? Please comment or ask questions.


  • 16 Mar 2012 3:25 PM | Anonymous

    By Joan Runnheim Olson

    Working in a male-dominated environment has its challenges, with communication differences at the top. What are some of the differences between how women and men communicate and what strategies can women use to be more effective working with men? 

    Assertiveness vs. Aggressiveness. The very same communication behaviors can be perceived as assertive when performed by a man and as aggressive when performed by a woman. This is a tough issue, because it's difficult to break stereotypical thinking by both genders. Asserting your needs, wants, ideas, and conflicts at work is usually better than letting everything go unnoticed. Back up your verbalized assertions by putting them in writing, if others don't fully understand or take you seriously. Give it time to soak in when what you communicate may be difficult for others to accept. Avoid blowing up or restating your needs repeatedly in the same meeting. Remain calm, breathe, and take a break to keep things in perspective.

    Indirect vs. Direct Communication. Men often value direct statements, where people "tell it like it is," whereas women tend to be "polite," which others can perceive as "beating around the bush." Differences impact giving and receiving orders, constructive criticism, even compliments. Women can practice being more direct; determine "musts" and "mights." On giving feedback or criticism, be specific. Stick to the facts, keep it brief, criticize the work, not the person, and put it in writing.

    Nonverbal Messages. We send messages with our facial expressions, gestures, posture, rate, volume, and tone of our voice, door open vs. closed, style of dress, eye contact, etc. Mixed messages occur when our verbal and nonverbal acts don't match. Learn to recognize and control your nonverbal signals; understand the nonverbal messages of others. Check out your perceptions when signals don't match. Sit and stand up straight yet relaxed. Clarify if you nod in agreement or to signal that you are listening but may not agree. Bring signals up to clarify what's going on.

    If you're a woman working in a male-dominated environment, try the above strategies with your male co-workers and direct reports. I will post some more tips on this topic in my next blog post.

  • 04 Mar 2012 5:32 PM | Anonymous

    Considering pursuing a career in the finance industry as a venture capitalist? This interview will take you through the ups and downs you can expect, what it takes to land the job, what you can expect to earn and more. This is a true career story as told to Diversity Jobs (http://diversityjobs.com), the leading site for job postings directed towards professionals of diverse backgrounds.

    I am a partner at a venture capital firm and have been in this line of work for twelve years. We focus mainly on tech start-up companies, though we are not limited to that. Primarily, I help do financial analysis of potential start-up companies and decide how to allocate money and investments. This means I sit down and look at the financials of each company and, more importantly, whether they have a truly valuable idea and whether financing them is in the best interest of our company. I think there is a misunderstanding about what venture capitalists do in the sense that we are seen as predatory lenders focused on profit, profit, profit. While profitability is crucial, we support interesting ideas and social causes as well.

    If I had to rate my job satisfaction on a scale of one to ten, my job is easily an eight. I thoroughly enjoy the process of speaking to clients, being surrounded by new ideas every day, and helping make these ideas a reality. No job is perfect, and anything that involves lots of money being moved around has potential to be stressful. Nonetheless, I would not trade my job for any other. The parts of the job that really motivate me to get up in the morning is all of the work we do with charitable organizations or start-ups that are focused on new technologies that have potential to help society. I cannot name names, but some of these companies work on renewable energy technology or healthcare technology and are led by focused, inspiring individuals. This is by far my favorite part of the job.

    I got started in this line of work through the help of a friend that I went to college with. After completing my MBA I had been working for a small financial firm doing work that I was fairly disinterested in and was talking to a friend about it. He recommended me to some venture capitalist firms that operated with a lot of the mindset and philosophy that I enjoy, and it's been working well ever since.

    One of the most important lessons I have learned from working in this field is that trust is crucial to everything you do. Being honest with yourself, your business partners, and your clients is essential. You also have to assume honesty on the parts of others in order to work with them, but you also need to accept that they might not be honest. "Trust but verify" is excellent advice in all areas of life, but particularly in the field of venture capital. This lesson was learned the hard way; it required a business deal going badly and losing a lot of money, but the mistake has never been repeated.

    The most common challenges I encounter tend to revolve around the period after you have crunched the numbers on an idea and basically have to go on your instinct. At some point, the math stops mattering as much and you have to decide, based on past experience and your gut feeling, whether something is a good investment or not. This can be tough to learn. I am not one hundred percent sure that I have learned it all the way yet, but it gets better with time.

    No matter how challenging, the reward of succeeding with an idea more than balances out all of the potential downside. Fortunately, this stress rarely interferes with my life outside of work. I am able to comfortably balance my personal life and my work life. One advantage of the field is that I can do much of my work from a laptop and cell phone so that I can spend time at home with my family and still get work done. Considering the sometimes long hours of this work, not having to be in an office all week long is very, very nice.

    Salary is difficult to judge in this field because much compensation comes from the profits of successful companies. Someone working at a similar firm doing similar work would likely have a base salary of between $120,000 and $180,000. In addition, bonuses paid based on the success of companies, and profits for a year can range from $100,000 to more than $1,000,000 depending on the firm and, most importantly, the success of companies that you have invested in.

    Needless to say, this compensation is very generous and I am very satisfied with my quality of living. Some of the trade-offs of this position is that I do not get a lot of time off from the job, but considering that I can travel practically anywhere and still do my work means that a lot of vacation time is not necessary.

    To someone looking at this field, I would recommend shooting for a top business school for your MBA. This education is important by itself, but even more important, you make the kind of contacts that lead to you being able to find this level of job, which can be difficult to obtain without knowing someone.

  • 23 Feb 2012 4:01 PM | Anonymous

    By Joan Runnheim Olson

    Below is a story of a woman who has worked in a male-dominated career for 20+ years. She shares tips on how she has been successful.

    Dawn R., a senior designer, started her career as a mechanical drafter over 20 years ago, after completing a one-year technical school program. She was, and still is, in a nontraditional career. Working in the engineering department with mostly men has had its challenges over the years. Despite those challenges, Dawn is in a career which she finds very satisfying.

    As a 20 year-old and the only woman in her department, Dawn endured many negative comments from her male counterparts. She acknowledges that women in a nontraditional career have to work harder than men. Over the years, Dawn has found that it’s important to be herself, but to try to fit into her surroundings. If she stands up for herself like the men do, she gains respect.

    “Proving herself” was a key factor in being accepted by her male co-workers. Once they could see she was interested in doing a good job, and could do a good job, they slowly began to accept her. Dawn has found that being firm and in command, but not overbearing, has worked well for her over the years. Dawn has survived many rounds of layoffs which she attributes to keeping her head down and always working. When a challenge arises, she accepts it, but isn’t afraid to ask for help when she feels overwhelmed.

    Dawn believes that sexual harassment happens everywhere. She finds that married men are more apt to sexually harass. Bringing up the husband’s wife’s name into the conversation generally stops the harassment. If she can’t stop it on her own, Dawn goes to her manager. Dawn has found that professional dress is important. She notices that people will talk about and not respect those who wear skimpy outfits.

    However, the bottom line is the need to know her stuff. Through hard work and by building her skill level, Dawn has rose through the ranks to senior designer, which includes supervisory responsibilities. She was eventually offered a promotion to engineer, a position usually held by those with a four-year degree.

  • 17 Jan 2012 5:44 PM | Anonymous

    This story will take you through the ups and downs you can expect as a regional manager in the pharmaceutical industry, what it takes to land the job, what you can expect to earn and more.

    With over eight years in the pharmaceutical industry, I have finally attained the position of regional manager. With this position comes a great deal of responsibility. This position requires one to be diligent to his or her duties, trustworthy to handle pharmaceutical samples, and patient with his or her sales representatives. Being Hispanic, I am a minority in this industry. However, this has greatly improved my sales records, which helped me eventually attain the position of regional manager.

    Because I am bilingual, I have been able to better serve doctors that deal with Hispanic patients. At times, I have served as a translator for my doctors while doing preceptorship, which is when the pharmaceutical sales representative shadows the doctor for a day. Although there have been times where I have felt discriminated against, most of the time my bilingual skills, along with my relation to minorities, has created a positive atmosphere within my daily working environment.

    The pharmaceutical industry is very competitive, and the position of regional manager is a job of numbers. In order for me to be successful, my sales representatives must perform far above standard, which requires me to provide them with the skills to persuade doctors to prescribe my products. The pharmaceutical industry has gotten a bad reputation over the last few years concerning the honesty and salesmanship of its workers, although we employ only educated and intelligent individuals who provide their doctors with the highest quality details.

    I find my job very satisfying and would rate it an eight out of ten. I enjoy working with others, a competitive environment, and the ability to set my own salary with a base and commission. I also enjoy the fact that I am helping others treat or even cure their disease state. This gives meet complete job satisfaction and is good for my heart as well. I believe this was my calling in life as my desire to help others while earning a comfortable living reigns supreme.

    My accomplishments thus far have been nothing short of amazing as I led the company in sales for the last three years up until my promotion. My accomplishments, however, must be chalked up to sheer persistence and hard work. Also, the fact that I am bilingual has greatly helped me effectively communicate with some of my doctors.

    I began my sales career early where I started in the rental car industry. I quickly gained experience managing others while also learning the sales industry. I rapidly moved up the ladder, and because of my sales ability, I was recruited into the pharmaceutical industry. From the get go, I realized that the pharmaceutical industry was nothing like the rental car industry and learned the hard lesson of rejection.

    This lesson would lead me to also learn the skill of consistent persistence. I never took no for an answer and would never change the roads taken in the past that led me to this industry. One thing one may find about this industry is that other sales positions are constantly attempting to recruit you into their industry. This seemed strange to me at first because this was the only job I had ever been recruited for. The industry of sales, however, is always looking for solid representatives.

    Along with a six figure base salary and the ability to make commission, I enjoy going to work each day due to the fact that I’m changing people’s lives. When I, or my sales representatives, convince a doctor to prescribe my particular line of drugs, I know that their patients will receive the pain relief that they need. This makes my job very rewarding both intrinsically as well as extrinsically. However, there are days when my job is very stressful although I never feel like quitting.

    Quitting is not an option for those of us who have learned the lessons of persistence and perseverance. Some stressful aspects of my job revolve around my own sales representatives and their performance. On a rare occasion, I will have a representative that performs below standard. This may be due to a number of factors, which is why I must drop whatever I am doing at that time to address these concerns.

    This may cause lost time with my family even on some of the most important dates. Although there are very stressful times during my working life, I am afforded four weeks of vacation time per year. I rarely spend that much time away from my job because of the sheer enjoyment as well as the fact that I get paid for those days that I do not take.

    During my undergraduate degree, I would have never believed I would have been in the field of sales. The pharmaceutical industry, however, does not accept anyone with anything less than a four year degree. The potential employee does not have to have the degree in a specific area, but he or she must have a baccalaureate in some field.

    For my friends who want to enter the industry, I tell them the best way to gain entry is by having a successful track record within the sales industry. Starting in an entry level position such as a management trainee program that focuses on sales is a great way to get your feet wet. Now that I have attained the position of regional manager, I will focus my time on moving into the position as director of sales or marketing. That is my goal!

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