Category Archives: Classifieds Cubicle

‘Career Success: the 48 Cs’—the Little Book that Could

(Originally published on August 14,  2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

Confused about your career? This book may be the one you need to figure things out

By Irene V. Fernando

Whether you’re just starting to figure out what career best suits you or stuck in your work and clueless on what to do, the latest book by career coach Ed Pilapil Jr. can help you analyze your current state and inspire you to take the next step.

“Career Success: the 48 Cs” gives you 48 words that start with the letter C, all of which aim to help you make sense of your career. You might think that getting through all the 48 Cs is burdensome, but it might surprise you to find yourself turning to the last page in no time. Pilapil makes his discussions short enough to be easily read, yet packs them with insights to help you in your everyday reading.

The 48 characteristics of a successful career

The C-words are not high-fallutin terms. The first C-word he discusses, for example, is Career. Pilapil defines the difference between having a career and having a job. Most of us have a blurred definition of both terms or even have the wrong notion that either you can’t have a career different from the job you currently have or a career out of the job you have. Pilapil tells us that a career is the result of you taking that initiative to make things happen, not just because you are getting paid for it but because you want to excel in it.

Unlike some books on career that insists on following a pattern, this book gives you the prerogative to decide for yourself. It assures you that even if you have your weaknesses and limitations, you can still soar and succeed. The book doesn’t give you the step by step guide on making it big in your career; rather, it gives you the chance to evaluate yourself, your work and your life.

It’s never too late or too early

The book contains anecdotes that Pilapil sourced from his everyday readings and personal interactions. One thing that the book clearly tells us is that it’s never too early nor too late to begin mapping out one’s career. The challenge is to start now. Don’t wait for things to happen; instead, make them happen.

“Career Success: the 48 Cs” has exercises—some long, some short—posted at the end of each chapter. It’s lightweight enough to stash in your bag and take anywhere.

Don’t think that solving your career problems, though, is as easy as whipping this book out and doing the exercises. It is, after all, just a book. You still have to do your part in seeking out guidance from experts and learning from first-hand experiences.

So, take a pause and re-evaluate your life. Think about who you are and identify your passions. “You are the master of your ship,” goes that saying; yet you will need all the help you can get to sail through the waves. This book can be one of those tools.

“Career Success: the 48 Cs” by Ed Pilapil, Jr. is now available at Fully Booked and National Bookstore for Php198.

(All rights reserved. Copyright Manila Bulletin. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.)

 

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Work Your Way Up the Corporate Ladder in ForMe Pieces

(Originally published on Wednesday, July 10, 2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

 

Dressing has always been one of the best avenues for the imagination to play, and the result is a proportioned reflection of an individual’s personality. But with the hectic life that the metro provides, dressing to impress has become a dilemma of every woman. The woman of today is career and goal-oriented; she works hard and plays on how she feels she deserves, and this woman is in search of clothes that will cater to her very needs, from coffee to cocktails, from office to a night of social interaction. And ForMe, the country’s premiere female fashion brand, strives to provide. A staple in the retail industry since 2004, ForMe has recently made significant improvements to not only its latest collection but overall brand image. Currently known for its classic, laid back pieces, new initiatives of ForMe focus on “Celebrating Women” as the brand expands its merchandise to deliver more diverse and stylish pieces.

For more information, visit http://www.forme.com.ph.

 

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Back to School with Omnicom

(Originally published on Wednesday, July 10, 2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

The Omnicom Media Group (OMG) Philippines resumed its “U@OMG” classes earlier this month. This is the third consecutive year that the agency, known for its insight driven and pioneering business solutions (through its media outlets, OMD and PHD), opened its doors to a new batch of hopefuls, who have the makings demanded of a successful career in advertising.  Initiated back in 2009, U@OMG was the brainchild of the company’s  CEO and President, Hermie de Leon, who envisioned it to be an in-house scholastic mechanism anchored on the principle of continuous education, wherein promising young talents are instructed, rigorously trained, and immersed into the insides and depths of the media industry.

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Convergys Celebrates Work-Life Balance

(Originally published on Wednesday, July 10, 2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

The top performing employees at Convergys’ San Lazaro facility were recently recognized by the company for their great work with an all-expenses paid provincial outing. The San Lazaro site is one of the global relationship management company’s 14 facilities across thePhilippines. Convergys recognized its top 100 agents at that facility  as part of its Best of the Best program, and treated the employees to a trip to Camayan Beach Resort inSubic.

Convergys is now the country’s largest private employer with about 25,000 employees across its sites, and it serves international companies in a number of industries.  With activities like Employee Appreciation and Family Day, Convergys seeks to develop a healthy and balanced work life for its employees. Convergys supports programs for personal growth and development, as well as fun and leisure activities, where it encourages the attendance of employees’ family and friends.

 

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Shape Up or Ship Out: How to be Globally Relevant

Get hired/promoted/noticed—anywhere in the world—in five easy steps

By Nikki Constantino

(Originally published on Wednesday, July 6, 2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

Miranda*, 47, was on top of her game when news about the approval of her petition to migrate to the U.S. arrived. She was at executive officer level here in the Philippines, had a total of eight managers reporting directly to her, with a daily cup of coffee (black, two sugar) always waiting on her desk when she got to the office.

Settling down in New Jersey two months after the office despedida, it hit her that she was going to have a hard time finding work despite her stellar resume, when one morning she intended to make herself a cup of joe and realized she didn’t know how to work the coffeemaker. Without the managers doing her spreadsheets, Powerpoint presentations, and a secretary to sort out her schedule, she knew only how to fire e-mails in Outlook.

With the American economy still looking bleak, there was absolutely no company that would hire her—at least for the big decision-maker position that she was accustomed to. Three long months later, Miranda found a job delivering medicine samples from one department to another in a local pharmaceutical company.

Rachel*, 29, on the other hand, was a dean’s lister in college—lowest grade 1.5, a regular at the library. After graduation she quietly established a career in writing and later on editing manuscripts by sticking with her company where she is known for being consistent and dependable. When the recent economic downturn forced her company to downsize, she was spared, but it meant that the remaining employees had to take on more work—and go out of their comfort zone.

Rachel was tasked to make cold calls and sell their product abroad by phone apart from her usual editorial work, but without giving it a try, she decided she couldn’t do that new aspect of the job and called it quits after two weeks.

Globally Relevant

“Grow with your job and promotions,” says Susan M. Heathfield, a human resources expert, in an article published in About.com. “You may be a valued employee but if your skills and contributions don’t accelerate over the years, when crunch time arrives, you may find yourself out of a job.”

This is most probably what happened with Miranda—the higher up the ladder she went and the more people there were at her beck and call, the more out of touch she got with technology. She learned too late that operating such technology comprises the skills that headhunters look for at hiring.

With Rachel, however, it was her inability to adapt to change, be flexible, and challenge her skills that did her in. Had she tried making even just one call, she would have known that it was not at all difficult, and she could have held on to a job that many would kill for especially in these bad times.

So if graduating cum laude or having a master’s degree does little in enhancing one’s career in the open global workplace, what will? Letty Altavas, organization consultant for Profiles Asia Pacific and a 40-year veteran of human resources management, and career expert Dr. Greg Ketchum of Talent Planet (talentplanet.com), list down five new skills that an employee nowadays should have or acquire in order to thrive and succeed:

1. “Develop analytical skills.”  “Don’t just follow instructions like a robot,” says Altavas. “Always think why, how, what, where, etc. This will make you understand your work better and improve your skills and outlook on other jobs.” This may also mean exceeding expectations.

2. “Get to learn about other jobs around you and develop multitasking skills,” says Altavas.  Such is the case of Josie*, whose job was to come up with the monthly newsletter that her company blasts out to clients, but the artist she was teamed with often flaked out and often left her resizing images and polishing the layout herself. She was forced to learn Adobe Photoshop and Dreamweaver due to the artist’s absences. When her boss learned that the newsletter had become solely her output, he let go of the artist and gave Josie a significant pay increase.

3. “Keep climbing the skills (note: not corporate) ladder,” says Dr. Ketchum. “Remember the idea of the corporate ladder and how everyone was expected to climb that ladder to ever-higher levels of responsibility and success?” he asks. “Well, that ladder is kind of broken now, but we can take that same idea to describe what people need to do today: keep climbing up the ladder in building your levels of expertise and experience that enable you to do more complicated and custom work rather than work that can be reduced to a routine.”

4. “Develop proficiency in the English language,” advises Altavas. Or any language that you need to be fluent in, especially when you work for a business process outsourcing (BPO) company and have an international clientele.

5. “Develop specialized expertise that can’t be reduced to a simple formula,” says Dr. Ketchum. “Improve your communication, business, industry, and strategy skills. Your ability to see the big picture at work and understand how business works will allow you to see new opportunities and be able to personally add to the bottom line.”

*names have been changed

This article appeared in the April 19, 2010 issue of Business Agenda and originally published in the February 2010 issue of HIPP Magazine.

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Making Creativity Work for You

(Originally published on June 26,  2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

Renowned event designer Preston Bailey shares tips for those looking into a career in event design

 

By Irene V. Fernando

For someone who entered the industry of event designing by mistake, Preston Bailey must have done something right. Today, he is one of the favorite event stylists ofHollywood’s big names: Oprah, Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump, Joan Rivers and Uma Thurman, among others. He has written best-selling books like “Design for Entertaining,” “Fantasy Weddings,” “Inspirations”, and his latest, “Celebrations” will be on the stands this September.

Bailey visited the country to discuss what makes an event design successful during Rita Neri Planners (RNEP)’s 18th year celebration in the event planning industry. The anniversary also showcased wedding table settings presented at the Upper Lobby of Peninsula Manila from May 29 to 30 by the country’s major wedding magazines.

A Career Out of Unemployment

Bailey left his hometown ofPanamaat the age of 19 and moved toNew York, where he started his career as a fashion model before opening a man’s clothing boutique. When his store closed down, he ventured into floral arrangements before finally meeting Joan Rivers, who asked him to design and produce her daughter Melissa’s wedding. Soon enough,Preston’s talent for event design became the talk of the town, with his works often referred to as art installations. He has been known to transform ordinary spaces into theatrical environments, much to his clients’ amazement.

With his profession relying heavily on creativity, one wonders if he has no problems dealing with the business side. “It’s not easy,” he says, “I have my own people. I design, get to know my clients. Once they talk about money, I let them talk to my Chief Financial Officer (CFO).”

Event Design as a Career

When asked what striving event designers should bear in mind in pursuing this profession, Bailey was quick to enumerate the following: “1) Develop your own look; 2) Learn how to charge your clients; 3) Do not give up; and 4) Continue growing.”

For one, Bailey loves an enormous first impression. He once designed elephants from lotus leaves and 10-foot lions from roses. His designs allow his clients’ fantasies to become jaw-dropping reality.

In charging clients, Bailey discussed in his blog the few ways to prevent being cash poor:

You must always keep in mind the three key things you’re selling to potential clients:

1. Your time. Time is money. Our time is our most valuable commodity.

2. Your ideas. As much as I want to get clients excited about what I can do for them, my ideas are my product. I know that I can’t give all of my ideas away in the very first meeting before they’ve made it clear they want to give me the job. Some potential clients expect personal design ideas right there in the first meeting, but the danger of this is that they could take that idea and hire someone else to do it.

3. Your materials. If you give a presentation to potential clients, you will be using your own cash to do so. Therefore, if a client insists on seeing any flowers or other design elements before hiring you, make sure you charge them for it.

And for those looking into starting their own business, Bailey also lists a few pointers on how to keep your business afloat:

1. Do your very best to build a financial nest egg. What does this mean exactly? It means having a savings account worth 30 percent of your annual income or as close to that as you can manage.

2. Every three months, sit down and evaluate your financial situation. Yes, I know, this is not fun, and it can be extremely hard to face the reality of your finances. But ignore them, and you’ll eventually be forced to face the consequences. Trust me, that hurts a lot more. Once you have a clear understanding of your current finances, make a projection. What jobs do you have? What jobs do you think you have a good chance of getting? Do you need to start increasing your sales efforts? Answer these questions honestly. Now is not the time to kid yourself. Use this newfound awareness to keep you grounded and help you make smart money decisions in the coming months.

3. When clients give you a deposit, never use that money for anything other than their project. Otherwise, you might find yourself in a game of stealing from Peter to pay Paul.

4. Be consistent with your profit margin. If you’re not making the proper profit, which is 50 percent, then you’ll mostly likely always be cash poor. You must learn to charge what you’re worth, because there are a lot of expenses and a lot of people you to need pay at the end of every job.

5. Don’t forget Uncle Sam! You work for yourself, which means no one is taking money out of your paycheck to cover taxes. You must set aside money for taxes in a separate account. Never, and I mean never, use this money for anything other than taxes.

While Bailey admits he does not live for dealing with money, he knows that he needs it and that he has learned that it is still part of his job of planning and designing to pay close attention to his finances. “Please learn from my mistakes,” he says, “be financially savvy, and you’ll get to keep doing what you love for decades to come.”

Lastly, Bailey encourages everyone to never stop learning. “I get to travel a lot that I learned a lot,” he shares, “I try to spend much time in the area, pay attention, (and) understand the culture. This way, you’ll also discover that every culture has different needs, and every client has varied tastes.”

To get more of Preston Bailey’s advice, visit http://www.blog.prestonbailey.com.

(All rights reserved. Copyright Manila Bulletin. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.)

 

Classified Cubicle: Choosing Your Direction – The Importance of Career Paths

(Originally published on Sunday, May 9, 2010)

Career advice from those who know careers best

By C. F. Bobis

Too often fresh graduates overlook a valuable resource offered for free in their schools: the career counseling office. Rather than being a place where one goes when one is disciplined for various offenses, counseling offices in universities offer services that allow students and in some cases, even alumni, to find out if they’re on the right path when it comes to a career.

Far Eastern University’s Counseling and Career Office Director Christine “Chit” Vicencio sat down recently with the Classifieds to talk about what career counseling is and how it can help a fresh graduate. In essence, career counseling delves into an individual’s strengths, interests, abilities, and aptitudes, balancing these against his or her various liabilities in terms of aptitudes, interests, and abilities. Typical career counselors have a background in psychology, particularly vocational and/or industrial or organizational psychology, and are trained to use and interpret various assessment tests on someone who approaches them for career counseling.

Aside from willingness to listen and the ability to remember the details of a person’s case, what makes a good career counselor? “It is always the passion, to make sure that you are guiding your student on the right career path. You can’t be a career counselor by just listening. You have to have materials (assessment tests and the like) to support and to validate that ‘this is you, this is your personality, this is your interest, if it’s going to work out if you try your passion,” Vicencio says.

What is the importance of career counseling to a jobseeker? “When we talk about career counseling, we talk about career ‘pathing’,” Vicencio explains. And this begins as early as when a student chooses a college course. “At the start, (when students are) freshmen, we have to make sure that the personality of the student and the course s/he are taking match. There is such a thing as a ‘mismatch’. The reason why a lot of students are not successful in their field of work is there is a mismatch.” Such a mismatch can lead to a graduate being unable to stick to a job after graduation.

Well-meaning parents can sometimes contribute to the tragedy by forcing offspring into ‘vogue’ courses such as nursing. The danger of choosing a course that is currently popular is that its popularity will eventually wane; ISD president and founder Levi de Mesa, in an earlier interview with the Classifieds, pointed out how the deployment of nurses abroad has slowed down as a result of economic crises in countries that used to hire nurses in droves. Vicencio cautions parents to stop pushing children into jobs they do not love, as she believes this can set up a child for professional failure.

She’s got support from many experts; various Classifieds columnists and interviewees from top corporations both here and abroad agree that if a person only has a job, that person won’t succeed. A career that’s a person’s life choice often sets people on the road to success and personal and professional contentment. Vicencio explains, “When you say ‘life choice’, it’s your passion. You put your heart, your mind (into it). And when you say it’s your career, career and my life, it’s just one. When you say job, it’s about (what’s) monetary. (When you say) ‘I have a job,’ (you mean) ‘I have to earn money to support my parents, my family, or my lifestyle.’ But when you say ‘I have a career,’ [what you’re really saying is) it’s your life. That’s why every time I introduce myself, I say ‘I am a guidance counselor’ because this is my career, this is me.”

Why should students take advantage of career counseling services in school? “It is important for them to know if they are doing the right thing,” she says, comparing career counseling to consulting a doctor about an ailment in order to be guided towards informed choices.

How then can a student or a fresh graduate get started on a career? Vicencio says good resumes are the key. Then send the resume out. “People don’t know you, and if you want to have a career, even if you are passionate about it, if you’re not going to send out your CV, it’s nothing.”

Then she cautions jobseekers to present themselves well during job interviews, and to quit the games. “(In) HR, we know if people are bluffing, if they are just playing with us, even (if the cues are) non-verbal. We can identify right away if the jobseeker is going to be successful in our company, if s/he is passionate (about) getting the job. (We look at their) line of questioning, if (they are) attentive, the eye contact, (the) body language. Those are the important things to consider.” Finally, doing research on the company is non-negotiable. That way, a jobseeker can “ask the right questions.”

She also lists the mistakes jobseekers often commit: Acting bored during an interview. Showing up for an interview when sleepy. Bad dressing. Bad behavior.

Vicencio has a word of caution for graduates who grab high paying jobs for the monetary rewards, saying that while such jobs are tempting, the time to ‘pay the piper’ always comes. “If it’s not your interest or passion and you are just doing it for the money, you give yourself five years (then figure out what you want to do, to stay or move on).”

Her office also handles teaching students financial management. “It is important to understand investment and handling money because if you are in (for example) the call center (industry) and you don’t have an idea of what investments are, you are going to spend your money.

She shares some tips for fresh graduates on blending in with the existing workforce on their first job, especially if everyone else is older: “You just have to blend in. (If they talk) you have  to listen to what they are saying because those things will help you in the future (as these are their) experiences. Sometimes they talk about marriage, family…they will help you, so it is important that you listen. As long as it’s not violating your rights, your values, then I don’t think there is a problem. You have to adjust and listen to their pieces of advice, see if it’s going to help you, most especially in your career. But if it’s not, then you don’t have to (listen).”

Conversely she also has advice for forty-something jobseekers who are competing against fresh grads. “I always say you have to prepare for the job just like the fresh grad. Prepare a good resume. Don’t be boastful. You have to look at your objective. ‘Why am I applying for this position? Is it for the money to support my family or this is like a second career for me?’ I suggest that you think of the way fresh grads present themselves (and tailor your job search accordingly).”

(All rights reserved. Copyright Manila Bulletin and C. F. Bobis 2010. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of copyright holders.)

Classified Cubicle – Employer Wisdom: More hiring tips from friendly companies

(Originally published on Sunday, April 25, 2010)

By C.F. BOBIS

Recently the Classifieds had the opportunity to talk to Ramona “Dot” F. Velasco, senior executive and human resources lead, delivery center network (DCN) for technology, Accenture Delivery Centers in the Philippines. Her career spans 20 years of experience, which includes 9 years as a systems developer and more than 10 years in HR.

Interestingly, Velasco graduated with a Liberal Arts degree, major in Mathematics, and her career seems to show how you can carve your own path out at business process outsourcing centers in the country. Her company, Accenture, is one of the world’s leading management consulting, technology services and outsourcing companies, with more than 177,000 people in 120 countries. Here, she shares answers to some of the most common questions Classifieds readers ask.

What are the job openings you need to fill most often? What are the duties under these jobs, and what are the qualifications for them? What do you look for in an applicant?

We have many opportunities for fresh graduates. For BPO, we need a lot of entry-level recruits for customer contact BPO, as well as for non voice BPO projects, such as health administration and insurance. We also have various openings for accountants in all levels for our Finance and Accounting BPO projects.

For our Technology workforce, we are looking for entry-level and qualified programmers and software testing professionals.

Talent comes in many forms and from many backgrounds. Each project has its own set of qualifications but generally, we look for bright and energetic people with a great appetite for learning. Accenture has always been known for its high standards but  intelligence alone does not determine success in our company, but a combination of intelligence, work ethic, guts and the flexibility to work with diverse people.

Do you have pet peeves when it comes to job applicants?

As we consider them our customers, we treat all our applicants equally. It’s not good to have so-called pet peeves about jobseekers.

Can you share any funny or unique stories (brilliant application strategies, memorably bad applicants) with us?

Memorably good – We interviewed, through an interpreter, and hired two hearing impaired people who will soon become our regular employees. They do payroll processing for our Global Service Center Organization (GSCO) and communicate mainly through e-mail and Office Communicator.  To help the rest of the GSCO team adjust to working with their hearing-impaired teammates, HR had them go through a special orientation and sign language classes

Memorably bad – We interviewed a sales director who didn’t know her company’s sales targets and forecasts, which left us wondering how she can be an asset to any company!

A lot of jobseekers fail at the interview portion; based on your experience, could you give tips to them with regard to how to answer questions, how to dress, and how to conduct themselves?

The interviewer has to make a good and informed decision based on the candidate’s performance during the interview. A job interview is not a game where you must score points or are eliminated when you make a mistake. A good interviewer sees through what an applicant says or does and makes a good decision based on a person’s potential to do well in the company.

Having said that, there are few tips we can give applicants, except to be yourself and be honest. Express yourself confidently.  Answer first before you explain–not the other way around. And dress appropriately for the job and the company you are applying with.

If you don’t make it, it’s only because the interviewer does not want to set you up for failure at the company, and believes there is a better career opportunity for you elsewhere.

What, in your opinion, is/are the biggest mistake/s jobseekers make?

Some applicants focus and give too much value to the salary, giving priority to short-terms rather than long-term gains. The best way to a rewarding career is going through the right experiences. Endeavor to join a growing company that offers varied opportunities for learning and success, and more room for growth and promotion.

What can a jobseeker do to increase his or her chances of getting hired, both at your company and outside your company?

  • Develop your English skills. You may be brilliant but you need to be able to converse, present and sell your ideas in English, the language of business.
  • Research about the company you are applying with.
  • Always try to express, not impress.
  • Focus on your strengths. Are you a creative person? A people-oriented person? An analytical person? Try to focus on what you do best and get into things that will develop those strengths. At interviews emphasize how your strengths can help the company you are applying with to reach its goals.

Would you have openings that non-college graduates, the differently-abled, and those over 35 can fill? If so, then what are these jobs and what do they require of applicants?

Accenture is an equal opportunity employer so we accept anyone as long as they match our requirements and hurdle our recruitment process. Most of our projects accept second-year college-level or graduates of two-year courses, provided they have at least two years of relevant work experience. We also have a project with hearing-impaired people.

Can you give our readers resume and cover letter advice?

Don’t make cover letters. Recruiters have to read through hundreds of resumes and don’t have time to read cover letters. Keep your resume brief but concise, highlight your strengths; you will have the opportunity to talk about yourself in detail during the interview.

Your best advice for a jobseeker is?

Be yourself. Be honest. Try to think of how your strengths can help the company you’re applying at. Always ask “what’s in it for them” – how can you help the company with, for example, your people skills, creativity, analytical skills, or significant previous work experience.

(All rights reserved. Copyright Manila Bulletin and C.F. Bobis. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.)

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