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Ways to Getting a Promotion (or perhaps, a raise)

(Originally published on Sunday, June 6, 2010)


If you are currently employed, I am sure you often think of getting a promotion. Besides, of course, giving you a higher income, it increases your self-esteem by validating your confidence in your work.

It is not easy to be promoted to the top posts because higher positions, especially in family-run companies, are sometimes reserved for the business owners’ children, relatives, and friends. However, if you prove yourself worthy of a position, you can shine and rise above the ranks. Here are some ways to increase your chances of moving up in the career ladder:

Observe rules and regulations. Never expect a promotion if you consistently disobey company rules and regulations even if they seem trivial to you. Always come on time, and in proper attire. Also, observe proper grooming, and walk, sit, and stand smart.

Work hard. Make sure that you finish all tasks assigned to you, and that there are no backlogs or delays in submission of productivity reports on your end.

Be efficient at work. Learn how to be organized so you can meet goals and targets on time. You may also try to exceed expectations by finishing ahead of schedule. It would delight your boss to find out that every job assigned to you has been managed and dealt with according to plan.

Follow instructions to the letter. Don’t be obnoxiously self-assertive (as versus being efficiently assertive, that is). You may have thought of other ways to accomplish your work, but you should only implement these upon approval of your boss. Company procedures and regulations have been carefully planned and thought of by the management, and each step is being evaluated accordingly. Never deviate unless you have permission to do so.

Go beyond the call of duty. If you are asked by the boss to do something outside your responsibility, see if you can do something about it. Never say “Sorry, it’s not my job.” Your boss specifically approached you in the belief that you can handle the new assignment. Prove him/her right. Be open to learning new skills, or taking new challenges. This will certainly impress your superior! Also, be accommodating.

Provide a helping hand to your co-workers when necessary. Show that you are a team player, and can handle even more responsibility.

Never complain about your job. There may be times you feel tired and overworked, yet still you have to show you can handle the job with neither stress nor pressure. Be pleasant in front of your boss, and prove that you are worthy and capable of getting a promotion.

Volunteer to be in charge. Whenever there are group assignments, let yourself be appointed as the leader. This will show management that you are capable of bringing valuable ideas, managing people, and delegating tasks. It will also give you the opportunity to talk more often with the boss, as you lay out plans for carrying out your objectives.

Build rapport with your boss. There is no better way than to be at peace with your boss. Neither fight with nor contradict your superior. Let him/her know that you are willing to support the implementation of his/her projects.

It would also help if you try to find out some personal details about your boss. Know his/her hobbies, favorite books, or even music, and see if you can appreciate them yourself. Most superiors tend to want to work with people who are on the same wavelength as them and may not be willing to challenge themselves by working with people who think differently.

Of course, this is rather a difficult thing to do without being branded a “sipsip” (suck-up) by your co-workers. So do this with utmost care, and without looking like you’re trying too hard. Avoid being the subject of office intrigue.

Achieve your sales target. If you are a salesperson, try to exceed your quota, not only because you will get a substantial amount as an incentive, but also because your boss will notice you. It is common knowledge that the performers tend to be the boss’ favorites.

Do something extraordinary. To be put in the fast track for promotion, you must be able to think outside the box to come up with fresh ideas that will have a substantial impact on your company’s bottom line.

Train to be qualified. If you enroll in an MBA or some other relevant course, then not only will you be more qualified for a promotion to a management position, but you are also signaling your boss that you are aspiring for a higher position.

Document your achievements. Write down your accomplishments, both inside and outside the company that may serve as a good indicator of your capabilities. Our memory is not perfect and when assessment time comes, your boss may not remember the occasions when you did your heroics.

There are many things to plan if you truly want to get promoted. Remember that this is a long-term project and you must not be dismayed if there are unexpected challenges. Nevertheless, for most people a promotion does not just happen—they work hard for it.

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

Biz Maker: The Tale Of Two Salespersons, Part One

(Originally published on May 23, 2010)


(Part 1)

Here’s another insightful and true story from my wonderful life, especially in the field of salespersonship. I call this story ‘The Tale of Two Salespersons’ because there are generally two kinds of salespersons in this world: the one you think is the true salesperson, and the one that you think will never be able to sell water to a thirsty man.

Sales or learning how to sell is important in whatever you do. As I always say in my seminars, “Sales is not a position, it is a way of life,” and so I hope this article will teach you what it takes to be a salesperson. Realize who between the two kinds of salespersons you identify with, who will outsell the other, and what you should do about it now.

Let me start by painting a picture of the first salesperson. Tell me if you can relate, if he or she is someone you have already met; in fact, this person was probably the one who sold you that kitchen gadget that you have never used in your life. You bought it just because the person was so convincing, or so persistent (may have even been a bit annoying) that even if you were allergic to apples, you bought the “handy, dandy apple slicer” anyway. That kind of “talent” is apparent among many superstar salesmen, and it’s called persuasiveness.

Have you met that kind of person before? I’m sure you have.

So I’m going to just call those kinds of salespeople “Yangs.” Yangs are very confident people. Some are obnoxious but most are charming, funny, generous, extroverted, persistent, and above all, persuasive. Yangs are people who can sell ice to Eskimos. Give them a product, a reason, and a prospective buyer, and see the magic called selling happen right in front of your eyes. And if they don’t get to sell it the first time, rest assured they will not stop until they do, even if it’s to the 100,000th buyer who comes along.

Can you picture the first salesperson in your mind now? Good, now let me describe the second type of salesperson. This type of person is someone you have also encountered in your life. In fact this might even apply to you, so tell me if you can relate.

This second salesperson is absolutely scared of selling. They do not like it, do not possess the indestructible confidence that “Yangs” do, and they seem to not have the “X” factor to be successful in sales. They would rather have a job in accounting, engineering, research and development, etc. as long as they don’t need to interact with customers or even try to convince anyone to buy anything. On the surface, they seem very soft and vulnerable, quiet, not noticeable, even a bit introverted most of the time. They are the exact opposite of “Yangs,” which is why I will call the second salesperson a “Yin.” If you are familiar with the symbol of Yin and Yang, these two types of salespersons are the exact opposites of each other, night versus day, extroverted versus introverted, the ultimate salesperson versus the ultimate anti-salesperson. Can you picture it?

Good. Now tell me which of the two kinds of salesmen will outsell the other in the long run? Please post a comment stating “Yang” or “Yin” on my blog at and see for yourself what the public thinks.

I am quite sure that at this point you have your favorites and I really do look forward to seeing your comments and thoughts. So go ahead and go to my blog now and look for the article “Tale of Two Salespersons (Part 1).”

You see, my dear readers, I am, as you may have guessed a “Yang.” I possess all of the characteristics of a “Yang” salesperson (plus the fact that I’m incredibly handsome ha ha ha) and I can literally find a way to sell ice to Eskimos. Selling, to me, is like breathing; I simply can’t live without it, I am deadly persuasive when I want to be, I can influence people with skills developed over decades of trial and error, and I don’t mind rejection (well not as much as I used to, that is) as I sell with purpose and with experience. In fact, in all the businesses that I have, I am always the number one salesperson in all of them.

But. And this is a big BUT. There are people in my organizations that outsell even me, the number one salesperson. Would you like to know who they are? Could they be even more developed Yangs, you think? Or God forbid, could they be Yins? Want to find out? Then stay tuned to the next article where I discuss this most intriguing revelation that not even the most successful salespeople in the world realize.

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

Work Life: Reader Helpline

(Originally published on Wednesday, April 28, 2010)


Questions about your work life, answered here

Thanks for the letters that you’ve been send­ing. As a columnist and HR advocate, it is my pleasure and honor to help you on your journey towards finding and pursuing re­warding careers. Here are excerpts from letters and emails some read­ers have sent, and the answers to their questions.

Rejoining the Workforce After a Break

Q: Hi, I’m an avid reader of the MB Classifieds. I have a question to ask: I’ve been a housewife for 2 years since my last employment in 2006-2007 and I’m planning to look for a job this year, but I don’t know how to list references in my resume because I’m not sure if my previous colleagues can still remember me and if they are still connected with the company right now. What refer­ences can I provide in my resume?


J. Sunga

TO J. SUNGA: First of all, let me congratulate you for deciding to rejoin the workforce, and I wish you luck with your future career. Since you have been away from the scene, I know you are a little ner­vous but excited. Don’t worry; you will get back in the groove of things soon enough and the best way to start is to try to contact your last employer.

Contact the last company you worked for and ask the Human Re­source Department to issue you a Certificate of Employment, as some recruiters require this. While you are at it, ask HR if your previous boss and colleagues are still around. If they are, then you can talk to them, see how they are doing, and ask if you can add them as reference in your resume. In case they are no lon­ger connected with the company and you’ve lost contact with them, try searching in social networking sites (i.e. Facebook, Multiply, Linked In) and reestablish your connection.

You may also put as references professionals you are associated or have worked with, even from social or religious groups—as long as they are willing to vouch for your charac­ter and work ethics.

Meanwhile, if you are in a hurry in sending out resumes, you can simply put “Reference available upon request” while you are still reestablishing connections.


Q: Good day! I am a graphics designer and an avid reader of the Classified Wednesday, especially your column. It’s interesting and a source of very useful informa­tion and inspiration. I have started following your column since Oct. 2009…

Thank you so much for publish­ing the Best Careers in Marketing.

Now, I know where I properly belong—a marketing specialist in graphics design.

I like the “general name” because it has an appeal. In my opinion, the graphics design industry here is ‘low’…which I think, should not be the case.

Sincerely yours,

V. Remigio

TO V. REMIGIO: Thanks for writing and sharing your thoughts. I am glad that my three-part article helped clarify certain things about job position, titles, and fields in Marketing.

As you may have already discov­ered, many companies prefer to hire generalists—marketing people who can multitask and do different func­tions. But it’s a big plus if the person has knock-out graphics design skills. So keep on honing your craft. It is a skill that you can take with you forever, whatever industry, business, or career you may be in.

Do keep on reading and sharing your thoughts. It is most welcome.


Can you give me advice? I’m a college graduate, major in manage­ment. After that, I took up my MBA, but I’m not yet finished as I have yet to complete my thesis. Then I de­cided to look for work in Manila and ended up as a courier at an inter­national courier company. What do you think… am I on the right track in my career? What possible options do I have, since I am already in the logistics industry? Do you think I should focus in improving my skills in supply chain management? Should I take short term courses? Do I have a future in my present job right now? I’m already 27 years old, turning 28 this May. Could you please discuss career prospects in supply chain solutions management?

Sincerely yours,

“Mr. Confused”

TO MR. CONFUSED: Some­times, confusion, chaos, and dilem­mas are blessings in disguise as these push us to take a moment to reflect and refocus our work life.

I sincerely wish I had a crystal ball to tell you what the future of your career will be, but since I do not have one, allow me to give you a series of assignments to help shed some light into your current dilemma.

First, you have to ask yourself some soul-searching questions about what you really want and how you see yourself in the future.

Second, consult your HR de­partment. HR people are usually very accommodating and they can provide information on career paths and help you develop yourself pro­fessionally through leadership and skills enhancement programs that your company may already have in place.

Third, you can do research about the logistics industry and supply chain solutions management over the internet and even with the help of your HR department. What you have to look into is the job description for a supply chain manager, if that is what interests you. Check out the skills and qualifications that are required for that career and develop them accordingly by learning from supply chain managers in your company, reading, and attending seminars.

Lastly, talk to your boss or some­one who has influence over promo­tions. Ask what you can do to get to the next level or volunteer for com­pany projects so that you can develop leadership skills and be noticed.

Use your confusion and dilemma as catalysts for change and progress in your life. You have taken the first steps to improving your life by ask­ing questions, so continue on. Good luck to you!

To our letter senders, I hope my tips and answers will guide you in finding and succeeding in your ca­reers, as well as help others who may be going through the same experi­ences and issues. Good luck to you all and have a great work-life!



About the Author: JHOANNA O. GAN-SO is president of Businessmaker Academy and the manag­ing director for HR Club Philippines. Her company conducts seminars on Business Management, Human Resource, Sales and Marketing Courses. They recently launched the Instant HR Toolkit, a ser­vice that provides HR practitioners with over 100 ready-to-use downloadable, customizable, and printable HR manuals, contract, letters forms and templates. To know more about the HR seminars they offer, visit or call (632)6874645. To know more about the Instant HR Toolkit and the HR club, visit You may email comments and questions to

(All rights reserved. Copyright Manila Bulletin and Jhoanna Gan-So 2010. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of copyright holders.)

Entrep Coach: When You’re Young and Overqualified


Not everyone who is overqualified for a position is old. Oftentimes, the overqualified are still very young. This is something youthful job applicants should be aware of, because sometimes, your previous accomplishments will be a barrier if you seek a lesser job.

Very recently I spoke at the highly successful Manila Bulletin Classifieds job fair in Glorietta. A young girl came up to me after my talk to ask that I write something about her predicament. She said she was applying for an entry level job in human resources (HR) but was having a hard time getting accepted.

She believed that it was due to two main reasons. The first was that her course (Sociology) was not usually the background sought for HR positions and second, that her previous job titles had the word ‘executive’ even though the title meant nothing along that line.

Since, I was able to talk to her only for a few minutes, there were many qualifying questions that I was not able to ask. Nevertheless, I will venture to offer my opinion on the situation.

Regarding her belief that her being a sociologist is a hindrance, I would say that it could in fact be her selling point. While interviewers may be aware that sociology is the science of society and social relationships, some of them may not be familiar with the details of her curriculum which make it a perfect fit for HR positions.

A brief summary (just a few sentences) of the skills she learned from her sociology course that can be useful in HR, if placed in a prominent position in her resume, may serve to enhance her chances of getting hired. Later on, she can elaborate on these if she gets interviewed.

A little research has shown me that a knowledgeable sociology major will be a great asset to any HR department, with their skill in social interactions being complementary to the psychology graduates’ expertise in individual behavior.

On the other hand, I believe her concern about being considered overqualified needs to be discussed at greater length. Below is a list of my suggestions for her and others who wish to overcome the negative effects of this perception:

  • Do not disclose your past salaries unless asked. This will not help you if you indicate your previous compensation if it is substantially higher than that of the job you are seeking. If you are asked about this, then emphasize that your past salary is irrelevant.
  • Reassure the interviewer that you will be easy to handle. A frequent concern is that you may be difficult to manage as you know too much. Let it be known that you are aware of this perception and that you definitely are not going to be a problem to handle for managers of any age or experience. Several references from past superiors talking about your good attitude will go a long way in addressing this fear.
  • Focus on your relevant skills and accomplishments rather than on past titles. By discussing how you can be an asset to their company, you will be more likely to catch their interest. If you put “executive” or “VP” in your last position and you are now applying for a lesser job, it will work against you.
  • Say you are willing to sign a contract committing to stay for at least 24 months. Say this if you feel that the interviewer thinks you may stay only until you get a higher offer. At least they will be reassured that they would be able to recoup their training expenses with you.
  • You can say that you want to work normal hours. If you were in the call center industry you may credibly state that you no longer want to work during nighttime due to health or security reasons.
  • You can say you want a career change; maybe it is only now that you realized that you want to work in HR rather than in sales and so you are willing to start at an entry level position.
  • Try applying at smaller companies. Usually the smaller companies have policies that are more flexible than larger firms. In addition, your experience will be better appreciated since there are fewer applicants competing with you.
  • Try for a higher level job. If your resume is truly impressive then perhaps your best strategy is to aim higher!
  • Finally, explore if there are other things you can identify as factors that are keeping you from getting hired: fix your resume, analyze your interview strategies, and so on.

Dwelling on aspects which you cannot change is the surest way to keep on being rejected. Luckily, being overqualified is infinitely better than being not qualified!

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

Wide World of Work – Hiring the overqualified: Special handling can pay

(Originally published on Sunday, April 25, 2010)


A common complaint among job seekers is that they didn’t get hired because they were overqualified. Now it turns out that may be a good reason.

A graduate student at the University of Houston in industrial organizational psychology found that overqualified employees who aren’t given enough to do get bored and cynical.

They figure the job is a waste of their skills and education, doctoral student Aleksandra Luksyte said. That, in turn, leads to counterproductive behaviors, she said, including surfing the Internet, playing jokes on co-workers, taking company property and having long personal calls on company time.

Luksyte studied 215 psychology students who also work full time in a wide variety of jobs, including as legal assistants and in health care, fast food, retail and management.

She asked whether they believe they are overqualified and put the same question to their supervisors in an anonymous survey. There was strong agreement among managers, she said, that they saw signs of burnout.

Norman York, president of York Career Development in Houston, believes the problem stems more from a poor fit than anything else. Employers need to find the right people for the job, said York, whose firm coaches individual and corporate clients.

He finds the same burnout problem among employees who have worked the same job for a long time and essentially become overqualified for the position.

“People sort of outlive their value,” York said, and their usefulness may diminish.

The turnover issue

Employers are often reluctant to hire overqualified employees, said Luksyte, who with the help of her adviser, associate professor Christiane Spitzm?ller, is preparing the master’s thesis for a journal article. They worry employees will leave as soon as they find something better.

While that’s true — overqualified workers do tend to have higher turnover rates — they also often are efficient and effective.

The key is to give them extra duties that use their skills, such as mentoring new employees, or offering training opportunities for advancement, Luksyte said.

“Don’t avoid them,” she said. “You just have to maximize what they have.”

An exciting workplace

It’s also important to provide an exciting workplace, she said. If overqualified employees are satisfied with their work situation — they work with bright co-workers or the atmosphere is great — they’ll tend to stay.

Employers must have an upward mobility plan in mind when hiring someone who’s overqualified, said John W. Allen, president of G&A Partners, a Houston-based human resources outsourcing firm with 300 clients and 50,000 work-site employees.

They have to understand the reality that an overqualified employee will begin looking for something more challenging or a job that pays better, he said.

While it may be better to have the skills and talent from an outstanding employee for even a short period, it’s best to have a plan in place to move the employee into a better job or with greater responsibility.

Luksyte, who grew up in Lithuania, was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of California Berkeley before she arrived at the University of Houston.

She got the idea of researching overqualified employees when her husband came home every night complaining about a boring project he was assigned. The software engineer was essentially cutting and pasting, and he was about to lose his mind. Luksyte also noticed that he was cruising the Internet, chatting on the phone and generally wasting time — activities that are not typical of him when he’s involved in an exciting project.

She looked up the subject in the scientific literature and found little. Now that she’s searching for a doctoral subject, Luksyte said, she’s back to quizzing her husband on what’s going on at work. (NYT-c. 2010 Houston Chronicle)

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

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

(Originally published on Sunday, April 25, 2010)


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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