What plans do you have for your career in 2011?

Where ever you are, what ever time zone your in and however you are planning to see in the New Year - 2011 is approaching fast.

As well as finalizing last minute arrangements and making "Happy New Year" calls and texts to family and friends, your thoughts are likely to be turning to New Years Resolutions. Thinking about the ones that didn't get kept in 2010 and what you are hoping for the year ahead.

As the Times Square Ball in New York is in place, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the London Eye and venues all around the world have the fireworks ready to go - there may not be too much you can do to salvage 2010's unkept resolutions. 2010 is pretty well done, whether your goals were achieved or not, 2011 is a do-over. It's time to think about where you are now and what you want your for your future.

As I write this blog (from sunny Sydney with only 8 hours until 2011) the top trending topic worldwide on twitter is #myresolution.  Some resolutions are very specific like weight loss, income and business goals. Others are big picture with people posting about the type of people they want to be. There's also some that tickled my funny bone like '#myresolution is 1280 by 1064 pixels'.

Whether you are into the yearly resolution process or not - it's hard for the topic not to nag you or at least cross your mind.

To help out your thinking here's 10 quotes I've come across in the last couple of days that might prompt you to dream big.

1. Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right! - Henry Ford

2. Whatever you are, be a good one - Abraham Lincoln

3. Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground - Theodore Roosevelt

4. This is your world. Shape it or someone else will - Gary Lew

5. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams - Henry David Thoreau

6. The successful person makes a habit of doing what the failing person doesn't like to do - Thomas Edison

7. Success is a matter of luck. Ask any failure - Earl Nightingale

8. Never, never, never, never give up - Winston Churchill

9. It's kind of fun to do the impossible - Walt Disney

10. When it is obvious the goals cannot be reached, don't adjust the goals, adjust the action steps - Confucius

And some final words for 2010 from Oscar Wilde, "Life is too important to be taken seriously".

Enjoy your celebrations and contemplations and I look forward to connecting with you in 2011.

Happy New Year!

- Karen

2010 Project You Review


Project You Review in Today's Financial Woman
Well 2010 as a career year is pretty well done and dusted. If you're like me there are still presents to be bought and wrapped, stockings to be stuffed, and turkeys, puddings and other treats to be cooked and devoured. And then there are the plans to be made to celebrate New Years Eve. It doesn't leave a whole lot of time left to review how your career development has shaped up in 2010.

Now is the time to spend with family and friends - and to take some time out to re-energize and recharge. There will be plenty of time to review 2010 when you are making your New Years resolutions and plans for the year ahead.

As I wrote in the latest issue, The Round Up, of Today's Financial Woman magazine, reviewing Project You - and how your career development is progressing - needs to be treated with the same focus and importance as you would treat any project you are assigned to work on at work.

In that article I outline some last minute things you can do in the closing days of 2010 to kick some goals and put yourself in a good position for next year. These ranged from setting up some networking coffees to approaching a possible mentor. Time is running out for this year now, but if the approaching Christmas break and good will and cheer in the office does provide just the right opportunity to say "can we catch up next year for a chat/coffee?" take it, suggest a time and lock it in yours (and their) diary!

For everything else, we can leave it aside for a couple of weeks (but then we will get serious!)

Enjoy this week!

Karen

P.S. Sorry this is so short but I have to go get my Christmas cake out of the oven!

Pockets, Perfume and Piercings

The 43-page dress code that is being trialed by the United Bank of Switzerland in 5 of it's Swiss branches is the subject of much discussion today.

From the business end of town and the Wall Street Journal to blogs and social media sites - the absolute level of 'advice' being provided to employees by the bank is being reported and ridiculed.

For women the advice includes that pockets should be empty; perfume should be applied straight after a shower when pores are still open, skin is wet and body lotion has been applied; and piercings (except earrings) are completely prohibited. Oh, and underwear must be flesh coloured!

For men, it's just as bad with instructions that tie knots must match the 'morphology' of their face. Hopefully they are also issuing dictionaries with the new dress code.

I feel quote sorry for the HR department. How are they going to enforce the underwear color restriction? Or the 'do you have body lotion on under that perfume' rule?

 I get that UBS are trying to impress their customers and have their employees represent the image of the bank. And there are lots of rules of thumb and dress codes that can help you reinforce your professional credibility. But this seems to be an excellent example of something that has gone from the 'sublime to the ridiculous'.

For me, apart from the obvious inability to enforce their 'suggestions' it's the removal of options and personal choice that grates. But all-in-all it's a bit silly.

What do you think?

Karen

P.S. Doesn't really impact me though, given I don't have a Swiss bank account ...

Dear Readers, I can explain ...


Red Velvet Cup Cakes at Dean &
Deluca in New York - one of the
 experiences that kept me from
blogging over the last
couple of weeks!
The curious incident of the dog who did nothing in the night time was significant to Sherlock Holmes in the classic 'Silver Blaze' mystery. And quirky enough that the absence of something happening made famous the lines by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,

"To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
"The dog did nothing in the night-time."
"That was the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes.

Not quite as famous or significant as a Sherlock Holmes mystery, is the absence of my blog posts over the last 3 weeks. Not a long time for me, but I understand that in Internet time (which is many times faster than even dog years) this is something equivalent to an eon. Or more!
 
However, whilst you may not have been noticing the absence of blogs I have been busy. Very busy learning, observing and refreshing my energy through travel and new experiences.
 
In the last three weeks I have witnessed a modern day miracle, seen absolute joy, connected with inspiring people, shopped til I almost dropped and had a host of new experiences. Most of these were unplanned but came about as part of my rejuvenation plan to end 2010 and take some time out to refresh and re-energize.
 
Which has done me the world of good as I look forward to a relaxing Christmas break and a very productive 2011.
 
Taking some time out is crucial not only for balance but to ensure that you are capable of operating at your best - at whatever it is you do. Presenting yourself as fresh and energized can have a big impact on how people view you and your capabilities. 
 
New research shows that getting enough sleep is also important to the judgements people make about others. The Independent in the U.K. reports that getting enough sleep makes people look more attractive and healthier. When you look healthier - by getting enough sleep, holidaying or however you choose to rejuvenate - it pays off - as others will make judgements that you look in control.
 
As we hurtle towards Christmas this is the perfect time to take time out, get some sleep and rejuvenate. That's my excuse anyway (and a pretty good one at that!)
 
Karen

How will they change our lives next?

I've just got back from a day of touring around Silicon Valley in California. It was amazing to see mile after mile of the headquarters of some of the biggest brands in the world.

Yahoo!, Adobe, Apple, Google, HP, Intel, Facebook - to name a few. Not only are they mega-companies, they have significantly changed our lives. They have developed hardware, software, operating systems, search engines and social networks that have changed how we live, connect and communicate.

I wake up to the alarm on my iPhone, download my email, check my facebook wall and read a couple of pdf documents - all before breakfast - and I do this (almost) every day. All using technology and applications that the people behind these companies have brought to the world in the last few years.

As I travelled down the 101 Freeway I couldn't help wonder what on earth is going on behind these walls? What are they working on that will change my life next?

No doubt there will be much that hits the market, some will be technically brilliant but not take off. Others will become part of my new everyday. One thing I do know is that I need to keep in touch with what's coming but not chase after every new thing I hear about. Otherwise I won't get anything else done!

A challenge for Career Chicks (and others) is to keep across what works for you and the people you need and want to connect with. One way is to keep an eye on what the folks behind these walls in Silicon Valley are up to!

Career Chick Hot Tip - keep your skills current!

That's all for now - Karen

The right or write word?

Not all of us can get away with making up our own words and getting them named "word of the year' by the New Oxford American Dictionary. Which is exactly what Sarah Palin did with her invention of "refudiate". The Huffington Post reports this new word as meant to be a blend of 'refute' and 'repudiate'.

Whether what she meant was what she said remains to be seen - but nobody is talking about what she 'refudiated' - just about what she meant. (And I think they just might be having a bit of fun at her expense.)

Using the right words that say exactly what you mean might take you out of contention for word of the year. But it will ensure that the messages that you are trying to convey are most likely to be understood.

My thinking is to use the simplest and most appropriate words. Words that don't have alternate meanings or can be mis-interpreted.

For Australian writers I have come across a great resource to help with writing which is a book called, "How Much Can a Koala Bear?". Author Pamela Thorne has created a quick reference guide that provides simple explanations of commonly confused words.

I've been using my copy quite a bit and thought I would share it with you.

Choosing your words carefully is one of the elements to the CODE for career success. As how well you communicate can have a significant impact on your effectiveness and success.

Career Chick Hot Tip: Choose the right words

I'm headed over to the U.S. Monday so I'll be writing from California next week. Wouldn't you know it - snow is expected in the hills around San Francisco this weekend - just as summer has finally decided to make an appearance in Sydney! Better go and find those winter woollies....

That's all for now.

Karen

P.S. Spell check didn't recognise 'refudiate' when I checked this post! ☺

Can you do all of what you can do?

Work out what's most important to you
Career Chicks are pretty talented. No matter what it is you do there are bound to be lots of things that you are capable of doing. But the sixty-four million dollar question is - "Are there enough hours in the day for you to do everything you can do?"

The answer for most of us mere mortals is no. We have the capability to do many of the tasks that confront us in a day - answer emails, go to meetings, write a proposal, answer more email etc. etc. you know what I mean - an ordinary day with more to do than we have time to do it.

And it doesn't just happen at work. I go on holidays and wake with anticipation of a 'relaxing' day - breakfast, a visit to the shops, some time on the beach, a coffee break, maybe pop over and see a local attraction, a long relaxing lunch, an afternoon swim, a cocktail at sunset and then dinner. Sounds great. (Actually I think I need to stop writing this blog and book a trip to Hawaii NOW!) But the point of what I am saying is this - even when it's all good stuff - I usually can 't do as much as I want to do and think that I can get done.

It's the same with work. We have a pretty good understanding of what we are able to do but often vastly overestimate how much of it we are able to get done. This leads us to make commitments and promises of work we will get done - and create a whole lot of stress for ourselves.

The trick is to prioritize!

Prioritize what is important to you. So that what you really need to deliver is completed.

Last week I HAD to get my tax finished - so I had to enforce a self-imposed blogging and Facebook ban (I know - serious stuff!). But it had to be done. I made it my priority and the good thing is - what I really HAD to get done is done.

Decide what is most important to you and make sure that is what you do - and what you want to get done has a lot greater chance of being completed. And don't over commit. Be realistic about the number of hours in a day and what you can physically achieve. For all the other stuff - outsource or leave out until you get the time.

That's all for now!

Karen

What did he mean?

This week the leader of the opposition party in Australia criticized a speech by the Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard (that's his job I suppose) as being "shrill and aggressive". What, I wondered as I read the news report, did he mean?

It's pretty easy to guess what he was saying with aggressive. But what exactly did he mean when he labelled the speech as being 'shrill'?

Was he referring to the tone of her voice? Using the word shrill in the dictionary definition sense of "high-pitched and piercing in sound quality"? Was there some subtle inference about her voice as a woman?

Or was the comment referring to shrill as "marked by great intensity betraying some strong emotion or attitude"?

Quite a different meaning depending on how he was using the word. When I read the comment the next day it made me think about a couple of the Career Chick Hot Tips for communication.

The first of these is about being aware of your voice and how you use it. The higher pitch of a woman's voice can be melodic and attractive. But in business it can be interpreted as sounding too fast and too emotive which can be a distraction from what you are saying.

If you are conscious of your volume, pace, pitch and tone it can help others focus on what you are saying rather than how you say it.

The Career Chick Hot Tip is: Be aware of your voice and how you use it.

The other tip that came to mind when trying to work out what was meant by word 'shrill'  is the importance of the choice of words that you use.

So many words in the English language have multiple meanings it's easy for what you say to be mis-interpreted. For example dictionary.com has 179 different meanings listed for the word 'run' and 'set' has 119, which can leave quite a lot of room for mis-interpretation. Even with only 91 different definitions 'point' can have a very different meaning depending on whether you are referring to the sharp point of a pencil, the hand gesture or a particular thing that has been said.

To help your communication be effective and ensure that what you mean is what is heard, your choice of words is important.

Career Chick Hot Tip: Choose words that say exactly what you mean.

That's all for now (meaning - I'm off to the gym ☺)

Karen

PS There are more Career Chick Hot Tips in "Hot Tips for Career Chicks"

Why are the career tips for chicks "hot"?

I thought today I'd share with you a bit of the backstory about the title of my book, "Hot Tips For Career Chicks" which is where I draw many of the topics from that are discussed in this blog.

Recently, I've been asked a lot about how I came up with the title, so I thought this was something you might be interested in (you can also hear my discussion with Tiffany Crenshaw on Career Moxie Radio where she asked about this - and other topics - or you can download the podcast on iTunes).

Originally the book had the working title of 'Hot Tips for Corporate Chicks' - until I had almost finished it and realized that the tips are just as relevant to chicks in all sorts of organizations including government, not-for-profit and small business - because the basics of how organizations work and how to be effective working with others are the same - no matter where you work!

I played with other options like Hot Tips for Business Babes and a few other versions but once I got the idea for 'Hot Tips' that was locked in.

My philosophy is that you need to understand what is going on in any situation - in this case that women aren't getting ahead in sufficient numbers in their careers nor getting the recognition, satisfaction or enjoyment that they deserve from their jobs - and understand why, but then you need to know what you are going to do about it. Which is where the "Hot Tips" comes into the title.

For me, moving forward in your career is not just about understanding the theory of knowing what you need do but knowing how to do it. And then actually putting this information to work.

One of the many definitions of the word 'tip' is a 'piece of inside information'. Something that is a sure-thing. Like the name of a horse that will win a race, or a stock where the price is destined to rise.

The career ideas are 'hot tips' because they provide insights into how to work and manage a career in one framework that you can use. Rather than learning the hard way - through trial and error. The career tips are an 'insiders' guide to career management and probably a bit more reliable than any tip of which racehorse is going to win the 4 o'clock!

I'm a big fan of learning new things. But information is most valuable when you use it.  So my vision for the book (and this blog) is that Chicks will learn, practise, use and share the practical ideas to achieve the success and the satisfaction that they want in their careers.

I don't have the name of the racehorse that is going to win the 4 o'clock but I like to think that if you follow the tips, you can be first past the post (in your career!). Imagine the race caller, "And it's 'CareerChick' in the lead as they come down the straight, 'The Competition' are chasing her down, but 'CareerChick' has trained hard and is applying all her skills, no-one can stop her now. And it's 'CareerChick' who wins the day!

Now that's a career race call that I like to hear!

That's all for now.

Karen 

5 Fast Tips... to Start A Career Plan

Chat with a friend, mentor or
someone in your network
about your goals
Last blog I talked about the importance of having a career plan but the trick for many people is knowing where to start.

The advice from most people (including me) is to begin by writing down your goals and what you want to achieve. But sometimes it isn't that easy. And there are a lot of reasons why this may be the case. You might be have been quite content in your role and get thrust into a career crisis by being made redundant or laid-off. You may be considering returning to work after maternity leave or a career break. Or you may just not be sure what you want to do next.

All of which can make it quite difficult to know what your goals are and start your career plan.

Here's a few tips that might help to get you started:

1. Write a list of everything you are good at - include everything you can think of like coming up with ideas, working in groups, writing spreadsheets. Anything you know you are good at - and don't be modest!

2. Then cross off anything you don't like to do.

There's always going to be some mundane or other parts of a job that may not be your favourite. But these are your goals that you are writing - so they may as well reflect what you actually like to do!

3. Is there anything you have ever really wanted to do but haven't? Maybe you don't think you could possibly get the skills or qualifications but it is a great big aspiration that you would love to achieve, if only...

I read a great story in an article in the Harvard Business Review a couple of years back about a chap who was an accountant or some kind of numbers man (the detail gets lost in the memory) anyway he always wanted to work in the music industry. He was absolutely passionate about music. But at 40 years of age he had resigned himself that he was not going to become a rock star, music producer or song writer. But what he did do was apply what he was good at (numbers) and went to work as an accountant (or whatever it was) in the music industry. He was thrilled. He was working at what he was good at and did like, but in an environment that he was inspired and excited about.

Seems kind of logical but sometimes the obvious answers aren't so obvious. Or we don 't put all the information together - which is why I suggest that you write all this stuff down!

4. Reflect on which job you have had in the past that you loved the most. It doesn't need to be a job it might also be a volunteer position or a role in a club or association. Regardless, what was it about it that made it so good? Was it the manager? The people? They type of work? The level of input you had? The work you were producing? There are many things that make a job great. What was it for you?

5. Chat with your trusted career advisers and ask them questions to understand how others see you. Talk to your mentor, people in your network, a previous manager or even a good friend. Ask them what they think you are good at or even what career paths they see as possible for you. You don't have to follow their advice but it can be a good way of getting another perspective to add this to your thinking.

You might not find all your answers but these tips can be a good starting point to setting your goals so you move forward with your career plan.

As Lewis Carroll wrote in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland:

                 Alice came to the fork in the road.
                 "Which road do I take?" she asked
                 "Where so you want to go?" responded the Cheshire Cat.
                 "I don't know" Alice answered.
                 "Then," said the cat, "it really doesn't matter."

The cat was right - you need to have some idea of where you want to go.

That's all for now :)

Karen

A Chick With A Plan Has A Plan

Will Rogers, who was a famous American cowboy, actor and columnist, once said, "Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there".

How true this is when it comes to career planning. Most of us have a plan, or even a rough outline of one in our head. But if we don't formalise the plan and treat it with as much effort we do our job, it's pretty easy for the rough outline to stay pretty sketchy.

Here's a short excerpt from my book "Hot Tips for Career Chicks" about career planning:

                     "To make the most of the the time you invest in your Career
                     Development, you need a plan. This involves some common
                     sense activities that would you use to approach any important
                     project that you are responsible for as part of your job. You
                     simply need to set goals, identify the actions required to
                     achieve them, then conduct regular progress reviews. This is
                     nothing more than the standard approach you would use to
                     achieve your business goals. Successful Career Chicks use
                     these skills every day. The secret is to apply them to your
                     own career development.

                    The process for creating a career plan is the same for men
                    and women. The challenge for women is to actually do it.
                    When you know what you want to achieve, what work you
                    like to do, which companies you want to work for and even
                    the level of seniority you want to reach, you've created the
                    foundation for a plan. A career plan is your guide to what
                    you want to achieve and the steps you need to take to get
                    there, It will provide you with a mechanism to ensure that
                    you are on the path the set your objectives and realize them."

The Career Chick Hot Tip: Build a Plan

Next blog I'll talk a bit about how to set goals...because sometimes knowing what you want can be the really tricky bit.

That's all for now. Have a great weekend. I'm off to celebrate a 75th birthday with a great Chick ...my Mum!

Karen

P.S. You can get more tips direct from "Hot Tips For Career Chicks" which is available on Amazon.

Google Turns 12: A Reminder To Keep Skills Current

Happy 12th Birthday Google
It seems hard to remember when the end of most unresolved conversations didn't end with, "Don't worry, I'll 'Just Google It' and find out ..." Yet it is only 12 years ago today that the search engine was launched by Larry Page and Sergey Brin in California on September 27, 1998.

In the 12 years since the Titanic won 12 Academy Awards, the Monika Lewinsky scandal engulfed the White House and the final Seinfield show was aired, Google has had a phenomenal impact on how we shop, bank, research and communicate with the world. It has also had a significant impact on how we work.

Need the latest stats for a presentation? "Just Google It" Need to find a printer in your local area? "Just Google It" Need some cool graphics or find out how to get to your next meeting? "Just Google It!".

What on earth did we do before? I have absolutely no idea ...or choose not to remember anyway (I'd need to Google it!)

Google is not hard to use (no doubt related to it's phenomenal success) and the more familiar you are with its features (like images, news, maps, advanced search, translator etc.etc.), the more efficient you can be at finding exactly what need and be able to use the information and tools that Google presents to you, to enhance your work.

In the last few years, Wiki's and blogs have become accepted tools for knowledge sharing in organizations, Facebook is now a significant marketing channel and e-commerce is an accepted business platform. No doubt there are many more changes on the way. Four Square, Gowalla anyone? Who knows what will be the next big thing!?!


Google's birthday is a timely reminder to keep our skills and knowledge of technology current. Whether you are aiming to keep moving forward in your career or to be excellent at the role you are doing now (or both) it is vital to continually develop your skills. Keeping pace with emerging technology is an essential part of your on-going skill development. It's an opportunity to not only, not get 'left behind' but to 'stand-out' from your colleagues through your understanding of the digital world. And it doesn't matter how young or old you are (your keyboard doesn't know if you grew up with technology or not).

Here's a couple of simple ways to know about new developments and keep your skills relevant in this area:

1. Talk with people in your organization who are familiar with / or using new technologies- this can be new graduates joining your company or the folks in the technology department

2. Follow a couple of blogs (or Facebook pages) that talk about technology so that you are familiar with the new topics being discussed, or when you are on your local news site - just swing by the technology section and at least read the headlines

3. Give the new technology a go - it can be a lot of fun!

So as we break into a rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday Dear Google" keep in mind that it's important to 'keep up'.

Career Chick Hot Tip: Keep Learning!

That's all for now...

Karen

The great coffee spill incident

For anyone who read my blog last week about the great coffee spill incident on my desk last week that I took as proof positive that Multi-tasking doesn't work, I think you might enjoy this video - on what happens when BP Spills Coffee. Hilarious!



Thanks to Songsil Adamedes for sending this through - made my day!

Karen

P.S. And can I just add that the coffee aroma has only just cleared? No more multi-tasking! Now I just have to post this, read the other 7 emails I am half-way through writing, oh & and get a coffee!

Caring for people leads to glass ceiling?

Coffee to chat over - always a good idea!
Here's something to chat about over your next coffee. The Harvard Business Review reports that 'sensitive' men, that is those who are caring and empathetic run into the same glass ceiling as women.

The research findings are that the higher you go up in an organisation the culture is about tasks, actions, results.

The interesting thing is that tasks, actions and results all require people to carry them out. Perhaps there is an intrinsic fear that if we let the 'human' element in, it will be distracting, time-consuming, lead to poor decision making or all of the above?

Yet the conventional wisdom is that teams create better results than individuals. And these are made up of people too!

The thing is, there has to be room for business and caring to go together. The research on the performance of companies with more women on boards is overwhelming that diversity leads to better results. And diversity isn't just about men and women. It's about people, their skills, their knowledge, their background and their differing styles of thinking and working. The greater the variety, the greater the diversity. As the poet, Maya Angelou is quoted as saying, "We should all know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads are equal in value".

The thing about glass is, it has a melting point. There's no doubt it's strong - with tensile strength that can be 5 times stronger than steel. But turn up the heat high enough, between 2600 and 2800 degrees Fahrenheit (which is a little higher than my oven goes) BUT it can be broken down!

Glass is made common elements - mostly lime, sand and soda. Business culture is made of what's been done before, what has worked and what those who set the agenda are comfortable with. This too can be remoulded to deliver tasks, actions, results AND caring and empathy for people!

Take the time to enjoy a coffee and be proud of caring about the people you work with today.

Karen


Proof multi-tasking does not work...

Earlier this week I was attempting to walk, talk, get someone's attention, pick up a piece of paper from my desk and move my coffee cup off the aforementioned piece of paper. All at the same time.

Now, I know that multi-tasking is not an efficient way of working. I've talked about it in my book and it recently featured in an article I wrote for the Sydney Morning Herald about how to 'Stick To The Important Stuff' which featured the advice "avoid multi-tasking".

But the day-to-day temptation to try and do everything at the same time is strong. And little did I know that the lid on the coffee cup was not quite secure. The result is as you can see below.


A disaster.

Two rolls of paper towel and 15 minutes later order was finally restored.

I completely forgot what I was trying to do or say.

And worst of all?

No coffee for Karen. Boo Hoo.

There's a lot of research and a lot being written about multi-tasking that support that the two or five things we try and do at once are not such a good idea. Here's a selection I found that you might be interested in:

Multi-taskers bad at multi-tasking

Is multi-tasking bad for your health?

Is multi-tasking a myth?

Whatever the research or discussion, the lingering smell of coffee, that I'm not quite sure how to get out of my keyboard, reminds me that doing one thing at a time might be a better idea!

Next time I'm heading to the coffee shop!

Karen

You're Only Looking For One Job


Recently Heather Coleman from the Ferndale Career Center asked me to make a short video with some tips for people in Detroit who are looking for a job.

As I did a bit of background research on the unemployment situation in Detroit (15.5%in March 2010) I could well understand how people who have been working hard at looking for a job could be disheartened and overwhelmed at the double-digit unemployment numbers and talk of hard times for job-seekers. This is a huge challenge for the city and one that the business and political movers-and-shakers have in order to get the economy back on track.

But when it comes each individual looking for a job for themselves, the task at hand is to get just one job, regardless how many other people are also looking for work.

In the video I recorded for the Ferndale Centre I went through three of my tips for job-seekers:

1. Focus on the fact that you only need 1 job.

Don't be distracted by the size of the unemployment statistic or the number of people who you know who are also looking for work. You need to be focussed on finding only 1 job. Your next job.

2. Apply for every job as if it's the only job you are applying for.


Potential employers don't know (or want to know) how many jobs you have applied for or how weary you are of the process. They want to be convinced that you are the best candidate for the job with the most chance of being successful in the role (and the least risk to them that you'll succeed!)

To do this you need to approach each job application as if it is the only and most important role you are applying for. Each cover letter and your resume should be adapted for each and every job.

3. If the job suits you - take it - even if it is not at the level you were working at previously.

If a role is suited to you because it gives you a regular pay-check, is in your area of expertise and is with a company you are happy to work for - apply for it and if you are successful - take it. Don't not apply or take a job because it is 'below' your capability. Don't rule a job out just because it isn't at the same level that you have worked at previously.

Cream, they say, rises to the top, and once you have your foot in the door with a new employer you will be able to demonstrate your skills and new opportunities will emerge. And even if you are from the school of worst-case scenario thinking - at least it will provide you with some income whilst you search for another opportunity. In tough economic times employers understand that you need to be practical and work and 'taking a step back' for a while will not negate your previous career advancements.

To all who are looking for work, it can be hard, it can be dis-heartening and it can be a process full of disappointments. There's no disguising that it's often not fun. Treat looking for a job as a job and do it as well as you would a job. And remember you only need 1!

Successful hunting

Karen

PS There are more tips on how to 'get the job you want' in my book "Hot Tips for Career Chicks" available on Amazon!! :)

Don't Be Your Best Kept Secret


Knowledge, skills and experience are often quoted (correctly) as what is most important for managing and advancing careers. Closely followed by attitude, enthusiasm and commitment (also correct!).

However, this leads many of us to focus on working harder and harder, to get better and better at what we do and neglect the skills needed to manage a career. For those of you who have worked away and waited to be noticed, you might agree this is not necessarily the most effective or efficient way to get ahead.

There is no doubt that to achieve your career ambitions it is essential to be good at what you do. But career success is not limited to what we do, but also how we do it.

Expertise in how to 'work at work' and how to work at managing a career are both areas where knowledge, skills and experience (not to mention attitude, enthusiasm and commitment) are also essential.

One of the key skills is to learn how to communicate in the business environment so that your messages are clearly understood. This allows you to be more effective when exactly what you mean is what is conveyed and it helps the value that you provide to be understood.

How you work, or your operating style, which is simply how you are known to work, builds your credibility and becomes your professional reputation. The skills that are important to learn are: how to operate in meetings and work with teams, how to negotiate, resolve conflict, lead and get back up when things don't go your way. Are you calm, cool and collected or manic, mayhem and misery to be around? How you act and react goes a long way to dictate whether others want to work with or for you.

And whilst you are communicating effectively, being cool, calm and collected (that is the preferred outcome to the question above) your current and future success will also depend on pro-actively managing your career. From having a career plan to networking, working with mentors and learning the skills to get-the-job-you want and then to negotiate your remuneration - there are a lot of areas to know about.

Which is why prioritising what is important to you and deciding what you have the capacity to actually do is also a crucial career management skill.

Being brilliant at something (anything, actually) is tremendous. But if no-one knows about it or appreciates who you are and what you do, it may be difficult for you to reap the rewards you deserve. The value that you bring to a role is not something you want to be your best-kept secret.

Golden girls (and guys) need to learn how to shine and stand out from the crowd.

If you are in Sydney I am holding a one-day Career Development Workshop where Kate Southam, Serena Beirne, Rebecca Sebastian and I will be sharing specific tips for how to develop many career skills.

We'd love to see you there! If not read, talk with your mentor, network, attend programs and seek out trusted advisers.

Learn how to share your best secret - YOU!

Karen

A good manager is a good manager!

Over the years I have found that a good manager is a good manager, and it doesn't really matter what their gender. It's about how they apply their leadership skills and the operating style that they choose to adopt.

But a recent survey in the UK showed that two-thirds of employees would rather work for a male rather than a female boss.

The findings are a bit contradictory given the survey by UKJobs.net also found that of the people surveyed who had left a job because of a bad boss only 50% had left when they had a female boss.

When you ask people how they want women to manager you'll get the response "Women shouldn't try and act like men" and from others "Women should try and be more like a man'! Eeekkk...what are we to do?

It all comes down to having the leadership skills to do the role. These are skills you can learn, practise and improve no matter what role you're in.

When you become a manager there are lots of complexities in the role including the fact that people don't instantly want to do what you say because you are a manager. Ultimately it comes down to influencing the actions of others and the day-to-day decisions through what you do and say.

The ability to impact or influence others is called leadership and you can develop these skills in any role.

To be or become a good manager:

Career Chick Hot Tip: Recognize your ability to lead no matter what role you're in.

Karen

Flight Attendant Walks off the job; many others want to do the same

The Flight attendant who walked out of his job (well strictly speaking slid down the escape slide) in New York the other night, seems to have done what many others would like to do.

It is being reported that he is acquiring cult-hero status which is indicated by the more than 160,000 'Likes' on facebook and the numerous articles that are reporting that his popularity is connected with the frustration that many people feel about airline travel.

But there are lost of other comments out there that suggest that there may be another reason for the popular support. Including this one that the LA Times reported from the New York Times website, "I wish my office had an evacuation slide". It seems that there are plenty of people who admire this guy because he had the courage to walk out of a work situation that wasn't working for him.

Despite the popular support, the songs that have been written for him, and the notoriety of exiting stage left (with an alleged beer) this guy does face a possible prison term. There were probably a few indicators for him that this job was not what he wanted anymore, before the incident that prompted the walk-out. And there are a number of other ways he could have removed himself from the situation with a few less repercussions.

The Career Chick Hot Tip: Know When It's Time to Move On!

Karen

It's not just about the paycheck!

The Conference Board recently reported that U.S. Job Satisfaction levels are at the lowest level in two decades.

This is particularly telling in an economy where unemployment is so high you could expect people to just feel grateful that they have a job.

But the bottom line is if you are swapping 40 or 50 hours of your life each week for a paycheck alone and not receiving the other intrinsic rewards of working (being fulfilled, feeling valued etc.) the exchange can feel very one-sided.

Clearly money and sustaining a lifestyle is a priority when it comes to your job and career but when making decisions about HOW you want to make that money there are a number of other factors to take into consideration.

Learning the skill to "know when to move on" is a crucial area for managing a career.

Three key tips to help with this area are:

1. Learn how to recognize when the time is right to move roles or companies.

This may be to either take advantage of a new opportunity or when your current job is past it's 'best before' date.

2. Have a plan B

Don't wait until it's time to move before you develop alternatives. Actively manage your network so that you have people to call or on who may be looking for you for new opportunities.

3.Act when the time is right.

Don't let opportunities pass you by or 'settle' for less than you deserve in a role. Be prepared to act.

Working is about more than just the paycheck so make sure that you are in a position to be both paid and satisfied at work.

That's all for now!

Karen

P.S. More on this in Chapter 17 of Hot Tips For Career Chicks!

Are you offering rainbows or paint?


I spent a lovely few days in Yeppoon (central Queensland - warm, sunny and by the sea) with my brother, sister and their families last weekend.

One of the highlights was a visit to the "new" coffee shop in town and their carrot cake (absolutely sensational - picture attached!). As my 4 1/2 year old niece and I crossed the road in anticipation of the treats ahead of us, we were opposite the paint shop which is decked out with the logos of the major paint brands. Including one which has 5 stripes of the different color paint they supply.

"Ohhh", said little Miss Arabella in wonder, "I didn't know there was a rainbow shop!"

Which, apart from being cute, made me start and think about the importance, from a career perspective, of knowing not only what you do but what you are offering to a potential, or even current employer.

Are you offering your skills to process orders or a seamless experience for your companies customers because everything goes smoothly? Or are the sales you made a pile of order forms or securing the future of your company?

When you known if your offering is rainbow or paint, you are in a much stronger position in your career.

Something to ponder over a piece of carrot cake I think!

Karen

Resume Writing and Design


I recently 'met' Amy Adler through a business networking group on LinkedIn. Amy is is the president and founder of Inscribe / Express, a resume and career documentation company focusing on the health care and information technology industries.

She's written this great article on "6 Strategies for Success" for Resume Content and Design, which I'd like to share with you.

Here are Amy's tips:

When you apply for a job, you could be 1 of 400 women and men vying for that spot. In other words, you have about 1/400 chance of being noticed—unless you take the initiative to captivate your audience with amazing content and clever design.

Content: Show You’re the Best Fit for the Position

1.Target your resume to the specific job description.
Read the job description for the position. Then read it again. Use the words you find there to enhance your resume and cover letter. You’ll target your resume more effectively for the job.

2.Write about your accomplishments, not your duties.
By far, this is the toughest aspect of resume writing for women. Woman or man, be shamelessly self-promoting. Show you can do your job better than every other candidate, man or woman. Evaluate yourself the way your hiring manager, your employees, and even your customers do.

3.Use results whenever possible.
Which of these sounds like it belongs to the resume of a more capable candidate:

Responsible for new application installation. Took two weeks for large team to complete.
OR
Spearheaded major multi-site application installation mobilizing cross-functional team of 20+. Completed with 20% fewer person-hours than projected.

Be colorful; be concise. But most of all be specific about your successes.

Design: Make Your Resume Easy to Read
4.Emphasize important resume text with bold, underline, or italics.
Make your resume easy to read by showing recruiters exactly where to look for your best accomplishments.

5.Don’t use a fancy typeface.
To make your resume stand out, don’t use an offbeat typeface or font color (or paper color). Stick to a common typeface that your reader’s computer is likely to have. Use black.

6.Use color judiciously.
Color in your resume design (headings, lines, text boxes) can draw a recruiter’s attention. If you’re in a creative industry, showcase your artistic talents. If you’re not, and you’re in doubt, don’t use any color but black.

In summary, the job market is tough, and you need to stand out among the men and women applying for the same positions as you are. By tweaking your content and your design, you can help the recruiter put your resume in the “YES” pile.

You can contact Amy at aadler@inscribeexpress.com or check out her blog at http://www.inscribeexpress.com/resumeblog/

This is all valuable advice. Thanks Amy - I'm in awe at the great people you can meet on the internet!

Use the tips!
Karen

How To Work In A Team



Here's a short excerpt from my book "Hot Tips for Career Chicks" about working in teams:

"Working in an effective team can help you realise your business or personal goals and objectives. Plus, when your team achieves superior results, you get to share in the reflected glory. Much easier than struggling on your own, achieving an average result and shouldering all the responsibility!

Being associated with successful teams improves your credibility. Others may not know the contributions of each individual, but they'll view everyone positively, if the team was successful.

On the other hand, being associated with an unsuccessful or dysfunctional team that hasn't achieved their objectives can reflect badly on your individual performance. Sometimes no matter how hard you work in a team, the result doesn't get delivered. This can be an unfair reflection on you.

The only way to reduce this risk is to focus on the success of the whole team and the required business deliverables. Don't get worked up about others who aren't pulling their weight.

Essentially, there's only one person's behaviour you can have an impact on: your own.

As much as you'd like to change other people's behaviours or make them do some work, the only person you can really control is you. So do your best: the team will have a much better chance of success than if you don't."

Today's Career Chick Hot Tip: Focus on your contributions to a team.

Stay focused!
Karen

What's good about team work?



There's lots of reasons why people don't like having to work in teams. It can be time consuming, some people don't carry their share of the workload and others just don't seem to understand what's going on or required.

But there are plenty of reasons why working in teams can be beneficial.Here's 5 reasons why working in a team can work for you:

1. You get access to the skills and expertise of others in the group
2. It can be motivating to work with others with a shared goal
3. The envirnment can stimulate collaboration - and you'll have better ideas
4. You can't (and don't want to) do everything yourself!, and most importantly
5. You get to focus on what you are good at (and want to do!)

The next time you're considering whether to do something yourself or involve a team ask yourself, "What could I do if I am just focussed on what I am good at? And what I enjoy?"

You might be surprised by your answer!

Today's Career Chick Hot Tip: Trust the team and concentrate on your area of expertise

Team Work Works


Last week I was going to blog and post tips on the Hot Tips for Career Chicks facebook page about teamwork. But I was so busy working with my team that I didn't have time!

It's the time, negotiation and frustrations of working with people who view the world differently that can give teamwork a bad name (think group projects at uni!).

But in the business world, the complexity and expertise required to be successful means that you need to work well with others. Nobody can do everything themselves. How you work in teams will be one of the criteria that people will use to judge your performance. Learning how to work in teams is a crucial skill to develop as part of your operating style.

Sure working with the team to get agreement on our plan was a little time consuming. There were a few meetings and probably too many e-mails. But we got there, and we now have a plan that everyone is (at least) comfortable with - and prepared to give a go! And we got a better outcome than if the plan had been developed by just one person. So the result was more than worth the effort of working in a team.

The Career Chick Hot Tip is that to be successful you need to work in teams!

So this week, look out for some tips for Career Chicks on how to work in teams.

Karen

Red Shoes help make business 'pop'


This week I had the opportunity to attend the national launch of the 100% Project which is an initiative dedicated to seeing 100% of Australia's leadership talent (male and female) contributing to our future.

The project was launched by the Federal Minister for the Status of Women, Tanya Plibersek, with a symbolic balancing of the scales of business shoes. As having more women involved in business adds to the richness of an organizations talent, so too did the addition of a gorgeous red pair of pumps make an impact!

The point was made during the launch that the danger now that parental leave has been implemented and we have a female Prime Minister, is that everyone may be inclined to think that the issues of gender equality in the workplace are solved. And that we cannot afford to become complacent.

The 100% project are launching a piece of research about "What Men Want" to get the male perspective on gendered human resource practices. Which is absolutely vital given the fact that men occupy so many senior roles in business.

I just hope that if if they make it into a movie it doesn't start Mel Gibson. George Clooney would be my vote!

Chair, Frances Feestra, made the comment that "Women are not a minority group" which really struck a chord with me. Particularly given that women account for 50.25% of the poulation in Australia and a similiar percentage in most developed countries.

It will be great to see this type of research and what impact it has. For now, let's keep adding those red shoes to the scales and make business 'pop'.

Karen

To pat or not to pat?

I just got home from the gym where I was watching TV, listening to music (Adam Lambert, B52s and Nickelback fyi) and trying to breath (Love Shack is fast when you're on the cross trainer!!!!).

Anyway that's not my point ...rather what I was watching on TV was the news and the vision of new Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard in a meeting with male colleagues and patting one of them on the arm during a moment of levity.

My view is that this is a no-no for Career Chicks (possibly okay for a Prime Minister but then you get people blogging about it so perhaps not!)

The issue is that it looks motherly or like something your sister might do. Which is fine in those circumstances. But do you really want to conjure up those pictures in a work situation?

For me the Career Chick Hot Tip is No Pats in a business environment.

I'm off for a shower and maybe a chocolate!

Karen

Chicks Deserve to Earn What We're Worth

I don't get worked up that often about gender issues. I like to think I've got a pretty pragmatic approach to the issues in the workplace.

My thinking goes like this...there's historically been more men in the workplace, the culture has evolved to be like the men that dominate the numbers, and this means there are subtleties and nuances to how work works that aren't intuitive for Career Chicks. The solution is if you can learn about the differences to bridge the gap you significantly improve your chances of career success ...when you're work can be judged on it's own merit. That's it!

But when I read today in the Sydney Morning Herald an article, by an economist, about the changes to tax rates for the start of the financial year, I was not amused. Why? The interest creating remark to lead into the article (I get the need for an interest creating angle, it was an article about tax!) started with "Forgive me: I'm tickled by the latest joke: the good thing about having a woman as prime minister is we don't have to pay her as much". He goes on to say this won't actually happen. So it's not true, and it's not funny.

In Australia the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA) reported as recently as 2008 that in ASX 200 companies female Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) earn only two-thirds the salary of their male counterparts. Take one step down and the female Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and Chief Operating Officers (COOs) earn, on average, half of their male equivalents’ salary. Even those women who have made it to the top don’t earn as much as the men.

Across their census of all Top Earner positions, the EOWA study found that women’s overall median pay was 58% of the overall median pay for men. It gets worse. In Human Resources, where women in senior positions are more common than in some other fields, the pay gap is still 43%. And these results are for women classified as top earners!

For Career Chicks who aren’t in the top-earner category, it’s no better. The gap between men and women’s average weekly earnings was 35% for all employees earnings and 21% for full-time employees in Australia in 2009.

A laughing matter? I think not.

It's the end of the financial year in Australia. And the end of June everywhere else. A good time to make a New Financial Year or New Month Resolution to make sure you develop the skills to negotiate to Earn What You're Worth..

Check out next weekend's blog for some Career Chick Hot Tips (from my book "Hot Tips for Career Chicks") for the Top 5 tips from the chapter, Earn What You're Worth.

Then when you've negotiated the money you deserve, that will give you something to smile about.

Happy New Financial Year!
Karen

Girls Rule ...it's a big deal!

Well, today is certainly a historic day for Australia ... a female Australian Prime Minister. Which means that for those of us who live in Sydney we have a Super-duperfecta! I made that word up. (A superfecta is a racing betting term that describes picking the winnng four horses in the exact order that they finish. But in Sydney we have 5 chicks in charge.)

Quentin Bryce, Governor-General; Julia Gillard, Prime Minister; Kristina Keneally NSW Premier; Professor Marie Bashir, NSW Governor and Clover Moore is the Lord Mayor of Sydney. Whatever your politics, whatever your view on the monarchy or any of the other underlying issues regarding the positions or the people. This is a-m-a-z-i-n-g.

Part of me wants to say, Why is it a big deal that Julia Gillard is the first female Prime Minister of Australia? Why aren't we debating her qualifications? Her capabilities? Her suitability for the role? Why is the issue of discussion that she is a chick?

For me, the answer lies in the truth that she is the first. There really wasn't a big deal made out of the fact when Hillary Clinton was appointed as the third female U.S. Secretary of State. But there was plenty to be said when she was running for the Presidency as the first potential female to hold that office.

Being first is a big deal. First to win an Olympic race wins the gold medal, first to invent something gets the patent, famous firsts go in the record books. And Julia Gillard's elevation to Prime Minister is certainly one for the record book. As is the super-defecta we have at all levels of Government. (Do you think I can get my new word trending on twitter?) Who would have thought we would ever have had a chick (g-g) swearing in a chick (pm)? Not I. It is a big deal.

I look forward to the third female Australian Prime Minister (whoever she will be) being sworn in and not a comment being made about her gender. But for now, we have a first ... it's a big deal.

Karen

Time gives perspective

Recently, Nigel Marsh, the author of "Fat, Fired and Forty" spoke at the Tedx event in Sydney on the ongoing battle for work and life balance.

The tricky thing with the whole topic of work and life balance is that work is part of life.

Marsh provides a refreshing and humorous perspective on the issue. He also provides a handy framework to look at it. Which is to judge yourself and your success in achieving balance on a time frame that is achievable and realistic. Waiting until retirement is too long, he says. But trying to live "the" perfect day each day is unlikely to be achievable.

This is a great way to look at success in many areas of life including the achievement of 'career success'. What does this look like? And how long have you given yourself to achieve these goals?

If you're feeling under pressure perhaps the goal is right for you but the time frame you are judging your success on is too short?

Something to think about anyway. Check out Marsh's video on YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXM7MpoVAD0

Stay focused on you.

Cheers
Karen

Learn the language of your organization

I just found a scrap of paper in my desk draw with a quote I had written down when I was writing "Hot Tips". It's from French philosopher, Henri Delacroix, who is long departed from this world, as he passed away in 1937. But his words "the individual's whole experience is built upon the plan of his language" are just as relevant today.

And they are particularly relevant for anyone trying to figure out how to communicate effectively at work. Each country, industry and organization has it's own unique communications style. You don't need to communicate exactly like everyone else but if you don't at least understand the style, it can put you at a distinct disadvantage.

If everyone is speaking in acronyms that you don't know it can be like listening to another language. You need to know what these are. Or if people in your organization have a specific process that they refer to all the time, you need to understand this also.

Connecting with others, in the way they understand best, can make the difference between career success and just having a job.

Understanding and adapting your communication to the accepted business style can have a substantial impact on your career potential and success. Speak the language and you can effectively demonstrate your knowledge, skills and how you contribute to the organization.

Today's Career Chick Hot Tip: Learn the language of your organization, profession or industry.

Have a successful week!

Karen

Looking after your dollars

Love it or hate it, today the Australian government released the Henry report with recommendations that include superannuation changes to help us save for our future.

Just as superannuation in Australia is compulsory so too should it be for Career Chicks to actually "earn what you're worth"* and be able to determine your own standard of living and invest in your future.

This does mean the need to be prepared to negotiate for what you are paid and to learn the skills to do this.

One thing to make sure of is to make sure that you get your fair share of any salary increases that may become available come annual salary review time.

Many Australian companies are currently preparing for their annual review process and will make salary decisions on the basis of these reviews. A lot of people argue that they don't get the opportunity to negotiate or discuss their salary for the next financial year. And often there isn't a lot of extra money on offer. But you want to make sure you get your fair share of it and there are a number of things you can do. And NOW is the time to do it!

Here are 5 Career Chick Hot Tips to put you in the best position for your annual review:

1. Prepare well for your annual performance review with a well written document that highlights your contributions over the year.

2. Know your numbers - quantify the value you have delivered.

3. Ask now when your review will be held so you have adequate time to prepare.

4. Remind your manager in the discussion (don 't just rely on the written document) about the value of the contributions you have made.

5. Link your contributions and the salary review in the same sentence when speaking with your manager. Let them know that you trust that this will be recognized when they are making recommendations about your salary for next year.

The key is to be prepared!

What are you going to do THIS week to look after your dollars and advance your career?

Share your ideas with other Chicks!

Karen

*For more tips see Chapter 19: Earn What You're Worth of "Hot Tips for Career Chicks"

Why is women getting a break still controversial?

We all get that we are way beyond wanting to be the "token woman" in a role or on a management team. And that no woman wants to have any doubts about her individual abilities questioned because she has been "helped" to advance because of a program. But the reality is that women do not advance in the same numbers as men and that there is a gender wage-gap.

There are always multiple reasons cited for these issues which are all true and relevant, and emotive. Just take a look at some of the comments that people have posted in response to the story today in Australia's Daily Telegraph newspaper, http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/job-for-the-boys/story-e6freuy9-1225854970277 re the initiative to get men to talk to men about helping women in business. I thought I had travelled through some worm hole back to the 1960's...but no I checked, and these were all written in 2010. So this is still an emotive issue, for sure!

In a recent report in Australia, the National Centre for Economic Modelling found that 60% of the reason for the gender pay gap of 17% is due to being a woman. But the costs are not restricted to women...it estimates that this costs the Australian economy $93 billion each year. That seems a pretty rational arguement to look at the multiple and complex reasons to examine, discuss and develop solutions to this issue. And that needs to be done by all sexes. It's not just a "woman's issue".

Congratulations to Elizabeth Broderick, Australia's Sex Discrimination Commissioner and the business leaders who are tackling this issue with the Male Champions for Change group.

But let's not just leave it to the leaders...every Career Chick can make a difference by learning more about how business works and empowering ourselves to be in the best position to move forward.

What can you do this week to improve your bargaining power?

Karen

Collaboration can be fun!

Hi all

I've just got back from beautiful, but earthquake wary, San Francisco. Apart from providing the chance to visit the picturesque Napa Valley I also had the chance to collaborate with authors Fabian Venter and Blaine Dehmlow on their new projects.

Regardless of the fact that we have such different topics-Career advice, small business marketing and spirituality it was a tremendous chance to share experiences and be inspired.

For most of us, sitting at a computer for many hours is not the most creative environment. Nor the one where we get most of our ideas. Most people say that they get their best ideas in the shower, driving in the car or when they are talking to others. Mine are definitely in the shower!

Whilst there are all sorts of obligations at work (emails, reports, forms to be filled out) it's good to take time to be creative and come up with some ideas that will add to the value you provide in your role.

A great trick is to stand-up from behind the computer, find some like-minded people who you admire and talk to them about what they are doing. You just never know the ideas that will be generated by having a chat!

Until next time Career Chicks (& guys!)

Karen

Earn What You're Worth - it will help others too!

Recently the Economist magazine reported on the estimated 100 million baby girls that have not been born due to the gender selection that has been occurring in countries such as, not only China, but in India, Taiwan, Singapore, and the Balkan States.

The article concludes that the reason is that boy babies have a higher economic value than girls. Whether this be because they stay in the family to contribute to income, earn more over their lifetime or do not have the cost of a dowry for them to marry, the the result is the same; boys are financially favourable to families in many countries.

The answer, says the Economist, is that "all countries need to raise the value of girls". Whilst this may seem a problem that is very far away from the world of salary gaps for women in developed countries, it is essentially the same issue - perceived economic value that is at the heart of the problem.

It was only as recently as 1972 that women in Australia did not have to leave government jobs when they got married and our ability to contribute economically really started to increase. This was before many of us started to work or were even born. But we all can probably sing along to Don McLean's American Pie that became a worldwide hit that same year. Just because it was before our time, doesn't mean it doesn't have a lingering tune for us today.

But equal economic value is still yet to be achieved. In 2008, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that the average weekly gap between men and women's average weekly earnings was 34.6%. And the situation was the same internationally. In the same year in the United States the gap was also high at 20%.

How much you earn is important to you personally. It is important for your lifestyle and for how you position yourself in an organisation. It is also important for increasing the economic value of women universally.

Money is important and is a topic that chicks need to talk about.

Lets get the conversation going.

Career Chick Hot Tip: Recognize that how much you are paid is important!

Have a profitable week!
Karen

International Women's Day - thanks to the Chicks who have gone before us!

In 2010 International Women's Day has been celebrated with ceremonies to honor special women, corporate lunches and presentations. And much has been written about the achievements and on-going needs for the advancement of women.

This is a far-cry from International Women's Days of the past that were marked by demonstrations, marches and rallies. Over the years the focus has included unsafe working conditions, the right to vote, basic wages, holiday pay and eventually equal pay for equal work.

Thanks to the voices of these women, these goals have been mainly realised - in developed countries anyway.

Today our focus, from a career perspective, is largely on being recognized and valued for our contributions and enjoying the same level of choice and success in our careers as men. All while staying sane, achieving work-life balance and giving back and many other personal, family and health related goals. Which can seem overwhelming at times but imminently achieveable compared to the challenges that women had to overcome in the past.

International Women's Day 2010 is a great day to reflect on how far chicks have come, mouth a word of thanks to those who have come before us and be optimitic about the future.

International Women's Day - a time to say "you're doing great"

Monday March 8 will be the 99th time that Intermational Women's Day has been celebrated, and 2010 is exactly 100 years since the concept of the day was adopted at the 2nd International Conference for Working Women in Copenhagen. At that time most women were unable to vote, let alone choose and create a career.

This year is unlikely to be marked by the protests and rallies that have been held over the years as women campaigned for safe working conditions, political rights and economic parity.

Whilst there is a long way to go in many societies around the world, women do not yet (universally) earn the same as men, the ratio of males to females in senior roles is not what it could be and the subtleties between how women and men work can cause disparity in the workplace; women have come a long way in the last 100 years.

Internationalwomensday.com says that the day "has grown to become a global day of recognition and celebration across developed and developing countries alike".

You may be planning to celebrate on March 8 by attending one of many functions that will be held by organizations, networking groups and companies. What better excuse could there be to spend some time focussed on networking with career-minded chicks!

My plan is to also contact as many women as I can in my network and say (what I should say more often),"you're doing great!"

Do you know some women who are doing great that you can give some encouragement on March 8 as your way of celebrating International Women's Day?

What you say, what others hear...are not necessarily the same...

Last week I spent several hours on the tarmac at Melbourne airport as we waited for storms to clear. Being an industrious Career Chick I fired off a few text messages to people in my team and asked one of my colleagues for his thoughts on a particular business issue.

He responded, and as is usual with a text messaging, did not include much punctuation. The issue at hand was discussed and then the message finised with "First cut off the top of my head". He meant "First cut, off the top of my head" meaning these were his initial thoughts. I read, "First, cut off the top of my head". :) Which of course has a very different meaning!!

There was plenty of time to sort out the miscommunication, and it was the best laugh I had all day. But it really does illustrate that what we mean and what is heard are often very different things. Being aware of this is a great skill for Career Chicks!

Have a successful week - Karen

The importance of Communication for your career

The fact is, the workplace is dominated by a communication style that is more reflective of how men communicate than women. Traditionally, there have been more men in business and their natural style has dominated. But it can put you, as a Career Chick, at a disadvantage without you even being aware of it. Understanding and adapting your communication to the accepted business style can have a substantial impact on your career potential and success. Speak the language and you can more effectively demonstrate your knowledge, skills and how you can contribute.

The challenge for anyone when learning or speaking a new language is being understood. The business world has its own complex and unique language. Your ability to understand and speak the language of business will allow you to be more successful when working with both men and women. Clear communication is essential so that what you say is understood and valued. Your interactions and communications with others will determine your effectiveness, your reputation and the perception of how capable you are – and ultimately your success in the business world.

There are several elements of communication that significantly influence career success. These include:
• the words you use
• how you say them
• your ability to impress when you make presentations
• how well you write, and
• the messages you send with your body language.

Excerpt from "Hot Tips for Career Chicks: Unlocking the CODE to success"
By Karen Adamedes

Copyright © Karen Adamedes 2010