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Three Tips to Improve Your Ability to Hold a Conversation with Anyone

October 29th, 2015

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There are few skills absolutely essential for success in business no matter what role you work in. Right at the top of that list is communication skills. Being able to communicate effectively helps you sidestep common problems, identify hidden opportunities, and increase your value to your company. Conversely, having poor communication skills can put your career on hold, even if you have talents elsewhere. With that fact in mind, we have identified three tips that can help anyone hold a better conversation no matter who they are talking to.

Watch Your Body Language

You communicate with a lot more than just your voice. If you are having a conversation with someone but you are constantly fidgeting while your eyes are darting around the room, your audience won’t feel like you are invested and engaged. When you are speaking to someone, be sure to make eye contact, to use expressive gestures (but not too many), and to give the other person your undivided attention. When you are speaking, talk slowly rather than rushing to the end of your sentences. Basically, be the person you wish you were talking to.

Look for Detail

One of the hardest things about having a conversation is that small talk is boring by definition. You have to get through it to connect with a stranger, but you can only spend so much time talking about the weather. For that reason make sure to keep your eyes out for details that reveal something about your audience. You might notice a wedding ring, a pin for a college or sports team, a candid photo on a desk, or a movie reference on an office wall. Make the effort to get to know the other person as a real person.

Study Your Vocabulary

The reason that a lot of people are poor communicators is that they simply use the wrong words to say what they want. They use 10 words when two will do, or try to express big, complex ideas in clipped, confusing sentences. That habit can be a conversation killer, and it can get you into hot water in a business environment. In most cases there is one perfect word that will be descriptive but brief, expressive but appropriate, and surprising but understandable. Study your own word choices, and you will likely unearth some room for improvement.

Communication skills really can be learned, developed, and improved. If you’re not great in conversation now, there is no reason you can’t be later. Start developing those skills, and when you’re ready to leverage them to enhance your career, contact the Concorde Group.

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Red Flags to Watch for on a Resume

June 29th, 2015

Evaluating a resume is something of an art form. You have to look past the candidate’s skills and experience and really analyze the information they have chosen to present you with. Hone your skills even further by learning about subtle red flags to watch out for.

  • Too Much Employment – If a candidate has demonstrated a pattern of jumping from job to job every year or two, it suggests they are discontent in their career and unlikely to show your company any meaningful loyalty.
  • A Lie – Sometimes a lie can be spotted simply by looking for contradictory information on a resume. If one is present, it raises serious questions about that candidate’s character and the true nature of their credentials.
  • Meaningless Skills – In 2015, every professional is proficient in Microsoft Office. If you read a resume that lists this as one of the candidate’s skills, it means they are trying to pad out their qualifications and probably can’t make the big impact you want.
  • Focus on Strategy – Strategy is an overused buzzword that appears a shocking number of times on some resumes. You are interested in accomplishments, not approaches.
  • Claims of Expertise – True experts don’t go out looking for jobs; they get recruited by the top global companies. This word indicates that the candidate’s proficiency has probably been greatly exaggerated.
  • Outdated Email Addresses – Today’s business requires nimble adaptability. Candidates still using outdated email platforms probably can’t adapt as quickly as you would like.
  • Inputs Over Outputs – When a resume lists a candidate’s job responsibilities and project participation and fails to mention the outcomes of those, it should make you question what kind of value they can really bring to your company.
  • An Objective Statement – These statement’s can only state the obvious – I want a job at your company – or the irrelevant – I want something besides a job at your company. The presence of one is evidence of a poorly crafted resume.
  • An Extended History – Jobs or internships the candidate had a decade ago are probably irrelevant to the position they’re seeking now. Resumes that look too far into the past suggest the candidate is struggling to align their qualifications with your requirements.

Think back – how many resumes have you seen with these red flags on them? Did you invite those candidates for interviews, and did you end up hiring any of them? Possibly yes, but more likely no. Now that you know how to spot these warning signs early, you can streamline your recruiting process and connect with only the best possible candidates. Further improve your staffing strategies by contacting The Concorde Group.

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How to Negotiate Better in an Interview

February 25th, 2015

If you are entering into a salary negotiation, congratulations! It looks like your job search is over. But just because you’ve secured an offer doesn’t mean the hard work is over. The salary negotiation process can be long, confusing, contentious, and especially consequential if you accept a disappointing offer. Make sure you get what’s fair while staying in good standing with your new employer by following these strategies.

Do Research in Advance

It’s fairly easy these days to figure out what similar professionals in the same part of the country earn, and then factor in cost of living differences. Determine what the average level of compensation is before the first negotiation so you know if the offer is high, low, or about normal. Use sites like Salary.com to find the average wage for your industry.

Highlight Your Value

Clearly you are qualified for the position. But what kind of extra value can you bring to the table, and how will that affect the company’s bottom line? You can make the case that you deserve more because you can offer more, but you need to back it up with concrete statements.

Focus on Professional Matters

You might be eager to make more because you have unpaid medical bills or a kid heading off to college, but it is never appropriate to bring up your personal finances during a salary negotiation. Stick to the level and volume of work you will accomplish when justifying an increased salary.

Value Your Time

It’s common for companies to counter a salary offer by offering more pay for more work. Ask yourself if you have the time and drive to take on the extra work, and make sure that the additional pay is fair compensation for what’s being required of you.

Consider the Total Package

It’s important to look at health benefits, vacation time, tuition reimbursement, and other perks in addition to salary when calculating the value of an offer. And if the company holds firm on salary, you can negotiate other variables to improve the offer.

Be Reasonable

You might be tempted to throw out a wildly inflated figure and then expect to negotiate it down, but this only makes you look unprofessional and unrealistic in the eyes of your new employer. Shoot instead for the mid-to-high range of the average salary.

Remain Professional

No matter how the negotiations go, it’s important to remain cordial, civil, and perfectly professional throughout. If you reveal yourself to be petty or greedy, the employer has every right to withdraw their job offer.

The team at The Concorde Group is here to help you find the right job opportunity, get in front of the hiring  manager, ace the interview, and coast through the salary negotiation. If you’re ready to improve your job search in Fairfield CT, contact us today.

 

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