Monday, April 14, 2014

Career Profile: Stand-Up Comedian

What They Do: The stand-up comedian’s job is pretty self-explanatory – they stand up in front of an audience and tell jokes. The more successful ones can land lucrative television and film jobs, as well as other opportunities such as working a regular club circuit or providing entertainment for corporate gigs.

What strengths could potentially make someone great at this job? Here are five suggestions:

Communication: The ability to relate ideas to an audience in an entertaining way using humor, one of the most difficult forms of speech to master.

Ideation: The ability to develop and refine observations, ideas, themes, and subjects that can be developed into something that will make people (beyond one’s immediate friends and family) laugh.

Self-Assurance: The self-confidence needed to routinely perform an activity (public speaking) that some polls have shown to be most peoples’ greatest fear.

Significance and Woo: An inner desire to be acknowledged and paid attention to, while at the same time winning over an audience that may include hecklers and people who are indifferent to what is going on.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Career Profile: Veterinarian

What They Do: A veterinary physician, colloquially called a vet, shortened from veterinarian (American English, Australian English) or veterinary surgeon (British English), is a professional who practices veterinary medicine by treating disease, disorder, and injury in non-human animals. Most vets work in clinical settings, treating animals directly. These vets may be involved in a general practice, treating animals of all types; may be specialized in a specific group of animals such as companion animals, livestock, zoo animals or horses; or may specialize in a narrow medical discipline such as surgery, dermatology or internal medicine. (Wikipedia)

Vets are among the most relied on and respected caretakers in medicine, as they take care of human's closest companions and keep them healthy. What would it take to excel in this field? Here are five suggestions:

An analytical and restorative nature that can diagnose symptoms in non-human physiologies and anatomies

Empathy and Connectedness: The ability to establish a rapport with non-human entities such that there is some understanding of whether healing has been achieved (i.e. putting yourself in the patient's shoes, even if the patient has four legs)

Input: The ability to collect and gather all kinds of facts about fauna and how their bodies work

Monday, March 31, 2014

Career Profile: Head Chef

What They Do: ”This person is in charge of all things related to the kitchen which usually includes menu creation; management, scheduling and payroll of entire kitchen staff; ordering; and plating design…’Head Chef’ is often used to designate someone with the same duties as an executive chef, but there is usually someone in charge of them, possibly making the larger executive decisions such as direction of menu, final authority in staff management decisions, etc. This is often the case for chefs with several restaurants.”(Wikipedia)

What are the talents that might make someone excel as a Head Chef? Here are five suggestions:

Arranger: A knack for putting the right people in the right positions so that a restaurant can survive in a very crowded and competitive field.

Command: A individual who has no reservations about imposing one’s will on others in order to get things done with a high level of quality.

Ideation and Input: The ability to absorb and recall new and classic ideas, recipes, themes, and techniques that make for a high-quality eating establishment.

Maximizer: A natural desire to make everything the best it can be, whether it’s the quality of the food, the atmosphere in the dining room, or the level of service from the staff.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Career Profile: Loan Officer

What They Do: A loan officer is a person who serves as an intermediary between lending institutions and borrowers. They solicit loans, represent creditors to borrowers, and represent borrowers to creditors. (Wikipedia)

At a time when it seems as if the stability of most jobs is in question, the need for loan officers is relatively strong and not going away any time soon. What might the talents involved in excelling at this job? Here are four suggestions:

Analytical: The ability to understand complex financial transactions, as well as apply them to real-world scenarios and explain them to clients

Individualization: The ability to see separate financial situations and transactions as unique occurrences and respond to them accordingly

Input: The ability to capture and organize large amounts of data (clients' records, economic data, bank policies, etc.), retrieving them when necessary and storing them away for possible future use when needed.

Responsibility: The trustworthiness needed to conduct business in a field that involves handling large amounts of other peoples' money

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Want to Know What People Really Think About Working? Ask Google.

If you want to get one perspective on what people really think about working, consider this simple experiment using Google's search engine.

When you begin typing a phrase or sentence in Google's search box, the site will attempt to "guess" what else you are going to type so it can deliver search results faster. The estimations of your probable search input appear in a list while you're typing.

If you type "Working is…" into the search box, this is what appears:


If you type "My job is…" into the search box, this is what appears:


"Working is slavery." "My job is depressing me." "My job is making me miserable." "Working is bullshit." If we assume that Google's software bases its guesses on sentences and phrases that users search for the most often, we could casually look at this as some sort of evidence of what more than a few people think about when they think about working, and it's not pretty.

Dissatisfaction with one's working life is widespread and deep. What can be done? 1. Do something you love 2. Figure out what you do best, and get better at it. Easier said that done, but most things worthwhile are.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Career Profile: Production Assistant

What They Do: “A production assistant, also known as a PA, is a job title used in filmmaking and television for a person responsible for various aspects of a production. The job of a PA can vary greatly depending on the budget and specific requirements of a production as well as whether or not the production is unionized.” (Wikipedia)

Look around any movie production and you will always find at least one PA. The competition for PA jobs can be fierce, as it is often seen as a way to a get a foot in the door of movie production. If you stick with it long enough, you might even find yourself in demand for the big projects.

What are the job strengths needed to be an outstanding Production Assistant? Here are five suggestions:

Activator: A “do whatever it takes” attitude and willingness to take on any job no matter how small or trivial.

Positivity: Poop flows downhill, an old saying goes. If you’re the one at the bottom (and, as a PA, you are), you have to have the ability to see the glass half-full at all times, especially since you are usually the one person who is not allowed to complain or have a bad attitude.

Responsibility: The desire to follow-through on any task to make sure it’s done right and an inner satisfaction in doing it. This is important in a job where usually the only time people notice your work is when you do something wrong.

Restorative: An inner desire to fix problems, even if you didn’t cause them.

Self-Assurance: Specifically, the confidence needed to constantly eek out new opportunities and network with everyone you work with in order to get that next assignment or even a promotion.

Monday, March 10, 2014

How to Get a Job: Shotgunning Vs. Stalking - The Extremes of Job Hunting

When the time comes, either from necessity or choice, for someone to embark on a job search, there are many, many ways to go about it. Knowing someone who can hire you and sheer luck seem to be the most effective methods. Barring those, applying to companies through cold calling and submitting a resumé is the other option that most widely used.

As far as this strategy goes, there are two extremes that a job hunter can start or end up employing. There is the “shotgunning” method, where an applicant basically sends their resumé out to hundreds of companies and hopes one of them likes what they see and acts on it. The cover letters for these applications start with the ubiquitous “To Whom It May Concern.”

At the other end is a method I’ll call “stalking.” It’s one that is advocated by many job-hunting self-help books like What Color is Your Parachute. It involves targeting a specific company, doing research on that company to find out as much as you can about their history, management structure, job roles, competition, customer base, working environment, etc., and then using that information to craft a detailed cover letter and resumé that speaks directly to that firm’s current needs.