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Ask Dr. Tom

Career Management: September 2011 Archives


The economy is changing the world of work. The new way of doing things requires not only technical mastery but also "soft skills" including integrative ability, reliability, dedication, determination and interpersonal relations. To stay ahead of the game, follow these 10 "be-attitudes" for your continued successful and healthy career development.

1. Be Mentored - Pick someone smarter than you are who will teach you the ropes. Take the time to learn the culture of the organization since each employer is unique and different. Keep an open mind and don't form too many opinions too early on. Once you have learned the rules you will understand how to get things done. Give back by mentoring new employees.

2. Be Motivated - Present yourself as an energetic and enthusiastic professional. Demonstrate your self- confidence and go to work each day ready to tackle the challenges ahead. Learn to think and act for yourself with a sense of purpose. What results will you generate for your organization today?

3. Be Self-Managed - Manage your own career by building your experience and training as quickly as you can. Your ability to manage your time efficiently will allow you to wear more hats, balancing your work and outside commitments. Take advantage of company or external training programs. Whether you are going into a full-blown graduate program or merely participating in a seminar to improve your skills, it is essential for you to reinvest continually in yourself.

4. Be Current - Keeping up with trends, skills and technical proficiencies will help you build a better resume each year. The role of knowledge is even more valuable today than it use to be, and companies expect you to stay current.

5. Be Focused on Both the Short-term and Long-term - In this new economy, you might not be in your current role for long. Consider the skills and experience you can develop and then bring to another position within the company or perhaps another employer. Determine what you want to accomplish with in the next year as well as the next three to five years. Is it time to think about having your own business? A career that is chosen today is not necessarily the one you will chose for life.

6. Be a Communicator - Your ability to speak clearly and articulately in front of small and large groups is one of the keys to your success. Also, can you get your message across by writing concisely? Companies desire strong oral and written communication skills for effective presentations to clients, employees, senior staff and board members.

7. Be a Team Player - Most projects in this day and age are being accomplished by teams of employees. Your ability to get along with different types of people in a work group and achieve a common goal will be rewarded.

8. Be Fast or Be Last - Employers want new hires to be able to hit the ground running. They want workers who are able to show initiative in assessing situations, identifying options and implementing solutions to problems. Do you have the flexibility and creativity to think outside the box or do you need to be told what to do? You will need to think and act quickly so you will not get left behind in the digital divide.

9. Be Entrepreneurial - Innovative leaders are rewarded; followers are not. Learn to take calculated risks and be prepared to participate. Stay organized. Take ownerships of your responsibilities with a "can do" spirit. See yourself as a project manager with the attitude of "If it's going to be, it's up to me."

10. Be Education and Experience Oriented - Companies seek new workers who demonstrate a balance between your educational background and relevant work experience. Companies also want you to come to the table "job ready" with transferable skills, practical experience and a positive attitude.


© 2011, Dr. Thomas J. Denham, Careers In Transition LLC - Published Monday, September 19, 2011


Dr. Thomas J. Denham

Dr. Tom Denham is the founder of Careers In Transition LLC, a private practice which focuses on career counseling for individuals and consulting services for institutional clients. Dr. Tom has over twenty years of career services experience at Siena and Union Colleges as well as Harvard, St. Lawrence and Boston Universities.

Dr. Tom founded Northeast Public Radio's award winning talk show, The Career Forum and speaks extensively on career management issues. He earned his bachelors from St. Lawrence University, his masters from Boston University and his doctorate from Nova Southeastern University.

He has climbed over 180 mountains including the Adirondack 46, Oregon's Mt. Hood and The Grand Teton. In 2009, he survived a huge crevasse fall on Mt. Rainier by ice climbing his way out. Tom lives where he grew up in Albany where he would rather be ice and rock climbing and raising his 11 year old daughter, Rachel.

Dr. Tom Denham has been a professional career counselor for over 20 years. He helps people explore their options with career testing, make job changes and write resumes and prepare for interviews.

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