by Sara Pacelle

If you find yourself needing to enhance your resume with new or improved skills, you may want to consider taking an online course. 
I have found one website, lynda.com to be one of the best online learning sites to gain new skills and build on existing ones. Founded in 1995, lynda.com has an extensive library of video tutorials taught by some pretty impressive teachers  .lynda.com has particular strengths in online learning, particularly in the areas of graphic design, web development, software development and professional development.
 
According to their website,lynda.com is an online learning company that helps anyone learn software, design, and business skills to achieve their personal and professional goals. With a lynda.com subscription, members receive unlimited access to a vast library of high quality, current, and engaging video tutorials. New courses and topics are added every week at no extra cost. We carefully select the world’s top experts who are the best in their field, passionate about their subject matter, and know how to teach. Members tell us that a lynda.com subscription instills self-confidence and unlocks a sense of accomplishment that they have not found anywhere else.

You do have to pay for the coursework, but at $25/month, you can take as many courses as you would like and at times and location most convenient for you.


Do you recommend any other online learning sites?

Worth checking out.
 
 
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This article is by Nancy Duarte from the Harvard Business Review.  At some point in your career, you likely will be required to make a presentation.  Perhaps a job interview will require a presentation of your past experience.  This article is useful in listing the five most common mistakes presenters make when giving presentations.  Read this article if you have a presentation coming up.  The links at the end of the article provide more useful presentation articles.  Good luck!

We all know what it's like to sit through a bad presentation. We can easily spot the flaws — too long, too boring, indecipherable, what have you — when we watch others speak. The thing is, when we take the stage ourselves, many of us fall into the same traps.

Here are five of the most common, along with some tips on how to avoid them.

1. Failing to engage emotionally. You risk losing your audience when you just "state the facts," even in a business setting. No presentation should be devoid of emotion, no matter how cerebral the topic or the audience. Speak to people's hearts as well as their minds. Look for ways to add emotional texture to your exhibits, data, proofs, logical arguments, and other analytical content. Try opening with a story your audience can relate to, for example, or including analogies that make your data more meaningful.

To unearth the emotional appeal of your ideas, ask yourself a series of "why" questions. If you're requesting funding to pay for cloud storage, for instance, start by asking, "Why do we need cloud storage?" Your answer may be something like "to facilitate data sharing with colleagues in remote locations." Then ask why you need to accomplish that — and you'll eventually get to the human beings who will be affected by your ideas. Suppose your answer is "to help remote colleagues coordinate disaster relief efforts and save lives." That's your emotional hook. Once you've found it, it's easier to choose words and images that elicit empathy and support.

2. Asking too much of your slides. PowerPoint can be a great tool. But know what you're trying to accomplish with it. Do only that, nothing more. Problems crop up when you place too many elements in a slide deck. If you cram in all the points you're going to cover so you won't forget anything, you'll end up projecting entire documents when you speak. (Garr Reynolds aptly calls these hydra-headed beasts "
slideuments.") No one wants to attend a plodding read-along. It's boring, and people can read more efficiently on their own, anyway. So don't try to spell everything out bullet by exhausting bullet. Keep your teleprompter text hidden from the audience's view, in the "notes" field, and project only visuals that reinforce your ideas. And if you need to circulate documents afterward? Create handouts from all that text you've pulled off your slides and moved into "notes." 

3. Trotting out tired visuals. Nothing gets eyes a-glazing like a visual cliché. Want your presentation to stand out (in a good way) from the others your audience has seen? Brainstorm lots of visual concepts — and throw away the first ones that came to mind. They're the ones that occur to everyone else, too. That's why you've seen them a million times in other people's presentations. Generate several ideas for each concept you want to illustrate, and you'll work your way toward originality.

4. Speaking in jargon. Have you ever listened to a presenter who sounded super-smart without having any idea what she really said? If so, the presentation was probably full of jargon. Each field has its own lexicon that's familiar to experts but foreign to everyone else. Unless you're speaking to a group of people who are steeped in the material themselves, you're better off avoiding highly technical or industry-specific language. Use words that will resonate with those whose support and influence you must earn. If they can't follow your ideas, they won't adopt them. Consider whether your presentation passes the "grandmother test": If your grandmother wouldn't understand what on earth you're talking about, rework your message.

5. Going over your allotted time. There's nothing worse than a presentation that seems like it will never end. A great talk goes by quickly. People in your audience will never scold you for ending early, but they certainly will for ending late. So treat the time slot assigned to you as sacred. And keep in mind that people have a 30- to 40-minute presentation tolerance (they're conditioned by TV shows with creatively produced commercial breaks). Go longer than that, and they're sure to squirm.

This is the seventh and final post in Nancy Duarte's blog series on creating and delivering presentations, based on tips from her new book, the 
HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations.

Read the other posts here:
Post #1: 
How to Present to Senior Executives
Post #2: Create a Presentation Your Audience Will Care About
Post #3: Do Your Slides Pass the Glance Test 
Post #4: 
Structure Your Presentation Like a Story
Post #5: Disarm Your Audience When You Present
Post #6: Authentic Presentations Take Practice

 
 
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This article appeared on the website OutdoorIndustryJobs.com, a valuable career site for those who are interested in a career that combines a passion for the outdoors with a rewarding job.  This piece was written by Nathan Newberger

No, it's not time to throw your resume in the trash and start a "new age job search". But one thing that any job seeker must understand is that the showcase of talents does not begin and end with the resume. There are many "secret" abstract, often called "soft", skills that employers keep an eye out for. 

This article discusses the five key "secret skills" that interviewers examine and how to demonstrate them in an interview situation. 

These five skills are: 
1. Organizational
2. Critical Thinking 
3. Communication 
4. Interpersonal 
5. Multi-Tasking 


1. ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS:  Unless you are applying for a job as a mad scientist, organization is an essential skill for any job. Employers can get sense of how an individual will handle large workloads by how organized that person is during the interview. Moreover, a person that makes a sincere effort to stay organized is an employee that will take a job seriously and make a sincere effort to get things done. 

The best way to display these skills:
  • Dress professionally and neatly for an interview.
  • Keep supplies or materials on hand if you think they might be pertinent to the interview. This can go beyond pen, paper, resumes, and business cards depending on the position you apply for.
  • Organize your thoughts before the interview. Preparation for typical interview questions will reflect a sense of general readiness.
2. CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS:  Nobody wants a mindless drone for an employee. If they did, they would buy a robot. Employers want people that can think on their feet and respond. They are looking for people that won't come crying with every little setback. They are looking for problem solvers. Having critical thinking skills means that you can come through in the clutch. 


 
 
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by Sara Pacelle

Back in the day, job interview questions were based on an assumption of future performance. “What would you do if your project budget were cut 50%?" “How would you handle a situation in which….?.  These conventional and situational questions gave the candidate broad liberties to describe themselves in whatever way they wished.  They focused on what the job candidate said they would do given a hypothetical situation.  The interviewer’s impression of the candidates was based on assumed future behaviors, along with a thumbs’ up from the candidates’ pre-selected personal and professional references.

Employers are finding that these situational interview questions leave too much ambiguity as to the reliability of the candidates’ answers.  Increasingly, we see employers using a more sophisticated type of interviewing known as the Behavioral Descriptive Interview (BDI) format because it is widely considered by employers to be a more accurate predictor of on-the-job performance.  Based in part on the conclusions found in the 1980s research, Behavior Description Interviewing: New, Accurate, Cost Effective by Tom Janz, Lowell Hellervik and David C. Gilmore (1986), the BDI is believed to produce more candid responses from the job candidates and to keep the interviewer focused on job-related issues. In addition, it is thought to be a more objective method to record interviewer’s feedback and to make candidate selection decisions more defensible.  Employers say that using BDI allows them to obtain valuable information and that it reveals many more behaviors of the job candidate than when using conventional interviewing methods.   The premise of the BDI is that “the best predictor of future performance is past performance in similar circumstances.”  This includes asking behavioral questions requiring examples of past performance along with further probing questions to seek clarification or exploration.

So, how does the job candidate prepare for this behavioral type interview?