29 Mar

Tips for Networking If You’re A Telecommuter

Blog No Comments by Mareisha Winters

Tips for Networking If You’re A TelecommuterMany of us think that we need to become an expert in our chosen field, whether it be nursing, engineering, writing, plumbing, programming, etc. And that is true. However, being the best at the “technical” aspects of your job will not be enough for the future. According to a report conducted by The University of Phoenix, there are 10 skills that we will all need to succeed in the future and none of them have to do with being an expert in your field.  They are all related to our ability to grasp and work with complex ideas, to innovate and work with people who are different from ourselves. This month LTAW will feature the skills named in the report and give you ideas for how you can attain these additional abilities.

Despite what has been going on at Yahoo and Best Buy regarding ending work from home arrangements, telecommuting is still predicted to be the way of the future. It has been estimated that 45% of the US workforce are potential telecommuters. In 2010 some 13.4 million people worked from home, compared to 9.2 million in 1997. With the increase in telecommuting comes the decrease in face-time, therefore making it harder to build your network. Who cares, you ask? Well you should! Networking is a critical piece of your career success puzzle. It is still very much more about “who you know” in the work world than it is about what you know.

Networking can help you if you’re looking for a new job – 80% of today’s jobs are landed through networking. Networks can also help you succeed in your current position – you never know who people know and what knowledge they possess if you do not take the time to connect with them. Having a solid network helps us learn about new opportunities, expand our world view, and see new possibilities. However, building your network may prove to be difficult if you work from home.

Here are some ideas for networking if you’re a telecommuter:

LinkedIn. Most people have heard of LinkedIn and have a profile on the professional networking site (if you don’t here are some of our tips on how to use LinkedIn effectively). LinkedIn is a great way to build an online network. You start by connecting with people you know, and you can grow your network by asking them to initiate connections between yourself and people in their network. LinkedIn also has myriad groups of various topics to join where people are sharing their thoughts, asking questions and offering advice. Once you have built your online network, don’t stop there. Ask to meet with some of these folks face to face and really enrich your relationship.

Go to a coffee shop. Some work from home jobs are not that flexible, meaning you cannot truly “work from anywhere”. For example, I have a friend who works from home but it’s basically like he just picked up his cubicle from work and moved it into his house. He has to be at his desk between 8-5 and has scheduled breaks and lunchtime. If you’re one of the lucky ones where your telecommuting job allows you to truly be mobile, consider working from a coffee shop or bookstore sometime. You may meet some interesting people while you’re there that can help you succeed in some aspect of your career.

Get involved with professional/trade organizations. This is good advice whether you work from home or not. It’s always a good thing to talk with others in your same line of work, or the line of work you may be seeking to get into in the future. By joining a professional organization you can establish ongoing relationships or deepen existing relationships with others who have common professional interests and similar business concerns. These relationships will undoubtedly serve as a source for ideas, inspiration, advice and friendship.

Volunteer. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people. Serving your community is obviously a good thing to do. It can also be a good thing for your career. You may learn new skills such a leadership, speaking, administration, etc. and may also get noticed by the top brass in your field.

Go into the office. If you do work for a company that actually has a physical location nearby, consider going into the office at least once a month. Some organizations have cubicles or offices set up just for this purpose. This is a good way to not only get to know the people who you work with better, but also the organization itself. Just make sure you don’t wear your pajama’s to the office!

Working from home does not mean you have to sit up in your house in your pajama’s all day and never connect with another person again. Find creative ways to continue to build your network even as a telecommuter.

Related Article(s) from LTAW:

  1. Who’s In Your Network?

Futurize Your Skills!

Are you a telecommuter? What are some of the things you do to build your network?

Photo credit: Kevin Harber

25 Mar

Data Scientist: Hot Job of the Future

Blog No Comments by Mareisha Winters

data-scientist

Many of us think that we need to become an expert in our chosen field, whether it be nursing, engineering, writing, plumbing, programming, etc. And that is true. However, being the best at the “technical” aspects of your job will not be enough for the future. According to a report conducted by The University of Phoenix, there are 10 skills that we will all need to succeed in the future and none of them have to do with being an expert in your field.  They are all related to our ability to grasp and work with complex ideas, to innovate and work with people who are different from ourselves. This month LTAW will feature the skills named in the report and give you ideas for how you can attain these additional abilities.

Advances in technology have greatly increased the amount of data we have at our fingertips. As data continues to increase workers will need to have the skills necessary to make sense of the information. “Big data” has been the talk of the work world recently as the next big thing that will revolutionize the way we work, live and communicate. Now that more and more information is stored on computers, we have more and more data to analyze and manage.

In HR departments, for example, recruiters analyze data on potential employees to find the best candidate and use predictive analysis on current employees to find out who is most likely to leave an organization.  Walmart has a database of over 2.5 petabytes of data (that’s a lot!) from the its 1 million customer transactions per hour. YouTube users upload 48 hours of video to its website every minute. Who is managing and analyzing all of this data you ask? Data scientists.

In 2012, Harvard Business Review named the job of data scientist the “sexiest job of the 21st century”. One definition of a data scientist is the hybrid of a data management specialist and quantitative analyst. While this type of job is relatively new, thousands of data scientists are starting to pop up at both start-ups and well-established organizations. What these companies understand is that they are receiving information in varieties and volumes like never before that they need to make sense of it all for organizational success.

Three of the 10 future work skills highlighted in The University of Phoenix report are directly related to the role of the data scientist:

  1. Computational thinking: ability to translate vast amounts of data into abstract concepts and to understand data-based reasoning.
  2. Sense-making: ability to determine the deeper meaning or significance of what is being expressed.
  3. Cognitive load management: ability to discriminate and filter information for importance, and to understand how to maximize cognitive functioning using a variety of tools and techniques.

Knowing the basics of Microsoft Office will not be enough in the future. Job postings will now include required skills such as statistical analysis and quantitative reasoning. The role of the data scientist is in high-demand, from government agencies to technology companies to consulting and research firms seeking out candidates in this field. Whether you’re looking to change careers or just getting into college and need to pick a major – check out data science, it is the sexiest job after all.

Futurize Your Skills!

Photo credit: www.biocomicals.com

22 Mar

Emotional Intelligence: Why Do I Need It?

Blog No Comments by Mary-Frances Winters

emotional intelligenceMany of us think that we need to become an expert in our chosen field, whether it be nursing, engineering, writing, plumbing, programming, etc. And that is true. However, being the best at the “technical” aspects of your job will not be enough for the future. According to a report conducted by The University of Phoenix, there are 10 skills that we will all need to succeed in the future and none of them have to do with being an expert in your field.  They are all related to our ability to grasp and work with complex ideas, to innovate and work with people who are different from ourselves. This month LTAW will feature the skills named in the report and give you ideas for how you can attain these additional abilities.

Stephen Covey Quote EQ

One of the key skills for the future is emotional intelligence.  Behavioral scientists say that the level of one’s emotional intelligence is more accurate in predicting career success than is technical knowledge.

Emotional intelligence (EI or sometimes referred to as EQ) can be defined as a learned ability to identify, experience, understand, and express human emotions in healthy and productive ways. EI operates on a personal level through our own thoughts and behaviors and at a group level through our interactions with others.

Based on Daniel Goleman’s  groundbreaking work in the area of EQ, he identified four areas as shown below.

Emotional Intelligence Model

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Can I always explain my actions?
  • Do others see me as I see myself?
  • Do I stay calm in the midst of chaos?
  • Do I get easily irritated?
  • Do I genuinely care about how others feel?
  • Do I get along well with all of my co-workers?
  • Do I often get stressed?

If you get stressed often, cannot always explain your behavior or cannot say that you get along well with co-workers, you may not have a high EQ.

Emotional intelligence is a strong predictor of job performance, according to a study conducted at Virginia Commonwealth University.  So you should definitely not just concentrate on your technical skills. Hone those emotional ones as well if you want to succeed on the job.

Futurize Your Skills!