Book Smart vs. Street Smart

Ask yourself this question: am I smart?  Did you answer yes?  It’s okay if you didn’t.  Surprisingly, many people will actually say no.  Without something to compare your smartness to, it’s kind of hard to judge right?.  If you did say yes, how smart do you think you are?  How did you learn to be smart?  What kind of smart are you?  That last question is what I’m going to be talking about today: book smarts vs. street smarts.

Book Smart

According to the Urban Dictionary, having book smarts is the ability to succeed scholastically, but not necessarily in the real world.  Book smart people are usually great at reading a chapter out of a textbook and passing a multiple choice test.  Unfortunately, when placed in a real life situation, they forget everything they read and fail.

Street Smart

Again, according to the Urban Dictionary, a street smart person is one who has a lot of common sense and knows what’s going on in the world.  The stereotype of a street smart person is someone who is intelligent and knows how to handle important situations in the real world, but is not as well-educated academically.

So for those of you who answered no to the very first question in this post, help yourself decide if you are a book smart kind of person or a street smart kind of person.  If you think you’re a book smart person, you may want to consider trying to be more street smart (common sense).  See what you can learn from just paying attention to what’s going on in the world.  That doesn’t necessarily mean that book smarts are bad though.  You want to have a little of both.  If you think you’re more street smart, maybe you should consider going back to school.  Remember, you want to be well educated, but you also want to be able to translate that education into real world success, because life isn’t full of Scantron tests.

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Urban Dictionary: book smart

Urban Dictionary: street smart

Writing Skills vs. Presentation Skills

July 25, 2011 1 comment

presentation skills microphone nervous eric chaump

I’ve always been told that I’m a good writer.  Throughout high school, my teachers told me I had great writing skills and throughout college, I always got A’s on papers and essays.  This whole blogging experience has been great for me, as it’s given me an opportunity to write, a lot.  I’ll be honest, for a guy who got his degree in Supply Chain Management, writing 500 words two to three times a week is a LOT of writing.

I’m now embarking on a new adventure, a little thing called video blogging, which I’m sure you’ve already seen.  I’ve done two videos so far, neither of which I’m really proud of, and I’ll tell you why.  I hate presenting.  It’s one of those things that scares the hell out of me and I don’t know why.  Every presentation I’ve done in school was actually very good.  I always have someone tell me afterward, “You did great! Probably the best in the class.”

Every time I have presentation, the same thing happens.  I get nervous, my hands start to shake, my palms get sweaty, I start saying “umm” a lot, my voice sounds shaky, my mouth starts to dry out and I always forgot to stop and take a sip of water, which I have with me every time I present.  The funny thing?  The same exact thing happened the other night when I recorded my first video blog.  Why?  I don’t know.  It’s not like I was in front of a group of fellow students.  I was in my home office talking to a crappy video camera sitting on top of seven books and binders because I couldn’t get the camera to point at my face without them.  It took me over an hour to make it through a full run without screwing up and completely botching the entire video.  Maybe it was the thought of all the people out there who might actually watch my video on YouTube or my blog.  I don’t really know, but I do hope that video blogging will help me overcome my fear of presenting.

The reason for writing this post was to bring up the question: which is more important, writing skills or presentation skills?  Personally, I think it all depends on what you do.  If you work in sales, I would think presentation skills are more important.  If you work for a newspaper or magazine, writing skills are obviously going to be very important.  In most professions, though, there is a middle ground between the two.  It’s important to be good at both and not limit yourself to one or the other.  Besides, why wouldn’t you want to be good at both?  It’s one more thing you can add to your list of skills.

Now it’s your turn to answer the question: what’s more important?  Share your opinions below!

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Professional Diversification Online: Using LinkedIn to Promote Yourself

July 22, 2011 4 comments

linkedin eric chaump profile summary

If you don’t know what LinkedIn is, then you better listen up.  LinkedIn is an all business-related social networking site.  It allows professionals to connect with other professionals and share information.  The unique thing about LinkedIn is that it’s like an online resume, a very versatile online resume.  You fill out your profile, which includes information like your work history, education, honors and awards.  Sounds like a resume, doesn’t it?  What’s unique about LinkedIn is that you can recommend people you’ve worked with and they can recommend you.  Now here’s the most important part of LinkedIn that relates to Professional Diversification: your skills.  LinkedIn recently added a skills section to your profile that allows you to choose what you’re good at and share it with the world.  You get to pick your skill level and how many years you’ve been doing that particular thing.

Now that we all know what LinkedIn is, I’m going to give you a few tips to get your profile up and running:

1. Grab Your Vanity URL.

The first thing you want to do is, obviously, sign up for an account.  Go to http://www.linkedin.com/ and click the “Join Today” link.  The first and most important thing you want to do is grab your vanity URL.  What the heck is a vanity URL, you ask?  A vanity URL is what makes your profile unique to you.  Most social networking sites allow you to pick your own and I advise you choose your own full name, like I’ve done below.  Why is this the most important part of your profile?  Because when people search for your name in Google, they can find you!  DUH!

linkedin eric chaump vanity url

 

2. Fill In Your Resume Information.

The next step is to fill in the bulk of your information.  It’s all that boring resume information, like where have you worked, how long did you work there and where did you go school and when.  Obviously, this is the most essential part of your profile, just as it is your resume.  The nice thing is you can copy it straight from your resume, so you better dust that thing off.

3. Fill In Your Skills.

Now we get to some of the fun stuff.  If you read my post on Interests, Skills and Inexperiences, and actually took my advice, you should have a nice list of skills that you can put in this section.  If you don’t have a list like that, please take a look at that post to help you get started.

4. Fill In Your Profile Summary.

This is something you really don’t get to do on a resume.  It’s where you get to talk about yourself!  Everyone’s favorite thing to do.  Some people are really good at talking about themselves, but me on the other hand, can’t stand it.  I have such a hard time talking about myself, which is one thing I have to get over if I want to be successful.  There are a number of great resources online that teach you how to write great summaries.  If you can’t find any, you could use mine as a template.  Your summary should include who you are and what you want to accomplish, a little something about your education and where you excelled, and where you’re at in your professional career and where you’d like to go.

5. Interests = Potential Careers.

In addition to your hobby interests that you’ve identified from above, I encourage you to list your potential careers as interests on your profile.  If employers are looking for people who want to be stock brokers, they can see that you’re interested in the stock market and investing.  There’s really no other place to put it on your profile, because it’s not necessarily something you studied in school and its not something you’ve done as a profession.

6. Join A Couple Groups.

Groups allow you to get together with other people who are interested in the same things.  You can learn a lot from the people in these groups, so I encourage you to join a few that might interest you.

7. Ask A Question.

LinkedIn has an interesting feature that allows you to ask any questions you might have.  Let’s say you want to know everyone’s opinion on Bank of America’s stock price.  You could ask a question on LinkedIn Answers and have highly qualified people answer your question in minutes.  Make sure you give credit to the person who provides the best answer though.  It’s common courtesy on LinkedIn.

8. Answer A Question.

Once you’ve put your own question out there, it’s time to show people what you’re made of.  Find a topic that you believe to be an expert on and answer someone’s question.  If your answer is the best, you’ll be credited with badges that show you are an expert in certain fields.

9. Ask For A Few Recommendations.

Now that you have your profile all up and running, the last thing to do is to ask for a couple recommendations.  Some people are against asking for recommendations.  They think recommendations should not be asked for.  I disagree with this thought though, because I find people won’t recommend you if you don’t ask for it.  So don’t be afraid.  Find some coworkers, classmates, or bosses that you think would be willing to write nice things about you and send them a request for a recommendation.

10. Go Mobile.

linkedin mobile iphone droid app

If you didn’t know, we’re living in what’s called the “Instant Generation.”  We now live in a world where waiting for information is unacceptable.  That’s why I encourage the use of mobile apps, and LinkedIn has a great one.  When you’re on the go, it gives you the opportunity to respond to messages and check out what your connections are up to.

If you follow these 10 steps, you’ll have a fully functioning LinkedIn profile where people can find you, connect with you, and could help you get a job.  If you have any additional thoughts you’d like to add, feel free to comment below.

6 Things You Should Do When You Have Nothing To Do

Earlier in the week, I wrote a post about the 6 things you shouldn’t do when you have nothing to do.  Now that we all know what we shouldn’t do when we have nothing to do at work, let’s talk about what you should do!  Remember, one of the keys to being successful is to stand out.  When business is slow, and everyone else is relaxing and enjoying the free time, it presents an excellent opportunity to stand out among your coworkers.  Here’s what you should do when you have nothing to do:

1. Ask a coworker if you can help them out.

Let’s say you’re a financial analyst.  Ask your fellow financial analysts if they need help catching up on some work.

2. Ask your boss if you can help them out.

If none of your coworkers need help, be the first person to ask if you can help your boss.  It may be a great opportunity to learn some of the things you might be doing in the near future.

3. Ask someone from another department if you can help them out.

If your boss has nothing for you to do, don’t do nothing!  Talking to people in other departments who might be busier than you and see if you can help with their work.  Remember, Professional Diversification is all about having a wide variety of skills.  This is a great opportunity to show everyone you can do more than what you do now.

4. Work on a special project.

If none of the above work out, start your own special project.  Work on something that you know will be beneficial to the company and then present it to your boss and other managers.

5. Clean up.

If nobody else needs help and you’re having trouble finding a special project, simply clean up.  Clean your desk, clean your work area, clean your whole office!

6. Stay even when your boss says you can leave.

If you’re boss says you can leave, don’t do it.  Sometimes it’s a test to see how committed you are.  Other times it’s not a test, but given the opportunity to stand out, I advise you stay and find something to do.

So next time your sitting at your desk wondering what the heck you’re going to do for the next 4 hours, remember what I’ve talked about in the last two posts and get yourself noticed.  If you have any others that you’d like to suggest, please share your thoughts below.

6 Things You Shouldn’t Do When You Have Nothing To Do

July 18, 2011 1 comment

5 five things you shouldn't do when you have nothing to do bored at work computers motivation motivationalI’m sure we’ve all encountered some degree of seasonality in our jobs.  Most all companies experience periods of high and low demand.  We’ll go a few months with so much work to do that we never have time to even look at a clock during the day.  Once we get all caught up though, we end up with a couple of days, weeks or even months with nothing to do.  Managers and supervisors will do their best to keep employees busy during these slow times, but they often have trouble doing this.

Managers and supervisors aren’t usually very fond of  employees who take advantage of the slow season, so I’m going to share with you what you shouldn’t do.  A lot of these might seem obvious to you, but you’d be surprised how many people actual do these things.  Here’s what you shouldn’t do if you have nothing to do:

1. Stay off the Internet.

It’s one of the hardest things to do when you’re bored.  You’re sitting there at your desk and that little Internet Explorer icon is there on your desktop taunting you.  Don’t fall into the trap.  In some organizations, using the Internet at work is a great way to get yourself fired.

2. Stay off your electronics.

We all bring our cell phones to work and many of us these days have smart phones with internet browsing capabilities, games, and other apps.  Again, don’t fall into the trap.  It may get you fired.

3. Don’t take a nap.

With boredom comes sleepiness.  I know how easy it can be, especially after eating a big lunch (a.k.a. a food coma), to fall asleep in your chair.  Check my post about falling asleep at work to find out how you can prevent it.

4. Don’t bother other people.

You may have nothing to do, but I can guarantee some of the people around you are extremely busy and don’t have time to sit and chat with you.  People have a tendency to want to walk around the office and have little conversations to pass the time.  Don’t do this!  Not only are you distracting the people you’re talking to, you’re also distracting those around you.  Oh and don’t try whispering.  It just makes it worse.  The quieter you talk, the closer I want to listen.

5. Don’t go home early.

Even if your boss tells you can go home early, you should consider staying until your regular quittin’ time.  Not only does it should that you are a committed employee, but who knows, maybe something important will come up in that last hour and you won’t be around when people need you.

6. Don’t do nothing!

If tomorrow you forget everything I’ve just told you, remember this: DON’T DO NOTHING!  Do your best to find something to do.  In times when business is slow and everyone else is doing the things above, finding something to do will help you stand out, because standing out is exactly what we should all be striving for in the work place.

Now that you know what you shouldn’t do when you have nothing to do, I’d like to hear if you have any other opinions or suggestions.  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try Once More, and Then Try Something Else

July 15, 2011 1 comment

I recently wrote a post called How to Succeed in Life with the Help of Peter Drucker.  In the article that I read that gave me the inspiration to write that post, I learned a lot about Peter Drucker, someone I’d never heard of before.  Peter Drucker was an advocate of not wasting time on tasks that aren’t going to help you out in life.  Most people are familiar with the statement, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”  Well Drucker disagreed with this statement.  Instead, he advised, “If at first you don’t succeed, try once more, and then try something else.”  For example, Drucker wrote two novels in his lifetime.  Neither books were a success, so he gave it up and never wrote fiction again.

I have a couple examples of my own of times that I tried once, tried one more time, and then stopped wasting my time trying to succeed. The first example has to do with wakeboarding. A couple years ago, I went out on a friends boat to go wakeboarding. I’d never wakeboarded before, but I thought “How hard could it be?” I used to skateboard when I was younger and I do a lot of snowboarding now. It can’t be that much different. Well, let me tell you, it’s not as easy as it looks. With that being said, I never got up that day, but instead was dragged behind a boat all day. A couple weeks later I went out with my family on my cousin’s boat. It was a wakeboard boat, so of course we all had to try wakeboarding. I was skeptical, obviously, since last time I failed miserably, but I gave it one more try. Again, I could not get up. My cousin and uncle tried teaching me some techniques, but nothing helped. After that, I gave it up. I haven’t wakeboarded since then. I figured I’d rather not waste my time (and energy) trying to do something that just wasn’t working.

My second example has to do with me playing baseball in high school and how I got where I am today, but I encourage you to watch the video to hear me talk about that. After you watch the video, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.  This is my first video blog, so I’d love to hear your feedback.

Professional Diversification Online: Using Social Media to Promote Yourself

July 12, 2011 1 comment

social networks media facebook twitter wordpress blog linkedin youtube onlineSo I’m sitting in the first class of MGT 691, which is a continuation of BADM 726 that I took during the Spring 2011 semester.  The classes are focused on creating a personal brand and promoting that brand on various social media platforms.  Well, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but this blog is my personal brand and I’ve been promoting it on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

From here on out, I’m going to be starting a new category of posts called Personal Branding.  My plan is to start helping you use the Professional Diversification techniques I’ve shared by promoting yourself on social media platforms to help you get a job if you’re looking or keep a job if you’re at risk of being laid off.  If you are at risk of being laid off, creating a successful personal brand can help you jump right into something else and prevent yourself from a major setback.  Nobody wants to be unemployed for long periods of time.  We all have bills to pay and for some, even a month without a job can be devastating.

All this Professional Diversification stuff is useless if nobody knows about it.  Think about it.  You’ve written down your interests, skills, and inexperiences.  You know what your goals are and you know what motivates you.  What you’ve done is essentially assembled a Professional Portfolio…in your head.  You know about it and that’s it.  Unfortunately, that’s not good enough.  How are you supposed to get a job if you (and only you) know what you’re good at.  In order for employers to find you and learn about what you have to offer, you have to put it out there so they can find it and find YOU.

So with that being said, stay tuned for posts on how to properly use social media platforms and incorporate these Professional Diversification techniques to your benefit.

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