Archive for the ‘Toastmasters’ Category

Troubleshooting your resume with the OSI Model

August 19th, 2014

I’ve been meaning to publish this for a while as part of my ‘Troubleshooting various crap using the OSI Model’ so here is the first in this installment… Troubleshooting your resume with the OSI Model!  This is a bit circular in that you won’t exactly have to go from the top down, or the bottom up for this to work, in fact certain elements may apply more than others so troubleshoot as applicable!   Alright now lets get started! <3

Application

This can be both the FIRST and the LAST layer for you it really depends on how you use it! When it comes to a resume though you have to ask yourself, “Sweet, I have this awesome resume… Where do I actually want to APPLY to?!” That’s a very viable and valid question.  For some people they can have the pick of the crops, and others they have to fight tooth and nail for the position they want.  Irrespective of which camp you fall in to, you should have an idea of both what you want to do, and ideally where you want to do it; Especially if that ‘where’ is your dream job, which you should fight for tooth and nail!

So how and where should you apply?  This can be done via the website of the company you’d love to work for, through posting your resume or applying for positions on sites like Dice and Monster, and to having an active social profile on sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Your resume or CV will be an invaluable tool when the time comes to apply yourself to these organizations as you look to advance your career to the next stage!

Presentation

Presentation in this case will be broken down into two key areas, Presentation of your resume and Presentation of yourself when it comes to the interview!

Your resume are not pretty!

uglyResume! Ugly vs Pretty?PrettyResume!

You ever look at someone’s resume and go “oh my god, this is an ugly mess!” Alright, now seriously, is that YOUR Resume? If you look at your resume and it looks ugly from a distance, can you imagine if someone sat down and read it?  I know some people will say, “The information speaks for itself, I don’t need it to look nice” Yea, that’s right certain management tool vendors, people DO care what the product looks like.  Interesting fact, if your resume looks like EVERYONE ELSES RESUME, chances are it will get lost on a desk or in email somewhere to be forgotten.  Now am I saying this is all about vanity? Mostly. But it isn’t ALL about vanity, it’s also about accuracy.   Take these few bullet points to home about why Presentation is important.

  • Spelling errors say that you are not detail oriented and are less likely to get you hired
  • Inaccurate information says that you are not truthful and you are less likely to get you hired
  • An ugly resume says you lack creativity which can impact social or creative roles, ultimately impacting… Yes, getting hired :)
  • Formatting errors say that you are not consistent while this won’t exactly prevent you from getting hired, it may get noticed
  • Lengthy bullets denote that you have a hard time articulating what you mean, this can impact Sales or some Technical roles
  • Terse bullets express that you lack the vernacular to engage at a higher level of thinking, this impacts higher paying positions
  • Filler information is interpreted as not having enough content and padding the resume which can impact first impressions

So as you can see, if your resume is impacted with some of these errors, FIX THEM. It’s not that difficult, in fact the whole community is very supportive of others helping them grow, a caveat to that; We will help you by pointing out what is incorrect but we will not FIX it for you, If you can’t fix it yourself you lack the commitment to actually improve your station, so get on it! <3

Damn are you going to wear THAT?!

Would you go to an interview looking like crap? I certainly would hope not. First impressions can mean loads, and while I understand some responses like, “Well, in the valley, they expect me to wear a t-shirt, flip-flops and bring a poodle to the interview”, while it may be accurate, you should also dress for or above the position you’re interviewing for. It shows a sense of professionalism and that you also ‘clean up well’.   This carries itself a step further, in not only how you present yourself from your style of dress, but also in how you present yourself both physically and during the actual interview itself.

  • Do not slouch, you come off as a sloth, lazy and not exactly a ‘go-getter’ if you are indeed a sloth, keep it under wraps, or just better your posture
  • If you talk with your hands, talk with your hands; but be sure to use them to support whatever you’re talking about
    • The same applies for any other kind of physical movement you may make during the interview
  • It’s been said that leaning forward, making eye-contact and genuinely caring means a lot in an interview, it does because it is a relationship
  • Choose your words wisely, but at the same time also speak with proper english and your respective grammar.  Coming across ignorant or using words which do not exist like ‘irregardless’ will stick in a number of peoples craw
  • Do not lie during the interview. And going back to your resume preparation, if something is not true on your resume, REMOVE IT.
    • Little tip, anything (and I mean anything) which you provide on your resume or application can be focused on, so lets keep it honest, k?
  • Be comfortable, if you feel like it’s just two people talking you won’t be nervous and they’ll get to see the  better version of you vs the interview you
  • Ask questions.  You don’t get the opportunity too often to interview the company, and if you have questions, ask them so you know if it’s a good fit

This is not an exhaustive list but this is a start which can help make the presentation activity of your interview a better experience for all parties involved!

Session

The session layer is typically focused on opening, closing and maintaining a semi-permanent dialogue, and in our particular context this applies most specifically to dealing with a Hiring Manager, Recruiter (External) or Corporate Recruiter (Internal).   Historically it has been found that most recruiters, SUCK at communication.  Feel free to disagree with this point if you are one of the FEW good ones, but a lot of recruiters like to shot-gun blast a lot of candidates, latch on to one and unless you keep the dialogue open, You may never hear from them again (Referring back to the prior, Recruiters suck :))

How you are able to ‘crack that nut’ so to speak is through some simple relationship building techniques, not all will work with all elements so choose appropriately. If a recruiter or hiring manager asks you for information (Resume, Filled out Application, other information) Provide it to them, and then follow-up as appropriate.   We can make believe that recruiters will follow-up with us when they have a lead but that would be naive, so it’s important to make an appropriate follow-up.  No need to be stalker or annoying about it, but a simple, “Hey I sent that information to you, did you receive it”, or “Is there any follow-up information you need, and any status on the matter” can go a long way.  Sometimes they get forgetful or lose track of time, or a squirrel ran by… The options may vary, so follow-up is key, remember this is your career make an investment in it. :)

The next item, whether you’ve met with a hiring manager or other elements of the chain, is said the personalized note thanking them for their time.   No, not a typed up note form letter, YOU SUCK. Seriously, Get out a pen and paper, and hand-write it.   Not only does it say, “Hey, I’m committed and take personal care of my relationships”, it also says that, “Wow, they took the time to actually hand-write, envelope, stamp and send something”, That is follow-through and means a lot to people, I mean like a serious lot, it will often surprise many people that candidates own a pen, paper and know how to hand-write.

And lastly, very similar to the first point, do not be the bottleneck.  If something is expected of you, DO IT. Don’t leave anyone hanging, unless you’re juggling multiple opportunities and you’re intentionally slow-rolling it because you’re gaming one against the other, in those circumstances I advise you still to get’er done and be honest because I’ve seen people go the ‘game the employers’ route with multiple options and ended up losing BOTH of the options, this also reads as, “Don’t be a dick”.

Transport

This mainly applies to when you’re actually going to the Interview and less so specifically on your resume itself.   You might think, “Transport implies what I’ll be driving, right?” Well, not exactly. It certainly can mean that but it’s a little higher than that.  Just like Transport itself natively, this focuses on the elements of Reliability and Congestion Avoidance.   That is to say, know where you are going and get there EARLY not on time.  People who are on time are LATE.   You should arrive at your scheduled interview (Phone or In Person) at least 5 minutes or 15 minutes early respectively.   Will the people you’re meeting with be ready? Doubtful.  But showing that you respect their time also shows you are reliable and have good time management skills. If they’re late or keep you waiting it just goes to show how valuable YOU would be to an organization since they clearly have poor time management skills. :)

Flow Control rears its head here a bit as well, which encourages you to slow down and articulate yourself and not rush.  There are a few keys here when it comes to controlling your flow of information and sharing with your interviewers.

  • If they are inherently technical, feel free to let your geek-speed shine and talk fast if what you’re saying is something you know intimately and well, but it doesn’t hurt to slow down. It’s not a race
  • Refrain from using filler words like, “like, uh, um, so, really, definitely”
  • Refrain from using negative words like, “hate, expletives, etc…”
  • Refrain from bashing vendors or former employers (or employees)
  • Focus on yourself in the interview and what YOU can bring to the organization, not the team you were a part of (More “I” and less “We”)
    • Hint: They’re not hiring your former company, they’re hiring you
  • Use silence where appropriate.  This approach can work particularly well during Salary negotiations, the first person to speak will usually submit to fill the void and give up whatever compromise the situation calls for
    • Note: Hiring Managers often attend Negotiation training where Silence is one of many tactics, so you’re playing with the masters here!

Again, not a definitive list, but certainly will get you started in levering these capabilities within the Transport layer of the Resume model. :)

Network

Network, or Networking plays especially relevant if you’re a member of any User Group organizations, Public or community groups, attend Conferences, etc.   Networking is how you meet people, get to know others, open up doors and opportunities for yourself and for others.   Sometimes you may meet someone and be, “Wow, they seem awesome, they’d be a great fit for MY organization”, and sometimes exactly the reverse happens.   So get out there and meet people, not just meet the same people you already know (That wouldn’t be networking… :)

Refer to a few of these past posts and their respective relevance; Recruiting Virtual Talent: Tips and Tricks to hire and get hired at #VMworld and Top Paying IT Certifications, Skills and Capabilities but to draw a few specific tips out.

  • Be a rockstar.   Be confident in WHO you are, even if WHO you are is not confident the least you can do is be you. :)   I mean you’re looking to change roles right? You should have an idea of who you are and what you want to do/be [It’s okay if you don’t…. a lot of people don’t, let me know and we can work on that! ;)}
  • Get to know other people.   You don’t have to be a social butterfly.   But you also need not be a social outcast or do something to make a fool of yourself (unless that works for you, I’m cool with that.  Side tip; wearing cat ears is not a fools game ;)
  • Show your Passion.    Why are you passionate about your job? Are you? Are you passionate about another job but not so much what you’re currently doing?  Please don’t let the jaded bits leak into things.   You’re in the craziest city on earth for the show… surrounded by the top minds in virtualization and the best businesses transforming the future of IT.    Show your passion. BE that Guy/Girl!
  • Be honest.    Be honest about who you are, about who you want to be if you’re not there yet.   You’re not a VCP because the class is too expensive? Totally understand that.  But don’t be this guy; “I’m not going to learn anything new unless my company invests in me to do that” Yea. I don’t want you, and neither will a lot of hiring managers because you become the guy who gets a LITTLE bit of training and jumps ship.    There is value in being opportunistic but invest in yourself and it will pay in loads
  • If you’re not the best public speaker or are weary of it, attend Toastmasters it will improve you like no other

And you’ll note I also included the Top Paying IT Certification post as well.  Yes, your network will often grow by association and by certification.   The Certification and certified communities are often closely knit together and opportunities often overlap among them.   As you join the ranks of new and interesting certifications you’ll find your network continue to grow in that respect.  Leverage those networks respectively to lay those seeds for that future role of you being a rockstar. :)

Data Link

I’ll be honest, this section is likely to be a stretch so bear with me and maybe something viable will come from it. ;)  So when it comes to the Data Link layer there are so many possible avenues which have NOTHING to do with Jobs, Interviews, and respectively your resume so let’s focus as best as we can on some elements of it.   Some elements of Layer 2 are Quality of Service, Error control and Scheduling, we’ll hit on these items.

Quality of Service and Error Control are hand in hand when it comes to actually ensuring that the tactics and approach you’re taking to your resume and job hunt correctly.  Allow for an anecdote.   A friend had a resume which he was sending out, hundreds of resumes sent out but not a call back, or when he would receive a call back he would not get a second call back (sounds like dating, right?!).   While reviewing his resume I found that the information in his resume was ‘okay’, but the layout was terrible. I guided him towards a slightly better layout (keeping all of the information identical) and after ensuring that his resume had appropriate quality and quite frankly all of the errors were removed, he resumed sending out this new resume.  Within a DAY he received 3 interviews, and had two offers by the end of that week.   

Let’s cover a few points. The information was the SAME.  Nothing was different about it, just the way it was laid out (See Presentation above).   Sometimes all it takes is for your resume to ‘pop’, which is an iterative process.   One of validating that the actions you HAVE been taking have been working, if they haven’t it’s a matter of trying something new.   Additionally to that, if what you’re doing isn’t working, run it past someone else outside of your comfort zone so you can get feedback you otherwise might not get.    You can also request feedback from Interviewers about why it didn’t go the direction you were looking (They do not have to provide you feedback, but insightful and requested constructive feedback goes a long way to building a relationship and fixing what is ‘wrong’ with whatever isn’t working)  Oh, as a disclaimer and note, if you cannot accept feedback do not ask for it, because clearly you are not ready for self-discovery and repair as applicable.

And lastly, Scheduling.   Whether by phone, in person, in person taking a flight / etc, be sure you know WHERE you are going, WHEN you are supposed to be there, and if there is a specific dress code (See Presentation and how to dress) that you are appropriate for the matter. :)

Physical

This honestly is the lowest layer of the OSI model and it all really begins and ends with You.   None of the information above makes any difference if you are not healthy in body and mind and able to act accordingly on these matters.   Sometimes that involves taking a personal step back and looking at what it is you want, what it is you need, and what it will take to fulfill that.   

Does work stress you out? What if you love what you do, Does it stress you out then?  “Find something that you love to do, and you’ll never work a day in your life”.    While not everyone can find something to do that they absolutely love, sometimes your love will change as you grow and you evolve, listen to your heart, your body and your capabilities and if something is out of reach, figure out what will make it within reach and go for it.   *I* can’t make you do a damn thing, it’s really entirely up to you, it’s your choice. A decision.   Make one. And go for it.

Figure out what is most important to you in a job, “x miles away from home” “y salary” “z vacation days” Whatever the particular elements for you happen to be, some people really like titles, some people like working with people (others HATE working with people).  There are jobs for everyone, it’s just a matter of finding it, oh and be passionate about it.   You ever seen a passionate McDonalds worker? (Or McDowels – Coming to America).    It doesn’t matter what the JOB is, it is what and how you bring yourself to it.   I’m surrounded by laziness and complacency as I’m sure you are as well, don’t be that guy; be that example, Be the rockstar.   A little bit of passion, and I mean a LITTLE bit actually makes you stand head and shoulders above the rest. Seriously, the amount of complacency in this world sets the bar VERY low. It’s actually kind of sad.  Please don’t make me sad, Make me go, “Wow, you’re awesome” :)

Oh, and sometimes this also involves getting involved in your own personal health, diet, fitness regime and all of that. I won’t go into too much details on it, but if you’ve seen the successes of the Virtual Fitness groups, and how ripped and awesome so many within the Tech Community have become, it’s clearly possible you know it is, it’s just about making those little decisions to invest in your health and well-being.

Summary

I figure I may as well draw this to a close as I’ve been writing this over the past few weeks and I’m about to leave on R&R to head to VMworld in 15 hours.   Hopefully you find this valuable, useful, and ridiculously cute as it applies to the OSI Model.  If you have other tips do not hesitate to share them. :)

See you at VMworld, and of course back in the Americas… If only for a few weeks! <3

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Top Paying IT Certifications, Skills and Capabilities

March 1st, 2012

The other day or so, I came across this article:

15 Top Paying IT Certifications for 2012 by Randy Muller, Global Knowledge Instructor, MCT, MCSE, MCSA, MCDST

And it got me thinking, other than the clear difference of opinion MANY of the readers had to feel about it, and the subjective thoughts around how much money people we’re being paid (Is that reflective of specific markets?)  As someone who regularly hires, recruits, and mentors for others I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring around what I see are the Top Paying Certs and Skills as I’m hit up regularly by recruiters (internal and external) looking for candidates.  I’ll try to break this up by section and I won’t go into the details of money because frankly I have deep insight into what people get paid, so I know just how relative it all is :)

Disclaimer: You may feel there is vendor bias in a lot of the choices of Certifications to be included, Let me just tell you, this isn’t just ME saying this.  This is countless hiring managers inside and outside of the industry looking for these certifications, so I want it to be clear if you have THESE Certs, your LinkedIn will EXPLODE with Job Opportunities. Seriously.

Top Certifications for the low-mid levels

  • MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional)
  • CCENT (Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician)
  • VCP (VMware Certified Professional)
  • A+, Network+, Security+ (Okay, seriously, ANY CompTIA Certification)
  • EMCISM (EMC Information Storage and Management)

If you’re just getting started in IT depending upon the cross section you’re focused on, these certifications help build some credibility and skill-sets which are definitely to be required as you move up the stack.    For the most part, short of being “Product” specific in some sense, they each provide a decent “Administrative” foundation for the Microsoft, Networking, VMware Virtualization, etc.   Oh yea, and in light of NOT having these certifications, having an adequate foundation to fall back on of these skill sets work as well.    FYI: If you have the skills, just go take the test so you won’t have to prove yourself at every avenue.

Top Certifications for the growth-mid levels

  • ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library )
  • MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer) [Technically doesn’t exist anymore refer to next line]
  • MCITP (Microsoft Certified IT Professional)
  • MCTS (Microsoft Certified Technical Specialist)
  • CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate)
  • VCAP (VMware Certified Advanced Professional)
  • EMC Specialist (EMC Certified Expert:Multiple Paths)
  • PMP (Project Management Professional)

So you’ve been in IT for awhile and you’re looking to go to the next level, or advance your career or want to focus maybe a little more in a different direction.   These certifications really give you that foundation to take the next step, further enhancing your credibility.   Some of you may be wondering “Why is the PMP included in this section?!” Honestly? The PMP is sort of the defacto standard for a Project Manager, and most PMs are in that growth-mid level.   If you want to find yourself evolving to the next level and moving up the chain to making more money, taking on more responsibility and potentially doing even less work [Read: Less Administrative, more strategic]  these are those foundations.   Oh, and I do want to call out ITIL Specifically for a moment.   Let the record show, I absolutely despise and HATE ITIL. (Yea, that’s going to be well received with a LOT of you! ;)) Okay. Let me clarify, I don’t hate ITIL per se, I am NOT an administrative/operational guy, thus I do not want to DO ITIL related activities.    I like the objective outcome when implemented correctly though.   That being said however, ITIL is a HOT BED of opportunity.  You want a job? Get ITIL Certified.  You want to always have jobs thrown at you? Tag some ITIL to that.  Okay I’ve said that particular piece because EVERY DAY I’m being asked “Do they have ITIL?” So take it as is ;)

Top Certifications for mid-architect levels

  • CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional)
  • EMCCA (EMC Certified Cloud Architect)
  • EMC Expert (EMC Certified Expert:Multiple Paths)
  • What?! No VMware Certifications here?  Yea, we literally JUMP over this right into the next section! grin

Honestly, I originally didn’t even write this section in but felt it had to be broken out as there are numerous certifications which sit very clearly here in the middle which need to be called out.    I won’t go into too many specifics, but a lot of these sit in that odd space between clearly operational and clearly architectural.   Each of these certifications help further cement that foundation which solidifies your path up the stack and to the next levels.   Or to clarify, as a hiring manager I EXPECT you to have at a minimum the skill-sets in the previous 3 sections before I am confident you are the clear lead in the next section.

Top Certifications for Architect and above levels

  • MCM (Microsoft Certified Master)
  • MCA (Microsoft Certified Architect) [This Program started to be overshadowed by the MCM…]
  • CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert: Multiple Specialties something many don’t even realize!)
  • VCDX (VMware Certified Design Expert)
  • CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)

I chose to differentiate this area a little bit establishing Architect credentials because frankly that is what it is.   The first two sections were VERY tactical, operational, on-call 24×7 type of certifications and roles, the third section started to combine those roles a bit.  If you’re reaching this point, you’ve had some time in the game and you’re either looking to get paid VERY well, absolutely LOVE what you do, and want to advance up that stack.    A lot of these Certifications in fact do not have hard $$$ associated with them because they carry with them the ‘assurance’ of a level of expertise, years of experience, etc.  That being most of these are difficult to ‘fake’ there’s a pretty good chance if you hold one of these pedigree you MIGHT know what you’re talking about. :)

Certifications Summary

Certifications are not the end-all-be-all, and I know some of you are staunch certification opponents. “I KNOW EVERYTHING, AND I’M HAPPY WITH MY NON-EVOLVING JOB SO I DON’T EVER NEED TO CERTIFY”. yea guys, go back to your mainframes, but seriously.   Certifications do the work for you to help validate your capabilities and grow your potential salary.   Without them you may be fine, but if you are like me (and so many others) who do not do their job because it pays the bills, but because you enjoy it greatly and it takes you to the next level of your career and life evolution; well, certification should be PART of that transition.  Note: Part of that transition and not the only vehicle.   There comes a time when you don’t want to Certify anymore and you need to find other ways to differentiate yourself.   Which brings us to the next section!

Specialist Skills which are ripe with opportunity!

Note: I didn’t mention ANY Developer, Database specific or similar certifications in the previous sections for a few good reasons.    First of all, there really aren’t a whole lot of mature certifications out there worth mentioning, and secondly these are really entirely skills based.    However, when it comes to what skills people are CONSTANTLY hiring for that you should either have, further develop, or invest in for the first time?  Yea, I’ll call those out here.   Anything I mention here, there is DEMAND for.   Don’t phone it in certainly, but there are lots of companies and partners hiring for these skill-sets, period.

  • vFabric, Spring Framework, CloudFoundry
  • Java Developer Space environments (Flexible enough to leverage the vFabric/Spring Framework)
  • SAP SAP SAP.   Seriously, you has SAP skillz, you has SAP Job. It’s as simple as that.
  • Vblock or similar *Storage, UCS, Cisco stack capabilities and offerings.
  • Orchestration tool and Workflow skills.  Don’t pigeon hole yourself into only knowing BMC, or CIAC, ITO; Learn them all and you are #win
  • I’d say Oracle, but seriously there are way too many damn DBAs out there who really don’t cross train, but that leads me in to
  • Hadoop skills.   If you can start to spell Big Data and everyone seems to be coining that from us these days, there be mad skillz and jobs y0! ;)
  • Scrum/Agile is really a foundation for any dev careers, so have/know that and you’re cool.
  • The “Year of Sharepoint” has been over for quite some time, sure there are jobs but I wouldn’t say you’d be unique if you pursued that path.

So that covers the bulk of general skills which hiring managers truly cannot find the right skill sets for.   A little investment goes a LONG way.

Top skills and capabilities for top paying jobs!

Whoa whoa whoa! What’s this?!? Skills?! Capabilities?!   What is this, the guidelines what separates a transition from Job to Career or from Customer to Partner/Vendor?   Hmm, maybe.

In most customer focused environments, unless you are an absolute rockstar who is also a master negotiator you are not very likely to be paid what you are worth.   I feel it fair to be honest with you because it’s just a fact, customers TYPICALLY don’t pay at the top of line, hell hardly the mid-line.   And while you’ll become an expert in your own environment it is just that.   So if you happen to love working on a single project which at completion will prepare you for the next project in your particular company which can often be ‘comfortable’ to ‘highly stressful’ depending upon where you transition throughout the stack and often ripe with reduced opportunities for advancement (entirely depending upon the business) let’s lay out some skills which are applicable in EVERY environment.  The true set of skills which differentiates you from your peers and the competition respectively.

  • Consulting Skills.   Whether you’re a consultant or not, being able to be ‘consultative’ will not only differentiate you, but also open the doors to more opportunities than you can imagine.    The only thing equally as valuable as that is …
  • Sales Skills.   I’m not saying you need to ‘be a sales guy’, I mean cmon, how many of us are? (Those of you who are, great for you!:))   But it takes a certain set of Sales type skills to be the ‘trusted advisor’ which earns you credibility in your business, in the industry and in your career.    Think of it like trying to give a child medicine they don’t want.   A lot of customers, business units, etc don’t WANT to do what you’re suggesting even though it NEEDS to be done, so your ability to make it palatable even with the objections can differentiate yourself.   Oh and that separates and Admin from becoming an Architect, and an Architect from becoming CIO.   
  • Project Management Skills.   I’m not saying OMG BECOME A PMP RULE THE WORLD. Quite the opposite.  The best projects are executed well because the entire team has a good foundation of how to manage a project and their portions of it.   A Project Managers job is to make sure you are doing what you’re supposed to be doing, quite frankly few of them have a clue what the hell it is you do, it’s just that you’re going to do what you say you’re going to do.   When I get a GC over to build a house, he’s not watching his guys to make sure they level an area before they pour concrete; you just expect it to be done.   Get your work done and your projects will run a lot smoother. ;)
  • Presentation & Speaking Skills.   Hey, have you heard of Toastmasters?   Do you say ‘uh’ ‘um’ ‘you know’ ‘like’ ‘so’ and many other things often in your presentations, speaking, etc?   Listen to your leadership, do they? (Often times they will)     What will differentiate you from your competition is the ability to cooly, calmly and collectively deliver your thoughts in a comprehensible fashion that is understood by your audience.    If you can do that and even avoid conflict.  Wow.   You’ll put yourself head and shoulders above the competition, your peers and even your leadership!
  • Confidence and ability to reach consensus.    Did you know that if you believe in what you’re saying, chances are others will too?   Oh and from a recent conversation at #VMwarePEX, the shared thought was, “It’s not what you know, it’s what other people think you know”.   It’s very true and can set you apart from others if you can share that knowledge in such a way others have confidence in you as well.    That eases reaching consensus, which is further compounded by one very poignant point.    Asking the ask moves things forward.   Meetings which end with no clear action items may as well not have happened.    So, always have something to walk out of the room with, off the call, oh whatever.  You’ll be seen as a leader because you’re taking charge, even if you’re not taking any of the action items yourself to work on; just asking is enough.

Take the skills above, combine them with the certifications relevant to your skills and your prospective career path and you can double your salary in 2-3 years.   Oh yea. I’m serious about that.   If it makes you feel any better a combination of the skills above across the spectrum result in salaries ranging from 30k-450k [NO THAT IS NOT A TYPO] (Oh and above, but you gotta have a little time invested to go above those numbers).

Clearly you can see why I was befuddled from the original post about the salary figures projected because WTF?! :)

As always, I am here for your commentary, any certifications I missed you’d like to share in the comments, and of course feel free to share job opportunities present in your own companies you’d like people to know about.    While researching this for anecdotal points, I noticed that EMC, that tiny little tech company has 1820 job postings. WTF? IT’S A RECESSION, HOW DARE YOU HAVE NEARLY 2000 JOBS POSTED!. Yea. Seriously.   We’re hiring like mad.  So let’s roll with this! ;)

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Table Topics at Tonights Toastmasters

December 11th, 2008

In the season of the Holidays, I was tonight’s Table Topics Master at the Woodridge Toastmasters and was slated to come up with some “Quotes” from the holidays, so those contained below are the quotes which were spoke about “impromptu” this evening.

(My sources for these quotes were a random series of google queries :))

  • People are so worried about what they eat between Christmas and the New Year, but they really should be worried about what they eat between the New Year and Christmas.  ~Author Unknown

 

  • He who breaks a resolution is a weakling;
    He who makes one is a fool.
    ~F.M. Knowles

 

  • We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched.  Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives… not looking for flaws, but for potential.  ~Ellen Goodman

 

  • Expecting the world to treat you fairly
    because you are a good person
    is a little like expecting the bull not to attack you
    because you are a vegetarian.
    -DENNIS WHOLEY:

 

  • “I once wanted to become an atheist, but I gave up – they have no holidays.” -Henry Youngman

 

  • “Christmas is the season when you buy this year’s gifts with next year’s money.” –Unknown

 

  • “There’s nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child.” –Erma Bombeck

 

  • “The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, D.C. This wasn’t for any religious reasons. They couldn’t find three wise men and a virgin.” –Jay Leno

 

  • This is not a time for resolutions but for setting of goals.   What is a goal you plan to set for yourself, Personally or Professionally

 

  • Christmas is a time when kids tell Santa what they want and adults pay for it.  Deficits are when adults tell the government what they want and their kids pay for it.  ~Richard Lamm

 

  • Oh look, yet another Christmas TV special!  How touching to have the meaning of Christmas brought to us by cola, fast food, and beer…. Who’d have ever guessed that product consumption, popular entertainment, and spirituality would mix so harmoniously?  ~Bill Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes

So, think about these and how would you respond if you’ve been put on the spot to talk (somehow) about these subjects if you were given this quote and were asked to talk about it for 1-2 minutes

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Posted in Baltimization, Christopher Kusek, Informational, Toastmasters | Comments (1)

Competition is the father of invention

April 20th, 2008

With necessity being the mother of invention, his father indeed was competition.
Speaking of competitions, I happen to be in one for this Friday, April 25th, 2008!

Within toastmasters, I’ve recently been through a number of competitions. Starting at the club level where competition was fierce and then moving on to the area level with a similar stiff rivalry, only to be brought to triumph at the Division level against 5 other excellent and eloquent speakers of their kind. I battled at the Division level with the best of the SW Divisions clubs, only to see success shine through my eyes as I wowed not only the judges but the audience alike. And later this week it will come to its final battle for me at the District 30 (Northwest Chicagoland) to go up against the best of all of the Districts alike.

The subject I’ll be speaking upon? Is unknown to me. Only to be revealed to me in the seconds before I am to speak upon it.
This matter of extemporaneous speaking is called “Table Topics”, and it is an area in which I enjoy as I’m given the whole of a few seconds to prepare; worst case if I do not do well, the excuse commonly referenced is “I only had a few seconds to think about it”, however if I do indeed do well as I have in the past the reinforcement of my own training and educational I’ve invested in myself can be said “I only had a few seconds to think about it!” Yes, my downfall is also my uprising! All those years of having little time to prepare for something and having to act upon it certainly are doing their justice to pay off.

However, it is not all easy-street, as “Table Topics”, revered as one of the hardest things to do in Toastmasters (and often in life as others have told me) does take a fair bit of preparation; and is something I’m constantly tuning and honing to try to improve it to be even better.

I’ll further get to see how well my preparation has taken me when it comes down to the wire and I’m up against the best of the best in the Chicagoland this Friday at 7PM in Tinley Park, but I will do my best and bring out my best.

Reportedly, the challenges in this (for me in particular) should the subject be something I have no interest in, or very little knowledge I am doomed to mediocrity and will not be at my best; furthering the reasons why educating yourself in handling these types of situation is wholly beneficial and will help you infinitely down the road.

I encourage anyone to come on down and investigate this phenomenon of people talking on a subject they’re not aware of, seconds before hand with whatever level of mastery that can surmise; to discuss and relate no less than 60 seconds, and no more than 2 minutes and thirty.

The future is here, and my journey to the next (and last available in this competition) trophy is only days away!

Anyone interested in seeing me compete, or in this general Toastmasters event (Open to the public)
I encourage you to come on down to the Spring Conference!

It will be held at the Holiday Inn Select & Convention Center, Tinley Park, IL
The Table Topics contest will be Friday Night, (Apr 25th) at 7:00PM

You can find out more information at the District 30 Toastmasters site www.toastofchicago.org

SW Division 30 Statue

Posted in Baltimization, Informational, Toastmasters | Comments (2)

I’ve been elected! President Elect at Toastmasters Club #983 in Woodridge (district 30)

May 14th, 2007

This coming June 14th I will be installed as the new President of the Toastmasters in Woodridge, IL (Club #983, District #30)

Anyone interested in coming see me in action, or also in coming to check out what Toastmasters is about, and especially why I’m interested in this particular Toastmasters out of all of the ones available, I urge you to come on down as a guest one of these days.

This Toastmasters meets every 2nd and 4th Thursdays, at 7:30PM – 9:30PM.

It is a very educational, warm and accepting group, and we always embrace guests when they come (Which is quite often).

For those interested, the address is:

*Woodridge Resource Center
8274 Janes Avenue
Woodridge, IL 60517

I’ve included links to my local Toastmasters, the local District as well as the main site on the side. If you do not use them, like all of my links, I will. :)

Take care, and if you’re interested in visiting one of these times and want some more details about it, feel free to give me a call. Before hand, or even the night of (before 7:30 ofcourse :)) 630.362.1320

Christopher Kusek

Woodridge Toastmasters Club #983

District #30 Toastmasters

Toastmasters International

Posted in Informational, Toastmasters | Comments (0)

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