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Professional Buzz

Professional Buzz

Professional Buzz is a blog warehousing relevant information, tips and tools for students and professionals looking for career development and advice. Topics range from leadership and management skills to interpersonal communication and innovation in the workplace. The blog is written and curated by Associate Dean of the Graduate College, Anne Converse Willkomm – drawing on her academic and professional experience to provide insight into the latest professional trends, challenges and skills needed to thrive in today’s everchanging workplace.

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Revisiting The Importance of Soft Skills

Soft skills are interpersonal skills. They are the skills that allow you to interact, engage, and collaborate with fellow human beings to foster a relationship. Without these skills it is much more difficult to function within a team, listen to a colleague with empathy, or to evaluate policies, let alone lead. Leaders who lack these interpersonal skills are unable to inspire, build, support, and encourage their team. In teams where leaders lack these soft skills, there is often high turnover.

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So Your Boss is Leaving

Change always opens the door to the unknown, especially when it involves leadership. I’ve written before about a colleague leaving, but what happens when it’s your boss? In some instances, it could be a good thing, but for those of you who have a collaborative and supportive relationship, your boss’s departure can be anxiety provoking.

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Millennial Impact on Corporate Philanthropy

Corporate philanthropy, the practice of corporations donating money to charitable causes, is technically on the decline. While the total dollar amount has increased some 115% over the past 30 years, as a percentage of pre-tax profits, corporate philanthropy numbers are dismal. According to Ken Stern in his article entitled, “Why Don’t Corporations Give to Charities,” published by MoneyBox, corporate giving has dropped over the past 30 years. In 1986 corporations gave 2.1% of their pretax profits, and as of 2012 that number had dropped to 0.8%.

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THe Downside of Email

While the first electronic mail was sent and received in the late 1960s, email as we know it did not become commonplace until the turn of the century, which means it is less than 20 years old. There is no doubt email has revolutionized the way we communicate both personally and professionally. But is it always the most effective form of communication?

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What Are Your Strengths

While I am an advocate for growth and turning weaknesses into strengths, I have not spent nearly as much time advocating for continuing to nurture and grow our strengths. It is not as if they will wither and die, but spending time enhancing them is also a necessary aspect of our growth process.

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Is Boredom Setting In

There is no doubt that every job has aspects we don’t like or we find less than exciting, but overall, you should enjoy the work you do, take pride in it, and continue to seek ways to improve and grow. Your job is a very large part of your life, it represents 50% or more of our waking hours, so what we do to earn a living, should be something we also enjoy. So, what if you have become bored? Is there anything you can do?

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The Snow Day

I am writing this blog post from the comfort of home…it’s a snow day and the University is closed. Snow days don’t happen all that often, so when they do, take advantage, and take the opportunity to reboot and relax.

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How Adaptable Are You

Change isn’t easy for anyone. It can stir up anxiety in most people, but to be closed to change, unable to adapt, will not only may be a hindrance in your job over the long run, but it also prevents you from seeing, let along take advantage of, many possible and wonderful opportunities.

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Relationship Building

I believe in the power of relationships, but I also understand one basic tenant – you can’t expect to receive if you have only taken. A friend once described it like this, “You have to make many deposits before you can make any withdrawals.” Think about it – you can’t ask a colleague to help you out of a bind if you have only been on the taking end of the relationship.

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Preparing for a Virtual Interview

While virtual interviews allow people to interview for positions across the globe, they also present challenges that face-to-face interviews do not. This doesn't mean you should shy away from this type of interview. Embrace it and be open to the possibilities by being prepared.

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Internships Are Not Only For The Young

When you hear the word internship, it’s fairly common to conjure up an image of a young coed working long hours for peanuts, so s/he can gain a little bit of experience to add to his/her resume. I want to challenge that image because internships aren’t just for career-hungry college students. In fact, internships are great for anyone who is looking to break into an industry regardless of age, to get that needed experience.

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Curating Your Contacts

Ultimately, your LinkedIn network should be that, a network of individuals who have a shared interest or industry. It is a network you can rely upon to provide information, mentorship, etc. to help you grow within your career, otherwise they take up what should be valuable space on your list of connections.

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