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Page 31 Activities that can help you advance your career

By CHARLES PURDY Monster Senior Editor

The word “fun” isn’t usually associated

with looking for a job. Even in the best of circumstances, being unemployed or un- deremployed can be scary and stressful. But in any job search, keeping a positive attitude is important. So in addition to refining your resume and assiduously ap- plying for jobs, consider these pursuits that can not only be lots of fun but also make just about any candidate more attractive to hiring managers. Most can be done for free or on the cheap. What’s more, most of these activities

involve meeting new people — and there- fore put you in the path of new network- ing opportunities. Meeting people outside of your normal social and professional spheres is an excellent way to broaden the reach of your job search.

Study a language Even knowing only the basics of a sec-

ond language can be a boon in many jobs — for instance, greeting foreign clients in their own tongue makes a great first im- pression. And most language classes in- volve fun socializing activities and learning about foreign cultures. Fluency takes time, but just telling an

employer that you’re studying a language can demonstrate self-discipline and a de- sire to learn new things, according to career expert Jason Seiden, the author of “Super Staying Power: What You Need to Become Valuable & Resilient at Work.”

Enroll in an acting or improvisa- tion workshop “I definitely advocate taking an improv

class,” says Seiden. “I’ve done this myself... and I learned to work across an incredibly diverse group of people, I learned to be- come more adaptive to my environment, and I got some great stories to use to break the ice with new people.” These types of workshops can also be

very beneficial for people who fear public speaking. Joining a Toastmasters club is another fun way to become a more effec- tive speaker.

Learn something new “Take classes at your local college, on-

line or through job-training programs,” suggests Debra Davenport, business coach and founder of Identity IQ. “Employers want knowledge workers with top skills in the areas of technology, social media, com- munication, leadership, coaching, budget- ing, marketing and global commerce.” In addition, “fun” classes — like photogra- phy — may come in handy in surprising ways. After you get your finance job, say, the company may urgently need someone to take photos at an investor event — and you’ll be able to save the day.

Turn a hobby into a business Enjoy cooking? Gardening? Crafting?

Davenport suggests looking into services provided by the Small Business Adminis- tration for ideas and guidance on turning your pastime into profits. And even if your side business doesn’t become lucrative,

your entrepreneurial initiative may im- press the hiring managers in your future.

Volunteer Jay Block, the author of “101 Best Ways

to Land a Job in Troubled Times,” rec- ommends volunteering as a way to gain confidence and strengthen your resume: You could volunteer to teach what you know — for instance, if you’re good at sales, an organization like Junior Achieve- ment might be a good fit. You could turn a hobby into a volunteer opportunity — for instance, if you enjoy playing the piano, you could schedule song nights at a local retirement center. Or you could even travel to an area that could use your help or skills — for instance, to work with Habitat for Humanity.

Write Many career experts suggest developing

a blog that focuses on a hobby or your in- dustry. Or, suggests Block, you could offer to write a column for a free local newspa- per. These are not only enjoyable ways to express yourself but also great ways to pro- mote yourself as an expert and establish a well-rounded online presence.

Get physical “Sign up for yoga or Pilates — or work

on becoming an instructor or a certified fitness trainer,” suggests Block. “At a time where too many people are unhealthy and depressed, this can be fun and healthy and look great on a resume.”

Get social “Become a social networking junkie —

not to just pass time socially, but to collect a huge amount of contacts and to build solid relationships that would be valuable to a prospective employer,” says Block. “Networking and relationship building are critical skills today.”

Explore a new career Block suggests job shadowing as one

interesting way to learn about a new field. “Job shadowing is when you follow some- one around to learn how they do their job,” he says. “It’s an excellent opportunity to learn new skills and get advice from pro- fessionals in industries or venues you hope to break into.”

Be creative If you’re in the midst of a period of un-

employment, you can expect hiring man- agers to ask how you’ve spent your time away from the 9-to-5 routine. With some creative thinking, you can turn just about any hobby or learning experience into a resume or interview asset. “The most im- portant thing about resume boosters is not what they are, but how you present them,” Sieden says. “When you’re interested, fo- cused and self-motivated, nearly anything can be an asset.”

Copyright 2012 - Monster Worldwide, Inc. All Rights Reserved. You may not copy, reproduce or distribute this article without the prior written permission of Monster Worldwide. This article first appeared on To see other career-related articles, visit http://career- For recruitment articles, visit practices.aspx.

EMPLOYEE MOTIVATION: Fear is Not a Motivator

By ELI BROAD Excerpted with permission of the publisher John Wiley

& Sons, Inc. from “The Art of Being Unreasonable: Lessons in Unconventional Thinking” by Eli Broad. Copyright (c) 2012 by Eli Broad. This book is available at all bookstores and online booksellers. When it comes to motivating people, fear is as over-

rated as praise. I don’t use it because it’s disrespectful of employees. What’s the point in demonstrating over and over that you’re more powerful than they are? I also don’t believe in explosions of temper. For one thing, emotion clouds your judgment.

What doesn’t motivate employees If your emotional outbursts simply provoke another

emotional reaction — like fear — nobody benefits. I don’t casually tell people their jobs are at stake. I don’t

raise my voice, and I rarely curse. People know when I’m unhappy. But I don’t express displeasure over failure if it’s preceded by serious effort toward one of my unreason- able goals. This means my employees are never afraid to try and

to fail. I still believe the same thing I said to Jay Wintrob when he first started: “Show me a person with an un- blemished track record and I’ll show you a person who has dramatically underachieved.” There is a lot to be said for batting .600. If you’re doing

10 things and only 4 are failing, that’s pretty good.

Allowing employees to fail and grow Many of my senior employees, in fact, talk about my

willingness to let them fail as long as they learn from the experience. Very early on in attorney Deborah Kanter’s career

with our foundation, I asked her to handle the purchase of some land from another major non-profit institution. Her background was in tax and intellectual property, and the lawyers for the seller put something over on us. Although she had pushed beyond her expertise, Debo-

rah felt she should have caught the sellers’ maneuver. She came to me to report it, fully expecting to be fired. She told me precisely what had happened and that it was pos- sibly too late to do anything about it. I sat and thought for a minute. Then I said, “Well, I’m

supposed to be the real estate expert. I should have caught it too. Let’s see what we can do to mitigate any damage.” We just moved on. In the end, it turned out that we were able to fix the

initial problem. Deborah went on to tackle even more tasks outside her comfort zone. Most recently, she took on managing the construction of The Broad, [a new con- temporary art museum in downtown Los Angeles]. If you let your employees fail without punishment,

you’ll win their loyalty, their hardest effort, and their will- ingness to take risks with you. No one will resort to finger-

pointing or cover-ups. Think about the last time fear motivated you to do

something well, to exceed your limits, or to really contrib- ute. I’m guessing you won’t recall a positive experience. Fear does not inspire loyalty, creativity, or genuine com- mitment. It’s a waste of time.

Whether you succeed or fail, keep moving If you don’t reach your goal, or achieve only part of it,

there’s no shame. That’s what’s great about an unreason- able goal — even when you miss it, you’ll probably get farther than you ever thought possible. If you fail, just figure out why, learn your lessons, and

move on to the next thing. And if you succeed, I recommend doing exactly the

same thing: move on. Nothing breeds complacency quite like a string of successes. In that sense, success and failure can be equally dan-

gerous — one can immobilize you with self-satisfaction and the other can paralyze you with fear. Think of them both as preparation for the next unreasonable challenge and use what you’ve learned to tackle it.

Copyright 2012 - Monster Worldwide, Inc. All Rights Reserved. You may not copy, reproduce or distribute this article without the prior written permission of Monster Worldwide. This article first appeared on To see other career- related articles, visit For recruitment articles, visit best-practices.aspx.

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