Get a mentor to help grow your career.

March 25, 2010

It is said that a fool learns from his own mistakes, while a wise man from the mistakes of others. To some extent, this statement undermines the ability to learn from one’s own mistakes and get back-up on one’s feet after a fall. This quality is essential to save your neck in a competitive world.

Yet, it is also true that tolerance towards mistakes and especially towards repeating the same mistakes is very little in present times. Companies can’t afford to have employees who don’t learn from the experiences of others. A steep learning curve calls for a good mentorship programme.

Explaining the importance of a mentor, Subhasit Ratnam, director, Sapple Systems Pvt Ltd comments, “Mentors help in exploring various career options so as to find the best suited path, as per one’s skills and interests. With an in-depth domain knowledge, experience and industry exposure, a mentor can help the mentee in deciding the career path best suited for him/her.

For instance, if a professional needs mentoring, the mentor can enable the person to list out all options clearly and evaluate the same. A good mentor can suggest the pros and cons of all options, based on the individual’s interests, experience, education, attitude and the market trends, both current and future. Additionally, mentoring involves helping out with the best possible references and points of contacts for particular arenas so as to facilitate entry or growth in the selected career path.”

Thus, the concept of mentorship does not apply only to organisations as a whole, but to the micro units of change, the individual employees themselves. Hence, care must be taken to carefully select and approach the right person as your mentor. Specific qualities must be looked into.

Ratnam continues, “A mentor must ideally possess adequate experience in the domain(s) one is planning to move into or wishes to explore as a career option. The mentor must have the requisite domain expertise, industry exposure and industry contacts. Also, it must be checked at the outset that the person is ready to mentor voluntarily and not for any monetary returns.”

Usha Parvathi, associate managertraining, Tavant Technologies shares her perspectives, “Through mentorship, one gets an exposure into the decision-making and leadership styles of the seniors. Additionally, it provides an access to organisational knowledge and networking opportunities, expanded knowledge of skills and practices, an increased sense of safety while learning and a more focused development. Mentors are an effective sounding board for venting emotions, views and feelings. Since it is on a one-to-one basis, there is scope for personalised learning owing to an honest and constructive feedback. Overall, it leads to increased self-confidence and heightened career aspirations.”

Finding a mentor can become a tedious task unless you know where to look for one. You do not necessarily need to have your supervisor as your mentor. Instead, you must look for a person who has richer experiences and exemplifies the qualities that you admire.

Rahul Kulkarni, head, HR at Kale Consultants advises, “Find the smartest person who can help you in your particular needs. It is the individual’s responsibility to work hard to not only find the right mentor, but also maintain an ongoing mentor-mentee relationship. The best way to find a mentor is to be a part of as many forums and attend as many industry events as possible. In such events, you can make contacts and explore possibilities. In fact, in recent years, the Internet has also emerged as a useful tool to build networks and find the right people.”

To find a mentor, one should also consider people in the non-workplace communities. It could be a retired officer, someone you look up to or share common values with.

Article courtesy of Economic Times.


Learn how to ask for a pay hike

March 17, 2010

Despite putting in a number of years at an organisation and holding on to your job when others quit, you have been passed over for promotion.

Should you ask for a bigger role and a raise? What’s the best way to go about it?

Most of us try to avoid asking for a promotion or raise. But it is worth mustering the courage, as the rewards are worth it.  But before you present your case, here are a few questions you ought to ask yourself:

Does your performance speak for itself?

If the answer is yes, you have a chance. The best time to ask for one is immediately after a recent major achievement, where you have displayed exemplary behaviour (cost cutting, clinching a major account, process improvement or improved productivity).

Are you ready to take on additional responsibilities?

Promotion means additional responsibilities not only towards your job, but towards organisation building too. The expectation levels will also increase the moment you move to the next level.

Is there a position that you can fill in?

Companies do not offer promotions merely to satisfy employees. There must be a vacancy available. Organisations do not create positions to fulfill your desires.

However, if you have been creating value additions, been efficient and well informed, there is a possibility of you being given an opportunity to do something different, where you create something from scratch, perhaps even a new department.

How to raise the topic?

Be very sure of what you want, why you want it and what makes you fit for the role. Do not show dissatisfaction at your current state of affairs.

Present a positive picture by mentioning that you wish to contribute more towards the organisation’s growth.

Not getting the deserved raise?

Do not stop enhancing and upgrading your knowledge and skills. It will come in handy during the next discussion (or in a new job). It would be a good idea to track your performance through objective performance management, setting goals and tracking achievements will give you the benefit.

Read the full article at Economic Times.

3 high-paying jobs

March 3, 2010

This is a competitive job market, and unless you’re actively looking for ways to maximize your potential, you will not have that extra edge over other candidates or stand out as a must-keep employee. To begin a good career, one must first choose the right industry. It is always an added plus to be hardworking and reliable, but you also want to roll in the dough.

Here is a list of the three best-paying jobs in the fastest growing industries:

1. Network system jobs/ Data Communication Analysts jobs – This category would also include jobs such as web designing, analyzing, testing and assessing systems for maximum performance. As computers and the internet have only become a more integral part of our lives, it has brought with it an increase of over 50% more jobs.

To get into this industry, a bachelor’s degree is generally a must-have. Some courses are only two years in total. If you’re pressed for time, you may want to look into such courses as a two-year degree in computer science, IT or other such related fields.

2. Dentist jobs/ Dental hygiene jobs – The job of a dentist, and those in this industry can be quite diverse and can range from the upkeep of patients’ teeth and gums to more modern aspects such as cosmetic dentistry, etc.

This industry grown by 30.1% since 2006. To get into this industry, you may want to look into an associate’s degree or a certificate in dental care/ hygiene.

3. Computer/ software engineer jobs – Tying in with point one, thanks to computers and the internet become a critical and integral part of our lives, this industry has picked up exponentially. This industry alone has seen a 44.6% increase in their job availability. This has been predicted to last until 2016.

To get into this industry, you may want to look into a bachelor’s degree in software engineering, computer science, etc. Having work experience on your side, helps too.