08 September 2008

SWOT Analysis

I am sure you have heard enough about SWOT. It is essentially an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. It can be used for a multitude of purposes including planning military invasions or an ordinary product launch. On an individual basis too it has varied uses. However since my workshops focus on career building skills the SWOT analysis that I will be asking you to do will include taking stock of your workplace skills and situations.

There was this old quote which we used to put down in our slam books and autographs which went,
“Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your character.”

Now you know what you need to do to get the character you desire … think the right thoughts and the rest will follow. Now let’s get back to SWOT. Take a blank paper and make four columns one each for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Now FILL IT IN…

Remember this is a self assessment of your Career goals and skills. Be honest with yourself. You do not have to show this to anyone else, though if you are confused with your answers it might be a good idea to share it with a concerned and caring mentor.

In the Strengths column put down all those skills that you possess. Bear in mind that these are internal aspects which you control and can use to your advantage at any given time. For instance if you are an extrovert it will be a great advantage to you in the service industry.

In the Weaknesses column put down the drawbacks that may hinder you in your career. Keep in mind that these are also under your control and you can work on these aspects and improve them. For instance a bad command over Spoken English which hinders you from joining a call center can be improved by joining Spoken English classes and accent training.

Opportunities related to the career field of your choice can be listed in the next column. Now these are situations that are beyond your control but you feel are positive and will help you along on your career path. For instance the boom in hospitality which will come due to the Asiads being hosted in Delhi can help you chalk out a career in hotels.

Threats are also beyond your control and will be listed in the last column. These are negative situations which will affect your career path. As you can not control these situations you must do what you can to minimize their effect on your chosen career. For instance the rising cost of fuel will affect the running of the cheaper airlines. Some of which might fold, so it would make sense to shift to a company which has a good track record and is unlikely to go under too soon.

There we are through with our SWOT analysis. Hope it has given you an insight into what you really want to do and helps you choose a career that you are truly suited for.

07 September 2008

Health is Wealth

I had mentioned that I was putting myself on a five week weight loss challenge. This was in response to the realization that I was gaining nearly 2kgs a year since I had got married. I had a BMI of 28 and was bordering on the obese. The basic idea behind the challenge was to make small lifestyle changes whereby leading a more active existence and monitoring what I ate to ensure it was healthy.

The basic forms of exercises that I alternated between were Cycling, Hitting the Gym, Pranayam, Walking and Yoga. I did each between once to four times in a week. I never forced myself to do a form of exercise that I was not in the mood for on a particular day, but also ensured that I did at least three out of the list above everyday.

I realized that when I exercised in the Gym I might be able to loose more calories but I also got very hungry as fast and ended up eating that many calories up again that very day. While when I went cycling I enjoyed what I did and it also made for a more active social life as I would combine it with meeting people who lived at the other end of the cantonment. Yoga beat walking in popularity because of the incessant rains that we had last month. Pranayam is ideal for all days and is also great for an instant energy pick me up.

As for the diet, I ensured two liters of water went down the hatch everyday, as did one helping of fresh fruit and two glasses of milk. It is a boon that I don’t like tea or coffee so I was only on Bournvita which eliminated any form of caffeine in my diet. In addition to this I tried not to eat anything fried, and steered clear of all sweets, chocolates and ice creams. I also ensured accountability by recording every morsel that went into my mouth in my food journal.

Net Result : - I have lost three kgs.
My BMI is currently 27 and I intend to get into the healthy bracket from the overweight bracket in the next challenge that I am setting up for myself. Will keep you updated of the latest news.

06 September 2008

Service Industry Skills

ITFT, Chandigarh had conducted a Job Market Study and in its report a section is devoted to the skills and outlooks that employers look forward to in a potential employee. I am reproducing it here to help you understand the essence of the Service Industry better.

Positive attitude
Pleasing personality
Improvising ability
Creative temperament
Good sense of humour
Desire to get ahead
Hard working
Devoid of inhibitions
Willing to work in shifts
Ready to relocate
Communication skills
Logical thinking
Planning and organizing
Self confident
Self motivated
Service oriented
Problem solving
Social ability

The reason why I have put down this list? To help you in your SWOT analysis and in making you resume more industry specific.

04 September 2008

Service Industry and the Opportunities it offers

In India everyone agrees that the fastest growing industry is the Service Industry. Not only does it have a phenomenal scope for growth, it is totally people – skill oriented, which means that if you can handle people well, you will do well in the industry. The work skills are easily learnt to give the customers a great experience and enhance your career.

So what are the segments of the Service Industry that you can make a mark in? In this post I will attempt to give a bird’s eye view of the jobs on offer. By no means is this list comprehensive and there’s a new job being created as we speak. The dynamic industry is continuously coming up with new services to meet new demands. A broad classification is attempted here.

The biggest section of the Service Industry is to do with travel and staying in new places. This involves Airlines, Railways, Buses, Taxis, Travel Agents, Hotels, Restaurants and Souvenir shops. Each of these generates jobs related to it. These are given in detail below. Since qualifications for each job will make this post humongous I will save those details for the next post. Please remember that I am not listing all the jobs but just a basic few to give a snapshot of the service industry segment associated with it.

Jobs in Airlines

Cabin Crew
Ground Staff
Technical Crew
Airline City Office Staff

Jobs in Ground Transportation Services

Rental Office Staff
Technical Support
Customer Service Staff
Local Guides

Jobs in Travel Agencies

Ticketing Staff
Travel Assistance Executives
Tour Organizers
Tour Guides

Jobs in Hospitality

Front Office
Food and Beverage
House keeping for hotel rooms
Catering for events
Home Delivery from Restaurants
Organizing Conferences and Conventions

Another Important and controversial sector which is growing really fast is that of BPOs or Call Centers as they are colloquially known. The jobs generated here are a result of multinationals outsourcing some amount of work to a different company in India to cut its own operational costs. The jobs are very often dependent on the hours that the parent company keeps and since the majority of them are in USA, UK and Australia the working hours are very often at night in India.

The companies tend to pamper the employees because the turnover rate is very high. To combat the attrition rate the cafeteria, pick up and drop and loyalty bonuses are common strategies. The pay is very good and if you can endure the total annihilation of your metabolism and social life you will do quite well for yourself. Some of the jobs on offer are listed below.

Collection Call Executives
Telemarketing Executives
Customer Support Executives
Technical Support
Transaction Processing
Distance Education Facilitators
Market Research and Data Analytics
Networks Set Up and Support
Finance and Accounting
Human Resources
Hardware and Software Engineering

Another emerging Service Sector is Finance. The various Banks and Insurance companies are pushing sales in India as the common man gets savvier about his savings options. The booming stock market and soaring Sensex is giving Mutual fund managers happy dreams for retail investors. Converting those dreams to reality is a silent army of agents. The jobs available in this field are listed below.

Customer Care Executives
Insurance Agents
Foreign Exchange Agents
Mutual Fund Agents
Demat Services
Portfolio Management Executives
Consultancy and Counseling Agents
Taxation Services
Human Resources

That about wraps up this post and I will give details of qualifications needed for the various jobs in the follow up. Remember this is just an indicative list and there are a whole lot more jobs out there.

01 September 2008

Background on Multiple Intelligences

For those of you interested in the last post I wrote here is some more background information.

The theory of multiple intelligences was developed in 1983 by Dr. Howard Gardner, professor of education at Harvard University. It suggests that the traditional notion of intelligence, based on I.Q. testing, is far too limited. Instead, Dr. Gardner proposes eight different intelligences to account for a broader range of human potential in children and adults. These intelligences are:

Linguistic intelligence ("word smart"):
Logical-mathematical intelligence ("number/reasoning smart")
Spatial intelligence ("picture smart")
Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence ("body smart")
Musical intelligence ("music smart")
Interpersonal intelligence ("people smart")
Intrapersonal intelligence ("self smart")
Naturalist intelligence ("nature smart")

Since I have already put out the details in the last post won't bore you with more in this one.