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Feb 012011
 
A social network diagram

Image via Wikipedia

    We’ve all read the headlines about the negative impact social media can have on your career, how HR departments are trawling employee profiles on sites like Facebook and MySpace, and how some people have been disciplined or even dismissed because of things they’ve posted to their personal social media accounts.

    What we see less of in the mainstream media (although you’ll see plenty of examples online) is the many ways that having a prominent online profile across a variety of social media sites can actually help your career.

    But if you sit down and think about it for a minute, the fact that online social media can help give your career a boost should come as no surprise. Yes, they can allow employers and prospective employers to find out lots about you… but if you’re looking for a new job, or want to progress in the one you already have, then letting people find you, and letting them see what makes you tick is a good thing! Networking on a professional and personal level has always played a key role in career progression — hence the age-old adage "it’s not what you know, but who you know". That’s just as true today as it was twenty, thirty, even fifty years ago. The difference now is that we all have access to a wide range of free and powerful tools that help us to build a broader, more distributed and infinitely more productive network than was ever possible before.

    Whether it’s connecting with people on LinkedIn, staying in touch via Facebook, or keeping abreast of your network and your industry via Twitter…. online social media tools give you the ability to find, learn from and engage with all sorts of people who can help you, directly or indirectly, with your career.

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May 172010
 

We all know how tough it is out in the employment market today. If you’re looking for a job, you need to go beyond the standard CV / Resume / Covering letter, the ability to showcase your talent and creativity online gives you a great opportunity to think outside the box and get your name in front of prospective employers.

Here is a fantastic example of how Alec Brownstein an advertising creative in New York did just that – by targeting creative directors in the agencies he wanted to work with in Google AdWords…

He created five ads, got four interviews and ended up with a job at one of the agencies. Total outlay: US$6.

The old stalwarts of recruitment are still important – so don’t throw that CV away just yet, but with up to 80% of employers looking online to source talent you’d be mad to ignore the potential. Go on, get creative… and let us know how you get on in the comments :-).

Mar 232010
 


Author Joe Lennon pictured with Prof. Ciaran Murphy, Bank of Ireland Professor of BIS, Patricia Lynch, BIS Director of Placement, and Sean Murphy, Core International, at the launch of his book "Beginning CouchDB" at UCC last night.
Pic Diane Cusack

A Cork technology specialist’s recently launched book is set to help software developers and businesses around the world harness the potential of the internet, and has added an exciting new dimension to an already promising career.

Joe Lennon, a Cork software developer who graduated with flying colours from UCC’s flagship Business Information Systems degree programme in 2007, was approached by New York based publisher Apress to write the book after they read a technical article he’d posted to an online portal run by IBM. The article examined a database system called CouchDB that makes it easier for developers to create web based applications.

Beginning Couch DB -- an introduction to data storage for Cloud Computing"I started writing ‘Beginning CouchDB’ in June 2009 the first draft was finished in September 2009, and the book was published in December" said Joe going on to explain how CouchDB is a new database management system that is steadily growing in popularity and is being used by many large organisations including Apple, IBM, BBC, MySpace, eBay, Meebo and Mozilla.

"As a new technology documentation on the subject is still quite scarce," said Joe. "As a result, it can be daunting for a newcomer to get to grips with CouchDB. ‘Beginning CouchDB’ aims to plug that gap by guiding the reader step by step through installing, configuring and working with CouchDB."

Having an internationally published book under your belt at the age of just 24 is quite an achievement, but Joe is no stranger to doing well. He achieved First Class Honours in each of the four years on the Business Information Systems (BIS) course at UCC, and was awarded a UCC University Scholarship in his third year for his performance in the summer examinations. During the third year Joe also spent 6 months with Fidelity Investments in Boston as part of the BIS Placement Programme, gaining his first real experience of working in IT.

"I learnt about all aspects of software projects working for Fidelity Investments and gained invaluable communication skills from the experience. I also learnt a lot about exactly what it was I wanted to do for a career. I enjoyed being an analyst, but I always felt the urge to go ahead and actually develop the software I was documenting," Joe said.

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Jan 282010
 
E-mail in notes

Image by dampeebe via Flickr

While it may seem that e-mail’s pre-eminence as a digital communications medium is waning as other, more "sexy" Internet applications grab the limelight, the truth is that e-mail is still the stalwart of business communication, and it’s likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.

E-mail’s near instant delivery, the ability to send messages to groups of recipients simultaneously, and the ability to seamlessly attach business documents, files and photos has resulted in a highly flexible, incredibly valuable business tool. There are now, arguably, more effective ways to do all of those things — but when you consider the way that e-mail combines them into a single application that is practically ubiquitous throughout the business world, and you begin to see that it will be some time before real time collaboration and social media usurpers topple the king of business communication from its throne.

While e-mail is, undeniably, a great asset to business, keeping your corporate inbox under control can be a challenge, and dealing with incoming e-mail inefficiently can be an enormous time waster.

A survey of global members by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) revealed that people generally believe that they receive too much e-mail, send too much e-mail and that the time they spend dealing with unimportant e-mail every day has a detrimental affect on their productivity.

Over 80% of respondents admitted that they constantly monitor their incoming e-mail throughout the working day, 40% indicated they spent at least two hours in a typical working day responding to e-mail , and over a third said they spend 3 hours or more doing so.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of constantly monitoring, sorting and replying to a never-ending stream of e-mail, and unless you take control of your electronic inbox, before long you’ll realist that it’s actually controlling you.

Take control of your inbox

  • Make a positive start: try and avoid checking your e-mail as soon as you arrive at your desk in the morning. Pick something more productive to work on first — achieve something tangible before firing up your e-mail client. Making a productive start to the day will help you to maintain your focus throughout the day.
  • A time and a place: constant monitoring: of e-mail is a major distraction. Instead of listening for the "ding-dong" tone of a new message landing in your inbox, try checking it three or four times a day at prescribed times. Set aside designated periods for dealing with e-mail, and stick to them. Not only will you be less distracted, you’ll find that when you do deal with your incoming mail you do so in a more focussed and productive manner.
  • Use your tools: most e-mail software comes with a series built in filters that can automatically block unwanted mail and sort the mail you do want into specific folders for you. Most of your regular e-mail can be auto-magically sorted in this way, leaving your inbox less cluttered (if you’re not sure about using filters ask your IT department or a tech-savvy colleague for help).
  • Only answer if necessary: before hitting reply, consider whether a response is really necessary. Will your message contribute something positive, or simply clog up someone else’s inbox, probably prompting another unnecessary reply in return?
  • Reply to the right people: if you absolutely must reply to an e-mail, steer clear of the "Reply to All" option, which will copy your response to every recipient of the original e-mail . Unless that’s absolutely necessary, simply send your reply to the sender, and spare everyone elses inbox an unnecessary message.
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Sep 072009
 
E-mail in notes

Image by dampeebe via Flickr

E-mail is something that’s become so ubiquitous in the workplace these days that we hardly give a second thought to how it’s revolutionised the way businesses communicate.

According to recent figures published by technology market research firm The Radicati Group worldwide email traffic will reach 247 billion messages per day in 2009, growing to a staggering 507 billion messages per day by 2013. That means that this year we’ll be sending 2,858,796 e-mails every single second, 37% of them business e-mails. That’s a lot of communication!

Part of e-mail’s business appeal is the speed and convenience with which it lets us communicate with our colleagues around the office and around the globe. But that convenience and speed has a downside… and that’s a growing tedency to fire-off quick, ill-conceived, badly written and poorly thought out messages that reflect badly on you as an individual, your department, or worse, the entire organisation you work for. E-mail ettiquette is straightforward, but is often overlooked in our haste to get the message sent.

You ignore good e-mail etiquette at your peril: your message, your reputation, and even your job could be at stake.

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Jun 252009
 
Trasantiago in Chile .

Image via Wikipedia

With global warming and climate change making headlines on a practically daily basis, we’re all becoming more aware of the need to conserve energy. In general the more energy we use, the more of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide we emit into the atmosphere. The more CO2 we emit, according to scientists, the more we contribute to the global warming phenomenon.
Faced with a global problem it’s easy to be dismissive of the seemingly trivial changes we can all make as individuals. But it’s important to realise that even the smallest change can have a significant impact if enough people make it.

Ways you can save energy on the way to work

  • Walk or cycle: the obvious one – but not practical for everyone. If it works for you, try cycling or walking at least part of the way into work. You’ll save money, reduce your carbon emissions and stay fit… so its a win, win, win scenario. Even taking the stairs instead of the lift will save some energy.
  • Use public transport: one person travelling in a car is one of the least efficient ways you can travel to work. If you live in the city, and public transport is a viable option, try to use it whenever you can.
  • Drive efficiently: When you do have to drive, accelerate and break gently. Anticipate the road ahead and avoid sudden changes of speed which increase fuel consumption, wasting energy and money.

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Jun 092009
 
03-online learning and resource production

Image by leighblackall via Flickr

Not so long ago learning new skills meant taking time out to go to college, enrolling on a training course or wading through mountains of books, but the internet is changing all of that.
E-learning is revolutionising the way Irish people learn. Now all you need is a PC with a broadband internet connection and you can “attend” a course on practically anything from the comfort of your own home.

What is E-Learning

E-learning is an exciting new form of distance learning that harnesses the power of the internet to deliver interactive course material online. The beauty of E-Learning is its flexibility: you learn at your own pace, at times that suit you, from any computer with an internet connection anywhere in the world.
You don’t have to travel to the classroom – the classroom comes to you. Course material is available 24/7, and with newer e-learning technologies you can even attend “live” online classrooms and interact with your tutor and “classmates” in real time.
In fact, you can cover almost anything you can accomplish in a traditional classroom or training room, all from the comfort of your own PC.

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