Are you an ideal employee?

It’s a fair question, whether you’re looking for a job or you’re settled in with a job.

This articles describes 15 traits of the ideal employee. It’s a great list for prospective employers as they evaluate job candidates, but it’s also a great checklist for those of us looking for a job. What can we do to add more value to our company? Here are the first two items on the list:

1. Action-oriented – Hire employees who take action and take chances. While chances may lead to failure, they will more often lead to success and mold confidence while generating new ideas. Stagnant employees won’t make your company money; action-oriented employees will.

2. Intelligent – Intelligence is not the only thing, but it’s a strong foundation for success. While there are many variables you can be flexible on when hiring, intelligence is a must or you’re going to be spending an abundance of time proofing work, micromanaging and dealing with heightened stress levels.

The term “problem solver” isn’t on this list, though many of the attributes point to this quality. It’s important to be able to identify problems, but the best employees will help you solve them and also take the initiative where appropriate.

As you look for a new job and prepare for interviews, keep this list in mind.

Protecting your professional reputation

Are you someone who is respected in business? Do you meet deadlines? Do you avoid making excuses when things go wrong?

Your professional reputation is critical, and it goes far beyond your core competency for your job. It’s often about the little things, like being prepared for meeting and being responsive.

This article provides a very handy list of the little things you should pay attention to.

Facebook and job interviews

Most people are aware now that the stuff you post on Facebook and other social media outlets will likely be researched by prospective employers. This interview with Dr. Lawrence Burgee, Department Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Information Systems, Brown School of Business and Leadership, Stevenson University, illustrates the point. He tells a story of one interview where an applicant was asked if a person could be their friend for an hour to look over their Facebook page while others were interviewing him.

Words of wisdom from Steve Jobs

Apple announced the death of Apple founder Steve Jobs on October 5, 2011. He was 56. Jobs was the founder and former CEO of Apple that transformed personal computer technology and invented devices such as the iPod, iPhone and iPad. He is shown announcing the Macintosh computer in 1984 in San Francisco, California. UPI/Terry Schmitt/files

Steve Jobs passed away today. He was one of the most important and influential people of our time and he will be greatly missed.

I would recommend that everyone, particularly young people, read this speech from Steve Jobs given at Stanford in 2005. It’s the best career advice I’ve ever heard.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

Read the whole thing.

Multiple job offers out there for executives

The job market is still very tough for most people, but many candidates for executive positions are receiving multiple job offers.

For the lucky ones, however, it’s 2007 all over again. “It’s incredibly competitive out there for talent, incredibly competitive,” says Kim Shanahan, a Korn Ferry partner in Reston, Va. Her searches for human resources executives have been “over the top — insane” because demand is so strong and candidates are becoming more selective. Adds Jeff Hodge, the San Francisco-based vice chairman of Diversified Search, a Philadelphia firm: “It is almost as if there’s been a floodgate opened, a material change since December.”

Korn Ferry (KFY) recruiters estimate that currently about 5% to 10% of executive candidates are ending up with multiple job offers within three or four months of starting their search. That might not seem like much, but competition is fierce for that group, and big signing bonuses are becoming common. In certain areas, including R&D, human resources, product development, and Java J2E software expertise, the talent wars are well underway, while elsewhere the job world is a frozen wasteland.

So who’s landing multiple offers? Those who show demonstrated results — and can prove they know how to grow businesses. Brian Sullivan, chief executive of CT Partners, uses the example of a CEO his firm placed at a Silicon Valley turnaround. In nine months he got the company on track, then sold it. “He now has three different offers from three private equity firms to go into one of their portfolio firms,” said Sullivan.

If you’re in this potential group the job market should be picking up.

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