21 blog posts in 21 days

One day I listened to an episode of Framgångspodden (I think it was episode 124) and host Alexander Pärleros said something about habits. He stated that, to make something a habit, you would need to to it for 21 days in a row. In that moment, I did not really care if that was true or not. But I cared about my blog. In fact, I wanted to delete it. When I logged in, I found too many good drafts to waste. So I decided to give it one last try: Blog for 21 days in a row and see how it goes. Here is how it went.

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Cover letter to a recruiter

Dear   ,

I could look up you name in the job posting but I am writing so many applications that I keep loosing track of the hiring responsible.

Anyways, I thought the position sounds interesting. I would love to write something outstanding about my perfect fit. But your job posting reads exactly the same as all the others. I don’t really know how to make my cover letter special but I know I am the right one for the role.

And my fit for the company? 100%. Because you have a great company culture and you focus on people. I am a great human being.

I have exactly the years of experience you are asking for. No matter what I have taken away from these years or not. I have them. Trust me.

Of course I can work with all the weird internal tools and systems which you developed yourself. Nobody else uses them but I hacked into your company network to find out that they have the same features as the common ones on the market.

You do project management completely different? Well, then you are doing it wrong but I am happy to learn it your way.

In all your e-mails to follow I will overlook the myriad typos and grammar mistakes. You insist me to be fluent in three languages while you cannot properly communicate in one.

You will most probably call me out of the blue to ask me numerous questions and cannot answer one business related question yourself. That’s okay. I know you are working on several hiring processes in parallel. And I can relate to that.

I’ve several other application processes ongoing and as soon as you tell me where I am on your shortlist, I am happy to share details about my processes as well.

Yours faithfully,

One in a million

PS: You might have other open positions and you will ask me for which role I fit best. With all the cold calls, online tests, un/structured interviews and case studies you will put me through – why don’t you tell me?

What I learned from my Nova Experience 2016

Nova is a global talent network, which I joined in December 2015. The Nova Experience is a weekend where about 40 selected network members from all over Europe gather to share, learn and connect.

I still remember that it took me a while to decide if I wanted to go. It was August 2016 and I was commuting back and forth between two countries. In the end I went and it was one of the best decisions that year. My take-aways from the Nova Experience 2016 (theme: „How can a global talent network make Europe a place for everyone?“) where that there are so many talented people in the world which we need to provide with great opportunities, that I don’t want to compromise on my values and that individuality is weird at times.

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Are you really prepared for diversity?

This intention of this sally is not to argue if companies (and we all in genernal) do benefit from diversity or not. I believe the answer is yes and there are other places to discuss this opinion. I also want to avoid emotionally-loaded aspects of diversity like gender, race, age and the like. This story is about my experience in a project team with a diverse range of ideas. Following the public debate, diversity of ideas means (per se) a good outcome of the project and in the end a good result for the company. And we have created a great result! But it’s naive to think that this happened over night and without any challenges.

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Draft: 1,5 years of commuting in favorite podcast episodes

We all have different reasons for taking on hours of commuting to work every day. Usually I listen to some kind och podcast. If I like an episode particular well, I save it es favorite. A list for the big days. Today I skimmed though one and a half years of favorite episodes, covering a range of topics and languages. This reflects not only time of my life but the themes and things I enjoy hearing more about.

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Making friends with research (Part II)

In my last sally I wrote about how you to dig deeper into research. The general idea is to find resources (news, your favorite blog, a book, a TV show) shouting/writing/miming out loud „Research says …“ in a way that the topic really appeals to you and you want to find out more. You take it from there and dig deeper into the article of the researchers cited. But what if you don’t find anything interesting and you still want to give it a try with these academics? Let me walk you through a recent „Human Resource Management Review“ article which maps the world of HR in a brilliant way. You will make friends with research the other way around – getting the overview first and zooming into a topic you like.

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Draft: How to support a language learner in social situations

Learning a new language is as exciting as it is nerve-racking. You memorize vocabulary, try to understand the grammar (and all the exceptions from the rule), read your first texts, listen to the radio. But the true challenge with language learning are the social situations. Being surrounded by people that only speak the language you are about to learn. Starting your new job where you are the first non-native colleague to join the team. Joining your target-language-native partner for the first family visit far out of your comfort zone. Which ever situation it is for you, having a person at your side for support is a great way to engage in social stations more easily.  But what is it exactly this person should support your with and how do you want to be supported in your social language learning process? Here are some guiding principles which have worked for me, as a learner and a supporter.

  1. Praise for the progress: „Wow, you speak English so well!“ sounds familiar? It’s meant as a compliment but actually most of the people saying it can only judge your ability from a specific situation they have meto you in. I stopped saying this sentence. Especially in bigger gatherings. It brings language learners in this awkward situation where everybody joins in and even the last person becomes awarw of the fact that one is non-native. Especially in these rough moments when you are so close to giving up, praising progress is worth a lot. Hearing ‚But do you remember the time you could not even pronounce ’squirrel‘ at all is gold not only in times of despair. It’s a good way to keep track of your progress through the lense of somebody else. This requires the ability to spot systematic errors paired with the ability to share these observations in a motivational way.
  2. Understanding the root-cause for not understanding something: In numerous situations I heard the same sentence all over again even though I was only missing one of the words. Or people directly translated the entire sentence inot my narive languge. This is helpful in situations where information have to travel fast. As a language learning support you are able to spot the root-cause more concretly and take it from there. Which word could be difficult and new? Does the sentence contain a special name or saying? The more time language learner and supporter spend together, the easier it is to figure that out. If you both join the same gathering, a short eye-contact and a whispered word in exchange can ease up the situation and will not stop the ongoing discussion.
  3. If you have to correct, try to do it indirectly: Correcting someone can not only be impolite but destroy the flow of a conversation. There is an easy way out. Instead of correcting the language learner who says „I remember the last time when we meet.“ say „Me too. Wasn’t that when we met at Joe’s?“. Correcting in this way has two benefits. First of all, other listerners are now able to follow and the learner hears the correct version as a direct feedback.
  4. Judge someone’s linguistic skills based on several different occasions: Speaking a language depends on your daily mood and energy level. Try not to judge somebody’s language capability from one occasion only.
  5. Decide on a translation target language in case paraphrasing does not work.
  6. Try not to adjust your speaking style of you don’t have to.

While spontaneous parties don’t prepare that much preparation, work scenarios might do. In either way, the language socialisation benefits both the learner and the supporter. It does not only teach language but communication skills.

At the workplace: For that both of the parties have to prepare (training necessary // In bigger teams, decide on distinctive roles „learner“, „socialsator“, „teacher“ // Find out and Discuss how someone can support you in social situations // At times it simply will not work out.

Brace yourself, research on accent bias is coming

In the current issue of Human Resource Management Review (27/3) Marcello Russo, Gazi Islam and Burak Koyuncu bring our attention to a phenomenon I have written about earlier– how language, and more specifically non-native accents could affect our thoughts, feelings and actions in the workplace. Moving towards a diverse workplace often involves bringing people with diverse linguistic backgrounds together. With English as lingua franca this is not problem at all or is it?

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Using learning myths to dig into research

This sally has a double-function. Firstly, I want to bring your attention to common learning myths and secondly, how you can use these myths to start diving into the world of research. Earlier, I wrote about evidence-based and research-based HR work and how far we have come already. I still remember how hard it was for me (especially in the beginning) to embrace research papers. They were boring and I did not understand the lengthy parts about statistics which some of them entailed. Today, I am happy that I gave it a try. Because academia contributes a lot to the field of HR. There are great reviews on all kinds of areas within HR and also researcher challenges common beliefs and reveal myths. Learning more about how to read academic research give you the critical competence to be part of the discussion when other HR professionals call their practices research-based. Learning and development is an area where many professionals claim this. Unfortunately a lot of learning myths have nourished a questionable way of learning practice at school and in the workplace. It’s time to dig deeper into this.

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