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Fast-Tracking Your Career: Soft Skills for Engineering and IT Professionals

ISBN: 978-1-118-52178-6
186 pages
July 2013, Wiley-IEEE Press
Fast-Tracking Your Career: Soft Skills for Engineering and IT Professionals (1118521781) cover image
Fast-Tracking Your Career provides engineers and IT professionals with a complete set of soft skills they can use to become more effective on the job and gain recognition from management and colleagues. The 11 core skills covered here are accompanied by more than 40 detailed guidelines on how to master those skills. The book offers first-rate advice on how to go about acquiring communication skills, people skills, presentation skills, time management skills, and others. Specific examples about current situations are discussed, exploring the impact of the Facebook phenomenon and the subprime mortgage crisis.

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Foreword xiii
Dr. Sorel Reisman

Guest Introduction i xv
Dr. Simon Y. Liu

Guest Introduction ii xvii
Dr. Arnold "Jay" Bragg

Guest Introduction iii xix
Frank E. Ferrante

Preface xxi

Acknowledgments xxiii

About the Author xxv

Introduction and Summary 1

Engineers Are Potentially Better Positioned as Executives, 1

Categorization of Smart Soft Skills, 2

Rules for Mastering Smart Soft Skills, 3

Relationships among the Soft Skills, 8

PART ONE: Communications: The Absolutely Necessary

Chapter 1 Communications Smart 13

Rule 1: Being always ready for elevator pitches/speeches, 14

Rule 2: Mastering a presentation by mastering the onset, 16

Rule 3: Using three diagrams to simplify complexity, 18

Rule 4: Sizing up and resonating with the audience, 20

Rule 5: Being careful of careless comments, 23

Rule 6: Using plain language, 24

Rule 7: Using jokes and self-deprecating humor, 26

PART TWO: Dealing with People: The Essential

Chapter 2 People Smart 31

Rule 1: Getting accepted by accepting others fi rst, 32

Rule 2: Winning by understanding both ourselves and our counterparts, 34

Rule 3: Being aggressive by being nonaggressive, 36

Rule 4: Gaining by giving, 38

Rule 5: Successful networking by networking less, 41

Rule 6: Being heard by listening, 46

Chapter 3 Marketing Smart 49

Rule 1: Sizing up and resonating with our "customers", 51

Rule 2: Putting a positive spin on our "product", 53

Rule 3: Making a convincing presentation with a well-crafted presentation, 53

Rule 4: Inciting enthusiasm with enthusiasm, 54

A Marketing Role Model: Steve Jobs (and His Embodiment, Apple), 55

PART THREE: Dealing with the Self: The Basic

Chapter 4 Work Smart 59

Rule 1: Achieving outstanding results by not seeking perfection, 60

Rule 2: Avoiding blunders of overconfi dence, 62

Rule 3: Focusing on self-examination, not on blaming others, when things gone awry, 63

Chapter 5 Time Smart 65

Rule 1: Investing time with the same zeal as venture capitalists investing money, 66

Rule 2: Killing two birds with one stone, 68

Rule 3: Minding ROI, 70

Rule 4: Making nonproductive time productive, 71

Rule 5: Turning spare time into opportunities, 73

Rule 6: Keeping the mind sharp by taking catnaps, 74

Chapter 6 Career Smart 77

Rule 1: Opting to be a big fi sh in a small pond, 78

Rule 2: Hopping to a more opportune pond at opportune moments, 80

Rule 3: Never polishing a sneaker, 84

Rule 4: Making a good lasting impression by making a good first impression, 86

PART FOUR: Dealing with the Boss: Earning Trust and Recognition

Chapter 7 Job-Interview Smart 89

Rule 1: Being well prepared by collecting relevant information, 90

Rule 2: Putting a positive spin on our qualifi cations, 91

Rule 3: Preparing targeted elevator pitches/speeches, 91

Rule 4: Sizing up and resonating with the interviewer, 92

Rule 5: Winning interviewers’ confi dence in us by exhibiting confidence, 93

Rule 6: Avoiding gaffes by avoiding overconfi dence, 93

Stories of Failed Interviews, 93

A Successful Interview Story, 98

Chapter 8 Boss Smart 101

Rule 1: Winning trust by showing loyalty, 102

Rule 2: Gaining gratitude by sharing credit and taking blame, 104

Rule 3: Being astute by watching for nuances, 105

Rule 4: Being proactive and farsighted, 107

Rule 5: Showing enthusiasm for challenging assignments, 108

PART FIVE: Dealing with Staff: Inspiring Loyalty and Productivity

Chapter 9 Motivating Smart 111

Rule 1: Winning loyalty by being loyal, 112

Rule 2: Getting credit by not taking credit, 114

Rule 3: Motivating by complimenting, 115

Chapter 10 Delegating Smart 117

Rule 1: Getting more done by doing less, 118

Rule 2: Delegating successfully by matching tasks with staff, 119

Rule 3: Making controversial decisions by not making them, 122

PART SIX: Being Visionary: Leading to the C-Suite

Chapter 11 Beyond the Box 127

Rule 1: Examining the big picture to identify opportunities, 128

Rule 2: Forming a visionary plan, 131

Rule 3: Marketing the vision, 131

Successful Fast-Tracking Stories, 132

Final Thoughts 137

The Book's Objective, 137

"Soft Skills" and "Rules" Outside the Scope of This Book, 137

High Achievers' Soft Skills, 139

Personal Career Goals, 140

Appendix Tables for Principles, Strategies, and Rules 141

Table A.1 Principles and Strategies, 141

Table A.2 Communications Smart, 142

Table A.3 People Smart, 143

Table A.4 Marketing Smart, 144

Table A.5 Work Smart, 145

Table A.6 Time Smart, 146

Table A.7 Career Smart, 146

Table A.8 Job-Interview Smart, 147

Table A.9 Boss Smart, 148

Table A.10 Motivating Smart, 149

Table A.11 Delegating Smart, 149

Table A.12 Beyond the Box, 150

Abbreviations 151

Index 153

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Dr. WUSHOW "BILL" CHOU was Deputy Assistant Secretary and the founding CIO of the U.S. Treasury where he oversaw fourteen bureau CIOs and an annual budget of two billion dollars. He was also the founding Vice President of Telecommunications for Network Analysis Corporation; founding Director of Computer Studies at North Carolina State University; founding editor in chief of one journal and one magazine; and consultant to more than thirty organizations (both government and private sector). He is a Professor Emeritus at North Carolina State University and Chair of the Advisory Board of IT Professional magazine. Dr. Chou is a Fellow of the IEEE.

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“Whether you're an engineer, IT professional, or other technical professional, Fast-Tracking Your Career helps you advance your career by developing business and personal skills that are as sharp as your technical abilities.”  (New Tech Review, 1 June 2013)

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