Friday, September 16, 2011

Manage Your Manager (¡Haz click aquí para Español!)

My Boss doesn't like me.
My Boss plays favorites.
My Boss is an idiot.....I can't believe he/she has gotten this far?!
My Boss is an @!#@&!!

Does any of the above sound familiar?

Let me begin by saying -- I don't deny that for many of you some/all of those statements are true.
More often than not, a manager earns their colorful title.

But sometimes managers get a bad rap for the shortcomings of their personnel.
When you say, "He/She (the Boss) is an idiot" - is that more of a reflection of you (and your work)?

Like so many of you, I place my leaders on an unrealistic and sometimes unfair pedestal.
Often I have thought, "Surely this person is in their position because of superior intellect, above and beyond work ethic and super human ability to WIN, WIN, WIN"!!!

The truth is while some are very special and have earned their post because of a lot of hard work and sacrifice; many managers are just regular peeps as flawed, insecure and vulnerable as the rest of us.

We all make the symbolic trip down the yellow brick road to the Emerald city of Oz for enlightenment, courage and passion only to peek behind the curtain and come to the realization - our managers are not the all knowing, all powerful wizard.

You might be thinking: "So - I got it, Hugo. He/She isn't super natural, but he/she is clueless. I'm not getting ahead because of his/her playing favorites. "He's/She's threatened by me and I just can't take it anymore".

Well, hold on....just a second.

If you are waiting for your manager to tap you on the shoulder and give you a promotion, raise in salary or hand you a plum assignment - get comfortable because you might be waiting for a long time. Don't wait for things to happen.....make them happen!

It's time to manage your manager!

There are many ways to go about doing it...I'm going to just focus on three: communication, relationship and problem solving.

My abuelita use to tell me: "El que no llora, no mama". It loosely translates to “if you don’t ask, you don’t receive”.

If you don't ask for a promotion, a raise, etc. -- you're not going to get it.

Your manager has a lot on his/her plate and unless you're not vocalizing what you want...chances are - they don't know about it.
Don't assume that your supervisor should be obvious to the great work you are doing. You probably see one third of the work that they are responsible for. I am not saying to be sympathetic to your bosses' work load (we all have more than our share) - I'm just asking you to be more understanding (as I am sure you would want co-workers to be with you).

If you feel your great work is not being recognized by your manager -- then make sure you tell them about it! We need to be our biggest fans and loudest cheerleaders.

When you finally muster up the courage to sit down with your boss to tell them what you want -- be prepared to have a solid pitch for why you deserve it.

The reasons for that promotion need to be observable....give them examples you can both discuss.
Most of us go through an annual evaluation (our salary increases are largely based on it)....well, evaluate yourself before meeting with your manager. You need to be honest with yourself about what your strengths and development needs are. Maybe the development needs are what's keeping you from moving ahead. And if that's the case - then embrace that reality and work towards improving them (and make sure your manager knows it) in order to get what you want in the future. Even your strengths can get better (with more time and experience).

Managers value honesty and they appreciate an employee who understands "I am better at my job today when compared to yesterday - but not as good as I will be tomorrow".

Now approaching your manager with demands/asks can be intimidating...but it wouldn't be if you had a relationship.

A relationship doesn't mean you're friends. It means you have a workplace relationship at a level of trust where you feel comfortable setting up a time to discuss your wants/concerns. Like all relationships it builds over time, must be honest and you need to nurture it.

Start by setting up a meeting to re-introduce yourself. Make sure to keep it concise (don't waste your manager's time and yours).....strategize the conversation around three points that are most important to you.

(ex. You meet with your manager to discuss a promotion - becoming project leader. Identify (again observable examples) of your work and how it has prepared you for greater responsibility. Also speak to the "stretch"; these are certain responsibilities required by the position that you are familiar with, but not in practice....with coaching - you will be successful in fulfilling those requirements).

Like any relationship - it's a two way street. Make sure you learn about the responsibilities and pressures of your manager's job. Most managers live by "you take the credit and I will take the blame" philosophy. That means the buck stops with matter how big or small the issue/mistake is, your boss will be held responsible for it.

Now that doesn't mean an employee won't be held accountable for their work, but it is an interdependent relationship.
Your success and failure will also be his or the same way that their success and failure will be yours.

A smart manager learns early on the importance of delegating responsibility - developing a mentoring relationship with an employee is key to effectively and positively achieve goals. Be sure to be a "go to person"; someone your supervisor trusts enough to seek their help.

Problem Solving
"Don't bring me problems, bring me solutions". If you want to get noticed, grow in your career - be the problem solver in your group.

Managers are inundated with problems; it's refreshing when an employee presents solutions. I am not saying for you to make the decision for your manager (because their ultimate responsibility is based on their acceptance of a course of action). What I would like for your to consider is to present your manager with a problem you have identified and a solution(s) for he/she to consider. In doing so you are proving to be an invaluable asset.

Part of problem solving is also "conflict resolution". Many managers are put into a time consuming "referee" position that often can and should be resolved by the people closest to the issue. There are certain situations where employees find themselves at odds with others in the office....before you feel the need to go seek your manager's help; first consider how you can resolve the problem yourself.

Interpersonal skills are essential for the success of any employee (no matter what the position is). You don't need to be friends with everyone at work, but you do need to have a professional relationship. I'm not going to go into details about conflict resolution (that's a topic for another time), but I do want you to consider always putting yourself in the shoes of the person you are having an issue with. Try to see yourself through their eyes and as best as possible identify how you contributed to the situation negatively (according to their version of events). The beginning of any solution begins in recognizing one's responsibility in escalating the problem.

Managers award employees who consistently practice sensible interpersonal skills; it reinforces the employee's leadership in correctly navigating through the turbulent ocean that an office can sometimes become.

In managing your managers you are essentially managing your careers. Don't let someone else be in the driver's seat of your professional life.

Below are some links with more advice for you.

As always, let me know what you think and if I can answer any questions.


Friday, September 9, 2011

Always Judge A Book By Its Cover (¡Haz click aquí para Español!)

We’ve all heard the old saying...."Don't judge a book by its cover"; a metaphorical phrase meaning "you shouldn't prejudge someone, by their outward appearance".

Well, I'm here to tell you that's just about the worst advice you can get (especially when it pertains to the workplace).

How many times have you picked up a newspaper, magazine or a book, just because of the eye catching front cover?! You wouldn't even think twice about what’s "inside", if not for that attention getting first impression.

It’s the same for all of us.
Whether it’s at a job interview, networking event or the office…you are always being judged and admit it – you’re also doing a lot of the judging!
Don’t feel guilty – there’s nothing wrong with that.

“A picture is worth a thousand words”.
How we present ourselves (clothing, hairstyle, accessories, perfume/cologne, etc.) is pretty much on target about who we are as a person.
Before one word comes out of your mouth, the person directly in front of you has made a dozen assumptions about who you are based on how you look. And before you say, you shouldn’t “assume” – forget about it. A person’s assumptions/perceptions are their reality (regardless of what’s true). So, don’t try to debate it.

The best course of action is to be aware of people’s prejudices based on their observations and take the necessary steps to manage your image.

1. Dress to impress: It is important to dress appropriately for the occasion. I have met with students who visit a newsroom; some are right on – leaving their usual school wardrobe of jeans and a shirt behind, opting for a suit. And then there are the students who are better dressed to hang out with their friends (and that’s being kind). The students who dressed professionally gave me the impression that they understood (and valued) what a rare opportunity it was (to visit a news station and learn first hand about careers in journalism from experienced veterans). They commanded my attention and instantly earned my respect.

2. Dress for the job: If you have an ambition to move up the ladder within your company - make sure you look the part. When you first look (and act the part); you’re sending a very clear signal to your supervisor that you are ready (or on your way) for more responsibility. You want to stand out and not blend in with your peers (almost camouflaged).

3. Don’t dress to distract: When attending an interview - be sure to wear something that is uniform (solid colors always work best), appropriate to the office environment. Don’t wear anything distracting (you don't want the interviewer to be consumed with thoughts of -- "what was he/she thinking when they put "that" on this morning"?).

Especially challenging for women are accessories. You might feel comfortable in your favorite earrings and necklace, but the interviewer might not. And for the men - some places are more casual than others...that might mean tie optional. For both – take it easy on the perfume and cologne. I use to work with a great reporter who bathed in cologne; sometimes making my eyes tear!

4. Less dress is not more: Unfortunately and unfairly (and women in particular know it too well), too often the 300 pound gorilla in the room is "sex". Many men allow their imaginations (and ignorance) rule their thinking. So, my advice is – don’t feed the beast. It's been my experience that less is always more when it comes to ladies fashions. And by "less", I mean show less.

Listen – I strongly believe what matters most is what’s in-between our ears and in our hearts, but the truth is that before anyone can get to know us – they see us. Treat yourself like merchandise – a product that you carefully craft and market wisely. Remember, you only get one chance to make a good first impression.

As always – feel free to ask questions and leave comments.
Below are some links for more information and advice on how to dress for success.

And consider following my blog (


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Strategy In Getting Your Next Job (¡Haz click aquí para Español!)

Good economy, bad economy, no economy - when job need to have a game plan to land an interview that will hopefully lead to a new position.

You need to be strategic in your search.

When a job is posted - chances are there are already a significant number of candidates lined up or worse....someone already has it.
The person(s) closest to the job are always the ones who have the best chances of getting a "sit down".

Consider this...
An announcement email goes out, congratulating your co-worker - she's moving to Los Angeles....just got a great promotion. Her last day is Friday....please wish her well!

Here's what happens next:
A) Everyone in the office who is interested, brushes up their resumes and waits for the right time (probably Monday) to talk to the hiring manager about their interest.....because of the relationship (a person you see every day, who is familiar with your work) an interview is scheduled. After all, companies like to promote from within - there is a lot to gain from that practice.

B) The next group to get a shot at the new job are people in the company (from different markets, departments). Again, companies pride themselves in providing growth opportunities to their employees (it's a great retention tool). Bringing someone from another market/department injects diversity without having to teach someone the company culture.

C) People in the office contact the members of their network telling them about the new opportunity coming up - asking them to send their resumes and making promises of personally handing them to the hiring manager. In this example you benefit from your contact's personal relationship with the hiring manager and if anything else -- pushes your resume to the front of the line.

D) This is rare, but depending on the job that is available - a third party agency is hired by the company to find the right candidate. If you get approached by a recruiter, consider yourself very lucky. The recruiter acts as your coach and really helps you prepare for the interview. Some people have agents (depending on what line of work you are int) who do the job hunting and marketing for you. They have strong networks and connections that will help you get an interview.

E) And finally....there's applying for the job posting online. If you are here -- you are four times removed from the position that's available. And I would say your odds of getting the job are 10 times more difficult.

So, here's what you need to do in order to move up from E):
-Don't apply for the job that is available on getting the job that will be open later.
-Build your network....and make sure it's current.
-Grow your brand by using social media and affinity groups

Usually companies (Human Resources Directors, hiring managers) hear from candidates when there is a position that has been posted. I suggest that you contact them when you are not looking for a job. You should reach out to a company you are interested in before hand and setup an exploratory meeting. These meetings are solely for you to learn more about the company in a more comfortable environment (Vs. a job search). Once you are in the office - that's your chance to let them learn about you. If this is done correctly, the H.R. Director introduces you to other members of that company (for you to network with)....the end result will be you moving up to C).

How many times do you meet people at social events and get their business card, only to never contact them.....this is a missed opportunity. If you organize your network correctly (and maintain it current because people change jobs often) when a position opens up - you should be able to draw from your relationships someone who can directly or by association assist you in getting to C).

Example: A job is posted with XYZ Company in New York City. You don't know anyone at the NYC branch, however - you do have a contact who works at XYZ Company, only they're based out of Chicago. You contact that person (since they are in the B) position) to help introduce you to someone who is based out of NYC. Now you increased your chances of getting an interview while at the same time expanding your network.

Even if no one in your network works for XYZ Company.....someone in your network is sure to know an employee at the company (from their own network) takes some digging, but all you need to do is connect the dots.

Finally - grow your brand. There are enough social media tools to market yourself effectively. Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter are among the most popular ones. If you use social media just for entertainment -- you are missing a great opportunity to network. Social media helps you engage people that share your interests and can help you in your job search. When a job is posted -- go to Linkedin and see if you know anyone who works for that company and if you don't -- well, just apply the example above via Linkedin.

Also, think about joining groups and associations in your field. This will help you hyper focus the networking that you do (virtually and by attending events where you can meet people in person).

The idea is not to wait for a job posting in order for you to throw your hat in the ring for consideration. On average it takes a person anywhere from 6 months to a year to get a new job. If your approach is to blitz the market place with your resume in the hopes that someone will call - prepare to be frustrated.

Here are a few links that might also help you in your job search:

If you found the information useful, consider sharing it with others.

And consider following my blog.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Negotiating a Salary (haz click aquí para Español)

"you got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em, know when to walk away and know when to run"

This isn't just good advice for poker. You can apply it to salary negotiations.

Before you search for the job of your dreams, before you take a call from a recruiter, before you step into an office for an interview - you have to answer one question: "How much am I worth"?

That number is based on a few factors:
-education (where you go/went and how far up the ladder does matter)
-experience (internships and where, jobs and where/how long)
-speculation (what you bring to the job, company -- short and long term)

If you don't have a clear response to the above. If you don't understand the response well enough to speak to it...then you walk into every situation behind the eight ball (even before you hit "enter" on that job search, certainly before you agree to call back the recruiter, every time you walk into that interview)

Without knowing how much you are will you know when to hold em, fold em....get it?

For those of you who are thinking - what? WTF? Is this guy really comparing a salary negotiation to gambling?? You better believe it.

I believe in hard work.....merit always counts, but when you meet with a prospective employer - they're "the house" and the house always holds all the cards....the odds are always with the house.

A) If you contacted them - your hand isn't that strong.
B) If the recruiter (third party) called you - your hand just got a little better
C) If the company contacted you - you're in a position of power

In any of the scenarios above.....never, ever talk about money until it's time to talk about money.
They will- at all stages (some right off the bat) want to know how much you want to make. There is only one answer to that question (before an offer is made). The answer is "I am open to discussing a salary that is fair and competitive based on the responsibilities of the position and my experience". If they can't accept that answer....then it's time to "walk away".

If they accept that answer...congratulations! You're "holding em".

If you give them a just lost, "fold em". At this stage how do you know if you just low balled yourself? Maybe they would have been willing to pay you more. Remember -- a few thousand more is not a major impact to the employer, but it can make a major impact on your personal budget.

So, now you know when to hold em, fold em and walk away....but when do you "run"? When they ask you how much you are making in your current job.

What you are making (in your current job) has no relevance to what the salary (of the prospective job) is. Remember...that salary is based on the existing budget (for that job), what's competitive in the market for that job and what you bring to the table (short and long term).

Some employers will ask you what you currently make because a $5-10k increase might be enticing for you to jump ship and join them. That might be enough for you to do so, but think about this -- what if that bump is less (significantly less) than what the salary is budgeted for??

Here' a link for more advice on salary negotiation:

As always - feel free to send me any questions.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Is Univision’s in-house ad agency good for the industry?

A recent blog asks the question: Is Univision’s in-house ad agency good for the industry?

It's more of a matter of dollars and cents Vs. sense.
Why outsource what you can do yourself?....and from a position of strength? - is there a stronger domestic brand in media than Univision? Univision (like many media companies) is an expert in production and marketing -- reinvesting in marketing (themselves) will help their bottom line in the short/long term and guarantee complete control in the (marketing) process.

Here's a link to Jose Villa's blog:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What? Where are the Latinas on this list??

How could this be?

In this week's Crain's New York Business list of "50 Most Influential Women of NYC" there are no Latinas and only a total of 3 diverse women featured.

Author, Speaker, Consultant and close friend Mariela Dabbah writes in her blog that she has sent a letter to the editor (one of many she says she has sent the last few months after every list they publish!.

Below is the blog Mariela wrote that includes the letter to Crain's and the names of several Latinas (of the many out there) that she feels should've been on the list.

Click here:

Monday, July 4, 2011

To use a cover letter or not...

A recent blog, painting a grim picture of the need for cover letters by David Gaspin, formerly head of talent acquisition for Conde Nast got a lot of play in the past week.

At first I was taken a back in reading a quote from Gaspin in Media Jobs Daily: “9 out of 10 recruiters that I know don’t read them, and 10 out of 10 recruiters that I know don’t pass them along to hiring managers….”

After saying something like “whah, whah, what!!??”, I visited Mr. Gaspin’s blog site and found that after condemning cover letters – he actually had some sound advice.

From his Blog:
1. Cover letters don’t matter.
2. A cover letter will never get you a job, but it can certainly lose you one.

Hmmm. I disagree with point #1, but see the truth in point #2. As someone who has read many cover letters (as a hiring manager), I can tell you that a poorly written cover letter will often deflate a strong resume. Usually the problem is that the writer either did not understand the purpose of a cover letter (so, the focus was missed), rushed in writing it (and so, used poor grammar), used it as a tool in walking the reader through every detail of their experience (which is best used in an interview conversation) or was repetitive (a longer version of their resume.

Here’s great advice from Gaspin on making cover letters better:
1. Address it to the correct company. Please.
2. Keep it brief. No more than a couple of well thought out paragraphs.
3. Outline two things: why you want the job and why you’re right for the job.
4. Don’t repeat your resume. They’ve already read that.
5. Try to keep it conversational – this is your chance to show your personality.
6. Don’t show too much personality. Failed attempts at humor are deadly in cover letters.
7. If your personality sucks, ignore #6 and stick to a very business-like tone.
8. Read it out loud. If it doesn’t sound good out loud, it doesn’t look good in writing.
9. Proofread it. Check for spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure. Spellcheck is your worst enemy. Just because there are no red squiggly lines doesn’t mean it’s right.
10. Proofread it. Again. You missed something the first time. Trust me.

Gaspin’s blog:

So, while the headline on articles written about Gaspin’s blog on cover letters were a little bit on the insignificance of them….I’d say – the blog is more about the pitfalls of a poorly written one.

I will add that some candidates should consider writing a biography of their experience. It reinforces and elaborates the line items in your resume and keeps you from adding information in your cover letter that shouldn’t be there. Similarly to the advice on resumes and cover letters – keep it brief and on point. One to three paragraphs for each position you outlined in your resume and be sure to use specific examples.

For example (for the position of News Director/Vice President):
In my resume…..
• Production: Administered the mission and tactical operations of a multiplatform local content organization (News, Entertainment, Commercial).
• Marketing: Lead the strategic development of all viewer-focused marketing to build the Telemundo 47 brand and drive audience tune-in/usage of its various platforms.
• Sales: Conducted innovative multiplatform initiatives to support Sales team in generating revenue (product integration, promotions and sponsorships).
• Network: Conceptualized the production of content relevant to a national audience for News, Sports and Entertainment Programming.
• Programming: Authored long format specials (domestic, international), assembled the production team and pitched new revenue making packages.
• Operations: Directed the investing and implementation of new technology to improve on-air product, comply with operational financial goals and enhance the skills of personnel

In my biography….
As Vice President of News for NBC Universal’s Spanish language television station Telemundo 47, Balta turned a traditional broadcast news operation into a multiple platform content center that produces news, entertainment, specials and commercial productions for major markets in the U.S. and Central and South America.

In converting WNJU into a multifaceted production center, Mr. Balta was key in meeting the operational targets of a big media company to meet the challenges of a changing industry and economy. In Sales, he was instrumental in the creation of new streams of revenue as well as maintaining current clients. He implemented new marketing tools that strengthened T47’s brand. Mr. Balta’s investment of new technology and training improved the station’s product and employee skills.

Specific to his duties as News Director, Balta lead a team of more than 80 journalists in the planning, promoting and production of newscasts (morning to late evening, seven days a week) which were recognized with multiple nominations by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and (among many of the awards) achieved 3 “Emmys” for “Best Local Newscast” (out of the 7 consecutive nominations).

In the end, be sure you understand the purpose of (resumes, cover letters, bios) and how to focus them properly in your strategic job search.
It’s never a “one size fits all”. When you take your time (as you should) in properly writing your story – it shows.

As always, please feel free to ask questions and leave your feedback.


Friday, July 1, 2011

The Key to Advance Your Career


Here is an excellent blog from a close friend and experienced professional: Mariela Dabbah.

In "La clave para avanzar en tu carrera" she soundly illustrates the importance of having a network in order to positively and productively manage your career. Her focus is on women in the workplace -- but the advice is universal.

click here:

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Will US Born Latinos and acculturated Hispanics retain cultural identity over time?

Here's a very interesting study.

While the new Census identifies the population boom led by the Hispanic community, it comes short in identifying the unique differences in language and background. You just can't place all Hispanics in one bucket.

The challenge for marketers- as you point out will be how to target a specific group who have...several targets which change dramatically over 50 states. How do you do that effectively and efficiently?

Click here for more:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Thinking about growing your business?? Think Hispanics

Here's an interesting article (and link) about the social revolution in this country -- led by the increasing Hispanic population. It also illustrates the economic power.


If it hasn’t sunk in, you’re thick or, possibly, racist. Either way, you’ve blown a huge opportunity: America is becoming a Latin nation. That’s the headline of the 2010 U.S. Census.

There are 50.5 million Hispanics in the U.S., 15 million more than 10 years ago; they now make up 16 percent of the total U.S. population. That means vast and growing economic power, with Hispanics expected to spend $1.2 trillion in 2012.

Click here for the complete article:

Here's an interesting article (and link) about the social revolution in this country -- led by the increasing Hispanic population. It also illustrates the economic power.


If it hasn’t sunk in, you’re thick or, possibly, racist. Either way, you’ve blown a huge opportunity: America is becoming a Latin nation. That’s the headline of the 2010 U.S. Census.

There are 50.5 million Hispanics in the U.S., 15 million more than 10 years ago; they now make up 16 percent of the total U.S. population. That means vast and growing economic power, with Hispanics expected to spend $1.2 trillion in 2012.

Click here for the complete article:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Why less is more when it comes to resumes

Here's an interesting article on why specializing your resume is better than the blanket the market with as many resumes as possible!


Monday, June 27, 2011

Three Tips For A Better Resume

As a member of the senior management team these nearly past 10 years – I have seen many resumes.
Some are outstanding and some are outdated.

Here are three ideas to keep your resume memorable.

1. Title: The title is always your name followed by your contact information. It’s obvious, right? You want to make sure the employer knows who you are and how to get a hold of you. But really --- make it into a marquis…after all you deserve “top billing”. I can’t tell you how many times candidates down played their name, almost as if embarrassed. You need to be your biggest fan. Be proud and self assured in your accomplishments. Your name – is a page turner. The size and font you choose says a lot about who you are. I’m partial to Times New Roman, font 18 – bold….but I am a little conservative.

2. Objective: The next line is your objective. This is a two to three sentence paragraph that specifically talks to the job you are going after. Too many times candidates make the mistake of writing a dreamy, utopian objective about an ideal job in media. What you need to do is be specific about the job you are applying for. For Example, if you are applying for a Newscast Line Producer opportunity – make sure that your objective speaks specifically about how your experience is the right fit. As a Newscast Line Producer you will be expected to have sound editorial experience, strong writing skills, manage an often stressful control room environment and have excellent communication/interpersonal skills (to name a few). If your objective does not speak to what they’re looking for….then you left the hiring manager on page two – when you want them to go to the meat of your book (resume)…the list of your accomplishments. Here’s a tip….use the “skills” section of the job description posted to help you write your specialized objective.

3. Experience: When you list your experience – be very concise, use examples and again be sure it speaks to the specifics of the job description. Each line should be exactly that….one line (and no more than 2 lines). You are writing to a hiring manager who understands the line of work you do…so you don’t need to go on and on about what your duties are as a Newscast Line Producer (to keep with the earlier example). What the employer is looking for are “real life” examples of your experience (which if you make it pass the screening process will be part of the conversation you will have). Again – the job description itself will help you write your experience. Think about what they are looking for and see if there are examples in your experience that are similar.

In the end, what I hope you take away is that your resume cannot be a “one size fits all” document. Your resume needs to change depending on what position you are going for. And if you are like me (a fortunate person who has a diverse background of experience)….don’t be afraid to go off the chronological order of your experience. I am someone who is very interesting in returning to cable news. My time with MSNBC was in 2010 and 1999. When I go for positions with cable news media companies – my time with MSNBC is what I place front and center on my resume.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to me.
And as always – your feedback is welcomed and appreciated.