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Telling Your Life Story at Your Next Interview

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 09:00:00 EST

(image) Researching the company and rehearsing answers to common interview questions are not enough to ace a job interview. It's also important to tell some of your life story to your interviewers, because you must convey how your personal brand fits with the position. Examine some tips for developing your personal narrative so you can illustrate what you represent as a professional.

1. Discover Main Themes

Think back over your life and determine what experiences made you the person you are today. These experiences become starting points for telling your life story during a job interview. Perhaps your family loved a particular brand of car growing up, which is why you want to become an engineer for a particular auto industry heavyweight. Maybe you went on a two-year journey of discovery and decided why you want to work in public relations. Emotional events that stick with you are the main reasons why you seek certain types of professional fulfillment.

2. Narrow Your Focus

Narrow your main ideas and identify specific events that tailored your brand to your current profession. A high school teacher saw your knack for repairing cars and math, and he fostered your sense of building cars from scratch. Along your journey of discovery, a mentor said you had a great way of convincing someone of your point of view, which is a behavior that's perfect for a PR job. Relate these stories in a job interview to make them a part of your narrative. The point of having these stories about your past is that they set you apart from other candidates. Interviewers remember your story and connect that story with you and only you.

3. Talk About the Job

When a job interview question comes up that seemingly has little to with the job at hand, answer in a way that complements the position. For example, you interview for a sales job at a company that sells software. In your free time, you tinker with apps behind the scenes to try to improve them. This gives you insider knowledge that other salespeople may not possess, and that also sets you apart from the pack of interviewees.

4. Stay Positive

Tell stories that relate how you value positivity in your work environment. Rather than discuss the better pay at this position, talk about the values you share with the company. Tap into the firm's mission statement and explain why you plan to stay loyal to the firm's mission. Don't forget about your principles of teamwork.

5. Own Your Destiny

Own your destiny by using an active method to show how you succeeded in the past and why you can bring your past successes to this position. That means tapping into the STAR method of storytelling. Lay out a situation you faced, the task you needed to complete, the actions you took and the result of what happened. The STAR method, regardless of your circumstances, shows how you took action to get something done in your life. Rehearsing this method over and over leads to job interview success no matter what question comes your way.

A job interview is a two-way conversation. Make your interview a valuable experience by telling the story of your personal brand that goes beyond the basics of your resume and cover letter.

Photo courtesy of Ambro at

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You Are Sitting in Front of the Interviewer. Now What?

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 15:00:00 EST

(image) As a job seeker, getting a call from a prospective employer for a job interview is an exciting experience. However, you must be prepared in order to effectively showcase your professionalism and your skills. Take these steps to impress hiring managers and show that you are the best candidate for the job.

1. Ask Questions

A key part of preparation for a job interview is to rehearse answers to common interview questions. Put together a professional response to common questions such as "Why do you want to work for us?" and "Why should we hire you?" It's also crucial to prepare a list of questions to ask your interviewer. Ask about the duties of the positions, the company culture and the expectations of the job. Show that you have thoroughly researched the company by asking questions about the firm's achievements, efforts in the community and product or service line. Enhance your knowledge of the company, too, by reaching out to members of your professional network or current and former employees prior to your job interview.

2. Present Yourself Professionally

Put your best foot forward during a job interview by dressing the part. Pay close attention to your wardrobe by wearing a suit or professional attire that is ironed and clean. Many candidates are often nervous for this first meeting, so avoid wearing any dangling jewelry, scarves or accessories that may prompt you to fidget, ultimately distracting the interviewer away from the important information you are sharing. Brush your hair away from your face, and opt for a natural look if applying makeup. Your body language also matters when answering interview questions. Speak clearly and slowly in a tone of voice that is pleasant and enthusiastic. Avoid using fillers within your speech, and smile often to highlight your personality.

3. Remain Focused

While some hiring managers like to throw out questions that purposely confuse or derail applicants, you can navigate these difficult encounters by remaining focused and positive. For example, if an employer asks about your weaknesses, spotlight areas of your experience that you are actively working to improve. Then, direct the conversation toward your proficient skills and qualifications that are related to the job. A job interview doesn't have to be a challenging experience if you prepare ample information to deliver, such as specific scenarios of how you work well with teams, meet customer needs and delegate tasks.

Candidates who spend ample time preparing questions to ask while also networking with professionals in the industry are better able to present themselves professionally in order to impress potential employers. Make sure that your next job interview goes smoothly by reviewing common questions hiring managers ask and dressing professionally to show that you are a great fit for the company and the best candidate for the position.

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7 Quick Tips to Help You Remain Motivated

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 13:00:00 EST

(image) It's easy to become frustrated when your job search feels like it's going nowhere. If you're not able to find any jobs that match your skills, sending out resumes with no interviews in sight or going on dozens of interviews and not receiving job offers, you may feel like you're wasting your time. Keep these seven tips in mind to help you stay motivated throughout your job search.

1. Learn Your Own Patterns

Determine what time of day you have the most mental energy, and use those time periods to tackle the job search tasks you find most draining. For example, if you dread the thought of filling out job applications, do this when your energy levels are at their peak.

2. Establish a Routine

Create a job search routine that you can follow daily. Start your morning by scouring job postings for new leads. Make networking phone calls and send follow-up emails during prime business hours. You can complete tasks such as filling out applications, composing cover letters and updating resumes any hour of the day.

3. Enlist a Support System

If you have a friend who is knee-deep in the job search, team up to keep each other motivated. Check in with each other regularly to compare job leads or share resume tips. Consider joining a support group for job seekers to network with other professionals in your position.

4. Upgrade Your Skills

If you feel like your resume could use a boost, update your skill set. Think about the position you're hoping to land, and decide which of your skills are most valuable to potential employers. To enhance your skills, sign up for a class at your local community college, or enroll in online courses.

5. Change Your Game Plan

If the same old routine is beginning to wear on you, change up your job search methodology to drown out the monotony. Rather than spending another day stuffing resumes into envelopes, attend a job fair or join a community group for professionals in your desired industry.

6. Take a Break

Don't let yourself get burnt out on the job search. Give yourself time to explore other hobbies. Step away from the computer for an hour to take a walk or meditate. Set limits on the amount of time you devote to job search activities each day.

7. Hire a Coach

If you're losing hope, consider hiring a professional career coach to jump start your job search. Set up an initial consultation to discuss the details and make sure you're comfortable with the individual. Explain your goals and expectations clearly.

The job search process can be lengthy. You're bound to face some disappointments and even rejections before you get an offer you can't refuse. When you're feeling down, stay motivated with these quick tips.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at

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Fixing Common Communications Failures

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 11:00:00 EST

(image) Communication is a key part of a solid business foundation; weaknesses in the system can undermine progress, culture and productivity. The effects of a communications failure often build slowly over time, which means the problem can be difficult to spot before it's too late. By seeking out and fixing common problems with business communication, you can avoid unexpected consequences and build a stronger company.

Lack of Transparency

One of the most common — and potentially destructive — business communications failure is a lack of transparency. When employees feel like they are only getting part of the story, it can create an atmosphere of mistrust that sabotages your corporate culture. To fix this problem, establish a tradition of openness. Make a point to provide regular updates, and make sure that your messages are not unintentionally vague. To prevent rumors from getting out of hand, encourage your workers to ask questions if they're concerned or confused. Most importantly, don't try shield workers from alarming news. Being honest about the company's failures and struggles demonstrates that you're serious about keeping employees in the loop, which can build trust in the long term.

Communication Silos

A communications silo happens when individual teams or groups communicate only with each other. Discussions tend to be vertical, focused only on tasks that are crucial to the department or the role. This type of communications failure can result in a number of missed opportunities. When a marketing department fails to seek feedback from the sales, advertising and product development teams, for example, their materials may be less targeted and effective. The solution is to implement processes that support lateral communication. Encourage collaboration by updating your project management process to include cross-department integration from the start, or hold regular open forums to present new ideas for cross-departmental feedback.

Lack of Action

Feedback and open discussion within a company are important, but only if they have a measurable impact. The final step in the process — taking action — is often prone to communications failure. When your employees and managers see that their input is not acknowledged or acted on, they have little reason to offer feedback in the future. Worse, this communications failure sends the message to employees that their ideas are not respected or valued, which demotivates them and weakens your corporate culture. To keep your staff engaged, it's crucial to consider each idea seriously and follow up with the employee. If the idea is useful, explain how you're integrating it into the business. If not, explain why and discuss alternate possibilities. Even when action isn't possible, engaging your employees makes them feel heard and leads to other useful insights.

Both large and small businesses can experience communications failure. With proactive steps, you can stop these insidious problems in their tracks and replace them with more productive systems.

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Are You Using These 7 Resources in Your Job Hunt?

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 08:00:00 EST

Just like building a successful, long-term company, the key to having a successful job search is to diversify your efforts. The reason you should diversify is because companies handle job openings in different ways. Check out these seven resources to tap into while you're hunting for a job.1. Social MediaFollow your favorite employers on social media and connect with them. Some companies post job openings and career opportunities on social media platforms, so pay attention to these networks during your job search. Find a company's official social networking links on the firm's official website.2. Networking EventsNetworking events, despite the advent of LinkedIn and social media, still offer a relevant way to connect with your future employer. Find in-person networking events through online postings on Eventbrite or Meetup. Take a look at Facebook or Twitter to see if someone is organizing an informal meeting for lunch during the week, or attend a formal networking event or career fair in your city. Once you make a connection, offer to help your contact solve a problem and then maintain contact with that person. You never know when that contact may come through for you by informing you of a job opening or recommending you for a position.3. Career PagesCompanies often have their own dedicated career pages on their websites. A company website lists the job description, qualifications and tidbits about the benefits of working for the employer as well as the company culture. Find businesses that interest you, and check out their websites for more information.4. Staffing CompaniesStaffing companies can put you in touch with particular employers and positions during your job search. Staffing agencies screen employees and onboard them as a go-between for the employer and workers. Staffing firms can put you in touch with manufacturers, sales jobs, executive positions and tech positions. Many of these companies act as recruiters, while others specialize in certain fields. Most staffing firms have online portals that let you apply for jobs with specific employers.5. Online Job BoardsOnline job boards have tons of information, and they offer a formal way to conduct your job search. There are many websites that aggregate thousands of open positions in one place, so the possibilities are endless with this type of resource. Narrow your search by job title, skills, employers and even pay ranges.6. Industry OrganizationsEvery industry has an organization to which you can belong. These organizations put like-minded people in touch with firms that are hiring. Many websites for these organizations have industry-specific job boards to help your job search. Membership in these organizations have particular benefits, including finding exclusive information.7. Google SearchPerform a Google search to narrow your specific interests quickly. Type in a job title for a position with your area to see what's available. You might consider narrowing your search by a particular employer to see what happens. Don't forget Google's site-specific way to find an open position a specific website.Your job search is only as good as the tools you use to implement it. These seven resources help you diversify your efforts and can make you land a job sooner rather than later.Photo courtesy of Graphics Mouse at[...]

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What Are the 10 Most Useless Resumes?

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 13:00:00 EST

Building a better resume starts with letting go of old resume ideas from years past. When starting your job hunt, don't just add your most recent work experience to the end of your old resume. Instead, start over from scratch, crafting a modern resume to better meet your needs. If your current CV matches any of these descriptions, consider a major overhaul.1. The Photo ResumeHeadshots are for models and actors. Leave them off your professional resume. At best, your photo makes you look naive about how the hiring process works. At worst, your photo could lead to discrimination based on gender, age or appearance.2. The Generic ResumeDon't send in a generic resume that sounds like everyone else's. Build a better resume by focusing on your unique qualifications for the job. Show the company what makes you different from other candidates.3. The Poorly Formatted ResumeMake sure your resume is easy to read and has the right amount of white space. Use bullet lists, indenting and spacing to keep your information organized and easily scannable by busy hiring managers.4. The Objective ResumeDon't waste valuable resume space by listing an objective. For a better resume, include a brief professional summary instead. If you need to elaborate more, you can do it in your cover letter or at the interview.5. The Stuffed ResumeAn ideal resume is a single page, but be careful not to pack too much information onto that single page. Leave enough white space so that your resume doesn't appear messy. If you are a professional with extensive experience in your field, it's better to include two uncluttered pages than a single unreadable page.6. The Empty ResumeDon't send out a resume that is mostly white space. If you don't have much experience, include relevant volunteer work, school projects and skills lists to round it out.7. The Keyword ResumeAlthough it's best practice to add a few keywords from the job description to your resume, avoid stuffing it with tons of keywords. Too many keywords make it hard for hiring managers to scan your resume, and applicant-tracking software may exclude resumes with an overabundance of keywords.8. The Irrelevant-Info ResumeWrite a better resume by leaving off irrelevant portions of your job history and hobbies not directly related to your work. Focus on those experiences that show your unique qualifications for the position for which you are applying.9. The Nonsocial ResumeEvery modern resume needs to include at least one link to a professional social media account. LinkedIn is a good choice — just be sure to keep your online information up-to-date.10. The Old ResumeEven if you're in a hurry, resist the temptation to send out the 10-year-old resume you have saved in a folder on your computer. It shouldn't take long to craft a better resume that shows your true worth and is in line with modern standards.Sending a useless resume to a hiring manager is not much better than sending in no resume at all. Speed up your job hunt by drafting a better resume following contemporary guidelines to show how you are a great fit for each position that you apply for.Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at[...]

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Should You Ignore These 8 Pieces of Career Advice?

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 10:00:00 EST

(image) As a new college grad or young professional, you probably seek out career advice pretty often. However, it's not wise to follow each piece of advice you hear. Take a look at eight pieces of wisdom to ignore as you try to land your first opportunity in your professional life.

1. It's Okay to Lie

You might hear that little white lies on your resume, such as exaggerated experience, certifications or skills, are okay. Ignore this piece of career advice. Your actions at work will speak for themselves, and it won't take long for your boss to realize you don't possess the required job qualifications.

2. Write a Long Resume

Your resume provides a snapshot of your career. It should be concise and to the point, with the most relevant jobs and experience listed on the document. Your future employer uses a resume to gauge whether you're a good fit for the job, and you should write it with the understanding that a resume leaves the hiring manager wanting to know more when he calls you for an interview.

3. Answer Promptly During Interviews

You might believe that quickly responding to interview questions impresses employers. However, most employers prefer interviewees who think about an answer rather than giving memorized answers, so never follow this career advice. Your boss wants a problem solver who thinks about situations before taking action.

4. Accept the First Job You're Offered

If you really need money, taking the first job that comes your way might be a prudent choice. However, it's best to hold out until you find an opportunity that mean something to you and can boost your career. Instead of following this career advice, take the time to network, research the best jobs for you and move on with a measured approach and a plan in mind.

5. Keep Your Professional Distance

Colleagues and team members generally spend a lot of time together and sometimes become friends. There's nothing wrong with this, as friendship helps build trust among team members and can help you develop your collaborative skills.

6. Stay in Your Comfort Zone

Risk is part of the challenge when it comes to improving your career prospects. Take a chance and try something new. Move to a different city or try working in a different department to get a new perspective on your professional life.

7. Don't Take On New Responsibilities

In a highly competitive job market, one way to stand out to a new employer is to take on more responsibilities. If you don't, your career may stagnate and someone else might take advantage of an opportunity and earn a promotion. Only follow this career advice if you're truly happy in your current role and don't want to move forward.

8. Never Quit Without a Plan

Sometimes, you just have to quit your job for your own sanity, for health reasons or to get out of a dangerous situation. If your anxiety becomes too much at the office, then move on before you suffer irreparable harm, regardless of your prospects for another job.

Ignore these eight pieces of career advice, as they can stagnate your professional life. It's best to seek advice from individuals who are thriving within their chosen career fields.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at

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You Could be Missing Out if You Don't Negotiate Your Salary

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 08:00:00 EST

(image) A 2017 survey from Career Builder reveals that you should negotiate your salary because you could miss out on opportunities if you don't. You might feel uncomfortable discussing money with your employer, but salary negotiations are a normal part of receiving a job offer.

Survey Results

The survey shows that more than half, or 56 percent, of respondents do not ask for more money once they receive a job offer. The top three reasons include not feeling comfortable with asking for more money, fear of not being hired and not appearing greedy. Remember one thing when you negotiate your salary upon receiving an offer: Employers expect you to talk to the about money.

As many as 53 percent of employers expect you to negotiate your salary with a counteroffer in an entry-level position. Up to 52 percent of employers say they publish their lowest possible salary in the offer, but there is room to go up from there. Around one-fourth, or 26 percent, of employers report that their initial offer is around $5,000 less than what they're willing to pay someone.

Plan Ahead

You should plan ahead to negotiate your salary as part of the interview preparation process. Research your skills and qualifications as they relate to what other companies pay for the same position. Take into account the cost of living, your salary needs and what your previous position paid you. When you come to the negotiating table armed with information, you keep the tone professional and based on facts.

Aspects to Consider

Take into account benefits that are more than just a monthly salary when you consider an overall compensation package. A robust 401(k) contribution from your employer helps you save for retirement. The thing to remember is that it may take a grace period, such as six months to a year, before the employer starts contributing to your retirement fund. Make sure to stay with your job long enough to start reaping this benefit.

Stock options are a way to make cash when you sell your portion of company stock. Understand that this stock is usually less than the market rate and it may be a fixed amount. This helps you to plan for the future if you need extra money in a pinch.

Your gross salary is the money that you get before taxes. Make sure that when you calculate your desired salary, and you have enough take-home pay to cover your monthly expenses, when you negotiate your salary. If you have any questions about these three aspects of an offer, talk to human resources, as they can explain in further detail. You want to know precisely what benefits you get when it comes to the offer you agree to within a contract.

When you negotiate your salary, think of it as an extension of the interview. Both sides have a professional conversation about facts, and both sides expect negotiations to happen as a normal part of the job search. This might help you to relax and realize that talking about money is normal.

Photo courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at

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Tips to Avoid Being the Jerk in the Office

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 15:00:00 EST

(image) Your professional reputation has a big impact on your day-to-day workplace experience. In comparison with the office jerk, a well-respected worker experiences easier collaboration, a friendlier atmosphere and better relationships with workmates. By taking steps to avoid being the bad coworker, you can avoid behaviors that alienate your colleagues.

1. Don't Gossip

Gossiping is one of the quickest ways to become a bad coworker. When you speak badly about someone in the office, your colleagues are likely to assume you'll eventually speak badly about them. As a result, you might find that coworkers don't trust you, or that it's difficult for you to form strong working relationships. While some level of complaining is natural in any company, it's important to minimize your complaints. By staying above the fray, you can avoid getting drawn into drama and maintain a positive, professional reputation.

2. Avoid Loud Conversations

It's difficult to focus on work when someone in the office is talking loudly, either on the phone or in person. Avoid being this type of bad coworker by keeping your speaking voice low. There's no need to whisper — simply use a calm, professional tone. If you need to have long discussions with someone in the office, do your colleagues a favor and head to the break room or a conference area. This is particularly important in offices with open floor plans, where loud voices are particularly grating.

3. Recognize Contributions

In a work environment, it's easy to take other people's contributions for granted, particularly if the contributor is in a subordinate position. Your colleagues probably don't expect someone to say "thanks" for everything they do, but a repeated pattern of ignoring team contributions can make you a bad coworker. Avoid this trap by making a point to recognize the work of others. Comment on colleagues' accomplishments, for example, or thank a coworker for making your life easier. Don't take credit for someone else's work with the boss. Small bits of recognition can go a long way toward building positive relationships with your colleagues.

4. Don't Get Personal

A certain level of personal disclosure is part of building professional relationships, but crossing the line can turn you into a bad coworker. When bonding with colleagues, stick to neutral topics, such as a shared love of running or a specific sports team. Stay away from anything that's too personal or controversial, including dating drama, information about your wild weekend or your intense political beliefs. Overly detailed information can make your colleagues uncomfortable — worse, it can set off their personal biases, negatively impacting your ability to work together.

No one wants to be the bad coworker in the office, but it's not always easy to know when you're heading in that direction. By avoiding behaviors that are typical of office jerks, you can maintain great relationships and contribute to a positive work environment.

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6 Tips to Stand Out From the Rest at a Career Fair

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 11:00:00 EST

(image) Part of a typical job search involves attending at least one career fair to network with potential employers. Showcase your skills and experience, as well as your professionalism, by heeding these six tips to succeed.

1. Research the Companies

Plan well ahead of the date of the career fair by researching the companies represented. Connect with employees via LinkedIn, research companies online to determine mission statements and product lines, and craft a few questions to ask at the employment event to highlight your newfound knowledge.

2. Bring Along Application Materials

You should have a full-service interview kit in tow during your job search and when attending a career fair. Make copies of your resume on professional paper, bring along business cards to pass out to potential employers, and pack a notepad and pens so you can take notes when discussing employment details with representatives from companies you desire to work for in the future. It's also a good idea to bring along identification in case you're hired on the spot and need to fill out employment paperwork.

3. Dress Professionally

First impressions matter, especially when physically meeting prospective employers. Dress to impress by wearing a business suit. Pay close attention to your hygiene and make sure your hair is positioned away from your face so you can make direct eye contact. Avoid any distractions when meeting with company representatives by leaving dangling jewelry at home. Wear sensible shoes since you may be on your feet for a few hours.

4. Remain Courteous

It's possible that you may meet with employers who are not seeking your skills. However, you never know when you may meet with someone who can offer a referral. When faced with rejection or disinterest, remain courteous and thank the company representative for her time.

5. Rehearse Ahead of Time

Practice makes perfect when it comes to showcasing your skills and qualifications. Just as you would rehearse for a job interview, spend time practicing responses to interview questions before the career fair. Meet with a member of your professional network to host a mock interview and receive feedback on your performance. Prepare an elevator pitch that clearly outlines why you are the best fit for each position.

6. Ask Questions

While it is common for employers to ask you questions at a career fair, it's important that you are also vocal. After researching each company, compile a list of questions to ask regarding the positions available and the company as a whole. Inquire about the company culture, work processes and employee base to show you're eager to learn more about the firm.

As a job candidate, you have ample opportunity to meet with multiple employers in one setting when attending a career fair. Get the most out of this experience, and stand out from the rest of the applicants by making your professional attitude and outstanding skills prominent.

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You Can Integrate Positivity In Your Workplace

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 09:00:00 EST

(image) Countless studies have shown that happy employees are more productive. Taking steps to boost positivity is one of the best ways to improve morale while simultaneously increasing your company's bottom line. Fostering an upbeat environment in the workplace isn't always easy, so it's up to you to be proactive. Here are some ideas to help you boost positivity while still maintaining a professional work environment.

Show Appreciation

Sometimes all it takes to boost positivity is to simply be grateful. Many employees feel underappreciated, and a simple smile and thanks can help to alleviate those negative feelings. Whether you're the CEO or a manager, showing appreciation is one of the easiest and most effective ways to keep the team upbeat.

Take a Break

If you're feeling stressed out, take a few minutes to step back and breathe. If you're the manager and notice an employee feeling overwhelmed, allow him to take a few minutes to refocus. In the long run, overworked employees are not as productive as relaxed, rested ones.

Plan Your Day

It's much easier to improve morale when everyone is on the same page. Often, the cause of workplace negativity is stress due to poor planning. A simple way to boost positivity is to create a list of tasks that need to be done, as well as a corresponding schedule. This helps to eliminate frustration caused by unforeseen pressure.

Respond With Kindness

You play an active role in your work environment. If you want to boost positivity, you need to lead by example. If someone is short with you, don't let it affect you. Respond kindly and compassionately, and he will see the error of his ways. It may be difficult to be a beacon of light in a dark room, but eventually others will follow suit.

Have Fun

One of the easiest ways to boost positivity at work is to have the occasional morale-boosting event. Even something simple like buying everyone lunch or bringing in donuts can really change the overall mood for the better.

Focus on the Bigger Picture

In a work setting, it's so easy to miss the forest for the trees. Remind yourself that everyone is human, and mistakes happen. Don't let your professional life get in the way of your personal life. When the workday is done, pursue your passions and hobbies. When someone feels like the job is interfering with other aspects of life, it's easy to become bitter and disenchanted during the workday.

Sometimes a warm smile or joke is all it takes to take the edge off. Be the change that you want to see, and eventually other people will start to come around. There is no guaranteed formula to boost positivity in the workplace, but you can always choose to do your part. Try not to get discouraged, get a good night's sleep, and remember that any team is naturally going to have ups and downs.

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Would You Consider Offering These 6 Non-Traditional Benefits?

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 13:00:00 EST

Job candidates in 2017 are more selective than ever when it comes to choosing their next employer, which has created a new sense of competition for companies. According to Monster, at least one in five job candidates declines an offer. To attract the strongest talent, companies are offering nontraditional benefits as part of their hiring incentives in addition to standard benefits like retirement, health insurance and vacation time.1. Employer-Sponsored Insurance PoliciesMost employers offer standard health care coverage as an employer-sponsored benefit, but many companies are also offering home and auto coverage. Most employees pay for car and home insurance anyway, so offering these kinds of policies is a great way to attract candidates. "Companies that provide auto and home insurance through payroll deduction are eligible for group rate premiums, helping families save money," says Peter Marcia, CEO of YouDecide, a voluntary benefits outsourcing firm.2. Continuing EducationOne nontraditional benefit that is effective at attracting millennial workers is education assistance. The employee pays for his own tuition for college courses, graduate programs or additional training classes, and the employer reimburses those expenses, in part or in full, upon completion of the program. The benefits are twofold: the employee is likelier to stick around longer, and the employer enjoys a sharper, highly trained worker. Tuition reimbursement is also tax-deductible, making it a more affordable nontraditional benefit.3. Legal ServicesOffering legal services as a group plan to your employees is another nontraditional benefit that can attract a talented workforce. Typically deducted through payroll, group legal plans offer employees access to a network of attorneys for a wide range of legal matters, including estate planning, debt issues, family law and elder care.4. Pet InsurancePet insurance is a unique and thoughtful nontraditional benefit to consider adding to your incentive package. Many pet owners face difficult decisions when their pets get sick or injured, and pet insurance can help. Some companies offer pet insurance plans that cover a wide array of situations, such as emergency room coverage, dental diseases and cancer.5. Student Loan AssistanceStudent loan debt is a major hot-button issue for many millennial workers who are stuck paying thousands of dollars well after college is over. Offering assistance with loan repayment is a definite way to attract educated job candidates. Companies like Gradifi help employers assist with loan repayments to the tune of $100 to $400 per month for five years. Another option is to help employees refinance their student loans at a lower interest rate with the help of a third-party loan company like SoFi.6. Voluntary BenefitsMany companies offer voluntary nontraditional benefits that give employees access to coverage and services at a discounted rate. Since the employees elect to receive these benefits, they are responsible for any associated costs, not the employer. Voluntary benefits include things like accident insurance, mental health coverage, identity theft protection and purchasing programs for people with poor credit.With candidates holding more power than ever in the market, it's important to offer employee benefits that help set your company apart from the rest. These nontraditional benefits save employees time and money, and can alleviate stress while boosting morale and increasing productivity in the office. Consider adding some nontraditional benefits to your incentive packages to attract top-notch talent.Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at[...]

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Get a Job Offer Using These 5 Steps

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 10:00:00 EST

Balancing standards with realistic expectations is a challenge when you're unemployed. As the search drags on, it gets harder to work through daily feelings of stress and desperation to stay focused on finding compatible job opportunities. Instead of giving up or diving into bad situations, follow these steps to manage your fears and achieve your job search goals.1. Diversify Your Job SearchSearching for job opportunities can turn you into a hermit who spends every day scouring the internet for openings. Stop using the same strategy if you aren't getting results. Vary your search channels to find employers who need help, whether it's freelancing, social networking, temping or volunteering.Think beyond your immediate business network. If you have marketable skills you can turn into a side gig, look for short-term job opportunities from friends, neighbors and people in your church community. Research key contacts in roles or companies that interest you, and reach out to them for lunch meetings. Don't ask for a job right away. You can get many professionals to open up by showing your passion to learn about the company or career path, rather than pitching your skills.2. Track Your ProgressSometimes, having an organized system is enough fuel for your job search. Goal-setting creates structure while providing a realistic picture of your progress. Keep track of the date, submission method and contact person for each application, and update changes in status. Research employers that are a good fit for your skills and cultural values, and send introduction letters to hiring managers to show interest in job opportunities. It's easier to increase your response rate if you commit to contacting a minimum number of hiring managers each week or month.3. Prepare for InterviewsDon't wing it through interview questions. Use resources such as company websites, press releases, personal contacts and Glassdoor profiles to understand what matters to target employers. Researching the interviewer's role in the company can help you tailor your answers to address key company goals. In most cases, the interviewer is your future boss or teammate, and they want proof you have the right skills to solve problems and be a team asset.4. Make a Good ImpressionThe work you put in to land a job interview is wasted if you make a bad impression the moment you arrive. Dress appropriately for the environment, show up on time and be polite to everyone you meet. Everyone is sizing you up, and hiring managers are likely to find out about any negative behavior you display before or after an interview. Avoid distracting behaviors that make you seem less professional, such as taking phone calls, chatting excessively or fidgeting with your clothes.5. Ace the InterviewMake a list of quality interview questions in advance. Asking in-depth questions about company operations shows your expertise while offering insight about company obstacles and goals. As you learn more about the role, bring up examples of similar challenges and accomplishments you encountered in the past. Inspire confidence in your ability to get results.Once you start reeling in job opportunities, make sure they align with your professional priorities. Job opportunities that seem great on the surface can turn out to be a nightmare. Defining your priorities makes you less tempted to act out of desperation.Photo courtesy of WOCinTech Chat at[...]

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Why You Might Want to Consider Becoming a Teacher

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 08:00:00 EST

(image) You might consider becoming a teacher as your next career step or as you start out your professional life. You can make a difference in many people's lives in the public or private sector. However, first, you should gain experience as a teaching assistant to enhance your job search and increase your opportunities.

Why a Teaching Assistant?

A teaching assistant position gives you an inroad to a teaching job, much like a college internship. This type of job lets you experience what it's like to be a full-time teacher firsthand. If you're not sure you want to become a teacher, assisting a teacher who has years of experience can help you evaluate whether you have the desire, patience and skills to enter the profession.

Starting out as an assistant opens the door to other possibilities if you decide that full-time teaching isn't for you. That's because you gain a certain set of transferrable skills that prepares you for other professions.


As a teaching assistant, you learn to be patient with your charges. You have to handle a classroom filled with a few dozen children, all of whom clamor for your attention. You have to remain calm and cool for your students while working under pressure.

Communication skills are an absolute must as you have to make learning fun for everyone. You must relate to children on their level. You must also talk to parents as you describe what their child's day was like.

You learn to manage your time well because you need to move from one lesson to the next on a daily basis. That means you organize your routine in an effective manner. Lesson plans must be complete, and you have to prepare yourself for school at the beginning of each school day.

More Possibilities

If you decide you don't want to teach in a formal setting, there are other possibilities after you finish your time as a teaching assistant. You could try tutoring or become a higher-level assistant, camp counselor or a daycare center employee. You might even start your own business with a daycare or as a freelance tutor.

The Interview

A teaching interview is somewhat different from a regular interview when it comes to your job search. If you're ready to move on from being an assistant to becoming a full-fledged teacher, you should get a good reference from the teacher for whom you worked.

Prepare to answer questions about why you want to become a teacher and what talents you bring to the classroom. Consider writing out your answer and rehearsing it until it sounds natural and as if you're having a conversation.

Bring lesson plan samples and a classroom management plan with you as part of your portfolio. This shows you have concrete ideas about how to make your students succeed. Be ready to answer questions that your principal may have about your lessons and management ideas.

Once you become a teaching assistant, you get to see a profession that isn't boring. Because you teach different kids from various backgrounds, you get to enrich several minds at once in a dynamic setting that never has the same day twice.

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10 Ways to a Guarantee a Memorable Interview

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 09:00:00 EST

(image) When you attend a job interview, you're just one candidate in a big pool of contenders. Your goal is to outshine all the other applicants and stand out in the hiring manager's mind as the most impressive and qualified candidate in the bunch. Ace your next interview with these 10 tips to make it memorable.

1. Do Some Research

Prior to your job interview, do some research into the company. Get a complete picture of the organization, its processes, its employees and the industry. This helps you determine what the company needs in an employee.

2. Be Confident

Walk into the interview with your head held high, and present yourself professionally. When you discuss your skills and abilities, do so with confidence to demonstrate that you believe in yourself.

3. Keep Calm

Don't let your nerves get the better of you. Before going into the job interview, take deep, calming breaths. Focus on the positive outcomes of the interview to make it happen.

4. Establish Rapport

Try to find common ground with the hiring manager to break the ice. If you notice a team pennant on his wall, for example, discuss your shared love of football to get off on the right foot.

5. Pay Attention to Body Language

Make sure your body language throughout the interview is professional and positive. Begin with a firm handshake, sit up straight in your chair, make eye contact as you respond to questions, and don't fidget with a pen or rustle through papers.

6. Focus on Your Responses

When you're asked a question, don't dive right into your answer. Take the time to collect your thoughts and provide a response that's intelligent and memorable.

7. Tout Your Accomplishments

The job interview is your chance to show the hiring manager what you are capable of doing professionally. Discuss your achievements with past employers, and relate these accomplishments to the needs of the hiring organization so your value is evident.

8. Show Off Your Initiative

Demonstrate to the hiring manager how eager you are to start working for the organization. Discuss how soon you are able to begin working if you receive the job offer.

9. Ask Questions

Prepare several questions for the hiring manager before going to the job interview. Ask thoughtful questions that show off your knowledge of the industry and your interest in the organization.

10. Follow Up

After the interview, send an email or handwritten note to the hiring manager to thank him for his time. Reiterate the skills and experience you have that make you the ideal candidate for the position.

Job interviews can be nerve-wracking, and it's okay to experience some jitters. By following these 10 tips to make it memorable, you can turn the interview into a positive experience for you while making a stellar first impression on the hiring manager.

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Career Coaches Offer Tips to Prep for an Interview

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 15:00:00 EST

One way to prepare for an interview is to rehearse going through a practice job interview with a trusted friend. Think of this as a role-playing game or rehearsing a school play before the first performance. Forbes' Coaches Council weighs in with 12 tips to use while undergoing a mock interview.1. Find Similar suggests you conduct a practice job interview with a friend or someone you know to reduce the pressure and nervousness. Take this one step further and find someone who has a similar role in your chosen industry. For example, if your interview is for a PR firm, find a networking contact you trust who works in PR to help you rehearse.2. Record YourselfRecord your rehearsals on video so you know what to improve. Consider showing your recordings to an interviewing expert so he can suggest improvements.3. Listen WellLearn how to listen well and focus on the interviewer. This technique improves your responses and dampens nervousness by giving you something to focus on while in the interview.4. Get to the Heart of Your SkillsYour practice job interview should get to the heart of why your skills are a perfect fit for the company. Have your interviewing buddy offer a relentless string of questions that makes you truly think about what you bring to the position.5. Become a STARUse the STAR (which stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result) method to answer common interview questions. This is where you share a story about a past situation and relate what action you took to solve a problem.6. Tell StoriesPick five job-related stories that showcase your top-level skills to an employer. Memorize and rehearse them until it feels natural.7. Learn ConfidenceConfidence is a fine balance between bragging a little and understanding you have the panache to take the position to the next level. Learning how to exude confidence comes from rehearsing and recording yourself in your practice job interview to see how you act.8. Prepare for Tricky QuestionsDon't trip up on tricky questions. Go over the ones about your greatest weaknesses and the times you failed by explaining to your partner how you overcome your foibles and what you do to apply those lessons to your current position.9. Reduce Fears and AnxietyReview the part of the practice job interview you dread the most until it becomes second nature. This way, your fear doesn't snowball into a larger issue during the rest of your real interview.10. Stay PositiveIf you do trip up, one great way to prepare is to turn a negative into a positive. This includes your greatest weakness, a failure or a mistake you make during the interview. Always answer each question in a positive light.11. Ask Spontaneous QuestionsHave your interview partner throw out the script and ask spontaneous questions. This teaches you to expect the unexpected.12. Know the Job ListingRead the job description thoroughly and research the company. All of your answers should relate back to the position as described by your employer.Practice makes permanent, which is why rehearsing a practice job interview over and over again helps you to focus. Most importantly, rehearsing helps you relax for your big moment.Photo courtesy of Ambro at [...]

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How Long Can You Wait to Answer an Email?

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 13:00:00 EST

(image) Your email inbox has dozens of messages when you open it on Monday morning. You prioritize which messages you should read first, and then answer each one appropriately, if at all. How long can you wait to answer an email? It depends on several factors.

Top Priority

When you reply to a message in this category, you respond to it immediately. Answer an email straightaway if the person who sent the email tells you to do so. If your boss or future hiring manager says, "I'd love to see your response by 3 p.m. this afternoon" or "I need something ASAP," you have an idea of when a response is appropriate.

Respond to an email soon if it's from an important person. These people might be your supervisor, a recruiter trying to find you a job, a business executive or a customer with a dilemma.

Your manager or a customer may have an urgent matter for you to attend to, and you can't wait. These things come up, even though they are annoying and get in the way of your normal schedule. Urgency means immediacy when it comes to how long to wait to answer an email.

Wait Until Tomorrow

It's 4:59 p.m. and you're about to head out the door when you get an email alert on your smartphone. The person on the other end is probably headed home soon, too. You can probably wait until tomorrow morning because the other person may not see your reply until tomorrow anyway.

If you need time to sleep on an important decision, respond the next day. There's no harm in asking your boss or a recruiter "Can I get back to you in 24 hours?" Waiting a day gives you time to think about the situation or calm down if it's an emotional issue before giving a professional response.

Give It More Time

Answer an email after more than a day when the response requires more thought. Maybe it's a complicated issue and you need more time to craft something. Perhaps the response is a report that's due and you want to make sure you get it in tip-top shape or consult with others first. You can always be polite and courteous by making a quick reply. Sound genuine when you send an email immediately that simply says, "Could I please have some more time find to the correct information before getting back to you?" Waiting to fully respond to an email may make you look good because you've given more thought to a response.


If you're out of the office for any length of time, make sure to set up an auto-respond message letting the person know when you expect to be back. That way, the person doesn't expect a response right away and you can answer an email when you return to work.

How long can you wait to answer an email when your inbox is filled every morning? Prioritize your responses based on your most immediate needs, including those of your boss or customers and anyone responding to your job search inquiries, to determine a timeline.

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Is Your Leadership Being Undermined by These Habits?

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 11:00:00 EST

Moving up the ranks at work doesn't transform you into a leader overnight. Unlike a superhero, you can't put on your boss costume and suddenly have all the knowledge and skills to be a perfect manager. It takes time to develop good leadership habits, and behavior that once seemed harmless can hold you back as you gain more responsibility. Watch out for these bad leadership habits that undermine your credibility as a manager.1. Being Messy or DisorganizedTaking pride in your appearance and personal space is an important aspect of feeling confident and creating a positive environment. Employees and clients take cues from your management style, and looking too messy or casual sends the message that you don't care about making a good impression. On the other hand, dressing like a leader makes you feel self-assured when all eyes are on you.2. Hoarding ResponsibilityOnce you're in a position of authority, it's easy to fall into the trap of micromanaging everything to avoid losing control. Trusting others is hard when the full responsibility falls on your shoulders, but taking on too much increases your chances of making mistakes. Instead of second-guessing your direct reports, focus on the skills and qualities that make your colleagues great at their jobs. You can't be an expert at every job, but you can encourage employees to own their roles and exceed expectations.3. Seeking ApprovalWaiting for others to affirm every idea and decision is one of the most damaging leadership habits. When you constantly expect others to tell you the correct course of action, employees start wondering why you're in charge at all. While it's not weak to ask for feedback, employees rely on you to steer the ship and give them guidelines for achieving team goals. To get things done, you have to make productive, timely decisions based on the most accurate information you have available, and accept the consequences of your actions.4. Being Afraid to DelegateA promotion can change relationship dynamics with people who were once your equals or superiors. You may be so afraid of delegating or holding others accountable that you try to do everything yourself. Accept the reality that you have influence, and you can use this newfound authority to build stronger relationships, identify talented employees and foster team growth. Refocus your anxiety by taking interest in the personal career goals of individual teammates. Adopting supportive leadership habits makes it easier to delegate and push co-workers to build their strengths.5. Comparing Yourself to OthersTry not to obsess over the success of other people in your industry or peer group. Everyone has different traits and circumstances that contribute to their achievements, and feeling inadequate can stop you from taking risks that lead to success and innovation.Poor leadership habits can rub off on your team and create a toxic environment. If you want to stay on a path to success, it's wise to reflect on your management style as you grow and weed out behaviors that hinder your progress. Study the leadership habits of people you admire to pick up on patterns of behavior that consistently lead to better teams and positive results.Photo courtesy of jesadaphorn at[...]

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Are You Looking for a Career or Just Settling for a Job?

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 08:00:00 EST

(image) When you think about the future, do you see a clear path toward your career goals? All too often, career goals become blurred, lost in the day-to-day requirements of a job and hassles of paying bills. If you once thought your current position would lead to something great, but you're now suspecting it's just a job, it's time to take steps to get out of your rut.

How Do You Know If You're Settling for a Job?

One of the key ways you can tell if you've set your career goals aside and are settling is by thinking about why you go to work each day. Do you find yourself thinking about what you're going to accomplish, or is your paycheck all that really matters?

Here are some other questions to ask yourself as you determine whether you've veered away former career goals and are just settling. Do you come home from work feeling as if you've really accomplished something, or do you feel as if now your day can start? Do you find yourself mentally strategizing as to what you'd do if you were promoted, or do you assume (or know) that's never going to happen? Do you find yourself surfing through job listings? Do you hang out with people from work during your off hours, or do you do anything you can to surround yourself with a completely different set of people?

Pay attention as well to the language you use when talking to others about your job. Do you use terms that express excitement and possibility, or do you complain that your job is just a grind?

Setting New Career-oriented Goals

If you realize that you indeed have just a job, this is fine if you're happy and like what you do and the people you work with. However, if you feel like you're settling, it's time to take a look at your long-term career goals. Focus on your passions. What would you do if money weren't an issue? Start networking and exploring your interests to see where this might lead you.

Think about where you'd like to be in five years, and start jotting down ideas about how to get there from where you are now. After you have some long-term goals sketched out, start breaking them down into more immediate goals.

Getting out of Your Rut

If making any kind of change feels overwhelming, take preliminary stops to get out of the rut you're in. Focus on yourself by taking a vacation. Make an effort to share your career goals with your boss to see how she responds to the idea that you want to shake things up (that conversation may help you know whether you need to leave your company).

In addition, widen your network. Attend industry events, and reach out to the people you know to start making the connections you need to take new steps.

You don't need to settle for any old job. If you have career goals that you haven't been pursuing, there's no time like the present to take the first steps toward reaching them. Start by assessing your current situation (and your feelings about it) honestly, then begin the process of setting new goals and making a real change.

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Weathering the Dark Storm of Underemployment

Fri, 10 Nov 2017 13:00:00 EST

Underemployment issues do more than just erode your financial ability to maintain your lifestyle. Working less than 40 hours per week can erode your confidence, destroy your self-esteem and turn your job search into a seemingly futile exercise to get back on your feet. Discover some ways to weather the storm of underemployment and come out better for it.You Are Not AloneIf you have underemployment issues, you are not alone. A survey conducted by Payscale reveals as many as 46 percent of people feel as if they are underemployed. Of those respondents, 76 percent felt they were not optimizing their education or training properly. Rather than fit into the mold or narrow your opportunities, recognize that should be open to change, and be willing to examine the possibilities.Take ActionDuring your spare time, engage in professional development opportunities or some type of training. Rather than view every class you take as merely book work, leverage your time there to make connections with individuals who can point you to a job or help boost your career. Your classmates, the instructor or someone from the company running the training may inform you about various opportunities. When you develop your career sooner rather than later, you give yourself an edge over others and get on top of industry trends, so you are ready to take on a new position.Follow the ABC rule, which means "always be careering," for underemployment issues. Follow your interests to as many opportunities as you can find. Talk to people, get to know them, and find out if they know what's happening within your industry. Take advantage of training, networking and development as much as possible during periods of underemployment.Turn Rejection Into MotivationRather than let rejection turn to anxiety and depression, learn from the rejection and turn it into motivation to solve underemployment issues. Take what you've gained and apply it to the next opportunity that comes your way. It's important to remain active after getting your rejection, so continue maintaining your household, and be sure to reach out to individuals within your network, update your online portfolio and enhance your professional social media presence.Exude Mental ToughnessWading through rejections and then moving on to the next job board or online application takes mental toughness. Waiting is the hard part, especially when you are uncertain of the outcome, but never quit. Eventually, your networking efforts and persistence will pay off, and you might even land your dream job.Ask for HelpThere's no harm in asking your friends for help if you're experiencing underemployment issues. Your closest friends and loved ones can help motivate you as you move through your job search. Your friends might also have connections that might lead to a job opportunity.Underemployment issues don't have to ruin your career. Learn to balance your employment search with relaxation time while looking for new opportunities. Take some concerted steps to solve your problem and find a job worth your talents.Photo courtesy of everydayplus at[...]

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How Long Can You Wait to Answer an Email?

Fri, 10 Nov 2017 10:00:00 EST

Your email inbox has dozens of messages when you open it on Monday morning. You prioritize which messages you should read first, and then answer each one appropriately, if at all. How long can you wait to answer an email? It depends on several factors.Top PriorityWhen you reply to a message in this category, you respond to it immediately. Answer an email straightaway if the person who sent the email tells you to do so. If your boss or future hiring manager says, "I'd love to see your response by 3 p.m. this afternoon" or "I need something ASAP," you have an idea of when a response is appropriate.Respond to an email soon if it's from an important person. These people might be your supervisor, a recruiter trying to find you a job, a business executive or a customer with a dilemma.Your manager or a customer may have an urgent matter for you to attend to, and you can't wait. These things come up, even though they are annoying and get in the way of your normal schedule. Urgency means immediacy when it comes to how long to wait to answer an email.Wait Until TomorrowIt's 4:59 p.m. and you're about to head out the door when you get an email alert on your smartphone. The person on the other end is probably headed home soon, too. You can probably wait until tomorrow morning because the other person may not see your reply until tomorrow anyway.If you need time to sleep on an important decision, respond the next day. There's no harm in asking your boss or a recruiter "Can I get back to you in 24 hours?" Waiting a day gives you time to think about the situation or calm down if it's an emotional issue before giving a professional response.Give It More TimeAnswer an email after more than a day when the response requires more thought. Maybe it's a complicated issue and you need more time to craft something. Perhaps the response is a report that's due and you want to make sure you get it in tip-top shape or consult with others first. You can always be polite and courteous by making a quick reply. Sound genuine when you send an email immediately that simply says, "Could I please have some more time find to the correct information before getting back to you?" Waiting to fully respond to an email may make you look good because you've given more thought to a response.Auto-ResponderIf you're out of the office for any length of time, make sure to set up an auto-respond message letting the person know when you expect to be back. That way, the person doesn't expect a response right away and you can answer an email when you return to work.How long can you wait to answer an email when your inbox is filled every morning? Prioritize your responses based on your most immediate needs, including those of your boss or customers and anyone responding to your job search inquiries, to determine a timeline.Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at[...]

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Are You Being Paid What You Are Worth?

Fri, 10 Nov 2017 08:00:00 EST

(image) Do you ever wonder if you could be making more money than you actually are? Many American workers collect a paycheck that's less than what it could or should be, but you don't have to be one of them. Find out whether your salary is sufficient and how to get paid what you're worth.

Discovering the Reasons

The job market is on the upswing, unemployment rates are decreasing and workers with special skill sets are worth more. In many industries, there is a greater demand for skilled workers than there are workers themselves. So why doesn't your salary reflect this? Chances are, it's because you're not using the supply and demand to your benefit. According to Glassdoor, approximately 60 percent of employees in the United States accepted the base salary offered when they took a job.

Determining Your Worth

Before you can start negotiating your salary, you have to determine your worth. Glassdoor offers an easy-to-use Know Your Worth tool that helps you calculate your market value as an employee. Simply enter your title, company name, location and experience, and this free personalized salary calculator gives you an estimate of what you should collect annually. Further, this innovative tool compares your salary to the national average, shows the salaries for related positions and provides data charts to make the information easier to digest.

Handling the New-Hire Negotiation

As a job seeker, you have an advantage when it comes to salary negotiations. Arm yourself with the knowledge of your personal Glassdoor market value while you're on the job search. When a potential employer offers you a position, fight the temptation to accept it immediately. Instead, determine how close the offered salary comes to your market value. If, after considering additional perks, such as vacation time, stock options, flexible schedules and bonuses, there's a significant difference, come back with a counteroffer. Ask for the highest salary in your acceptable pay range. While you're not likely to end up there, you have a better chance of falling somewhere within that range. Stay confident throughout the negotiations, and provide proof of your worth to back up your request.

Asking for a Raise

If you're a current employee and you're unhappy with your salary, prepare yourself to tackle the uncomfortable conversation. Schedule time to sit with your boss, and provide the market research to show what competitors are paying similar positions. Provide examples of your work ethic, your loyalty to the organization, your exceptional customer service skills or your job experience to demonstrate to the employer why you deserve the pay increase.

As a loyal and hardworking employee, you deserve to be paid what you're worth. If you determine that your salary isn't up to par, take action to get the compensation that matches your value.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at

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10 Reasons Why You are Not Getting an Interview

Thu, 9 Nov 2017 11:00:00 EST

Finding employment can be tough. Just getting called in for a job interview in the first place is a challenge, and then you still have to sell yourself as an ideal candidate. To clear the first hurdle and get that first call, it's important for you to go above and beyond to make a solid first impression. Here are 10 reasons why you may not be getting an interview.1. You're Not Following the Application InstructionsIf you want to land a job interview, you must follow the application instructions perfectly. This may mean submitting a cover letter, or it could be something as simple as sending your resume in the right format. Pay attention to the details.2. Your Resume Is UglyIf your resume doesn't stand out from the rest of the pile, you're going to have a hard time getting a job interview. If it's especially ugly, your chances are slim to none. Make sure you use an attractive, professional font and pay attention to the formatting.3. You're Not Including a Cover LetterYour resume gives the hard facts, but the cover letter is your chance to really sell yourself as a person. If other applicants have a solid cover letter and you don't, they're going to get the call for a job interview before you do.4. Typos and Grammar ErrorsOne minor error can ruin your chances of getting a job interview. When it comes to finding employment, your application materials must be flawless.5. You Were Too LateSometimes the early bird gets the worm. If you're applying for work even a day or two after the initial posting, there's a good chance there's plenty of competition already.6. Your Resume Isn't FlatteringIt's critical that your resume portrays you as positively as possible. If you only worked a job for a week, it's probably best not to include it at all. Make sure you come off as reliable and committed.7. You Didn't Do Your HomeworkBefore you apply, you should always spend some time learning about the position and the company. This way you can create a resume and cover letter specifically for the job in question. You want the hiring manager to view you as a person who will fit in with the company's culture.8. Your Social Media Accounts Aren't IdealThese days, you can assume that the hiring manager is going to search your name online before even thinking about calling you in for a job interview. Make sure your accounts portray you in a positive light or set them to private.9. You Didn't Follow UpSometimes you need to be proactive to land a job interview. If you haven't heard anything, maybe it's time for you to pick up the phone or send an email.10. You're Just UnluckyThere are always going to be plenty of people who never get the call. It's entirely possible that the first interviewee was simply the best candidate.It's easy to get discouraged when you're trying to get a job interview, but persistence is key. At the same time, don't just forward your resume out en masse. Cater each resume and cover letter to the specific position you desire. Keep at it, and your work will pay off eventually.Photo courtesy of levo-league-resume-resume-interviews-invisible-job-hunt at[...]

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All Great Bosses Do These 4 Things

Thu, 9 Nov 2017 09:00:00 EST

There's more to being a great boss that making sure your team does adequate work and meets deadlines. A truly great boss also leads his team with integrity, sharing his passion for his work and helping employees grow. Better management techniques lead to workers who understand the importance of their jobs and give those jobs their all because they truly care. Follow these tips to increase engagement and build a workforce ready for the future.1. Build ConnectionThe fastest way to build connection with the individuals you manage is to become an active member of your team, working alongside your employees. Get your direct reports used to seeing you around, offering support, encouragement and help when needed. Your active participation shows your employees that you are knowledgeable about the work they do. This leads to more respect for you as their boss and helps keep the manager-employee relationship nonadversarial. Don't be afraid to share your expertise while also seeking input from others, and, perhaps most importantly, work hard. Great bosses show a strong work ethic and never expect their team members to work harder than they do.2. Develop PeopleGreat bosses are also coaches, cheering their team members on through the tougher times and celebrating their victories. As a coach, you should help your employees develop the skills they need to thrive in their positions. Get in the habit of providing training that transfers skills and knowledge, and then letting each individual use those skills and that information in their own ways to excel. Serve as a mentor by listening to concerns and getting to know each worker's strengths, weaknesses and goals. Then offer appropriate help towards meeting those goals within your organization.3. Provide Appropriate RecognitionAlways be sure to offer recognition for a job well done. Everyone wants to be appreciated, and showing your appreciation to your employees encourages them to work harder each day. Try offering recognition through a variety of paths to meet the needs of different personality types. Offer direct congratulations in person and through email. Tell your boss about employee accomplishments, and encourage higher-ups to offer further recognition. When appropriate, make note of individual successes during meetings and in company publications. Also, always remember that great bosses never take credit for other people's ideas or work.4. Prioritize CommunicationAvoid being the stereotypical boss, shut in your office and not to be disturbed unless it is an emergency. Better management requires regular, transparent communication with your team and your individual employees. Get in the habit of talking to your team every day. Set up individual meetings with workers on a regular basis to provide feedback and listen to concerns. This helps both you and your team members avoid surprises. It also builds loyalty when your workers know that you don't keep things from them.Becoming a great boss takes time. Start improving by putting your focus on people and relationships while still working to meet company goals. As you focus on your employees, it becomes easier to communicate better, take on a coaching role and build those connections that move you past typical and into great boss territory.Photo courtesy of nenetus at[...]

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Use These 5 Tips to Measure Your Employees' Engagement

Wed, 8 Nov 2017 13:00:00 EST

How do you know when your organization is meeting its employee engagement goals? If your management team doesn't have a clear model for measuring the health and success of your work environment, you're likely to overlook factors that drive away talented employees and job seekers. Take these steps to define employee engagement in your organization and foster conditions that improve passion and productivity.1. Outline Employee Engagement GoalsEveryone in your workforce has different ideas about what it means to be satisfied and motivated at work. Senior managers might think of high productivity as engagement, while employees value professional fulfillment or supportive leadership. In reality, these conditions are all byproducts of a positive work environment, and coming up with a unified definition can get employees, managers and executives on the same page.Discuss the qualities and behavior engaged employees bring to the table. Are your ideal workers passionate, curious and creative? Do employees put in extra effort to meet company goals? Are engaged employees committed to delivering great service?2. Get Anonymous FeedbackSend out employee satisfaction surveys to get timely feedback about the company's biggest strengths and weaknesses. Anonymity encourages your workforce to be honest while helping you spot good and bad trends. Employee satisfaction surveys are most effective when you're able to translate data into structured metrics. Use a ratings scale with options such as "strongly disagree" and "mostly agree" to weigh responses from your workforce. An employee engagement scale makes it easier to measure degrees of dissatisfaction, so you know how to prioritize.3. Ask Qualitative QuestionsAndrew Sumitani, head of marketing at TINYpulse, recommends asking qualitative questions to get detailed feedback. Imagine receiving a lot of negative responses to the statement, "I have clearly defined responsibilities and goals for my job." Some employees may believe the company doesn't provide enough training, while others are struggling with a manager who isn't transparent. Newer workers may feel turned off because their job duties don't match their expectations. Similar responses don't always stem from the same issues, so use open-ended prompts to understand the dynamics at play in different workgroups.4. Hold Follow-Up ConversationsCompile a list of high-priority topics to address in one-on-one discussions. Providing a safe, honest environment for employees to talk about their goals and concerns can reveal what's important to them. Find out what workers value from an employer and negative factors that motivate them to look for jobs elsewhere. In-depth conversations offer opportunities to rebuild relationships with disengaged employees.5. Create an Engagement PlanUse the information you collected to outline key environmental and leadership conditions that improve employee engagement. Consistencies in workforce expectations and complaints should provide a framework for policies and leadership behavior that need to change. Work from the top down to develop metrics for achieving these results. For example, if employees feel undervalued, make plans to provide mentoring and career development. Show recognition through low-cost rewards, such as extra vacation days or a feature in the company newsletter.Employee engagement can rise or fall naturally as an organizat[...]

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Lying on Your Resume Can Get You in Trouble

Wed, 8 Nov 2017 10:00:00 EST

(image) As of 2017, the job market is highly competitive and people on a job search may decide to embellish their experience and qualifications to try to get ahead of other candidates. Lying on your resume has consequences, including immediate termination and a step back in your career. Take a look at the many reasons why you should not lie with regards to this vital document.

Lying on your resume isn't just giving a false statement. Employers may consider an omission a lie as well. For example, a person might say he completed a training course when in reality he just started the career development but never finished it. Implying that you worked at a job longer than you did, creating false references, exaggerating job duties and falsifying a job title are all common lies seen by recruiters. Research suggests up to 50 percent of candidates mislead potential employers on their resumes.

Perhaps you think you cannot live up to the expectations of the position so you mention on your resume that you have a certain amount of experience even though you don't. Ahead of an interview, any recruiter or hiring manager may check into your background. Keep in mind that if your boss suspects you're not meeting expectations, the supervisor may dig deeper after you're hired.

You may end up lying to cover up a previous lie. This is where misrepresentations on your resume can get out of hand. For example, you say you graduated from a certain college during a certain time frame. Someone at your office asks about what that experience was like, and you have to fabricate names of buildings, professors, colleagues and the like. Your boss may decide to contact some of these people if he thinks a more detailed background check is needed.


Lying about your past can lead to immediate termination. There may be a clause in your employment contract that lays out this policy. That's because your employer trusts you and takes you at your word. When a little white lie spirals out of control, it becomes harder to find the truth, and your boss may determine you have a character flaw that's too much to overcome.

After your termination, you have to repair your professional reputation. Someone on LinkedIn may reach out to colleagues to warn them about your propensity to lie. If your future boss calls a previous supervisor or HR department, that employer may say you were terminated because you lied about some aspect of your resume. Before your next job search, you must repair the damage.

Your resume serves as a personal branding document. Remember that employers respect and admire honesty because that means you are a stand-up person who knows what's right. Think about what a lie might do to your career and avoid lying when trying to find a job.

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Adding Extra Commute Time Could be Hazardous to Your Career

Wed, 8 Nov 2017 08:00:00 EST

Extra commute time can affect your job satisfaction and your career, according to a 2017 study conducted by the University of the West in England. Every minute added to your commute can increase strain and mental health maladies while reducing your professional and personal satisfaction. Fortunately, there are things you can do about this issue to prevent problems.StatisticsThe study surveyed 26,000 people over the span of five years. The average round-trip commute in England is 60 minutes, with one in seven people spending as much as two hours in a commute. In the United States, the average round-trip commute is 50 minutes. An additional 20 minutes of extra commute time per day has the same effect as a decrease in your income of 19 percent, which means the mental funk that your commute puts you in has a negative impact on your earnings due to less engagement at your job and perhaps not motivating yourself to seek better job opportunities.Commute Versus PayThe study bears out whether an increase in pay is worth extra commute time. Your pay increase may jump 10 percent, but you might actually lose money due to your long commute that leads to anxiety, stress and mental strain. Health care costs could rise, and the strain may affect your personal and professional relationships.Factoring commute time into your workday may lessen your hourly pay and increase your expenses. For example, you make $20 per hour working a 9-to-5 shift. Your commute time adds to time away from home and it's due to your work. Suppose you drive one hour to and from the office. Your $20 hourly rate turns into $16 per hour because your workday is 10 hours rather than eight.When you drive, you spend money on gas, which also lowers your take-home pay. Your car insurance rates may also increase when you have a longer commute and you spend more time driving. Long commutes can add stress to your mind, but also lessen your take-home pay, depending on how you commute.A study conducted in early 2017 by Harvard Business Review shows that people are willing to take higher pay with a longer commute. Up to 84 percent of participants said they would rather have a job that pays $67,000 per year with 50-minute commute rather than $64,000 per year and a 20-minute commute. This led Harvard researchers to coin the term "commuter's bias," a phenomenon that means commuters are willing to endure extra commute time to earn more money.Solutions to Extra Commute TimeSurvey respondents who walked or biked to work did not show the same dissatisfaction compared to those who drove or took public transportation. Active commuters seem to turn their commutes into enjoyable experiences. If you cannot change your commute, find an enjoyable activity to do during your commute, such as listening to an audiobook, playing your favorite music or chatting with a fellow commuter.Longer-term solutions include moving closer to your job or changing jobs. There are thousands of telecommuting options that let you spend more time at home.Extra commute time doesn't have to dampen your career. Sometimes, a change of perspective with a new job, new responsibilities, or a new way to commute can refresh your mind.Photo courtesy of Alper Çugun at[...]

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12 Ways to Prepare for That Big Interview

Tue, 7 Nov 2017 09:00:00 EST

A job interview is one of the crucial steps for candidates seeking employment. In fact, how you present yourself personally and professionally is one of the most important deciding factors for employers. Consider using these 12 strategies when practicing for an interview so you can put your best foot forward.1. Be PresentIt's common to start thinking about interview questions and responses when talking to an employer, but if your mind is wandering, you could miss some key information. Stay present during the job interview by listening intently and making direct eye contact.2. Conceal NervousnessYou'll likely be nervous during a job interview, but it's important to conceal those nervous jitters. Pay close attention to your body language, and avoid wearing accessories that prompt fidgeting. Take deep breaths regularly and smile often.3. Conduct a Mock InterviewTap into your professional network. Find someone who understands your industry, and ask for help with interviewing. Get pointers about your responses to common job interview questions, your body language and your overall appearance.4. Record YourselfPrior to your first meeting with an employer, record yourself. Study your facial expressions, and listen to your tone of voice closely to detect any signs of nervousness. Do your best to correct any flaws you detect.5. Be a StorytellerCraft a few anecdotes and narratives you can share that illustrate your experience, skills and ability to work well with teams.6. Give DetailsRelay stories that are job-focused. Explain how you produced results in previous positions. Provide facts and figures, and describe the processes you used to deal with common issues.7. Focus on the PositiveTurn the negatives into positives by detailing what you learned from workplace problems in the past. This helps employers view you as a positive, optimistic worker.8. Analyze the Job DescriptionKeep the job interview on track by referring back to the job description often. Show the employer that you are fully prepared to discuss the company and the duties of the position.9. Prepare for Tough QuestionsBe prepared for the curve balls that may come your way during a job interview. Ask your mentor to challenge you during mock interviews. See if he can stump you or help you think more critically when answering difficult questions.10. Redirect Tough QuestionsBe ready for questions about your weaknesses, and be honest about any skills you have that still need to be developed. Explain how you are working to improve these skills.11. Eliminate FearIf you have a job gap or questionable items on your application materials, eliminate the fear and anxiety regarding these issues by addressing them early on. Craft a response that explains why you have a gap in employment or why you plan to leave your current employer so there are no questions left unanswered in the minds of potential employers.12. Sell Your SkillsSpend time bragging about yourself. It may seem awkward at first, but employers need to know exactly why you're qualified for the job.Prepare thoroughly for a job interview so employers can picture you working for the company. Spend time bragging about your qualifications, and present yourself professionally to make a positive impression.Photo Courtesy of Ambro at[...]

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These Key Questions Will Help You Stand Out

Mon, 6 Nov 2017 15:00:00 EST

Did you know that asking your own questions during the interview is just as important as answering the interviewer's questions? Many job seekers overlook this part of the interview process, but hiring managers ask "Do you have any questions for me?" for a good reason. This is your chance to gain valuable insight about the company and to get the answers you're seeking about this specific opportunity. Here's a few good questions to ask.Why Is This Position Vacant?This question is extremely relevant to you as a candidate. If the person before you left this position, it's good to know why. Was it too much of a challenge? Were there political issues at play? Knowing the answer might affect whether you decide to move forward. If the position is newly created, it gives you an opportunity to inquire further about what your role will be and what will be expected of you.How Is Success Measured in This Position?Once you fully understand the duties and expectations associated with the job, dive further by inquiring about how the company measures success in this role. You want to know what factors are valued most and how the company motivates and inspires its top performers. Asking this type of question during the interview makes it clear to the hiring manager that you are focused not only on getting the job, but also on performing to the best of your abilities.What Problems Does This Position Solve?This question is a good way to gauge how large or small your role might be in relation to the company's long-term goals and overall strategy. It also shows the interviewer that you don't just want a job — you want to make an impact. Asking this question during the interview helps you come across as solution-oriented and a problem solver. Remember, the interview is a two-way street: the answer to this question also helps you decide if this position and company are right for you.When Can I Expect to Hear From You?This may seem like a basic question, but it's important not to let the interview end without getting an answer. Just as you should always close your cover letter with a call to action, closing the interview is no different. It compels the interviewer to provide you with a reasonable window of time within which you can expect to hear from him with next steps. It also shows your genuine interest in the opportunity.Next time you go for an interview, make sure you've done thorough research on the company and prepared a list of thoughtful and relevant questions to ask. Doing so helps you come across more professional and prepared during the interview, in addition to providing the answers you need to make an informed decision about your next job opportunity.Photo courtesy of bm_adverts at[...]

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Tips for Getting Hired as a College Grad

Mon, 6 Nov 2017 13:00:00 EST

Hunting for a job is a rite of passage after you graduate from college. Whether you're hitting the market with no experience or with a slew of internships and co-ops under your belt, the process can be challenging. With the right mindset and a proactive approach, it's possible to find a job that suits your personality and starts your career off on the right foot.Build Your NetworkYou might not have a large professional network when you graduate from college but you can still use networking to help in the job search. Start by reaching out to everyone you know; professors, former internship supervisors and family friends are a great place to start. Explain that you're hunting for your first job and searching for insight. For people who live nearby, request a quick meeting to learn about the person's job or ask for job-hunting wisdom. If your contacts are remote, ask them for a quick review of your resume and cover letter. This process does several beneficial things: it spreads the word about your search, helps you refine your materials and opens you up to potential opportunities.Don't Limit YourselfThe traditional career path is no longer the only sensible option after you graduate from college. If your gut is telling you that going straight into the corporate world is the wrong choice, listen. Consider getting experience and giving back with an established program such as Teach for America, the Peace Corps or Engineers Without Borders. Take a year to travel the world. If you're dreaming of starting your own business, take advantage of the growing gig economy, and don't wait until you have startup capital. Begin offering your freelance services to local businesses, or set up an inexpensive online shop.Get BusyA job search can take months after you graduate from college, but there's no need to stagnate. Instead of hanging out on the couch, be proactive. Clean up your portfolio, and start making spec work to bulk it up. If you're a writer, invent a client and craft a full suite of promotional content. If you have an engineering degree, ask to job shadow a professional engineer at a local company. Volunteering is another way to feel useful and show off your abilities to people who might be able to refer you to job openings. Consider an internship, or sign up for a professional development workshop. These proactive steps keep your skills sharp, expand your network and make you more attractive to potential employers.Consider a Location ChangeSearching for a job is time-consuming and potentially expensive, particularly if you live far from your desired opportunities. In fact, some companies won't consider candidates who are not local to save on travel and relocation. If you're not tied to your current location, consider moving to an area with a better job market after you graduate from college. Once there, find a subsistence job to pay the bills while you join local associations and begin a serious search. Choose carefully; select an area with many businesses in your industry, or choose a spot that's central to several sizable cities.When you graduate from college, patience and a proactive attitude are key. By staying focused and active, you can parlay your degree into a job opportunity.Image courtesy of nenetus at[...]

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You Can Increase Diversity Without Lowering Your Standards

Mon, 6 Nov 2017 11:00:00 EST

The idea that increasing diversity requires a sacrifice of quality is clearly flawed and prejudiced — it suggests that the bulk of top-quality candidates are white and male — but unfortunately, it is pervasive. As you seek to create a more varied team, you can overcome objections with a transparent process that prioritizes both diversity and professional standards.Use Inclusive LanguageIf your company struggles to find a diverse selection of high-quality candidates, your job descriptions might be part of the problem. According to research from the University of Waterloo, the language you use can attract or turn off specific groups based on common stereotypes and perceptions. If you're looking to attract more women to your team, for example, be aware of terms that suggest a stereotypical masculine culture, such as "competitive" and "dominant." Research shows that these terms attract fewer female candidates than words such as "collaborative" and "support." A better strategy is to aim for a balance between the two. The same goes for terms that suggest age, such as "youthful" and "up-and-coming." When it comes to bringing in candidates from many ethnic backgrounds, it can be useful to use language that affirms your commitment to diversity. These simple changes can help by increasing diversity in your candidate pool and attracting highly qualified people from varying backgrounds.Remove Identifying FactorsOnce you have a pool of diverse, excellent candidates, bias comes into play. Implicit biases can have an enormous impact on the hiring process. Biases can affect a reviewer's opinion based on factors that have nothing to with performance, such as gender, ethnicity or age. This is particularly pervasive in STEM fields, where research shows that women are consistently ranked as less qualified merely based on their gender. When increasing diversity, it can be helpful to eliminate identifying factors. You might remove all names from resumes and applications in the review stage, for example, or eliminate dates of college graduation. A blind review process achieves two important goals: it helps with increasing diversity by eliminating bias and it maintains professional standards by placing the focus on objective qualifications.Use a Diverse Interview TeamThe interview stage is the final hurdle in increasing diversity. When interviewers come from similar backgrounds, their unconscious biases may predispose them to prefer similar candidates. To counteract this tendency, it's crucial to use an interview team that is as diverse as possible in terms of educational background, age, gender and ethnic background. This step can go a long way toward a fair, objective review process; it also helps reduce confirmation bias and a tendency to maintain the status quo for one group. If possible, take your process a step further by using a set of standardized questions.Increasing diversity often requires companies to make changes to long-established hiring processes. By taking steps to eliminate bias and attract great candidates, you can build a diverse, high-performing team.Image courtesy of Ambro at[...]

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10 Things That Really Matter on Your Resume

Mon, 6 Nov 2017 08:00:00 EST

Your resume sets the stage for your job interview. It sets the first impression and determines whether the hiring manager even wants to meet you. Don't send out this ever-important document without first considering these 10 things that really matter.1. The AddressFight the instinct to put your mailing address on your resume. The hiring manager may rule you out because you're located too far from the office. List your email address and phone number only.2. An Executive SummaryForget about that boring old objective statement of resumes past. Opt for an executive summary that instantly makes the hiring manager want to keep reading your resume. Introduce yourself and explain what value you can bring to the hiring organization.3. Action VerbsBe sure to fill your resume with action words that really draw attention and show enthusiasm. For example, use "supervised" in place of "led" and "analyzed" instead of "reviewed."4. AchievementsInclude quantifiable achievements in your resume. Rather than just saying that you're a great salesman, prove it. Tell how you, "Boosted sales by 15 percent" or "Won the Salesman of the Year Award four consecutive years."5. KeywordsMany hiring managers use applicant-tracking systems that scan your resume before human eyes ever see it. Be sure to review the job description for every resume you send out, and never send out a generic, one-size-fits-all document. Sprinkle important keywords throughout your resume to draw the robots' attention.6. The JobsIf you have a lot of employment gaps in your work history, try to make it less noticeable by leaving out the months and listing the years only. If it's still obvious, provide an honest explanation for the periods of unemployment.7. Scholarships or AwardsTake the opportunity to list any awards or scholarships you received during college. This is especially important if you're a recent graduate with very limited work experience.8. Social Media LinksIf you have a LinkedIn profile or another professional social media site, list the web address on your resume. Be sure to review the information you post to make sure it's current and presents a polished image.9. The LengthIf your resume extends beyond two pages, do some editing. If possible, try to keep it to one page. If you have a huge list of previous jobs, stick to the most current and relevant positions.10. The Flawless PresentationBefore sending out your resume, always go through it with a fine-tooth comb. Look for spelling errors, correct grammar mistakes and pay attention to the formatting. Ask a friend or colleague to review it, too. Remember that a simple mistake could land you in the reject pile.If you find that you're sending out application after application and getting nowhere, review your resume. Make sure you're paying attention to these 10 things that really matter.Photo courtesy of Vincent Shaw at[...]

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Focus More on the Company Than the Job Description

Fri, 3 Nov 2017 13:00:00 EST

Many job seekers fall into the SEO trap, relentlessly trying to pair up the phrasing on their resume and cover letter to match the phrasing in the job description. Craft a better resume by switching your focus. Companies are looking for vibrant individuals ready to step into their new roles with excitement and drive. Show off your passion for the position by focusing more on the company than on the exact job description.Let Your Curiosity ShowBefore tailoring your resume and cover letter to meet the needs of a specific position, spend some time researching the company. Dig deep. Peruse its website to find out about the organization's history, goals and principles. Read profiles of the company's management team, and learn about their products and services. Think about how you would fit into the picture — how your skills, experience and natural aptitude could benefit the organization. Create a better resume and cover letter by using this as your focus.If you score an interview, take your company research up a notch. Look for news articles about the company, both recent and in the past. Get an idea about how things have changed and the direction in which the company is moving. Check out the organization's leaders on LinkedIn, and look for web articles about them. Spend time focusing on the department for which you'd be working. What are its current goals? Then, at the interview, be prepared to ask questions that show your curiosity, not just about the position you are applying for but also about the company as a whole.Share Your ValueIn your better resume and cover letter, be sure to share the specific value you'd bring to the organization. What problems are you ready to help the company solve? How will the company be better off with you than without you? What do you offer that is different from other candidates? Although the job description likely lists skills you need and the job duties you'll be expected to perform, a better resume focuses instead on how you are prepared to make a difference.Provide Examples of Your PassionIn general, organizations receive many applications from fully qualified applicants. Your passion for both the organization and the type of work that you do is one way to show your unique aptitude for the job opening. After refining a better resume to show your worth, describe some of your passions in your cover letter. Share specific ways that you have used your passion in other positions. Perhaps you helped a co-worker move up the ranks or have gone well above what was required for a project. Be sure to explain why you did more than what was expected. When hiring managers see your history of determination and dedication, they are better able to visualize you doing the same type of work to transform their companies.Oftentimes, getting the job isn't about being able to do the job; it is more about fitting into the company culture and offering solid worth to the organization. Dig deep during your company research, and then share your curiosity, passion and history of determination in a better resume and cover letter to win over hiring managers with your special combination of skills and drive.Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPho[...]

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Avoiding Burnout

Fri, 3 Nov 2017 10:00:00 EST

It's common to feel overwhelmed in your career, especially if your professional position is demanding. Avoiding burnout is essential to maintaining proper physical and emotional health. Learn how to love your career, take care of yourself and thrive professionally and personally to improve your overall well-being.Focus on Self CareTaking care of yourself should be a top priority, especially if you are feeling overwhelmed. Avoiding burnout involves making sure you feel well both physically and mentally. Invest in yourself by adopting a regular sleep routine and exercise routine. Set your alarm so you get up at the same time every day, and try to retire around the same time each evening. Incorporate exercise into your workday by taking a walk around the office to boost your energy level during that mid-day slump. Partner up with a few co-workers, if possible, and take exercise classes before or after each workday.What you eat throughout the day also matters. Avoid drinking coffee or caffeinated sofa when your energy feels a bit low, since you might experience an energy crash once these beverages wear off. Instead, pack healthy snacks, such as fruits or nuts, to give you the boost you need to stay focused during long, stressful days. Also, scheduling at least three healthy meals a day and maintaining a good diet overall helps with avoiding burnout.Love Your JobWhen you are frustrated and overwhelmed, it's difficult to recognize the joys of your job. However, adopting a positive mindset and visualizing the positive aspects of your position can help with avoiding burnout. Set attainable professional goals, and praise yourself when you achieve them. For example, identify clients you want to reconnect with each week or make a to-do list daily to help you stay on track. As you cross off each task, you'll likely gain a sense of accomplishment that helps you love what you do.Learn to Say "No"While it's not advisable to say "no" to your supervisor when working a professional position, learn how to say "no" to extra tasks and volunteer work gives you more time for yourself. Determine which responsibilities, job-related and otherwise, may be causing you added stress. Avoiding burnout requires you to seek out ways to eliminate these duties and pressures. While it may be within your nature to always say "yes," saying "no" can reduce stress and help you to focus on your primary responsibilities.Your overall health and well-being are important both on and off the job. Avoiding burnout is essential to succeed both personally and professionally. Seek out ways to simplify your life so that you can focus on your primary duties, your achievements and your mental and physical health to improve your quality of life at work and home.Photo Courtesy of marcolm at[...]

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4 Quick Tips to Gain Career Clarity

Fri, 3 Nov 2017 08:00:00 EST

A lack of career clarity is a common struggle for professionals across all industries — for some people, the question, "What do I want to do with my life?" lingers well past college. Whether you're searching for your first professional position or considering a mid-career job change, these tips can help you discover the right path.Make a Like/Dislike ListOrganize your job-related thoughts and feelings with a list of likes and dislikes about your current and past positions. The list might include items such as leading a team, client communication and work that has meaning. Once you have two columns, rank the lists by priority. Combined, the top items can provide useful career clarity. If you love working independently and dislike workplace obligations such as meetings and team lunches, for example, you might be happier in a freelance or consulting position.Expand Your NetworkPeople are a great resource for finding career clarity. As you plan networking events for the month, find ways to branch out from typical industry events. Attend chamber of commerce mixers or young professional’s events to meet people from a variety of fields. Identify an industry that piques your curiosity, and go to a professional association's mixer. At each event, make a point to talk with as many people as possible — in the process, you can build fascinating new contacts and learn about potential career paths.VolunteerWhen you're stuck in a job that doesn't feel right, it can be hard to find career clarity at work. Volunteering gives you the chance to explore other avenues in a fulfilling, low-risk way. Choose your positions strategically — if you've always been interested in graphic design, offer to make a poster for a community theater's upcoming show. If you're interested in jobs that require large-scale event planning, ask to be on the committee for a fundraising gala. As you participate, it should become clear whether or not the work is a good fit, providing clarity for a potential job change.Try New ThingsSometimes, a lack of career clarity comes from limited experience. If you have no idea what you want to do with your life, the best option is to start exploring. Start with anything that sounds interesting: take a dance class, attend a comic book convention or start training for a triathlon. Try to find activities that expose you to new people and places. If you spent your college years in an engineering lab, for example, join a hiking group. The broader your horizons, the more likely you are to find the thing that strikes your passion and inspires a career shift.Finding career clarity might seem like an impossible, elusive concept, but it is achievable for every professional. With the right combination of openness and conscious action, you can find a fulfilling, satisfying career path.Image courtesy of bugnin at[...]

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10 Commandments for Nailing the Interview

Thu, 2 Nov 2017 11:00:00 EST

Now that you've landed the job interview, the stress begins. Your fate is determined by how you conduct yourself in those 20 or 30 minutes of face time. First impressions are key when it comes to an interview, so everything should be flawless, from your appearance and body language to your references and responses. Ensure you're following these 10 commandments for job interview success.1. Thou Shall PracticeConduct a mock interview prior to the real thing, either alone or with a friend. Practice your responses to common interview questions, such as those about your strengths and weaknesses. If possible, film yourself to identify areas for improvement.2. Remember Thy AttireTake some time to choose a professional outfit for your job interview so you look polished. If possible, find out how others dress within the organization, and try to replicate that look.3. Thou Shall Conduct Thy ResearchFind out all you can about the potential employer prior to your job interview. Read the company website, scour company- or industry-related news articles and check out its social media page. Read up on the company mission, achievements and challenges.4. Thou Shalt Not Arrive UnpreparedShow up with several fresh copies of your resume in hand. Take the time to review it prior to the job interview so you're comfortable and familiar with it.5.Thou Shall Calm Thy NervesDon't let nervousness rattle your confidence. Take a few minutes before the interview to practice deep breathing and think positive thoughts. Don't fidget during the interview; focus on presenting a confident demeanor.6. Honor Thy InterviewerTry to establish rapport with the hiring manager from the start of the interview. If you notice a fishing photo on the interviewer's desk, for example, try to establish a connection based on the shared hobby.7. Thou Shalt Not RushThink each question through before you respond. Make sure your responses are clear and complete. Avoid the urge to rush through a response by providing a choppy answer.8. Ask Thy QuestionsBased on the research you conducted prior to the interview, come up with a few thoughtful and intelligent questions to ask when you're given the opportunity.9. Thou Shalt Not Provide Unapprised ReferencesWhen you provide personal or professional references at a job interview, be sure to let your contacts know that you're listing them. Update them on where you're interviewing so reference-check phone calls don't catch them off guard.10. Thou Shall Follow UpImmediately after the interview, send a thank-you note, either handwritten or via email. Thank everyone on the interview panel for their time, and reaffirm your enthusiasm for the position.The first impression in a job interview is key. Follow these 10 commandments to wow the hiring manager and leave an impression that outshines the other candidates.Photo courtesy of Ambro at[...]

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Use These 5 Suggestions to Transform Into A Leader

Thu, 2 Nov 2017 09:00:00 EST

Many employees make the jump to management, but few managers become true leaders. Leadership development includes learning to truly motivate others by being an example and earning the respect of your team. It takes determination and empathy to become a leader worthy of respect. Here are some managerial tips to help you grow into that type of leader.1. Develop Your EmpathyStart your leadership development journey by getting to really know your employees. Regularly spend time with your team members individually and as a group. Practice active listening to truly hear their stories and ideas. As their manager, you need to know their strengths, weaknesses and career goals. Share your own story, too. Your employees are more likely to respect you if they know your background and goals.2. Become a Coach and CheerleaderFurther your leadership development by making sure every member of your team knows that they have your support. Leaders mentor their followers, helping them solve problems, cheering them on through difficult spots and celebrating their victories. Whenever possible, tailor assignments to help your employees grow. Work with individuals to help them meet their personal career goals, even if this means occasionally losing great employees as people move into new positions. When employees take risks and fail, acknowledge the attempt instead of focusing on the failure. Praise employee successes through multiple channels, such as in person, in an employee newsletter and by mentioning their accomplishments to your boss.3. Build TrustAlways be honest with your direct reports. Share any company news in a timely manner, and run your own department with transparency. Build loyalty by being a hand-on manager, working alongside your team and actively helping to solve problems. When things go wrong, be quick to take the blame as the head of the department but never take credit for anyone else's ideas. Leadership development happens when you make the effort to truly lead your group on its missions and represent it in an honest manner.4. Renew Your CommitmentSometimes, managers lose their vision as they move up the corporate ladder. The best leaders don't let that happen. They know exactly how their department fits into the big picture, and they put best practices and innovation ahead of tradition and current protocol. Regularly review your company's values and mission and your own personal vision for your team. Then, share those thoughts with your employees, and strive for continual improvement to move closer to that ideal.5. Take RisksLeadership development requires a willingness to take risks. Any manager may be able to keep the current system flowing smoothly, but a good leader knows when to make changes to improve that system. Practice taking calculated risks to improve your department and ultimately your organization. Should your team be arranged differently? Is there a way to optimize your work environment? Do you have some good ideas for service or product innovations? Regardless of your ideas, learn to trust your knowledge and intuition to spur changes that m[...]

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3 Quick Tips for Finding Talent Within

Wed, 1 Nov 2017 13:00:00 EST

Sometimes, the best future leaders of your company are already employees. While it may be tempting to cast a wide net when looking for the most qualified candidate for a position, hiring internally can offer some major advantages. However, finding existing talent isn't always easy, especially for hiring managers at large companies. Here are three quick tips to help you find the best talent within.1. Know What You're Looking ForIf you're thinking about promoting staff members, try to find someone who already possesses the basic skills and traits required for the position. You can always work with them to improve, but it's highly beneficial to select someone who is already moving in the right direction. For example, if your company needs a new branch manager and you're interested in hiring internally, you should look for someone who already assumes a team leadership role at the office.Make a list of traits and skills that would match the job position in question, and then try to find a candidate that aligns most closely with that list. Once you've identified a few possible candidates based on specific criteria, it will be easier to narrow down your list. Hiring internally can be a long process, so don't rush it. Pay attention to the small details a possible candidate possesses that may be able to be amplified in a leadership role.2. Give Motivated Candidates a ChanceSometimes, employees who you may not expect to thrive can surprise you. When hiring internally, it's a prudent move to give priority to those who want the job most. After all, most employees wouldn't decline a pay raise. You want to promote the person who genuinely wants to grow with the company. Not only does giving motivated employees a chance improve your odds of finding an ideal fit for the position, but it also helps with employee retention. You don't want to lose an employee because he doesn't feel valued. Giving him a chance to interview for the position shows that there is growth potential within your firm. Promoting staff also gives the rest of the team the feeling of possible upward mobility.3. Develop Relationships with the StaffSometimes, it's impossible to find a diamond in the rough unless you're looking close enough. When hiring internally, it's usually best to make a decision that's based on more than just your instincts. Try to get to know the current employees, and discover what makes them tick. Learn about their personal interests and hobbies, as well as their long-term goals. When you have a better idea of who your team members are as people, it will be much easier to make an informed decision when hiring internally.The practice of hiring internally is an excellent way to boost the morale of current employees and increase the odds of a successful hire. Always seek candidates who possess at least some of the skills needed for the job. Also, make sure the candidate genuinely wants to remain a member of your firm.Photo courtesy of khunaspix at[...]

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Questions and Answers for Your Resume

Wed, 1 Nov 2017 10:00:00 EST

Your resume format matters, which is why job seekers often struggle putting together a document that clearly outlines their skills and achievements. Learn how to craft application materials that are designed to showcase your experience and skills professionally in order to capture the attention of hiring managers and potential employers.What is the Best Format?While many job seekers spend time during their job search adding bells and whistles to their resume format, the most important element is crafting a document that is easy to read. Create sections with bold headings and use bullet points to detail your duties of each position. Include a section for your work history, education and relevant skills. Make sure your name and contact information are displayed prominently at the top of the document. Some job seekers also include a summary section or short profile that outlines the type of position they are seeking while touching on their most impressive skills and proficiencies.What is the Best Order for Information?A chronological resume format is most common; however, you might want to consider using a functional format during your job search. Functional resumes focus primarily on your accomplishments versus a clear timeline of your work history. This type of resume format may be beneficial for individuals with vast experience in the industry; however, if the structure impacts the readability of the document, stick with a chronological structure.What is the Appropriate Length?A common myth when it comes to resume format is that you should stick to one page. This myth is just that -- a myth. If you need to filter over to two pages to thoroughly detail your experience, skills and education, then break the one-page rule. It's crucial for employers to see just how qualified you are for the position, so avoid cutting vital information just to stick to a one-page format.What Information Should Be Included in the Education Section?Clearly, the education section should include any colleges or universities you have attended with corresponding degrees front and center. Employers, though, want to see more than just a simple list of degrees. Detail the coursework you have taken and expand upon projects and tasks that are relevant to the position. In addition, you can also list certifications you have gained through professional development. Showcase any proficiencies you have gained with software and hardware, too, to highlight your educational achievements.How you present yourself on paper can make or break your opportunities as a professional. Detail your skills, recognition within the industry, on-the-job achievements and education in a consistent manner when compiling your application materials. Pay close attention to the resume format to ensure it is readable, clean and concise so that employers can identify how your qualifications can better impact their firms.Photo Courtesy of tiniroma at[...]

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Are You in a Rut or Is It Time to Quit?

Wed, 1 Nov 2017 08:00:00 EST

You just had another of those dreadful Mondays at work where nothing went right. You didn't feel like showing up at the office, your boss was mad and your team didn't get a thing done. Is this a sign you should quit your job? Does this mean you're just in a rut? Discover five signs that let you know it's time to leave your current digs to find new ones.1. You're Always SickOne way to tell it's time to quit your job is the longevity of what you experience. One bad day every six months is no big deal. Several bad days strung together for weeks on end is not good. If your job makes you sick, that may indicate that you suffer from too much stress at work. Stress builds up to anxiety, which leads to a physical illness where you miss days of work. Although changing careers and finding a new position may cause financial snafus, your bad health could have long-term consequences that are harder to address.2. Bad Boss RelationshipYou and your boss don't have to be BFFs, but you shouldn't fight on a regular basis. The saying goes, "People don't quit companies; they quit managers." If you and your supervisor don't get along on a frequent basis, perhaps you should quit your job to find a better situation. At best, your manager simply doesn't get along with you due to disparate personalities. At worst, your supervisor creates a toxic work environment that causes stress, anxiety and health problems. Your career isn't worth dealing with a bad boss every day.3. No Longer a Cultural FitYou may have started out at this position thinking this was the perfect fit, but then your goals changed. Perhaps you loved the long work hours at first, and then your ideal job changed to a more flexible arrangement. If the company doesn't work with you to try to meet your needs, it's time to move on and quit your job. Find a position that aligns with your ideal job.4. Derailing Long-Term GoalsYour long-term professional goals are important to you. If your current position no longer aligns with your goals, find one that does. Maybe your job no longer fits the description from when you first started. Rather than giving you a raise or changing your job title like you deserve, your company doesn't listen and derails your prosperity and promotion. Quit your job and examine opportunities for advancement elsewhere.5. Professional PlateauYou really want to get a promotion and move up to a position that fits your experience and skills because you feel you worked hard to get where you are today. Your manager says there are no more opportunities for training, growth or even expanding your job duties. Rather than letting you explore ways to engage with your work, you feel bored every day because you want to keep moving forward. When you hit that ceiling and can't go higher, rather than feeling you're in a rut, find a company that lets you spread your wings.When you decide to quit your job, have a plan in mind. Leave your current position in good standing as much as possible, because you want the transition to be [...]

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7 Essential Interview Questions You Should be Asking

Tue, 31 Oct 2017 09:00:00 EST

Many job candidates spend a lot of time preparing for an interview by practicing answers to common interview questions, but asking your own questions during the interview is also important. The right questions help you determine if the opportunity is the right one and shows the hiring manager you're serious about the job. Here are seven essential questions to ask.1. "Why is This Position Open?"This is a great question to ask towards the beginning of the interview. The answer can help you learn what might be expected of you. If the position is new, you'll likely work together with your superior to design your workday and responsibilities. If you're replacing someone, your duties are probably very structured and specific. It's also good to know why the previous person left the company, just in case there are red flags there.2. "What is the Culture Like?"You may possess all the qualifications the company is looking for, but a truly good fit only happens when your personal values and character traits align with the organization's values. Asking about company culture during the interview gives you insight into what it's really like to work there and lets the interviewer know you're serious about becoming a part of the team.3. "How is Success Defined in this Role?"This question shows that you're focused on your future performance and plan to excel in your new position. Based on the interviewer's response, you can determine how the company motivates its strongest employees, and what kinds of behaviors and skills the company rewards.4. "What is Your Management Style?"If you're fortunate enough to interview with your future boss, this question can offer a goldmine of information. It's imperative you know how your boss leads his team and whether or not his management style is a good fit for your work style. If you prefer to work autonomously at your own pace, being paired with a Type-A micromanager is a bad idea. Knowing the boss's management style at the interview stage gives you ample opportunity to reconsider the job, if need be.5. "What do You Like About Working Here?"Get into the interviewer's head a little by asking what he personally enjoys about working for the company. Asking this question is a great way to get a more authentic, off-the-cuff answer about what it's really like to work for the firm.6. "Do You Have any Reservations About Hiring Me?"While some may see this question as forward, it's a great way to address any reservations the hiring manager may have about you. Be prepared to go to bat for yourself here; you may need to correct a misunderstanding or spin a weak spot into a potential asset right there on the spot.7. "What are the Next Steps?"Asking this question last is a great way to close the interview; it reiterates your interest in the position, while compelling the interviewer to give you a timeline on what to expect.The interview is a conversation, not an interrogat[...]

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What if You Respond to a Job Interview Invitation But Never Hear Back?

Mon, 30 Oct 2017 15:00:00 EST

When you're job-hunting, there's nothing more frustrating than waiting to hear back from a potential employer who invited you to a job interview. Perhaps the employer hasn't chosen a meeting date yet or wants to round up a few more candidates before scheduling interviews. Whatever the reason, you likely want to know what's going on so you'll know to proceed with your job search. Here are a few tips for dealing with this scenario.1. Check Employer's Job ListingRemember the job posting you responded to? Well, it's a good idea to find out if it's still posted on the company's website or any internet job boards. If not, the employer might have filled the position. Unfortunately, many employers don't follow up with job interview candidates once they've chosen someone for the job. If you still see the job listing, the employer might still be on the hunt for job applicants, so it's a good idea to review the posting to see if it's been updated and features a slightly different set of skills and requirements. If that's the case, update your documents to reflect these modified requirements, and resubmit them to the employer.2. Contact the EmployerReach out to the hiring manager who invited you to attend a job interview. More than likely, you have this person's office number and email address. Reach out via email first. Make sure the email is addressed to the person who gave you the invite and has a professional tone. Express your excitement about working for the company and discussing your potential contribution to the organization. Keep the message short, however, as its main purpose is to inquire about a job interview date. If you still don't get a response, give the hiring manager a call. Let him know you're still extremely interested in the position and would love to schedule an interview date as soon as possible.3. Continue Your SearchDon't let one employer put your job search on hold. Continue searching for employment and submitting resumes to various companies within your industry. It's not uncommon for some employers to take weeks or even months to get back to job applicants, even after pursuing them for a job interview. Employers can also change their minds about you or choose another candidate at any moment. This isn't the most professional practice, but try not to take it personally. Remain proactive throughout your job search, even after attending a job interview with your dream company.If you really want a position and the employer is dragging his feet, don't hesitate to reach out and inquire about the job interview date. However, it's essential to continue your job search until you get an official job offer from an employer. Don't "put all of your eggs in one basket," as you never know what job opportunities might become available while you're waiting to hear back from an employer.Photo courtesy of adamr at[...]

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You Can Bring Problems to Your Boss Without Looking Weak

Mon, 30 Oct 2017 13:00:00 EST

You have questions and concerns you want to ask your boss about, but you're not sure how to broach the subject. Maybe you're nervous because you have no idea how to solve a work-related issue or bring problems to your manager's attention. Examine these five steps that teach you how to go to your boss for help finding possible solutions to problems.1. Determine Your ApproachFigure out how you want to bring problems to your boss. Can you discuss the problem through email, or do you need to have a closed-door session in his office? Perhaps this issue requires input from the entire team and requires a staff meeting. The seriousness of the issue should indicate how to ask your boss for help.2. Compile DataGather as much data about the problem as possible. Before you ask your boss to help you with an issue, make sure you're armed with all of the tools you need to lay out your case. Determine how the problem started, who might be involved and if there are any documents that back up your position. Gathering as much information as possible shows your boss that you're not just talking to him to rant, but that you want something done about a situation.3. Try Not to ApologizeYou may realize that you caused the problem, but try not to apologize to your boss. You're human, just like everyone else at your office. Everyone makes mistakes, even CEOs with decades of industry experience. Instead of saying, "I'm really sorry to bother you," try the tactic of "I would appreciate your help trying to figure out how to deal with this situation." Make it sound as if you're in a collaborative mindset, and ask your boss to help solve a problem that benefits everyone and not just you.4. Take NotesTake as many notes as possible so you can refer to them later. This does several things, including showing your manager that you are serious about solving the issue. Notes also help you remember the situation, so you'll know what to do if the situation arises again. Summarize your notes in a list or cheat sheet that is easy to read.5. Explain the Potential ConsequencesAfter you ask your boss to help you with a company issue, make sure he understands the serious repercussions of not resolving the problem. That way, he pays attention to the matter at hand and works with you to come up with a solution. Understand that your manager needs to know about problems before they blow up and have a detrimental effect on the company.As you talk to your boss, remember to keep the meeting as professional and polite as possible. Try to leave your personal frustrations out of the situation.Knowing how to ask your boss for help takes the nervousness out of the situation. You're on the same team, so remember that your boss is on your side and wants you to succeed.Photo courtesy of AscensionDigital at[...]

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Repair a Toxic Work Culture These 5 Ways

Mon, 30 Oct 2017 11:00:00 EST

When problems are ingrained in your company culture, there's no easy fix to repair broken infrastructure and regain employee trust. A toxic workplace is the product of negative behavior and values at many levels of an organization. If you're committed to a fresh start, follow these tips to evaluate a toxic workplace and re-engage the workforce from the top down.1. Diagnose the ProblemsNail down the key factors and people behind chronic problems. While every toxic workplace has its own combination of problems, common issues include:-Lack of communication-Bullying and gossiping-Favoritism or discrimination-Hostile or unsafe working conditions-Unrealistic expectations and workloads-Lack of recognition and accountabilityExpect reluctance from employees, who may fear retaliation for speaking up. For a thorough evaluation, consider asking for anonymous feedback and consulting workers one on one.2. Identify Sources of ConflictDeep-seated problems don't grow overnight, and it takes consistent patterns of behavior to poison the environment. Based on the information you gather, work backwards to find the sources feeding a toxic workplace.Do company leaders treat workers like replaceable cogs? Do bullies get free reign to harass others? Do employees feel informed about company policies and decisions? Are there a handful of toxic employees in influential positions? Do employees understand their roles and feel empowered to get their jobs done? Starting from the top, ask employees how their personal work values align with the company culture. The answers to these questions may reveal big differences in perceptions and priorities.3. Recruit Employee AmbassadorsEvery diplomatic plan requires allies. Recruiting influential workers to champion changes in the company can help improve the transition. Otherwise, employees are more likely to be cautious and distrustful based on past experiences. Ambassadors should come from multiple levels of the organization, making it easier to get company-wide support and feedback as you move forward.4. Plan a Multistage StrategyDevelop a strategy to repair a toxic workplace in stages. Distinguish high- and low-impact factors, so you can manage the biggest problems first and show positive gains early on. In most cases, smaller issues are easier to resolve as the underlying problems improve. If you don't want to lose great employees, keep the workforce informed of these goals and apply new policies fairly across the entire organization.5. Reward Positive BehaviorSocial acceptance is a key motivating factor for many people, so rewarding positive behavior can encourage other workers to change how they interact. To remotivate employees, it's wise to holds evaluations and discuss how each worker brings value to the organization. Clearly define employee roles, and show recognition to workers who make valuable suggestions and contributions throughout the restru[...]

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Companies Do Use Your Social Media When Making a Hiring Decision

Mon, 30 Oct 2017 08:00:00 EST

When you search for a job, expect your future employer to check your social media accounts. With a simple search, employers can determine your professionalism, cultural fit and overall attitude. Employers want to get as much information about a prospect as possible before making a hiring decision. Take a look at this guide for maintaining social networks that give employers a positive impression of you.Online PresenceIt's essential to manage your social media accounts properly to avoid leaving the wrong impression with employers. For example, even if the wild party you attended two months ago was a blast, the risqué photo of you at the party might turn off potential employers. Get rid of posts that make you appear too wild or unprofessional. If you have many of these posts on your social media profiles, consider getting rid of your old accounts and starting over with fresh ones.What Companies Don't Want to SeeSocial media plays a role in millions of people's everyday lives, and companies take advantage of this to market themselves, find prospects and gather information about potential hires. Companies don't necessarily seek damaging information about each candidate, but rather, they want to see how you might react to certain situations at work and how you handle yourself. For example, a hiring manager might see that you disparaged a co-worker or spoke negatively about your former boss. This type of negativity is a red flag to employers.Hiring managers might also use social media to verify claims you make on your resume. If you claim to have worked for one employer for five years and that employer isn't listed on your resume, that might seem a bit suspicious.Avoid making discriminatory remarks or posts. Companies generally prefer people with progressive minds and frown on individuals who openly say negative things about certain groups of people. Someone who is discriminatory against any group of people goes against the philosophy that differences are a good thing.Why Have an Online Persona?You might have considered getting off of social media completely, but having an online persona can actually help with your job search, if used correctly. As many as 92 percent of recruiters use social networks to find candidates, and approximately 70 percent of hiring managers use social networks as tools to help them make a decision about a candidate. Hiring managers can gauge how well you communicate with others and learn a bit about your personal interests through your social media accounts. Think about this when creating your profiles to ensure employers like what they see when they find you online.Social media searches represent a continued trend in the hiring process that helps employers make hiring decisions. If you want to improve your chances of landing a great job in a highly competitive labor market, maintain professional social media profi[...]

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Things to Think About When Starting or Changing Careers

Fri, 27 Oct 2017 13:00:00 EST

Whether you're just starting your professional life or changing careers in your 40s or 50s, you have plenty to think about as you transition from one phase of your life to another. Thanks to a highly competitive job market in 2017, switching careers is a great idea if you really want to make this move. Discover four tips on how to move forward.1. PreparePreparation is the key for changing careers. You don't want to leave your old job without having a plan in mind. Research your career choice so you understand the benefits and drawbacks. Take a look at your potential job security and the type of income you can earn. Perhaps a gradual change is better than a sudden breaking away, especially if you need to attend classes, earn some certifications and get some experience. Consider moonlighting in your new career part time while keeping your old career intact until you can financially handle your new digs.2. Cross-TrainBefore you leave for new horizons, earn some new skills at your current employer. Ask your boss to cross-train you in other departments to experience what it's like on another team. This broadens your skill set before changing careers, and gives you a different perspective on jobs that require other skills.You might have to start at a lower position in your new career. As such, you want to understand as much about the industry as possible. For example, say you already work in sales but decide you want to become a graphic designer. Ask your boss if you can spend some time in the PR or marketing department and get to know the graphic designers in the company. That way, you know what it takes to succeed at a higher level.3. NetworkNetworking is very important in a contemporary job search, especially when changing careers. Think about the companies for which you would like to work, and connect with the people there. These new connections can put you in touch with hiring managers and recommend you for a position. Once you reach out to someone, also offer your help by putting your expertise to use. Networking takes time and effort, but it pays off in the end. Maintain regular contact with your growing network to keep up with any opportunities.4. Remake Your ImageYou are changing careers, so why not change your appearance? Buy a new wardrobe, get a new hairstyle, and add some new accessories to your outfits. Prepare for your new career as if you already fit into it. Research the latest fashion trends and company cultures to see what it takes to fit into your career.When you prepare, network and earn new skills, changing careers becomes easier. The transition period also serves as a way to gauge whether you want a change of pace. Maybe you just need some minor adjustments, rather than a professional do-over, to feel happy.Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at[...]

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Talking Your Boss into a Flexible Schedule

Fri, 27 Oct 2017 10:00:00 EST

Around 70 percent of workers see flexibility as important to their job happiness, but many never pursue flexible work schedules because of lack of precedence, conservative management or fear of change. If you don't step up and speak out, you can't expect change to happen. If you're longing for a more flexible work schedule but don't know how to broach the subject with your boss, here are a few tips to get you started.Keep the Focus on the CompanyYour boss cares less about how valuable a flexible schedule is to you and your family. He wants to know how approving a flexible work schedule is likely to affect the company. When you present your proposal to your boss, be sure to focus on ways that your proposed plan benefits the organization. For example, if your plan includes remote work time, point out that you will be using less office resources and fewer sick days. Share that a better work-life balance makes you a happier, more productive worker. Look for advantages that are unique to your situation. Perhaps you're looking to move to a flexible three-day work week. If so, explain to your boss exactly how you plan to keep up with your responsibilities while working a flexible three-day schedule.Give DetailsBefore you talk to your boss, put together a written plan spelling out the details of the flexible work schedule you think would be best for both you and your organization. Include specific details about communicating with clients and collaborating with co-workers. Include ideas for minimizing any inconveniences to other team members and employees you interact with regularly. Add information about a possible trial period and criteria to assess that trial period before moving forward with a more permanent situation.Offer ExamplesWhen you meet with your boss, offer examples of successful flexible work schedules. This is easiest if you know of others at your company with flexible schedules or if your organization has official flexibility policies with guidelines for nonstandard work schedules. If you are asking for something completely new, share stories of those outside your organization successfully doing flex work. Be sure to include how the flexible work schedule helps the company, not just how it helps the employee.Be PersistentHope for a positive response, but be prepared for a negative answer. An initial "no" doesn't necessarily mean failure. Give your manager more time to think about your suggestion, and then bring up the topic again. Sometimes, that first negative answer is just a standard response due to current policies. Your discussion may have planted seeds that could lead to your manager to talking to others about creating official flexibility policies.Your career and happiness are your responsibility. If flexibility is important to you, you may need to talk to HR or m[...]

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6 Work Habits to Give Up Now

Fri, 27 Oct 2017 08:00:00 EST

Whether you're too busy to notice or you just don't realize the impact they have on your career, certain bad habits can affect the way others perceive you. Rather than letting unsavory customs ruin your reputation or detract from your credibility, break these bad habits today.1. Being LateShowing up late for work, even just a few minutes, every day does not send a good message. The same applies to meetings with co-workers, clients, business partners and vendors. If you're constantly rushed, take the time to prepare for meetings and pay close attention to the clock so you arrive promptly. This lets others know that you respect their time and manage yours well.2. SlouchingDitch the bad habit of slouching, whether you're working at your desk, sitting in a meeting or standing at the water cooler. Even if you're tired, make an effort to maintain proper posture. Slouching makes you seem unenthusiastic and disinterested. If you slouch when you're talking, your message may come across as weak and disconnected.3. Talking FastIf you're often in a hurry or bogged down by work, you may talk fast to try to save time. This bad habit of cutting corners in communication can lead to misunderstandings. Further, others may think you're overwhelmed with workload and unable to keep up with your assigned duties. Take the time to speak clearly and deliver your words with confidence.4. PartyingWhile an active social life is not typically an issue, hard partying is a bad habit that can harm your career. Showing up for work tired or hungover can garner you a reputation that doesn't bode well for your professional appearance, and calling off every Monday morning could cost you your job. Additionally, consider how all those drunken Facebook photos look to hiring managers when you're applying for a promotion.5. Using DevicesYou may think that working a report on your laptop, responding to an email on your smartphone or reviewing a memo on your tablet during a meeting makes you look like a dedicated employee, but think again. This bad habit makes you appear unfocused and uncommitted to the topic at hand. If you take your devices along to a meeting, keep them out of sight.6. CursingWhether you're caught up in a heated conversation or you slip up and utter a curse word, quickly apologize for your blunder and vow to do better next time. Cursing in the office is a bad habit that may offend others and makes you appear unprofessional and immature.Good impressions aren't just for job interviews. You want to uphold a credible reputation throughout your employment to ensure a successful career and the respect you deserve. Break these bad habits to keep your credibility intact.Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at[...]

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Why Do Hiring Managers Ask These 5 Tricky Questions?

Thu, 26 Oct 2017 11:00:00 EST

Although it may seem like asking a tricky interview question during a job interview is unfair, the reality is that employers are trying to uncover your strengths while evaluating your ability to think outside of the box when put on the spot. To show that you can navigate questions that are unusual or tricky, consider using the following suggestions when responding to hiring managers.1. What Do You Know About This Job?Although this inquiry falls under what many candidates classify as a tricky interview question, employers who ask this question want to know if you put time and effort into researching the company and position. When answering, detail what you know by describing the duties of the position while also mentioning what you have learned about the company's achievements, standing in the industry and culture. Go one step further by discussing exactly how you are qualified to complete the duties required.2. What Do You Do In Your Spare Time?While it's tempting to discuss your family when answering a tricky interview question like this one, resist the urge to do so. Divulging your marital or family status might put you at a disadvantage, depending on the employer. Instead of revealing exactly what you do in your spare time, think about activities that are related to the position, such as volunteer work you perform in the community, and discuss those activities in detail.3. Where Would You Like to Be In Five Years?You may see yourself working in another industry or with another company in five years, but when asked this tricky interview question, avoid focusing on your personal goals. Employers want to know if you are loyal and if you plan to stay with the company long term. Discuss how you see yourself advancing within the company during the job interview, and focus solely on how you can positively impact the firm in future years.4. What Are Your Weaknesses?When asked about weaknesses, don't divulge that you are not timely or miss deadlines regularly. Instead, discuss weaknesses that could be viewed as strengths when answering this tricky interview question. For example, if you are proficient in a software program, but you would like to learn more to gain expert status, share how you are working to improve your skills.5. What is Your Current Salary?Discussions about salary are tricky. In fact, this question can put you at a disadvantage if you disclose that you are willing to accept much less than what the position pays. It's best to explain that you are seeking a long-term opportunity and are still evaluating an appropriate salary range. If pressed, you can divulge what you are currently making while noting that you are seeking an opportunity that values your worth.When asked a tricky interview question, it's best to transition to [...]

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Are You Asking These Questions in an Interview?

Thu, 26 Oct 2017 09:00:00 EST

As a hiring professional, you must find the best possible talent for your organization. Therefore, thoroughly preparing for the interview is just as important for you as it is for the job candidate. During job interviews, make sure you're asking the following four questions to ensure you make a well-informed decision.1. What One Skill Makes You Most Qualified for This Position?Your primary focus during the interview stage is finding candidate who can perform the necessary functions of the job. Leading with this question in the beginning of the interview offers a two-fold value: you get confirmation that the candidate possesses the required skills and greater insight into their core competencies. If the candidate answers with an irrelevant skill or accomplishment, consider it a red flag, as the candidate may not understand the core duties of the role.2. Can You Describe a Time When You Overcame a Work-Related Challenge?This behavioral interview question is a favorite among hiring professionals, and for good reason. Understanding how to overcome obstacles and difficult situations at work is an important skill in any industry. The candidate's answer to this question during the interview provides insight into his working style and lets you know where he might fit in best within the organization. Also, due to the challenging nature of the question itself, you get a glimpse of how your potential employee handles himself under pressure.3. How Would You Describe Your Work Style?Hard skills are important, but so is making sure your new candidate will be a good fit for the company. Questions like this one help you determine which working situations or departments might be a good fit for the candidate. Elaborate further with questions such as: Do you prefer to work autonomously or with lots of direction? Do you perform best independently or as part of a team? The more specific your questions are, the more information you'll have about the candidate's work habits, which can be very helpful when it's time to place the candidate on a team.4. Why Are You Leaving Your Current Employer?This question might sound forward, but it's one of the most important questions to ask during the interview. The candidate must answer tactfully in order to avoid bad-mouthing their current or former employer. If the candidate dances around the question or provides a vague response, it may be an indicator of a less-than-ideal departure. If the candidate speaks highly of his previous employer and job role, he might be in search of a new opportunity with your company.Asking the right questions during the interview is crucial to finding the perfect new employee. The answers to these interview questions offer valuable information about the candida[...]

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