No Experience? No Problem.

Oct 19 2015 Published by under Uncategorized

No experience? No problem. Except, if you been in the job market you know that it is actually a problem. To get a job, whether you’ve been working for years or just entered the market after graduation, you have to have experience. And in order to get experience? Well, someone has to hire you.

It’s quite the paradox and incredibly frustrating. So what do you do when you lack the experience, but need and want the job? Here’s where to start.

Resume Awesomeness

Recruiters put job requirements up to weed out weak candidates. It doesn’t mean that the list is absolute. It’s all about how you market yourself. And the first step to marketing yourself in all the right ways is in writing a winning resume and cover letter.

To do so, you’ll need to show your value. Tailor your resume to what they are looking for. If they want 5 years of experience and you only have 3, make the most of that 3 years. Chances are, they aren’t counting the dates on your resume. Instead, they’re using it to learn about what you’re bringing to the table. You don’t want to sound unreal and you certainly don’t want to lie, but be clear on your goals and your achievements.

Dynamic Introduction

Focus on your introduction. Sure, you may have experience in something that is unrelated to the job at hand, but it’s all about presentation. Don’t spend your introduction going on and on about real estate when the job at hand is marketing research. Mention why you’re changing careers, link the two, and explain your connection to both and how your past career gives you unique perspective and separates you from other applicants.

Work It

Typically, all those requirements are simply an HR wish list. It’s the best case scenario. Realistically, few will meet all requirements (and not be overqualified). So don’t get intimidated by the details. Many times, your resume is simply skimmed. So make those sticking points count. If you’re missing some key job requirements, be sure to structure your resume in a way that highlights the bits and pieces that do make you a prime candidate.

Education

Remember that degree you have? All that studying. All that hopeful optimism that it would help you land that great job. You may not be looking for employment in the area of your degree, but hey, you have one. Be proud of it. You are driven and that degree proves it. Plus, you never know if that person reviewing your application might relate. Maybe they went to your school. Maybe they were in your fraternity or sorority. Maybe they were in that honor society. That diploma. That school. All may be the luck you need to get you in for an interview.

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The After Interview Waiting Game

Oct 12 2015 Published by under Uncategorized

If you are lucky enough to have landed an interview, and are around to tell the tale, you know how stress inducing the interview waiting game can be. Did you get the job? Did they like you? Or worse- is it all bad. Bad, bad bad.

Before you give up hope and resign to live your life unemployed and alone, relax and take a deep breath. Don’t drive yourself crazy. Here’s what to do after your interview to keep your sanity.

Stay Focused

Yes, you’ve had an interview, but that doesn’t mean that you’ve got the job. It’s okay. You simply need to stay focused and stay sharp. Until you get that job offer and accept, you’re still on the market. Act like it and keep looking. This will help you keep your wants and needs in sight and keep you from daydreaming about a job you don’t have. And, in the event you don’t get a call back from that interview or, ultimately a job offer, you’ll be well on the way to securing other prospects.

Network

I know, I know. We say it time and time again- network, network, network. But it works. Companies and workforces are comprised of people. Even if you work alone, people have to pay you. You have to have some interaction with people to have a job and make money. Sure, some career paths require less interaction with other humans than others. Getting a job doesn’t mean an end to networking.

If you’re unsure where to start, look for job fairs that are in your area. Turn to social media. Twitter and LinkedIn are especially good. Build your brand. Build your online presence. Exude professionalism. This will help you tremendously- whether you get the job at hand or not.

Personal Development

Whether you are looking for a job or have a job, it’s important to take time whenever possible to work on you and build upon your skills and just “do you.” It is what keeps like fulfilling. Blog. Go for a hike. Meditate. Exercise. Invest in personal development. Do the things that make you happy and keep you motivated and at your peak. This will help you stay grounded and keep you from stressing out about this job or the next.

All in all, take a deep breath and remember that you are awesome. Life is too short to spend it stressed out.

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Interviews Made Easy

Aug 24 2015 Published by under Uncategorized

Everyone is bound to go through some tough interviews. After all, anyone can have a bad day. If you tank an interview, don’t beat yourself up over it. Pick yourself up and move on. Learn from it. Even if you don’t get the job, it doesn’t mean you don’t make the grade. It certainly doesn’t mean all hope is lost. At the very least, you have hopefully made a lasting impression on your employer. One that will only help your chances in the future.

With this in mind, here are some tips to ensure that your interviewer remembers you.

Seize the initiative

Even if you messed up every single question in the interview, hope is not dead yet. Once the interview is over, you can try talking to the interviewer informally, building a positive image of yourself. This way, even if you aren’t hired, you will have someone who can recommend you for other jobs while also building up a network.

Assess your interviewer’s attitude

No matter what feedback you get, you need to gauge how the interviewer delivers it. If he seems relaxed, upbeat and jovial, that is a sign that it may be a good idea to continue this budding relation. On the other hand, if the interviewer seems angry or reserved, then forgetting about the interview and moving on may be the best approach.

Read between the lines

Instead of simply taking what the interviewer says at face value, try to understand what he is trying to convey and try to show him that you are ready to attempt to improve. For example, if the interviewer says you have failed to attain the minimum experience required for the job, ask about a different position where you can work while attaining the necessary experience as well.

Don’t stop at just the interviewer

While the interview may be the most conventional way to get a job, there are various other possible approaches possible due to the influence of social media. You can attempt to reach out to other members of the relevant department through websites such as LinkedIn and demonstrate your abilities, which in turn may convince them to hire you, or at least give you a chance to prove your worth.

Maintain contact with the interviewer after the interview

Keep the interviewer informed about your job hunt progress; while this is not as relevant if your interview tanked, this is necessary if you are being seriously considered for a position. A manager may be unwilling to hire you even if you demonstrated exceptional skills but he is unaware of your availability. Keeping in touch with the interviewer regularly will help ensure that the manager knows about your availability.

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Interviews: What Not to Say

Aug 18 2015 Published by under Uncategorized

Let’s face it, the job market is competitive. There are way too many applicants and simply not enough jobs. During an interview, every single action can have either a positive or a negative consequence. One wrong answer could be the difference between getting the job and another seemingly endless future of filling out resumes for the future.

With so many things to do, here are a few tips on what not to say or do during your next interview.

What are the operations of your company?

The moment you utter these fatal words, you can start considering other places. Your interviewer will feel insulted and angered that you do not even know the basics about the company you are applying it. You will come across as underprepared and unambitious as well. Always ensure you know even the minute details regarding the company you are applying at.

My faults? I don’t settle for anything less than perfection.

You will come off as attempting to cover up your weaknesses, which may indicate that you have either a lot of weaknesses or major ones. This is considered a cliché and unoriginal as well, which will further portray a negative image.

Instead, try to mention some negative traits along with how you have since managed to overcome them, to appear more human to the interviewer.

What’s the timeout policy?

If there’s ever a foot in the mouth, this is it. You will leave your interviewer wondering whether you have any intention of working or whether you’ll simply count down the clock in order to collect the cheque. Hence, it is always preferable to leave that question for later; once you have actually been hired.

My old boss was pure evil

Your interviewer will question your professionalism as well as the respect you have towards your colleagues. He will further wonder whether you will do the same once you leave this job. Overall, this will do nothing except hurt your image.

Always compliment your old colleagues. Or if you don’t have anything good to say about, don’t dwell on the topic too much. But under no circumstances should you criticize them vehemently.

Any buzzword ever

Chances are, this is not the first interview your interviewer is conducting. He has probably heard all the buzzwords and clichés in the world. He will not be impressed if your answers are typical as that will show unoriginality and a lack of creativity.

Try to come up with original answers. Humorous answers can, in some occasions, help to break the ice and actually impress your interviewer.

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Personal Problems at Work

Aug 03 2015 Published by under Uncategorized

Dealing with personal problems at work isn’t easy. Everyone knows that keeping your personal life separate from your work life is a good thing. Unfortunately, one often spills onto the other. We invest a lot of time and energy at work, so when things go bad it’s hard to leave it at the door when you clock out. The same thing is true for our personal lives.

The fact is- It’s difficult to keep our lives compartmentalized, no matter how hard we try. If something is going on at home or in your personal life, there are things you can do to ensure that it has minimal impact on your work life.

Don’t Over Share

There are some moments when it’s important to share what is going on- especially if you know it’s going to impact your performance. It’s not an excuse for poor performance, but rather an explanation if you just aren’t yourself. In some situations, such as a death in the family, you need to acknowledge what is going on and communicate that with your boss and coworkers. However, it is important not to over share and tell too much.

Instead of confessing your life story, simply state the obvious but try not to dwell and divulge every detail. How much is too much is subjective to a degree as some office settings are more relaxed than others. Whatever your news, be prepared for questions. Planning ahead can help prevent any over sharing. Anticipating these questions can help you mentally prepare yourself before you share and help guide how much you share.

Establish Boundaries

Depending on the nature of the problem, it may not be anyone in your office that you need to worry about. In fact, you may find that well-meaning family members are reaching out to you during business hours. This is especially true when there is grief- such as a death in the family, etc. You will need to establish boundaries with your friends and family. When you are at work, you need space to work through that aspect of your life in relation to your grief.

Your friends and family may have good intentions, but often this creates unnecessary turmoil when you’re back dealing with the every day stresses of work. With that in mind, however, it’s okay to have a “bad day” at work. Acknowledge them and if necessary, set aside time to address the issue before it becomes a problem. A 15 minute guided meditation, for example, can work wonders.

Dedicating time to yourself when you’re experiencing inner or outer turmoil is essential to healing. Self awareness will help you stay grounded and better equipped to handle the daily grind.

Be Compassionate

When you’re upset, you aren’t yourself. As much as you want to turn it off when you walk into the office, it’s simply not realistic. So, be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up if you make a mistake or aren’t your most productive self. Understand that this too shall pass, and take things one day at a time.

Whatever is going on is temporary. Allow yourself the time and space needed to work through it, knowing you will come through on the other side. Being mindful of this will enable you to stay focused and get through the day until things get easier.

Remember Your Benefits

Sometimes things are simply too much for you to handle alone. Depending on where you work, there may be options available to you to help. Many companies offer benefits that are commonly overlooked, including counseling, childcare and legal services. These things, when appropriate, should be explored as they can help alleviate emotional and financial burdens.

Don’t assume that everything is up to you. It’s okay to ask for help. In fact, you should. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness—it takes courage. Everyone goes through bad times. Acknowledging that can make the transition back to the “old you” easier.

 

 

 

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Dealing With That One Annoying Person at Work

Jul 27 2015 Published by under Uncategorized

In life, there’s always that one person. At work, it can seem worse because you see that person day in and day out. If it’s your boss, or someone you work closely with, the problem is only amplified.

If you’ve never worked with someone you couldn’t stand, consider yourself lucky.

It may be a colleague whose sole purpose in life is to make your life difficult. It could be a boss that loves to micromanage. It could be a personality, a work ethic, or a little bit of everything. Whatever it is exactly, it can result in dreading work—not because of your job, or the work itself, but because of that one person.

Before you jump ship and quit, take a step back and consider the good. If not for that one person, would you enjoy work? If so, don’t give up and walk away. Stay and fight.

Research indicates that good relationships at work equal higher rates of productivity, success, and satisfaction. So, why give up a job you enjoy because one person is holding you back. After all, another version of that person may be waiting for you at a new job. Instead, it’s in your own best interest if you stick it out and learn how to work around the problem. It’s not impossible to deal with that one annoying person at work—here’s how.

Look Beyond the Problem

When someone is abrasive or annoying, etc. you may be tempted to set up a wall and let your anger and frustration build. Instead of distancing yourself, try to get to know the person behind the persona. Chances are, you’ll find a few things in common and it will lead to a greater understanding.

Getting outside your comfort zone a little and getting to know the problem coworker can help your relationship. While it may confirm what you already believe and prove impossible, it may end up surprising you by allowing you to connect on a level that helps you look past the annoyances. At the very least, it will give you a better understanding of the person and what drives them, which will help you to equip yourself psychologically to look beyond their hang ups.

Set Some Boundaries

Another strategy for separating your work from your annoyance is to set boundaries. Distance yourself as much as possible from the negative. Sure, there will be moments that you will have to interact with this person, but it will help to set some rules.

Think about what specific behaviors and/or interactions bother you. Maybe it’s a manager that constantly comes at you with a vague to-do list. No, you can’t avoid your manager, but you can learn how to manage him or her in a way that benefits you. It’s all about communication. Don’t let the anger build, tell him or her what you need and let him know that a specific list of action items is more beneficial than vague panic.

Step Away

Sometimes there is only so much you can take. Acknowledge that and move past it. Take a break. Step away. Allow yourself to step away from the situation or person that is holding you back. Trying to simply push through it hurts not only you, but your work and essentially everyone.

At the end of the day, you only control you. You have no control over someone else. Letting go of the notion that you can do anything about the person that is bothering you will help you stop a lot of the frustration and anger you feel before it even starts.

 

 

 

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How to Choose Between Two Job Offers

Jul 20 2015 Published by under Uncategorized

So you won the job search war and found a job? Except you didn’t just find one job, you found two. Now it’s decision time. You don’t want to choose wrong for many reasons. After all, the job search can be exhausting. No one wants to be “out there” again- at least not so soon after successfully landing a job. And, if you make the wrong choice, you’ve declined a possible good fit in the process. It may not be the epitome of burning bridges, but you’re not likely to receive the same offer twice.

Here are a few things to consider if you’re stuck choosing between two job offers.

Company Culture

Think back to your interview. What did you notice about the company? Don’t simply reflect on what the company says about its culture or how it describes it, but the feeling you got being there. What did you think of the people? If you enjoyed the interactions and can envision yourself working there, this is a positive sign. If, on the other hand, you found the people dull and the workplace stale and find yourself feeling less than enthusiastic, then it may be a sign that you should take a pass.

 

Salary and Upward Mobility

Look at each job offer and review the salary offer. Identify which company is offering the higher salary, and then look at the upward mobility at each place. The last thing you want is to find yourself trapped, with no opportunity for advancement. That salary may seem advantageous in the short-term, but in the long-term, as inflation rises and your salary remains stagnant, you’ll likely find yourself back on the market. It’s much better to find a job that offers the chance of moving up, than one that will ultimately result in your moving on.

Benefits

What kind of benefits a company is offering cannot be understated. Review each company’s benefits package. Dental, retirement and 401k plans, stock options, health insurance and flexible spending plans are huge incentives. While some smaller companies may not be able to offer robust benefits packages, but the presence of a benefits package can point to stability and market strength, something that is definitely important when making a decision.

 

In the end, above all trust your instincts. Spend some time daydreaming. Imagine yourself at each company. If something seems off or odd, don’t dismiss it. Your future happiness may depend on it. Good luck!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Get out of a Career Rut

Jul 06 2015 Published by under Uncategorized

A career rut can happen to the best of us. It doesn’t matter if you love your job or not, eventually the honeymoon is over and the thrill is gone. It’s not that you no longer care about your job, you have just lost that spark, that passion, that drive. It’s been replaced by complacency and you find that you’re just going through the motions.

Should you quit?

While only you can answer that, a career rut is much like a mid-life crisis in career form. It’s not your job; it’s you. So before you decide to throw in the towel and look for greener pastures, try these tips to dig yourself out.

Take a Vacation

Sometimes all you need is a little perspective. With this in mind, take a vacation and practice mindfulness along the way. Think about what you don’t like and how you got where you are in your career. Identify the obstacles you feel are keeping you from becoming the enthusiastic, driven person of your dreams.

Whether it’s a full-length vacation or a few days off, come back to work with a clean slate and a new outlook.

Create New Habits

If going through the motions is driving you insane, stop and change your motions. Mix up your routine. Ask for new projects. Set new goals. Talk to different departments. Wake up earlier. Drink less coffee. Read more. Talk more. Work out. Eat Healthy.

Change at least one thing. Create at least one new habit. Sometimes one small deviation from the monotony of life can have a big impact.

Learn Something New

Do you have a bucket list? Ever wish you could do that one thing? Learn it. Do it. Strike passion in other areas of your life and your outlook may change drastically as a whole. Sometimes a career rut is merely a symptom, but the problem lies elsewhere.

Network Beyond the Office

Sometimes we spend too much time in the office, so take your networking skills beyond the company walls. Talk to other professionals and get inspired. An external perspective on life and work can prove helpful in truly evaluating your own.

In the end you may find it really isn’t you, but before you scream “I QUIT” from the rooftops, explore these alternatives. You may surprise yourself.

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4 Simple Salary Negotiation Tips

May 25 2015 Published by under Uncategorized

Salary negotiations can be intimidating, to put it lightly. While you want a job, you also want to be paid what you’re worth- or at least close to it. It’s true that money can’t buy happiness, but if you feel undervalued, you won’t be satisfied in your new job or position.

With that in mind, here are four simple salary negotiation tips, guaranteed to make your wallet happy.

 

Do Your Research

Consider where you live and your profession, and research the average salary for both. Monster has an online calculator to get you started. Knowing these things will help you set a base line parameter and help you set your expectations. The research will also help you feel more confident in your negotiating. Remember: knowledge is power.

Set the Tone

You want to be serious, but not overly aggressive in your talks. Think logically, not emotionally. The previously mentioned research stage will help you stick to the facts. Do not issue ultimatums. Be respectful and listen, letting your boss (or future boss) know that you understand his interests as well as your own. U.S. News & World Report has some helpful tips on how to get your boss to listen.

Evaluate Experience

Beyond an arbitrary number for your field, is your personal experience. If you are just starting your career you will not have as much leverage as someone who has more on the job experience and expertise.

Talk About What You Deserve, Not What You Need

When we talk about what we need, things often get personal—so don’t. Instead, focus on the salary you deserve. Focus on that experience you have, or that degree. Focus on your work ethic and strengths. Focus on what you can do for the company, and how you will be an asset.

Be Flexible, but Realistic

It’s a good idea to have a salary range in mind, as oppose to one exact, fixed number as it helps you to be realistic throughout the process. This does not mean you should accept any salary offer, however. Think of salary negotiations like buying a house. You will likely have to compromise. So, consider how much compromise you’re willing to do, and have a “plan B” in the event that things don’t go as planned and you have to start searching for another opportunity.

 

Salary negotiations aren’t easy, but don’t let that stop you- especially if you’re deserving. Just breathe and push through the anxiety. And remember: You’ve got this.

 

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