Getting a Late Start

You wake up one morning in a panic; it’s 8:15 and you need to leave in the next ten minutes or risk being very late for work. We have all been there before, and we will probably be there again, so make sure you have a “get ready quick” plan in place for those dreaded mornings.

  1. Have a couple back-up outfits ready and waiting in your closet. Each season, pick out two outfits you can throw on in a flash. Try them on to make sure you are happy with the look and fit, and set them aside in your closet. This way, when your alarm fails to go off in the morning, you won’t have to spend any time in front of your closet making heavy decisions.
  1. Have a couple on-the-go breakfasts ready. Don’t skip breakfast when you’re in a rush, take it with you instead! Grab a banana or a granola bar on your way out the door to make sure you’re properly fueled and ready to face another day of work.
  1. Invest in some dry shampoo. If you don’t have enough time to wash your hair in the morning, dry shampoo is a great alternative for touching up your roots.
  1. Call your boss. If you are running late in the morning and unsure whether or not you’ll make it to work on time, let your boss know ahead of time. Explain your situation and let them know you will be there as soon as possible, and apologize for the inconvenience.
  1. Stay calm, cool and collected. Working yourself into a frenzy while rushing out the door is a bad start for an even worse day. Keep your calm and recognize that mistakes happen before stressing out too much. You are sure to have a better day all around and avoid making any further mistakes if you keep your composure.

When to Consider Temporary Work

While a full-time, permanent position is the ideal for most professionals in the workforce, temporary positions can be a great option for many people who find themselves looking for additional income and/or experience while pursuing that permanent job. Below, we have listed several situations where temporary work could be beneficial to your search for a permanent position. Although, our list is definitely not comprehensive; temporary work can be a great option for just about anyone.

  • Recent Graduates: Temping is a great option for recent graduates who do not have a permanent position lined up upon graduation.
    • Temp work can help give college graduates more real world, professional experience to add to their resume, especially if they did not complete any internships or work study programs while in school.
    • Also, temping can help fill in the employment gap on your resume between graduation and starting your first permanent position. Potential employers will be impressed to see that you have been working and gaining experience while pursuing more full-time work.
    • Temp work can help get your foot in the door with a company that you would not otherwise have access to. If the company you are temping for is pleased with your work, they could consider you for any full-time openings they have.
  • Professionals In Between Employment: Temping is also a great option for more experienced professionals who find themselves in between permanent positions.
    • As for recent graduates, temp work can help fill in employment gaps on your resume.  Even if the temp work you are doing isn’t exactly relevant to your career goals, at least you can show a potential employer that you have not been sitting idly while searching for a new position.
    • Temporary work is also a great source of income for those in between jobs. While you probably won’t make as much as you were in your last permanent position, a little money is better than no money.
    • Temp jobs can also help expose you to new industries or environments that you might not have had the opportunity to explore otherwise. You might find a new interest or change your career goals after having a great experience temping within a different industry.
  • Not Quite Yet Retirees: Temp work is an excellent option for professionals who have decided to end their full-time careers, but aren’t quite ready to stop working altogether.
    • A lot of experienced professionals who have decided to retire from their full-time jobs are still looking for part time work to bring in a little additional income or help fill their suddenly empty schedules.
    • Temp work is a great option for these not quite retired professionals, because they can do short term or daily assignments, without making a long-term commitment.
    • Professionals with a full career under their wing have years of experience to offer staffing agencies. They are typically viewed as more reliable, hardworking temps than professionals with very little work experience.

The aforementioned groups of professionals all make valuable candidates for temporary work and should consider picking up temp assignments if they are in the job market. Although just about anyone who finds themselves out of work should definitely consider temping. The only reason we would deter a candidate from considering temporary work is if they already have a steady, permanent job with a stable salary.

How to Decode Job Posting Jargon

Job postings are typically vague and it can be hard to figure out exactly what a company is looking for. To help make your job search a little easier, we’ve provided a list of common terms used in job postings and decoded their meaning with some help from Glassdoor.com. Check out the full article in the link below.

  1. Passionate
    • What it means: Ignore this word’s more romantic associations. When it’s used in a job posting, hiring managers typically mean “enthusiastic.”
    • How to demonstrate it: Research the company and position before applying. Mention any relevant information you find in your cover letter to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job.
  2. Dynamic
    • What it means: A dynamic candidate will have a lot of skills to bring to the table. They are also active, creative, and confident. Someone who can take initiative and doesn’t need to constantly prompted with more work.
    • How to demonstrate it: Prove your dynamism on your resume by showing examples of ways you’ve taken initiative in the workplace.
  3. Self-starter
    • What it means: Being a self-starter means you are able to take initiative. It can also mean that a hiring manager needs someone who can “hit the ground running” and won’t require a ton of training to get acclimated in their new role.
    • How to demonstrate it: Show that you have the capacity to learn quickly by highlighting that your skills and experience are a close match to what the employer is looking for.
  4. Flexible
    • What it means: A flexible candidate is able to take on tasks outside of their basic job description. They are also willing and able to work long hours when needed to meet a deadline.
    • How to demonstrate it: Mention specific examples of times you stayed late to finish a project or took on a job outside of your typical responsibilities.
  5. Team Player
    • What it means: This is a candidate who works well with others and can contribute as part of a team.
    • How to demonstrate it: Cite examples of times you worked with a group to finish a project. You can also mention sports or recreational leagues you are a part of, which can demonstrate your willingness to participate as a team member.

 

 

http://www.glassdoor.com/blog/decode-job-opening-jargon/

 

Etiquette for New Hires

Landing a new job isn’t always easy, and often you need to rely on your networking contacts to help you find the right fit. If you recently started a new position, there may be friends or acquaintances that helped you out along the way, and it’s important to show them your gratitude. Here are some suggestions for doing just that:

  1. Send a handwritten thank you note: It may seem a bit old-fashioned, but a handwritten note shows you took the time to express your gratitude. In the end, this small act can reaffirm why a networking contact was so eager to assist you in the first place.
  2. Send a thank you email: Since an email is a bit less personal, it can be a good option for thanking contacts who you know more on an acquaintance level. It will still acknowledge their efforts while showing your appreciation.
  3. Send a small gift: This could be anything from personalized post-it notes, to a small gift basket, or even a box of chocolates. Sending a small token can be an even more personalized gesture than writing a note.
  4. Buy them a meal or drink: Taking someone out for a meal or a drink on you is a great opportunity to not only express your gratitude, but to also fill them in on how your new job is going.

Tips for Metro Riders

If you are one of those lucky Washingtonians who doesn’t have to battle through traffic on the Beltway every morning to commute to work, you most likely take the metro! Learn how to make your metro commute easier, safer, and all around more enjoyable by following the tips below:

  1. Buy a SmartTrip Card: Not only will these cards get you through the turnstiles a little more quickly; they also save you up to a dollar or more on every trip!
  2. Wear comfortable shoes: Commuting via metro typically means that you will have to do a bit of walking to get to and from the station, so wear comfortable shoes and bring your work shoes in a separate bag if necessary.
  3. Hold onto your bags at all times: Holding onto your bags will not only protect you from theft, but it’s also considerate for other passengers to keep your bags off the floor and seats.
  4. Keep your fare card handy: While you want to keep your fare or SmartTrip card somewhere safe, you also want to have it easily accessible so that you don’t have to hunt through your entire purse or wallet to find it when exiting the metro.
  5. Stand right, walk left: This rule of thumb applies to riding the escalators. If you are standing, stand to the right, this leaves the left side open for walking passengers to pass by you unobstructed.
  6. Report any suspicious behavior or unattended bags: Metro police request that passengers report any suspicious behavior or unattended bags they notice to a uniformed metro worker or police officer. This action will help keep you and other riders safe while on the metro.
  7. Plan your trips ahead of time: If you are a daily commuter, you probably know what time your train arrives every morning, but it’s always a good idea to check for any metro delays or alerts before you leave the house to avoid any interruptions to your routine.

Increase Your Chances of Being Hired in 5 Minutes or Less

As we have mentioned previously, searching for work can be a full-time job in itself. Although, there are also some easy changes you can make in less than five minutes that can greatly increase your chances of finding employment. We have shared a few examples below:

Update your email address: The email address listed on your resume should be professional, not personal. For example, john.doe@gmail.com is much more professional than johnnyd1422@gmail.com.

  1. Update your voicemail greeting: Again, you should aim to have a professional voicemail greeting attached to the number provided on your resume. Instead of, “Hey it’s me, leave me a message,” you should use, “You’ve reached the cell phone of John Doe, please leave me a message and I will get back to you as soon as possible.”
  2. Read your resume out loud: Reading your resume out loud can allow you to hear minor wording errors or notice spelling mistakes that you might have missed while reading it on your computer. The eye is apt to scan over any mistakes and correct them automatically in your head as you read, but your ear can’t be fooled as easily.
  3. Get a haircut: Looking professional and polished in an interview can be the key to receiving a job offer. Always be prepared for an interview and maintain a professional appearance by getting your hair cut regularly.
  4. Set your alarm: If you are a recent college graduate or a young professional looking for their first full-time job, you are probably not used to a regular nine to five schedule. If you keep your sleep schedule regulated while you are unemployed you will have a much easier time transitioning into full-time work. Also, that age-old saying about the early bird catching the worm applies to job searching, too!

Writing a Professional Email

Whether you are a job seeker applying for positions and corresponding with hiring managers, or a working professional writing to coworkers, superiors and clients, being able to write a professional email is a critical skill. Learn how to avoid making simple mistakes and seeming unprofessional by following our tips below:

  1. Attach your documents FIRST.
    • Before you do anything else, attach any documents you need to include. For example: your resume, a report, etc.
    • If you’ve ever sent an email and realized a second too late that you’ve forgotten to include the attachment, this tip will definitely benefit you!
  2. Fill in your contact’s email address LAST:
    • This way, if you accidentally hit send before your email is finished it will not go to your intended recipient.
  3. Set up an automatic signature with your phone number and email address:
    • Then you’ll never have to worry about including your contact information in your emails.
  4. Proofread out loud:
    • Always read your emails aloud before sending them. Your ear will pick up on any spelling, wording, or grammar mistakes that you might have missed otherwise.
  5. Choose your subject line AFTER writing the body of your email:
    • Your email subject should reflect what is written in your email, so it’s easier to choose a more relevant subject line once you know exactly what your email will say.

Transitioning into Fall

With the weather slowly getting colder and the days getting shorter, it can be difficult for professionals to transition from their fun summer schedules into the hectic end-of-year rush. We have provided some advice below that is sure to help any professional stay positive and upbeat during their transition into fall.

1. Soak up as much daylight as possible:

  • In the winter, working professionals can end up spending all of their daylight hours indoors, so take advantage of the sun whenever possible.
  • Take a walk outside during your lunch break or volunteer to run errands for the office in order to get some time with the sun.
  • There are also tons of fun outdoor activities that you can pursue over your fall weekends such as picking apples, visiting a pumpkin patch, or heading to a local winery.

2. Exercise regularly:

  • It’s easy to fall into an exercise-rut during the winter months, so try to get into a work out routine that you can maintain throughout the season.
  • Exercising boosts endorphins, which in turn boost your energy and happiness levels.

3. Take a new class:

  • The fall is widely recognized as back-to-school season and that doesn’t mean just for the kids!
  • Take advantage of the new school year and learn a new skill by taking a software course, certification class, or even a new fitness class.

4. Fall cleaning:

  • Everyone has heard of spring-cleaning, but fall is also a great time to get organized and tidy up after a busy summer.
  • Organize your desk and files to ensure you have your work in order before the big end-of-year rush kicks in.

5. Update your winter wardrobe:

  • With the summer coming to a close, it’s time to put away your short sleeves and take out your cold-weather clothing.
  • Take advantage of back-to-school clothing sales to fill your wardrobe with professional yet warm pieces that could easily transition from weekday to weekend.

Three Ways to Avoid Wasting Your Time

When you’re unemployed, job searching can take up the majority of your free time, so it’s important you use that time wisely. Below we have included a few tips on how to make sure every second you spend on the job hunt is time well spent.

  1. Devote a time and place to job search:
    • Rather than casually browsing job sites all day while you eat, watch television or listen to the radio, set aside a certain amount of time each day to devote to your job search. If you allot a certain time period to job searching and nothing else, you will be more focused and productive.
    • You should also assign a particular area of your house or even the local coffee shop as your devoted job search destination. Job-hunting from your couch in front of the television could be a distracting waste of your time.
  2. Apply for jobs you are qualified for:
    • The most common way job seekers waste their time is by applying for jobs they are over or under qualified for. While it doesn’t hurt you to apply for a job you aren’t qualified for, it’s definitely a waste of time.
    • Most job seekers believe they have to submit their resume to as many opportunities as possible in order to increase their chances of landing an interview, but in the end, you are wasting your time applying for any job you aren’t qualified for.
    • The same thing goes for jobs you are overqualified for. With the job market still doing poorly, most job seekers are willing to take pay and responsibility cuts in order to land a position. While you might think that companies would want to hire someone with even more experience than they are looking for, the opposite is usually true. An employer does not want to bring on an employee that would be taking a huge pay cut for the position, because there is nothing to stop them from leaving as soon as they find a better (higher-paying) opportunity. This situation would leave them back where they started, looking for a qualified candidate to fill the opening. In a sense, hiring an overqualified employee could be a waste of their time, as well as yours.
  3. Research the companies and positions you are applying for:
    • Even if you apply for a position you are qualified for, you should still make sure the company is a place you would be comfortable working at. Spending a little extra time researching the company could end up saving you from wasting a lot more time further down the line.
    • For example, say you apply for a position with a company you haven’t researched and they bring you in for an interview. During that interview you realize that the company is not a place you would want to work for due to a disagreement in values, money, policy, etc. You will have wasted your time prepping for and going to the interview, and you will also have wasted the company and hiring manager’s time.

Follow these simple tips and you will be sure to increase your productivity while on the job search!

Why it’s Important to Highlight Your Soft Skills in an Interview

According to an article in the latest edition of the American Staffing Association’s bi-monthly magazine, Staffing Success, most employers believe that a candidate’s soft skills are just as important as their hard skills. Soft skills are defined as “less tangible traits associated with one’s personality, such as a positive attitude,” and hard skills are “abilities that are learned to perform a specific job function and can be measured, such as operating a computer program.”

The article also cites a survey completed by CareerBuilder of more than 2,000 hiring managers and human resources professionals. The survey found the top ten most desirable soft skills that companies say they look for when hiring. We’ve included the list below:

  • Strong work ethic – 73%
  • Dependability – 73%
  • Positive attitude – 72%
  • Self-motivated – 66%
  • Team-oriented – 60%
  • Organization – 57%
  • Works well under pressure – 57%
  • Effective communicator – 56%
  • Flexibility – 51%
  • Confidence – 46%