Monthly Archives: February 2017

Poll Results: What are Your Career Goals for 2017?

goalsThe start of a new year is a perfect opportunity for a fresh start and a chance to take inventory of what you want to accomplish for the year. In December, we asked our Movin’ On Up Readers what their career goals were for 2017, and they are ambitious.

Twenty-two percent said they want to learn a new skill this year, while 18% said they are going to get a job. A total of 14% aim to change jobs, and “get a raise” came in just under that at 13%.

Other results include:

  • Join a professional organization — 10%
  • Get a promotion — 9%
  • Go to school — 7%
  • Graduate — 3%

In addition, 5% of readers selected “other” and cited the following reasons:

  • Open my own business
  • Do what I love to do
  • Become a great leader
  • Grow my team to the next level

Learn a New Skill

Whether you are looking to get a promotion this year or change careers, learning a new skill can really impress your boss or the hiring manager. Luckily, there are plenty of free resources online that cater to a wide range of careers, so there’s something for everyone.

If you don’t have the time for a class, there are also some other creative ways to weave learning a new skill into your daily life, such as subscribing to industry blogs and newsletters and meeting with the leaders of your company.

Land That New Job

Before you start filling out applications, take the time to optimize your resume. Do you have the right keywords to match a job description? Are there grammatical errors? Check out these five resume tips to help you land that job.

And don’t get discouraged if you don’t get your dream job right away. The job search is different for everyone and it’s important to take care of your health during that time. Remember to take breaks from writing cover letters and do something you enjoy, like going for a walk or working in the garden.

What are some other career goals you’ve set for 2017? Let us know in the comments below!

T.E.A.M. What Does It Really Mean?

ThinkstockPhotos-80621060For most workers in the professional world, working in a group setting is the norm and being on your own is unlikely. That means you need to have the skills to be both productive and efficient on a team. But what are the specific skills and attitudes that make someone successful in this common workplace dynamic?


If you’re new to working as part of a team, there are several things you can do to contribute to the success of the team while building trust.

So how can you start building trust with your new teammates? According to an article from Monster, increasing trust includes avoiding language that focuses on “me” instead of “we,” communicating openly and honestly, and accepting constructive critique.

Additionally, it’s important to keep your word. If you promise to do research for a proposal and have it ready before the deadline, for example, try to have the research completed a week earlier. Building trust can go a long way towards a team’s success.


Think about the type of co-worker you would like to see in your job. What type of attitude or perspective do they bring to work each day? Is it one of just getting by and doing the bare minimum without much excitement for the work or the goals of the team?

Being part of a team requires energy that can help move the team forward and inspire them to achieve more together than they could ever do on their own. More often than not, the people who bring an energetic spirit to their jobs are the ones who see long-term success.


For those who prefer working on their own, one of the challenges to working as part of a team is the issue of accountability. If the only person you’ve ever been accountable to yourself, then a setting where others are counting on you to come through could be tough.

But don’t let this stop you or hold you back. Often, the key to success is the outlook you have on the situation. In this instance, it is helpful to remember that while the team setting may require accountability, it also means you have partners to help accomplish the goal.

Your teammates should be invested in seeing you succeed, because it means they’re more likely to succeed when the team does well.


A key element to fitting in with a team is to have the right mentality. That means being positive in the face of tough circumstances, communicating openly about your concerns or hesitations, and being open to constructive criticism that leads to your growth as a professional.

If you were leading a team, what type of people would you want around you? Those with negative attitudes that bring a pessimistic outlook to the job each day, or people who are willing to work together to accomplish a goal while having a joyful and encouraging spirit?

If you’re not already a part of team, it’s very likely that you will at some point in your career, so preparing yourself now is essential for a positive experience.

What other attributes or skills do you think are needed to be successful on a team? Let us know in the comments section.

6 Things You Must Bring to a Job Fair

job fairAre you planning to attend a job fair? Have you gone to one, but didn’t feel prepared? Navigating the waters of a career fair can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.


As a general rule, companies won’t participate in a job fair unless they have jobs to offer. With few exceptions, companies typically can’t afford to waste their time, money, and resources if they don’t expect to gain valuable candidates to fill current or future positions. So, be sure you are prepared for the event, as you never know what important connections you might make.


To help you prepare for your next job fair, we’ve collected a list of six things you should bring with you.


1. Your Research

If possible, make a list of companies that will attend the job fair. If you can’t find this information on the event flier or other pieces of communication, give the coordinator of the event a call. Once you have that list, start researching. Visit the websites of all participating companies, read their press releases, and understand their mission statements. When you arrive at the job fair, you’ll not only have a better understanding of the companies you meet, but you’ll also have working knowledge of what they do. This can help you stand out amongst the crowd of jobseekers and impress potential employers.


2. Your Elevator Pitch

Do you have a short, 30-second pitch that sums up your skills and experience? If not, get started today. Just like you would with a product or service, you need to develop a way to sell yourself to potential employers. Think about what sets you apart from the pack, and focus on your education, experience, and unique skills. Keep your overall objective in mind when writing your elevator pitch, too. For example, if you’re seeking work that will allow you to use your engineering education in a nonprofit organization, say so. And, remember to practice your pitch with a friend or family member before you head to the fair.


3. Copies of Your Resume

This one may seem obvious, but don’t let it fall through the cracks. You need to have plenty of copies of your resume, which should be updated, proofread, and error-free. Remember to bring tailored resumes if you plan to explore jobs in more than one field. For example, if you are interested in both accounting and education, bring resumes that best represent your skills and experience in each. You can also bring business cards, if applicable, to hand out to recruiters.


4. A Portfolio

If your career is one that might require a portfolio, feel free to bring it with you. A portfolio showcases your work in a certain area or field, and it can be a great way to get your foot in the door with a potential company. But remember to wait for the appropriate time to show off your portfolio. Instead of forcing it upon a company, wait for a break or official request to introduce it.


5. Appropriate Clothes

Show up to career fairs as though you’re going to an interview. This is the recruiter’s first impression of you, so make it a good one. No matter if you’re applying for a professional job or light industrial position, always wear business attire. This may help you stand out in the crowd, and is a sure-fire way to up your professional game. Think about it—you wouldn’t want to meet a potential employer in your pajamas or athletic attire, right? When you go to a job fair, you may end up meeting your next boss. So, be sure you’re dressed for the success they expect from you.


6. Pens and Paper
There may be hundreds of employers at any given job fair so it’s important to take notes. When you speak with a company, they may provide you with the name of a recruiter or hiring manager. They may even set up a time for an interview, or a phone number for following up. And it’s also a good idea to make reminders of who you talked to, what they were wearing, and your thoughts. This will help you remember those you met when you get back home. If you don’t have a way to keep track of that information, you may throw away your chance of getting the job. Make sure you keep track of all resources you take home from the fair, and don’t forget who you need to follow-up with after the event.


Good luck at your next career fair! Remember, of all the things you should bring with you, your positive attitude and confidence are some of the most important.

What are your go-to job fair tips? Share with us in the comments section below!


Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals. 

Super Bowl Leadership Lessons

footballWith the biggest game of the year upon us, many this weekend with focus on the matchup between the two teams, the legacy of the players who end up on the winning side, the commercials that will win the day, or the number of Buffalo wings they’ll consume.

But the Super Bowl also offers many lessons for people pursuing success in their professional lives. Throughout the years, many players who have shined on the biggest stage of professional football have gone on to lengthy and successful careers.

Troy Aikman

In 1990, if you asked any football fan or expert about the prospect of Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman becoming a Hall of Fame player and Super Bowl champion, it’s unlikely you’d find any who would think there was a chance of that happening. The Cowboys didn’t win a game with Aikman as the starting quarterback, and he threw twice as many interceptions as touchdowns.

So what happened over the next two years that would lead to the Cowboys winning Super Bowl XXVII and Aikman being named the MVP?

Over those two years, Aikman grew and matured while the Cowboys organization surrounded him with a talented offensive line and future hall of famers in Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith.

If you’re just starting your career and gaining experience in your work, don’t give up. Understand that success takes time and that as you learn more about your career field, you will experience more wins.

The other lesson to remember is that nothing is accomplished on your own. A successful career is often the result of teamwork, so make sure to learn from those around you and thank them along the way.

Hines Ward

Known for his toughness, resiliency, and big smile, Hines Ward’s story is one of perseverance through tough circumstances.

Ward was a highly regarded wide receiver coming out of college in 1998, with many expecting him to be one of the top five receivers selected in the pro draft. But before the draft, it was discovered that Ward was missing an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee from a bicycle accident during his childhood.

This news made many teams wary of his health, and Ward fell from being one of the top receivers in the draft to being the 12th receiver taken when the Pittsburgh Steelers selected him in the third round.

Over the next seven seasons, Ward and the Steelers found success but came up short of their ultimate goal, a Super Bowl trophy. Then, in 2005, the Steelers won Super Bowl XL and Ward was named the MVP.

Throughout his career, Ward was known for his willingness to block for teammates and make the catches that would leave him vulnerable to big hits. This sacrifice for the good of the team towards a common goal is a lesson we can all take to heart in our professional lives.

Von Miller

The most recent Super Bowl MVP, Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller has played the majority of his young career with a spotlight on his efforts and an expectation of success.

Drafted second overall in 2011 by the Broncos, Miller was anticipated to be a highly successful player who could lead the rebuilding of the team’s defense. While he saw success early on and the Broncos became a contender, toward the end of the 2013 season, Miller tore his ACL and watched as his team made it to Super Bowl XLVIII. From the sidelines, he watched the Broncos suffer one of the worst losses in Super Bowl history, falling to the Seattle Seahawks, 43-8.

Two years later, Miller helped lead his team to another chance for a championship as the Broncos made another appearance in the Super Bowl. Instead of standing on the sidelines, Miller was instrumental in the Broncos victory, forcing two fumbles and winning Super Bowl MVP.

Just like Von Miller, many of us have expectations set on us for success, whether from leaders at work or friends and family members at home. Those expectations may put a heavy weight on our shoulders, but they can also move us to work harder knowing that others have confidence in our abilities.

And when setbacks happen, we know from the stories of each of these Super Bowl MVPs, they don’t have to define us. We can grow, learn, and reach new heights if we’re willing to put in the effort and fight to see success.

What other prime-time performers from past Super Bowls can teach us career lessons? Let us know in the comments section.

Be A Teamwork Champion

teamworkIn a few days, the top two teams in professional football take the field to determine who will become Super Bowl champions. It’s the ultimate team endeavor. Each side consists of as many as 200 people: players, coaching staff, and support personnel, each with a specific duty. All play a part in determining whether the game will end in victory or defeat, from the star quarterback who leads the players on the field, to the equipment manager who decides what type of cleats to attach to the player’s shoes. The pressure and level of scrutiny is beyond intense, with millions of people judging every play, every action, and every decision made both on the field and on the sidelines.

You’ve probably been part of a team at some point in your work career. And while your team may not be as widely analyzed as a pro sports team, the outcome can be every bit as important. How you execute your role and how you interact with your team will affect your success and your future. It’s no small task to navigate the complexities of diverse personalities, each with unique skills and different levels of commitment to the goal. Whether or not you’re a sports fan, there are lessons from the gridiron on being a great team player that you can adapt to the workplace.

Know Your Role

It’s important to understand your role on the team, so you know what is expected of you. It’s also important to know the responsibilities of the other team members and how you will interact with them to meet your goal. Once you understand your role, commit to it. If you’re unsure of your role or responsibility, ask your team leader for clarification. As you undertake your responsibilities, don’t assume everyone knows what you know. One of the keys to team success is communication. So share your knowledge and expertise, but at the same time be receptive to the ideas and experience of others.

Be Ready to Step Up

You may be called upon to assume more responsibility if the team dynamic changes, for example, if someone leaves or gets promoted. You’ll set yourself up for failure if you just sit on the sidelines, not paying attention or staying up to date on the project. If you’re unprepared, and the need arises for someone to step in and assume greater responsibilities, you’ll either be passed over for a colleague who’s more prepared or you’ll step in the new role and be quickly betrayed by your lack of preparation. So stay informed and be ready. You don’t have to know everything, just enough to hit the ground running when your number is called.

Don’t Expect Equal Participation

Participation and effort in a team situation will never be equally balanced between all members.  Some will be called on to contribute more due to their experience and knowledge. If you feel someone isn’t pulling their weight, it may be due to a lack of experience or knowledge about the objective. They may lack confidence in their ability. Or a team member may not be engaged in the effort. Don’t waste energy worrying about who’s not doing their fair share of the work. Focus on your responsibilities first. If you believe you can take on additional duties, or help someone who seems to be struggling, approach your team leader and offer to help.

Respect is Earned

You may feel qualified to take on greater responsibility, but don’t get the opportunity or recognition you deserve. If you’re a new or untested employee, you have to demonstrate that you have both the ability and the disposition to lead. And that takes time. You’ll earn respect by being reliable, eager, positive, and encouraging. One of the most effective ways to gain respect is to give it. Show respect to people and their opinions.

Put the Team Ahead of Personality Issues

You don’t have to be best friends with everyone on the team. But you do have to work together amicably. In the event of a personality clash, do your best to separate the person from their perspective. Don’t be quick to dismiss an idea just because you don’t see eye to eye with someone. If you believe a teammate is sabotaging the effort, don’t call them out. Bring up the matter with your team leader in private. Be aware that how you present your concerns will say a lot to your leader about how you deal with conflict. Focus on the issue, not the personality.

What qualities come to mind when you imagine a great team member? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.