Survey Results Reveal More Businesses Plan To Hire

america2017 is shaping up to be a great time to land a job. A recent survey conducted by Express Employment Professionals, found that 76% of businesses plan to hire new workers in the first quarter. Job openings are expected to be most significant in general labor positions with 32% of respondents planning to hire in that sector. Twenty-six percent plan to hire skilled labor, while another 20% plan to hire administrative and office clerical staff. Before you apply for that new position, we’ve come up with five things to do right now to gain a competitive advantage.

Clean Up Your Social Media

There’s a good chance that any prospective employer is going to check you out on social media. You will likely be out of the running before you get a foot in the door if a hiring manager sees unflattering or unprofessional photos on your social sites. Posts that show inappropriate behavior, references to drinking or drugs, and mean or negative posts can all be instant deal breakers. Google yourself and see what comes up. Then do your best to delete photos and posts that paint you in a negative light. If you’re tagged in unflattering posts on someone else’s social media, ask politely that they be deleted. Be persistent. Then consider changing your privacy settings to prevent being tagged without your permission.

Expand Your Online Presence

Think beyond Facebook. The goal is to create an online presence that is professional, gets the attention of potential employers, and reflects who you are and what you value. A good start is to create an effective LinkedIn account. Also, create a professional Twitter account and follow companies and business people that you admire. One key thing to remember about Twitter is to focus on others. It’s more about building relationships and having conversations. There are some good tips for first time Twitter users here. Photo-driven social media platform Instagram isn’t just for selfies and pictures of your lunch. It’s a great avenue to develop your personal brand and share what you’re passionate about in a more artistic and creative way. On whichever platforms you choose, remember that every post should have a purpose. Like tiles in a mosaic, they all combine to create an image of you.

Spread the Word

Now is the time to let people know you’re ready to go to work. Don’t limit yourself to social media and online searching. Many open positions are never posted online. That’s why it pays to contact former co-workers, teachers, friends, classmates, relatives, anyone and everyone who may be able to help you.

When networking, how you communicate your needs can make all the difference. People are more likely to lend a hand when they feel like they’re helping. So instead of asking, “Do you know anyone who’s hiring?” preface it with, “I need help finding a job. Can you think of anyone who’s hiring?” If you’re apprehensive, try these tips on asking for help that may make it easier.

Rework Your Resume

You may have heard this a dozen times, but tweaking your resume should be an on-going, work in progress. There are hundreds of posts online that offer resume advice. Here are a few key tips we gleaned. First, ditch the opening “goals and objectives” paragraph and replace it with a summary statement that focuses on what you have to offer, not the kind of job you want. Be sure to lead with the most relevant information according to the job you’re seeking. Add any new skills you attained and classes or workshops you attended. Be sure to include keywords featured in posts of the jobs you’re applying for. Then it’s time to edit. If your resume is more than one page, it’s too long. Get it down to one page with an 11 or 12 point font size. Next, proofread diligently. Ask friends to read your resume and offer honest, constructive feedback.

Sharpen Your Interview Skills

Take a cue from the Scouts and be prepared. Learn all you can about the prospective employer before your interview. Be ready when the interviewer asks, “So, tell me a little about yourself.” They’re not looking for your life story, as much as how the events of your life lead you to apply for the job and why you’re a good fit. Craft your story in a compelling way, that can be told in about a minute. Another common question that torments people is “What’s your weakness?” In answering this question, it’s OK to admit a flaw, but be ready to explain the steps you take to overcome it. Again, the internet is awash with ways to strengthen your interview skills. Here are a few interview tips that may just help you get a job offer.

How do you plan to prepare to be hired? Share your knowledge and experience in the comments section below.

How to Recognize Your Champion Mentors

Young architect taking direction from senior colleagueDid you know that January was National Mentoring Month? If you missed the celebration, it’s not too late to thank the mentors in your life who’ve helped you achieve personal or professional success.

Return the favor

Mentors usually take time out of their own schedules to help you accomplish a task or learn a new skill. To recognize and appreciate their sacrifice, find ways you can return the favor. If you don’t think you have anything to offer your mentor, think again. While it’s true you may not possess the same depth of knowledge or experience, your time can be just as valuable. Many mentors offer their help and guidance without expecting anything in return, but even little examples of appreciation can go a long way.

Make a list of things you can do to help your mentor in his or her everyday life. For example, if you’re really good at planning, offer to help plan their upcoming vacation. Or if you’re great with animals, offer to watch their dogs while they’re away. Think about the industry your mentor is in, and where he or she is in their career. If your mentor is in a leadership role, consider sending them relevant, insightful articles about leadership. Or, forward articles about the trends in their particular industry, so they don’t have to spend time searching on their own.

Pass it on

Do you have skills, experience, or knowledge in a particular industry or craft? Perhaps you’re a really great writer, you excel in math, or you know the ins and outs of a popular computer program. If so, have you considered becoming a mentor?

As a thank you to those who have helped you along your path, you may be able to pass the favor on to someone else. If you’ve never considered becoming a mentor, take a few minutes to list all of the things you excel in or the skills that help you stand out. Can you teach those skills to others? Do you have a hobby people want to learn? Did your mentor do such a great job guiding you that you now feel capable of doing the same for someone else? Whatever your unique skills are, explore how you may be able to pass them on to others.

Endorse your mentor

If you’re on LinkedIn, you’ve probably noticed the endorsement capabilities of the social network. Endorsing allows you to publicly praise someone you’ve worked with so others know they excel in those areas. For example, you might endorse a co-worker with a knack for creating spreadsheets. Or, your boss may endorse you for your organizational skills. To thank your mentors, consider finding them on LinkedIn, connecting, and endorsing their skill sets.

You can provide endorsements in various areas, but ensure that you’re being honest about the ones you choose. While providing endorsements is a wonderful gesture, it’s important to make sure your mentor promotes the skills you select. You can also write your mentor a reference for others to view on LinkedIn. Remember to keep it positive, specific, and encouraging.

Thank your mentor

It goes without saying that you should be thankful for your mentor. It’s an essential part of maintaining a great relationship and showing appreciation. Even if you don’t have the ability to mentor someone else, return the favor, or provide LinkedIn endorsements, and you can always send a thank-you note.

Take a moment to write a nice letter, send a simple handwritten card, or draft an email. Your words of appreciation will go a long way with your mentor, and may even encourage them to mentor someone else. Let your mentor know how they’ve changed you for the better, inspired you, or helped you succeed. Share your wins and accomplishments, and explain how they’ve helped you get there. Your success is just as important to your mentor, and chances are, they want to celebrate with you.

Find a mentor today
If you don’t have a mentor, it’s not too late to find one. No matter what stage of life you’re in, or where you are at on your career path, you can always benefit from the knowledge and experience of others. You may find a mentor in a local industry organization, through networking events, or at your school. There are plenty of opportunities, so remember to keep your eyes open for those who can guide you and help you succeed.

Do you have a mentor? How do you recognize and appreciate their support? Share your tips in the comments section below!

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

Calling Cupid: How to Love Your Job

ThinkstockPhotos-153429186For many employees, much of their time is spent in the workplace. So, being happy in your job is a very important part of your overall health and satisfaction. But, finding that happiness isn’t always easy.

If you don’t enjoy your work life as much as you could, take some time this Valentine’s Day to fall in love with your job. To help you channel your inner Cupid, we’ve outlined eight tips below!

Set boundaries

When you want to stand out in the workplace or make a great impression on your supervisor, it’s easy to let your work bleed over into your personal life. Answering a few emails at night, or working on a timely presentation during the weekend is fine, right? Not always. In fact, setting boundaries that encourage a strong work/life balance can help you better recognize the value in your job and increase your performance. According to the Huffington Post, setting boundaries “does require that you make your work hours more productive, but by not working outside of work, you’ll get the rest you need to be energized, and get more done while you’re there!”

Recognize your value

It’s easy to think your work is lackluster if you don’t understand the benefit you provide your company, or its customers. Take some time to evaluate the positive impact your workplace has on others, and determine where you fit into that experience. For example, if you work in customer service, explore the ways in which you help customers solve problems or offer solutions. If you work in a manufacturing company, think about the end use of the products you help build. Chances are, those products add ease, entertainment, or benefit to the lives of your customers. When you can recognize the value you add to your company, or even your community, you may discover a stronger sense of purpose in your work.

 

Focus on the perks

Even if you’re truly dissatisfied with your job, there’s bound to be at least one thing you do enjoy about your work. Take a moment to list all of the things you like about your job, as well as the benefits your company offers. This may include health insurance, opportunities to volunteer, paid time off, holiday time, or other benefits. What about the company dress code? Is there coffee in the break room? Does your workplace offer a cafeteria, gym, or park? Maybe it’s your co-workers who make your day enjoyable. Whatever the perks may be, write them down and put them into perspective.

 

Eliminate boredom

If you’re bored at work, you’re probably not going to enjoy it. Instead of dwelling on repetitive tasks or projects that bring you down, challenge yourself to look for things that may bring you more joy. For example, if you’re required to perform the same series of tasks every day, try to liven up your routine. This may be as simple as getting up and walking around the office after you complete a task, or competing with a co-worker to see who can be more productive. You may also consider volunteering for new assignments and projects, if your schedule allows. This way, you can try new things and show your supervisor that you’re willing to step in when needed.

 

Grow your skills

When you allow yourself to learn a new skill, you open up a world of possibilities. Plus, you may find renewed enjoyment out of your work. Consider signing up for an educational program, joining a group in your industry, or researching trends that are relevant to your business. You could even start a group among your co-workers to read new books, present findings, or learn from each other. Chances are, the skills you learn will help you in your role, as well as reignite your passion for the work you do.

 

Find your happy place

We’ve all heard the advice to “find your happy place.” But, what does that actually mean? In short, it’s just a reminder to find a mental state that encourages you to relax, recharge, and calm down. When your workday gets stressful or you feel overwhelmed, find your happy place. It could be the beach where you last vacationed, the recliner in your living room, or the kitchen of a family member. Wherever your happy place is, create a strong mental picture and explore that image when you become bogged down. According to a Forbes article, “The very action of directing your attention away from your work opens up the door in your day for a respite, a restart, and a new view. It’s reviving and centering at the same time.”

 

Respect your clock
If you’re not prioritizing your tasks, you may sacrifice both productivity and happiness. Instead of working around the clock on the wall, learn to work around your biological clock. When you wake up and start your day, your energy levels are typically pretty high. You haven’t exerted much energy yet, and your body isn’t as tired as it may be later in the day. Use that time to tackle difficult tasks on your to-do list, and save easier tasks for the afternoon slump. This may help you prioritize your work, increase productivity, and eliminate burnout.

 

Take a break
Ask yourself this question: Do you take breaks at work? Not bathroom breaks or trips to the water fountain, but actual breaks that allow your mind and body to recharge? If you’re not taking small breaks throughout your day, you may overwork yourself, which can lead to dissatisfaction in the workplace. When your schedule allows, take a few minutes to stop what you’re doing and recharge your batteries. Simply standing up and stretching can help you refocus on your work and eliminate stress. Consider adding a reminder to your calendar that will alert you every few hours to stand up, get a drink, or take a look outside. When you find ways to relax and reconnect with your work, you may learn to love it.

 

What do you love about your job? Share your stories in the comments section below!

 

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

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?

Trust

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.

Energy

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.

Accountable

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.

Mentality

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.