Have You Had More Jobs Than Barbie?

This winter, Barbie will embark on her 126th career, this time as a computer engineer – an unbelievable number, considering she just turned 50. Over the years, Barbie’s résumé has included everything from rock star to astronaut. She’s climbed the corporate ladder from secretary to CEO. Whether it’s a race car driver or a presidential candidate, Barbie has worn a variety of hats in the workplace.

While 126 jobs in 50 years might be frowned upon in the real world, gone are the days where individuals worked at the same company for their entire career. So, we want to know, how close do you come to Barbie’s record?

6 Ways to Advance Your Career in 60 Seconds or Less

Moving up the career ladder can sometimes seem like an impossible feat – more like climbing the highest mountain than reaching for the next step. But steps are exactly what it takes to get where you are going. With each step you take forward – even a little one – you’re that much closer to your goal. So, in honor of Career Development Month, here are seven steps you can take in 60 seconds or less to help you develop your career and move up the ladder.

1. Rehearse your elevator speech.
As the saying goes, practice does make perfect. So, take a minute to practice your elevator speech because you never know when you’re going to need a short, targeted message to grab the interest of a potential employer.

2. Get a professional e-mail address.
If you’re looking to advance your career in a new job, make sure you have a professional e-mail address to help your résumé make a great first impression to employers. You’ll be surprised by what a difference it makes.

3. Type out a quick e-mail to request a letter of reference from a past employer.
A glowing letter of recommendation is a must for job seekers. So, take just a moment to e-mail or call a past employer and request a letter of recommendation you can use in your job hunt. They can even post their reference on your LinkedIn page! 

4. Scan your résumé for typos.
Typos on a résumé are an absolute don’t. So, take the time to clean yours up by scanning your résumé for any errors before sending it out to potential employers. And, while you’re at it, don’t forget to add some power words to give your résumé the punch it needs to get you noticed. 

5. Schedule a meeting to discuss a career path with your employer.
It may seem a little intimidating, but if you’re interested in climbing the ladder at your current company, schedule a meeting with your boss to discuss potential career path. It’s important to understand your options and to know what it will take to get you there. So, take the first step and get a meeting set up now.

6. Scan your Facebook page.
When you’re looking to advance your career with a new job, first impressions are everything. Many employers now search social media sites to find out what they can about potential applicants. So, if your Facebook page isn’t set to private or you don’t have a separate page for professional purposes, make sure you take a minute to scan your profile for any content or pictures that could be deemed unprofessional.  

There are lots of ways you can work to develop your career, whether it’s checking out some books on leadership at your local library or taking some classes at a local college. Get started today by taking a few quick steps forward, and you’ll be surprised how far you get.

The Instant Way to Boost Your Mood at Work

Feeling frustrated, stressed, or down at work or on the job hunt? If you want to boost your mood, experts suggest you try smiling. Research shows that facial expressions not only reflect emotions, they also impact them. When you smile, you actually end up feeling happier. So the next time you’re upset about a project that isn’t going well, the interview you didn’t get, or something your boss or co-worker said, take it in stride and smile even if you don’t feel like it.

If you can’t even fake a smile, think of a joke or a favorite memory, talk with a friend, or try watching a funny video of a baby laughing. Soon, you won’t be able to stop yourself from showing off your pearly whites.

When you’re happier and less stressed, you’re also more productive and focused – a must for getting the job done. And, since emotions can be contagious, having a good attitude could positively influence your team, your boss, or a potential employer. So, if you’re feeling the weight of a heavy workload or a difficult job search, turn your frown upside down, and watch your mood change instantly for a positive outlook that’s catching.

Please note, the video clips herein and their sponsors do not necessarily represent the views of Express and are used for educational purposes only.

How Sick Have You Shown Up to Work?

When you’re sick, going to work is the last thing you want to do. But, with heavier workloads and fewer employees to help cover for absent employees, for some, staying home from work doesn’t always seem like an option.

When you’re not feeling well, it can be hard to focus on the tasks at hand at work and you run the risk of making mistakes or taking longer to complete assignments. This October, as flu season begins, take the advice of physicians and stay home when you’re too sick to work. Staying home can lead to a quicker recovery that gets you back to 100% faster.

What’s Most Important to You in a Career?

Personal incomes were up 0.2% in July, according to the U.S. Commerce Department, which could in part stem from businesses reinstating salary increases and other benefits that were cut or frozen in 2009. As the economy improves and businesses look for more ways to increase employee engagement and retain their key workforce, we want to know what you value most in your job.

Tough Conversations with Your Boss: Surviving the Uncomfortable

You agonize over it. You try to prepare for it. You put it off. And then you worry some more. Having conversations with your boss about sensitive subjects like admitting a mistake or requesting a raise is sometimes uncomfortable. And, gearing up for a difficult conversation can be a little bit like preparing for battle. It’s hard to know what you’ll face.

See Dwight Schrute’s action packed effort to get ready to ask for a raise on The Office.

But, tough conversations are an inevitable part of the workplace. At one time or another, you will probably be faced with an awkward conversation with a supervisor or co-worker. By choosing to address your concerns – instead of ignoring them – with your manager, you could open the door for big progress in your career, like improvements in your relationship with your boss, broken processes, your attitude, and even your paycheck. Plus, how you handle a difficult conversation with your boss now can be a great learning experience for future conversations you could have as a leader or supervisor in the future.

To help you effectively handle a tough conversation with your boss, Express is excited to share a free podcast training series on difficult workplace conversations. So, before your next uncomfortable conversation with your supervisor, gear up with these tips and advice to make discussions a little bit easier.

Clarifying Priorities
When your workload is overwhelming and your task list seems endless, things can quickly get out of hand. Having a clear understanding of your work priorities and deadlines is important. When you need direction on your responsibilities, have a conversation with your boss to keep things from falling through the cracks. Knowing exactly what’s expected of you will allow you to do your job as efficiently as possible. When you meet with your manager, be specific and honest about your concerns. Together, come up with a solution that works for you both. Check out this podcast for tips and advice on having a tough conversation about priorities with your boss.

Admitting a Mistake
Admitting that you’ve made a mistake can be one of the most difficult conversations to have. It’s always hard to swallow your pride and tell someone you messed up. But, instigating a conversation about a mistake you made is far better than being confronted about it later. If you’ve made an error that could affect your company or co-workers, don’t try to hide it. Be proactive and take responsibility. Be honest with your supervisor no matter how difficult it may feel and admit your mistake. The longer you put it off the bigger the issue could become. Together you can come up with a solution to help prevent a future mistake from occurring. Listen to this podcast for the right way to admit a mistake at work.

Requesting a Raise
Asking for a pay raise can be uncomfortable no matter the economic environment. But, if you feel your diligent work merits a pay raise, don’t be afraid to talk to your supervisor about it. Most employers want to retain top talent and understand that having competitive wages is necessary to keep their employees. Before you talk with your boss, be sure you’re prepared to explain the reasons why you feel you deserve a raise and be able to give evidence to support it. If you want a pay raise, listen to this podcast before you meet with your boss.

Difficult conversations don’t have to feel like a battle. You can make your tough conversations with your boss easier by following the advice of the Tough Conversations podcast series. For more information on having difficult discussions with your supervisor or leader, visit jobs.expresspros.com.

Please note, the video clips herein and their sponsors do not necessarily represent the views of Express and are used for educational purposes only.

Is Your Morning Routine Hurting Your Career?

My mornings often begin the same way. Timed to Rossini’s William Tell Overture No. 3, I slowly wake to the sun peeking through the window. I sleepily blink my eyes several times to adjust to the light. I yawn. I stretch. I waste at least three minutes contemplating going back to sleep for five more minutes, when I wisely decide to consult my clock. And to my shock and surprise, I discover I’m late! Again! Everything after that is a frantic blur. Rushed and stressed, I get ready in a fury. I inevitably have to hunt for my keys, and at least one misbehaving, runaway shoe.

After a frenzied search, keys triumphantly in hand and matching shoes on feet (You’ll never escape me badly behaving shoe! Never!), I’m out the door. There isn’t time for breakfast, coffee, or even time to pack the healthy lunch I had planned. Exhausted from my morning routine, groggy from a lack of caffeine, and grumpy from hunger, I start my day off on the wrong foot. Everything’s harder after that. It’s difficult to get started. It’s difficult to focus. I feel behind and rushed for the entire day. And on the days I find myself running behind, I can’t help but ask myself, are my bad morning habits hindering my career? Could I be more and do more if I started the day differently?

Maybe your morning routine isn’t plagued by wandering shoes or misplaced keys. Instead, maybe you struggle to get the kids to school or daycare before you head to work. Maybe you have to fight the morning traffic, the weather, or your dog that refuses to go outside, to get to the office on time. Whatever your morning routine, if you’re not energized and ready for the day to start, it may be time for a change.

If you find yourself struggling to get to work on time, break bad habits and create new routines to help make your morning run smoother. Set your alarm to go off a few minutes earlier. If that doesn’t help, try moving it away from the bed to keep from hitting the ever-dangerous snooze button. Pack your – and the kids’ – lunch the night before. Lay the kids clothes out before bedtime. Try to get to bed earlier with a schedule you can stick to. In the morning, open your curtains or blinds first thing to let the light in. Buy a coffeemaker you can program so it’s piping hot and fresh when you wake up.
How you start your morning sets the tone for the rest of your day. So, find ways to start your day off on the right foot to keep your career on the track to success. I know that my shoes and I are going to.