How Has Work Changed Your Life?

Share your stories with us!

Many jobs provide a whole new work family, a new culture, and a new experience. Work can truly change our lives. We can learn new skills, meet new people, and go to exciting new places.

What about you? Has a job or any step on your career path ever changed your life? Maybe a degree or certification opened new doors, or perhaps you met a mentor in your first job that set you on an entirely different career path. It’s even possible you met your spouse on the job!

If you have a life-changing story to share about your career, let us know in the comments below. Or, if you’d prefer to let your social media friends know, use the hashtag #LifeChanging on Facebook or Twitter. We’re encouraging people across the nation to share their stories, and now we want to hear from you.

Has any step on your career path been #LifeChanging? Let us know in the comments below!

Poll: Are You Over or Underemployed?

Despite the current job market trending in favor of job seekers, many workers find themselves trapped in positions that don’t align with their experience and abilities. Some find that their skills and expertise are not fully utilized (underemployed), while others are treading water in positions that are over their heads (overemployed). Both are tricky situations that can quickly lead to frustration and burnout if left unchecked. So this month, we want to know where you sit on the over/underemployment scale. Are You Over or Underemployed? Let us know by voting in our poll.

Given your skill level and experience, how would you describe your current employment situation?

 

 

5 Steps to Getting a Job Offer

From job search to interview to final offer, we’re here to help.

A job search is stressful for numerous reasons. Chief among the rest—you need money to support yourself and your family. Secondary concerns include finding your professional persona, the sheer force of will and attention it takes to job search for hours every day, and the fear that comes after each interview (did I get the job or not?).

Here at Movin’ On Up, we recognize that all of these stresses make it hard to keep going. It can be easy to give up. But we won’t let you. We’re here to encourage you with a plan for each stage of the job search process.

  1. Job Search

Searching online. Networking. Social media. All cogs in the job search machine. You have to search to get a job—that much is obvious. The problem is the job search is a job in and of itself. If you really want to get anything out of it, you have to put time into it. Eight hours a day if you can. It’s not just a hobby or a side activity. When you’re unemployed, the job search is your job. Except that you won’t see a payoff until you land the job.

Don’t forget to organize the needs a job must meet for you. These include salary requirements, paid time off, and insurance requirements, among other things. If you aren’t sure what kind of salary you should be shooting for, go online and find out what others in similar positions are being paid. Glassdoor.com is a great resource for this.

What can you do to make the search easier? Job search in bursts. Don’t spend your entire day staring at the screen. Take a break every once in a while to take a walk or talk to a human being.

You should also set goals and keep track of your progress each day. That way you’ll see that you’re making headway every day, bit by bit.

Above all else? Vary your job search. Don’t put all of your eggs into the online job search basket. Talk to a recruiter at a staffing agency. Attend networking events. Politely and tactfully ask friends and family members if they know of any job openings. Be on LinkedIn and Facebook—even if you don’t see the point in social media, there’s no reason not to be online. Creating an account is incredibly easy.

If your talent is something you can develop in your spare time, do it. If you’re a writer, write. Try to find some freelance gigs. If you’re a receptionist see if you can improve yourself in that area with online training. Your personal development plan will vary depending on your job field.

Avoid locking yourself into one type of job. Look at your skills and apply them to other industries. It’s much easier to find a job when you have a job. So, even if the job listings you see aren’t for your dream job, those jobs can nonetheless be stepping stones on your way to the top.

  1. Before the Interview

Congrats! All of that hard work has paid off. You have an interview. Now what?

Don’t let your job search efforts go to waste. Treat this like the last interview you’ll ever have. Research the company online. Know their mission statement and their company culture. Try to find information on what could be your future department and who your interviewer is. If there are any videos online, find them! The first step to succeeding in any interview is being well prepared. Start a list of questions to ask at the end of the interview. You want the interviewer to see that you truly want the position.

The night before your interview, try to get rid of anything that could possibly make you late. Set out your clothes, find your keys, and get plenty of sleep. Make sure the coffee is filled, and figure out a healthy breakfast plan.

Use Google maps or another navigation tool to plan your route ahead of time. Doing all of this now will make the next day much easier.

  1. The Interview

This is it. You’re in the interview room. First thing? Be nice to everyone. Even if the receptionist spills coffee all over your shirt. You never know who has a close relationship with the boss, and you want to look good. Plus these could be your future coworkers! There’s no reason to bring a bad attitude to work.

Once you’re in the room with your interviewer, shake their hand. Make eye contact. But try to avoid staring into their eyes the entire interview.

Answer any questions with the truth. The short truth. Don’t talk about your family or your feelings. Those are important, but not to your interviewer. Not now at least. Save those stories for when you get the job.

And when the interviewer asks if you have any questions? Say yes. Then ask the questions you carefully prepared the night before. They should be about the position, about typical days in the office, and about the company culture. Questions that are not only helpful for you, but also show your interest in the company itself. Make sure to ask about next steps. When you know the company’s plan for next steps, you can adapt your follow-up plans to that schedule.

  1. After the interview

As soon as you can, write a handwritten note to your interviewer. Reference your interview with a note about something you truly found interesting. Remember, you want to show that you care.

Since you definitely nailed the interview, pour all of that positive energy into continuing the job search when you get home. Show them all how awesome you are.

If you don’t hear back within the time-frame specified by your interviewer, don’t be afraid to contact them again. Bring up another reason this job is right for you, and then let it go.

  1. The job offer

It’s finally happened. You got the call. Now you have to negotiate. Be smart. You know your budget and how much money you need (at least at a minimum). If interviews are few and far between, you may need to choose between waiting longer for your dream job and taking something not as great in the meantime. Just remember—this one job doesn’t have to be the end all be all. Any job is better than no job when you have bills to pay.

Have any questions about any of the job search steps? Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

Poll: Will You Retire?

Group of Senior Retirement Friends Happiness Concept

From financial reasons to loving your job, we want to hear about it!

In the past, retirement was pretty much a given. That’s why you spend your younger years working so hard—so that there would eventually be some sort of payoff. But now, things are changing. As noted by Bloomberg, about 20% of Americans over the age of 65 are still working. Twelve percent don’t ever plan on retiring.

Maybe you want to help your children buy their first house. Or perhaps your work is incredibly fulfilling. Maybe you just don’t have any savings to fall back on. Regardless of the reason, we want to hear about it!

Do you plan on retiring? If not, why not? Let us know by taking part in our poll!

Choose all answers that apply.

 

Sizzling Hot Resume Tips

Tidy up resume_blogTake a break from the heat and update your resume.

If you’re not enjoying the sand and surf, why not take a few minutes to see if there are any changes you should make to your resume? A good cleaning every now and then (we recommend constant resume upkeep) is good for even the most storied of resumes. A look at our top resume advice couldn’t hurt either. So then, what can you do to spruce it up?

1.       Check Your Spelling and Grammar

When a job is especially competitive, employers simply don’t have the time to give each and every resume an in-depth analysis. As a result, they’re looking for reasons to throw out some resumes and narrow the talent pool. If your potential employer is a stickler for spelling or grammar and you make a small mistake, it could cost you the job.

Make sure any bullets under your current position use the present tense, and any past positions use past tense. After all, you aren’t still in charge of anything at a past position, right? Do use action words, but don’t use them as multiple bullets under one position. Repetition of the same words over and over can make it seem as if there wasn’t any variety in your responsibilities.

2.       Stick with the Basics

Although a lovingly crafted resume with fancy formatting and a recent headshot might look great, that isn’t what most employers are looking for. They want to know about your experience, not your design skills (unless you’re applying for a design position, of course). You don’t want your formatting to distract from your accomplishments.

In addition, the majority of resumes you send out online will be analyzed by computers first and people second. A heavily formatted resume is difficult for computers to read. So make it straightforward and legible, for both your human recruiter and your robot analyzer. And when a computer autofills an application based on your uploaded resume, make sure to review the result. If it looks strange on your screen, it will look strange on a potential employer’s screen as well.

3.       Tailor Your Resume for the Job

Your resume should change depending on where you are in your career and what job you are applying for. If you’re just now joining the workforce , it’s understandable that you won’t have as much to put on your resume. However, never leave a resume section blank. Add any information regarding the organizations you’ve been in, as well as any community involvement and awards you’ve received. Your education should go toward the top.

However, once you’ve been in the workplace for a while, your education (while still important) is secondary to your professional accomplishments. In general, start out with your name and mission statement, and follow up with your positions. Under each position, bullet what your responsibilities were. Next, put in any community involvement and awards. Leave education for last, followed by technical skills.

Make a master resume document including everything you’ve ever done, and copy/paste from it as required by each position. If it’s a writing position, you’ll want to include any writing experience. However, if it’s a programming position, your freelance writing stint might not be quite as important.

4.       Join LinkedIn

Regardless of whether your desired position requires a college degree or not, we recommend getting a LinkedIn account. Your LinkedIn profile is a recruiting resource that is always available. Even if you aren’t actively pushing your resume, having an updated LinkedIn profile ensures potential employers can find you. It also gives them something professional to find when they run an online search on you.

Have any resume tips of your own to share? Let us know in the comments below!

4 Quick Tips for More Effective Employee Communication

Business People Sitting in an Office Building Having a MeetingMost companies dedicate a significant amount of research, planning, and money to communicating with their customers. If a message isn’t crafted just right or the proper channels aren’t used to reach a target audience, there’s a good chance a lot of hard work and effort will go to waste.

The same holds true when communicating to your internal audience. When it comes to conveying important messages to your employees, the extra effort spent ensuring you hit the mark the first time, every time, is the key to keeping your workforce informed and on the same page.

Here are four quick tips for more efficient internal communication with your employees.

Know your audience
In the modern workplace, it’s possible there are as many as five different generations working side by side, each with their preferred ways of communicating. So, it’s important to consider the various communication tactics will ensure your message is retained.

For example, traditionalists, or those born before 1942, tend to have great respect for hierarchy, and would likely be more receptive of communication that comes through an established channel that goes from the top down. Whereas, younger generations, like millennials (born between 1980 – 1996) and Generation Z (born after 1996) often eschew more formal structures and would prefer a less structured and more open path of information.

Even types of jobs can dictate how an employee would best receive communication. The IT department may prefer one type of communication and the marketing department another. The key point is that it’s important to know your audience first, then tailor fit a communication plan that gives the best chance of your message being correctly received by employees.

Set a standard
From email to phone calls to text messages to in-person meetings, your employees are bombarded by a wide range of information throughout the day. That’s why consistency is key when it comes to effective communication. Setting standards for how certain types of messages will be disseminated through the workforce not only helps establish a recognized portal for communication, it also helps eliminate misinformation that comes through “the grapevine.”

Setting up an internal company blog or message board is one method to centralize official internal communication. If you set the standard that important messages will be posted in one, easy to access location, your employees won’t have to worry about whether or not information they received from other sources is accurate.

If you do have a central hub for internal communication, it’s important to stay active. Without the expectation of consistency and access to current content, your employees won’t see it as a useful source and will fall back to less effective means for seeking out company news and information.

Be timely and concise
Gossip and rumors spread like wildfire through a company. Without timely and concise communication, employees are left to build their own narrative, so it’s imperative to be the first source of information. The more time your employees have to make uninformed assumptions based on “the word on the street,” the harder it will be to sort fact from fiction later.

In addition to being timely, it’s also important to leave little room for interpretation—that is, make all communications as concise as possible. In most cases, less is more. If it’s a written message, optimize for readability by using bullets and subheads. If you’re delivering a verbal message, be sure to stop occasionally to check for understanding from your audience and be sure to call out key points.

Give employees a voice
Communication works best when it’s reciprocal. Fostering an open forum where employees are not only able, but feel comfortable asking questions and providing feedback is the best way to build understanding. It’s important to gauge whether or not your communication techniques are successful and your workforce is extracting the right information. Providing an opportunity to voice their interpretation of a message will make you feel confident they understand the information, as well as help pinpoint the most effective techniques for getting your point across.

 

 

 

 

Should You Quit Your Contract Job?

Is a full-time job more your speed?

Gig work (also known as contract labor) can be great for those looking for flexibility. If you have a family to support and prefer stability, however, it might be time to look for something full-time. But first, do some research to figure out what type of labor is best for you. After all, the perfect choice depends on your own unique circumstances and financial situation.

In this blog, we’ll cover some of the key pros and cons of full-time work. And don’t forget to check out last month’s blog to see what we have to say about gig work.

Full-Time Labor

Pros

1.       Stability

When a person is working full-time, they don’t need to worry about where their next gig is coming from. As long as they do their job well and the company stays afloat, they’ll keep getting a regular paycheck.

As a full-time employee, one can expect their employer to be in charge of withholding income taxes and handling social security and Medicare deductions. Many full-time positions also come with additional benefits such as a 401 (k), profit sharing, or childcare reimbursements.

Contractors have to handle all of these responsibilities themselves. This takes both time and money. Although contractors are sometimes paid more to do the same work, it’s may not be sufficient to make up for these additional responsibilities.

2.       Existing Corporate Ladder

The gig economy does not provide a career path blueprint for workers to follow. In order to get anywhere professionally, contractors have to create their own career plan. Since contractors will never receive promotions, they need to create their own opportunities.

As a full-time employee, there will most likely be certain career thresholds in place. Employees can work with managers to set goals and expectations. They are also free to look at other positions in the company and work toward those positions.

3.       You’re Part of the Family

Being full-time means putting a personal stake in the future of the company. It is assumed employees will want to grow and learn with the company and that they are in it for the long-term. As a result, management will usually promote teamwork. Social nights, group projects, group lunches—activities designed to make each employee feel like part of something bigger than themselves.

Contractors do not always get this same treatment. They usually aren’t there permanently, and recognition programs cost money. Although it’s a financial decision rather than a personal one, it can still hurt to be seen as an outsider.

Cons

1.       Less Flexibility

Full-time employees are expected to work a certain schedule, regardless of how long it actually takes them to get their work done. This isn’t neccesarily a bad thing, but some positions come with plenty of down time in between tasks. An employee might even finish all of their work for the day in five hours. This can become frustrating and boring for some workers.

An employee isn’t his own boss with full-time work. Vacation, lunch breaks, sick leave—all of these are controlled by his or her employer. If a set routine isn’t for you, you might want to look into contract work.

2.       More Stress in the Short-Term

Full-time employees are expected to be a long-term asset to the company. To be good employees, they need to constantly up the ante, learn more, and apply it to their position. They also typically have more responsibilities than contractors.

Contractors, on the other hand, typically don’t have to deal with the hustle of full-time positions. They don’t need to worry about who likes them or where they are in their career path (at least as it applies to a single company). They are there to do one job, do it well, and move on. Their stress comes from finding the next gig and managing their life, not the rigors of office life.

Contractors know the terms of their position. They know when it will start, what they need to accomplish, and when it will end. Everything is clearly delineated (in the short-term at least—long-term is a different story). Not so for full-time employees. Goals may be set and worked toward, but the how of it is much more nebulous.

3.       You’re Part of the Family?

Here we are again. This one is both a pro and a con. Families aren’t always happy after all. Being a full-time employee necessitates bonding with managers and coworkers. Otherwise an employee can be seen as a loner.

However, if the girl in the cubicle across the way hates them because they took her friend’s job, there isn’t really anything they can do about it. Same goes for finding out that the company culture is completely against their values.

Contract workers are more or less free from these office politics. If a contractor does run into a toxic work environment, they just have to wait it out until their next gig. A full-time employee, on the other hand, has to either suck it up or once again plunge into a complicated job search.

Is a full-time position for you? If you find the very idea of a set schedule hair-raising, you should probably look into gig work. But if you hate surprises and crave consistency, full-time work can provide that for you. You’ll become part of a community, with its own rules, regulations, people, and culture. It’s far less volatile than contract work, and you usually know what to expect in the long-term.

Have any opinions on full-time work? Let us know about it in the comments below!