Career Advancement

Poll: What’s Your Favorite Way to Volunteer?

There are so many ways to help out our communities—what’s your favorite?

giving_back_makes_you_more_employable_webWe all have skills. Some of us are athletic. Others have innate leadership qualities. And still others are handy with a toolbox. When we feel called upon to volunteer in our communities, we use our skills in unique ways to make a difference.

Athletic individuals can take part in charity basketball tourneys or marathons. Leaders can take command of canned food or donation drives. The handy among us can help build houses for the disadvantaged.

But you don’t have to have some incredible ability to make a difference. Passion and a cause are all you need. Volunteering can be as simple as donating gently used clothing, or as lofty as serving on the board for a non-profit organization or flying to another country to help the sick.

You can also volunteer with your business, church, school, or professional organization, or find a group of likeminded individuals and form a social organization with the sole purpose of volunteering. The sky’s the limit!

Regardless of how you’re doing it, we want to know how you volunteer. Let us know by taking part in our poll!

 

Must-Have Skills the Future Workplace Will Demand

poll_results_highly_skilled_work_webA popular storyline in science fiction, the concept of technological singularity states, in a nutshell, is that there will eventually come a point in time when society will become so technologically advanced that machines will no longer need humans to “survive.

Luckily, we’re not quite there yet. However, it is true the pace of technology advancement is moving quickly, which means big changes—both positive and negative—for the way we live and interact with the world around us.

In business, the ability to stay ahead of the curve and respond to changing technological and social trends is a key differentiator. The difficult task of positioning yourself to stay competitive requires skills that will become even more in demand in the not too distant future.

Global Communication skills
With the ongoing evolution of communication technologies, the world is only becoming more connected—and it’s a trend that isn’t slowing down anytime soon.  As the barriers to doing business on a global scale continue to come down, the ability to communicate with people from around the world and from all walks of life will be more important than ever.

Remote work discipline
The advancement of technology isn’t just changing the way we communicate; it’s redefining the way we work. Today, it’s easier than ever to work remotely. The traditional model of going to an office every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. is changing as many workers now have the freedom to work from anywhere they can connect to the internet. Of course, with this freedom comes great responsibility. The discipline to stay organized and on task away from the structure of an office setting will be an increasingly important soft skill.

Interdisciplinary expertise
Knowledge is already at our fingertips, and will only become more attainable in the future. To stay competitive, workers will need to be masters of multiple disciplines within their organizations. It’s not going to be enough to just know your job, at least some working knowledge of other roles will be necessary. With the growing recruitment war, those who develop a broader range of skills will be in a better position to help fill the gaps in the workforce that are becoming more difficult to fill.

Interpersonal communication skills
With all the promise social media brings, one of the major pitfalls can be seen in restaurants, sporting events, concerts, and even schools— everyone is staring at their phones instead of interacting with each other face to face. What effect this will have on interpersonal relationships and social skills is yet to be seen, but being able to connect with other people in real life may become one of the most important skills that job seekers can bring to a potential employer.

The classics will still reign supreme
Soft skills in many ways transcend advances in technology or changing work environments. In a 2016 survey, Express Employment Professionals asked business leaders what they believe the most important soft skills a job applicant should have. The results revealed that although the workplace is constantly evolving, some skills will always be in high-demand, including:

  • Dependability/Reliability – 72%
  • Motivation – 48%
  • Verbal communication – 44%
  • Teamwork – 39%
  • Commitment – 39%

No matter how the workplace may change in the future, people will always be the heart and soul of the business world. Some of the most important qualities of great employees can’t be programed into a machine or easily expressed via a virtual meeting space. Investing in great people is the single best strategy for any business to prepare for the future.

 

 

4 Secrets to Getting a Pay Raise

Are you underpaid? Ready for a change?

SaveMoney_June2014_webAsking for a raise isn’t easy and preparing to ask can be nerve-racking. When should you ask for one? How much should you ask for? What do you even say?

The most important thing to remember when asking for a raise is that the only reason for asking can’t be because you need a raise. It should be because you deserve one. But, it’s on you to prove that your actions have led to success, and will continue to do so in the future. An employee doesn’t get a significant increase in pay just for doing the minimum—he or she must go above and beyond.

On that note, here are our top four tips for negotiating a raise.

1.       Start Preparing on Day One

To begin with, figure out why you deserve a pay raise. If that question is difficult to answer, negotiations aren’t going to go very well. You start figuring that out the first day on the job.

Many people only think about raises at the end of the year, or after a certain amount of time has passed. However, if you start thinking about a future raise on that first day, you can start collecting accomplishments early on. Create goals and an actionable plan to meet those goals. While traveling on your career journey, keep a journal of all professional successes, preferably with metrics and details regarding how each met goal furthered the company as a whole.

Remember, your manager isn’t giving a raise expressly for your benefit—a raise is given to keep an employee as an asset to help the company in the long run. So, if you can connect your performance to achieved business goals, a raise may just be in the cards.

2.       Timing is Everything

In order to really succeed with a request like this, you need to ask at the right time. If you work in oil, for example, and the market suffers a setback, don’t ask for a raise. The same thing applies to a company that’s going through financial or PR difficulties.

If it’s the company’s busiest time of the year, that’s another bad time to ask. Same goes for just after you’ve been on vacation or taken time off. And try not to bring this up after making some sort of mistake, no matter how minor.

3.       Know the Market for Your Position

This ties in with asking yourself whether you deserve the raise or not. Read the papers and research online to find out what your competitive rate is at similar companies. Are you already earning that same rate? If so, you may be working at the cap for your position.

In that case, see if anything major really makes you stand out from the competition. Are you expendable? If so, become an asset. Losing you should not be an option. Raises are given to retain top talent. If the company isn’t the right fit or you aren’t actually top talent, a raise may not be in the cards.

But being top talent in and of itself doesn’t mean a raise is certain. You have to be on time, an excellent employee, and using that talent to further the company every minute you’re on the job.

4.       Bring a Plan and Be Confident

What do you plan on bringing to the negotiating table? If you answered nothing but a smile and a well-worded speech, think again. Prepare an actual presentation. Know your worth and properly articulate any strengths, as well as details regarding tasks that were not only completed, but elevated to the next level. In other words, be confident.

Avoid being arrogant. Tie all accomplishments back to how they helped the company, not you. Don’t walk in assuming a pay hike is a given. Be confident in past successes, and let that lead where it may.

As a bonus, try to include some sort of physical, tangible element to the presentation, whether it’s a printed summary or printed charts and graphs. Include information about how you have saved the company money, or how your actions led to an increase in revenue or production.

Although the goal is for your manager to read these materials, even if they don’t, they’ll still see them on their desk and remember your request. Conduct the entire meeting in a calm manner, and, once it’s over, let your manager know that this is a two-way conversation by asking them for feedback on future projects.

If your manager declines to give a raise, don’t be afraid to ask why. If the reason has anything to do with factors you can control, make those changes so you will be a prime candidate in the future.

Reasons You May Not Get the Raise

Even if you follow all of these tips, it is important to note that you may not get a raise due to external factors that have nothing to do with performance. These include:

  • A slow market
  • A recent downturn in the economy
  • A different raise structure (your company may have a rigid raise structure in place that does not allow for deviation)
  • Downsizing in your department
  • You are a relatively recent hire

Have any more questions about the salary negotiation process? Let us know about it in the comments below!

How to Survive a Millennial Manager

He watched The Office you watched Cheers—how do you communicate?

Tips_For_Working_With_Younger_Boss_Dec2013

It’s happening across the nation. As baby boomers start to retire (the ones who can, anyway), the millennials are closing in. They like to job hop, and it’s hard for companies to get them to stay. This generation spans fifteen years, and many have built a career and are already getting promoted. Now one is your boss. He can’t stop talking about virtual reality and you miss the simplicity of an age before social media.  It doesn’t seem like you’re ever on the same page.

But does it really matter if you get along with your younger boss as long as the work gets done? As noted by The Washington Post, the answer is a resounding yes. A study was recently published in the Journal of Organizational Psychology that surveyed 8,000 employees from 61 German companies. The results showed that a higher percentage of younger people managing older employees resulted in a 12% increase in negative emotions. And those negative emotions, in turn, led to less than stellar manager reports in regard to financial and organizational performance.

How are you supposed to take orders from someone who reminds you of your child?

1.       Steer Clear of Judgment

No two career paths are identical. This holds true regardless of age. All workers have different experiences and skills that lead them to where they are in life. Even if your boss is younger, try to trust that she gained the position for a good reason. Regardless of whether or not that reason was because of “who she knew” or not, it’s out of your hands. So try to assume the best.

After all, assuming the worst isn’t going to help anyone, even if it turns out to be true. Being younger doesn’t mean your boss is going to be a bad manager. Despite her age and fewer years on the job, she may have a variety of unique skills that make her a great boss.

Of course, it’s also quite possible that you’ll eventually come to find out that she’s wholly unprepared for the position. Even then, avoid complaining.  It’s still in your best interest to get along—you may even want to help guide her in the right direction.

2.       Become an Advisor

Regardless of whether your new millennial pal is well-suited for his new position, he’s probably not going to know as much about the industry as you do. You’ve been working longer, so you know who the players are and how they operate. You can draw on these past experiences and apply them to current events, imparting knowledge to your manager.

All of these things are incredibly valuable to a young manager. Although his tools may be sharp, he might not know how to use them yet. You can help him avoid first time mistakes by giving him advice and sharing the wisdom of your past experiences. Just be sure to come across as a helpful advisor rather than patronizing. Think of your manager as a co-worker and peer rather than an inexperienced child.

3.       Be Open to Communication

The key to any relationship is communication. So make sure to talk! If you play it right, you can create a real connection with your younger boss. Embrace team-building activities and really get to know her. Maybe take her out to lunch once in a while. If she really is out of her element with this position, she’ll want a co-worker she can trust and rely on. And, once you become familiar with her on a personal level, it can really change the dynamic—you start to see her as an actual person rather than “The Millennial.”

Do you have a younger boss? How do you handle it? Let us know about it in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

On the Job: From Hired to Retired—Episode 2

Not Your Grandpa’s Shop Class

ACO17_OnTheJob_GraphicBHere at Movin’ On Up, we’re proud to share a new episode in a podcast series brought to you by Express Employment Professionals—On the Job: From Hired to Retired and Everything in Between.

Each week through the end of June, On the Job will share stories about the pursuit of work by taking a look at the employment situations people from all walks of life face each day.

 

Episode 2: Not Your Grandpa’s Shop Class

These motivated high school students spend half their days learning a trade. Some of them will go on to college; other graduates will begin apprenticeships. But every student is taking full advantage of thousands of dollars of free technical education that will prepare them for high-paying careers.

Start Listening Today!

Download On the Job: From Hired to Retired and Everything in Between on iTunes or anywhere you listen to your favorite podcasts.

Check back next week for Episode 3—A Job for Life: One Woman’s Journey from Typist and Switchboard Operator to Helping Run the American Psychiatric Association.

Introducing a New Podcast Series—On the Job

Featuring stories about the pursuit of work

ACO17_OnTheJob_GraphicBHere at Movin’ On Up, we’re proud to announce a new podcast series brought to you by Express Employment Professionals—On the Job: From Hired to Retired and Everything in Between.

Jobs connect us to our communities and give us the ability to provide for ourselves and our families. Your work may be your passion, or it could just be the way you make ends meet. Each week until the end of June, On the Job will share stories about the pursuit of work by taking a look at the employment situations people from all walks of life face each day.

Episode 1: Dream Job – Journalist to Children’s Librarian

The Watergate scandal of the 1970s got Karen MacPherson interested in journalism. The events on 9/11 made her rethink her priorities. Now she’s doing the work she loves, as a children’s librarian in a small Maryland town. Join us to learn about Karen’s uniquely interesting employment journey.

Start Listening Today!

Download On the Job: From Hired to Retired and Everything in Between on iTunes or anywhere you listen to your favorite podcasts.

Check back next week for Episode 2—Not Your Grandpa’s Shop Class: Technical High School Prepares Students for the Trades.

 

Kick-start Your Career After College

You’ve finally graduated; now what?

college_major_webAfter graduation, it’s a whole new ballgame. You’ve landed your first job, and it’s time to put everything you learned in college to the test. Now instead of your grade, your career is on the line. And let’s face it — launching into a career can be daunting.

But try not to forget that you’re still learning and figuring out this thing called life. Here are some tips for all you fresh grads on how to take what you learned in college and apply it to your career.

1. Set career goals

Your career dreams probably won’t happen right away. Your first job out of college doesn’t have to be your dream job — take a few years to gain experience, meet those milestones, and learn what it takes to achieve your dream career.

You don’t have to play the interview game and ask yourself where you see yourself in five years, but you should be aware of the goal you’re working toward. What career are you working toward now that college is over, and is what you’re doing now progressing toward that goal? Review courses you took towards your major and apply what you learned toward your new career.

2. Keep learning

In order to learn more about your career path, take as many opportunities to expand your knowledge as you can. Just because you aren’t being graded doesn’t mean you can stop learning. Jump on new projects, volunteer for events, and really get a feel for your company. Constantly brush up on the best ways to present yourself, and make sure you’re always prepared for the next job opportunity.

3. Avoid locking yourself into ‘traditional’ career options

You may have learned things studying for your major that are applicable to an entirely different subject matter. So don’t worry if your job after graduation isn’t in your major’s career field immediately.

You can learn a ton from your first job, and then apply that to a job you really want later.

4. Don’t compare your career path progress to to that of your friends

Everyone is different, and everyone’s path is different. Your professional network, experience, and even hopes and dreams are different from those of your friends. Especially your work friends. As a result, they’re probably going to have a different career than you. And that’s okay. Congratulate them on their success and be supportive! That’s what friends are for.

5. Get out of a job you hate

If you truly hate your job, odds are you’re not learning from it. And if you can’t learn to at least tolerate what you’re doing, you’re better off in a different position. When you hated a new class, you dropped it immediately right? Time spent hating your boss or coworkers would be better spent learning new skills. So get out there and find a job you love.

If you’re still looking for that first (or second) job, you might want to consider checking out a staffing agency. Recruiters can connect you with job opportunities tailored to your skillset. Here at Express Employment Professional, we have more than 34 years of experience placing job seekers in a variety of short- and long-term positions. Feel free to contact your local Express office or fill out our online contact form.

Are you a new grad getting started with your career? Let us know about it in the comments below!