Work/Life Balance

Full-time Job Versus Internship

Full-Time vs InternshipSummer’s fast approaching, and for some, that means college graduation and summer break is right around the corner. With a new-found freedom from school, homework, and classes, what would you do with your free time? Your answer should be to get a J-O-B. And, right now is the time to start looking.

Every new grad wants to land a full-time job with a great starting salary and benefits right out of school, but what if you can’t find a job right away in this economy? Don’t worry. If you’re striking out, consider applying for internships, even if you’ve already had one. They are a great way to get your foot in a company’s door, especially today.

Internships are a good option for companies trying to identify candidates who will be a good fit with their culture. An internship also allows you to take a look at the company to make sure it’s someplace you could see yourself working long term. In addition, some companies offer interns a stipend or a small amount of pay. That can help cover transportation costs to and from work, money for eating out, and some professional clothes. Do a good job as an intern and you could end up getting offered a full-time job when your internship comes to an end.

So, what do you need to start doing today in preparation for finding a job? Here are some key tips to follow.

Get your résumé together. Include info about your degree and experience. List all the activities you’ve helped with in school, in the community, etc. Since you don’t have a ton of professional job experience yet, this helps show employers the skills you do have. Be sure to tailor your résumé to the job you’re applying for. You really want to make your résumé stand out from the crowd.

Start networking. Now is a great time to start networking with professionals in your field of interest. By attending networking meetings, you can easily find out who’s hiring or who needs an intern. And, be sure to have your résumé with you when networking so you can give it to the contacts you make. Also in combination to your networking in person, don’t forget about networking on social media sites too.

Look the part. It’s time to ditch your favorite jeans with the holes in the knees, flip flops, and T-shirts for some professional attire to get people to take notice of you. This shows others you are serious about finding a job.

Be positive. Interviews and networking events can be nerve wracking, but don’t forget to smile when you introduce yourself. When people ask how you’re doing, give them a big smile and tell them you’re great. They’ll be interested to know why and learn more about you. Here are some additional tips to make sure your nonverbal communication sends the right message.

These tips can help you as you begin your job hunt. As part of My Entry-Level Life, we’ll be going into detail each week on a different topic to help you make a transition from where you currently are to your entry level job. Tune in next week as we talk more about how to build your résumé.

Share your thoughts about this series with us here. We want to know how you’re approaching the job hunt for your entry-level position.

My Entry-Level Life

Spring is in the air. It’s the time of year when college students begin anticipating summer vacation or start preparing for life after college. Maybe you or someone you know is looking for that first job or maybe hoping to land an internship or part-time job. Regardless of what you’re looking for, we’ve got some information you’re going to want to read.

Starting next Monday, March 29, and going through the beginning of August, we’re featuring a new blog series called My Entry-Level Life. As part of this series, each week we will post different topics about finding and transitioning into entry-level job positions.

Through this series, we’ll share tips on topics like hunting for an internship or first job, what to do the first day at work, work-life balance, phone etiquette, interacting with upper management, and much, much more. Whether you’re just starting out or starting over, this series will tell you what you need to know.

Next Monday, the focus will be on beginning the job hunt. We’ll discuss the benefits of getting a full-time job versus the benefits of an internship. How do you start looking for a job or internship? Tune in next Monday to find out!

Set the Example

It’s safe to say that everyone is tired of this economy. And, many of today’s workers are feeling the strain because of increased workloads, longer work hours, and decreased salaries. It’s no wonder everyone doesn’t always have the greatest attitude, right?

Although you can’t control how your co-workers feel or act every day, you’re in control of your own feelings and actions. YOU can be the example you want to see in the office. You can take the initiative to make your overall office environment better and be a good example for your fellow colleagues. How? Here are a few acts of kindness you can do around the office to help relieve tension and make the day a little brighter. And, the best thing about this is you don’t have to be in a leadership position to do this. Anyone can do this.

Send a word of praise. For this, buy a greeting card. You can write a kind note on it about someone you work with, telling them such things as they did a great job on a certain project, tell the funniest jokes, are a great cook, have a wonderful fashion sense, etc. This is just a little way of letting that person know you’re glad to be their co-worker. Then, present them with the card! After that, the person who received the card has to keep the good times going by writing another positive note to another teammate and presenting it to them.

Recognize the “Stars of the Week.” Every Friday, recognize a few individuals you feel have done a great job for the week. Each week, you can recognize different individuals until everyone has been recognized for something. Include in the e-mail why you’ve recognized them for the “star” award, and if it’s OK with management, send the e-mail to everyone on your team so they can check it out. If you want, you can also award small prizes.

Find out how things are going. Find out how your teammates are doing. What are their interests, how is their family doing, do they plans for the weekend? Make it a point to just chat with them and get to know them. If they don’t want to share information with you, that’s OK too. But, at least you made an effort to learn more about them and that will mean something to them.

Get away from the office for lunch. Plan a lunch outing for you and your co-workers. Take a vote on where everyone wants to eat, and go there for your ENTIRE lunch hour. It’s important to use your break to relax. Make it a rule for the outing that no one can talk about work during lunch.

Potluck, anyone? Everyone likes food, so why not have a potluck one Friday? You could either do a breakfast or lunch potluck. This is a cost effective choice instead of everyone going to a restaurant to eat.

Bring cupcakes, just because. Surprise everyone on your team with cupcakes just to help brighten their day.

Start a book club. Despite the economy, you and your teammates still have an opportunity to learn and advance your skills within your current job roles. Purchase books on leadership and strengths development and start a weekly book club. This gives you a chance to get to know each other more and grow your knowledge and skills.

These are just as few examples of things you can do to help create a more positive work environment and help generate some happiness. Do you have other ideas of things to do around the office to increase morale? We want to know!

Words of Wisdom

As we focus on our daily activities, sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. Sometimes we get so caught up with what we are currently going through that we only see what’s right in front of our faces. In this economy, it’s easy to feel defeated and throw in the towel. It’s easy to get bummed out. But, there is hope.

With winter melting and the sun shining, now’s the time for you to look beyond the daily grind and see what’s on the horizon. What’s in the future? It’s time to remember our dreams. To help you keep sight of the big picture, I would like to share some of my favorite inspirational words. Take time to read these, apply them to your life, put them into action, and be inspired. Hope you enjoy!

"You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own and you know what you know and you are the one who’ll decide where to go." – Dr. Seuss

"So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then when we summon the will, they soon seem inevitable." – Christopher Reeve

"Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Louis Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein." – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

"Because of our routines we forget that life is an ongoing adventure." – Maya Angelou

"To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world." – Josephine Billings

"Listen to the Mustn’ts, child, listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never have, then listen close to me. Anything can happen, child. Anything can be." – Shel Silverstein

Let these quotes inspire you! Do you have some favorite words to live by? We would like to know what they are. Share them here!

Giving Thanks this Holiday Season

With the holidays in full swing, it’s time to celebrate and reflect on all we’re thankful for. Although 2009 has been a rollercoaster year, we each have many reasons to be joyful. This holiday season, take time to think about all the things you have in your life, rather than what you don’t. Focus on family, friends, good health, a home, a job, etc. If you look closely, you’ll find you have a lot to be thankful for.

Another thing to be grateful for is the start of a new year. The year 2010 will bring with it a new beginning and a fresh start. Each day is a new opportunity, full of possibilities and hope. So, start dreaming big and reaching for the stars as the new year approaches.

We want to know what you’re grateful for this year. Share your thoughts in the comments section below. From all of us at Express, we wish you a happy thanksgiving. 

The Difference a Day Makes

Today’s my birthday. It’s not a milestone birthday like sweet 16, 21, or the hill surpassing 50. It’s just a regular, somewhere-in-the-middle birthday. In fact, it seems fairly insignificant as far as birthday’s go, but to tell the truth, I’m a little sad to see the additional candle on the cake.

I’m not worried about getting older. I’m old enough to know that aging is a natural part of life, and much preferred to the alternative, as the Curious Case of Benjamin Button so strongly convinced me. I just thought I would be a little further along when I got here. I thought I’d be a little more grown-up for this “somewhere-in-the-middle” grown-up age.

Have you ever gotten somewhere only to find your destination did not meet your expectations?  Maybe the endless opportunities you expected to greet you after college aren’t quite so infinite. Maybe you thought you’d have a different job, a different title, or an entirely different career. Maybe this year, instead of retiring off your 401(k), you’re faced with rebuilding it. Maybe you’ve discovered that being your own boss is more overwhelming than freeing.

Life is rarely everything we expect it to be. It’s unpredictable and changing. It has turns, twists, and forks in the most unexpected places. While we can’t foresee the outcome of our future, or even the outcome of tomorrow, we can take steps and choose paths that shape and change our lives.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time.” So, if today you’ve found yourself somewhere unexpected, or a little off course, take it in stride, and start changing your life one day at a time. Don’t wait for the beginning of a new year, or a milestone birthday, start today.

Start small. If you’re looking for a job, send out one more résumé today than you did yesterday, write one more thank-you note to a potential employer, or call one more contact for a possible job opportunity. If you’re rebuilding your savings or 401(k), begin by forgoing your daily Starbucks stop or canceling your cable. If you’re an overwhelmed entrepreneur, use temporary staffing to help lighten your workload, simplify a process, or take a well-deserved day to just clear your head. 

Today’s a new day. Every passing moment your present meets your future. So, make each day count, and it will make all the difference. You may not be able to predict your future, but you can certainly shape it.

Who’s Spying on You Online?

With online networking websites continuing to grow at rapid speeds, doesn’t it sometimes seem that you have more friends/connections online than you know in real life? There’s that coworker you met very briefly at the companywide meeting. Another random person you met at the baseball game who has a LinkedIn account and works in your industry. Your sister’s best friend, her boyfriend, and his cousin. That guy who used to sit alone in your American History class in high school. This list goes on and on. Your online network could grow to hundreds of thousands of people, but would this allow for effective networking and relationship building?

Building a large network of connections is a good thing, and yes, that’s the purpose of most social media tools. But, it’s important to remember to be conscious of what information you do and do not post on your profile when using social media sites. Some sites, such as Facebook, are more heavily focused on socializing and staying connected to your friends. But did you know that many employers are hopping on the social media bandwagon too?

You never know who will see what you post online. It always seems there is someone who knows someone who knows you.To help you with your social media, here are a few basic rules to follow.

Learn about privacy settings. The first rule for using any social media site is to know what the privacy settings are. You might want to set your profile so that it can only be viewed by your friends. This way, once you have approved someone to be a friend, only then can they have access to your information and pictures. If they’re not a friend, they can’t access any information from you. This gives you some control over who sees your profile and who doesn’t.

After-hour pictures. Yes, everyone has a personal life outside of work, and what you do in your free time is your choice. But, realize that if you post party pictures, a co-worker or someone who interviewed you for a job might be able to see those photos. Another thing to keep in mind is that your friends can post things on your profile. On some sites like Facebook, friends can tag photos of you, so just make sure to do check-ups on your site to see what others might have posted about you.  Remember that your networking profiles are a reflection of you, so use your best judgment when it comes to the featured content.

Spell check. Even if you are not a journalist or in a communication-related field, make sure you don’t have a lot of misspelled words on your profiles. Typos and misspellings could communicate a careless attitude or sloppiness – two things you don’t want to convey in the professional world.

Social media can be a great tool for staying connected, learning new industry tips, and showing that you are up-to-speed on current trends. In the digital age, personal and professional can overlap. So, use these tips to make sure you maintain a balanced online image. It’s always a good idea to put your best foot forward by always being professional, even in your personal life. To learn more, view our guide on social media for business leaders.