What’s the Most Aggravating Part of the Job Search? Take Our Poll

There’s a lot to juggle when looking for a job. You have to balance family, finances, schedules, and other issues that can make the hunt for a new position difficult. To add to that stress, the hiring process isn’t always the smoothest. There are some aspects that can really frustrate you, which made us wonder: what are the most annoying aspects of your job search? Let us know in the poll below.

What frustrates you the most about your job search?

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Missing Job Search: Part 2

Holmes2_feb2012_webLast time, in the “Case of the Missing Job Search:”

World-renowned English detective Sherlock Holmes helped eager job seekers find clues in the text of his own detective novels to get one step closer to finding a job. His words helped us remember the value of our networks, consider all options, and appreciate the lessons learned.

But, Mr. Holmes isn’t finished. There is more to learn about job seeking from the thrilling detective novels about our beloved private eye. Here are some more quotes from Sherlock Holmes and how it can relate to the job market.

All information is useful to the detective.

In many cases, knowledge is power. The more you know, the more you can do in your job search. Even the little things can help. If you are networking, don’t just find out who is hiring, but get a sense of what is going on in the industry and how you can help others. When researching an employer, don’t just focus on the position and salary. Find out the small details and requirements so you can either market yourself better, or reconsider if it’s a good fit.

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment.”

One of the biggest mistakes when interviewing is not being prepared. Not just being prepared to answer questions about yourself, experience, and work history, but failing to have a real grasp and concept of who your potential employer is and what they are about. Never go into an interview with conclusions drawn from assumptions, opinions from others, or second-rate research. Get more assertive in finding first-hand information about your interviewers and the company they represent.

“What one man can invent another can discover.”

Do your research. There are countless numbers of job gurus and employment advice sites on the internet. Many of those gurus probably don’t agree on any single piece of advice as truth. The idea of best practices in certain characteristics of the job search may not result in a sensible list but rather a collection of advice. There are different methods and tactics to finding work, and you’ll have to find the ones that work best for you.

While challenging at times, the job search isn’t as mysterious as many make it out to be. With some head knowledge and a lot of perseverance, you can unlock the skills needed to crack the mystery and discover job opportunities for yourself. What are some other ways you think Sherlock Holmes would find a job? Let us know in the comments below.

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Missing Job Search

Sherlock_feb2012_webOften considered to be the greatest detective in all of literature, Sherlock Holmes and his gripping adventures have inspired TV shows, cartoons, comics, and even big-budget Hollywood movies. His intellect and uncanny ability to deduce any mysterious plot set before him have become world-renowned.

For many, there is a mystery that can appear out of reach of solving – the new job. The struggling job market can leave many job seekers frustrated, and the missing job offer may seem like a mystery that is unsolvable at times. So, let’s call upon the world’s greatest detective to see what Sherlock Holmes would say when trying to find a job.

“When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

There are always opportunities and avenues to continue your job search. Just because you’ve had one door closed on a career search doesn’t mean there isn’t a proverbial window you can climb through to find work with the same employer or in the same industry.

When looking for a job, don’t rule out an idea you had just because it could lead to a dead end. Unless it’s something that will obviously hurt your job search, and as long as you’re professional and respectful about it, give it a shot. You’ll never know if you don’t try.

“Nothing clears up a case so much as stating it to another person.”

Never underestimate the power of your networks. Not only are your networks some of the best tools to help you find job openings and get inside information on potential employers, but they are also a solid source of support, encouragement, and advice. Even during the roughest points in your job search, don’t forget how your networks can lighten your load and help you continue with confidence.

“The work is its own reward.”

Think of all the skills you are building during your job search. Whether you’re freelancing, networking, temping, writing, or interning, you are learning habits and skills that can be applied throughout your career. No matter how frustrating searching for a job can get, you are still learning and improving every step of the way. Strive to continually develop your skills and habits. It will not only help you find a job faster, it will also make you a stronger employee.

Will our fearless detective be able to discover the footprints that will lead to getting hired? Tune in next time for the continuing adventures of Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Missing Job Search!

 

To read part two, click here!

How to Discover What You’re Really Good at

Gootat_feb2012_web“Where do I start?” seems to be one of the biggest and hardest questions to answer when stepping out into the job market.  For some, they know what they want to do for a career at for as long as they can remember. But for many, it’s hard to know what kind of job is right while still in college or as an adult.

For most, finding your strengths and talents, and then applying them to the job market is a harder process. Choosing a career path that fits your strengths can take time and research to figure out. To help point you in the right direction, here are some helpful hints to get your brain thinking about discovering your passions.

Do What You’re Doing

In your spare time, what do you usually find yourself doing? Grab a notepad and write down what your favorite activities and duties are throughout the week and see if any of them have practical application to a potential career.

You should also consider your interests. What are you most enthusiastic about? Make a list of what grabs your attention. What are your favorite books, TV shows, or movies? See what aspects of your favorite entertainment catches your eye.

Also, pay attention to what you struggle with or try to avoid. This can give you a clearer picture of what not to look for in a job. When looking for work, find the employers and industries that are void of these unpleasant experiences.

The Company You Keep

It can be beneficial to get advice from friends and family who have a different perspective on who you are and how you interact with the world. They will also notice how your body language reacts to different topics and situations. Ask your friends and loved ones what they notice about you, think you’re good at, and think you have a passion for. If more than one person has the same advice, you might be onto a real lead.

There are also several online quizzes and assessments that can help you get feedback on your personality, work ethic, and skill type. It’s important to understand yourself from not only your own perspective, but from others’ as well.

Playing, Practicing, and Professionalizing

Once you start finding your top passions or talents, play around with them. Find a safe environment to explore the possibilities that your talents can share. Find careers that focus on using your skills or interests, and investigate a day in the life of that job. The more comfortable you get with it, the better you’ll be able to work with it.

Once you get beyond just playing, work to improve your techniques and refine your skills. By practicing, you can learn the depths of your talent. You’ll soon learn whether it’s a true passion or more of a passing phase. Also, if it’s an area you’re interested in pursuing further, seek out a mentor for advice and direction. Even if the interest turns out to be temporary, you may notice what interested you about a particular characteristic of the activity.

Go out and use your talent. Find out what is required to have a job with your passion and work to achieve those requirements. You might have to take classes, get a certification, or take an internship to get beyond the passing hobby stage and become a true professional at your skill, but it’s worth it.

What are some methods you have used to discover your hidden strengths?

Trying to Find a Job When You’re Shy or Introverted

Introvert_feb2012_webLast month, I posted a blog about networking for the shy and introverted. It seemed to strike a chord with several readers, and I’ve received many requests for further information and advice on different aspects of the job search for the shy or introverted job seeker.

Luckily for us introverts and shy people, those who aren’t afraid to or find energy in  getting themselves in the spotlight tend to create their own clutter and static out of their own messages. That’s when we use our greatest strengths: our patience and brains. Here are some ways you can use your shyness or introversion as an advantage when looking for a job.

Blame Is Not a Game

First things first; don’t blame yourself. If you are introverted, you are normal. There is nothing wrong with you, so don’t use it as a crutch. For many people, it’s easy to say, “I won’t go there today. My energy level is a little low and I just don’t think I can make it the whole time.” It’s time to stop blaming your condition and use it to your advantage.

For those who are shy, it’s much easier to blame any social shortcomings on their shyness. Like any skill, finding jobs and following up after sending a résumé will get better over time. It’ll be difficult, but you won’t succeed at all if you keep telling yourself, “I can’t. I’m too shy.”

Have a Plan, Stan

Introverts generally have acute attention to detail. Those details can help you make a more efficient job search. Go the extra mile and find the hiring manager at a prospective employer and do some research on this person before calling the employer at random. You will become a strong, valid, and desirable candidate when you appear prepared and interested, just by using your strengths.

It’s important for shy job seekers to be prepared. Being ready can give you the boost you need to go out on a limb when finding a job. This means breaking out of your comfort zone and asking others for input. Shy people tend to be more self-critical than others, so having second or third opinions can give you an idea of what really works and a boost of moral support.

Write With Might

A friend once told me, “Writing is something for shy people who want to tell you a story but don’t want to make eye contact while telling it.” Those who are introverted are often good writers. This is where the power of social media can play to our strengths. 

Try starting your own blog about your industry. You can get your thoughts and opinions out if you are a better writer than speaker, and you can use it to connect with other industry-related bloggers who can help you with your career.

You can also engage with specific people who can help you find a job instead of building a large personal brand following. Find someone who works for an employer you are interested in and start a conversation.

Some of the most influential people in history have been introverted and dealt with shyness every day, like Steve Martin, Albert Einstein, Julia Roberts. Even Thomas Jefferson, was said to have only spoken publicly during his presidency at his inauguration and while delivering legislative proposals. Don’t let the grandeur and flare of extroverts get you down. What issues of introversion and shyness have you dealt with and used it as a strength?

Associate Spotlight: Jimmy Maher

When most people think of staffing agencies, they think of strictly temporary work. The truth is many people have found life-long careers thanks to companies like Express. More and more workers are enjoying the flexibility in their schedule from working with staffing agencies. Employers are also relying more on staffing agencies to fill their open positions before hiring full-time for openings.

Our most recent associate spotlight showcases one of those individuals who finds pride in working with Express as a career for many years. Associates like the ones we showcase are a testament to how work ethic and positive attitude can go a long way in your profession, even in the roughest of economic conditions.

Jimmy Maher

Jimmy Maher started working for the Greensboro, NC Express office in 1992 as a lawn and building maintenance technician.  During his time with Express, Jimmy worked with five different clients.  Throughout Jimmy’s nearly 20-year career with Express, he worked for a single client for 14 years.  In that time, Jimmy’s commitment and enthusiasm were apparent because he didn’t own a car and had to take the bus to work from one side of town to the other. 

Over the years, Jimmy was given many raises due to his integrity and dependability.  When he celebrated his ten year anniversary with Express, he was given a cash bonus for his loyalty to Express, its clients, and his job. 

“Jimmy is a man who believes in hard work, doing the right thing, and being responsible.  He was a shining example to others on the job,” said Hope Daniel, Front Office Coordinator of the Greensboro Express office.   

When Jimmy decided to retire, the client did not want him to leave. They knew they would be losing a cherished employee.  The client wanted him so badly, Jimmy decided to extend his retirement date three times and keep working to aid the client.  He is now happily retired and settling down after a fulfilled career. 

We are very grateful for having Jimmy as a part of the Express family for so many years.  The Greensboro office will miss him, and everyone at Express wishes him the very best in his retirement and future achievements.

When looking for a job, don’t discount what staffing agencies like Express can provide. You may find a long, fulfilling career like Jimmy did through the experience and opportunities that can come from working with Express. If you’re interested, check it out.

You Make Me Want to Shout! Calming Down at Work

Cooldown_feb2012_webWork can be stressful at times. Whether it’s annoying coworkers, chaos in the office, or unruly clients and customers, we all have moments when we are tempted to let go of caution and give in to our anger. Starting a new job can bring a number of situations that can make your blood boil.

But, when we make decisions or say words in the heat of the moment, it usually ends up being the wrong choice. Here are some helpful hints to aid anger relief so you can keep a clear head when making decisions and thinking through problems.

Just Breathe

Breathing is a normal function in terms of staying alive, but taking the extra time to stop and take a few extra deep breaths can help calm you down. The more oxygen in your body, the more easily you can release physical tension.

There are several different breathing exercises you can try on your own. Take five minutes to breath from the diaphragm and use some of the breathing techniques that are right for you. Taking that time to breath can help you look at your situation with a level head so you can make a better decision on what to do.

Just Stroll

If things get to the boiling point, take 10 minutes and go for a walk. Besides the health benefits of walking, it also helps blow off steam and releases endorphins in your body.

Just Separate

Sometimes the best thing to do is remove yourself from the situation. If you can escape work for a few minutes, find a peaceful place to get away from whatever is making you angry. Being physically away from the situation can help you take a mental break and fuel better visualizations and guided imagery to help restore your peace of mind.

This can also help you reframe your situation. Many times, being in the middle of the action intensifies the situation more than it really is. Secluding yourself for a few minutes can help you see your situation differently and give you a different perspective.

Just Reflect

When you’re out walking or separating yourself from the situation, it’s important to look at yourself. Go through the situations in your head and see what your initial reactions would be and picture the consequences of those actions. Reflecting on your feelings about whatever is making you angry can help you make a better decision in the long run.

Sometimes two heads are better than one. If you haven’t found any luck calming down on your own, consider talking to one of your managers or a mentor and explain the situation. There’s a good chance they have been in a number of stressful situations where they have wanted to scream. Verbalizing your feelings with trusted individuals can also help you calm down.

When you are angry, you don’t make the best decisions. The things you say can harm your career. No matter the situation, there are always things you can do to calm yourself down before anger takes over rational thought. If you follow our helpful guidelines, you’ll be better able to keep yourself cool no matter how hot your work life gets.