Tag Archives: job tips

Green Is In: How To Ask for a Raise

ask_for_raise_webThe top fashion color for 2014 may still be Radiant Orchid according to Pantone, but green accessories are also in style this fall, especially the kind that fill up your wallet or purse. And with the start of the fourth quarter and end of the year drawing near, now could be a good time to consider asking for a raise. This can undoubtedly be an intimidating task, so here are three steps to prepare you for taking the next step.

1. Consider the timing.
Timing is everything, particularly when it comes to asking for a salary increase. So, think about if right now is the optimum time to discuss the subject of a raise with your boss. Take into consideration the economy, how well the company is doing, if there have been signs of budget cuts or increases lately, and when compensation adjustments are usually done. On the other hand, if your employer does performance reviews at the end of the year, right now could be the perfect time to bring up the possibility of a raise. Often, employers have already budgeted for pay increases prior to employee reviews.

2. Do your homework.
If the timing seems right, then you need to do your homework so you’re prepared to logically and persuasively make your request. If you’re asking for a pay increase, there needs to be a good reason for it. Simply showing up every day and doing what’s expected of you isn’t enough. You must be able to prove that you’ve exceeded expectations, reached and gone past your performance goals, or provided tremendous value to the company. Keeping a running list of your accomplishments and praises from others will help ensure you don’t forget anything important. Your list should also include legitimate numbers that place a quantitative value on your work.

3. Second-guess yourself.
Once you think the time is right and you’ve gathered all the pertinent information, stop and second-guess yourself. Consider if your work performance and accomplishments truly merit a pay increase. Can you numerically show how your work has positively impacted your employer’s profits? If the answer is yes, then think about your attitude. Are you entering this process with a humble, thankful spirit or with an attitude of arrogance and entitlement? Even if you truly have earned a salary increase, your attitude and how you handle conversation with your boss could be the deciding factor in you seeing a higher number on your next paystub.

Everyone wants a raise, but most people don’t want to have the uncomfortable conversation about it with their managers. After all, it can be scary and intimidating to ask your boss for more money. If you properly prepare for it, though, asking for a raise can be a positive experience.

Do you have other tips for successfully asking for a salary increase? How have you secured raises in the past? Share your experiences of asking for pay raises in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Touch Down! 4 Game-Changing Career Moves

touchdown_career_moves_webWith fall comes one of the most beloved American pastimes – football!

Beyond the joys of tailgating, catching up on your Fantasy Football team, or getting together for chilly games, football can also teach us a lot about business success. What we learn from one of America’s favorite sports demonstrates that serious training, making plays in overtime, and judging strategy are as easily applied to your career as it is on the 50-yard line.

So suit up, put your game face on, and check out these tips on how to apply football strategies to your career advancement.

1. Change Strategies Mid-Game

In 1940, the Chicago Bears were the underdogs in American football. They faced the superior Washington Redskins, and much to everyone’s shock and awe, beat them 73-0.

That game was one of the biggest upsets in football history. So how did a team with no shot of winning absolutely crush the more talented team? Did they cheat? Were they just lucky?

Neither. The Bears realized their current strategy wasn’t working, and they made adjustments. The team created the now-famous “T formation,” representing the first time a team created a new strategic formation in the middle of a game.

Like the Bears, if your strategy isn’t working in your favor, consider trying something new. Feel like you’ve earned a raise, but just putting in the hours and doing a job isn’t getting it for you? Re-strategize, collect supporting materials, and consider openly asking your boss for a raise.

If your management style isn’t inspiring your employees, change tactics and research different management techniques to get the results you want. If your resume and cover letter aren’t getting the responses you need, rewrite and reword it to highlight your abilities.

Today, coaches constantly look at which strategies work for their team and which are no longer effective. As an employee, you should do the same.

2. Never Stop Training

Every team from the little leagues to the NFL knows that consistent training is vital to the success of an organization. So, identify your key strengths and find ways to regularly improve them.

If your company offers training seminars or opportunities to cross-learn, take advantage of that offer. If you can take a night class to better your chances for a promotion or raise, invest in that education. If you have a weakness, work with coaches or teachers to increase your skill in those areas. In a team setting, you must also learn to trust co-workers and management to do their jobs in order to allow for the win.

By focusing on training and skills, you can create the best opportunity for team success and personal achievement both on and off the field.

3. Pick the Right Team, Play the Right Spot

In football, the right players have passion and drive. In business, passion and drive are just as important, but you need to find the right team for your skills.

What sets top performers apart from other team players? They’re excited, passionate, and invested in what they’re doing every day. You can’t fake passion, so if you have a career you love, you’ll help bring in the win for the organization. But, if you aren’t in a position that allows you to make the big run or go for the down, find out what you need to learn or accomplish in order to move up.

Your management team wants you in the right position too, but they won’t know where to put you if you don’t speak up.

4. Make the Big Play On the Fourth Down

Going for it on the fourth down is a gamble in football games. According to some analysts, being more aggressive on the fourth improves a team’s chance of winning, but coaches rarely make that call.

If you’re in a situation where you can make a big move, especially with a lot on the line, you might want to take the chance. Sure, you may be guaranteed a few points by playing it safe and taking the easy route, but working hard and having faith that a big move may win the game could pay off.

For instance, say you aren’t going to meet your sales quota this month. You have enough sales to slide by, so should you run the risk of making a big push on cold calls to gain a few more?

Absolutely. Of the 10 or so calls you make to companies, you might just score that touchdown and land your biggest client.

You’ll never know if you don’t go for it on fourth down.

What are some business lessons you’ve learned from football? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Top Rated Job Search Tools

job_search_tools_webFinding a job and scouring the job boards can often be a time-consuming, frustrating, and confusing ordeal. With hundreds of job boards online and even more want ads in the newspapers, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. Where do you even start? How do you know where to look? How do you avoid scam sites or “pay” sites?

We’ve compiled a list of helpful sites we think are the best places for job seekers to use their time wisely. While every job seeker is different and has different needs and priorities, these tools are a great place to start if you’re looking for a job.

1. Job Boards
General job boards can be a great place to kick off your search. We’ve included such popular sites as Monster.com, and CareerBuilder because they allow you to search jobs quickly and easily.

There’s also more niche-oriented sites. For example, Idealist.org is a job board dedicated to non-profit jobs. USAJobs is a job board with a huge list of federal job openings. Both are quality tools to help you if you want a job with the government or in the nonprofit realm. Be sure to check and see if there’s a nice specific job board for your industry.

2. LinkedIn
If you are actively looking for a job, you should already be on LinkedIn.

Why? For one, it is the largest professional social networking site in the world, boasting more than 175 million members in more than 200 countries.

Every second, two new members sign up, and more and more hiring managers are looking at LinkedIn profiles for potential candidates. According to Forbes.com, recruiters use LinkedIn more than any other website to connect with job candidates.

Even better is that it is free to use and a great place to show off your work history and qualifications!

3. Facebook and Twitter
Another way to use social media to get your foot in the door is to follow, like, or start conversations online with the companies where you’d like to work for. Commenting or “retweeting” comments from a potential employer on Twitter shows engagement, as does leaving comments or “liking” a post on that company’s Facebook page.

Other social media sites, like Instagram or Pinterest, also allow you to start engagement and conversations with potential employers. Just be careful of what you post – what you say online could stay there forever.

4. Professional Organizations

It’s been said a professional organization exists for every field, and the benefits of joining such organizations are many. Participating in a professional organization allows job seekers to learn from the experience of others, but also allows for top-notch networking opportunities.

By joining a professional group, you have the chance to connect with decision-makers in your industry and hear about job leads. Many of these groups, like the Public Relations Society of America or the Society for Human Resource Management, have extensive job boards that are open to members.

An added benefit of joining these groups is the potential to expand upon skills necessary to your particular field.

5. Recruiters and Staffing Firms
Recruiters and staffing firms like Express Employment Professionals work to bring the right employee and the right employers together. Whether you’re looking for a temporary or a professional position, working with a staffing firm is an easy way to improve your job search.

Staffing companies help match thousands of job seekers to jobs every day. And, the assistance doesn’t stop there. These firms also provide tools like resume writing help, job seeking tips, and job search tools.

And, if you’re new to Movin’ On Up, the Express Employment Professionals job blog, take advantage of the numerous articles and topics designed to help you in your quest for a perfect fit. Articles range from Top Interview Traits Your Future Boss Wants to See to How to Say Yes to a Summer Wardrobe and all topics in between.

Do you have some favorite job search tools that you use? Share with us in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

3 Steps to Detoxing Your Social Media for Your Job Search

detox_socialmedia_webIn June, CareerBuilder released findings on the number of employers turning to social networking sites to research candidates. The 2014 survey, conducted by Harris Poll, found that 51% of employees who research job candidates online said they’ve found content that caused them to not hire the candidate, up 8% from the previous year and 17% from 2012. Only 12% of employers surveyed said they don’t currently research candidates on social media, but they also reported that they plan to start in the near future.

If you think your online presence could be poisoning your job chances, it’s probably time to detox your social networks and rid your accounts of content that could keep you from getting a job.

Step 1: Get Rid of the Harmful Stuff Fast

When it comes to detoxing your social media, the first thing to do is to remove anything harmful from your accounts. The CareerBuilder survey reported that some of the most common reasons employers gave for passing on a candidate included:

  • 46% for provocative or inappropriate photographs or information
  • 41% for information posted about the candidate drinking or using drugs
  • 36% for bad-mouthing a previous company or fellow employee
  • 32% for poor communication skills
  • 28% for discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion, etc.
  • 22% for lying about qualifications

As you start to detox your social accounts, think about what employers are and are not looking for in a candidate. Take a look at your history online and search for anything that could be considered unprofessional or could be misconstrued. If it hurts your chances of getting hired, ask yourself if it’s worth keeping. Then, start deleting. Edit errors. Remove inappropriate posts you’re tagged in. Change your profile photo if it doesn’t reflect the professional image you’d like to portray.  Really take some time to investigate your accounts. It may not be enough to switch out your Facebook profile photo for example. You may also need to delete some of the old profile photos entirely from your account to keep people from looking at your profile history. Whatever you do, don’t be afraid to let go of the past for a brighter future.

Step 2: Setup Boundaries and Check Privacy Settings

Once you’ve deleted the things that could be harmful to your job search from your social accounts, take a look at your privacy settings. If you don’t want potential employers looking at your Facebook page for example, make sure only your friends can see the information you share on your profile. If you’re going to leave your Facebook profile open, turn on your Timeline review so you can approve posts you are tagged in before they appear on your page. If you don’t approve a post that you’re tagged in, remember that you may still need to go remove the tag from your friends post. Facebook and other networks are constantly updating their privacy settings, so it’s important to stay up to date on your settings to know who can see your accounts.

Now that you’ve checked your privacy settings and cleaned up your accounts, take some time to think about what you will and will not post in the future. Give yourself some boundaries or create some rules of thumb to follow to keep your social media free of job killing toxins. Tell yourself you will proof read every status update before you post it and try reading your updates out loud before you share them. This will help you catch any grammatical errors and give you time to stop and think about whether or not you should even post it.

Step 3: Replace the Bad Stuff with the Good Stuff

Your social media presence doesn’t have to be toxic to your job search. In fact, it can actually help you get an interview or even a job! While the CareerBuilder survey found that 51% of employers didn’t hire an applicant because of something they saw on social media, 33% of employers also said they’ve found content that made them more likely to hire a candidate as well. And, 23% said they found information that directly led to hiring the candidate!

Some of the most common reasons employers gave for hiring a candidate based on their social networking presence included:

  • 46% of employers felt the applicant was a good fit with their company culture
  • 45% said the candidate’s background information supported their qualifications
  • 43% said their online presence conveyed a professional image
  • 40% said the applicant was well-rounded and showed a wide range of interests

If you want to make the most out of your social media networks to help you land a job, then replace any harmful information with beneficial information that could actually help give your career a boost. A great place to start is with your LinkedIn account since it’s already geared toward helping you make professional connections online. Take time to fill out as much information as you can. Provide links to your work. If you volunteered for something in your community, post about it on all of your accounts. Share industry related information to help show that you’re an expert in your field. Detoxing your social media isn’t just about getting rid of what’s bad. It’s about sharing the good things. Find ways to demonstrate your skills and abilities as well as your personality and your strengths, and you’ll be well on your way to having a robust and healthy image online that could help you stand out from other applicants.

How do you ensure your social presence is free of job-killing toxins? Share about it in our comment’s section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Do This During Your Job Interview and You Won’t Get Called Back

interview_mistakes_webThe number of articles and blogs online about the mistakes people make during an interview would lead you to believe that interviewees would have learned from other’s hard lessons. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always seem to be the case. A recent survey of 115 hiring experts about the worst interview mistakes people make reveals that interviewees are guilty of committing some very avoidable errors during their time in front of a potential employer.

Here are the three worst mistakes respondents said they saw job seekers make during their interview and how you can avoid making them.

1. Lie About Your Experience 

Want to start your relationship off terribly with someone who could determine if you get hired or not? Lie about your work experience or education.

Even the slightest fib or stretching of the truth could do irrevocable harm to your potential to get hired. If an employer finds out after you’ve been hired that you lied about your abilities or knowledge of a key part of your new job, you can expect that you won’t be there long. And if they do research about you before you’re hired and find out you’ve been dishonest, don’t expect to get a call back anytime soon.

“In this era of massive information availability, anything you say about your experience, your past performance, or your education that isn’t accurate can most likely be checked,” said Erika Anderson, a contributor for Forbes Magazine. “It’s much better to be upfront about anything that’s less than stellar, and offer a simple (non-defensive) explanation.”

2. Show Up Late

Things happen. Tires go flat, kids get sick, and bad weather can set anyone back. But when you know you have a job interview coming up, preparing for any situation is the key to showing up on time.

Take the appropriate steps to make sure that on the day of your job interview, nothing but a serious emergency could cause you to show up late or miss the chance to show an employer why you’re the best person for the job. Put gas in your car and check your tires the day before, set your alarm to give yourself plenty of time to get ready, and do a final review of any research you’ve done. And if you’re unfamiliar with the location of the interview, drive there from your home in the days before so you know how to get there, preferably around the time of your interview so you can account for traffic.

If something completely unforeseen does come up and you know you’ll be late, call ahead to the employer and let them know about the situation. Be prepared with another time when you call so that if they ask to re-schedule, you know of a few times you’re available.

3. Answer Your Phone (Call or Text)

This is pretty simple. Unless there is an emergency situation in which you are waiting on a phone call (in which case you should probably ask to re-schedule the interview), you shouldn’t even have your cell phone turned on when you walk in the building.

We know how tempting it is to check your phone while you wait to meet your interviewer, but it’s not worth it. Employers want to know you’re focused on the task at hand and will be if they decide to hire you. Don’t give them any reason to think you’re anything other than excited, determined, and completely focused on what you can bring to their team.

Everyone understands that mistakes can happen during an interview, but there are some that are worse than others, and several that are avoidable. What have you done to avoid these interview mistakes? Let us know in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.