Tag Archives: job

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?

Hands Are Our Tools: Grasping The Importance of Our Hands

Handtools_feb2012_webOur hands are one of the most versatile parts of our body. They can be tender and accurate enough to paint a picture, thread a needle, or play the harp. They can also be strong and powerful enough to swing an axe, move heavy objects, or clean floors. Our hands are also two of the most important tools we have. We use them in almost every aspect of our daily lives, and it’s important to keep them safe.

Keep in mind that your hands are also fearless. They will go to any place you send them and will act only as wisely as you want them. It’s a good thing to keep in mind where you put your hands and take proper care of the only two hands you’ll ever have. Here are some helpful hints to keep your hands safe and working properly.

A Little Foresight Can go a Long Way

Cuts and scrapes may not be a serious issue, but it can affect your productivity if you have to stop working to bandage a small scrape or cut. One of the best ways to do this is to take a proactive approach. Look at the area your hands will be working in and make sure there is nothing that can harm your hands. A good example would be if you were moving an object. Check to see if the doorways and aisles are wide enough to move through safely before lifting. You should also check if there is proper hand clearance when setting down the object.

In a Pinch

We’ve all been in a rush. We know the feeling of approaching deadlines and the stress of learning new things quickly. When we feel that kind of pressure, it can become tempting to cut corners.

Sometimes new employees are shoved into working with equipment without getting proper training and don’t realize some of the dangers when using the equipment. Veteran workers also get comfortable and skip procedures, which can lead to pinching your fingers or hand in machinery.

Small pinches can happen at home and they’re more of a nuisance than anything, but getting pinched while operating machinery can lead to severed fingers or broken bones. Make sure to have all safety guards in place, a clean area, and better attention to your hand positioning.

Rings of Doom

There are many jokes about how things were great for somebody until they put on a wedding ring, and that’s when the troubles began. Those kinds of jokes may not be far from the truth when it comes to our jobs.

Wearing a wedding ring or other types of hand jewelry can put your fingers in danger by making it easy for your hands to catch on machinery and other objects, which could result in injuries. If it isn’t an option to remove the jewelry, be sure to wear proper protective equipment like gloves to help prevent those items from interfering with your job.

Sometimes it’s the little things that we overlook that have major consequences. Your hands are no different. Such intricate and important tools shouldn’t be taken for granted. There are many little things you can do to keep your hands safe that don’t interfere with your day. Give yourself a hand and make sure they’re protected.

Warning Signs an Employer May Not be For You

Warning SignsJob competition in the market is still high. The economy is slowly recovering, but there still aren’t as many jobs available as there were a decade ago. But just because the competition is tough, it doesn’t mean you should take the first job offer you receive. It’s okay to pass on a potential employee if you don’t think it’s the right company.

There are several companies out there willing to take advantage of the increased amount of people looking for work. That’s why it’s important to research a potential employer, not only to prepare your résumé and interview readiness, but also to make sure the organization is a good fit. Here are some warning signs to steer clear of a job offer.

Hiring Process is a “Rough Road”

If you are having an interview and you get the impression that you might not enjoy the environment or culture of the workplace, you should pay attention. Notice how well you communicate and interact with your interviewer, especially if the interviewer will be your supervisor. If you have trouble seeing eye to eye or getting your point across with your interviewer, it could improve over time, but it may be something to consider before accepting a job offer.

You “Stop” Asking Questions

When it comes to interviewing, it’s always good to ask specific questions to get a better understanding of your employer, while helping you look prepared and engaged. But if you feel like your potential employer is being reluctant to answer your questions, it should be a warning sign. Some employers may feel like a position isn’t attractive to job candidates and could try to sidestep or obscure certain specifics.

Your Paperwork is “Under Construction”

If you are offered a job, but the employer doesn’t provide you with any written information or a contract to sign, you should be cautious. If you receive a legitimate offer, it should be in writing. Some companies are struggling and may offer verbal contracts in hopes of renegotiating it later. If you have your job description on paper, it could help keep your job from being altered to the organization’s desire. The more that is in writing, the more there can be to protect you.

It’s a “Speed Zone”

If you feel an employer is too quick to offer, you may want to consider passing. Being too eager to hire new employees could be a sign that the company has lots of turnover, which could mean the company isn’t being handled well or the work environment isn’t friendly.

Your Pay and Benefits Take a Huge “Dip”

You may feel like the salary you desire is out the question because of the recovering economy,  but if a potential employer is asking you to work for a very low-ball salary, it should be a big warning sign. If you’re not making the money you feel you deserve, you will probably be miserable at work.

If you have some experience, be careful of accepting a position that’s too far below your most recent position. It will be very difficult to get back to the higher positions, and when looking for a new job, employers will look at your résumé and wonder why you accepted such a low-level position. It will look better if you take less pay, but keep your title in the same range.

Just because the job competition is stiff, that doesn’t mean you should jump at every job offered to you. If you keep these warning signs in mind, you’ll be able to avoid the bad apples and find an employer that’s right for you.

Lunch Foods to Keep you Energized at Work

Lunchenergy_Jan_2012_webWe’ve all been there – 2:30 p.m. rolls around and our eyelids feel like they weigh 50 pounds. We start yawning, then stretch and squirm at our work station to stay awake. The mid-day food drain can impact your productivity at work and can be frowned upon by co-workers if you’re constantly yawning at meetings.

It’s time to ditch the drowsy and embrace the energy at work. By changing a few habits during your lunch break, you can find the energy you need to last the day and work stronger than ever. Here are some fun food ideas to help you stay awake and avoid the urge to take a nap at your desk.

Why Am I So Sleepy?
After eating, your body is diverting blood flow for the digestive process. While this blood flow can energize you, the heavier, fattier foods cause sluggishness. Eating sugary foods greatly increases blood sugar levels, causing the pancreas to release insulin. This causes the body to change the insulin into several enzymes until it finally gets into the brain and is converted into serotonin, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel sleepy.

Like a Checkbook, Keep it Balanced
One of the best ways to keep yourself fueled throughout the day is to make sure your lunch is complete with carbohydrates and low-fat protein. The good kind of carbs come from fiber in foods like fruits and vegetables, nuts, beans, and whole grains.

One of the best ways to combine these foods is with the classic sandwich. You can combine whole-grain breads, wraps, or pitas with high protein foods like lean meats, such as turkey, chicken, tuna, cheese, or eggs. You can complete it with assorted greens, sprouts, onions, tomatoes, or cucumbers to help give you some extra long-lasting carbs to keep you energized.

Eating sandwiches every day may get boring and you might get back in the habit of eating out. To add some variety to your lunch, consider bringing leftovers from previous dinners. They are a great food to bring because you can control the calories and portions to ensure it will be healthy yet filling. It wouldn’t be hard to cook a little extra at nights and bring your black bean casserole, soup, or chili to work throughout the week.

Less is More
Many starchy and carb-loaded foods take time to expand in your stomach to tell your body that it’s full, which causes you to still feel hungry after eating. Big meals take more effort to digest, which works your body harder and results in less oxygen and nutrition reaching your brain.

Another way to keep your energy level up during work is to spread your meals into smaller portions throughout the day instead of a big meal at lunch. Eating frequent, healthy snacks will keep your metabolism going and help you feel energized. Foods like fruits provide long-lasting carbs full, leaving you feeling energetic hours after consumption. Eating fiber in granola and oatmeal can also help keep you from feeling hungry and give you a vigorous boost as the day continues.

You don’t have to struggle keeping tempo with your after-lunch work schedule. If you eat healthier, smaller portions, you can maintain a high level of energy while feeling full and content all day. What are some foods you like to eat at lunch that keep you going all day?

Foolproof Conference Calls: 3 How To Tips

Conferencecall_Jan_2012_webIf you’ve ever been asked to set up a conference call, you know first hand the anxiety that comes with meetings conducted this way. So many things can go wrong, from the phone conferencing system, or web conferencing software not working to attendees not calling in on time. Conference calls are normally necessary when a question is complex, a decision is trying to be reached, or an idea is being pitched, which can all be stressful conversations in person, without the added challenges conference calls can bring. Here are a few tips to take control of the situation, help you plan for the call, and conduct a successful meeting. 

1. Plan in Advance

When it comes to setting up a conference call, don’t leave anything to chance. Before you set up the call make sure you understand what is expected. Some technical questions to ask are:

  • Will you need to be able to share a slideshow or your computer screen?
  • How many people will be on the line and will you need to be able to mute the lines?
  • Will the audio call and/or the visual presentation need to be recorded?
  • How long will the call take?

You’ll want to schedule the call like you would schedule a meeting, using your calendar software to make sure that everyone involved will be available. Resist the urge to send an email with the details, instead send a meeting request containing the conference call logistics to ensure that it will show up on the calendars of the attendees and not be lost in their email inboxes. Prior to sending the meeting request, confirm the phone number, access codes, and online presentation link so that all of the information is included in the initial meeting invite. Don’t make it difficult to find the log-in information by sending separate emails and meeting requests – communicate clearly in one message. Also, include an agenda or list of questions that will be addressed. Giving your attendees time to gather information they need prior to the call will help you achieve your objectives and have a better discussion on the call. Conference calls can be effective ways to clear up confusion and seek direction, as opposed to several email threads or discussion threads trying to seek a resolution, if people are prepared in advance for the conversation .

2. Rehearse

If several individuals on your team will be involved in a call to make a presentation to a client, make sure everyone knows in advance who will be taking the lead. As the initiator of the call, you are expected to start the discussion and ensure all necessary items are communicated and decided upon with the meeting time. Again, if several of you will be talking during the call its best to rehearse the presentation to make sure everything flows together and the transition among speakers is a smooth transition. It’s important to keep callers engaged and a smooth presentation is a good step in doing that. When a call seems disorganized and lacks an agenda attendees can start to tune out and focus on the work at their desk instead of engaging in the conversation.

3. Set Up in Advance

About 30 minutes prior to the call, confirm the phone number and access codes of the call and make sure that was the information sent in the meeting request. Check to make sure your conference call was set up for the right date, in the right time zone, and for a.m. or p.m. With some conference bridges, an error in one of those fields will block callers from dialing in. If you’re hosting the meeting in a conference room, make sure the web conferencing and phone conferencing lines are all in working order and turned on 15 minutes before the call begins. If you have to download any software for the call, make sure you’ve done that the day before the call on the machines you’ll be using. You’ll reduce the stress of your fellow participants if everything is flowing smoothly before the call even begins. Prior to the call beginning, make sure you know how to mute/unmute callers and how to record the presentation and/or audio portion. One last trick for success is to dial-in with the call participant information from your cell phone after you’ve activated the call to make sure everything is working correctly. Also, let a teammate that is not on the call know the log-in information so they can direct anyone who has misplaced the information how to join.

All of the time you’ve invested prior to the call will pay off in a successful call, saving you time in the long-run. And your participants will appreciate your respect for their time with your attention to detail in hosting a successful conference call.

 

By Rachel Rudisill

4 Ways to Background Check a Potential Employer

Backgroundcheck_Jan2012_webAll right, super-sleuths. You sent a strong résumé, and the employer has called you for an interview. What do you do now? It’s almost certain the prospective company is already starting to research who you are and what you’re like outside of work, so it’s just as important that you thoroughly background check them too.

Even with slow economic conditions, choosing the right employer is imperative because you will be relying on them for continuous employment, a steady paycheck, and challenging work to help you develop and grow your skills.

Where do you start? Where do you go other than the main website? What do you look for? Don’t fear, job gumshoes, the Movin’ On Up Detective Agency will help you hit the street, put the finger on available sources, and get the information you need so you can put the screws on your potential employer and get hired.

Direct Approach

Even with the internet giving you more information at your disposal than ever before, some of the best information can be gathered on foot.

Bigger companies or nonprofits generally have an abundance of pamphlets, fliers, and other sources of information available at the front desk if requested. You’d be surprised how many organizations don’t put many details on their websites. Smaller companies and nonprofits are harder to find information for and can require outside sources.

Another old-fashioned way of finding information is through public resources like libraries.  Many public libraries subscribe to databases that aren’t generally available to the public, and those can open up riches of information on companies and non-profits. If you aren’t sure where to look, ask one of the librarians for assistance.

Online Sources

You should be finding out if your employer is a public or private organization. If it’s public, you can use all the sources from the library at your disposal, but if it’s a smaller, private organization, you’ll have to try different methods.

If you don’t have access to a college library and your public library is lacking, there are several websites out there to help you gather intel on potential employers.

Try looking for their new products and services, potential mergers, and their general financial future. Also, look into what their competition is doing to see how the employer is separating itself. Try using websites like Vault or GlassDoor to get general information and opinions on your potential employer.

Social Media Savvy

If you can’t find information on the organization’s website, try looking on their Facebook or Twitter pages. Many times, a company’s social media site will not only have more company information, but will have contact information for you to call or email if you feel like you need more data.

It’s also a good idea to check out the potential employer’s blog as well. This will give great insight to their feel, identity, what it’s about, and what’s important to it. Seeing what is on the company’s mind will give you some topics to discuss when you interview.

Man on the Inside

If you’ve graduated from college, don’t underestimate the value of your school’s alumni association. Try finding out if any of your school’s alumni work for your potential employer and see if they can give you any insight into the company, how the hiring went, and any other useful information they can give. Also, try looking at your LinkedIn connection levels to see if you have connections with anyone associated with that particular company.

If you don’t have access to any graduates or contacts from inside the company, you can always make connections by calling them to find out more information. Try calling the HR department or any recruiters to get more information or promotional material. Start conversing with them, and see if you can get any extra tidbits that aren’t listed in the promotional material.

You may feel like you’re behind the eight ball when it comes to giving your potential employer an up-and-down, but with these helpful hints, you’ll be ready for anything the employer can throw at you. What are some ways you have learned more about a potential company?