Tag Archives: job

That Was Close! How Reporting Near Misses Can Keep you Safe

Nearmiss_Jan2012_webYou know what you can do to protect yourself from and to prevent injuries, but there is an often overlooked threat that lurks behind the scenes at the workplace. There’s a high probability that it’s happened to you, but you don’t really think about the implications it can have on you and those working around you.

Ever have something fall off a shelf, a shirt caught on a piece of equipment, or your ladder narrowly misses a power line?  To err is human. We all make mistakes from time to time, but incidents like those examples can not only put you in danger, but also endanger your co-workers down the line if not reported. It’s easy to shake-off near misses and chalk it up to good luck, but what was an avoided catastrophe now, might not be in the future. Here is some advice to help you learn the value of reporting near misses to your employer and what they mean to your safety.

No, Really. What is a Near Miss?

A near miss is an unintentional, unsafe occurrence that didn’t result in injury, fatality, or property damage, but had the potential to do so. These types of situations can happen at any time, no matter what field or industry you work in. Near misses often precede real accidents that can result in injury or death. Your employer won’t be aware of these potential threats on their own. It’s up to you to report these dangers to keep everyone safe.

It’s Your Early Warning System

Reporting near misses is one of the best ways to avoid serious injuries or even death in the workplace. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported nearly 3.1 million nonfatal work-related injuries in the private sector, and according to the National Research Council, nearly 6,000 Americans die from workplace injures every year.

Making sure you inform your managers about near misses is a learning tool for you and your company. When near misses occur they can be regarded as early warnings that something is wrong somewhere in the system. You wouldn’t want to work in an environment that wasn’t as safe as possible, so be sure to inform your supervisors of any potential hazards before you or your co-workers are put in danger.

You’re Not Causing Problems

Many near misses go unreported because workers feel their supervisors don’t appreciate having to stop what they are doing to investigate the issue. It may feel like management doesn’t encourage these kinds of reports and it’s just a hassle, but you and your co-workers safety and security should be the biggest priority at work. Don’t ever feel like reporting a near miss would be a distraction, inconvenience, or annoyance.

When reporting near misses, you’re showing initiative. You are keeping your colleagues and employer in mind by saving money and time when avoiding accidents. This type of investment in your company is what management looks for when promoting their workers. If your employer has a weak or non-existent near miss reporting policy, showcase your leadership skills by working with them to create an improved system. 

Don’t wait for the accident to happen before letting your supervisors know about it. It could be your life on the line. What are some ways you’ve stepped up to promote a safe work place?

I Know What You Tweeted Last Summer, Can Social Media Harm Your Job Search?

Dangersocialmedia_Jan2011_webSocial media has become an amazing tool millions of people use every day to meet, connect, and stay in touch with each other all over the world. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ help their users express themselves and meet like-minded individuals to share their thoughts and passions to build communities like never before.

They are also tools for potential employers to get a better picture of who you are outside of the interview or résumé. According to a recent survey conducted by the recruiting and applicant tracking software company Jobvite, 90% of employers will refer to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin before making a hire. Many employers feel that whatever you do in your normal social life will reflect in your work life. With the newest Facebook Timeline feature, it will be even easier for companies to see posts from your crazy college days, outbursts from teenage angst, or outrageous decisions as a young adult from two or three years ago. Here are some ways social media may keep you from getting hired and how to avoid it.

Trash Talkin’

Any vicious or ill-tempered comments you make on your social media sites can make you look bad. These are reflections on you as a person outside of the job interview where you are actively trying to put your best foot forward and impress.

One of the most famous examples of this is the “Cisco Fatty” incident in 2009. Job seeker, Connor Riley was offered a position with consumer electronics company Cisco. Later that day, Riley posted the on her Twitter account:

 

“Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.”

 

Soon, a manager at Cisco found the tweet in a search and responded:

 

“Who is the hiring manager. I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web.”

 

Needless to say, her job offer was soon withdrawn. Be careful when posting your thoughts and opinions online no matter what frame of mind you’re in at the time. You never know who is reading it. A safe bet is if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything.

Picture Postin’

Pictures are great ways to highlight the best memories from your past. They can also be proof of some of the most unprofessional and embarrassing moments in your life. What you do in your free time reflects the kind of person you are. Potential employers will not see you as a reliable, serious candidate if your profiles are littered with party and prank photos. You might also want to avoid showcasing your record number of tattoos or piercings if looking for a job with a lot of face-to-face and direct business meetings.

Go Googlin’

Have you ever typed your name into Google and searched yourself? What do you think you’ll find? You should search your name regularly during your job hunt to see what pops up. If you want to use your profiles for silly pictures and rants, set your profiles to private. It won’t keep everything from those looking for you, it will help. If you want your name to appear more professional, sign up for several other professional social networking sites like Ziggs, Ecademy, or Networking for Professionals, The more your name is out there producing positive content, the more good things will show up on Google.

Some employers really do use online profiles to help make hiring decisions. Online image company Reppler reports almost 65% of employers say they have passed on prospective hires after taking a look at their social profiles. What have you done to help boost your professional image online?

My Entry-Level Life: That’s a Wrap!

EntryLevelLifeButton_D We hope you’ve enjoyed the series on My Entry-Level Life. You’ve gotten some valuable information to help you with your job search. My Entry-Level Life covered the basics of how to interview, create and update your résumé, dress for success, handle office politics, schedule meetings, and much more. Whether you’re looking for an internship, your first full-time job, or you’re switching industries to start a brand new career, you can always reference the great tips and advice this series covered.

Do you have success stories to share about an entry-level job you had this summer? We would like to hear them!

Also, be on the lookout for our upcoming series, Résumé Boot Camp: Tips to help you whip your résumé into shape.

Things Your Mom Didn’t Tell You About the Work World

Think back to when you were in elementary school and got jitters on the first day back from summer vacation. Maybe it was your mom or another loved one who helped calm your nerves. They probably gave you advice like, “Don’t worry, just be yourself and everyone’s going to love you.” Now, fast forward to today and your working career. Does that advice still apply? To help you gain some perspective and clarity during those times when you need it, here is some advice your mom didn’t tell you about being in the workplace.

Not everyone’s going to love you. In the workplace, everyone has different personalities. Not everyone is always going to want to be your best friend, and that’s OK. You’re going to run into people you don’t get along with. But, be nice and polite with everyone you work with and focus on being a good employee who produces great work.

Be responsible for yourself. In the working world, you are responsible for you. No one else is going to baby you. You have to pick up after yourself and keep your workstation clean and organized. Also, your manager will provide you with direction on your projects, but getting them done is up to you. And, you need to prioritize what’s important as a worker and manage your time wisely to get your work completed on time. Check out these tips on organization and prioritizing. And, remember that It’s OK to talk with your co-workers, but keep the chatting to a minimum so you can be productive throughout the day.

Don’t just do the best you can. Workplaces today are competitive and many are looking for employees who are willing to go the extra mile on projects. Your mom might have been fine with you getting a C on a project or in a class when you were in school, but employers are looking for A+ effort when it comes to work. 

There’s no nap time or recess at work. Gone are the days when you got to take a nap at noon or go outside and climb around on the monkey bars to work off some energy. Your employer pays you to be productive throughout your work day, so make sure you get enough rest prior to coming to work. Set a time each night to be in bed and a time each morning to wake up. When you’re rested, you will have more energy, allowing you to cross more off your to-do list.

Life’s not fair. In your working career, you will probably run into events that aren’t fair, but in some situations, you won’t be able to do anything about them besides just accept them. Titles, raises, salaries – these are a few things in the workplace that sometimes seem unfair. Instead of dwelling on things you don’t have, look for the positive in what you do have. Continue working hard and don’t let “unfair” things slow down your progress or cloud your vision.

Everyone has those days when they wish they could have mom or someone else there to lend some advice when it’s needed. Instead, keep these tips close by for the next time you feel you need a reality check.

Does Your Boss Respect Your Ideas? How to Pitch Ideas Effectively

EntryLevelLifeButton_E Do you have a great idea for a project or one you think might make your work better, help generate profits, solve an issue, or improve workplace productivity? A brilliant idea that doesn’t go anywhere is a lost cause. That’s why it’s important to know how to pitch your ideas to your boss and co-workers to help get your plans implemented. But, pitching an idea isn’t always an easy process. You have to sell it! To help you amaze your boss with your genius and creativity, here are a few tips to pitch like a pro.

Identify a need. The greatest ideas are the ones that help solve a need or problem. Discover what value your idea has and be able to highlight the benefits in your pitch. An employer wants to know what’s in it for them, their business, and their team, if they were to implement your plan into action. Clearly explaining the advantages and potential impact of your ideas to your boss will definitely help improve your chances of getting the green light on your ideas.

Create a sales pitch. After you’ve identified a need, outline exactly what you want your boss to know about your idea. Take a tip from a reporter – for any story they write, they answer the questions who, what, when, where, why, and how. Outline your answers to these questions for your idea. For example, describe what your idea is and who will benefit from it as well as who will need to be involved to help implement it.

Pitch to trusted colleagues first. Before you run your ideas by your boss, take some time to share them with a few co-workers you know will give you honest feedback. Practice your pitch on them and see what they think. This will allow you to receive tips on what presentation style elements work and what concepts can be tweaked to make your idea more solid. The more solid your idea, the stronger your chances are of seeing it move into action.

Also, think about some possible objections your manager might have, and consider what you would say in return. It’s always better to be over-prepared when pitching your ideas rather than winging it. The better prepared you are, the more confidence you can exude when you meet with your manager.

Pitch to your boss. This is the moment you’ve been waiting for, so give it your best effort! Believe in yourself and what you’ve created. If you’re not confident about what you’re trying to sell, why would others believe your project is a winner? Stand tall and let your boss and co-workers see your excitement. And, even if your boss doesn’t think it’s the right time to implement your idea, they will respect you for the time, effort, and thought you put into your idea. They will remember this the next time you have something to pitch.

Don’t oversell. Don’t say your idea will accomplish things it won’t. There’s nothing worse than underperforming on a project that you promoted. From the beginning, be open and honest with what your idea can accomplish.

Accept the outcome. Sometimes your ideas will pass with flying colors and sometimes they won’t.  If you have an idea that your manager doesn’t think will work, see if there’s another solution to help improve it. Sometimes all that needs to be done is a little tweaking. But, if your idea absolutely doesn’t get approved, it’s not the end of the world. Be glad that you gained some experience with pitching your ideas, and head back to the drawing board to come up with your next brilliant idea.

Pitching ideas might be a little more difficult than the actual brainstorming, but you can have your boss saying “eureka” to your new idea with just the right pitch. With these tips in mind, you have a great starting point. You never know what the future holds for you or your ideas until you pitch them.

Feeling Stressed? The Easy Way to Simplify

Americans are stressed out! And the nation’s economy is not helping. According to an annual survey conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA), 80% of Americans polled between April and September of 2009 are stressed about their personal finances and the economy. Top contributors to stress in past surveys include work- and child-related issues. But, no matter what the causes are, stress – in large doses – can be harmful to your mental and physical well being.   

To help you simplify your life and relieve some of the overwhelming obstacles that cause you unnecessary stress, I have one simple word of advice…DELETE!

Now, you may be wondering what that means and thinking that you can’t get rid of the things that may cause you the most stress at times, like your bills, your job, or even your children. But, you can delete things from your life that add fuel to the fires of stress so you can focus more on the issues that require more of your attention. So, delete unnecessary e-mails. Delete old, unused contacts from your phone. Recycle expired products in your garage, bathroom, pantry, and refrigerator. From simplifying an overflowing e-mail inbox at work to cleaning a clutter-filled room at home, getting rid of what you don’t need will help simplify and de-stress a hectic, full life.  

Before you start tossing out the old and unnecessary, ask yourself these questions. When was the last time I needed this? How old is this? How will my life change for the better if I keep this? If your answers sound like this, “I don’t know; more than a year; and I’m not sure;” then chances are, it’s OK to delete these items from your life. Get rid of the things that cause you to worry, stress, or feel overwhelmed. Things can become an unnecessary burden that we must deal with every day.

Life is stressful. And, for many people, that’s just the way it is. Stress has become a way of life for many. But, it doesn’t have to be your way of life. By deleting what you can and should from your life, you may just start to live and love a life that you control, not one that controls you.

Who’s Hiring, Who Isn’t, and How to Get the Job

While some industries continue to see sharp declines in job losses, other industries have remained strong during the recession, and some have even started to bounce back.

According to a recent report released by Beyond.com, Inc., a network of online communities for niche careers, healthcare and information technology are two industries that continue to add jobs at a steady pace. Their third quarter Career Trend Report for 2009 also indicated that sales, sales management, manufacturing, and production industries experienced slight increases in job gains in the third quarter of 2009, while professional services including accounting, finance, engineering, and architecture are experiencing declines in job loss.

For those looking for employment opportunities or looking to change careers, it’s important to market yourself, tailor your résumé to reflect the industry and the job you’re applying for, and research the company before the interview. There are several ways to make sure your résumé is top of mind when decision makers are sifting through piles of applicants.

  1. Identify your transferable skills. It’s important that you look at your skills and evaluate how to translate them on your résumé to reflect the job you’re applying for.
  2. Market your transferable skills in your job search. Once you have identified your transferable skills, tailor your résumé for each specific job.
  3. Network in industry-specific arenas. A key element to finding a job is who you know. By integrating yourself with key players in the industry, you’ll increase your chances of landing an interview or even a job offer. 
  4. Research a potential employer. You don’t want to miss out on the job because you didn’t know anything about the company. Research will also help you when you’re preparing a tailored résumé.

Knowing what industries are hiring is important when looking for a job or making a career change. Once you have an idea of what areas are expanding, tailoring your résumé and making the right decisions on how you prepare can influence the hiring manager’s decision on whether or not you get the job.