Tag Archives: preparation

Job Lessons From 2016’s Biggest Stories

stacked old newspapers pile of newspapersAs 2016 winds to a close, we reflect back on the biggest news stories of the year. This year brought not only the most unique presidential race and election, but also the sad farewell to many loved celebrities, the emergence of the Zika virus, the wild Olympics in Rio, and more.

What do these major news stories have to do with your job or employment search? Perhaps more than you realize. We’ve taken the top job lessons from 2016’s biggest news stories and broken them down into tips you can apply every day.

1. Presidential Race and Election
America sat on the edge of its seat as the race for president heated up between Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump. Although Trump was elected president, many in the media and the nation didn’t think he had a chance … at first.

Are you underestimated in your job right now? Do you keep getting passed over for promotions or large projects because people do not think you have what it takes? Take a lesson from this year’s election by focusing on your strengths and letting those strengths be known. You can start by sharing any victories you accomplished this year. Create a detailed report stating what you have done to improve the company’s bottom line or operations.

Be assertive and speak up in meetings. If you have an idea, present it in a strong and confident manner. Do not be afraid to defend yourself if other co-workers attack or put you down. Don’t let being the underdog or the forgotten employee keep you from rising to the top.

2. Zika Virus Emerges
In 2016, a scary, little-known virus made headlines, spreading panic throughout the southern United States and South America. Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected mosquito and can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. No vaccine or medicine is available for Zika.

What employees can learn from this story is to always be prepared for the worst and take precautions to avoid risk. Every day, workers can find ways to anticipate work-related issues and take steps now to prevent those issues. Just like wearing bug spray and long sleeves can reduce the risk of mosquito bites, putting strategies in place to stave away problems in your job can be invaluable to your career health.

What are the biggest risks you face? What is the one problem your job solves? Make a list of what you can do now to prevent any disasters or illness from infecting your job security.

3. Rio Olympic Games
Some of the most inspiring headlines of the year were stories about Olympic gymnast Simone Biles. She captivated the world with her gold-medal performances and big smile at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janiero. As explained in this Time magazine profile, Biles had to overcome some serious life challenges to get where she is today. Neither of her parents were able to raise her due to drug addiction and she spent some time in foster care before being adopted by her grandparents.

You may feel that life dealt you a bad hand, but that doesn’t limit where you can go with your career. Work hard. Stay positive. Make the most of your natural abilities. And like Simone, you too can excel.

4. Practice honesty, integrity, and transparency
One of the other major headliners to come out of the 2016 Olympics was the controversy over swimmer Ryan Lochte. The twelve-time medalist tarnished his reputation by behaving badly in a Rio gas station. Then, he fabricated a story to cover his actions, as detailed in this USA Today news article.

The valuable takeaway? Everyone makes mistakes—even when you’re at the top of your game. Owning up to them may be difficult, but employers value honesty and transparency.

5. Historic World Series
It’s been more than 100 years since the Chicago Cubs had a World Series. The story has it that the Cub’s losing “curse” began in 1945 when a local tavern owner and his goat (yes, he bought a ticket for it) were ejected from a ball game during a bid for the World Series.

Despite setting a record for the longest World Series drought in baseball, the Chicago Cubs players and their devoted fans persevered. In 2016, the team captured international attention as it won the pennant, then the World Series.

If you’ve been waiting for a well-deserved promotion or just hoping your boss will notice how much you contribute, don’t give up. Persevere. Like the Cubs, continue to do your best until you hit it out of the ballpark.

6. Celebrity Deaths
In 2016, we said goodbye to numerous beloved celebrities, including musicians David Bowie, Prince, Leon Russell, and Natalie Cole, as well as stars Alan Rickman, Muhammad Ali, and Merle Haggard, to name a few.

Job lessons learned from this are that change and loss are inevitable. You may lose your job, suffer setbacks, and lose co-workers or say goodbye to a favorite job task. How you react to these changes is important to surviving the loss and fear of the unknown. Be open to change. Be willing to learn new tasks in order to stay relevant.

Learn to let go of the past and embrace an exciting new future. If nothing changes, then your job, your career, and your motivation become stagnant. So while change may be painful at first, it can also lead to bigger and better things if you allow it to.

What do you think were the biggest stories of 2016? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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

How to Beat the Interview Competition

12-28 Competition2Landing an interview is a big step in your job search. With all the hard work you’ve put into looking for a job, it’s natural to feel anxious about an upcoming interview. One thing you shouldn’t worry about, however, is your competition. Not only is it distracting, it’s not beneficial. To beat the interview competition, the only thing you should concentrate on is doing your best and being as prepared as possible.

Dress the part
No matter the job, you want to do your best to look professional. Does that always mean a suit and tie? Some people would say yes, while others would say no. The key is to know the company and what they would expect. If you’re unsure, just call the recruiter ahead of the interview. They’ll be able to tell you what’s expected. For more tips on what to wear to an interview, check out this Movin’ On Up article.

Fit the job description
Several days before the interview, take time to thoroughly review the job description. Find key points that line up with your strengths and be sure to focus on them in the interview.

Practice, practice, practice
Grab a friend or family member, or even videotape yourself going over possible interview questions. This helps you work out the kinks in what you might say and gives you confidence to answer correctly. You don’t want to sound too rehearsed, but organizing your thoughts ahead of time is never a bad idea.

Prepare examples
Most interviewers will ask candidates behavioral questions like, “What would you do if…” and “Tell me about a time when…” By having examples ready for these kinds of questions, you show that you’ve put in work ahead of time and you’re less likely to draw a blank in the middle of the conversation. For more tips on how to prepare your responses to interview questions, check out these Movin’ On Up articles:

Don’t think about the competition
Remember, you have zero control over what the competition says or does in their interview. You can only control your own, and you don’t need the additional stress of worrying about how they’ll perform. Focus on being the best candidate you can be and what unique skill sets you bring to the table.

Send a thank you
Stand out from the competition by taking the time to write a thank you note after your interview. Not everyone will do this, and it’s a great way to demonstrate your desire to work for the company and your professionalism. If you need some guidance on writing one, follow this how-to article on Movin’ On Up.

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

Four Facts You Should Know About a Company Before You Interview

facts_about_company_webScoring a job interview with a company you’re excited to work for is always a positive thing. But, you still may experience the famous mix of anticipation and dread that goes along with an interview.

Rest assured that nervousness and wariness are normal feelings when faced with an interview, but gaining a little pre-interview knowledge about the company will go far in helping to reduce the nervousness. Here are four facts you should know before walking through the door:

  • What does the company do, how does it do it, and what is its mission statement?
    Because most businesses have a website, look up the company and read about its services, products, business model, press releases, and any other information available. Learn what is most important to the company so you’ll have a good starting point to speak from during the interview.

On the company website, look specifically at the “mission statement” or “about us” page. If the mission statement emphasizes customer service, you’ll know that’s important to the company. These pages also typically give the history and philosophy of the business you’re interviewing with.

  • How is the company doing financially? Most companies have a website, and most websites have something like an “investor relations” tab. Some companies list their quarterly earnings publically and publish an annual report. Even small start ups have information available on websites like Crunchbase.com.

Why is this important? You’ll be able to speak intelligently about the future of the company, based on the facts you’ve read. In addition, you can decide if a company is financially healthy to be able to hire you long-term, offer a competitive salary or benefits, and be around for the next several years.

  • What is the company culture? This might take a little more effort. An easy way to see what the company dress code and culture looks like is to drive by early in the morning or at the end of the work day. Doing so may allow you to see how the employees entering or leaving the building dress. Or, if you know any employees, simply ask them about the code.

Again, websites are great ways to explore the feel of a company. Check to see if the company is active on social media, which may help you discover if they value healthy lifestyles, are involved in the community, or other information that can come in handy when answering tough interview questions.

  • What is the company’s reputation? Local and national news media often report on large corporations, so research news articles about the business. Some businesses may have a marketing page on their website with access to press releases and awards. You can also visit the company’s social media pages and mentions to see what they are saying to followers and what others are saying about them.

The more you know about a company, the better you will feel about answering questions. You will also appear more knowledgeable to potential employers. Knowing these facts about a company is a great way to come up with potential questions for your interviewer and show that you are interested in the job.

Are there other things you should know about a company before you go on the interview? Share your thoughts and tips with us!

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

The Great Job Interview Prep-Off!

Prepping for an interviewTwo job seekers compete, but only one will get the job offer. One uses practice and punctuality, while the other uses laziness and loitering. In this game of job searching, the difference between getting an offer and getting rejected is not only about being mentally ready, but also looking ready.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) surveyed 457 employers who recruit new college graduates, and an overwhelming 92% stated “a candidate’s overall appearance influences their opinion about the candidate.”

Check out the showdown between these two rivals in this video that highlights the importance of interview preparation.

5 Qualities That Make Hiring Managers Say “WOW!”

Wow_march2012_webWhen you go in for an interview, what will set you apart from your competition? Odds are, the other hopefuls interviewing for the position have as much, if not more, experience than you. How can you impress recruiters and prove to them that you are the right person for the job?

They want to see if you’re the right fit for the company. They’re looking between the lines of your résumé for what you have beyond your work experience. To really make a good impression, you should project certain qualities that will make you a more desirable candidate. What qualities are they, you ask? Well, here are five of them that can make a recruiter or interviewer say “Wow!”

Passion

There are countless books, websites, and seminars about the best kinds of answers to interview questions. Job seekers are asked these questions to see if they have the ability to answer them competently. But, they’re also looking for something more. Many hiring managers want to see passion for their company, the position, and the industry. They want to know why candidates are truly excited about the opportunity, rather than viewing it as just another job interview. The truly passionate candidates are not only likely to excel in their role, but will also remain involved in their responsibilities and motivate those around them.

Professionalism

Being professional is something that is hard to teach. It’s a mixture of motivation, presence, and hard and soft skills. To be professional, you have to project an image that you are actively listening to what recruiters are saying and take interest in the job.

Preparation

You can really stand out among your competition when you do your homework. If you can demonstrate your interest in an employer and the issues they’re facing while showcasing your research skills, you can leave a lasting impression on hiring managers. Take the time to research and get to know the recruiter and interviewer, and you’ll find a quicker connection and develop a stronger rapport.

Poise

Confidence is a key component in every aspect of your job search. When networking or interviewing, it’s important to exhibit knowledge, modesty, openness, gratitude, and skilled verbal and written communication. Recruiters should be able to see that you can take tasks, jobs, or projects given to you and run with them. Prove that you are proactive and can handle the job requirements through your handshake, body posture, and communication skills.

Providing Humor

The hiring process can be a long and often trying process. Recruiters and hiring managers listen to the same pre-prepared answers from candidate after candidate. A job seeker with professionalism and a sense of humor lightens the atmosphere, but be careful if now you decide to use humor when talking to hiring managers. If humor isn’t a part of your everyday personality, think twice before taking it too far in an interview. If it doesn’t come naturally, there’s a bigger chance that it can backfire. You don’t have to crack jokes, but you can bring a light-hearted and happy attitude that can brighten the mood when talking to recruiters.

There are a lot of different things employers look for in a new hire. On top of work history, job experience, and specific skill sets, there are other traits that can help propel job candidates above the large number of job seekers vying for the same job. If you excel at any one of these five qualities, use it to your advantage. It could make the difference between silence and a call back. What are some ways you have shown one of the five traits when interviewing with an employer?