Tag Archives: skills

Job Search Advice From This Year’s Oscar Nominees

oscar_lessons_webDo you equate applying for a position to actors and actresses who are in search of that famous golden statue? You should. In fact, searching for a job is a lot like being in the running for an Academy Award. As we prepare for the Oscars on Sunday, take a look at the following facts about your job search and the lessons you can learn from Hollywood’s finest.

Myth: Going for an audition is not the same as going to a job interview.
Fact: An interview is an audition. The interviewers, just like movie directors, know what is needed for a job, and they want to make sure you have it.

Myth: People with a reputation in the acting industry are given the roles, and new actors are looked over.
Fact: Everyone has different talents, and sometimes it’s good for a company to shake things up a bit. People with the highest level of experience aren’t always the greatest fit. Just like actors, you have to prove you’re the right person for the job through your resume, references, and interview skills.

Myth: Anyone can act.
Fact: Saying anyone can act is just like saying anyone can write, sing, weld, or perform any other job. Everyone has their own sets of skills and experiences, and that is what shapes them as a job candidate. The actors who take the stage at this weekend’s Academy Awards have proven their skills, and you can learn from them, too.

Lesson: Do what you’re passionate about.
Oscar nominee Bryan Cranston has been in the acting business for a number of years and is probably best known for his role as Walter White in Breaking Bad. His goal was to do something he loved and was good at, rather than something he might learn to like.

Lesson: Sometimes you have to take risks and learn from the experience.
Eddie Redmayne has made a splash in Hollywood with a short, but successful career. Last year, he apologized to the Academy for rising to the top in such a short time and stated that he knew he was very lucky. According to Eddie, you don’t want to let people down while also realizing that you can’t please everyone. So, you have to ask yourself what is worth doing and what isn’t, and that sometimes means taking risks and pressing your luck.

Lesson: You can’t do it alone.
Leonardo DiCaprio has been nominated for an Oscar five times, and he has earned the recognition in part due to those around him. In a recent interview, he stated that The Revenant was the most difficult job he has ever had. It was cold and he was in the water a lot, but what made it worthwhile was that everyone on set worked as a team.

Lesson: Embrace the challenges and learn from the opportunities.
Brie Larson is the new girl in Hollywood. The star of The Room stated that she has had to step out of her comfort zone for her role and she wasn’t expecting all the public attention she has received. As a result, she’s had to learn how to navigate her career one step at a time. Sometimes, it’s better to go into things without expectations so you can adapt as you go.

Lesson: Utilize your strengths, build on your weaknesses, and be yourself.
45 Years star Charlotte Rampling is sometimes seen as aloof or unapproachable, but she states that there is nothing wrong with being private about her life. In fact, it can sometimes be detrimental to your career and personal life if you put everything on social media for the world to see. Instead, play up your strengths and improve your weaknesses. Most of all, be yourself. Employers want to know who you are when they consider hiring you, and only you can show them.

What additional lessons can the Oscars teach us? Let us know in the comments section below.

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

Important Career Lessons From This Year’s Super Bowl Teams

Super_Bowl_2016_webEvery year, the best of the best in the NFL gather to put it all on the line for the chance to earn the title “Super Bowl Champion.” While most of us will never have the opportunity to play in the Super Bowl, there are still plenty of important lessons we can learn from the teams who are gearing up to compete this Sunday. In fact, studying the players and coaches from both teams may just help you in your job search and career. To see how, take a look at these important career lessons from this year’s Super Bowl contenders.

Peyton Manning’s lesson on longevity.
On Sunday, Peyton Manning will become the oldest quarterback to start the Super Bowl. Manning began his career with the Indianapolis Colts in 1998, and is still playing nearly 20 years later. For an athlete, that’s an astounding feat. His longevity and perseverance are characteristics that make Manning an ideal employee. If you’re looking for a job, highlight any previous jobs you’ve held for a long period of time to showcase your dedication to your employers. If you’re currently in the workforce, consider Manning’s example of perseverance and remember that loyalty is a trait employers love.

The Panther’s lesson on competition.
The Carolina Panthers have never won a Super Bowl. While that may change this weekend, it remains a driving force that pushes them to excel. There’s no doubt they want to win, just like you want to land that interview or get hired. Last season, the Panthers finished the year with a losing record and now they’re playing for a championship. Take a lesson from the Panthers and polish up all aspects of your job search from your resume to your interview wardrobe. Spend a few moments updating your references and practicing popular interview questions so you’re prepared to take home the job search trophy when your opportunity comes.

Quarterbacks’ lesson on generational relationships.
When Peyton Manning and Cam Newton start the Super Bowl, they will have the largest age gap (13 years) between two quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. While 13 years isn’t a big difference in the workplace, its impact on the football game can teach us a thing or two about how different generations operate. Refresh Leadership, a blog for business leaders from Express Employment Professionals, recently profiled the five generations that exist in the workforce. Since knowing how to engage with all generations will set you apart from the competition, study the habits and preferences of generations other than your own.

The Bronco’s lesson on never giving up.
This Super Bowl marks the eighth appearance for the Denver Broncos. Of those trips to the championship game, the team has lost five times–the most of any NFL team. Despite their losses, the Broncos have not given up. Like the Broncos, you will face competition in your job search. And unfortunately, you may also face defeat. If you land an interview and do your best to prove you’re the right candidate for the job, but you don’t get hired, it’s easy to give up. But, you have to keep trying. When you’re faced with a stressful job search, remember to get back in the game and try again. Your next win may be just around the corner.

Ron Rivera’s lesson on mentorship.
The Panthers coach has been both a player and a leader in the NFL, and he didn’t get there alone. In fact, Rivera has been counseled by one of the game’s greatest coaches, NFL Hall of Fame member John Madden. According to Rivera, Madden’s mentorship style includes celebrating wins and being honest with his advice. If one of the league’s greatest coaches can benefit from a mentor, maybe you can too. In today’s digital age, mentoring is easier than ever before. And the benefits of building positive mentoring relationships can help with both your career and your personal goals.

Gary Kubiak’s lesson on improving your skills.
You may get knocked down in your job search or career, but it’s important to get back up and keep trying. Sometimes, you may even need to take a break and reassess your path. That’s what happened to Gary Kubiak, who took a year to reevaluate his strategy after it wasn’t leading to wins. To better his job performance, Kubiak recently completed an apprenticeship under John Harbaugh, a Super Bowl-winning coach. Apprenticeships and internships are great ways for you to gain hands-on experience in the field of your choice, improve your skills, and make important networking connections. Going back to school can also improve your chances of landing a job.

Peyton Manning’s lesson on teamwork.
There’s no doubt quarterbacks are natural leaders of their teams. But, it definitely takes the entire team to win a championship. In a recent interview, Peyton Manning highlighted the importance of teamwork when he said, “I haven’t led the team to the Super Bowl. Our defense has. I’m part of it.” Like Manning, recognizing your team’s input and efforts can help you win big on projects and goals. Even if you feel like you led your team to a win, it’s important to appreciate each contribution they made.

Michael Oher’s lesson on discipline.
If you watched The Blindside, you probably remember Michael Oher. He was the football player who grew up with a rough childhood before being adopted by a family whose past was unlike his. Oher attended 11 different schools during the first nine years of his education, moved from foster home to foster home, and had to repeat several grades. Now, he’s set to play in his second Super Bowl after winning a championship in 2013 when he was with the Baltimore Ravens. Oher’s determination to rise above his circumstances is a reminder of the importance of self-discipline and goal-setting. Like Oher, you too can overcome your obstacles. If you lack the skills you need for the job, learn them. If you lack experience, gain it. You have to remember not to give up.

What other lessons can we learn from this year’s Super Bowl teams? Let us know in the comments section below.

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

These Surprising Skills May Land You a Job This Year

skills_to_get_hired_webAt this point in your career or job search, you’ve probably heard a lot about skills. There are hard skills, like typing and reading, and soft skills, like etiquette and time management. You know that you should seek ways to sharpen your leadership abilities and brush up on your communication talents. But, today’s business world is constantly changing, which means the skills employers seek are, too. In fact, there are a few surprising skills you may not even know you need to improve your chances of landing a job this year.

According to FastCompany, there are eight career skills that will not only help you secure interviews, but also seal the deal with a potential employer. Among those skills are some familiar qualities, like strong communication skills and the desire to learn. Employers are always looking for people who know how to communicate effectively, no matter their role in the company, and you should never turn down the opportunity to learn a new skill, equipment, or ability.

There are other skills FastCompany mentioned, however, that are not so common. Let’s take a look at the abilities you may not know you need.

Knowledge of Other Cultures
According to Paula Caligiuri, professor of international business and strategy at Northeastern University, leaders rank working with people from different cultures as their weakest skill. This weakness could be because they lack the opportunity to work with other cultures, or because they aren’t aware of its importance. Paula says that when you study and interact with other cultures, you learn tolerance, perspective, and humility. These are all traits that employers like to see, so take some time to learn about other cultures and sharpen your knowledge of how business works in countries other than your own.

A Global Mind-Set
Did you know that the fastest-growing economies are in Asia and South America? Businesses today benefit from knowing how prosperous countries are doing business, growing, and succeeding. If you know how to market, sell, and communicate to those countries, you automatically make yourself an ideal candidate for employers who need those skills on their team.

Effective Conflict Resolution
Conflict exists in virtually every workplace. But, how you deal with that conflict says a lot about you. Companies want to find employees who work well with others and know how to effectively resolve conflict. Take some time to learn skills that help you address issues as they arise and sort through conflict, like communication skills and anger management. Many employers will rule out a candidate if they don’t know how to resolve conflict, so make sure you aren’t one of them.

An Understanding of Analytics
According to Merriam Webster, the study of analytics is “a careful study of something to learn about its parts, what they do, and how they are related to each other.” It’s also classified as “an explanation of the nature and meaning of something.” In your career field, analytics may mean the study of how many visitors the company website attracts, how many customers are buying products, or which days of the week are better for your business. Whatever it may be, understanding how to read and decipher such information is essential to successfully stand out from the job search competition. Be sure to brush up on your ability to research and sort data, and include examples of how you’ve used analytics on your resume.

What other skills do you think are important for landing a job this year? Share with us in the comments section below.

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

New Year, New Career

NYNJ_1200x900_Facebook_Boost4For many people, a new year means new beginnings, new goals, and new opportunities.

We all start off with the best intentions and lofty resolutions, but the University of Scranton reports that only half of goals are kept past the six-month mark. For the job seeker, this fizzle adds to an already stressful situation of trying to find that perfect job or improving a current job position.

Do you have a plan for 2016? Do your goals include finding another job or improving your career skills? We have a list of ways to make sure you have a great year with tips on how to start 2016 off on the right foot.

New Year, New Job
If you are looking for a new job, treat your job search like one. Seeking that perfect position is a full-time job in itself, so create an action plan and follow it. Don’t spend an hour a day working on your job search – spend several. Look at the search as a full-time position. Businesses wouldn’t succeed if they operated only a couple of hours a day, and neither can you.

You should also focus on being more involved. The more people you know, the better your chances of hearing about a new position or being recommended for a job. Try to attend professional networking events, chamber of commerce gatherings, or other social outings. Don’t be shy about telling people you are on the job hunt, and remember, the majority of positions out there are never advertised, so keep your ears open when attending events.

Take this down time to spruce up your resume, research new trends, proofread applications, and freshen up your personal references. Also, keep a copy of your resume with you in case you run into a potential employer.

New Year, New Career Goals
Do a self-assessment and be honest. Look at both your soft and hard skills to see if you lack training or education for your desired career path. Ask supervisors or colleagues what you can do to improve, and make a plan to put those improvements in place. Besides becoming more efficient, you’ll have the added bonus of showing initiative and ambition.

Consider improving your professional presence in 2016. This year, work on your personal image and brand. Have the ability to communicate confidently, dress appropriately, and act executively. An old saying, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have,” is a famous saying for a reason.

New Year, New Degree
Is this the year you should go back to school? Many universities, community colleges, and technical schools offer short courses ranging from public speaking to new technology. Even a creative writing class can help improve communication skills, so make a goal to invest in your career by boosting your skills. Online courses also help those juggling work, family, and education, so be sure to explore your back-to-school options.

If you’re a full-time student, treat it like a full-time job. Like job seeking, getting an education or training should be considered your top priority. Make a goal this year to study just a few minutes longer, take another course, or improve your grades.

Consider internships. While some internships are unpaid, the payoff can be additional training, connections in the industry, a nice addition to your resume, and a possible job offer. Talk to your school’s career center about available internships and be aggressive about pursuing those.

Do you have your career goals for 2016 planned out? If so, share your top three goals with us in the comments section below!

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

What Does Your Job Search Competition Look Like?

12-28 Competition2When it comes to your job search, competition is inevitable. Job seekers are in a fierce battle for quality positions, and you may wonder how a recruiter chooses between two similar applicants.

Although no two cases are alike, there are ways to make sure you stand out from the crowd. Consider these tips:

Dress the Part
To get the job you want, you must look the part. The old saying “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have” is often-quoted for a reason. Hiring managers will evaluate you almost instantly based on how you dress. When you look your best and as professional as possible, you’ve already beat the first hurdle.

Ask Intelligent Questions
At the end of most interviews, you are asked if you have any questions. Take advantage of this opportunity to ask thought-provoking questions about the company and its culture. A good tip is to visit the “about us” section on the company website to find topics to ask about. Not having questions implies a lack of engagement or interest in the business.

Share Your Achievements
When interviewing, share stories that demonstrate your work abilities, your personality, and your successes. If you can “show, not tell” how you are a perfect candidate for the position, you’ll stand out from your competition. Don’t just rattle off a dry list of skills. Instead, tell a tale that shows how those skills helped your former employer.

Follow Up With Current and Former Interviewers
As soon as an interview is over, send a thank you letter that summarizes your abilities and skills. However, don’t forget about contacting businesses that you’ve interviewed with in the past, especially if you were shortlisted for a position that went to another candidate. Maybe the person they chose didn’t work out or maybe they have a new position open that is a good fit.

Make Sure You Stay Sharp
You can’t compare yourself with others, but you can compare yourself to your past. Are you learning new skills? Are you updating your resume and websites? Have you practiced your interview questions lately? It’s important to always keep improving.

In your job search, you can send in a cover letter and resume like everyone else, or you can take steps to stand out from the competition for all the right reasons. Do not beat yourself up by trying to compare yourself to other candidates, but be aware they too are looking for ways to stand out.

In what ways do you stand out from your job seeking competition? Share some tips with us in the comments section below!

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

Want a Job? These Traits Matter

12-16 TraitsWhen it comes to finding a job, there are a lot of factors that make or break your chances. The right education, experience, and network can all help sway a potential employer’s decision. But, what about your skills? Hard skills and soft skills are vital when it comes to your job search. And a recent study from Express Employment Professionals reveals exactly what skills and traits employers want.

The Results Are In
Express has conducted this survey for three years in a row, and integrity, work ethic, and attitude have consistently remained the top traits employers want to see in potential candidates. Traits were ranked on a scale of one to five, with five being the most important, and the results are as follows:

  • Work ethic/integrity – 4.5
  • Attitude – 4.47
  • Credible work history – 3.99
  • Specific skills – 3.94
  • Culture fit – 3.74
  • Job experience – 3.68
  • References – 3.28
  • Education – 2.44

“Every year now, integrity and attitude have been the two clear winners in this survey,” said Bob Funk, CEO of Express. “Not only can they make or break a job applicant, they can fundamentally alter the work environment.”

Brush Up On Your Skills
Since these traits matter most to employers, it may be time to evaluate how you’re doing when it comes to your work ethic and attitude. Check out these tips to ensure you’re at the top of your game.

How do you show strong work ethic and a positive attitude in your workplace or in interviews? Share with us in the comments section below!

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

Be Thankful: How to Appreciate Your Job

be_thankful_for_job_webThe holiday season is fast approaching, and it’s a time of year when many people consider all they are thankful for, like family, shelter, and friends. When you count up your blessings, do you include your job? Even if your current job isn’t perfect, it is something for which you should be thankful. If you’re struggling to appreciate your job, take a look at these tips to help alter your thinking.

Appreciate your perspective.
Remember, you control your perspective. That means your attitude – and yours alone – shapes the way you think about the situation you’re in. It also means you’re the only one who can make yourself enjoy your job. So, take a few moments every morning to remember the things you enjoy about your job and start your day off with the right attitude.

Appreciate your contributions.
You contribute a lot to your employer. If you’re struggling to find meaning in your work or are having trouble enjoying your job, take a moment to consider what you bring to your workplace. Take an inventory of your talents, skills, and personality, and remind yourself that you are a valuable employee. Then, shift your focus and contribute even more. Make an extra effort to voice great ideas, and put in a little extra participation when you can. Chances are your increased efforts and positive attitude will be noticed and maybe even rewarded.

Appreciate what you receive.
Even though it may not always seem like it, your job gives back to you in many ways. Your income isn’t the only thing you get from your work. Take a moment to make a list of the things you receive from your workplace, like health insurance, benefits, time off, or teambuilding opportunities. Does your workplace offer a gym for employees, or bonuses during the holidays? Do you have flexible work hours? Does your employer provide coffee in the mornings? Even that is a benefit you may not have noticed.

Appreciate your alone time.
Taking breaks during the work day can really help you unwind and let go of stress. If your workplace allows, take advantage of your break time every day. Even getting away from your desk for five minutes to step outside, make a phone call, or grab a snack can be enough of a mental break to get your head back in the game. Don’t forget to leave all of your emails and work behind for those few minutes. Your time away from your desk or work station may help you relax and remind you to appreciate a few moments of quiet time during a busy work day.

Appreciate your co-workers.
When you contribute toward a pleasant work environment, you also help your co-workers appreciate their job. Don’t participate in gossip, as it only spreads negativity. Instead, minimize your time with those whose personalities clash with your own and spend time with people you can help and befriend. Have fun at work by inviting your co-workers to lunch or keeping up with their life outside the workplace. When you get along with your co-workers, it not only makes for a more enjoyable work environment but can also help the team’s overall morale.

Appreciate work-life balance.
When your work day ends, make sure you don’t take it home with you. Mentally check out of your job before heading home for the day. A recent study from Good Technology revealed that 80% of people continue working after they leave the office, and checking emails is the biggest culprit. It’s okay to enjoy your work, but you need to find a balance between your job and your personal life to ensure happiness.

Appreciate the experience.
Even if your current job isn’t the one you want for the rest of your life, you can appreciate the experience you’re getting. Your job may not be part of your overall career plan, but it can add valuable skills and experience to your resume that will help you land the job of your dreams later. Not to mention, supervisors, managers, and co-workers are important people to have in your network. You never know who they may know, or where a better job connection may turn up down the road.

According to Business Insider, “the luckiest employees reap rewards from multiple areas: financial, emotional, and professional. They see their daily work as a chance to learn, better themselves, and understand the lessons hurled at them.”

At the end of the day, remember that you’re lucky to have a job. That doesn’t mean you should stay in a job that isn’t right for you. If your work is stressing you out or making you feel unappreciated, it may be time to look for something new. While you consider a career change or take up a new hobby, use these tips to help you appreciate the job you have right now.

Why are you thankful for your job? Let us know in the comments section below!

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