Tag Archives: stress

De-Stress Before Your Job Interview

de-stress_before_interview_webJob interviews can be a little nerve racking. Will the interviewer like me? What if I say something that sounds stupid? What if I don’t know how to answer a question?

To help you gain your interview confidence, take a deep breath and follow these seven tips for conquering your fears and de-stress before your job interview.

1. Get your portfolio together.
Don’t scramble to put this together the night before. No one knows your work better than you, so be your biggest advocate on interview day and have a stellar portfolio. While getting your portfolio ready, showcase your best projects. And, be sure to include plenty of copies of your resume in case someone unexpected joins the interview. On your resume, make sure it’s easily laid out for readability, organized, shows your training/education background, and lists your job history. Also, include a list of references for extra bonus points.

2. Prepare for interview questions.
Expect to be asked questions like:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why should I hire you?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What can you bring to the team?
  • Do you have any questions about the job?

These are typical questions interviewers use to learn more about you. A few days before your interview, practice answering these questions and watch yourself in the mirror so you can see your facial expressions or ask a friend to listen and give you feedback.

3. Do your research on the company and the position.
Not only will you need to be prepared to answer questions about yourself, but you should also be able to speak about the company and the position you’re seeking. What do you know about them? What do they do? Find out when they were founded, how many locations they have (if more than one), and some interesting facts about the organization.

Also, be able to share about the skills you can bring to the job. What are some specific duties you’re interested in? How do your skills match the job? Also, come up with questions you have about the job. How do you see this position growing with this company? What skills does the perfect candidate have? Questions like these will show that you’re taking initiative in learning all you can about the position.

4. Drive by the interview location the day before.
A big stressor for interviewees is the location of the interview. If you can, do a test run the day before. Get a feel for the traffic and identify just how much time you need to get there. And remember, you will want to arrive at your interview at least 15 minutes early, so factor that into your drive time.

5. Plan your outfit.
What are you going to wear for your interview? The key is to always wear professional in attire on your interview day. Get your outfit prepared the evening before your interview and make sure it is clean and wrinkle-free. Also, include your accessories such as shoes, a tie, or jewelry. Having your clothes ready to go will save you time on the big day.

6. Get a good night’s rest.
Go to bed early the night before your interview. Allow yourself to get enough rest so you wake up feeling refreshed, energized, and ready to face the day. Don’t stay up late trying to prepare, and be sure to set your alarm!

7. Stay calm on interview day.
After you’ve checked in for your interview, use your last few minutes to take some deep breaths, remember what your goal is, and remind yourself that you can do this. Remember to think positive.

Do you have any additional tips for de-stressing before an interview? Share them here!

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

Poor Leadership Top Workplace Stress

StressPollResults_May2014_webApril was stress awareness month, so we checked in with our readers on the top workplace stress triggers in our monthly poll. Topping the list with 21% of the results was “lack of/poor leadership,” followed by 15% responding that “long hours/increasing workloads” are the biggest trigger of stress. Tied for the third spot with 10% of the votes were “inadequate pay/benefits” and “poor working environment/company culture.”

Here is how the remaining responses ranked:

  • Concerns about job security: 9%
  • Poor work-life balance: 9%
  • Work is uninteresting/not your chosen career: 7%
  • Poor relationships with co-workers: 7%
  • Inadequate job training: 5%
  • Lack of opportunities for advancement: 4%
  • Other: 3%

Top Causes of Stress for Leaders and Managers
Leadership challenges plague both employees and those charged with leading a company. Express Employment Professionals also asked the same questions about workplace stress to the readers of Refresh Leadership, a blog for managers and leaders, and “lack of/poor leadership” topped their list with 17% of the votes. “Long hours/increasing workloads” came in second place with 15% of the votes, ranking the same spot on the list as top causes of stress for the Movin’ On Up readers.

If you’ve thought being the boss would solve all your stress at work, this may crush your hopes of an easier life when you move up the corporate ladder. However, it can be comforting to know that you’re not alone in facing challenges with leadership. A search for leadership books on Amazon returns over 20,000 results, a testament to the true struggle leading a team and working with others can be. As a point of reference, there were only 10,000 weight-loss books on Amazon, even with the constant diet fads.

Leadership is often about communication, and your manager may be better served in helping you if you find an effective and efficient way to share your challenges and successes. It may not solve all your workplace worry, but it could be the start of less stress.

Ways to Cope
Check out these related blog posts with suggestions on managing workplace stress and improving relationships at work:

What have you found to be the most efficient way to manage workplace stress? Share your ideas in the comments section below.

Know When To Go – Job Change

Know when to go_May2014Everyone has moments when they wonder if it’s time to make a change and find a new job. But, if you find yourself constantly thinking of leaving your job and wishing you worked somewhere else, you probably need to do a little soul-searching. It may be time to try something new, or you may just have unrealistic expectations of your job.

Making a job change can be a great career move, but it’s not something you should take lightly. In order to know when to go, you need to take an honest look at your situation. Understanding your reasons for leaving will not only help you make a wise decision, but also ensure your future success wherever you work.

How’s Your Attitude?
There is no such thing as a stress-free job. Even the most passionate professionals can find themselves frustrated and stressed out. So don’t make a quick decision to change jobs when you’re emotional. Take the time to uncover if you are just stressed or have burned out. Also, see if making a conscious effort to have a positive attitude for a few weeks changes your perspective.

Are You Running Away From Someone?
Toxic coworkers or managers can ruin any job. However, there will always be difficult people in the workplace you don’t get along with. If you want to change jobs to get away from someone, consider if you’re dealing with a true toxic relationship or if it’s just a matter of personality difference. And, to be fair, you should also reflect on if you’ve played a part in creating the negative relationship and if there is a way you can turn things around.

Have You Maximized Your Current Job?
A lack of career development opportunities is a legitimate reason for leaving a job. However, it’s easy to mistakenly assume you’ve outgrown your current job and employer. Think through all your job responsibilities – have you mastered them all? If so, are there other skills you could learn in your department or in other departments? Sometimes lateral moves at your current workplace can offer the challenge and development you’re looking for, without the uncertainty and hassle associated with a new employer. This is also the time to decide if you want to be a job-hopper or a job-shopper.

Before you make the transition into job-hunting mode, take the time to consider why you want to change jobs. If you decide to leave, then you’ll already know some of the key things you’re looking for in a new job. And, if you decide to stay, you’ll know how to improve and be happy in your current job.

How do you know when to go? What do you look at when you’re considering changing jobs? Share your experiences with us in the comments section below.

How to Find Your Breakthrough

breakthrough_April2014Have you ever dreamed of having a great job, owning a company, or being a millionaire someday? Although we all want the best that life has to offer, our dreams won’t become a reality without hard work and unwavering determination, it doesn’t happen randomly or by accident. So, here are a few tips to help you along the way to your breakthrough.

We All Have to Start Somewhere

Steve Jobs is a perfect example of how hard work pays off, and his life story reminds us that we all have to start somewhere. After graduating high school, Jobs enrolled in college but dropped out right after his first semester. Throughout his life, Jobs struggled in school. But, he didn’t let that stop him from founding one of the world’s most innovative companies, Apple. Steve Jobs believed that every obstacle you encounter in life will prepare you for the future, and every aspect of the struggles we face will somehow help out down the road. His mindset was one of determination and grit. “Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards,” Jobs said. “So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

Know What You’re Good At

Before you get your foot in the door at a company and start trekking down your career path, you’ve got to know where you want to go and what you’re good at. So, how do you make your dreams of having a great job become reality? You’ve got to be intentional about your job choices. If you want to do website design, search for entry level jobs in an IT role. Whatever field you’re interested in, look for jobs where you can learn skills in that specific trade. Try to get the most out of each job by looking through a learning opportunity lens. Remember to know where you’re going and have an end goal in mind.

Don’t Give Up

At the end of the day most people are looking for that big break that will make them successful in their career, job search, and life, but most times it’s the first step that leads to the breakthrough. All you’ve got to do is work to reprogram your brain to become more positive, in order to gain a competitive edge at work and in the job search process. Don’t look at a job as a dead end, focus on what you can gain and experience to take away. Even negative or stressful situations can teach you. Take this lesson and apply it to any area of your life where you need a break-through or positive change. Don’t just wait for situations to change, begin today by taking empowered actions to bring the breakthrough you’ve needed.

Hard Work Pays Off

Zig Ziglar once said, “There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs.” This means we have to work to gain experience and the knowledge over the course of a career. And, even when you arrive at that dream job and achieve success, you have to continue to work hard. Honestly, big breaks don’t just happen; people make them happen through, hard work, determination, networking, courage, and passion.

How have you made changes and seen a breakthrough in your job search or at work? Let us know in the comments section below.

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

Be the Captain of Cool

Captn_OF_Cool_April2014We all have stress in our lives. Stress with relationships, finances, and work. According to the American Institute of Stress, job stress is far and away the major stress for American adults. 46% report that their workload causes stress while only 28% report relationship issues as a main source of stress.

Workplace-related stress has escalated progressively over the past few years and is the number one cause of stress for adults. The third annual Work Stress survey conducted by Harris Interactive found that 83% of Americans are stressed out by at least one thing about their jobs. A 10% increase over the previous study.

In order to grow in your career, it’s important to face and deal with stress the right way. Stress is inevitable and having an effective coping strategy could make a positive difference the next time you’re faced with stress.

Top Performers Know How to Manage Stress
Remaining calm under pressure has a direct link to performance according to Forbes magazine. Talentsmart study found that 90% of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress. Those top performers have well-planned strategies to use in stressful circumstances. Having a plan to help you “keep cool” under stress can lower your stress level regardless of what’s going on around you.

Why Managing Your Stress is Important to Productivity
Managing stress helps you stay focused on the task at hand, keeping you on track to meet deadlines and achieve goals.

New studies show that moderate stress can actually lead to cell growth in the brain’s learning center i.e. it can actually help you learn. To achieve this benefit from stress, it’s important to keep your stress levels manageable.

How You Can Manage Your Stress

Stay Positive. There are lots of ways to help manage stress from listening to music, to taking a break now and then, but one of the biggest ways you can control your stress levels is by finding things to be positive about. In a study from the University of California, people who worked daily to cultivate an attitude of gratitude for example experienced improved moods and energy. And that can have a big impact on reducing your stress hormone levels. Staying positive also means staying positive about stress.

Change Your Perception of Stress.
Instead of fearing stress, let it motivate you. The feelings that come with stress are often part of your body’s flight of fight response. Try to change your perception that stress is a bad thing and instead use it to push you forward. In one study where participants were asked to view videos that contained messages that stress could be helpful, had a better work performance than those that watched videos about stress being harmful.

As you continue to grow and develop in your career, you’ll take on more responsibilities, and as we all know, that can mean more stress too. So it’s important to learn how to manage that stress now to be successful in the future.

Did You Know?
Prolonged stress can cause serious physical harm. And can result in an increased risk of heart disease, depression, obesity, and decrease your cognitive performance.

There are many things that can cause stress at work, but there are just as many ways you can counter that stress. Maybe your desk is messy and that causes a trigger for stress. Perhaps scheduling your tasks or “to-do” list is causing stress. Whatever the culprit, there is a good chance your physical environment is affecting your stress level. Take time to organize your work space and schedule and see if that helps relieve some stress.

What are some successful ways you handle stress? Let us know in the comments section below. We’d also like to know what your biggest triggers of stress are at your workplace, so let your voice be heard by voting in our poll.

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

4 Questions to Uncover If Your Workspace is Out of Control

out_of_control_desk_Feb2014When was the last time you paused and took a good look at your desk? Sure, you’re busy and work is crazy – we get that. But an out-of-control workspace is only going to make it worse. Your environment impacts your own productivity, efficiency, and attitude, as well those of your co-workers.

So how do you objectively determine if your workspace is just a little untidy or a complete mess? First, you have to stop running from one project to another and spend some time in your workspace. Take a good look around. Then ask yourself these four questions to uncover if it’s out of control.

How does your workspace make you feel?
As you gaze across your desk, how do you feel? If the state of your workspace leaves you feeling assured, confident, and in control, then you’re probably in good shape. But, if the sight of your workspace induces feelings of panic, uncertainty, or insecurity, then it’s probably out of control.

Does your space hinder your productivity?
Now think about how you work in your area. How often do you waste time searching for files, digging for a pen, or sifting through papers? In a Forbes article, Susan Kousek, a Certified Professional Organizer, said, “For many people, it’s difficult to focus when their desk is filled with papers, phone messages, business cards, magazines, and newsletters, especially when the layers are inches high.” A workspace that’s out of control can take a toll on your efficiency and productivity.

Are your visitors and co-workers comfortable?
Unless you work alone at home, your workspace impacts others. You need to consider if visitors and co-workers are at ease when they stop by your desk. Are they able to focus on you and the task at hand? Or are they too busy dodging stacks of folders and being distracted by the clutter? If you’re brave enough, you might even ask the next person who stops by if they think your area is out of control.

Does it come across as unprofessional?
Your workspace says a lot about you and your work ethic. And the number one thing you don’t want is for it to come across as unprofessional. According to the Huffington Post, a messy desk is “often associated with disorganization, thereby giving others around you the impression that you may not have your work (or life) under control.” Don’t let your co-workers, superiors, or customers get the wrong idea about you based on an out-of-control workspace.

Based on those questions, is your workspace out of control? If the answer is yes, don’t panic. Just take it a step at a time, and before long you’ll have a tidy workspace. Organizing your desk and work area might take a little effort and time, but the end result will be a workspace that inspires feelings of confidence, productivity, and professionalism for everyone who enters.

How out-of-control has your workspace gotten? What tips do you have for organizing and maintaining your desk and workspace? Share your experiences below.

What to Learn About Quitting from a Super Bowl Commercial

If this Super Bowl commercial was shocking to you, you’re not the only one who felt that way.

While funny, it does bring up an important point about how to quit a job – the wrong way. Not only did she quit her job, she quit in front of millions of people on national television! There are many ways to quit your job with class. Here are some tips on how to quit your job without burning any bridges, embarrassing yourself, or demeaning your employer.

Don’t Burn Bridges

“You may work for that person again,” says Lynne Allen, a career coach who formerly worked in recruiting and staffing at Colgate-Palmolive and Time Inc. Your behavior as you leave a job shapes your colleague’s lasting impression of you. Before you make that final walk out the door, remember whatever you say and do is how you will be remembered. That’s a great reason to think about how you’re going to give your boss the news that you’re quitting. Just remember to not burn any bridges along the way because you never know where they can lead. It’s always important to stay classy.

Always Give a Two Weeks’ Notice

Giving at least a two weeks’ notice is a polite thing to do. It allows your boss to be on the lookout for someone to fill your shoes, and if your replacement is hired within your final two weeks, your boss may ask you to help train them. When the time comes to quit a job, make it one of your professional goals to quit with class.

Take Time to Talk

Quitting can be tough not only for you but for the person receiving the news. So, be sure to schedule a meeting with your boss to give your two weeks’ notice. This will give you time to talk face-to-face about the reasons you’re quitting. Don’t ever just tell your boss to shove it!

Be Prepared to Leave

If you’ve been contemplating leaving your job, but haven’t given your two weeks’ notice yet, you need to be preparing to leave. Clean up your work space and make sure your work is organized. Depending on your boss’ reaction after you give them your two weeks’ notice, they may ask you to leave immediately, so you need to be ready for that response also.

Changing jobs can be exciting, rewarding, and a great step for your career, but breaking up with your employer isn’t something to be taken lightly. What factors do you consider before making a job hop? Share them in the comments section below.