Tag Archives: winter

Winter Weather Driving Tips

The first major snowstorm of the season has blown through, and while you may be enjoying the lull between Christmas and New Year’s Day, this week is a great time to prepare to hit the ground running in your job search once the holidays are over.

Job searching around the holidays can be challenging with key players out of the office on vacation, so spend this time strategizing your job search and line up those interviews. Ideally, the weather on the day of your interview will be sunny, about 70 degrees, and no wind to mess up your perfectly styled hair. But Mother Nature often has a mind of her own, and you might find yourself driving to interviews in some slippery conditions.

Before you hit the roads in inclement weather conditions, follow these tips from Volunteer Fireman’s Insurance Services (VFIS) to make sure you get to your interview safely:

winterdrivingtips

Staying Safe During the Holiday Season

wokplace holidaysIt’s the height of the holiday season, which means many retailers are experiencing a sharp increase in staff, stock, and customers. And while the spike in store traffic is great for job seekers and business alike, it also means an increase in hazards and risks on the job.

To help keep yourself, your co-workers, and the customers safe during busy holiday shopping days, check out these tips!

Know the risks.
Some of the risks associated with the holiday shopping season are ones that exist in the workplace every day, regardless of the time of year. Such risks include ergonomic issues that lead to numbness and pain, like carpel tunnel syndrome or muscle and joint problems. During the holiday season, workers may experience an increased need to reach high places and work at a more frantic pace, increasing the risk of injuries.

Establish safety guidelines.
Your employers should have safety procedures in place to help protect you and other workers from injury. It’s your job to follow those procedures. Retail employers need to be sure the workplace is properly staffed, properly organized, and that employees are not so rushed to complete tasks that they overlook basic safety procedures. All employees should report any unsafe or hazardous conditions to their supervisors so they can respond to reports quickly and safely.

Protect yourself.
To protect yourself on the job, make sure you use proper lifting techniques, avoid twisting and reaching overhead as much as you can, and communicate any difficulties you experience to your supervisor.

Watch out for the customers.
A safety concern that is easily overlooked is the increased hazards to the public while shopping in the aisles of retail stores. Stocking activity can be much higher during hours customers are present, and many employees will be performing stocking tasks in close proximity to customers. Due to the high business volume of the season, customers are often exposed to more equipment and stock on the sales floor and activity above their heads and feet. To deal with this additional liability, employers can move merchandise and equipment through stores using an additional employee to direct traffic on the aisles, stock heavier items on lower shelves, and ensure everyone is trained and aware of the special hazards associated with customer interaction.

Understand the regulations.
Crowd safety has become an important topic during peak holiday hours like Black Friday. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a website dedicated to helping retail employees manage crowds on special shopping days. They encourage employers and their employees to plan, communicate, and have an emergency response procedure in place. Check out OSHA’s website for more information.

As with other days of the year, it’s very important to maintain safe working conditions during the busy season. Making sure you’re following proper procedures can ensure that you go home healthy and happy to enjoy the holidays with friends and family.

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

It’s Cold Outside – But Your Job Search Doesn’t Have to Be

it's_cold_outside_webWinter officially kicks off in late December, but it’s already getting cold outside. With a chill in the air, this could be the perfect time to heat up your job search techniques and defrost your career.

Don’t let your job search take a vacation just because everyone else might be requesting time off for trips and holidays. And, don’t succumb to the temptation to take a holiday from looking for that perfect job.

For the serious job seeker, Christmastime and snow days mean business as usual. Despite the cold weather, recruiters and companies continue to work on a typical business schedule, and so should you. We know it’s hard to be motivated when egg nog and cozy fireplaces tempt us with the lure of warmth and relaxation, so here are five tips that will help heat up your job search and put you ahead of your vacationing competition.

1. Don’t let the holidays sabotage your momentum.
While winter is traditionally a time for vacations and spending time with family, it’s also a valuable time to stand out to recruiters and hiring managers. The competition for the same job position lessens as others take time off, so you have a real chance to stand out from the competition by maintaining a steady effort during the holidays and winter slumps.

Keep searching the job boards and don’t stop networking. The end of the year is also a time when positions open up for the next year, so you may find great job leads by maintaining your job search momentum.

2. Stay connected.
The holiday season means visits from family and long school breaks. But, that doesn’t mean you need to turn off your email or mobile device the entire time.

Even if you are away from home or welcoming visitors, your mobile device should be on just in case you receive a call from that important potential employer. Make time each day to check your email for responses to applications and return important calls the day you receive them. Family should respect your need to be professional and motivated about finding that perfect job. Of course, there’s a fine line to walk when it comes to cell phone etiquette. Checking your email during holiday dinner may not be appropriate and is likely unnecessary since most recruiters and hiring managers aren’t checking theirs on holidays either.

3. Update your resume and social media profiles.
If you’re stuck at home thanks to snow, ice, or extreme cold, use the downtime to spruce up your online footprint and your resume. Remove old information on your resume and look up industry keywords that highlight your skills. These keywords are vital in today’s job search world as many applications are scanned electronically.

Winter break is also a great time to assess your skill sets and sign up for workshops or trainings to build any skills that you lack. You can also use the holiday time to clean up any old or embarrassing social media entries, renew conversations about job hunting, network, and remind people that you are still eager to work.

4. Network at the holiday events.
Attend as many community and industry events as you can during the winter months so you can network and spread the news about your job search. Because many winter and holiday events are casual, you have a better chance to approach the decision-makers you normally wouldn’t have access to.

Use social events to build a network of like-minded professionals who can send job openings your way or introduce you to others who are hiring. Don’t forget to be on your best behavior at these social events, though. Don’t overindulge or act inappropriately. Winter social events can be great opportunities for contacts, but you can also ruin your reputation if you’re not careful.

5. Don’t discount seasonal work.
Sure, you want a full-time position. But, many companies need extra help around the holidays and winter months. By accepting temporary positions, you get your foot in the door and open opportunities for future work. Working while others are on vacation also shows you are a motivated and eager employee.

Use temporary or seasonal positions to boost your skills, pump up your resume, and make important contacts who can help you with your career down the road.
Most importantly, take care of yourself. Shorter, colder days can lead to the winter blues and it’s an easy temptation to nest and shut yourself in at home. While it’s important to maintain your job search techniques, it’s also vital to eat healthy and get some kind of exercise. Taking care of your health during these cold winter months gives you the energy and focus you need to find that perfect job.

How do you boost your job search when the weather turns chilly? Share your tips in the comment section below.

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

Job Search Lessons from 2014 Olympics

Gold_Medal_Feb2014Do you have aspirations of getting a better job or growing your career? Watching the Olympics could help. Every time the Olympic Games roll around, I enjoy watching different athletes from across the world compete, and I anticipate seeing my favorite athletes win gold. This year, that was not the case for one of my favorite sports to watch: snowboarding. But instead of turning off the TV as soon as I realized my favorite snowboarder and two-time gold medalist, Shaun White, wasn’t going to place, I decided to stay tuned in to see who won. Here are some of the lessons I learned.

Get Back Up and Don’t Give Up

It’s a tough fact of life to learn; you don’t always win, no matter how hard you try or how far in advance you prepare. That fact was made evident during the final halfpipe competition in Sochi. While watching the Olympics, I was reminded that no matter how much a professional athlete prepares, they may not win, but that doesn’t mean they give up. Soon after the halfpipe competition was over, Shaun was interviewed and asked what happened. Instead of blaming it on the snow or the conditions, he said he’d be back next time and he was happy for the guys who did well! What a great attitude to have! We can learn so much from that statement itself. Just because you haven’t landed a job or moved up in your company as fast as you’d like, it doesn’t mean you need to give up or stop trying. The agony of defeat is never easy to handle, but getting back up, working hard, and trying again will help improve your skills and chances of getting that new job or promotion you’ve been looking for.

Learn from Your Mistakes

Unfortunately, making mistakes is a normal part of life. Failure even happens to the best of the best. What’s important to learn from Olympic winners and even those who won’t be taking home a medal is that these athletes don’t let mistakes defeat them. In fact, you’ll probably see many of the same athletes in four years at the next Winter Olympics. It’s important to learn from your mistakes, make the corrections that are needed, and use those lessons to help shape your future. If you’ve been looking for a new job for a while or if you’re ready to go to the next level in your current job, take a look back at what has been slowing you down in the past or getting you off track and work to take care of those mistakes so you won’t drag that baggage with you to the next level. Also, seek feedback from co-workers or friends and make necessary changes.

What are some lessons you’ve learned from the Olympics? Share with us in the comments section below!

Top 5 Job Opportunities for Winter

Jobs during winter seasonWith January in full swing, you may feel like your job search has turned as cold as the weather. But, that doesn’t mean job opportunities have gone away to hibernate like a den of bears. There are plenty of jobs that peak in the wintertime, which can be used to your advantage.

While those with long-term career goals may not find these types of jobs to have a lasting effect, they can be great opportunities to help build work experience and get your foot in the door with employers and decision makers. Here are some jobs that see a spike in hiring during the winter months.

Tax Preparer
Two things are inevitable – death and taxes. While many tax payers wait as close to the dreaded April 15 deadline as possible, everybody will be receiving W-2 forms from their employers at the beginning of the year. With H&R Block expected to hire about 80,000 tax preparers from January until the end of April, now is a great opportunity for you to sign up with accounting and tax services for some short-term employment that could last until spring. Those looking for extra accounting experience should jump at the chance to work in and become familiar with potential employers of interest.

Fitness Trainer
With a new year come New Year’s resolutions, and the most common resolution is to get back into shape. Fitness center attendance and membership peak in January, which can be a great opportunity for you to meet the demand for personal trainers and gym staff. Just as people are exercising for a new beginning, you can work to achieve a new beginning in your career.

Tutor
Many high school juniors and seniors are starting to focus on getting ready for college now that the school year is half over. Anyone looking for an educational career can always tutor students looking to get ready for the SAT, ACT, or any other test needed for college placement. It’s great experience teaching students in a small group or one-on-one and can provide a supplemental income if you want to take advantage of the increased demand for substitute teachers during the cold and flu season.

Cruise Lines
Depending on your location, cruise lines are always looking for extra help during their peak business times in February. Vacationers from cold climates are looking to escape snow and biting winds for sunshine and sea air. If you don’t mind staying away from home for long periods of time, you can find working for cruise lines a great way to work on customer service and other soft skills. That way, you can take a small break from the job search while still developing skills.

If you live on the coast, you can also consider working at beach hotels and resorts. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that housekeeping, food and beverage, and front desk opportunities nearly double during peak winter vacation time.

There’s No Business Like Snow Business
If you live in a colder region, there will inevitably be snow covering the ground. That means someone has to help plow the streets, tow the cars, and shovel the driveways. It may be manual labor, but it’s a great networking opportunity for you to get to know people in your community. Demonstrating your ability to work in any situation and grow relationships can help you find leads for a long-term job.

Don’t let the vernal equinox hold you back from finding work this year. If there’s a will, there’s a way you can find jobs that will lead to something greater and help you sharpen and develop useful skills. What are some ideas you’ve had for winter work?

Free Time? Propel Your Career Forward Today

Clock Whether you’re looking for a new job or planning to move up in your current position, now is the perfect time to focus on your career. Between use-it-or-lose-it vacation policies, inclement weather, and time off during the holidays, many people find themselves with additional free time during the winter.

Here are five ways to make the most of your time off and keep your professional life going forward.

Take a break: It may seem counterproductive, but give yourself permission to relax. A few days off can change your perspective, especially if you spend the time doing something you enjoy. You’ll come back to work or the job hunt with a refreshed viewpoint.

Update your résumé: Make changes to your résumé that reflect expanded job duties, additional volunteer work, or continued education. Double check that everything is current and take extra time to check for typos. Check out these tips to get your résumé into shape.

Write a new cover letter: Cover letters are a way to summarize your goals and strengths. Writing one can be a succinct way to prioritize your goals, even if you’re not planning to make a career move soon. Having a polished cover letter available also comes in handy if a dream position or promotion should become available. Not sure where to start? Check out these 30 power words that can help your letter get noticed.

Check out social media: If you don’t already have a LinkedIn profile, create one to connect with other professionals in your industry or the industry you’d like to work in. LinkedIn is a great place to find out about local networking events, and showcase your job skills. Also use this time to check your Facebook privacy settings and remove  any questionable content a potential employer might see on your profile.

Sort through your wardrobe: Clean your closet and give those items that no longer fit your professional goals to charity. Dress for Success and Career Gear, national organizations that help disadvantaged women and men reach their goals of self-sufficiency by providing them interview clothes, provides receipts for tax-deductible donations. Take the time to try on your clothes to determine what you like, don’t like, need to have tailored, or sent to the dry cleaner. Replace essential items and organize your closet or dresser for speedier prep time on busy mornings.

These are just a few examples of how you can still be productive, but relaxed, during free time. A few minutes spent on tasks like these can reduce anxiety when you’re faced with a job interview or pivotal moment in your career. You’ll feel more confident and prepared, a terrific start to propelling your career.

Five Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

Beat the Winter BluesIt’s winter and chances are you may feel less energetic than usual. Shorter days with less sunlight, coupled with the season’s characteristically inclement weather, may have you reaching for sweat pants and flannel sheets, comfort food, and the remote control.

The weather outside may be frightful, but the recession’s climate of uncertainty can also make for a bleak forecast. Coupled with job and financial stress this year, the usual winter blues may be magnified for some with headlines that are hard to ignore.

Unemployment has remained steady throughout the past year as companies have cut their workforce to operate with minimal staff. Research conducted by Express Employment Professionals found that 68% of employed survey respondents feel that their workload has increased, with 49% also reporting higher stress levels.

Whether you’re looking for a job or feeling stressed in your current position, here are some ways to stay positive this winter and throughout the new year:

Stay engaged with lifelong learning: Whether it’s through a local college or just your local library, pursue an interest with an evening class or seminar. You’ll have something to look forward to a few nights each week and the experience can help spark creativity, an attribute that’s highly sought in professionals.

Get some exercise – with a friend: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that winter weight gain averages four to six pounds. Make plans with a friend to take a brisk winter walk, go ice skating, or head to the gym. You’ll release stress-fighting endorphins and have the opportunity to spend quality time with others.

Write a card to someone: Write a cheery note to someone, just because. It doesn’t have to be a special occasion to make a friend feel valued, and it can actually boost your mood as well.

Change your work routine: If your work allows you to take an additional break now and then, try to get up, stretch, and walk around during the day. Bring a special blend of coffee to try with your co-workers, organize a fun lunch together, or find other meaningful ways to change your work routine.

Take a break from technology: Society is now more connected than ever and it’s easy to feel bombarded by negative news. Give yourself permission to turn off your TV, mobile devices, and computer for awhile. A little down time can go a long way.

Find a balance: While sleeping to avoid stressful situations can be a sign of depression, it’s also important to get plenty of rest. Eight hours of sleep and sticking to an established sleep schedule is part of wellness. A good night’s rest can change the next day’s perspective.

Don’t let the winter blahs get the best of you. Stay focused on feeling confident in your job or job search, and seek out the support you need. Regardless of the season, you always have the ability to make positive changes to impact your life today.