Monthly Archives: July 2008

Getting the Most Out of Your Workday: Part 1 of 3: Stay Focused and On Task

Have you ever left work feeling like nothing was accomplished that day? Is the stack of papers in your inbox constantly growing taller? By maintaining high levels of productivity, you can cut back on stressful times when workloads pile up, as well as boost your value to your employer.

Utilize the tips below to stay on task and get the most out of your workday.

Create a routine for the start of your day.
The way you start your workday can influence your productivity dramatically. To avoid unproductive days, start off by allotting yourself just 15 minutes to settle in for work. Don’t spend more than 15 minutes reading the morning paper, chatting with co-workers, getting coffee, or checking voicemail. Replying to nonessential e-mails can wait until you’ve completed some work. Most of you are freshest and more productive when you first come into work. Getting distracted or starting off slow can hinder a positive morning of work, leaving you with a heavy workload in the afternoon.

Find the best time for tedious tasks.
As much as you want to put them off, sooner or later you’re going to have to work on projects that are monotonous or boring. It’s best to find out when’s the best time for you to work on these tasks according to your nature. Some of you might be most productive at the start of the day and like to work on projects requiring more brain power during this time. Or, you might find that repetitive jobs need less creativity and can be saved for the end of the day, when you’re tired from the workday.

Check out parts 2 and 3 of this series in our next blog posts. Next time we’ll discuss preventing disruptions and planning your workday.

The Job Description Doesn’t Request a Cover Letter. Should I Write One Anyway?

As you’ve hunted for a job and read description after description, you’ve probably noticed that some postings request a cover letter in addition to your résumé. Others simply state to submit your application or résumé but don’t mention anything about a cover letter, and most people will just omit it if it’s not requested. But, a cover letter is an important way to highlight your achievements to help you land the job or at least an interview. Check out these reasons why you should write one, whether or not an employer requests one.

Your résumé only says so much. With only one, or maybe two, pages to explain your qualifications, previous experience, and education, you can’t always get everything into your résumé that might convince an employer to interview you. A cover letter gives you the opportunity to share more information, such as why you want the job, specific examples of why you’re qualified for the position, and how you’d be an asset to the company or organization.

You’ll be ahead of the competition. Most people don’t take the time to write a cover letter if one isn’t requested. In this case, when your résumé arrives with a well-written cover letter, employers will take notice. You’ll stand out from other candidates that only turned in a résumé, and have the added bonus of being able to say in your own words why you’re qualified for the job.

The more information you can share with an employer, the better your chances are for an invitation to an interview. Make sure you include a cover letter the next time you apply for a job, and you’ll be a step ahead of the competition.

Driving Under the Influence – Wrap Your Vehicle for Free Gas

With gas prices continuing to increase, consumers are really starting to feel the strain in their wallets. To help release the stress of the rising prices at the pump, some companies have started to offer incentives to their employees. One extreme incentive some companies are using to offset the high cost of fuel is offering to pay employees a monthly stipend plus free gas to allow the employer to wrap employee vehicles with the company’s advertisement.

What incentives would you like to see your company offer to help with the current gas crunch? We want to hear from you. Please post your comments in the section below.

Body Language – 4 Tips to Help You Land a Job

You’ve probably heard that first impressions count, but have you ever thought about how body language affects how people perceive you? Of course clothing, grooming, and the way you speak says a lot about who you are as a person, but body language says what you may not verbally.

Body language is extremely critical in first meetings and job interviews. How you carry yourself in a job interview says a lot about what image you will cast in the workplace. Think about it – you wouldn’t continue talking to someone who was slouched down in their chair with their arms crossed would you? This image sends the message that you’re uninterested or unfriendly.

To help you control your body language in job interviews, try these tips below.

Don’t slouch. Having poor posture is not only bad for your body, but it’s bad for your interviews. It gives the impression that you are lazy, uninterested and bored. Make sure you sit up straight with your shoulders relaxed. This will show that you are alert, attentive, and involved in the conversation taking place.

Make eye contact. Wandering eyes distract interviewers. If they’re trying to speak to you and your eyes are darting around the room, it looks like you aren’t paying attention. When you listen to someone, make sure you keep eye contact with them but avoid doing it aggressively by staring them down. Demonstrate your attentiveness by nodding your head to show you’re listening. If you glance down while jotting notes, make sure to reconnect by looking up often. When you are speaking, continue to make eye contact, but don’t stare. Let your eyes move around some to show your thought process, or look at other people who might be in the room. Making eye contact helps you gain trust while letting others know you are engaged in the conversation.

Don’t fidget. It’s important to control your nervous habits such as toe-tapping, fidgeting, finger-tapping, or wiggling. These are obvious signs of nervousness but they’re also very distracting. Also, you want to exhibit signs of confidence. Interviewers understand that potential employees may be nervous during interviews, but they also want to know that you can pull it together. To help calm your nerves, try taking a few deep breaths before you go in to your interview or even if you’re already in the room.

Sit properly. Along with great posture, make sure you’re sitting correctly. It’s good to sit up straight with your legs or ankles crossed or with both feet planted on the floor with legs together. This will work for both men and women. However, men who cross their legs should make sure their legs aren’t crossed to openly with their ankle on the knee. This is too informal. Your arms should be placed in your lap or on the table with your fingers intertwined. If you’re not used to sitting this way, practice in the mirror so it becomes second nature to you in the interview process.

Remember, your words aren’t the only thing speaking for you in an interview. Your body language speaks a thousand words and sometimes says what you don’t mean to say. So, try these tips the next time you’re in an interview and see the difference it makes. You’ll feel more confident and project your professionalism.