Monthly Archives: August 2008

5 Little Words that Make a Big Difference in a New Job

Starting a new job can be an exciting and equally anxious process. You’ve survived the job search, dominated the interview process, and are ready to begin. How can you make the most of the first day on a new job? Here are five little words to keep in mind.

1. Meet.
Everyone. Make it your goal to learn as many names as possible, and don’t be shy about meeting new people. The first few days on a job is your best time to meet new people, because you have the excuse of not knowing anyone. Much of your personal success on the job will depend on the relationships you develop at work – not just with immediate co-workers, but with people in other departments or locations as well. So, take the time to invest in meeting people and building relationships.

2. Ask.
One of the most terrifying things about a new job is the unknown. Whether or not you have prior experience within a certain field or industry, there are a lot of new things to learn – the company culture, team dynamics, products, and processes, to name a few. Often, your best resources for learning about all things work-related – from big picture to the little things – are the people around you. So, don’t be afraid to ask questions for fear of looking unskilled or inept. The longer you wait to ask, the harder it will be to work up the courage. Some reports say that most people spend their first 90 days just trying to guess their way around a new job. Don’t waste your time and energy this way. Make it a point to ask as many questions as you can within the first week on a new job so you can hit the ground running and quickly impress.

3. Learn.
hen you start a new job, it can often be difficult simply figuring out exactly what all your responsibilities include. So, make it a point to learn as much as you can, not just about what you’ve been tasked to do, but about the company, industry, and field you’re working in. Be proactive about learning, and you’ll show your boss that you’re a star player and be better equipped to not just survive, but thrive in your position.

4. Help.
he shining stars in the workplace don’t just focus on doing their own work. They understand how to help the entire team as well. Of course, you don’t want to come across as a know-it all. So, while you are learning the ropes, let those around you know you’re willing to help when it’s needed. That way, by the time you’ve had a chance to get up to speed, teammates will know they can turn to you for your insight and assistance.

5. Do.
It can be so easy within the first few days on a job to get bogged down in orientation, paperwork, and information, that doing the actual work you are assigned to can be difficult. But don’t wait. Start working right away so that you can discover the areas you need to ask questions about. If your boss doesn’t give you projects right away, ask for them.

Acting out these five words can help you quickly master the job you’ve been hired to do. So, start your new job off right by living these five mantras – not just the first week, but every day.

Who knows what opportunities might emerge when you commit yourself to becoming a star from day one.

Which of these words is the most important when you’re starting a new job? Let us know your thoughts by sharing your comments.

Your Turn: Sound Off on What You Want to See Covered

Here at Express, our main purpose for the Movin’ On Up blog is to provide you with the tools to help you find a job and succeed in your career. We also offer tips on dealing with workplace issues and give insight on current workforce trends. We try to cover all kinds of topics from interview techniques to workplace gossip.

To help us better understand your needs, we would love to hear from you. Post your comments, questions, concerns or anything you would like to know about the job search process, workplace issues, or current trends in the job market. We’ll address your comments and help you with your needs.

So, let’s get the conversation started. We’re waiting to hear from you!

What Would You Do with $1,000? Express Yourself for a Chance to Win

Have you had a job through Express that has helped you make it through a rough financial patch or led you to your dream career? Maybe the people and experiences Express brought your way helped you make a career change you’d been hoping for. Do you love working through Express so much you’ve referred all your friends and family?

Tell us your inspirational story of life as an Express associate, and it could end up earning you $1,000 in cash.
Want to know more? If you’ve been placed through Express in the last 24 months, check out all the details on how you can Express Yourself by submitting a video testimonial of your experience working through Express. Entries are due by October 15.

Four Ways to Win
1. When you submit a video testimonial, we’ll enter you into a drawing for a $250 Visa gift card.

2. Then, we will select the top 10 videos, and winners will receive a Nintendo ® Wii game system.

3. We’ll open up online voting so you can tell your friends, family, co-workers to vote for you. When people vote, they’ll enter a drawing for a $250 Visa gift card.

4. The finalist with the most votes for their video will receive the grand prize of $1,000.

What are you waiting for? Express Yourself today for your chance to win!

Official contest rules, video submission guidelines, and terms and conditions are available at 

Interviewing a Potential Employer – 3 Signs of a Good Boss

If you work fulltime, you might end up spending more time with your co-workers than your family and friends. So, to make sure you’ll end up working with people you like, keep your eyes and ears open as you interview for a new job. Paying close attention to what interviewers say and do, and how they react can help you learn valuable information about them and their personality. Here are three things that can help you decide whether or not you want to work for this employer.

Watch for nonverbal cues – As you answer questions during the interview, watch how the interviewer responds. Try to see if they seem to agree or disagree with your responses, or if they seem bored or intrigued. This can help you decipher if they’re interested in what you have to say, or if they’re in a hurry to get the next word in. Do they really care about what you’re saying, or do they deem only what they say as important? Chances are, the interviewer’s actions will carry over into the workplace. If you don’t feel like they’re really listening to you, you might feel the same way on the job.

Listen to their answers – If you get your chance to ask your potential boss a few questions, listen carefully to how they answer. If they speak positively and excitedly about the company and the position, they’re likely to have that same enthusiasm in the workplace. This is important because a passionate boss can inspire you at work. On the other hand, a negative response could indicate someone who may drag you down.

Pay attention to your feelings – When you’re talking with the interviewer, pay attention to how you feel. Does the interviewer make you feel comfortable, or do they put you on pins and needles? If your potential boss engages in small talk during the interview, this might indicate that they want to get to know the people they’re going to work with. On the other hand, if they just get straight to business and skip over any chatting, this shows that they might focus on the job and concentrate less on building relationships with their employees. Make sure you know which personality you’d prefer to work with.

When you step into an interview, you’re not the only one making a first impression. So, pay attention to what goes on in the interview to make sure that you find the right fit. When you enjoy visiting with the people you meet during your interview, you’re more likely to get along with them during a long workweek.

How to Handle an Interview After You’ve Been Fired!

Getting fired from a job doesn’t have to be a bad thing – look at it as a chance to start over. But, how do you start over with a new job with the looming question “why did you leave your last job?” lurking around the corner at every job interview? The question is most likely to be asked by most interviewers, so instead of dreading the inevitable, prepare yourself for the question and ace the interview.

To help you get through the unavoidable question of why you were fired, try these tips below.

Practice. Figure out how to respond to the question, and practice it over and over again until you’re confident with your answer. A good example of something to say is, “My previous employer and I agreed that the position and company wasn’t a good fit for me, so I took time to figure out the kind of company I would like to work for and here I am.”

Don’t lie. No matter what the circumstances were for your departure at your previous company, don’t lie to your prospective employer. Most companies conduct background checks and call references. So, if you lie to them about your last job, chances are they’re going to find out. So, tell the truth but keep it brief. You don’t have to go into every last detail.

Don’t hate. Again, no matter how much you dislike your ex-boss, don’t take the opportunity to bash your previous employer during the interview. Be very brief in your explanation as to why you are no longer employed and keep the negative circumstances and name calling out of the conversation.

Being fired is a bitter pill to swallow, but you need to accept it and move on, or you’re going to find yourself in a slump without a job. Most people have been fired one time or another, so don’t take it personally. Learn from the incident, follow these tips, and then get yourself right back out there and back into a new job!

Prepare for the Worst, Hope for the Best: Preparing for Interview Disasters

In a previous post, we talked about how Will Smith’s character in The Pursuit of Happyness, Chris Gardner, went through with a job interview despite losing his shirt. Even with his bad luck with his appearance, he still managed to wow his interviewers and land the job. Here are a few tips that focus on preparing you for potential emergencies you might come across before or during an interview.

Map Out Your Drive.
Before you head out to your interview, know where you’re going. You might have an idea of where the company is located, but you need to know the specifics like streets to avoid or where to park. Be sure to check traffic reports too. By planning out your route ahead of time, you’ll know how long the drive is and other details like if you need change for a meter. The potential of a parking ticket or getting towed in the back of your mind can keep you from being focused during an interview. On your actual drive to the interview, make sure you have your cell phone and the company phone number with you. In case of any accidents or delays, you’ll be able to contact the interviewer and inform them of your situation.

Don’t Leave Home with an Empty Wallet.
Make sure you have a few dollars or change for a parking meter in your wallet before you leave for the interview. You never know if the interview might be over coffee or lunch. Having a few dollars will spare you any embarrassment.

Carry an Extra Set of Clothes.
To avoid an experience like Chris Gardner’s ruined shirt, it’s always wise to have an extra tie, shirt, or pants in your car. Hopefully your shirt won’t get destroyed like Gardner’s was, but if you’re offered coffee and spill it in the waiting room, you’ll be ready with an extra shirt. For any popped buttons, carry an emergency sewing kit. And, an instant stain remover can help with the little smudges you may unexpectedly encounter.

Making a good first impression at an interview involves more than just a smile. It involves lots of research and preparation for the unexpected. By predicting what can go wrong, you can be focused on displaying your integrity and professionalism to the interviewer.

Prepare for the Worst, Hope for the Best: 3 Tips to Impress in an Interview

“What would you say if a man walked in here with no shirt, and I hired him?” the interviewer from the hit movie The Pursuit of Happyness asked Will Smith’s character, Chris Gardner, in one famous scene. “He must have had some really nice pants,” Gardner responded. He got the job. How? It didn’t hurt that his knowledge and preparation made him a standout candidate.

While we can’t all be as charming as Gardner was, impressing an interviewer with your preparation isn’t just movie magic. By having a few things ready before an interview, you can be prepared to walk out of the interview smiling.

Bring Extra Copies of Your Résumé.
It’s important for you to know your résumé well enough that you can recite it in case the interviewer forgets his copy and needs the one you brought for yourself. But, think ahead for this situation and have multiple copies of your résumé and work samples on hand. There might be multiple interviewers, and you don’t want the interviewers passing a single paper back and forth. It causes a distraction and can break your train of thought when you’re trying to market yourself.

Have Your Research with You.
When researching the company before your interview, print out the company’s website materials, and take them with you to the interview. Consider investing in a leather binder – it includes a notepad and pen in case you need to take notes. But, as you open the binder to hand out your résumé or sample work, you can subtlety show that you’ve done your research and prepared for the job when they see the print outs of their website. Also, bring a spare pen in case yours or the interviewer’s fails, and you’ll be ready to save the day.

Ask Relevant Questions.
Knowledge of the company is a very impressive factor for interviewers. Prepare a few questions to ask the employer when they give you the opportunity. Have some questions to select from in case some of your choices were answered during the interview. By asking detailed questions that relate to the organization, you are indirectly showing that you have really looked into their business.

Check out our next post on how to prepare for an emergency before or during your interview.