Monthly Archives: May 2009

It’s Time for Time Off, Workers Say

Despite economic conditions and expert predictions that people may be wary of taking time off work this summer, our latest poll found that this year, workers are indeed planning time away from the job.

In fact, 77% of over 1,100 respondents said that they planned to take some time off from work this year.

When asked “What are your thoughts on taking a vacation this year?” 42% of respondents said they plan to take time off work to travel, 35% said they plan to take time off work because they need time away from the office, 18% said they are not planning to take time off work because they can’t afford it, and only 5% said they are not planning to take time off work because of concerns over job security.

Are you planning time off work this year? If so, what are your plans? Share your fun vacation and relaxation tips in the comments section.

And, if you know you need a break but are looking for some inspiration, check out our post on inexpensive vacation ideas.

3 Benefits of Getting a Summer Job

Every summer, thousands of people take on summer jobs to generate extra cash. And, this summer is no different. But, earning extra cash isn’t the only benefit of landing a summer job. Check out these three benefits of having summer jobs and start looking today.

1. Possibility of Full-Time Work. According to CareerBuilder’s Annual Summer Job Forecast, 23% of employers plan to hire workers specifically for the summer months. And, of those 23%, nearly 56% of employers said they would consider hiring summer employees for full-time positions later on. So, if you’re looking for continued employment opportunities, working a summer job can help you get your foot in the door.

2. Building Your Résumé. Hiring managers like to see lots of work experience, regardless of industry, on an applicant’s résumé. In addition to the skills you can learn at your summer job, showing a potential employer that you’re versatile, well-rounded, and capable of holding down a job will help you in the interview process.

3. Exploring a Career Path. If you’re undecided about your future, working a summer job in a variety of industries can help you shape your career path. You can experience a variety of environments, positions, and companies that interest you. Summer jobs also give you the opportunity to pursue passions outside of your day-to-day job, and can potentially lead you to your dream job.

Working a summer job can benefit more than just your pocket book, it can benefit your future. So, remember these benefits of a summer job when considering whether or not you should find one. To learn about summer job opportunities near you, contact your local Express office.  

Where to Find Hot Summer Jobs

Summertime is a great season to pick up a second job or work a temporary gig. Every summer season, there are many positions available other than fast food and retail jobs. You just have to know where to look. So, if you’re out of school, between employment, or just looking to pick up some extra cash, make sure to check out these hot summer job opportunities in your community.

Work Outside

Many cities have a local parks and recreation department that’s responsible for community pools, golf courses, and other activities. Parks and recreation positions are available seasonally to job seekers who want to enjoy the sun and heat of the summer. Check out your local parks and recreation website to find employment opportunities for positions like:

  • Lifeguards
  • Pool help, such as selling snacks or accessories
  • Golf course attendees and golf cart drivers
  • Ballpark concession stand workers
  • Sports umpires and referees
  • Park maintenance and security

Work with Children

Many children who are out of school for the summer participate in summer activities like sports or need a baby-sitter while their parents are at work. So, if you’re interested in working with children this summer, check out these seasonal jobs: 

  • Daytime camp counselor
  • Tutor
  • Baby-sitter or nanny
  • Class instructor, such as arts and crafts or sports instruction
  • Summer school assistant

If your schedule allows, getting a summer job can be a great way to build your résumé, earn income, and even make friends while still having fun in the sun. The possibilities of summertime employment are already growing, so find the job that’s right for you – whether you’re looking to improve your job skills or just get a tan.

Standing Out in the Interview: What Your Hobbies Could Say About You

In the résumé writing process, it’s common advice to include community service, awards, and volunteering to demonstrate that you’re a well-rounded candidate.

But, have you ever thought about how your hobbies could help you stand out as a candidate in the interview? How you spend your leisure time reflects your passions in life. And in today’s job market, it’s important to interject your personality into the job search process so you can stand apart. Here are some common hobbies and how you can use them to reflect your personality – and creativity – in your interview. 


If you’re an avid reader, whatever your preferred genre, this hobby can demonstrate a hunger for knowledge or adventure. If the opportunity arises within the interview, you can tap into the knowledge-reservoir you’ve gained from this hobby by using an illustration from a favorite novel to talk about an insight you’ve applied to work.

Example: “Here’s what Lord of the Flies taught me about dealing with human nature in corporate politics…”


Crafting comes in many forms, and it’s a great hobby that directly illustrates creativity put to practice. Have you used a logic or thought-process from constructing a craft and applied it on the job? Maybe you’ve started a part-time business selling your wares? Talk about experiences you’ve had or things you’ve learned from your favorite craft project to demonstrate your creative or entrepreneurial spirit.

Example: “Whenever I sit down to create a new scrapbook page, I go through the same planning process, but I’ve learned how to follow my instincts, too. Here’s how I apply that concept to my work…”

Pop Culture

Do you love movies, television, or other pop culture? Maybe you’re an avid fan of a specific genre or form. This hobby can do more than just produce great water cooler conversations between you and your co-workers. It can also show your hip, in-the-know side. Try talking about observations you’ve made from pop culture you admire and how that can apply to your field or discipline.

Example: “I think director J.J. Abrams has a real knack for respecting the history of a show but at the same time finding creative ways to give life to old ideas. I aim to apply that same process to building a business strategy…”


Do you love cooking, hosting parties, and celebrating special events? This hobby does more than just make you the life of the party, it can show an aptitude for strategy, a flair for creativity, and an excellence at executing a plan. Talk about a unique idea you had for a recent event and how that applies to the job.

Example: “I wanted to test a new recipe before the party to see if it would appeal to kids. So, I made a batch and shared it with children in the neighborhood. Just like when I’m planning a celebration with my friends, I like to incorporate feedback to make a better project at work…”

What are You Passionate About?

These are only a few examples of common hobbies and how you can talk about them in an interview. Whatever your hobbies, whether skydiving, horseback riding, or building computers, can you find ways that they apply to your job skills?

Spend some time jotting down all of your hobbies on a piece of paper, and before each interview, check your list to see if any of them apply to the type of work you’re interviewing for. Then, find appropriate times to talk about them during the interview. This trick can also build commonality between you and an interviewer if they share the same hobby. Make sure you don’t dwell too long on a hobby, and try to talk about it in terms of how it applies to the job you’re trying to land. And, choose the hobbies you want to talk about carefully to make sure you leave the right impression. Interviewing with a traditionalist may not be the appropriate time to talk about how your fight club taught you how to resolve conflict!

Have you ever talked about a hobby during an interview? Share your stories – and how your hobbies applied to your job search – in our comments section.

The Recession: An Opportunity to Improve Your Life

With much of the media focusing on the negative impact of the recession, new grads looking for employment, mature workers who’ve been laid off, and individuals struggling with survivor’s guilt, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. If you’re feeling defeated in your current job search, look beyond the grim picture the media paints to the opportunities and possibilities ahead of you before you raise the white flag of surrender.

While change and the unknown can be daunting, even frightening, it can also be a chance to redirect your life, to have an adventure, or to do and become more. It may not feel like it now, but the possibilities your life holds and the roads you choose to take are endless. So, if you find yourself at a roadblock, create a new path.  Bravely step out on the road less traveled, and change your life. Choosing this mindset can make all the difference.

Not sure which road to take? Explore these avenues to discover potential alternative career paths.

Start Your Own Business. If you’ve ever wanted to be your own boss, now may be the perfect time to start your own company. While keeping your passions and skills in mind, think outside the box and develop a business that’s right for you, whether it’s a quaint neighborhood restaurant, an in-home day care, or a franchised company. Be innovative and dream big and you’ll take control of your destiny.

Gain Life Experience. If you’re a new grad or just need more adventure than an 8 – 5 desk job has to offer, consider taking some time to discover the world. Think about volunteering for the Peace Corps, or becoming an English teacher in a foreign country. Working abroad will provide you with incredible life experiences, equip you with valuable skills you can use in other fields, and help you determine your priorities and purpose.

Whatever road you choose, whether you’re just beginning or you’ve traveled great distances, take heart. As Dr. Seuss says, “Today is your day. You’re off to great places! You’re off and away! You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own and you know what you know and you are the one who’ll decide where to go.”

5 Booming Green Industries

The $787 billion economic stimulus plan signed by President Obama is intended to spur economic and job growth, helping the American economy and putting people back to work. Forty billion dollars of that plan is designed solely to create green jobs.

Many projects in several states are already underway with more in the works. According to MSNBC, there are 10 hot green job industries that are heading our way in 2009. Check out these five green industries highlighted below.

Advanced Biofuels – Green fuel originates from non-food crops, such as cornstalks or wheat straw, and emits 60% less greenhouse gases but performs like gasoline. Advanced biofuel production is expected to increase to 21 billion gallons per year in 2022, up from 2 billion gallons per year in 2012. This industry is expected to generate around 123,000 total new jobs, according to Bio Economic Research Associates. People looking for employment in this industry can expect to find jobs in agriculture, architecture, chemical engineering, chemical plant and systems operators, and more.

Building Retrofitting – Wasted heat and energy is a major concern on the global economy and residential, commercial, and public buildings are big contributors. The president’s administration wants to retrofit 10 million homes with energy saving materials each year until 2020. This is expected to generate nearly 1.25 million jobs directly and 6 million jobs indirectly. Positions in this industry include: home performance specialists, energy auditors, managers, marketers, and more.

Geothermal Energy – Natural – or geothermal – energy is created by steam and hot water produced from heated rocks underground. This industry is expected to create 100,000 construction and manufacturing jobs for up to five years and 23,000 permanent geothermal-plant jobs. Positions available in this industry vary from chemists to drivers to property managers to sales managers.

Green Chemistry – This industry works to reduce or eliminate the use of hazardous substances. Green chemists and engineers are needed to help reformulate products and replace 95% of the petroleum-based materials people use every day with nature-derived stock, according to the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute.

Green Manufacturing – This sector is comprised of mainly traditional manufacturing used to create new parts for green industries. Jobs in this industry are expected to increase by 1 million with, 2.5 million indirect jobs in related industries to support the manufacturing sector. Positions you’re likely to see in this industry are factory workers, health and safety officers, and managers, among many others.

So, if you’re looking to change directions in your career, or you’re like many Americans who are out of work and in search of hope, these hot green jobs could be your ticket to a growing career. 

To see the top 10 hottest green job industries and more positions in these industries, check out MSNBC’s green jobs article.

7 Habits of Successful Leaders

Leadership is a hot topic that stirs much debate. Are individuals born with characteristics that enable them to be great leaders? Or, are these traits learned over time?

Although we may never know the answer to these questions, it’s true that leadership traits, whether engraved in our DNA or learned in life, must be cultivated over time in order to create successful leadership.

So, if you aspire to be a leader in your department, company, or any other organization, check out the seven habits below that every great leader should have. 

1. Attentiveness. Great leaders listen to their team. Often, people in a position of power have a hard time listening to the very people they’re trying to lead, and this can have a very negative impact on anything they’re trying to accomplish. So, take time to truly listen to what everyone on your team has to say before you start talking. You will not only see happy, productive individuals, but you’ll create a very loyal team that will follow you anywhere.

2. Humility. Nobody likes to follow someone who acts like they know everything. People make mistakes, so it’s important for leaders to admit when they’re wrong. Successful leaders value and trust the input of the people around them. Their humility is a mark of greatness that inspires the confidence and loyalty of others. So, recognize employees when they’re observant and commend their due diligence when appropriate.

3. Inspirational. People enjoy working with and for individuals who are passionate about their work and can inspire others to do their best. When leading a group of individuals, be enthusiastic about your dreams and vision and the tasks you need to do to accomplish them. Then, see how your upbeat attitude spreads to the people on your team.

4. Adaptability. Great leaders have the ability to adapt to change, no matter how drastic. So, be the example by embracing new policies and procedures. Discuss how the change will impact each employee. Focus on the positive impacts of change for everyone involved, like how you can start fresh and recreate yourself.

5. Team Player. Most individuals will follow a leader they can trust, but to build confidence in ones ability, everyone must feel that they’re in it together as a team. Great leaders use the same work ethic they expect of their team and model the behavior of a valued employee. So, show your employees that you aren’t above any of the work you’re asking of them by helping them from time to time on their projects.

6. Empathy. Sometimes, employees just want someone to feel understood. Team members need leaders to empathize with them in a time of need. It’s important to not only be their leader, but to also show that you care for their personal well-being.

7. Empowering. Leaders are only as great as their weakest employee, so make sure that you enable others around you to lead up and feel empowered with their projects. Take the time to mentor and equip each employee to become the expert on their own tasks and ideas.

Whether leadership is born or bred, everyone can build these habits of an effective leader. Regardless of your title, you can inspire those you work with by modeling the habits great leaders possess.

Do you have a great leader who has inspired you? Or, do you know a leader who lacks in one of these areas? Tell us your stories in the comments section below.