Monthly Archives: March 2010

Full-time Job Versus Internship

Full-Time vs InternshipSummer’s fast approaching, and for some, that means college graduation and summer break is right around the corner. With a new-found freedom from school, homework, and classes, what would you do with your free time? Your answer should be to get a J-O-B. And, right now is the time to start looking.

Every new grad wants to land a full-time job with a great starting salary and benefits right out of school, but what if you can’t find a job right away in this economy? Don’t worry. If you’re striking out, consider applying for internships, even if you’ve already had one. They are a great way to get your foot in a company’s door, especially today.

Internships are a good option for companies trying to identify candidates who will be a good fit with their culture. An internship also allows you to take a look at the company to make sure it’s someplace you could see yourself working long term. In addition, some companies offer interns a stipend or a small amount of pay. That can help cover transportation costs to and from work, money for eating out, and some professional clothes. Do a good job as an intern and you could end up getting offered a full-time job when your internship comes to an end.

So, what do you need to start doing today in preparation for finding a job? Here are some key tips to follow.

Get your résumé together. Include info about your degree and experience. List all the activities you’ve helped with in school, in the community, etc. Since you don’t have a ton of professional job experience yet, this helps show employers the skills you do have. Be sure to tailor your résumé to the job you’re applying for. You really want to make your résumé stand out from the crowd.

Start networking. Now is a great time to start networking with professionals in your field of interest. By attending networking meetings, you can easily find out who’s hiring or who needs an intern. And, be sure to have your résumé with you when networking so you can give it to the contacts you make. Also in combination to your networking in person, don’t forget about networking on social media sites too.

Look the part. It’s time to ditch your favorite jeans with the holes in the knees, flip flops, and T-shirts for some professional attire to get people to take notice of you. This shows others you are serious about finding a job.

Be positive. Interviews and networking events can be nerve wracking, but don’t forget to smile when you introduce yourself. When people ask how you’re doing, give them a big smile and tell them you’re great. They’ll be interested to know why and learn more about you. Here are some additional tips to make sure your nonverbal communication sends the right message.

These tips can help you as you begin your job hunt. As part of My Entry-Level Life, we’ll be going into detail each week on a different topic to help you make a transition from where you currently are to your entry level job. Tune in next week as we talk more about how to build your résumé.

Share your thoughts about this series with us here. We want to know how you’re approaching the job hunt for your entry-level position.

Could Your Cubemate be Your Next Boss?

Coworkers Eight hours a day, five days a week, you share workspace with your co-workers and peers. During the work week, you discover their habits and quirks, and they discover yours. You go to lunch together. You celebrate birthdays and company milestones. You discuss office politics and swap stories about your boss. You develop routines and adjust to the customs and dynamics of the team. And, you learn to like – or dislike – your co-workers, depending on their personality and yours. Either way, you all learn to work together. But, what happens when the dynamics change and your office comrade – or worse, your office enemy – becomes your boss?

When a peer or co-worker is promoted above you, the adjustment can be difficult, no matter how amiable your rapport has been. Following these tips could make the transition smoother for yourself, your new boss, and your entire team.

Be Respectful. Choosing to respect your superiors and co-workers alike is always a good idea. It may not always be the easiest task – especially if you’ve seen them at their worst, like during an out-of-hand office Christmas party. But, showing respect to everyone you encounter is well worth it. When you demonstrate respect, they’ll often give you the same respect in return. And, respecting your co-workers from the start will help prevent any awkwardness should one of them become your boss in the future. Even if you feel a new boss doesn’t deserve your respect, their new position demands it. So, demonstrate your respect by being conscious of your speech, habits, and attitude when you’re at the water cooler or break room, during meetings, in the cube, and throughout the day.

Be Patient. Remember that your newly appointed boss is new to their job, so cut them some slack. Even the most experienced managers and executives make mistakes. Just like you, they’re only human, and errors and oversights will happen. So, be patient while they’re figuring things out.

Your manager may feel the need to institute some professional distance from peers once they’ve been promoted. Follow their lead and allow the relationship’s dynamic to evolve. Understand that your new boss may need to establish some clout and influence with the team in the beginning. Patience is a virtue and an asset your supervisors value, so don’t sweat the office politics, changes, and adjustments. Instead, take it in stride.

Feel like you’re losing your patience? Check out these tips to regain your serenity at work.

Be Flexible. Employers want and need flexible employees because life and work often require it. Be a flexible employee who’s willing to take on tasks and projects even when they don’t fall within your job description or title. You may not be accustomed to taking orders from your co-worker-turned-captain, but be a team player and go with the flow when plans change.

When problems arise, help be the solution instead of just another roadblock. Being a flexible employee will make your boss’ job easier, which can make your job easier too! With so many work-life headaches to handle, being a helpful and flexible employee your employer can trust will help you standout from the rest.

When work relationships change, the transition can be difficult for the team. But, by being a respectful, patient, and flexible employee, you can help calm rough waters and get noticed as a valuable employee your company and your new boss can’t do without.

My Entry-Level Life

Spring is in the air. It’s the time of year when college students begin anticipating summer vacation or start preparing for life after college. Maybe you or someone you know is looking for that first job or maybe hoping to land an internship or part-time job. Regardless of what you’re looking for, we’ve got some information you’re going to want to read.

Starting next Monday, March 29, and going through the beginning of August, we’re featuring a new blog series called My Entry-Level Life. As part of this series, each week we will post different topics about finding and transitioning into entry-level job positions.

Through this series, we’ll share tips on topics like hunting for an internship or first job, what to do the first day at work, work-life balance, phone etiquette, interacting with upper management, and much, much more. Whether you’re just starting out or starting over, this series will tell you what you need to know.

Next Monday, the focus will be on beginning the job hunt. We’ll discuss the benefits of getting a full-time job versus the benefits of an internship. How do you start looking for a job or internship? Tune in next Monday to find out!

Jump into Spring with These Top Tips

Spring is in the air, and everyone is feeling the anticipation of sunny days and warmer weather. But, if you’re feeling the effects of losing an hour of sleep due to Daylight Saving Time and waking up before the sun rises, check out these top tips to help put the spring back in to your step.

Start Your Workday Right – It’s important to begin each day with a positive attitude. This will affect how others perceive you, your productivity, and your overall well-being. So, check out these seven tips to get you headed in the right direction.

Go on an Inexpensive Vacation – With the weather showing signs of spring, thoughts of a get-a-way are not too far off. But, with financial stresses and a heavy workload, a lengthy vacation may not be possible. But before you toss out the idea of a well deserved break, try these inexpensive ways to rejuvenate yourself just in time for spring.

Find Inspiration in Your Day – Let’s face it. The past year has been tough, but the recovery has started. If you’re trying to find some inspiration in your day, check out these four places to look.

Change Your Mood with Color – There’s a reason spring weather puts a little skip in your step. The green grass and blue skies are just two examples of what the changing landscape can do for your attitude. But, you don’t have to be outdoors to increase your positive behavior. Paint your destiny with these vibrant colors inside the workplace.

Re-energize at Work – Working out after the holidays isn’t the only time you should focus on your health. Spring weather is the perfect time to get out and get some exercise. Don’t have time to workout? No problem. These helpful tips can get you back into shape while you’re at work.

With a change in the temperature just around the corner, it’s time to shake off those winter blues and jump into spring with enthusiasm, a new attitude, and a fresh start.

Set the Example

It’s safe to say that everyone is tired of this economy. And, many of today’s workers are feeling the strain because of increased workloads, longer work hours, and decreased salaries. It’s no wonder everyone doesn’t always have the greatest attitude, right?

Although you can’t control how your co-workers feel or act every day, you’re in control of your own feelings and actions. YOU can be the example you want to see in the office. You can take the initiative to make your overall office environment better and be a good example for your fellow colleagues. How? Here are a few acts of kindness you can do around the office to help relieve tension and make the day a little brighter. And, the best thing about this is you don’t have to be in a leadership position to do this. Anyone can do this.

Send a word of praise. For this, buy a greeting card. You can write a kind note on it about someone you work with, telling them such things as they did a great job on a certain project, tell the funniest jokes, are a great cook, have a wonderful fashion sense, etc. This is just a little way of letting that person know you’re glad to be their co-worker. Then, present them with the card! After that, the person who received the card has to keep the good times going by writing another positive note to another teammate and presenting it to them.

Recognize the “Stars of the Week.” Every Friday, recognize a few individuals you feel have done a great job for the week. Each week, you can recognize different individuals until everyone has been recognized for something. Include in the e-mail why you’ve recognized them for the “star” award, and if it’s OK with management, send the e-mail to everyone on your team so they can check it out. If you want, you can also award small prizes.

Find out how things are going. Find out how your teammates are doing. What are their interests, how is their family doing, do they plans for the weekend? Make it a point to just chat with them and get to know them. If they don’t want to share information with you, that’s OK too. But, at least you made an effort to learn more about them and that will mean something to them.

Get away from the office for lunch. Plan a lunch outing for you and your co-workers. Take a vote on where everyone wants to eat, and go there for your ENTIRE lunch hour. It’s important to use your break to relax. Make it a rule for the outing that no one can talk about work during lunch.

Potluck, anyone? Everyone likes food, so why not have a potluck one Friday? You could either do a breakfast or lunch potluck. This is a cost effective choice instead of everyone going to a restaurant to eat.

Bring cupcakes, just because. Surprise everyone on your team with cupcakes just to help brighten their day.

Start a book club. Despite the economy, you and your teammates still have an opportunity to learn and advance your skills within your current job roles. Purchase books on leadership and strengths development and start a weekly book club. This gives you a chance to get to know each other more and grow your knowledge and skills.

These are just as few examples of things you can do to help create a more positive work environment and help generate some happiness. Do you have other ideas of things to do around the office to increase morale? We want to know!

The Networking Wars: Does Online or In Person Work Best?

With record high unemployment rates and the rapid adoption of social networking across generations, this past year there has been a big focus on using social networking for the job hunt. At the same time, people are going back to the basics of the job search as they attempt to uncover every avenue available to land the job.

Networking in general is one of the most important tools in the job seeker’s arsenal. And having a good mix of social networking and in-person networking is your best bet for a broad-reaching job search. But in today’s job market, we want to know what you think. Which works best?

23% Have Received Inappropriate Texts from Co-Workers, Poll Finds

As mobile technologies continue to become more widespread, they are making an impact on the workplace. But have you ever considered how cell phone text messaging affects the workplace?

According to our latest poll, which received 512 responses, 23% of respondents say they have received an inappropriate text message from a co-worker.

Experts say many people have a false sense of security when sending texts.
But sending an inappropriate or offensive text message to co-workers is a form of sexual harassment. In fact, laws and statues have been amended to include e-mail and text messaging regarding sexual harassment.

It’s never ok to send lewd or sexually suggestive texts or e-mails to co-workers. But, also be aware that easily misconstrued messages, or even those with smiling or winking emoticons may make a message seem inappropriate to someone else. So, think twice before you hit “send,” to a co-worker.