Monthly Archives: October 2010

You Texted What?

R u a txtr? Text messaging has become one of the most common ways people communicate. Research conducted by Nielsen Wire, found that more than 2.5 billion texts are sent daily in the U.S. And according to a recent article on’s Technoblog, 87% of teens and 72% of adults are text messaging.

Today, texting seems to be the communication tool of choice for many because it’s easy to do and quicker than calling someone to have a conversation.  For example, you can send a quick text to tell someone something like C U @ 545 instead of getting caught in a long conversation.

But, texting isn’t just for personal use anymore. It’s being used more and more in the workplace and becoming a common communication tool between managers and employees. Some managers are OK with allowing employees to text to discuss work-related issues like taking a sick day, reporting a family emergency, or dropping a quick line to say they’re running late. But, are there some things that shouldn’t be texted? In the survey conducted by Nielsen Wire, it was also discovered that 11% of college students and recent college graduates think it’s OK to text a manager when resigning from a job.

As technology continues to change and more generations entering the workforce, communication on the job continues to change. As an employee, it’s important for you to know what your manager’s thoughts are and what your company’s policies and preferences outline regarding text messaging on the job.    
Does your job already have texting rules in place? Would you or have you ever texted your boss to say you’re sick or that you’re resigning? Share your thoughts with us!

Formatting Rules to Keep Your Résumé Fit

WEB10MSC_RESUME-BOOT-CAMP_W2 A good résumé takes effort and time to create. A well-written, professional-looking résumé can take you far in the job search, while a poorly constructed one may do very little to get your career moving. Depending on the career field you are in or trying to enter, résumé content will vary from person to person. But, once you have decided what information you want and need to include on your résumé, it’s time to consider how to format that content. Check out these across-the-board formatting rules that you can use, regardless of the job you’re applying for. 

Include your name and contact information. Always be sure to include your first and last name, as well as your phone number and an e-mail address. It’s important to have all of your contact information in one area, preferably at the top of the page to help ensure that it’s seen first.

Divide your résumé into sections. Dividing your résumé into sections helps make it easier for a potential employer to quickly scan for key facts. Designate the different sections by including a short, descriptive title. For example, if you list any information about any degrees or training you have received, include a title such as “Education and Training” above that section. This helps keep your information organized and concise, and allows you to highlight the reasons why you would be a great fit for the job.

Use one font style. It’s better to limit your document to only one font, and try not to use anything difficult to read. Use a more professional, simple font style like Times New Roman, Arial, Georgia, or Tahoma. Also, be sure to use 10- to 12-point font to ensure that the person reading your work history doesn’t have to squint to decipher what it says.

Keep it short. The purpose of a résumé is to give a potential employer a summary of your skills and abilities. You want to give them enough information to know what you’ve accomplished in your career and why they should bring you in for an interview. The longer you work and the more work experience you gain, the more difficult to keep this content to just one page. But, the consensus among employers is to keep it as short, sweet, and to the point as possible.

Invest in good paper stock. If you’re delivering a printed copy of your résumé to a potential employer, invest in good paper stock. A heavier paper made out of a cotton or linen blend may help you get noticed. This also communicates to an employer that you put time and thought into creating it. The next time you’re ready to print off a résumé, stop by your local office supply store and purchase a heavy weight (90 lb. – 110 lb.) cardstock.

Create an electronic version. Many job openings today require applying online, so it’s a good idea to have a version of your résumé that will upload correctly when submitted. To format your résumé for online use, follow these tips:
• Use Times New Roman or Arial font
• Keep all of your content left aligned
• Remove any bullet points and replace with an asterisk or a dash
• Use spaces between all titles and headlines
• Copy and paste your Word document into a text editor, such as Notepad, prior to uploading it into the online job application text box. This will help remove any formatting from your résumé that could display incorrectly online.  

Not only do you want your résumé to have good information, but it’s also important for it to look good too. Use this advice to help you stand out from the competition when you apply for your next job.
We hope you’ve enjoyed the Résumé Boot Camp series and that you will use these tips of the trade to whip your résumé into shape! Here’s wishing you best of luck in all your job search endeavors.

The Instant Way to Boost Your Mood at Work

Feeling frustrated, stressed, or down at work or on the job hunt? If you want to boost your mood, experts suggest you try smiling. Research shows that facial expressions not only reflect emotions, they also impact them. When you smile, you actually end up feeling happier. So the next time you’re upset about a project that isn’t going well, the interview you didn’t get, or something your boss or co-worker said, take it in stride and smile even if you don’t feel like it.

If you can’t even fake a smile, think of a joke or a favorite memory, talk with a friend, or try watching a funny video of a baby laughing. Soon, you won’t be able to stop yourself from showing off your pearly whites.

When you’re happier and less stressed, you’re also more productive and focused – a must for getting the job done. And, since emotions can be contagious, having a good attitude could positively influence your team, your boss, or a potential employer. So, if you’re feeling the weight of a heavy workload or a difficult job search, turn your frown upside down, and watch your mood change instantly for a positive outlook that’s catching.

Please note, the video clips herein and their sponsors do not necessarily represent the views of Express and are used for educational purposes only.

What to Do About Work Gaps

WEB10MSC_RESUME-BOOT-CAMP_W2 Whatever the reason is you’re looking for a new job, you’re going to need a résumé. And, you want one to stand out to an employer and make them take notice of you in a positive way. So, what do you do if your work history has a few gaps along the way? With typically only one minute to grab someone’s attention with your résumé, prospective employers sometimes don’t take the time to investigate little potholes along a job seeker’s workforce journey. Employers see work gaps frequently, but what they really want to see is an individual’s career growth and progression. So, if you’re currently experiencing a few of those gaps in your work history, what can you do now to help your résumé compete with the elite?

Format your résumé into a functional format. The functional format focuses on your actual skills and accomplishments rather than on the dates you worked at a job or your job titles. When you arrange your résumé by your skills, you’re highlighting the main points of why an employer should hire you.

Align your skills with the job you’re applying for. Be specific about your skills and relate them to the job you’re applying for. It’s important to keep things relevant. If you’re applying for a job as an administrative assistant, the prospective employer probably doesn’t want to know that you also have a knack for laying concrete. Instead, list out relevant skills like your knowledge of Microsoft Office, the ability to book meetings using Outlook, and experience in coordinating multiple events or meetings at a time.

Include your accomplishments. You’re trying to tell an employer why they should choose you over the other job applicants. This is your time to wow a potential employer about what you have achieved during your work history. Listing these helps combat a work gap by showcasing that you do have experience and good skills that achieved results. This showcases you as a more serious job candidate. Again, keep your accomplishments relevant to the job you’re applying for, but be sure to target your proudest achievements.

List your volunteer experience. Do you volunteer for an organization? If so, include that in your work history section. It doesn’t matter if you got paid or not. It’s still work experience you can include to show you haven’t been sitting around during your time away from a job.

These are a few tips to help you out. Sometimes an employment gap cannot be avoided, but that doesn’t mean you’re not qualified for the job. In addition, one more piece of advice is to create a cover letter to go along with your résumé. In your cover letter, be succinct about your work gap, but use this as an opportunity to better explain your work history. Apply these tips to help your job search, and don’t let a work history gap derail your career plans.

Strengthen Your Résumé’s Core

WEB10MSC_RESUME-BOOT-CAMP_W2 Your work experience is an important part of why a potential employer should want to hire you. So, what does your current work history say about you? Does it make a potential manager take notice of you or does it only get a quick glance, never to be looked at again? Your work history section is the core of your résumé. As such, it has to be a strong foundation to be the focal point of your résumé. So, here are a few tips to help strengthen the work history section of your résumé. 

Work History
For each work experience you list on your résumé, make sure to note your title, the name of the company, and the start and end dates of your employment. If you are still currently employed there, say so. An example would be: Construction Supervisor | XYZ Construction Company | August 2008 – Present. If you are with the same company and have received promotions, list out each job title you’ve held and specifics about the work you did in each role. Do you have a gap in your work history? Find out how to fix that.

Next, to bring life to your work history section, describe your job duties and accomplishments. Be sure to incorporate numbers and results of projects you’ve worked on. This is the area where you want to show how much of an impact you have made through your work. For example, instead of saying, “managed the budget of ordering office supplies,” say something like, “oversaw the office supply ordering process and saved the company $200 per month on purchases.” This latter option showcases what you did and just how well you did it by demonstrating the cost savings you created for your company.

It’s important to still keep these points short and sweet, but be as specific as you can by including some numbers and results. The numbers are the validation that potential employers want to see to ensure that you can do the job and do it well. Also, use power words to add some punch to your information.

So, in the end, here’s a sample of what your work history section should look like:

Construction Supervisor
XYZ Construction Company | August 2008 – Present
• Oversaw employee safety procedures and successfully trained 100 team members about CPR and fire
   protection procedures
• Won a new company contract and saved the company $3,000 in construction fees
• Managed a team of 20 construction employees with no turnover in two years

One other important note to make is to keep your work history section relevant to the job you’re applying for. It’s about tailoring your information. For instance, if you’re trying to get into a professional environment, don’t include a previous summer job as a dog walker. And, if you have a long work history of several different jobs, again, just pick out the work experience that is relevant to the new job you’re applying for.

These are just a few tips to help your résumé work history get noticed. Be concise, and again, it’s OK to brag on yourself a little here. You want to let the employer know why you’re the best for the job opportunity. 

3 Tips to Finding Your True Strengths in the Workplace

Everyone is born with special talents, skills, and gifts that they exercise throughout their lifetime. Whether it’s personal growth or growth within your job position, there are ways you can improve your skills. In your career, it’s important to find your strengths and build on your skills. Learning new skills and tools help you develop yourself or even help make your job easier. Follow this three-step process to improve yourself in the workplace.

Discover your strengths. You have lots of different skills and abilities that help make you who you are as an employee and as a person. Your strengths will help you stand out at work. But, in order to put your strengths to good use, you have to know what they are. So, take the initiative to find resources that can help you identify your assets and skills. Books like Strengths Finder 2.0 are great for identifying your strengths and learning how you can build on them. Talking to your employer, co-workers, and friends is another great way to get perspective on the things you excel in. Building your skills and strengths is important to your future. So find ways to learn about your today.

Develop your skills. When you’ve figured out what you’re good at, continue to cultivate those skills. But, don’t just stop at the skills you’ve already established. It’s not only important to develop the ones you have, it’s also important to constantly seek new ones. After finding your strengths, identify your weaknesses, and find out how you can improve and overcome them. If you want to develop a particular skill, don’t wait for someone else to lead the way. Instead, look for resources on your own. Want to develop your skills even more? Find ways to use your strengths outside of work like in organizations and at networking events or association meetings. And, don’t forget volunteer opportunities in non-profit organizations. Developing your strengths at work and in your community can improve your resume and impress your boss.

Put your strengths to good use. Building your skills and strengths is important to your future. Once you’ve identified your greatest strengths, find how you can use them. What role do you play in the group – facilitator or follower? Do you enjoy tackling problems? Once you know what your skills are, start utilizing them throughout the day. Ask your employer for projects you can tackle or for leadership opportunities in the work place. Participating in team building activities can help you develop your talents. Using your strengths during meetings and on projects will help you reach your potential. The more you use your skills, the more expertise you’ll have.

There are many things you can do to develop your skills and grow your strengths. For example, setting a goal to read a business book each month is a great start. You will be amazed at how successful you can be when you have a lot of knowledge, not to mention how helpful you will be to your business, company, and your boss. Staying in tune to what’s going on in your field is also a great way to get new ideas so be sure to stay up-to-date updated on industry news online. Check out blogs and newsletters, and focus on things you’re interested in. In addition, be sure to attend webinars and conferences where you can learn effective tools you can use at work.

Discovering skills and strengths will not only make you better at your executing tasks, but it’s also a fun and exciting way to figure out things you didn’t know about yoursel!