Monthly Archives: April 2012

Unlock Your Inner Memorization Abilities

Nelson Dellis was your average guy. He never had the best memory and frequently experienced trouble remembering names, places, and other information that was quickly presented to him. Does this sound like you at times? Perhaps you go to a networking event, trade show, or meeting and get so bombarded with names, faces, ideas, and other facts that it feels like data is going in one ear and out the other.

Nelson’s grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and eventually passed away in 2009. At that point, he became concerned for his future and took it upon himself to strengthen his mind. He started to research and discovered stories of people with average memory training their minds to do amazing things. Nelson became inspired to learn these techniques to see how far he could push his mind.

In March of 2012, Nelson’s hard work and determination helped him win the USA Memory Championship – for the second consecutive year.  He even set the new U.S. record for speed number memory.

The key to the story is that you don’t have to become a national champion to improve your memory at work or on the job search. Being able to retain information, especially facts given to you rapidly with little time to process the information, is a valuable skill to have in the workplace or job market. You can appear more competent and intelligent when you can quickly adapt to any terms, slang, or jargon being thrown around that you aren’t familiar with.

Improving your memory can also give you a boost of confidence when networking or interviewing because you won’t be focused on remembering the details, but enjoying the conversation and connection with others instead. You can also be better engaged with those you talk to because you’ll be better able to remember comments and information given to you, and then mention them in a later interview or conversation. This will help those talking to you know you are really paying attention and care about them.

Nelson summed up the benefits of improving memory when he said, “…names and faces. I’m very good at remembering just lists of things that I have to do. It’s very useful. And when I go out into, say, a meeting, an interview, or a social setting, I know that you can give me information and I can spew it back to you, if need be. And that’s a really comforting feeling and allows me to be a little more confident.”

What are some techniques you have used to help better remember names or other types of information? Sound off in the comments section below.

Employment is Up. What’s Your Excuse?

Employment is up whats your excuse

Last month, the U.S. Labor Department reported that new U.S. claims for unemployment benefits dropped to a four-year low, which is a sign of an improving job market. While it may be improving, it’s still very competitive and will take determination and hard work to find a job that’s right for you.

With U.S. unemployment seeming to slowly trickle down with a job market that’s still fierce, many frustrated job seekers can fall into the trap of relying on excuses to justify putting their job search on the backburner or give it up altogether. To help inspire you, here are some of the top excuses job seekers make and how to avoid them.

There are no Second Chances in the Job Search…
Ok, so you might not have gotten a job offer after two interviews with the same employer, but that doesn’t mean you should give up. It may be easier to think the next time won’t be any different, but everyone deserves a second, third, or fourth chance. Don’t let your past interfere with your future. Clear that stinkin’ thinkin’ from your head, because you start with a clean slate every time. Surround yourself with supportive friends if you can’t get over your slump. Take charge and move ahead, because you deserve to control your destiny in a job that’s right for you.

This is Just Too Hard…
Anything worthwhile isn’t going to be easy, but finding work is possible with determination and a willingness to learn and adapt. Although difficult, if learning a new language or hobby can be done, so can creating a successful employment search. They both just take some time and consistent effort. Even when we keep trying, it’s easy to make the effort the same exact way without adapting, and ultimately finding the same results. We all fail, but instead of dwelling on the failures, focus your efforts on adapting and changing your strategies to be more effective.

I Can’t do This on my Own…
No one says you have to. There’s a myriad of resources available to assist you in your job search. There are countless websites, books, and other resources at libraries or stores to help you better market yourself and showcase your accomplishments. If you want more hands-on help, consider going to a staffing agency. Many local staffing offices can provide interview, résumé, and general career advice for little to no cost.

Also, don’t forget to harness the power of your network. Whether it’s friends, family, or industry peers, someone can help encourage, support, advise, or train you during your job search. If they can’t, they could find someone who can. You don’t need to feel alone in your job search.

I Don’t Have the Time Anymore…
It’s true that a job search can be a full-time job in of itself, and sometimes it’s almost impossible to devote that much time to job searching when you have to do what you can to survive. You can make a big difference by carving out 45 minutes of your day to devote to your job search. Try turning off the television or logging off Facebook and use that time for finding a job. Focus on plotting a course, writing a proper résumé, crafting a unique LinkedIn profile, researching companies, and getting your networking efforts in order.

The most important thing to remember is to never give up. The economic climate is slowly looking a little brighter, and now is your chance to find the job that’s right for you. Do you have some uplifting stories about staying determined on your job search? Tell us in the comments below.

Interviewing for the Shy and Introverted

Shy introvert waiting for interviewThroughout the year, we’ve covered different aspects of the job search through the eyes of job seekers who are introverted and shy. From networking to searching, there are strategies and methods to help bring out the talents and strengths introverts have.

One aspect of the job search that can be the most dreaded for shy job seekers and the most draining for the introverted seeker is the interview. Taking 30 minutes or more to be asked questions, talking about yourself, and trying to promote how much better your skills and accomplishments are than the competition can be enough to make anyone shudder in terror. But, take confidence in knowing that introverted and shy job seekers can shine their brightest during the interview.

Embrace Your Inner Strengths
Outgoing and assertive job seekers may seem like they’re the total package, but the more internal and quiet job seekers have talents that are just as appealing to employers, especially in an interview. Introverts often give deeper and better answers to interview questions because they tend to be better listeners and observers. Instead of rattling off the first thing that comes to mind, you can internalize the answer and insight into situations and people that the extroverts don’t catch, which boosts your presentation.

Make a List and Check it Twice
It’s important to make a checklist of everything you need to have and do when interviewing. Having it written down will keep you focused without wasting time and energy storing it all in your head.

Make sure you have your clothes, résumé, company fact sheet, route to the interview, parking spot, and traffic and travel time ready. You’ll want to leave nothing to chance so you don’t have to rush. Feeling rushed can make an introverted person lose valuable energy quickly, or cause a shy person to stumble on their confidence.

Keep Expectations Reasonable
Shy people tend to put too much pressure on themselves when doing activities or actions most consider routine or normal. When it comes to an interview, especially for a highly desirable job, it’s easy for someone who’s introverted or shy to have a “do or die” mentality. Introverts can stop listening and focus more on trying to guess what the interviewer wants to hear instead of the honest answer. You’re trying to see if the employer is a good match for you, not get an instant job offer after every interview.

Two Heads Are Better Than One
Extroverts are generally more confident when they are out of their comfort zones. Confidence is a huge issue with shy job seekers and the insecurity can make your body language appear standoffish and cold.  Next time, take a good friend out to breakfast or lunch before the interview and then hang out after. Having someone providing encouragement can go a long way in helping you keep your nerves from fraying.

Out-Prepare Your Competition
A shy job seeker’s self-consciousness is often their downfall. One of the best ways to build confidence is to practice interview questions. There are several resources full of different questions that can help you prepare. Figure out answers that fit your goals, in your voice, and put them on note cards to help you remember and practice. It may feel silly, but knowing the material helps calm introverted and shy job seekers and helps you sound better than anyone else who could be winging it.

There is interview success for shy and introverted job seekers. What are some ways you have built your confidence or displayed your strengths as an introvert when interviewing?

Associate Spotlight: Jomon Raju

Express Employment Professionals employs more than 335,000 workers in the United States and Canada each year, and they all have a story to tell. They represent a diverse group of workers with different skills, backgrounds, and traditions that have a global impact on the economy. Our associates come from all walks of life and hold with them true stories of inspiration.

As we continue our series highlighting Express’ associates, we look at an associate who chased after opportunity and found that dream in an unlikely situation. Sometimes you may not start where you expect, but a solid work ethic and determination can help you end up where you want to be.

Jomon Raju
Jomon graduated from college in 2010 with a computer sciences degree, but was having trouble finding a job in the IT field.  As time went on with little to no position openings, he needed some sort of income until he could find a job in his field. One day, Jomon was driving down the highway and saw a sign for the downtown Fort Worth, TX, Express office, advertising openings for call center positions.

He jumped on the opportunity, applied, and was initially placed in a warehouse position he worked for six months. While working there, his supervisor found out that Jomon had a computer sciences degree.  The supervisor contacted the vice president of IT to let him know about Jomon and his education.  The VP and his group set up an interview with Jamon and were very impressed by his hard work and dedication. Even though the IT group concluded that Jamon didn’t have experience in the particular application they work with, they decided to invest the time in training him.

With training from the IT department, Jamon’s hourly rate increased by nearly 300%!  He’s been working on the documentation of their processes and the IT department has been very pleased with his performance. They’re now training him on their applications in hopes of having him on their development team.

“I never thought I’d find an IT position by taking a warehouse job,” Jomon said.

Express takes pride in the accomplishments of those individuals who come to us for work. Without the skills and talents our associates provide to employers, Express wouldn’t be what it is today. If you’re an Express associate and know a fellow associate who would be a great candidate for our associate spotlight, let your Express office know. If you have an Express associate you’d like to feature on Movin’ On Up, let us know in the comments below.

New Look, Same Great Content

We’d like to take just a moment to thank you for your continued readership of our career and job seeker tips at Movin’ On Up. And, we’re excited to announce that we now offer our readers even more features with a brand new look!

We’ll still provide the same great content, but now you’ll be able to easily share that content with your friends and contacts through our new features. You’ll also be able to share comments, browse our archives, and more. So, take a few moments to take a look around! And while you’re at it, leave a note in the comments section below to tell us what you think.

Staying on Top: 4 Ways to be an Expert in Your Industry

Staying on TopWhether you’re looking for a new job, moving up the corporate ladder, or changing careers, staying on top of the current issues and trends in your market or industry can give you a competitive advantage. While experience can go a long way in your career goals, not having the expertise to back it up can influence employers and decision makers. If job seekers and workers aren’t learning about their industry on a regular basis, it may seem like they aren’t taking advantage of their experience.

The good news is that you don’t have to go to school to increase your knowledge base. There are several ways, including free methods, you can use to give yourself that extra knowledge to not only improve your trade but help you be more marketable. Here are a few easy steps to help you go from beginner to expert in your industry.

1. Follow and Network with Industry Professionals
Try attending meetings with professional organizations in your field. Not only will you get to watch a good discussion or presentation on current trends, but you’ll be able to converse and listen to your local industry leaders and experts. They generally have a great understanding of the latest developments in the area and the business as a whole. They can also give you good specific sources for news and updates about the industry. Asking them where the future of your industry is going is a great way for you to learn what to research on your own time and can help provide discussion points for interviews or other meetings.

Don’t stop with local talent. Social media gives you the ability to follow and connect with industry professionals all over the world. Sites like Twitter give you the chance to receive news and updates from leaders, experts, and organizations instantly. Twitter allows you to follow conversations and separate those you follow into lists so you can check in on particular groups without sifting through your normal feed. Facebook and LinkedIn also have forums and news updates for professional groups or employers for you to learn from.

2. Read Trade Journals and Blogs
Thanks to the internet, anyone can become a blogger. The good news is that you’re almost guaranteed to find a reliable blog for your profession. Blogs can be updated at any time, so they can be an excellent source for breaking news and the latest in your industry. Ask your peers and opinion leaders what their favorite blogs are and read their older stories to see if the writing style and content is something you’re interested in. If you’re worried about keeping track of them all, you can put their URLs in an RSS feed so you can be notified when your favorite blogs are updated.

While trade publications aren’t as fast-paced as blogs are, they typically have more detailed and in-depth industry studies and articles by experts. In addition to signing up for the printed publications, there are several online options for receiving trade publications. SmartBrief is a professional news aggregator site where you can sign up for daily emails with relevant news and information from a variety of industries. Entrepreneur also has a large database of trade publications that can be downloaded for free. Check them out to see if any can help keep you informed.

3. Attend Webinars
You may get invitations to attend seminars and events from all over world, but few have the time or money to trek across the nation to attend these conferences. You can find several webinars, which are online seminars, covering a variety of topics in your field. They are offered through some industry organizations, can be a valuable source of information, and generally inexpensive or even free,. Some webinars offer downloadable versions of the presentation for you to keep and study on your own time if you find the topic interesting.

Webinars do have some great benefits, but there are some drawbacks for students or those looking to change careers. Webinars are most useful for those who have background knowledge and experience in their industry. They don’t give you the basics, and they are limited on time and don’t allow attendees to ask many questions. Use your best judgment before signing up or paying for a webinar that you might not be equipped to take.

4. Go to Trade Shows
Trade shows have declined in the past few years due to rising costs and social media, but there can still be some advantages to going if you have the chance. Trade shows are excellent for deepening industry knowledge because you can visit booths to see the latest trends, newest products, who is well-established, and who is entering in the industry. You’ll also be able to meet several people and informally chat for a few minutes, which is much easier than setting up informational interviews and faster than sending a tweet or email.

Wanting to learn more demonstrates drive and motivation that employers and management will notice. If you have long-term career goals, striving to constantly improve is one of the best ways to get there. If you follow these helpful suggestions, you can become a better worker every day.

What’s the Best Part of Your Job? Take Our Poll

MSNBC recently reported that there is a growing number of frustrated employees leaving their current employer for better opportunities. While it may be a good sign that the U.S. economy is improving, there are still millions of workers staying loyal to their employers. This made us wonder what employees are enjoying the most about their job. Sound off in the poll below and let us know why you enjoy showing up to work every day.