Monthly Archives: May 2012

Doctor Who’s Guide to Job Searching Across Space and Time

Doctor Who's Guide to Job SearchingAllons-y and Geronimo job seekers! If you’re not familiar with Doctor Who, it’s the longest-running science-fiction TV program of all time. With nearly 800 episodes, the show has been on British television since 1963. The story is about The Doctor, an eccentric alien who befriends companions from Earth to travel across space and time in his time machine, the TARDIS.

While Doctor Who is a family program teaching viewers to better understand each other through knowledge and compassion, there are several correlations to the job market that The Doctor can teach you as well. Here are some lessons you can learn from the Doctor’s adventures that you can use to help your job search, no matter where or when you are.

Do What You Can With What You Have
Most of the time, The Doctor is able to protect the universe and beat the bad guys with his intellect, sonic screwdriver, and trusty time machine. But, the doctor will often have to figure out ways of saving the day without his handy, dandy gadgets. In one episode, the TARDIS gets trapped in the time vortex by an unknown alien force with one of The Doctor’s companions still trapped inside while the doctor is stuck in modern-day England. To find the alien threat, The Doctor has to fit in as an ordinary human and build a tracking device out of lampshades, paddle oars, and shopping carts in his room. You can get an idea of what the Doctor has to do without being discovered by the alien threat in the video below.

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

Just like how The Doctor has to take the junk he finds and play like a human to save people, you as a job seeker should be as adaptable. If you find dead ends in your job search, you may have to consider alternatives like freelancing, going back to school for special training, or look into staffing agencies. Sometimes a job in another area can lead to something much more desirable.

Finding a Job is Like a Big Ball of Wibbley Wobbely, Timey Wimey… Stuff
The story in the Doctor Who episode “Blink” folds upon itself and doesn’t follow a strict line of progression. It correlates to the way The Doctor sees time. In the episode, he is trapped in 1969 and needs help from two characters in 2007 through a DVD recording and explains this theory in a way only The Doctor can explain.

Since The Doctor sees time as a giant ball of wibbley wobbely, timey wimey stuff, job seekers should treat their search in the same way. Job seeking isn’t just about handing a résumé to a recruiter, manager, or decision maker, then get the interview, then get the job offer. Opportunities to find a job can be found in unconventional places. Making a good impression at a job fair could lead to an unexpected opportunity later in life, providing content on LinkedIn could catch the eye of someone who could offer work, or being active in a hobby or activity could lead you to working in that industry. There are opportunities out there, we just might not know when or how they appear.

Regenerate When you Need to, Like a Time Lord
One of The Doctor’s most famous abilities is to regenerate his physical form when he’s about to die.  When he changes, he still keeps all of his memories, motives, and skills, but his looks, personality, and attitude change. This puts The Doctor in new situations, planets, and interactions with different allies.

Just like The Doctor changes during his adventures, as a job seeker, you should too. You should be the same person with the same talents, motivations, and soft skills, but you should adapt your message, résumé, and cover letter to highlight your specific skills that fit the job description you’re applying for. Sending the same stock application to every job posting will get much fewer results than customizing your work to match the needs of each job and employer.

No matter where you are in your job search, you can always use a little push by learning from The Doctor. If he can chase his dreams across time and space, you can achieve your job searching goals.

Temporary Work Myths: EXPOSED!

Temporary Work Myths: EXPOSED!The economy is changing, and while it slowly climbs it’s way to recovery, employers are looking at the job market in a different way. Now more than ever, companies are increasingly relying on temporary staffing to fill open positions instead of dealing with the time and expense of directly hiring new employees.

This is a great opportunity for job seekers to gain valuable experience, but many don’t consider it as an option because of the various misconceptions about interim work. It’s time to expose these ideas for the myths they are. Here are the top three staffing myths busted to help you find success in your career.

Temporary work doesn’t pay well and is low-level.
This isn’t the case. For staffing agencies, demand is growing fastest for administrative and commercial jobs.  More and more professionals are embracing the flexibility and control they have over their work schedule and the challenge and variety they can have acting as a consultant to their various jobs.

Staffing agencies want highly skilled and talented individuals to meet the needs of their job orders. That means they offer competitive wages and benefits that are on par with those directly hired. Some staffing companies offer health insurance, vacation, and retirement options. Research your local agency to see if their services are the right fit for you and your schedule.

I can’t get a full-time job if everyone knows I’m a temporary employee.
Because of the high cost of hiring and terminating employees, companies are turning to staffing agencies to evaluate and test new hires before hiring them full time. Employers are still cautious of the economy, so it makes perfect sense to hire workers from staffing agencies as a cost effective way to meet their needs. In many cases, a staffing agency can be your foot in the door with some prominent companies.

There are several stories about temporary employees working for Express who end up in full-time positions in companies they never would have been considered for otherwise. Check out these stories of temporary employees’ success.

Having temp work on your résumé looks bad.
Showing how you have gained and developed skills will only strengthen your résumé. As staffing has grown into a bigger part of the economy, experience in temporary work is seen as the equivalent of consulting experience in some industries.  Many employers see long-term staffing jobs as the same as regular work experience. There are several benefits to working with a staffing agency that will look good on a résumé as long as you can show how your experience can help potential employers.

The increase in employment through staffing has always been a sign of future economic recovery, but opportunities to work on a temporary basis are expanding. Some industry experts are predicting temporary work may become more integral to the economy in the next decade. Contact your local Express office to see if we can provide you with an opportunity to help you succeed with your career goals.

Like, Mention, and Friend Request Your Way to a New Job Through Facebook

Use Facebook For Your Job SearchFacebook just recorded 901 million active monthly users at the end of March. Needless to say, it’s a big deal. Odds are you are one of the millions of users checking their account every day to see what’s going on in the life of friends, loved ones, family, and celebrities.

What’s great about Facebook is you can use this vast market of people and organizations to help in your job search. Best part of all, you’re probably already using Facebook in your normal daily routine. With a few simple steps, you can use this common digital past time to help find a job.

Clean it up
It’s becoming more routine for employers to search candidates’ social media profiles to influence their hiring decisions. Consider cleaning up your profile to make sure it reflects a professional image of you by removing photos or status updates that could reflect poorly, and untag yourself from images you wouldn’t want potential employers to see. If you really must have those photos and memories on your profile, make sure you set them to private so only trusted friends can see the content.

Make sure your future updates are in a professional manner when looking for a job. Be especially mindful when updating after an interview. An employer may be taking special interest in what you say after talking with you.

Implement Interaction
One of the most important tactics in a job search is networking. Facebook can help you stay connected with people from all over the world. It’s time to take advantage of that. For example, post an update to your friends to ask if they’ve heard of any job openings you’re qualified for, or at least asking if they know anyone who does. Provide them links to your online résumé, LinkedIn profile,  professional blog, or website.

You can also use Facebook to interact with companies and organizations you want to work for. They are always looking for more interaction from their customers on social media, and if you can get on their social media radar, the better the chance they’ll notice your résumé. Commenting on status updates and sharing their links are great ways of interacting with potential employers. It also opens doors for you to ask about employment opportunities.

Facebook’s App Attack
Apps on Facebook are more than just Farmville and Socialcam. They can be used specifically to help you build a professional network and find a job. One example is BranchOut, which allows you to build a professional profile on Facebook, network with more than 400 million professional profiles, and search more than three million job and 20,000 internship postings. You can also connect with’s BeKnown mobile app on Facebook. Marketplace also has a jobs section that allows you to connect directly with recruiters.

Another option to consider is placing a Facebook ad. Some job seekers have found success using them, but they do cost money, and Facebook ads have been losing effectiveness since they launched. Do your research and see if it could be a viable option for you.

If you’re already on Facebook, go ahead and use it as a powerful tool to grow your network and connect with potential employers. What success stories do you have using Facebook to find a job?

Keep That Workspace Clear of Clutter

Keeping your workplace clear of clutterHas it been so long since you’ve cleaned your workspace that you can’t remember what color your desk is? Go ahead, time yourself to see how long it takes you to find an important tool you suddenly need. For many workers, keeping the workplace tidy isn’t something that is maintained consistently. Many of us are busy with mounting deadlines and more projects coming in than projects getting completed, so it’s easy to see why cleaning our working area becomes an afterthought and gets pushed to the bottom of our to-do list.

While there are quick and easy ways to clean your workplace, sometimes it’s important to thoroughly clean your area. Here are some suggestions to help you get started at clearing your workstation and relieve some stress.

Digitize it
Do you have anything that could easily be saved on a computer? Take all of your sticky notes full of deadlines, meetings, and other random notes for you to remember. For example, try putting events and meetings into a digital calendar on your computer and set reminders for yourself. If your employer doesn’t use Microsoft Outlook, there are free sites like 30 Boxes that can keep up with your schedule and email you reminders. You can also scan your files and papers into the computer to help you be faster and more efficient at work.

Stack of Hotness vs. Stack of Junk
If your computer can’t help or if the information is too urgent to file away, divide the mess in two separate piles – one for important or high priority items and one for items that don’t pertain to you. Your “hot” stack will help you focus on your job better and keep your area from getting littered. You can then get to your “junk” pile later to file or throw away later, but for now, it keeps your workspace cleaner and easier to work in.

When in Doubt, Toss it
If it’s outdated, not yours, unneeded, or broken, throw it away. Old magazines, journals, papers, software, broken tools or accessories, or equipment can all be tossed. Keep an eye out for crumpled paper, spills, and debris. If not tossed or cleaned up, other more serious health and safety hazards may be taken for granted.

File Away
Take 10 minutes at the end of your shift to put away documents, tools, or spare materials. Store whatever is possible into your filing cabinets or company storage areas. Many employees share work areas, so be sure your area is clean so you aren’t slowed down trying to sort through your mess and can be safe from tripping or slipping, or causing someone else to.

Keeping your workplace clean includes having work areas neat and orderly, maintaining halls and floors free of slip and trip hazards, and removing waste materials and other fire hazards. It also requires paying attention to important details like the layout of the whole area, aisle marking, the adequacy of storage facilities, and maintenance. A clean work environment is an ongoing operation, not an occasional task when time permits. What policies are in place for keeping your work clear of clutter?

How to Stretch Your Deflated Network

How to Stretch Your Deflated NetworkMany job seekers have or are facing long-term unemployment. One of the side effects of going long bouts without work is called “shrinking world syndrome,” in which  job seekers fall into repeated patterns of inefficiency. It becomes harder and harder to break out of a rut as the world feels like it shrinks.

If you feel like your professional world is shrinking, you may feel increasingly helpless when trying to connect and grow your network. You could be struggling with ideas on how to utilize the small network that you still have. Here are some ways you can take advantage of your smaller network to regrow a shrinking professional world.

Sometimes, Weak Ties are the Best Ties
Nearly 30 years ago, a study by Johns Hopkins University showed that the best leads for job opportunities are more likely to come from more distant colleagues and friends as opposed to the closest ones. This isn’t because your close friends don’t give good recommendations, but because they are more likely to know about the same job openings, while the job openings known to more distant colleagues- those with whom you don’t interact very often- are not as likely to be known to your own friends.

The Hopkins University conclusion of opportunities coming from distant connections remains true today.  A recent academic study  shows venture capital firms concentrated in the traditional tech centers do better than other firms primarily because they “cast a wide, public net,” harvesting the results of their weak ties. Consider reconnecting with those old contacts you haven’t talked to in a while. They may have leads for you that your current network doesn’t.

Get Out of the House
Another step to take is to get out of the house. At least once a week, make a commitment to get out of the house and around other human beings, in person and face-to-face. It doesn’t have to be a huge networking meeting, but that can be one of the possibilities. It can also be doing something you enjoy, or meeting one-on-one with an old friend for coffee. Volunteering at local charities works great as well.

The main thing is to start an interaction at some level. Our world starts to expand when we share it with others. There are several websites to help you meet others. is a handy site to find like-minded people, and, depending on where you live, many groups can be related to your industry. Many LinkedIn groups also meet in person. So, check with the group organizer to see if they are organizing anything.  Group members often post events on LinkedIn, so look for ones that interest you as well.

Modern job searching is about making quality connections. Embrace getting to know others, and your network will get bigger. Sometimes meeting just one person can change your job search, but that can only happen if you make the effort to get out of the house. What are some ways you’ve made the most out of your network?

Burned Out or Stressed Out?

Burned Out or Stressed Out?If you ever wondered if your Monday blues are a signal of burnout or just job stress, here are a few scenarios to help you determine the difference.

You miss a deadline.
To determine if a missed deadline was due to stress or burn out, take a look at why you missed the deadline in the first place. Is it because you had so much on your schedule you couldn’t get to it? Or is it because you couldn’t get motivated to tackle the project? If you were simply too busy and you really regret missing the deadline, it’s probably because you were stressed. If you just didn’t get it completed and you’re having a hard time caring too much about it, you’re probably burned out.

You’re late to work three out of five days in a week.
Chances are, you are running late for a reason. If you find yourself hitting the snooze button, procrastinating during your morning routine, and telling yourself “you’ll get there when you get there”, you might be burned out. However, if your morning routine includes trying to squeeze in a few errands or getting up early to do a little work before heading into the office, it’s likely the stressful daily grind that is causing you to run late for work.

You make a mistake at work.
Whether your mistake is a billing error or failing to replace a safety guard on a piece of equipment, it could have been a result of either stress or job burnout. If it’s stress, you probably made the mistake because you were in a frantic hurry to get things done.  If it’s burnout, you may have been letting your thoughts wander instead of focusing on your task. Also, consider your response as a way to tell if it’s burnout or stress. When you’re stressed, you’ll probably be upset when you make a mistake and work hard at fixing it. When you’re burned out, you’ll probably just chalk it up to a bad day and move on.
Hopefully, you can now determine the difference between stress and burnout. Check out our solutions for workplace stress, or read these tips to deal with burnout.

5 Ways to Write a Stand-Out Résumé

Writing your résumé for the first time – or for the first time in a long time – can be a daunting task for anyone. How you write up your credentials can make or break your chance to get your foot in the door for an interview, so it’s important to have your résumé nearly perfect every time you apply for a job. Here are five big things to do every time you sit down to update your résumé.

Tailor it. The best way to write a perfect résumé is tailoring it to a specific job description. Clearly list each skill you possess that the position requires. If you’re a perfect match for the job, a tailored résumé will help potential employers see at a glance how your skills and talents match the position perfectly.

List unique skills. After you review a job description, you may notice that a skill you possess wasn’t included in the posting. If that skill relates to the job and would benefit your employer, include this skill on your résumé. Employers will take notice when you list unique skills, which can put you ahead of your competition, especially if no one else possesses those skills. If you have a skill that doesn’t relate to the job, don’t include it on your résumé. For example, if you’re applying for a data processing job, don’t list your cooking skills.

Practice. Writing a perfect résumé doesn’t happen in an instance, and if you’re learning new skills and gaining new experiences, what you can put on your résumé will constantly grow. The more practice you have writing your résumé, the better you’ll be at tailoring it to each job description and including just what employers are looking for. Try drafting your résumé in different formats, such as chronological and functional formats. This will help you figure out which style works best for each of the positions you’re applying for.

Proofread. When you make careless mistakes and they end up in a potential employer’s hands, your chances of landing an interview may disappear. So, carefully read and reread your résumé, checking for misspelled words, incorrect grammar, and misuse of similar sounding words that have a different meaning. Ask a friend or family member to proofread your résumé, too. They’re more likely to catch a mistake that you’ve overlooked. Taking the time to make sure your résumé is error-free keeps you from missing out on an opportunity because of an easily avoidable mistake.

Keep it short. Most hiring managers receive many résumés and cover letters for every job opening they post and don’t have time to read every résumé word for word. So, limit your résumé to two pages or less. This provides enough space to detail your education, skills, and talents to employers without overwhelming them with too much information. And because they’re often in a hurry when looking through a stack of résumés, use bulleted lists to facilitate quick and easy reading instead of writing in long paragraphs. It’s great to highlight your achievements and include your work history, but only describe your more current employment.

Résumés play a big role in whether or not you’ll land an interview, so take your time putting yours together before you apply for each job. You can write a stand-out résumé by practicing, proofreading, and tailoring it to each position. A near-perfect résumé will help your accomplishments stand out and sell you as a great candidate for the job.