Monthly Archives: July 2012

What’s the Hardest Part of Job Searching? Take Our Poll

Job Seeking and Career Advice PollFinding a job has its challenges. Recent college graduates have had a few months to experience what it’s like to look for a job, and those experiencing long-term unemployment know all too well how hard the job search can be.

With a rough economy impacting job seekers, especially teenagers and younger generations, we want to know what you find most difficult about the job search. If you have a challenge that isn’t listed in the poll, leave a comment below.


When Do I Start? A New Job Brief

Congratulations! You’ve landed a new job, now you’re asking, “When do I start?” A variety of factors can go into the decision on when your first day at your new job will be. Perhaps you need to give notice at your current job or your new employer has an onboarding process that must be in place before you can start.

In clarifying when your first day will be, you’ll want to get answers to a few questions.

  1. What time should I arrive at work?
    Be sure to get clarification on where you need to park and where you’ll need to report in. Some companies have security or locked entries, so you’ll need to find out how you’re supposed to handle that. Be sure to account for traffic at that time of day too. 
  2. What do I need to bring with me?
    Find out what supplies will be provided and what you’ll be expected to bring, for example, do you need to bring a hard hat or specific tools?
  3. What hours will I be working?
    Arrange your personal life to make sure you find out the details on your schedule, like when the work day ends and what break times you are given. This may also be a good way to find out if there is a lunch room you can use or if you have time to go out to lunch.
  4. What is the dress code?
    First impressions are everything, and you want to make sure you show that you’re ready to work. Do you need to wear steeled-toed shoes or are suits required? Get the specifics and don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for the dress code policy to be sent to you.
  5. What can I expect on the first day?
    Everyone is nervous on the first day, but you can put yourself at ease by asking for a few details. Ask if you’ll be teamed up with someone for job training, if anyone else is starting that day in the same job as you, or if you’ll just be training or actually getting straight to work in your role. Maybe there is an agenda for new employees that could be sent to you prior to your first day.

More Advice for Your First Day
We’ve had a few blog posts on Movin’ on Up with tips for starting a new job. Here is a quick summary:

Prim and Proper: Basic Rules for Workplace Etiquette Check this post out for tips on how to get along with others on the  job and to help you make friends, not enemies, at your new job.

What to do When You’ve Got Big Shoes to Fill This post has advice on how to respectfully create your own path at a new job.

How to Succeed at Your First “Real” Job In this post you’ll find advice for starting on the right foot at a new job. Perhaps you’ve always worked with friends or family, or in more casual environments, and now you’re branching out and will need to make sure you’ve got all your bases covered.

What are your best tips for starting a new job?

C’mon, Get Active! How to Stay Productive After a Long Day at Work

Get active after a long day at workAfter working a full shift of physical toil, mental stress, or both, nothing sounds better than plopping your exhausted bones into the sweet embrace of your couch, chair, or bed. The problem is that when we are safely embracing the soft cushions and relaxing, we tend to stay there. Time flies as we watch TV, surf the internet, or chat on the phone. Before we know it, the sun is down and it’s time for us to sleep before we start the routine over again.

Sometimes things don’t get done after work and we wonder what happened to our day. It’s hard to force ourselves to work on other projects after a day’s work, but we’re missing out on a great opportunity to follow our passions and grow our skills. Here are ways to be productive, stay active, and have fun after working all day.

Plan Your Passion
It’s easy to get distracted without planning your after-work events. Write down which activities you will want to do and how much time you should devote to them. This may vary since some people don’t want to think about lists and schedules after work, but for the most part, you will be more inclined to do those activities when it’s printed somewhere and you are visually reminded that are goals to meet.

You can also improve your chances of being more productive by working on the things that matter the most to you. Choose activities that you’re most passionate about and naturally drawn to. Sign up for the hobbies, classes, or activities that you love. You’ll be more motivated to spend those precious after work hours on them.

Be Like a Shark
Some species of sharks can’t pump water through their gills and must swim without rest. If they stop, they could suffocate. While you don’t need to be constantly moving without sleep, many people who come home from work sit down, but never get back up. To improve your chances, start on projects as soon as you get home, or participate in activities as soon as work is over to avoid  never getting back up. If you must rest, give yourself 10 minutes, depending on your self-control, and then get going again.

Make it a Date
One of the best ways to stay active is to have someone join you. You can keep each other accountable, and you’ll have more fun with a friend tagging along. Having an “accountabilibuddy” is a proven method to help people commit to something and stay committed for a longer period of time.

Make Your Mornings Count
If you really, really have no desire to be active after work, consider doing a few extra things when you wake up and before going to work. Rest, relax, and recharge your batteries after work so you can go to bed early. This way you can wake up earlier to read a book, exercise, or work on a pet project. Also, studies have shown that people who wake up early are more productive and are better positioned for career success.

Generally, your first instinct after work is to lie down and never get up, but with these helpful hints, you can enjoy an active lifestyle that can improve your quality of life, help you become a better leader, and position you better for promotion. What are some of your after-hours activity guidelines? How do you stay motivated? Let me hear your story in the comments below.

3 Hot Jobs for the Summer

People from all walks of life look for temporary jobs each summer. Whatever your reason for getting a job this summer, here are three hot jobs with great benefits to consider as you begin your search.

Theme Parks – To contend with the high number of summer-time visitors, amusement parks need additional staff. Parks offer a variety of jobs and flexible schedules. Jobs include ticket takers, entertainers, food service providers, and more.

Many amusement parks offer a variety of benefits to their employees, including free park admission and discounts on food and merchandise. So, if you want to work outside, enjoy the thrill of an amusement park, and can’t get enough freebies and discounts, consider a summer job in the theme park industry.

Office or Clerical Work – Because many workers take extended vacations during the summer months, many offices have temporary openings during this time. These positions can vary from receptionist to data entry to filing and more. Most of these positions do not require work during the evenings or weekends.

One of the greatest benefits of working in a clerical position in the summer is the air conditioned environment. Working inside will keep you from suffering through the summer heat. These positions may also provide discounted health benefits, company discounts, and access to company events. You can also use these job opportunities to gain experience and network within a company for potential job leads after the summer ends.

Concerts and Sporting Events – In the summer, outdoor events are very popular. Positions in ticket sales, concessions, guest relations, event set-up, and more may be available.

One great benefit of working at events is attending the event for free. Though you’re actually working, you’ll still get to see some of the action up close without paying. You may also receive complimentary tickets to other events to enjoy when you’re not scheduled to work. Employees may also receive discounts on food and merchandise. By working at these events, you can gain marketing, event planning, and promotional experience, which looks great on any résumé.

Summer jobs offer more than just a diversion. Many come with great discounts and freebies. Or, you may benefit from the opportunity to try out new careers and network with potential employers. For help finding a job this summer, talk to the staffing consultant at your local Express office

Job Searching While Still Employed

finding a job while still employedMaybe you’ve been at the same job for a few years and are looking for that next great challenge. Or maybe your current job isn’t working out for you. No matter your situation at work, it’s best to have your next job ready before quitting your current one.

Looking for a job while still employed can feel taboo. Many workers feel uncertain about the best actions to take at work when looking for new employment. You shouldn’t let this fear hold you back from advancing your career. Here are some ways you can improve your chances of finding a new job without stepping on your employer’s toes.

Shhh! Keep It Discreet
It’s best to keep your search away from work. You shouldn’t feel obligated to inform your current employer you’re job searching until you’re ready to give notice. While you may have a strong working relationship with your boss, you could still disrupt relations and teamwork with your boss and co-workers if you talk about a new job opportunity and end up not getting it. Also, don’t use your managers or co-workers as references during your search unless you’ve discussed with them your plans to look for a new job. Wait until you’ve left on good terms.

You should also avoid posting your resume into search databases online, instead directly apply to open positions. You never know who could be looking at them, and the news of your job search could reach your current employer.  Consider changing some privacy settings on your social media accounts. Social media can be a powerful tool in your job search, but if you’re friends with  co-workers and managers, you could burn some bridges with them by publicly announcing your job search. You may feel like it’s keeping a secret, but it’s more about keeping the search out of the workplace until you’re ready to leave.

Don’t Use Company Time or Company Dime
Your employer is paying you to work for them, so don’t use company time and resources to look for a new job. Wait until you’re off work to search online and send resumes to hiring managers. Make sure you include your personal contact information and not your work number or email in a cover letter or resume.

If you need to schedule an interview, make sure it’s before work, during your lunch break, or after work. If asked why you’re taking your lunch break early or late, you can tell management that you need to take care of some personal business. You can also take scheduled time off for interviews, but don’t use sick time off for this purpose.

Avoid using company equipment and resources during your job search as well. It may be small things like paper, but it can really hurt your chances of getting hired if you send cover letters with your current employer’s letterhead.

Resign with Respect
If you get a job and accept it, make sure you give your boss ample time to prepare before you leave. Be upfront and give as much notice as possible. When you’re leaving your job, it can be easy to stop caring about your responsibilities. Make sure you have your duties and responsibilities clearly communicated to the right people. If you continue to work as a model employee before leaving, you’re more likely to be able to use this employer as a recommendation, contact, or reference in the future.

Applying for a job while still working a full-time job can be tiring. You have a lot to do during your off time, on top of your regular life schedule, but the long hours are worth it. What has helped you find a job while still employed?

3 Weapons to Beat the Heat at Work

Beat the heat  and stay cool at workIt’s hot outside! In fact, last year was the second hottest in recorded U.S. history and the hottest in 75 years, and this year isn’t much cooler. In some parts of the country, May temperatures reached triple digits. Even the NBA champions are associated with the rising temperatures.

While the summertime is mostly associated with having fun in the sun, for many people working outside this time of year can be very dangerous. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there were more than 15,000 reports of heat-related illnesses at work between 2003 and 2009 with nearly 300 of those resulting in death. Don’t let the sun sabotage your ability to work. Here are three things you can do to keep yourself healthy during the summer months.

Get Some Cool Fuel
One of the most important things to remember when working long hours in the heat is to remain hydrated. Drinking plenty of fluids will not only keep you from getting heat stroke, cramps, or exhaustion, but it will also help prevent workplace injuries. Try freezing large refillable bottles of water overnight and taking them to work the next morning. They will stay cold all day and keep you hydrated when you need it the most.

You should also be wary of drinks with a high concentration of sugar, alcohol, or caffeine.  Those types of drink will not keep you hydrated as long, and in some cases they will increase the rate of dehydration. Also, try avoiding eating foods high in protein, like meat, that increase metabolic heat production, which increases water loss.

Mind Your Medicine
Some medicines have negative reactions with extreme heat or sunlight. Make sure you’re aware of what medicines you take and the warnings that come with them. If you’re taking medication, check with your doctor for any that have negative side effects when you’re working in the heat. Discuss safer alternatives or other strategies for avoiding negative effects. You should also talk to your doctor about your working conditions whenever receiving medicine.

Get a Shield for the Sun
You may think that because of the heat, you should wear summer clothing like shorts and tank tops, but that isn’t the case. When your skin is exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation for extended periods of time it can cause a painful sunburn which can contribute to skin cancer risks. Try wearing long sleeve, loose-fitting clothing and a hat with a brim to shield you from harmful rays. Wear lightly-colored or white clothing when working in the heat because lighter colors reflect light better and don’t get as hot as easily. If you have to work outside with exposed skin, remember to regularly apply sunscreen.

Working in the heat all day can be dangerous if you don’t take care of yourself. If you’re interested in learning more about how to identify and avoid heat-related illnesses, you can check out the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s resource page on beating the heat. What are some tricks you’ve developed to help beat the heat this summer?

Signs that Workplace Change is Coming

Have you ever had that eerie feeling that something was about to change? Are there ways to know if something big is coming your way?

Some say yes. Here are just a few clues that changes in the workplace could be in your future.

Budget Revisions
A shift in focus may be reflected first in a shift of the budget. If a division is being given additional funds it could be a sign of growth to come in that area. If you notice new equipment purchases or additional resources in a particular area, you may want to approach your manager to see if there is anything you can do to contribute to the development. Stay on the lookout for training being scheduled in that area and if you’re interested in learning more, be on the lookout for opportunities that match your skills with the development.

Rescheduled Meetings
Meetings can be rescheduled for a variety of reasons, but when appropriate, seek to understand why. Your manager may not always be able to share with you the reason a meeting was rescheduled and sometimes it may not have anything to do with the topic of that meeting. Instead, another matter of higher importance may have just taken its place. But sometimes when a meeting has been rescheduled it’s because new data has been provided that has changed the need for the original meeting. Perhaps priorities have shifted and a project that was once urgent has now been given a more flexible timeline. If you are able to have open communication regarding a meeting that has been rescheduled, you may actually learn something new that will impact your industry, company, or job function.

New Faces
When someone new joins the team they may think they’ve got big shoes to fill, or they may think their role is to shake things up a bit and bring in some new energy. When new people join a team they bring with them a host of ideas and experiences that are likely to influence and develop the workplace. A fresh perspective may seem intimidating or exhausting at first, but new blood often invigorates and advances a team. Seek to find a balance with new team members in allowing them to try out their new ideas, and preventing them from reinventing the wheel or trying solutions that have failed in the past. It can be hard to think trying something that failed in the past is a good idea, but with new players and a different environment the results could change, so look for ways to help and provide prospective.

If you’ve spent any time in the workforce you know that change is inevitable. Try not to worry about things beyond your control, instead look for ways you can develop your skills and have a better big-picture understanding of your workplace. This can help you be ready to make the best of changes, perhaps even advancing your career when things get switched up. What are some ways you’ve benefited from change in the workplace? Or what new ideas have been a result of new team members or big changes?