Monthly Archives: November 2012

Questions to Ask Before Job Hopping

While older generations may think that younger generations change jobs more frequently, history shows a different story. The U.S. Department of Labor found that individuals born between 1957 – 1964 on average held 11.3 jobs between ages 18 to 46. Even more interesting is the fact that 5.5 of those jobs were held between the ages of 18 to 24. So, if changing jobs is common during any career span, how do you make the choice on when to job hop?

Do You Need to Work?
While you may have a dream career you are striving for, or would like to spend your days developing the newest app or writing a novel, for most people the fact of the matter is you need to work to provide for yourself and possibly your family. It’s safe to say that at some point in everyone’s career, or maybe for a majority of their career for others, work will be just that, work. Try to determine if your current interest in job hopping is a sign of burnout or just job stress. If it’s burnout, you may seriously want to consider changing jobs. If it’s job stress, you may look for ways to improve your current work environment or find something outside of work that lets you blow off steam and reenergize.

What is Your Future Career Plan?
The path to your ultimate job may not be a direct route. There are a variety of ways to learn job skills, become educated, or build a network that can all lead up to the opportunity to land your dream job. When considering a job change, ask yourself if you’ve learned all you can from the position you are currently in. Starting a new job can mean starting over on the learning curve, so seek to understand if there are opportunities to grow and develop still within your current job. If your career path is important to you, take some time to clearly define what your ideal job is and what it would take to get there. Also, do your research. It’s important to be realistic about the job prospects in the specific industry you are interested in and to have an accurate view of what is required to be eligible for that position. 

What Message Will Your Job Hop Send?
Your combined work history will tell a story about you, and when you apply for future positions, that story may be the first thing a potential new employer sees. That being said, make sure you’ve considered the value in adding that new line to your resume before you decide to leave a job or accept a new job. It’s easier to explain to employer a series of job changes leading down a career path, versus a string of jobs you’ve been running away from.

What factors do you consider before making a job hop? Share them in the comments section below.

The 10 Commandments of Networking

the 10 commandments of networkingWe can’t escape networking. It’s an important part of the job search and career development. It’s a great way to open doors of opportunity and to have different people in which to bounce ideas off. But to a lot of us, networking is a dirty word and is easier just to avoid. It’s so foreign to us, we might not even know where to start networking if we tried.

So, sometimes we have to go back to the basics. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran who needs a refresher course or a wallflower newbie who wants to learn the ropes, here are 10 important aspects of networking to best meet people and build lasting relationships.

Thou Shalt Have a Strong Introduction
You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so make it count. Confidently introduce yourself with your name, eye contact, and a sturdy handshake to individuals or small groups of two or three. It can be surprising to see how open people are to talking if you show a little confidence.

Thou Shalt Not Talk More Than Listen
You should be spending more time understanding and getting to know the people you’re talking to than talking about yourself. You have two ears and one mouth, so use them respectively. Your natural reaction to feeling nervous can be to continue talking, but instead take a breath and listen.

Thou Shalt be Relevant
Stick to the point. If asked to tell a bit about yourself, keep it less than a minute and leave out gritty details that are specific to your job or industry. You could be talking to people outside of your field and you want them to stay engaged, so avoid work jargon. Follow the conversation, so you can add relevancy to the topic.

Thou Shalt Not be Awkward
It’s easy to become too personal. Details about a recent surgery, spousal or family argument, political rant, or other personal subjects should be avoided until a stronger relationship with someone is built. Also, be aware of your body language. Good eye contact and staying an arm’s length from others are generally good social constructs.

Thou Shalt Provide Value
The best way to provide value is to find out what they actually need. Use those listening skills to learn the person’s immediate need, and devise how you can solve their problem or introduce them to someone who can.

Thou Shalt Not Be Phony
Don’t try to fake your interest in other people. Networking is about making mutual connections, and sometimes you simply can’t click with some people. If a conversation isn’t going well, excuse yourself, thank them for their time, and move on. You could be spending your time more wisely with someone else.

Thou Shalt be Positive
You should strive to maintain a positive attitude, even if you are having a tough time with the job market. People don’t like doing business with grumpy people. They are attracted to individuals who have can-do attitudes and are eager to accomplish and serve.

Thou Shalt Not Take Too Much Time
Overstaying your welcome is just as bad as ignoring someone. If you notice arms crossing, eyes wandering, or the word “anyway” being said frequently, that means it’s time to gracefully exit and start a new conversation.

Thou Shalt Give Opportunities to Stay in Contact
If a conversation is going well or there are potential job opportunities with someone, give them the opportunity to stay in contact. A business card is a great way to keep the conversation going. Don’t forget to politely ask for theirs, too.

Thou Shalt Follow Up
Any relationship needs to be maintained. Try to contact people of interest within 24 hours of meeting them to say you enjoyed meeting them. Be thankful even if they don’t have any immediate leads. They took their time to talk with you, and they can be a valuable resource later.

If you could add a Networking Commandment, what would it be?

Make a Blazing Hot Cold Introduction

Making a great cold introductionHave you ever sat down to enjoy a good warm meal, only to be abruptly interrupted by a telemarketer trying to sell you something? Having your time wasted by someone trying to sell you something, donate to their cause, or support a political candidate can be annoying at best. Intruding on someone’s busy day to get a sale or even sell your personal brand is a very tricky art to master.

However, it’s also effective. If approached properly, cold introductions can be a great way to generate leads and develop networks that can help you find a job. Here are ways you can make effective cold introductions without coming across as a pushy salesman.

It’s About Them
The most important thing to remember when introducing yourself is to remember – it’s about them, not you. You have a short amount of time to get your point across, so don’t use it to talk about your past work experiences, achievements, or any other reasons why you are a remarkable worker. Instead, focus on their company goals and culture, and showing how you can meet their needs.
One of the first things a sales associate does when selling a product is to find the challenges the customer is facing and explain how his company’s product can help solve that problem. If you can’t quickly communicate why those you are addressing should be interested in what you have to say, and how you can further their organization, you’ll lose their attention.

It’s Personal
Assuming you are actively seeking these connections, you should have already researched them and their employer before trying to meet. If you meet with people you already know some information about, you will separate yourself as someone who is prepared and eager to meet you. They will be more open to talk and give you useful advice since you took the time to learn more about them than just asking general interview questions.

It’s also important to be sincere. When researching the people or employer, find aspects that really interest you and give you reason to ask for clarity. Questions or statements shouldn’t be made for the sake of asking questions. The more sincere you are about something, the more likely the other person will see your passion, which will lead to deeper conversations and stronger relationships.

It’s Not Always Direct
Some people are hard to reach. They have a strict schedule and sometimes they stick to it without interruption. That’s why you might have to warm up a cold introduction before you meet. If a potential contact has an assistant, receptionist, or office manager, build a relationship with them first. Asking them for help, remembering their name, and always thanking them, even after you meet with the potential contact will go a long way.

If you would like a less direct approach, social media can be a useful tool to slowly build a rapport before meeting someone. First, find people of interest on Twitter and follow them. Then when they tweet, comment on their posts and compliment them on their references. You can also follow their company pages on LinkedIn and Facebook and comment on and compliment the posts.

Cold introductions don’t have to be as scary or annoying as most people make them out to be. With a little research and confidence, you can introduce yourself to anyone and build a strong, reliable network. What are some of your stories of how a cold introduction led to career success?

J.O.B. 1: Behind the Right Job

What job is right for you? It’s a big question to ask when you start your job search. While pay and work hours should be major factors, one of the most important things to look for is a job you can see yourself enjoying.

In a global study by BlessingWhite, an employee engagement and leadership development consulting firm, the top reason employees worldwide give for staying with their employer is “My work. I like the work that I do.”

To help you get started, check out in to J.O.B.1’s: Behind the Right Job to hear a story of how one woman’s talents, passions, and ideal work environment led to a job that helps her grow and excel in the workplace.


Give Thanks This Thanksgiving

Giving thanks ThanksgivingWith Thanksgiving tomorrow, shift your focus beyond the workplace or the job market, but to focus inwardly and reflect on the past and where you are today. Even if you are dealing with long periods of unemployment or an unsatisfying work environment, there are opportunities you can still be thankful for and you can use this time to focus on positive, forward thinking.

Thanksgiving and its traditions date back to 1621, which have given generations time to focus on everything to be grateful about. This holiday is about seeing the good in our lives and being appreciative regardless of our surroundings or situations.

It’s not about how many job offers you’ve received or how close you are to a promotion, it’s about being content with who, what, and where you are right now. It’s also about having appreciation for how far you’ve come and the challenges you’ve overcome.

Job searching isn’t easy, and sometimes it’s tempting to focus on the rejection and disappointment when not offered a job. Take this Thanksgiving break to focus on the positive. Positive thinking can attract abundance and prosperity, which you need in any stressful situation. You can’t control things outside of yourself, but you are in control of what you think, feel, and do.

What you think about, you bring about. When you are with family this Thanksgiving, remember how you feel. When the stress of job searching or piling deadlines gets too heavy this holiday season, you can focus on that inner joy and vision to turn your attitude on positive things. And, as you’ve heard many times, “Attitude is everything.” Take the time to find inner prosperity, so it can be louder than the stressful noise outside.

No limits
Be grateful even when certain job opportunities fall through, and always detach from a specific outcome. When you’re passed on a job opening, it wasn’t right for you. The best job for you will come at the right time. Instead, focus on what you’d want if you had no limitations. Forward thinking will help you stay on track and maintain a positive attitude. In the end, your job search is about you and meeting your own needs. Sometimes you need to take a break and remind yourself of that fact.

Everyone at Movin’ On Up and Express Employment Professionals would like to wish you a happy and safe Thanksgiving. No matter where you are in life, there is plenty for which to be thankful. Take a break, enjoy time surrounded by friends and loved ones, and focus on what you already have and cherish it. What are you most thankful for? Share with us in the comments section below.

Job Searching… Where do I Start?

How to Start Your Job SearchLosing or leaving a job can bring even the most positive person down. And, if you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to remember when starting your job search to think upwardly – in your attitude and actions. Staying optimistic can keep you motivated and energized during your search, be an impressive quality to potential employers, and help point you in the right direction.

Thinking “up” isn’t just in your attitude, it’s in every aspect of your job search. You can remember these three “ups” that will give you a starting point for your job search:

Touch up
First, start internally by updating and touching up your resume. Don’t worry about how long it is, just start updating by listing your previous jobs and include your achievements in each job. Employers look for tangible, real figures like the number of customers you have served in a day, how much money you saved the company, how much you increased your employer’s business, how many products you sold, or the amount of people you managed in a team and how it impacted your employer. Don’t just list your job duties. Listing specific achievements will catch a hiring manager’s attention. Once you find the job openings you want, then you can customize your resume with the right experience that best fits that job description for a tighter, more effective résumé.

Now that you are ready to market yourself as a job candidate, it’s time to find your venues. First, look up former employees or managers you worked closely with and ask for their permission to serve as references. Some employers require a list and contact information for those who can vouch for your work, and you’ll need to have it ready. Think outside the box too. If you volunteer or have any group hobbies, include someone who can say good things about your leadership or soft skills. These references can also help connect you with decision makers and influencers in your field that you can build relationships with in the future.

Use an internet search to find local professional clubs or groups in your area. Most of the time, their websites will have job postings, networking events, and chances for you to grow and develop trending skills in your industry if you attend their meetings. You can also find out where employers and recruiters post the kinds of jobs you need, and you can find where you can post your resume so it can get the most attention. If you have an idea of some companies you’d like to work for, research their websites and find some people who work for them to get to know the company better. Check your network to see if you know any current employees.

Set up
With the people and venues you’ve found, the next step is to get ready. You may be rusty or haven’t had much practice interviewing or building a resume, so here is your chance to get some peer review. Call and schedule time for an informational interview with your references, leaders in your professional association, or the new contacts you made at a company of interest to you. These informational interviews can help you see what you’re good at and identify areas you need to improve. They can tell you what you should focus your resume on and what to leave out. You’ll feel more confident and comfortable when you go in for a real interview.

It’s also a good idea to set up professional or work-related social media profiles like Twitter, Linkedin, or a blog to help build a professional image when employers research your name.

Did you start your job search a little differently? Tell us your story about starting a new job search in the comments section below.

Personal vs Work Life

It’s always a good idea to ask yourself how much of your personal life do you feel comfortable sharing at work? Sometimes the better question to ask is, how much of your personal life do your co-workers want to hear? With increasing work hours and information sharing on social media, the line between your personal life and your work life gets thinner every day.

However, managing how your personal life bleeds into your work life can benefit your career by relieving some of the anxiety and stress you have at balancing your two worlds. Having healthy relationships at work can help you stay focused and excited about work, and can also be a strong support system for you when your personal life is challenging. Here is some advice on how to best handle personal situations with your circle at work.

Your Manager
While you may want to keep a personal struggle secret from your manager, informing them on some level clears up any suspicions about why you are out of the office or seem distracted, and may make it easier to work out a solution if you need time away from the office. You don’t need to go into detail, but it’s best to give a general statement about the type of struggle you are going through and the amount of time you think it will take to resolve it. For example, if you are going through a divorce, you don’t need to divulge relationship details, financial situations, or living arrangements, but you can say that you are going through a divorce and you expect it to be resolved within the next six months. Be honest that you may be taking scheduled time off for appointments with lawyers and court dates. While you may not want to share this with your manager, it’s best to be upfront about a situation that may result in needing time away from work so that your manager can help make that run smoothly for you. Sometimes keeping things too private can create more stress in your life, so when possible, share a very general bit of information to take away any assumptions.

Your Confidant
Hopefully, you’ve got at least one person at work that you consider a true friend, someone you spend time with outside of work and have developed trust with. If you feel comfortable, ask that person to go to lunch or meet up outside of work hours to share your situation. It can help to know you have a confidant at work that understands where you are coming from. For example, if you are struggling with caring for an aging parent it may be nice for you to have someone you see regularly that can lend you support and encouragement.

Your Co-Workers
While your co-workers may enjoy working with you, they are typically not on board for serving as your support system nor are they interested in all the details of your life. It can make things awkward for others if you share too much personal information. People like boundaries. Co-workers may notice you are distracted or taking extra time away from work, if you want to squelch natural curiosity and the rumor mill, share a general statement like, “I’ve got some health screenings I need to have done in the next month.” Or say “I am working on solving challenges with my son’s learning abilities; I’ll be out for a few appointments.” You shouldn’t feel any pressure to give away any details, but if you are under personal stress, you may need to share something to give people some perspective on what you are managing.

In closing, make sure you consider your social media profile and how that information may get shared with co-workers. With privacy settings changing and comments being shared among multiple lines of connections, it’s possible something you’ve tried to keep private from work could be shared inadvertently. If you want to keep something private, its best to keep it off social networks, no matter how private you think your account settings are.