Monthly Archives: January 2014

Safety Tips – How to Prevent Back Injuries

Back_Safety_Jan2014_webProper lifting techniques are important when moving heavy loads, but did you know they are equally important when picking up something as small as a pencil?  We’ve all heard the cautionary instruction to lift with the legs and not with the back. But the reason why is not simply because the weight of the object; it’s also because of the weight of your upper body.

Think About This

If you bend across a desk or counter to pick up a pencil, you are lifting the whole top half of your body that is extending past your midsection to reach for that pencil. This can cause your back to “go out” due to overexertion of muscles that support it. Over time, this bending and weakness in the muscles can cause long term damage to your spine.

Our spines are made mostly of bones (vertebrae), discs and nerves. Discs keep the bones from crushing down on the nerves, but when we bend our backs, one side of the disk is being pressed down with all the weight being lifted.  The pencil example, extended over a whole career, illustrates how easy it is to damage your back.

Tips to Avoid Back Injury

Try sliding objects toward you before lifting them off a surface. To access something close to the ground, whether the lower drawer of a file cabinet or an object that has been dropped, always bend your knees and squat close to the object before lifting it. The most important thing you can do to avoid lifting hazards over time involves avoiding these situations as much as possible by taking control over your own workspace.  Consider how often you perform certain lifting tasks. Try to place the things you access most often close to you and between your hips and shoulders. This includes organizing desks, counters, cabinets, drawers, and shelves so that frequently accessed items as well as heavy ones are in this zone. A regular review of your workspace can help protect your back throughout a long career in any field.

For more important safety topics check out these articles:

Hands Off: Leave Mechanical Maintenance to the Professionals
3 Ways to Stay All Ears: Protecting Yourself from Hearing Hazards
The Shocking Truth Behind Electrical Safety

Poll Summary Results: Job Market Predictions for 2014

Poll_Results_Jan2014In a recent poll, we asked what your job market predictions for 2014 were. The results show a majority of people aren’t very optimistic about the job market in 2014, but others are remaining hopeful that things will look up.  Compared to the job market predictions of voters in 2013, there has been a slight positive change.

More than 36% of voters believe things will get worse before they get better, followed by 24% of people who are willing to take a risk and say they’re contemplating testing the waters to see what else is out there in the job market which is up 6% from 2013.

Coming in third, with 19% of the votes, are those believing they’ll see a promotion in their near future.
Another 13% of people moved from “staying put” to “testing job market water” in 2014 which is down 7% from last year. And 8% of the votes were for “other.”

The Up and Up
Regardless if you are optimistic and willing to take risks or if you’re not so hopeful about the job market in 2014, make each day count. You may not be able to predict your future, but you can work hard each day and help shape it.
For more insight on the job market or advice on your job search, check out these articles:
•    Use Networking Opportunities to Your Advantage
•    The Three Best Hard Skills to Have
•    Facebook and the Job Search
•    Job Search Success Simplified

Ditch the Title and Get the Job You Really Want

Guest_Post_Ditch_the-Title_and_Get_the_Job_You_Really_Want_Jan2014Appearances mean a lot to most of us, from the labels we wear and where we live to our job titles. It’s the social norm when meeting a new person to ask, “What do you do for a living?” And although some of us may not be completely conscious of it, we place a lot of stock in our answer. We grow up with the mantra “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but in all reality, we are all guilty of judging others, no matter how hard we try not to.

We are often judged by what we do when it comes to first impressions, and the bigger the title, the more respect we deserve in the eyes of others. It can be hard to give up a title like “lead manager,” “editor in chief,” or even “CEO,” for a job that makes you happier. But, I speak from experience when I say that sticking with a job because of it’s title is like paying $2,000 for a Puggle – when it comes down to it, it’s really just a mutt.

I learned this firsthand when after just a few weeks as an intern, I was promoted to the coveted editor position of one of San Diego’s largest travel and tourism websites. My boss chalked it up to my “can-do” attitude and ability to conquer any challenge. It came with a menial raise (barely noticeable) and a few new business cards, but none of that mattered because I was an editor. I didn’t know what I was doing or how I was going to tackle this task, all I knew was that I was given the title and it was time to fill the shoes. Over the next few months, I fumbled around learning the ins and outs of travel sites through trial and error and somehow ended up transforming the failing website into one that actually made a profit.

I was also taking full advantage of editor perks, flashing my business cards around town and reaping the benefits of it with free cruises, comped concerts and dinners, and a sudden flurry of social activities on my calendar. It was fun, exciting, and definitely felt good to meet a stranger and tell them what I did, but in reality, it wasn’t what I wanted. Sure the perks were great, but I was being worked to the bone, paid pennies, and constantly struggling to keep my head above water. I thought I’d run with it for a while, learn everything I could, and use it as a major stepping stone for my resume, but when it was time to move on, I had a hard time letting go of the title.

What’s in a title anyway?
Absolutely nothing. You can slap a big title on anything and make it sound better than it is. We get attached to titles and personas. Being called “editor” felt good and gave me some additional unearned respect among my peers, but really I was doing the same work everyone else was with a little more clout.

When I finally made the real decision to move on and job hunt, I quickly realized just how little that editor title was doing for me. Other companies had a starting salary that was higher than what I was making, better benefits, and a friendlier environment. I ditched the title and took a new job without the glitz and glam, but that made me a lot happier and put some money in my pocket. I may not be attending the biggest parties and rubbing elbows with the who’s who of San Diego any longer, but I have a job that makes me happy. I work for an awesome company and most importantly, I’m doing work that I’m proud of.

So, what can job seekers learn from this?
Basically, don’t jump at a job because it has a great title. Take a closer look at the jobs you are applying for and open your mind to the less high-profile positions, because they may be exactly what you’re looking for. Sure a big title can feel good, but just like any relationship, eventually the butterflies wear off and you’re left with what’s in front of you. Don’t let yourself be romanced by the title, choose your next professional position based upon the work, environment, and how much the employers respect their employees. There are many more important aspects to a job than what’s on your business card and if it means that much to you, you can always call yourself something fancy like a mobile sustenance facilitator instead of a pizza delivery guy – no one will know the difference.

About the Author
This article was written by Carli Leavitt. Carli currently handles outreach and public relations for a number of attorneys and is an SEO Consultant with Highrank Websites.

5 Things to Know This Month

5_Things_To_Know_Jan2014With each year comes new opportunities for improvement in your life, and what better time to make much needed changes than at the beginning of a new year. We all know making lifestyle changes can be difficult, but if you take one step at a time you’ll be on the road to a happier, better you in 2014. Check out these five things to know this month.

National Mentoring Month
Did you know January is National Mentoring month? There are many ways to make a difference through mentorship in your community. Spending time developing relationships with people can make a lasting impact in their life and yours. Check out for opportunities to help make a difference and for information on how to start a mentoring program in your community. If you’re looking to be mentored, here are a few tips on how to pick the right mentor.

MLK Day – Jan. 20
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is celebrated on the third Monday in January. MLK Day was officially signed into law as a national holiday in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan, but was not observed by all 50 states until 2000. This day is all about honoring the achievements and life of pastor and civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr. Let this day remind you of your achievements, and motivate you to see your dreams realized.

National Letter Writing Week
Traditionally, the second week of January is designated as National Letter Writing Week. During this week, take time away from your keyboard to write a handwritten letter to someone. Cards, letters, and notes are precious to those who receive them. If you can’t think of a way to start a letter begin by saying, “In honor of National Letter Writing Week, I wanted to write you.”

National Blood Donor Month
Blood donation is very low this time of year yet incredibly important during winter. Help change a life by giving blood during National Blood Donor month. You’ll feel good knowing that your donation helped save a life.

National Hobby Month
Whether or not you’re a creative person, you can find some way to celebrate National Hobby month. This month is a great time to expand your horizons. Ask yourself what you enjoy doing and what those interests mean to you. Taking up a new hobby is a good way to reenergize, inspire, and expand your mind. And, it could help you make some extra money or land a job.

January is full of holidays and reasons to celebrate, so there is plenty to experience and do during this beautiful winter month. What do you like to do in January? Let us know in the comments section below!

5 Resume Resolutions to Keep in 2014

5_Resume_Resolutions_Jan20142014 is here, and for many people, with a new year comes new resolutions. To achieve the goals you’ve set, make sure you have a clear plan for success. Start with small changes that can make a difference in the long run.
If one of your goals is to get a new job, explore a different career path, or get a promotion, this information is for you. Here are five resume resolutions to keep this year.

1.    Stay Up-To-Date
It’s important to keep your resume updated. Adding your current experience is much easier to do when you’re in a specific position than when you’re looking back and trying to remember. Also, you may forget important information if you don’t update your resume on a regular basis. If you’ve recently completed your annual review, consider moving some of your high points into achievements on your resume.

2.    Keep It customized
Since every company and job you’re applying for may be different, you need to tailor your resume for each specific job. For example, if you’re applying for an administrative job you’ll need to have a resume targeted toward that position.

3.    Have Relevant References
Make sure contact information for the people you have listed as your references is still accurate and up-to-date. When you look for references, be sure to select people who can speak to some aspect of your work abilities, character, leadership, work ethic, or knowledge.

4.    Easy To Read
If your resume is too “wordy” or not focused on the specific job you’re applying for, the person reading it may not think you’re qualified and may toss it out. Great resumes are easy to read and worded to target specific opportunities. Sharing numbers is another way to make your resume easy to read. For example, share how many words per minute you can type. By putting numbers in your resume the interviewer can define your capabilities easier.

5.    Always Proof Your Resume
After you’ve made changes to your resume, you should always check for grammar and spelling mistakes. Typos and other slip-ups are small mistakes that are very costly. After you’ve worked on your resume for a while it’s easy to miss little mess ups, so take a break and come back to it with a fresh set of eyes. You may be able to catch something you missed the first time.

What are some resolutions you’ve made this year to help further your job search? Share with us in the comments section below.

And what are the odds of you keeping those resolutions? Share with us in our poll.