Monthly Archives: August 2016

Poll: What’s Holding Your Career Back?

MOV_POLL-ICONAt some point in your professional life, you may feel like you’re stuck in a rut, held back by something that keeps you from advancing or moving on to a new role. While many people experience this, these career path obstacles are different for everyone, and we want to know your thoughts! Tell us what’s holding your career back by voting in our poll.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Is It Possible to Be Too Competitive?

touchdown_career_moves_webA little friendly competition in the workplace can lead to positive results. But, what happens when it goes too far? Is it really possible to be too competitive? The simple answer: yes. When competitiveness gets out of hand, the results can be detrimental for any workplace, including a drop in morale, an increase in stress, and a rift in relationships. If you think your competitiveness may be crossing the line, take a look at the tips below.

Don’t compare yourself to others
In reality, there’s always going to be someone better than you. It doesn’t matter what you do, there’s likely someone who can do it better, faster, or more efficiently. While striving to be the best at your job is healthy and can help you reach your goals, be careful when it comes to comparing yourself to others. Steve Lowell, manager of, a marketplace for voiceover talent, says, “Success should be measured in the form of self-defined goals.” Instead of focusing on what your co-workers may or may not be accomplishing, set goals for yourself that help you stand out in a healthy way.

Work together
Working as a team can help you keep your competitive nature in check. In fact, according to Marilee Sprenger, author of The Leadership Brain for Dummies, “Working together and helping each other releases brain chemicals that enhance motivation, pleasure, and bonding.” Instead of pitting yourself against a co-worker, try to find ways you can work together. This allows you to use your strengths and determination to reach a common goal, and includes others in your mission.

Build your confidence
Do you overexert your competitive spirit as a result of feeling inferior in some way? For example, if you aren’t confident with your ability to sell a product, do you find yourself pushing yourself past your limits to outdo a co-worker’s sales quota—all the while making yourself sick with stress? Instead, take time to build up your confidence. Consider learning a new skill, taking a class, or earning a certification in an area you wish to improve. When you grow your strengths, you’re likely to focus less on your weaknesses and avoid invoking unhealthy competition.

Don’t bring others down
It’s easy to want to be the best. And, if you do happen to outperform a competitor, it’s a natural instinct to feel a sense of pride. But, be careful not to let that pride get the best of you. React positively to your accomplishments—and your failures—so you can lift up those around you. If a co-worker is trying to accomplish their goals, whether it’s to obtain a professional certification, land a promotion, or increase sales, encourage them. It may be difficult to put your pride aside and wish them luck, but rooting against your colleagues can seriously damage your work environment.

Not everyone likes competition
Everyone is different. Some people thrive off of stress and work well under pressure, while others prefer a calm work environment to perform at their best level. Recent research found that while 50% of workers benefit from competition, another 25% actually shut down in a competitive environment. That means that one in four people don’t perform well when faced with competition. Given that, it is possible that being too competitive in the workplace can hurt not only yourself, but your co-workers as well.

Remember, not all competition is productive. While trying to make the most sales calls can lead to an increase in productivity, attempting to be the first to a meeting or visiting the coffee pot the most times in a day likely will not lead to positive results. Besty Winkler, from PeopleResults, suggests, “Focus on what drives business results, not all of the activities underway.”

How do you keep your competitive nature in check? Share your tips in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Q & A with Dr. Shaquille O’Neal

DSC_5643_smallEarlier in the year, Movin’ On Up caught up with television sports analyst and 15-time NBA All-Star Dr. Shaquille O’Neal to ask his advice on job searching, overcoming failure, and achieving goals. We hope you enjoy this Q & A with Shaq.

Movin’ On Up: What is your best advice for job seekers?

Shaq: Go for the gusto. Have drive and be innovative. Be willing to take on other opportunities. Not everyone in life has the dream job they want, but take a job and gain experience. The more experience you have, the more jobs you can get. Get another job and you will have two types of experience. Get another job and you will have three types of experience. The next time you see a job you want, you will have much more to put on your resume. Getting to that dream job is about gaining more experience.

Movin’ On Up: What advice would you say to young people starting out in their career who feel like they may have failed?

Shaq: You don’t get anywhere focusing on the problem. Focus on the solution. You have to memorize that solution and put it in the solution part of your brain, because you never want to make that mistake again. Abraham Lincoln lost eight times in his attempts for public office before he became President of the United States. In basketball, Jerry West, who retired from a career with the Los Angeles Lakers, went to the NBA finals nine times before winning an NBA championship. Use failure as motivation.

Movin’ On Up: What would you tell job seekers about achieving goals?

Shaq: Everything in my life I have pictured. I have started something in my life I call “dreams full of attraction,” similar to the law of attraction. My mother told me early in life to dream about what I want and go for it. There are two things in life that are going to happen: 1) it is going to happen or 2) it is not going to happen. If you quit and give up, the chances of your dream happening are slim. If you keep going, there is a 50-50 chance to achieve your dreams. In my case, it is an 80-20 chance because I have the mentality that I will never, ever be denied.

If you have advice you’d like to share about a successful job search, overcoming a failure, or how you achieve an important milestone in your career, please share it with us in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Back to School: Driving Safety 101

safety_backtoschool_webWith another school year underway, you may soon notice heavier traffic on your daily commute, along with the enforcement of school zones. Because of this, we thought now would be a good time for a refresher on driver safety to help keep children and other young drivers safe as traffic increases.

Adjust your commute time.
If school has already started in your area, your commute time has likely become longer. Now is the time of year to reevaluate the time it takes you to get to work and make sure you adjust your schedule to reflect any changes. Choosing an appropriate time to leave your home not only gets you out the door before traffic reaches its heaviest point, but it also helps you avoid the pressure to drive faster than you should in order to make it to work on time.

Be aware of school zones.
You should always be aware of school zones and drive under the designated speed limit when you’re traveling through one. But now that school is back in session, your school zone awareness needs to be elevated. When you’re driving through a school zone, make sure you’re especially aware of your surroundings. After coming to a complete stop at stop signs and red lights, accelerate slowly and carefully scan the area while maintaining a slow speed to lessen the chances of an accident involving pedestrians.

Remember to watch for new drivers.
As the school year starts, many new drivers will also be hitting the road on their way to school. Teens typically have less driving experience than other drivers, so use a little extra focus and slower speeds in areas near high schools to avoid driving-related issues. Remember to account for after-school activities that may affect rush hour traffic as well.

Leaving early, being aware of specific areas, and reducing your speed during increased traffic can help all of us on the road get to work and back safely every day.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.


How to Beat the Interview Competition

12-28 Competition2Landing an interview is a big step in your job search. With all the hard work you’ve put into looking for a job, it’s natural to feel anxious about an upcoming interview. One thing you shouldn’t worry about, however, is your competition. Not only is it distracting, it’s not beneficial. To beat the interview competition, the only thing you should concentrate on is doing your best and being as prepared as possible.

Dress the part
No matter the job, you want to do your best to look professional. Does that always mean a suit and tie? Some people would say yes, while others would say no. The key is to know the company and what they would expect. If you’re unsure, just call the recruiter ahead of the interview. They’ll be able to tell you what’s expected. For more tips on what to wear to an interview, check out this Movin’ On Up article.

Fit the job description
Several days before the interview, take time to thoroughly review the job description. Find key points that line up with your strengths and be sure to focus on them in the interview.

Practice, practice, practice
Grab a friend or family member, or even videotape yourself going over possible interview questions. This helps you work out the kinks in what you might say and gives you confidence to answer correctly. You don’t want to sound too rehearsed, but organizing your thoughts ahead of time is never a bad idea.

Prepare examples
Most interviewers will ask candidates behavioral questions like, “What would you do if…” and “Tell me about a time when…” By having examples ready for these kinds of questions, you show that you’ve put in work ahead of time and you’re less likely to draw a blank in the middle of the conversation. For more tips on how to prepare your responses to interview questions, check out these Movin’ On Up articles:

Don’t think about the competition
Remember, you have zero control over what the competition says or does in their interview. You can only control your own, and you don’t need the additional stress of worrying about how they’ll perform. Focus on being the best candidate you can be and what unique skill sets you bring to the table.

Send a thank you
Stand out from the competition by taking the time to write a thank you note after your interview. Not everyone will do this, and it’s a great way to demonstrate your desire to work for the company and your professionalism. If you need some guidance on writing one, follow this how-to article on Movin’ On Up.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Lessons From the Sports World: Part Three

When it comes to teamwork, dedication, or even defeat, the world of sports is full of valuable lessons you can apply to your job search and career path. To help you learn from sports history, Movin’ On Up is bringing you lessons from the sports world to help you up your professional game and gain real-life applications for the workplace.

American soccer player Mia Hamm led Team USA to its historic win at the 1999 Women’s World Cup and was named Player of the Year the first two years the award was given. She held the record for most international goals scored by any player—male or female—until 2013, and has been inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame.

Mia Hamm’s Lesson on Courage
Mia Hamm once said, “True champions aren’t always the ones that win, but those with the most guts.”

When Mia began playing women’s soccer, it wasn’t as popular as it is today. Because of her dedication and hard work, the sport saw a huge surge in popularity. Mia didn’t run from the challenges that came with being a pioneer in her sport, and she became one of its most important athletes as a result.

Is there something standing in the way of you accomplishing your career goals? The simple truth is if you don’t try to overcome your obstacles, you’ll never make it. You have to be brave and willing to do what it takes to reach your goals, whether it’s applying for a job or showing up for an interview. Remember, there is a first for everything. Like Mia, you can be the next success story in your field. You just have to put your best foot forward and persevere.

Mia Hamm’s Lesson on Failure
Mia also said, “Failure happens all the time. It happens every day in practice. What makes you better is how you react to it.”

It’s easy to want to give up when things don’t go how you planned. But, like Mia, you have to keep trying. If you don’t get the job you want, don’t land an interview, or don’t receive the promotion you’ve been vying for, avoid the urge to be disappointed. Instead of complaining or lashing out, learn from the experience. Try to determine what kept you from getting the promotion or hearing back from a recruiter, and improve upon those skills so you can be even better. And, remember to avoid speaking negatively to or about your employers when things don’t go your way. You never know how your current supervisor may be able to help you down the road, so don’t burn any bridges.

How do you overcome obstacles and learn from failure? Share with us in the comments section below!

If you missed one of the articles in our Lessons From the Sports World series, catch up here:

  • Lessons From the Sports World: Part One
  • Lessons From the Sports World: Part Two

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Outperform With These 5 Resume Tips

5_Resume_Resolutions_Jan2014Everyone knows that your resume is an important part of landing an interview, and ultimately, a job. But, with so many qualified candidates going after the same jobs, how do you stand out? Take a look at these five resume tips to help you outperform the competition.

1. Customize
When you apply for a job, tailoring your resume to the specific qualifications can help you stand out and position yourself as an ideal candidate for the job. In order to tailor your resume, start by creating a master resume you can easily alter. Include all experience, skills, volunteer opportunities, and education you’ve obtained. When you apply to specific jobs, read the descriptions carefully and adapt your master resume accordingly. If the job you’re applying for requires customer service experience, highlight any experience you have and consider removing skills that don’t apply. According to the Huffington Post, “Focus all your information on what they want to see, not what you want them to see.”

2. Spell It Out
When possible, add details to the experience you list on your resume. For example, if you increased customer satisfaction by 35% in a previous job, state it on your resume. “I was responsible for customer interaction and increased satisfaction by 35%” speaks louder than simply mentioning that you worked with customers. According to Dan Ogden, principal of Omnibus Consulting, an executive search firm, “The resumes that stand out are the ones that show what the candidate did with the responsibilities they were given. Not just what they were responsible for, but what they achieved.”

3. Keep It Simple
According to Tony Beshara, author of Unbeatable Resumes, the average resume gets read in 10 seconds. In order to stand out, you must keep your resume simple and short. Avoid making your resume span more than two pages, and keep the content easy to read and understand. Beshara also suggests avoiding fancy layouts or special effects, and  recommends using Microsoft Word for formatting.

4. Proofread
It may seem obvious, but don’t forget to proofread your resume before sending it to a recruiter or heading to an interview. Your resume needs to be free from grammatical errors and spelling mistakes, or you may be counted out before you even have a chance. According to, having a less-than-perfect resume may lead recruiters to draw the conclusion that you don’t care or don’t have the skills necessary to fill their position.

5. Let Social Media Help
While a traditional resume is printed on paper, today’s social media advancements are making it easier than ever before to get noticed. When you update your traditional resume, you should also make sure your social profile is up to date. Joshua Janicek, director of talent acquisition for the advertising agency Arnold Worldwide, says job seekers need to build a personal brand to compete for the jobs they want. According to Joshua, LinkedIn is the place to start. “LinkedIn is the standard and the core platform for recruiters looking for talent,” he said. Include your volunteer experience, interests, and educational background to give recruiters a better picture of who you are and what you can bring to their company.

How does your resume outperform the competition? Share your tips in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.