Monthly Archives: January 2017

Climb the Ladder: 5 Ways to Get That Promotion in 2017

ThinkstockPhotos-120488598Earlier this month, we published a post revealing what our readers predict the job market holds in store for the coming year. For the most part, responses were optimistic with 28% of respondents predicting that the job market will improve and they “will definitely get a job offer or a promotion in 2017.” So we thought we’d offer a few suggestions to snag a promotion and climb the company ladder in the coming year.

Be Dependable

This one seems obvious, but a lack of dependability is one of the top complaints of many bosses. So show up on time. Call or text if you realize you’re going to be delayed. If you’re too sick to make it to work, give the boss as much advance notice as possible so he or she can make arrangements to cover your absence. Complete your assignments and tasks on time. Don’t schedule personal days during particularly busy times or in the middle of time-sensitive projects. Want to really make a positive impression? Be the go-to person for your boss or supervisor. Volunteer to take on additional responsibilities.

Be Coachable

Learn from the wisdom of people who have “been there, done that.” A good coach dispenses guidance and feedback to help you improve, not to ridicule you and point out your flaws. Condition yourself to accept constructive criticism, and don’t take it personally. Make it your goal to become a better listener. When someone gives you instruction or advice, give your full, undivided attention. Don’t try to formulate your response until the person speaking finishes their thought and you’ve taken a moment to process the information. Ask follow-up questions to show that you understand and to clarify anything that may be unclear. Seek advice and guidance from trusted sources. Learn more about being coachable here.

Think Like a Boss

While you’re on the job, take on a corporate mindset. Consider how your job fits in to the big picture. How does what you and your department do affect the other employees and departments in your organization? Be proactive. Try to anticipate situations that may affect your job or department. Be mindful of when particularly busy periods occur in your workplace and recognize the challenges that come along with it. You don’t have to be the first person to raise your hand when the boss needs someone to work an overtime shift, but at least you won’t be surprised when she asks.

Speak Up

Voicing your opinion shows your boss and co-workers that you’re engaged and interested in solving problems. There are many reasons people are reluctant to make their voices heard. Maybe you’re an introvert or you’re afraid your ideas will be rejected. Whatever the reason, if speaking in front of a group stresses you out, you’re not alone. When it comes to gaining self-assurance, remember to project confidence, make eye contact, and keep your comments short and to the point. Read these tips for building your speaking muscle.

Read More

First, learn everything you can about the company you work for. Hopefully your employer has a website. Refresh your memory by reading the About Us section to brush up on company history, their mission statement, and corporate leaders. Be aware of the products and services your employer provides and of the types of customers your company serves. Second, keep up with the news and trends that affect your line of work. Read books, blogs, and websites that focus on your industry or business. The ability to intelligently discuss the state of your business or industry will definitely set you apart from the competition.

How will you stand out in the coming year? Do you have any tips or secrets for rising above the rest? Tell us in the comments section below.

How to Break a Bad Habit

bad habitsDid you make a resolution this year? If you resolved to break a bad habit in 2017, your journey may not be easy. In fact, breaking habits can be extremely difficult. To help you increase your chances of resolution success this year, take a look at these four tips for breaking a bad habit.

  1. Understand the psychology behind habits.
    What exactly is a habit? According to author Charles Duhigg, habits are loops of repeating behavior made up of three components: the cue that triggers behavior, the routine of that behavior, and the reward that makes it all desirable. James Clear, a behavioral psychology writer, says that most habits are the result of either stress or boredom. By teaching yourself new and healthy ways to deal with those emotions, you may be able to substitute bad habits with much better behavior.
  2. Pay attention to your habits.
    Though it may seem like ignoring the behavior you’re trying to change is an effective way to eradicate it, the opposite effect might actually occur. In fact, author and psychologist James Claiborn encourages his patients to increase the awareness of their habits in order to track what triggers them. “We need to understand the behavior before we can change it,” he said. Next time you notice yourself stuck in a bad habit, don’t ignore it. Instead, try to understand why it’s happening.
  3. Don’t be negative.
    It’s hard to break a habit. And when your goal forces you to focus on something you’re not going to do (like, not checking your phone at dinner or not drinking three cups of coffee), your brain tends to react poorly to this negativity. Art Markman, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas, said, “You’re just about doomed to fail when you set up your desire to change a behavior in that way.” Instead, he suggests replacing the habit you’d like to break with an alternative behavior. If you’re trying to stop biting your nails, for example, Markman suggests playing with desk toys when you feel the urge to chew. Or, if you’re trying to cut back on sugar, drink water when you feel the craving come on.
  4. Penalize yourself.
    If tracking your behavior and replacing bad habits with alternative ones isn’t working, you may need to step it up a notch by making your bad habit just a little more painful. Since money is a great motivator for many things in life, set out a jar and place a dollar in it every time you—or someone around you—catches the bad habit in action. If you go a whole day without putting money in the jar, reward yourself by taking one of the dollars out of the jar. Try this for 21 days, and see whether you’ve made progress or just emptied your wallet.
  5. Change your surroundings.
    Even though it can be difficult, you may need to change your environment if you really want to kick a bad habit. If your resolution is to quit smoking, but you take smoke breaks by the tree outside the building, avoid that tree at all costs. It could be a trigger for the behavior you’re trying to stop. Try switching up your surroundings by using “The 20-Second Rule,” a simple trick from Harvard expert Shawn Achor. The principle behind this rule is that adding 20 seconds to a routine makes it less desirable, while taking away 20 seconds may make it easier. For example, if you want to stop eating junk food, consider moving that food to the back of the pantry. The extra 20 seconds it takes to get the junk food may deter you from eating it. Conversely, keeping books on your nightstand might make it easier for you to reach your goal of reading more at night.

What bad habits are you trying to break? Are you trying to start new, positive habits? Share your tips in the comments section below!

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

3 Top Traits of High Achievers

Have you ever looked at the successful people in your life and wondered how they got where they are? What characteristics or advantages do they have that you don’t? Thankfully, most successful people don’t have some secret formula for success that we don’t all have access to.

Ultimately, high achievers have three traits in common that allow them to be successful.


When looking at the most successful people in your life, you’ll likely notice their hard work and determination to do well, no matter what their career or the task they’re facing. This attitude of perseverance helps them overcome difficult odds so that they can achieve what others can’t.

But where does this perseverance come from? A passion and focus to achieve the goals they’ve set for themselves.

They set their eyes on achieving something and don’t let distractions hold them back. Whether it’s their personal wellness, work/life balance, or completing a big project at work, high achievers have a single-minded focus on accomplishing their goals.

This focus also means they are willing and able to fail during the process, knowing that they won’t be stopped by a momentary setback. Often, the high achievers among us are those willing to try something new in the hopes that it will bring great results. New ideas, though, don’t always lead to success. Persevering through these tough times is what will set you apart on your way to success.


For many, the fear of asking questions is holding them back. For high achievers, however, questions are the key to their success, because they lead to learning.

Being willing and excited to learn new information helps the most successful people stay successful and reach new heights in their careers. They aren’t going to settle or stay stagnant with the knowledge they have. Learning leads to new ideas being brought to the table, so to become one of the high achievers, commit to being a life-long learner.

The drive to continually improve is one of the top traits of people who achieve greatness in their lives, including the desire to keep learning and growing in their profession.


This trait may surprise you, considering we most often associate high achievement with a singular focus that can be seen as steamrolling anyone who gets in the way, but the most successful people are often the most thankful.

They understand that nothing can be accomplished alone—that a group of individuals, supporting, challenging, and pushing them to be their best, is the best asset. Showing them their gratitude and being compassionate is common among the highest achievers in the world.

Whether it’s in their professional or personal life, successful people know that when they succeed, they provide value to others that will ultimately help them reach their goals, and they don’t take that for granted.

Take a moment and think about the high achievers in your life, the leaders, co-workers, family, and friends that you consider successful. These three traits of perseverance, learning, and thankfulness are very likely found in each of them.

What other traits do you think make someone a high achiever? Let us know in the comments section.

Poll Results: What are Your Job Market Predictions?

ThinkstockPhotos-511917898A new year brings a lot of excitement with it—including setting New Year’s resolutions or goals to make the most of the year ahead.

In December, we asked our Movin’ On Up readers what they predict the job market will look like in 2017, and the responses were very encouraging! A total of 28% of respondents said the job market was looking up for the new year, and they are definitely getting a job offer or promotion this year. Twenty-five percent aren’t as enthusiastic about the job market, but feel that it’s good enough to test the waters and see what’s out there for them.

Other results include:

  • Buckle down everybody! Things are going to get worse before they get better — 23%
  • I’m staying where I am. I don’t expect things to get better — 10%

In addition, 14% of readers selected “other” and cited the following reasons:

  • Not this year. Next year will be better.
  • No job for me yet.
  • Expect another great depression or recession.
  • Mixed emotions.
  • Continued upward movement in the short term, then down.

Start Networking

For those who are ready to get a job offer or promotion in 2017, the first of the year is a great time to start networking with your end goal in mind. Since a lot of people are just returning from holiday vacation, take the time to pick up the phone or send a handwritten letter to your professional contacts and ask them to lunch. Then, you can catch up and let them know you are interested in making a career change in the near future.

Also, consider joining local professional organizations this year. This could be a great opportunity to expand your professional circle and make some new friends along the way.

What are your job market predictions in 2017? Let us know in the comments below!

Leadership Lessons from North American Leaders


ThinkstockPhotos-636064846In the spirit of the upcoming U.S. presidential inauguration and the 150th anniversary of Canada, Movin’ On Up takes a look at admirable leadership qualities from iconic North American leaders. From making work/life balance a priority to accepting blame to herding cats, these trailblazers exemplify leadership traits we can all adapt to our career.

Make work/life balance a priority.
Theodore Roosevelt was not only the 26th President of the United States, he was also a father of six children. He was regarded as a powerful, playful father who told ghost stories and had pillow fights with his kids. Even when his schedule was busy, Roosevelt still found time for his family. In fact, in the summer of 1905, Roosevelt took his family on their annual camping trip, even though he was busy preparing for peace talks and consulting about the building of the Panama Canal.

So, what can we learn from the leadership style of Theodore Roosevelt? Simply put, it’s all about the importance of work/life balance. A great leader must be dedicated to his or her work, but finding a balance between career and personal obligations is essential. If you’re determined to make a name for yourself, build your career, or earn a promotion, it’s important to invest a lot of effort into those goals. But, remember to take time for yourself, and your family, to maintain a healthy work/life balance.

Accept blame as quickly as you accept praise.
The 33rd President, Harry Truman, had a famous sign on his desk in the Oval Office. It read: “The buck stops here.” This well-known statement, believed to have originated from a game of poker, means that blame cannot be passed from one person to another. In his farewell address in 1953, Truman referred to this famous saying. “The President—whoever he is—has to decide. He can’t pass the buck to anybody. No one else can do the deciding for him. That’s his job,” Truman said.

How does “The buck stops here.” apply to leadership? It means that great leaders must not only make decisions, but also accept responsibility for the outcomes of those decisions. Whether it’s good or bad, leaders must own those outcomes. If you’re in a position of leadership—or you aim to be someday—remember to take responsibility when things don’t go according to plan.

You can’t do everything on your own.
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, and remains one of the most highly regarded leaders due to his devotion to those he led. It’s believed that Lincoln met every Union soldier who enlisted in the early days of the Civil War, and spent more time outside of the White House than he did in it. According to Time, Lincoln spent 75% of his day meeting with people. And, despite being the leader of America, he maintained an open-door policy.

What made Lincoln’s accessibility such a great leadership trait? He was always trying to obtain the best information in order to make good decisions. He wasn’t resolved to making decisions on his own, and valued the opinions of those around him. If you’re trying to implement a new workplace strategy or starting a new project, consider asking your co-workers for their input. Don’t shy away from the advice of others, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Know how to herd cats.

In 2017, Canada celebrates its 150th birthday. In honour of our Canadian colleagues, our final leadership trait comes from the Great White North.

Canadian biographer Richard Gwyn argues that without Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. MacDonald, there would be no Canada. Sir John A., as he is known, embodied a key leadership trait that still holds true for prime ministers and leaders today—the ability to herd cats. If you’re going to run Canada, which is a much decentralized, diversified country with immense distances and hard weather, huge communication barriers, and an enormity of different interest groups and ethnicities, you have to know how to herd cats. You’ve got to be able to convince people to go along with your vision, to make them believe in what you know is right, and that requires inspiration, skill, art, and determination.

What other leadership lessons can we learn from our North American leaders? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


17 Tips for an Outstanding New Year

ThinkstockPhotos-614739734The new year has officially begun, which means it’s time to make sure you’re focused on your goals for the year. Since this is the 17th year of this century, here are 17 tips to help you have an outstanding year:

  1. Don’t procrastinate. If you put off the things you need to accomplish, you may realize 2018 is right around the corner before you’ve even started.
  2. Invest in your wardrobe. Whether you’re looking for a job, or you’re already part of the workforce, owning a quality outfit can set you apart from the competition. Consider investing in a suit for interviews, or durable shoes for the workplace.
  3. Learn a new skill. It’s never too late to learn something new, and there are countless ways to add to your skillset. Think of the skills you’d like to learn, then take advantage of the Internet’s many educational resources.
  4. Clean up your social media profiles. When’s the last time you looked back at your Facebook or Twitter posts and photos from years ago? Chances are, there may be photos, statuses, or tags that don’t paint you in the best light. And since potential employers often look at your social media accounts when considering you for a job, be sure to represent yourself in the most professional way possible.
  5. Learn from your co-workers. There may be times when your company could benefit from allowing you to cross-train or shadow someone on the job. Consider asking your supervisor for the opportunity to learn from others.
  6. Take a class. Many communities offer courses in subjects like computer programs, marketing tips, and interview techniques. Check out opportunities available in your area, and sign up for a class today.
  7. Join a professional organization. Depending on your career path, there may be a professional organization you can join. These organizations are designed to help you network and further your skills, and they’re also a great addition to your resume.
  8. Create a LinkedIn profile. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, what are you waiting for? There are thousands of recruiters on LinkedIn right now, and they may be looking for candidates just like you!
  9. Gather your references. Maintaining an updated list of references is a good practice, even if you’re not actively job searching. Since you meet new people every day and relationships often change, ensure that your list is up-to-date before you need to use it.
  10. Send a thank-you note. If you are in the job search process, you know it’s important to send a thank-you note after an interview. But, what if you’re not currently looking? You can still send notes of appreciation to those who make a difference to you. Consider sending a thank-you note to your supervisor, an old friend, or a co-worker who helped you on a project. Everybody likes to feel appreciated.
  11. Make a plan for stress relief. Sometimes, stress is unavoidable. But, you can take steps to lessen the impact stress has on you. Think of ways that help you manage stress when it hits. Maybe it’s meditation, yoga, or exercise. Perhaps reading is relaxing for you. Find what helps you through tough times before they happen.
  12. Do something for yourself. Life moves quickly, and everyone has busy days. In all of that busyness, you may find that you haven’t taken any time for yourself. Stop for a moment and do something just for you. Go for a walk, buy yourself a coffee, read a book, or watch a movie.
  13. Get active. We all know how important exercise is to our overall health, but many of us can’t find the time to make it a priority. Even if you sit at a desk all day, there are still ways to be active. Try simple desk exercises, or go for a walk on your lunch break.
  14. Give back. Volunteering is great for so many reasons. First and foremost, it’s an excellent way to give back to your community and help those in need. It makes you feel good, helps you meet new people, and network. Often, you can learn a new skill, and of course, volunteering looks great on your resume. Find causes that matter to you and explore how to volunteer your time this year.
  15. Become a planner. Some people are planners, others are more spontaneous. Whether or not you like to structure your day beforehand, make it a habit to get your plans on paper. If you have goals you want to accomplish, write them in your calendar. Jot down important appointments, and keep track of your successful days so you can look back at them later.
  16. Start a budget. The term “budget” often comes with a negative association, but the truth is, being financially responsible is important to your success. Having funds available in an emergency is essential, and you can start on that path today. Review all of your debts and payments, calculate how much you need to save to reach financial goals or start an emergency fund, and begin the process of saving.
  17. Become (or find) a mentor. If you’re new to the workforce, you may feel overwhelmed. There’s certainly a lot to learn. Thankfully, there are millions of others who have gone before you, and it’s easy to find a mentor who can guide you on your career path. Likewise, if you’re experienced in a certain subject, you may seek out mentees to take under your wing.

These are just 17 of the many ways to help make your new year outstanding. Get started today and good luck in 2017!

What additional tips do you have for starting the year off right? Share with us in the comments section below!

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