Job Burnout: Part 1 – Defining Job Burnout

The alarm rings again, and you fight to not hit snooze one more time. You’re dreading another day doing the same old thing at the same old job. Have you been finding it harder and harder to drag yourself out of bed and have the energy to go to work? At some point, most people – in every level of a company from a receptionist to a CEO or owner – find themselves victims of job burnout.

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines burnout as “exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration.”

The term job burnout is described as an emotional burnout experienced in a job or career-path. Sufferers of job burnout can experience chronic anxiety, depression, prolonged stress, lack of motivation, and/or hopelessness – among other serious problems. It’s important to deal with job burnout not just because of your personal happiness, but for your career and financial future as well.

Are you headed for job burnout?  The next post can help you determine if you should be alarmed.

Prepare for the Worst, Hope for the Best: Preparing for Interview Disasters

In a previous post, we talked about how Will Smith’s character in The Pursuit of Happyness, Chris Gardner, went through with a job interview despite losing his shirt. Even with his bad luck with his appearance, he still managed to wow his interviewers and land the job. Here are a few tips that focus on preparing you for potential emergencies you might come across before or during an interview.

Map Out Your Drive.
Before you head out to your interview, know where you’re going. You might have an idea of where the company is located, but you need to know the specifics like streets to avoid or where to park. Be sure to check traffic reports too. By planning out your route ahead of time, you’ll know how long the drive is and other details like if you need change for a meter. The potential of a parking ticket or getting towed in the back of your mind can keep you from being focused during an interview. On your actual drive to the interview, make sure you have your cell phone and the company phone number with you. In case of any accidents or delays, you’ll be able to contact the interviewer and inform them of your situation.

Don’t Leave Home with an Empty Wallet.
Make sure you have a few dollars or change for a parking meter in your wallet before you leave for the interview. You never know if the interview might be over coffee or lunch. Having a few dollars will spare you any embarrassment.

Carry an Extra Set of Clothes.
To avoid an experience like Chris Gardner’s ruined shirt, it’s always wise to have an extra tie, shirt, or pants in your car. Hopefully your shirt won’t get destroyed like Gardner’s was, but if you’re offered coffee and spill it in the waiting room, you’ll be ready with an extra shirt. For any popped buttons, carry an emergency sewing kit. And, an instant stain remover can help with the little smudges you may unexpectedly encounter.

Making a good first impression at an interview involves more than just a smile. It involves lots of research and preparation for the unexpected. By predicting what can go wrong, you can be focused on displaying your integrity and professionalism to the interviewer.

Prepare for the Worst, Hope for the Best: 3 Tips to Impress in an Interview

“What would you say if a man walked in here with no shirt, and I hired him?” the interviewer from the hit movie The Pursuit of Happyness asked Will Smith’s character, Chris Gardner, in one famous scene. “He must have had some really nice pants,” Gardner responded. He got the job. How? It didn’t hurt that his knowledge and preparation made him a standout candidate.

While we can’t all be as charming as Gardner was, impressing an interviewer with your preparation isn’t just movie magic. By having a few things ready before an interview, you can be prepared to walk out of the interview smiling.

Bring Extra Copies of Your Résumé.
It’s important for you to know your résumé well enough that you can recite it in case the interviewer forgets his copy and needs the one you brought for yourself. But, think ahead for this situation and have multiple copies of your résumé and work samples on hand. There might be multiple interviewers, and you don’t want the interviewers passing a single paper back and forth. It causes a distraction and can break your train of thought when you’re trying to market yourself.

Have Your Research with You.
When researching the company before your interview, print out the company’s website materials, and take them with you to the interview. Consider investing in a leather binder – it includes a notepad and pen in case you need to take notes. But, as you open the binder to hand out your résumé or sample work, you can subtlety show that you’ve done your research and prepared for the job when they see the print outs of their website. Also, bring a spare pen in case yours or the interviewer’s fails, and you’ll be ready to save the day.

Ask Relevant Questions.
Knowledge of the company is a very impressive factor for interviewers. Prepare a few questions to ask the employer when they give you the opportunity. Have some questions to select from in case some of your choices were answered during the interview. By asking detailed questions that relate to the organization, you are indirectly showing that you have really looked into their business.

Check out our next post on how to prepare for an emergency before or during your interview.

3 Easy Ways to Market Transferable Skills in Your Job Search

Now that you’ve identified your transferable job skills, you can use them to convince potential employers you are qualified for the job.

Tailor Your Resume.
Simply listing your old job titles on your résumé won’t cut it. Being able to relate your transferable skills with solid examples will help you stand out to a potential employer, especially if you’re making a career change. Instead of listing every transferable skill you possess, research the position you are seeking, and tailor the skills you list to the job description. For example, a fitness instructor seeking a health care position would emphasize his dedication to good health and his customer service skills to demonstrate aptitude for working with patients.

Craft a Killer Cover Letter.
To market yourself to a potential employer, further explain your skill sets in a cover letter attached to your résumé. Because a résumé is too short to thoroughly detail why your skills transfer, send a cover letter even if one isn’t requested. Pick two or three of your top transferable skills that are also listed in the job posting to describe in your cover letter. Explain how you have used these skills and how they’d apply in the new job.

Sell it In Person.
Once you land an interview, don’t forget your transferable job skills. Make sure you can go into greater detail about how they would help you. Be prepared to answer top interview questions using them, too.

Your past work and life experiences develop many great transferable skills that you can use from workplace to workplace, even when job duties don’t stay the same. So, take the time to identify your skill sets, and learn to market them effectively to employers so you can find success with a new career.

Secrets of the Job Search: Identify Your Transferable Skills

Are you interested in a career change but not sure how to convince a potential employer to give you a chance? You have experience, but it may not seem like the right kind. A transferable job skill is any ability or skill learned in the past that you can use in other work settings. Whether you’re just entering the workforce, facing layoff, or simply looking to move into a new career, identifying your transferable skills help you market yourself to a prospective employer.

What transferable skills do you possess?
Before you can market yourself to an employer, you must first identify your transferable skills. First, make a list of your past work experiences. If you have little prior work experience, list hobbies, volunteer efforts, sports activities and any other involvement with various organizations. Next, list all the skills and responsibilities you used in each experience, such as delegating responsibility as class president. Making a list will help you visualize how much you’ve accomplished in the past – and hopefully allow you to realize which skills can translate to your future career.

Categorize your job skills.
Almost all transferable skills fit into five broad skill categories, with more specific skill sets in each. The list below will help you organize and clarify your job abilities.

1. Leadership and Management – Includes managing conflicts, delegating responsibilities, coordinating tasks, and making decisions.
2. Professionalism – Day-to-day skills such as of being punctual, meeting goals, implementing decisions, and accepting responsibility.
3. Communication – Includes skills like speaking and writing effectively, interviewing, editing, and reporting information.
4. Research and Planning – Consists of setting goals, gathering information, developing evaluation strategies, and identifying problems.
5. Relational – Interpersonal skills like listening, motivating, counseling, and sharing credit

Regardless of what field you are in, from a machine operator to receptionist to a CEO, these skills carry from job to job. Identifying and organizing your transferable skills is just half of the battle. Check out the second part of this series in the next post to learn how to market your transferable job skills.

Getting the Most Out of Your Workday: Part 3 of 3: Organize and Prioritize for the Future

Previously, we discussed creating a productive schedule and avoiding disruptions in this 3 part series to get the most out of your workday. Here we’ll discuss organizing and prioritizing your workweek to increase productivity.

Plan ahead.
When you start the workweek or begin the day, sometimes it can be hard to remember what tasks you need to accomplish. Instead of wasting time and productivity by trying to recall which tasks to complete, create a daily or weekly “to do” list. Spare about 15 minutes at the end of your workday to plan out and prioritize your tasks for the future, whether is a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule. Also, use this time to tidy up your work area and finish any remaining tasks, like replying to nonessential emails. This allows you to come to work the next day and jump right in.

Find a routine that works best for you, plan ahead, and cut back on distractions and interruptions. By doing so, you’re taking the appropriate steps to a more focused and productive workday, making yourself an invaluable employee to your company.

Do you find it hard to stay on task and consistently meet deadlines? What other tips and tricks have you found helpful to keep your productivity up?

Getting the Most Out of Your Workday: Part 2 of 3: Avoiding Distractions

The first part of this series was on identifying the best routine for optimal productivity. This part of the series discusses how to avoid distractions to get the most out of your workday.

Have what you need nearby.
By constantly getting up to retrieve essential items, you’re wasting valuable time and interrupting momentum built up from productive work. Keeping items within reach will leave you with more time to complete tasks. Storing nutritious snacks and bottled water nearby will prevent you from constant trips to the vending machine and water cooler, where you can get sucked into lengthy discussions by co-workers.

Slip on headphones.
To cut back on background chatter, slide on your headphones and listen to some music. Your train of thought can be easily broken by office noises, such as printers or copiers, or by ongoing co-worker conversations. Music can help drown out the sounds and keep you focused. If you can’t work while music is playing, try slipping the headphones on without music as a “do not disturb” sign to others. Be sure to keep iPod etiquette in mind at the office.

Make time for breaks.
When you’re swamped, taking breaks might sound like the last thing you should do, but breaks keep you fresh and prevent you from burning out after a few hours of work. Time away from your desk can help you re-group your thoughts to focus on the task at hand when it’s deadlines are looming.

Check out the last part of this series in our next post on organizing and prioritizing your workweek to increase productivity.