Seeker or Sleeper: What’s Your Job Search Style

Have you ever thought about the differences between superstars and slouches? We usually think about separating the high achievers from the low performers on the job, but it pertains to job seekers as well.

The three indicators discussed in The Key Differences between Superstars and Slouches can also relate to the different styles of people searching for jobs.

First, people who find jobs understand that finding a job is a full-time position. They devote an 8-hour workday to the process. They wake up in the morning, get ready for the day, and start their job search bright and early. They filter through employment opportunities, compiling a list of prospective employers to submit their résumés to. They don’t allow past failures or a sluggish economy to get in the way of finding a job.

Second, successful job seekers usually are relentless in their job search process. They pound the pavement looking for employment opportunities wherever they can find them. They don’t limit their job search to certain hours of the day. After they submit applications and résumés, they follow up with phone calls to ensure that potential employers have received all necessary documents and request a time for an interview. They don’t wait around with fingers crossed.

Third, job getters are the ones who don’t make excuses for the lack of employment opportunities. They understand the obstacles that stand in their way. Whether it’s a down economy, a competitive job market, or a lack of qualifications inhibiting their job search success, they reevaluate the situation and determine solutions.

The job search process may take longer than would have a year ago, but there are still jobs available. The difference is the job seeker. Successful job seekers process these three key elements, and the sleepers, well um, they sleep. So, don’t give up and fall into a job search slumber.

Check out your local Express office today for help in the job search process.

21 Negative Thoughts that Can Stop You in Your Tracks

Do you ever think about how words impact your day? The simplest comments from co-workers and colleagues can help you have a good or bad day, depending on what was said. But, what about the words you use? Have you ever thought about how your own thoughts and words can change the course of your day and the day of others?

The power of positive thinking and speaking can impact your mood and improve productivity at work. The same holds true for negative thoughts and words and their harmful effects on your everyday outlook. Check out these 21 negative terms that can hinder your productivity, motivation, and even your success.

1. I can’t.
2. This stinks.
3. That’s stupid.
4. I can’t believe they did that.
5. I’m horrible at this.
6. No one cares.
7. This isn’t my problem.
8. Is it five o’clock yet?
9. I never…
10. That’s not my project.
11. I don’t care.
12. It didn’t work last time.
13. It doesn’t matter.
14. Why do I have to do this?
15. My job sucks.
16. This is too hard.
17. I don’t like this.
18. I don’t want to do this.
19. Who came up with this idea?
20. It will never work.
21. No one will help me.

What you say to others, and especially yourself, can either empower or unplug your progress. In order to stay happy, productive, and keep moving in a positive direction, replace your negative words with positive ones. You will be amazed the difference made on your outlook, life, relationships, and career.

Is a Two-Week Notice Still Necessary?

I recently read an article on MSNBC titled Take this job and shove it! The article talks about how employees who survived recent company layoffs aren’t following traditional job protocol when they leave their company. Employees are now leaving without giving their employers a two-week notice, and some are even going to work for competitors – despite noncompete agreements they signed with their previous employer.

Company layoffs and benefit cuts can leave surviving employees feeling angry, scared, and nervous that they might be next on the chopping block. In this economy, employers can’t promise their employees that no more cuts will be made. Even if employers give a sense of security to their workers, the trust between the company and its employees is already broken, resulting in many people searching out other job opportunities.

Often, when the trust is broken between employers and their employees, employees no longer feel obligated to give a two-week notice. The need to feel in control of the future often overrides feelings of loyalty and common workplace courtesy toward employers.

But, is it OK to leave your current job without giving the courtesy of a two-week notice?

Leaving your place of employment for better opportunities, a more secure job, or simply because you don’t like how they handled things when layoffs came around is not necessarily a bad thing. But, leaving without giving your employers adequate notice is not good for your professional image.

So, if you’re looking for different employment, don’t leave on a sour note or burn bridges with your employer. No matter what the situation, make sure to give ample time for the company to make alternate arrangements and offer your help to make sure the transition is an easy one. Leave with your professional image intact, and you will not only feel better in the long run, but you’ll leave the door open for any possibility your career leads you to.

When to Share and Not to Share Stories at Work

Recently, I wrote a blog about job search tips and how my brother used some more traditional techniques to find a job. But before I wrote that story, I wondered just how much I really wanted my co-workers, let alone the public, to know about my family’s personal life. I decided to go ahead and share my brother’s story because I felt it would help others who were in similar situations.

I’ve often used my family and their job search methods for inspiration when writing. I’m pretty open about my own personal life with colleagues at work, but have wondered on more than one occasion whether or not I should have told a particular story. Which brings me to my question:  What does telling personal stories at work say about you and how does it affect others’ perceptions of you?

I’ve come to the conclusion, that although some stories are OK to share in the workplace, others are best left to be shared with close friends and family members outside the office.

So, if you’re trying to move up the career ladder, present yourself as a professional, or simply be seen as a dependable, hard working employee, inappropriate stories about your fun-filled weekend or fights with your spouse are not the types of topics you want to discuss with your teammates.

Have you shared too much and not realized it until it was too late? Did it affect your work relationships or your career? What kind of stories have you heard in the workplace that you felt were inappropriate? Leave your comments in the section below.

5 Tips to Build an Effective Relationship with Your Boss

Let’s face it, not everyone likes their boss. However, in order to be successful in your career, it’s essential that you try to build an effective working relationship with your supervisor. If you’re having trouble connecting with your boss, try these five tips.

1. Communicate. An effective relationship starts with effective communication. Talk to your boss and let them know your career goals, strengths, and motivators. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with your tasks, and let your supervisor know when you need their feedback on projects.

2. Build Trust. Positive relationships are built on trust. If you say you’re going to do something, then do it. Keep your boss informed on your projects and never cover up mistakes or errors. Be honest and dependable. Let your boss know they can count on you.

3. Keep a Positive Attitude. A bad attitude can ruin anyone’s career faster than having a lack of experience. So, it’s important to always smile and maintain a can-do attitude, even when you don’t want to. Avoid people who may cause you to become negative, and instead, focus on how you can become a positive influence.

4. Listen. If you take the time to truly listen to what your boss is saying – without rolling your eyes – you might just learn something you didn’t know before. Face it, your boss got to their position for a reason, so listen to them so you can learn what you need to know to improve your career.

5. Offer Help. Bosses love an employee who offers to help on projects that aren’t their own. If you have time to take on additional work, let your boss know you can help them on that task they’ve wanted to get off the ground for months. Increase your value and show your boss that you’re a team player by offering a helping hand.

No matter if your boss is the world’s best or the world’s worst boss, ultimately, your career success is up to you. So, start by embracing the responsibility to take steps to get along with your boss to achieve your professional goals.

Do you have stories of how you’ve turned a negative situation with your boss into a positive one? Share your ideas in the comments section below.

Or, have you ever had a boss so bad no amount of trying has helped? If so, we want to know. Submit your story now!

Good Ole’ Fashion Job Search Tips

With fast-paced technology and social media sites exploding all around us, it’s no wonder job seekers spend the majority of their time submitting résumés online and using networking sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook to conduct their job search.

As a professional in the communications world, I understand first-hand the importance of social media and the purpose it provides job seekers, employers, and businesses across the world. Often, I recommend these vehicles to job seekers who are looking to make connections. Although the web is a very powerful tool, it’s not the only way. My brother reminded me of that just the other day.

After months of searching for jobs online, he finally decided to go back to the basics. He hit the streets with his freshly printed résumé and went door-to-door. One week later, he found a job – not just any job, but a well paying job.

So, what that tells me is that it’s not only important to use the internet and network, but it’s equally important to get out there and hit the streets, going face-to-face with the people who make the hiring decisions.

So, whether you’re from a younger generation or if you’re part of the seasoned workforce, don’t underestimate the power of the good ole’ fashioned job search advice.

  1. Update your résumé frequently to highlight your strengths and sell your skills. 
  2. Dress for success by putting on your best interview outfit.
  3. Make a list of the places you want to submit your résumé to.
  4. Call the company you want to work for to inquire about job openings and to get the name of the director of human resources.
  5. Hit the streets. Go to each of the places on your list, walk in the front door, and request to speak with the HR director using his or her name. You never know, the front desk receptionist might think you have an appointment, especially if you got a name from an earlier phone call.

If you’re only searching for jobs online – you’re competing with millions of other job seekers. Plus, you might miss out on some job opportunities that aren’t posted online. So, separate yourself from the pack by using some traditional techniques.

Either way, you can get your résumé in their hands with a face-to-face meeting and have a contact person to follow up with. It might not work every time, but hey, it does work. Just ask my brother!

3 Benefits of Getting a Summer Job

Every summer, thousands of people take on summer jobs to generate extra cash. And, this summer is no different. But, earning extra cash isn’t the only benefit of landing a summer job. Check out these three benefits of having summer jobs and start looking today.

1. Possibility of Full-Time Work. According to CareerBuilder’s Annual Summer Job Forecast, 23% of employers plan to hire workers specifically for the summer months. And, of those 23%, nearly 56% of employers said they would consider hiring summer employees for full-time positions later on. So, if you’re looking for continued employment opportunities, working a summer job can help you get your foot in the door.

2. Building Your Résumé. Hiring managers like to see lots of work experience, regardless of industry, on an applicant’s résumé. In addition to the skills you can learn at your summer job, showing a potential employer that you’re versatile, well-rounded, and capable of holding down a job will help you in the interview process.

3. Exploring a Career Path. If you’re undecided about your future, working a summer job in a variety of industries can help you shape your career path. You can experience a variety of environments, positions, and companies that interest you. Summer jobs also give you the opportunity to pursue passions outside of your day-to-day job, and can potentially lead you to your dream job.

Working a summer job can benefit more than just your pocket book, it can benefit your future. So, remember these benefits of a summer job when considering whether or not you should find one. To learn about summer job opportunities near you, contact your local Express office.