Revive Your Job Search: Find New Sources for Job Leads

Be sure to check out the previous tips in this series on making a great impression with your appearance and keeping your skills up-to-date.

Expand your job search.
Where are you looking for jobs? If you’ve been using the same two or three resources to research job opportunities, you need to broaden your search. Employers use different methods for getting the word out about their openings. That’s why, if you’re serious about landing a job, you need to try several different approaches.

Some employers only list their openings with staffing companies. Have you registered with your local Express office? Staffing companies are a great way to get an “in” for a job opportunity you normally wouldn’t hear about.

You should also work on networking within your profession.
Many job opportunities are spread through word of mouth. When you’re in the inner circle in your industry, you’ll have a much better chance to learn about these opportunities. To get more involved in your field, consider joining your local trade or professional organization. Subscribing to industry publications or visiting trade websites is another way to get the inside scoop. 

The job search can be a full-time job in itself. Improve your chances of scoring a great opportunity by concentrating on making a positive first impression, keeping your skills competitive and expanding your job search.

Revive Your Job Search: Freshen Up Your Skills

The first part of this series is on making a solid first impression with a professional appearance. To read it, click here.

Make sure your skills are competitive.
Every industry has its own set of rules for what skills are currently in demand. Do you know what employers in your field are looking for in an ideal candidate? If not, you need to find out. One way to do this is by carefully reviewing help-wanted ads and looking for a pattern. Highlight qualifications that you see listed repeatedly. These are the skills you need in order to attract the attention of hiring managers.

After you’ve determined what abilities are in high demand in your field, you’re ready for the next step – developing those skills. If your skills are weak in a particular area, that could be what’s keeping you from landing a job in your desired industry. Remember that you’re competing with many other candidates for open positions, and those with the best qualifications often receive top billing.

Perhaps you feel you don’t have the time, energy or finances to improve your skills. That’s not necessarily the case. Have you thoroughly researched what it would take for you to increase your qualifications? Most likely, the time and money you spend now to improve your professional abilities will pay off through better job opportunities in the future.

Revive Your Job Search: Dress for Success

Dress for SuccessHave you been looking for a job for quite some time? If you’re beginning to feel discouraged about your prospects, take heart – you can improve your odds of landing a good job quickly by following the tips below.

Let your appearance make a positive first impression.
Appearances matter. To compete in today’s job market you need to consider what your look is saying about you. When was the last time you updated your hairstyle and wardrobe? If it’s been more than five years, it’s time to get a makeover. Sporting a dated look makes employers wonder if your skills and ideas may be old news as well.

If you’re not sure what’s in style, turn on the TV or flip through some magazines to get a few ideas. Then go to your local department stores and look for bargains on classic business garments such as button down shirts, tailored jackets and black trousers and skirts.

Once you’ve got the clothes, it’s time to take a look at your hair. Your hairstyle is one of the first things people notice about your appearance, so make an appointment at a reputable hair salon to get an updated look. Hair stylists can also help groom unruly beards, sideburns and mustaches in a fashionable way.

Parts 2 and 3 of this series will touch on keeping your skills up-to-date and expanding your job search.

Get Ahead by Becoming a Team Player

being a team playerThe workplace is made up of many individuals working toward a common purpose. As in sports, in order to have a winning team, the players must work together to achieve their goals.

Get Recognized.
Do you want to get noticed as an MVP? Then focus on developing a reputation as an employee who strives to help others succeed. When you build up those around you, you’ll foster good will among your co-workers and demonstrate to management that you’re a natural leader.

Be a Team Cheerleader.
When you go out of your way to cheer on your teammates and help them achieve the team’s objectives, it gets noticed. Your boss will be impressed when you demonstrate leadership skills like mentoring, training and encouraging those around you. And remember, many people can do good work as an individual but it takes an exceptional employee to be able to build others up.

Offer Your Support.
To become a better relationship builder, motivator and leader, look for opportunities to help your teammates. Is a co-worker stressed out by a tight deadline? Offer to pitch in to help complete the project. Does your boss seem discouraged? Lift their spirits by sharing good news or reminding them of recent team successes.

What type of team member are you? Do you cheer on co-workers’ successes or do you long for more individual recognition?

Are You Trainable? 3 Qualities You Need To Learn Anything

You may have noticed that a job offer or promotion doesn’t always go to the candidate with the most experience or best training. Instead, employers often hire and promote the candidate who seems most willing and able to learn the new role.

You might be asking yourself why a manager would ever pass up on a candidate with greater experience or more up-to-date skills. The reason is simple, really. While work history and capabilities are important, they’re no match for a willing attitude. In any new position there will always be new things for the employee to learn. That’s why the candidate who’s most trainable is often the preferred choice.

Becoming more trainable will not only make it easier to learn a new job, it will also boost your career by demonstrating to employers that you’re ready for any challenge. If you’re not sure how teachable you are, review the traits below and find out. If you fall short, don’t worry – once you know where you’re lacking, you can work on making improvements.

1. Enthusiasm – Eagerness to learn is a quality employers value highly in job candidates as well as internal recruits. A go-getter attitude makes learning any job easier, and enthusiasm increases a hiring manager’s confidence in potential employees’ abilities. 

If your outlook toward work tends to be more ho-hum than vroom vroom, you can kick up your career a notch by displaying enthusiasm during interviews or at your current job.

Remember, it’s no fun to train someone who doesn’t want to learn. That’s why when someone comes off disinterested, it’s no wonder employers are skittish about offering a position. So, slap a smile on your face and show some drive by demonstrating excitement about your work.

2. Humility – It’s impossible to learn new things if you don’t think those around you have anything to teach you. Author C.S. Lewis once said, “A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you’re looking down, you can’t see something that’s above you.”

In order to be trainable, you have to come to new situations with an acceptance that you don’t know everything. Being humble isn’t the same thing as putting yourself down or having low self esteem. It’s important to feel good about yourself and to display confidence, but that doesn’t mean stepping on other people or refusing to listen to their instructions.

You can show your willingness to learn by valuing the opinions of others and asking for advice from time to time. When employers see that you respect the knowledge of those around you, they’ll be more inclined to hire and promote you.

3. Commitment – Learning new things isn’t always fun. Sometimes, training can be frustrating or boring. But, dedication is what enables you to overcome hurdles and succeed in a new role.

Do you stick it out even when times get tough? Hiring managers know that there’s a learning curve associated with any new position. That’s why they want to hire and promote individuals who are willing to stay the course.

You can increase your level of professional dedication by always following through on your commitments, turning projects in on time and keeping your word. Employers will be convinced of your perseverance when you can show a track record of dependability.

Do you want to be an in-demand employee? If so, focus on becoming more trainable by demonstrating enthusiasm, humility and commitment. Your efforts will be rewarded with interest and respect from employers.

Co-worker to the Rescue! 3 Secrets to Creating Allies at Work

Build Allies at WorkWho’s got your back at work? No matter what your profession is, it’s helpful to have an ally in the workplace. At times, every job can be competitive, stressful or difficult, that’s why having someone close by who supports and encourages you is so beneficial.

Build relationships. Creating on-the-job allies takes time and effort. Just working in close quarters several times a week isn’t enough to transform a co-worker into someone who will be there for you when times get tough. To develop meaningful relationships with those around you, be on the lookout for colleagues who are accessible and willing to invest time in you.

For relationships to flourish, you must also be willing to give of yourself to those around you. Look for opportunities to lend a helping hand or a listening ear. Smile when you pass co-workers in the hall, strike up conversations with employees from other departments or surprise teammates with breakfast or lunch one day. These small gestures of kindness are the building blocks for solid workplace friendships.

Don’t take advantage of the friendship. Once you’ve formed a few connections at work, the next step is nurturing and deepening the ties. An essential aspect of any relationship is respect. And one way you can show esteem for your co-workers is by respecting unspoken boundaries.

Your new friends are probably more than happy to help you out when you’re in a pinch or in need of some guidance, but be sure that you’re not crossing the line with your requests for assistance. Before you ask for a favor, always remember the golden rule, and treat others the way you’d like to be treated.

Remember to give and take. To have an ally, you must also be an ally. That means you have to be willing to occasionally stick your neck out on your friends’ behalf or go the extra mile when they’re in need of help.

Reciprocating kindness is an essential part of developing allies at work, or anywhere else. There’s no need to keep score of who did something nice last, but a general effort should be made to look out for others’ best interests.

Having people at work who support you can make a big difference in your level of success and your job satisfaction. So make the extra effort to be a friend to a co-worker today. You never know when you might need the favor returned.

Do you have good relationships with those you work with? What do you think it takes to be a good friend in the workplace?

3 Tricks for Reducing Workplace Stress

reduce stress at workDo you work in an environment that’s filled with tension or chaos? If you do, you probably struggle to feel relaxed and focused while at work. Although you may not be able to change the atmosphere around you, you can alter the way you react to it. Following the tips below can help reduce the amount of stress you experience at work.

Let it roll off your back. While it can be difficult not to take a sharp word or a careless act personally, staying calm really is the best way to react. If a co-worker or manager says or does something that gets under your skin, focus on redirecting your attention. You can do this by thinking about something that makes you feel happy or relaxed. Also, try to remind yourself that the person probably didn’t mean to be hurtful or rude, but acted without thinking.

Accepting people’s flaws and forgiving them when they offend you will not only improve your workplace relationships, it will also dramatically reduce your level of stress.

Focus on one day at a time. It’s easy to get caught up in worrying about what tomorrow holds or rehashing something that went wrong in the past.  But, when you fret about the future or the past, you waste today. Instead of always looking ahead of or behind you, keep your eyes focused on the task at hand.

It’s much easier to deal with problems at work when you take things one day at a time. If you’re stewing about another day’s concerns, stop and tell yourself that you will only deal with the stressors that are currently in your path.

Take a breather. When you’re overwhelmed by the situation around you, it’s time to take a step back and clear your head. Even if you’re busy, sometimes it’s necessary to take a break in order to give yourself a little distance from a problem. A few minutes of forced relaxation can help you see an issue in a new light, which in the long run can actually save time.

A few good ways to get away and relax in the heat of the moment are to go for a brisk walk, head to a quiet room and meditate or go to your car and listen to relaxing music.

Stress is hard on the body and mind. Workplace tension also reduces your job satisfaction. That’s why it’s so important to make an extra effort to bring calm into a hectic day. Following the advice above can help you develop a more relaxed mindset and create a tranquil work environment.

What type of stress do you have at your job? How do you respond to it?  Share your stories in the comments section.