Tag Archives: confidence

Persistence in the Job Search

Persistence_In_Job_Search_webimageWhether you’ve been searching for a job for just a few days or more than a year, it’s easy to become discouraged. The continual hunt for new openings, tweaking your resume over and over, rewriting your cover letter for the hundredth-time, and going through the roller coaster of emotions is enough to make anyone want to give up. But giving up isn’t how you land a job.

Unfortunately, millions of other Americans have stopped being persistent and have fallen into defeat. This current phenomenon is the focus of a recent Express Employment Professionals white paper. The Great Shift highlights the recent decline in America’s labor force participation rate, which describes the percentage of working-age adults that are either actively searching for a job or currently working. Today, the rate stands at 63.4%, a level not seen since the 1970s. As the white paper points out, that rate means “among the estimated 89.9 million Americans not in the labor force as of July 2013, at least 6.6 million still want a job.”

Those are some pretty bleak numbers. To get the full picture of the situation and learn why it’s happening, you can check out Express white paper.

It would be easy to let these facts dissuade you from continuing your hunt. However there is something that sets you apart from those millions of Americans, and that one thing is you. While you may not be able to give yourself a job, you do have the ability to NOT give up. Staying hopeful and remaining persistent is the name of the game, and there are some practical ways to keep yourself from losing momentum.

Set Goals
Searching for a job is practically a full-time job in its own rite, so treat it like one. Set daily and weekly goals for yourself, such as spending a certain amount of time each day looking through online job boards or applying for a specific number of positions per week. This will keep you moving forward and give you achievable short-term targets to hit along the way.

Review Your Skills
If you haven’t already, take an inventory of your skills. Consider both your hard skills, like education and work experiences, and your soft skills, such as time management and flexibility. Are there skills listed in the jobs you’ve been applying for that you lack? Do you have the top three hard skills employers want to see in a job candidate? If there are areas you need to work on, make a plan to grow those specific skills as you continue the hunt.

Check Your Expectations
No one wants to be in a job they’re over-qualified for, but turning down a job when you’re out of work just because it doesn’t meet your expectations isn’t the best move. In the argument between underemployed and unemployed, underemployed wins out. So don’t derail your job search by saying “no thank you” to a legitimate job and then buying into the idea that there is nothing out there. You can always take the job and still keep looking.

Don’t let yourself become another worker who’s given up and called it quits. Being persistent will pay off in the end. Share your ideas for staying positive and persistent during a job search in the comments section below.

Express Your Appreciation for Co-workers

Show AppreciationIf you’ve ever worked in a department with other employees or as part of a team on a project, chances are, someone has helped you out somewhere along the way. From showing you how to complete a task to lending you advice on a project, co-workers often provide guidance and support as you work together to get the job done. Building good workplace habits, such as expressing gratitude, is a great way to build rapport. A little appreciation goes a long way, so make sure to show your gratitude for the help you receive from your co-workers. This doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are three simple ways you can express your thanks any time of year.

Say Thanks
The easiest way to express your gratitude is to simply say thank you. Whether you express your appreciation verbally, through an e-mail, or in a handwritten note, saying thank you to your helpful co-worker shows that you value their help and recognize that you might not have been able to complete your assignment without their assistance.

Share Recognition
If your department or team hosts weekly or monthly meetings, recognize your co-worker for their assistance by formally thanking them in front of your supervisor and other co-workers. A small gesture like this can be very meaningful.

Return the Favor
One of the best ways to show your appreciation for someone’s help is to return the favor. If they need help on a project or advice on a task you’ve completed before, offer to guide them through it. When you have skills or experience to offer, take the opportunity to share your knowledge. This demonstrates not only that you’re thankful for the help, but that you’re the type of person who is willing to lend a hand.

Expressing your appreciation for your co-workers helps build your team. So, make sure to recognize your co-workers the next time they offer to step in to help you out. Your acknowledgement can inspire your co-workers to give more and help others more often.

The Job Search Can Build Self-Esteem

Self Exteem Job SearchThe job search is commonly associated with stress and fear. When it seems like the rejection letters pile up as months go on, even the most confident of job seekers can feel their confidence drain. I can remember that feeling of defeat during my job search when I received more rejection letters than bills.

Author Virginia Sullivan shares a different story on the Huffington Post. She explains a personal journey of how unemployment and searching for a job built her self-esteem and made her a better person. Check out the link below to read how she found light at the end of the tunnel. Do you agree with her? How would your journey differ? Let us know in the comment section below.



Stand Your Ground Against Workplace Bullying

Workplace BullyingWhen most people think of bullying, they picture the high school football player stuffing the lonely computer geek in a locker or the elementary school tormenter forcing the new kid at the playground to give him some lunch money. What most don’t want to admit is that bullying goes beyond schoolyard antics. Workplace bullying is very real and can greatly increase stress levels, panic attacks, and even depression.

In a study in the Journal of Occupational Health  Psychology, 71% of respondents reported experiencing workplace bullying during the past five years. It’s easy to believe bullying in the workplace doesn’t exist because grown adults should be above those types of childish antics, but it happens more than you think. It happens in the form of aggressive communication like insults or threats, manipulation like withholding paid time off, sabotaging others, and avoiding contact, or acts of humiliation like spreading false rumors, playing harsh practical jokes, or talking bad about someone to make others look good to management.

If you’ve been bullied at work, you may feel like you have no means of defending yourself or have no idea where to go for help. It seems all too real that you receive punishment while the bully goes unpunished or without reprimand. But fear no more! Here are ways you can make a stand to overcome bullying in the workplace.

Check Policies and Procedures
It’s best to take your bullying issues to counselors or organizations that are trained in dealing with these types of issues. It’s important not to make claims or allegations about someone bullying you to those who are not involved with handling these types of situations. Depending on your industry, you might have a Contact, Grievance, or Human Resources Officer or Union Official. They should be able to handle your issue as quickly as possible in a no-blame, confidential manner.

It’s also a good idea to keep a written record of incidents involving the bully that includes date, time, persons involved and present, and what was said or done. The records shouldn’t be used as leverage against the bully, but may be useful later if more formal steps need to be taken.

You can also check whether your employer has a policy and complaint resolution procedure for workplace bullying. It may be available in your employer’s induction package, included in the in-house newsletters, or displayed on notice boards. Depending on your field, there may also be grievance procedures in your industrial award or employment agreement.

Mind Your Mentor
If you want to deal with the situation before it has to result in a formal complaint, you can always seek the advice from a trusted mentor or supervisor who has dealt with being bullied or managed employees who were bullies. Avoid using names when talking to your mentors so they don’t get involved with the situation. You should also avoid talking about it to fellow co-workers or recruiting them to your side. The way you handle the situation professionally and maturely will allow them to make their own judgment.

Confront With Care
If you feel safe and comfortable doing so, you can make it clear to the bully, in a professional manner, that the behavior is unacceptable and unwanted, and will not be tolerated. Sometimes not saying anything only fuels the continued torment and could possible get worse if you stay silent.

Don’t sink to a bully’s level – stay as calm as possible and refrain from yelling or threatening. This type of confrontation is what many bullies look for and it will encourage them to come back for more. Just because you avoid using the same tactics a bully uses doesn’t mean you should show weakness. Be confident and stern but also professional and courteous.

Spread the Word
Bullies are trying to tear you down for their personal gain. One way to fight that is to demonstrate how good of an employee you are. Let your managers know how your projects are going and share what you’ve accomplished in the past few months. Bullies often try to spread rumors about their victims underperforming, but will fall on deaf ears if your supervisors are aware of how much you’ve accomplished.

Your co-workers can also be a great support group. While you shouldn’t involve them in your conflict or rally them to your side, it’s important to foster and grow your workplace relationships so the bully can’t isolate your or make you feel isolated.

The days of schoolyard torment are over. You shouldn’t have to go to work in fear of other co-workers. It is a problem in many workplaces, but depending on your area, it’s illegal and you don’t have to tolerate it with these guidelines. What kind of bullies have you stood up to? Tell us your stories in the comments below.

Unlock Your Inner Memorization Abilities

Nelson Dellis was your average guy. He never had the best memory and frequently experienced trouble remembering names, places, and other information that was quickly presented to him. Does this sound like you at times? Perhaps you go to a networking event, trade show, or meeting and get so bombarded with names, faces, ideas, and other facts that it feels like data is going in one ear and out the other.

Nelson’s grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and eventually passed away in 2009. At that point, he became concerned for his future and took it upon himself to strengthen his mind. He started to research and discovered stories of people with average memory training their minds to do amazing things. Nelson became inspired to learn these techniques to see how far he could push his mind.

In March of 2012, Nelson’s hard work and determination helped him win the USA Memory Championship – for the second consecutive year.  He even set the new U.S. record for speed number memory.

The key to the story is that you don’t have to become a national champion to improve your memory at work or on the job search. Being able to retain information, especially facts given to you rapidly with little time to process the information, is a valuable skill to have in the workplace or job market. You can appear more competent and intelligent when you can quickly adapt to any terms, slang, or jargon being thrown around that you aren’t familiar with.

Improving your memory can also give you a boost of confidence when networking or interviewing because you won’t be focused on remembering the details, but enjoying the conversation and connection with others instead. You can also be better engaged with those you talk to because you’ll be better able to remember comments and information given to you, and then mention them in a later interview or conversation. This will help those talking to you know you are really paying attention and care about them.

Nelson summed up the benefits of improving memory when he said, “…names and faces. I’m very good at remembering just lists of things that I have to do. It’s very useful. And when I go out into, say, a meeting, an interview, or a social setting, I know that you can give me information and I can spew it back to you, if need be. And that’s a really comforting feeling and allows me to be a little more confident.”

What are some techniques you have used to help better remember names or other types of information? Sound off in the comments section below.

Interviewing for the Shy and Introverted

Shy introvert waiting for interviewThroughout the year, we’ve covered different aspects of the job search through the eyes of job seekers who are introverted and shy. From networking to searching, there are strategies and methods to help bring out the talents and strengths introverts have.

One aspect of the job search that can be the most dreaded for shy job seekers and the most draining for the introverted seeker is the interview. Taking 30 minutes or more to be asked questions, talking about yourself, and trying to promote how much better your skills and accomplishments are than the competition can be enough to make anyone shudder in terror. But, take confidence in knowing that introverted and shy job seekers can shine their brightest during the interview.

Embrace Your Inner Strengths
Outgoing and assertive job seekers may seem like they’re the total package, but the more internal and quiet job seekers have talents that are just as appealing to employers, especially in an interview. Introverts often give deeper and better answers to interview questions because they tend to be better listeners and observers. Instead of rattling off the first thing that comes to mind, you can internalize the answer and insight into situations and people that the extroverts don’t catch, which boosts your presentation.

Make a List and Check it Twice
It’s important to make a checklist of everything you need to have and do when interviewing. Having it written down will keep you focused without wasting time and energy storing it all in your head.

Make sure you have your clothes, résumé, company fact sheet, route to the interview, parking spot, and traffic and travel time ready. You’ll want to leave nothing to chance so you don’t have to rush. Feeling rushed can make an introverted person lose valuable energy quickly, or cause a shy person to stumble on their confidence.

Keep Expectations Reasonable
Shy people tend to put too much pressure on themselves when doing activities or actions most consider routine or normal. When it comes to an interview, especially for a highly desirable job, it’s easy for someone who’s introverted or shy to have a “do or die” mentality. Introverts can stop listening and focus more on trying to guess what the interviewer wants to hear instead of the honest answer. You’re trying to see if the employer is a good match for you, not get an instant job offer after every interview.

Two Heads Are Better Than One
Extroverts are generally more confident when they are out of their comfort zones. Confidence is a huge issue with shy job seekers and the insecurity can make your body language appear standoffish and cold.  Next time, take a good friend out to breakfast or lunch before the interview and then hang out after. Having someone providing encouragement can go a long way in helping you keep your nerves from fraying.

Out-Prepare Your Competition
A shy job seeker’s self-consciousness is often their downfall. One of the best ways to build confidence is to practice interview questions. There are several resources full of different questions that can help you prepare. Figure out answers that fit your goals, in your voice, and put them on note cards to help you remember and practice. It may feel silly, but knowing the material helps calm introverted and shy job seekers and helps you sound better than anyone else who could be winging it.

There is interview success for shy and introverted job seekers. What are some ways you have built your confidence or displayed your strengths as an introvert when interviewing?

5 Qualities That Make Hiring Managers Say “WOW!”

Wow_march2012_webWhen you go in for an interview, what will set you apart from your competition? Odds are, the other hopefuls interviewing for the position have as much, if not more, experience than you. How can you impress recruiters and prove to them that you are the right person for the job?

They want to see if you’re the right fit for the company. They’re looking between the lines of your résumé for what you have beyond your work experience. To really make a good impression, you should project certain qualities that will make you a more desirable candidate. What qualities are they, you ask? Well, here are five of them that can make a recruiter or interviewer say “Wow!”


There are countless books, websites, and seminars about the best kinds of answers to interview questions. Job seekers are asked these questions to see if they have the ability to answer them competently. But, they’re also looking for something more. Many hiring managers want to see passion for their company, the position, and the industry. They want to know why candidates are truly excited about the opportunity, rather than viewing it as just another job interview. The truly passionate candidates are not only likely to excel in their role, but will also remain involved in their responsibilities and motivate those around them.


Being professional is something that is hard to teach. It’s a mixture of motivation, presence, and hard and soft skills. To be professional, you have to project an image that you are actively listening to what recruiters are saying and take interest in the job.


You can really stand out among your competition when you do your homework. If you can demonstrate your interest in an employer and the issues they’re facing while showcasing your research skills, you can leave a lasting impression on hiring managers. Take the time to research and get to know the recruiter and interviewer, and you’ll find a quicker connection and develop a stronger rapport.


Confidence is a key component in every aspect of your job search. When networking or interviewing, it’s important to exhibit knowledge, modesty, openness, gratitude, and skilled verbal and written communication. Recruiters should be able to see that you can take tasks, jobs, or projects given to you and run with them. Prove that you are proactive and can handle the job requirements through your handshake, body posture, and communication skills.

Providing Humor

The hiring process can be a long and often trying process. Recruiters and hiring managers listen to the same pre-prepared answers from candidate after candidate. A job seeker with professionalism and a sense of humor lightens the atmosphere, but be careful if now you decide to use humor when talking to hiring managers. If humor isn’t a part of your everyday personality, think twice before taking it too far in an interview. If it doesn’t come naturally, there’s a bigger chance that it can backfire. You don’t have to crack jokes, but you can bring a light-hearted and happy attitude that can brighten the mood when talking to recruiters.

There are a lot of different things employers look for in a new hire. On top of work history, job experience, and specific skill sets, there are other traits that can help propel job candidates above the large number of job seekers vying for the same job. If you excel at any one of these five qualities, use it to your advantage. It could make the difference between silence and a call back. What are some ways you have shown one of the five traits when interviewing with an employer?