Tag Archives: thank you

How to Recognize Your Champion Mentors

Young architect taking direction from senior colleagueDid you know that January was National Mentoring Month? If you missed the celebration, it’s not too late to thank the mentors in your life who’ve helped you achieve personal or professional success.

Return the favor

Mentors usually take time out of their own schedules to help you accomplish a task or learn a new skill. To recognize and appreciate their sacrifice, find ways you can return the favor. If you don’t think you have anything to offer your mentor, think again. While it’s true you may not possess the same depth of knowledge or experience, your time can be just as valuable. Many mentors offer their help and guidance without expecting anything in return, but even little examples of appreciation can go a long way.

Make a list of things you can do to help your mentor in his or her everyday life. For example, if you’re really good at planning, offer to help plan their upcoming vacation. Or if you’re great with animals, offer to watch their dogs while they’re away. Think about the industry your mentor is in, and where he or she is in their career. If your mentor is in a leadership role, consider sending them relevant, insightful articles about leadership. Or, forward articles about the trends in their particular industry, so they don’t have to spend time searching on their own.

Pass it on

Do you have skills, experience, or knowledge in a particular industry or craft? Perhaps you’re a really great writer, you excel in math, or you know the ins and outs of a popular computer program. If so, have you considered becoming a mentor?

As a thank you to those who have helped you along your path, you may be able to pass the favor on to someone else. If you’ve never considered becoming a mentor, take a few minutes to list all of the things you excel in or the skills that help you stand out. Can you teach those skills to others? Do you have a hobby people want to learn? Did your mentor do such a great job guiding you that you now feel capable of doing the same for someone else? Whatever your unique skills are, explore how you may be able to pass them on to others.

Endorse your mentor

If you’re on LinkedIn, you’ve probably noticed the endorsement capabilities of the social network. Endorsing allows you to publicly praise someone you’ve worked with so others know they excel in those areas. For example, you might endorse a co-worker with a knack for creating spreadsheets. Or, your boss may endorse you for your organizational skills. To thank your mentors, consider finding them on LinkedIn, connecting, and endorsing their skill sets.

You can provide endorsements in various areas, but ensure that you’re being honest about the ones you choose. While providing endorsements is a wonderful gesture, it’s important to make sure your mentor promotes the skills you select. You can also write your mentor a reference for others to view on LinkedIn. Remember to keep it positive, specific, and encouraging.

Thank your mentor

It goes without saying that you should be thankful for your mentor. It’s an essential part of maintaining a great relationship and showing appreciation. Even if you don’t have the ability to mentor someone else, return the favor, or provide LinkedIn endorsements, and you can always send a thank-you note.

Take a moment to write a nice letter, send a simple handwritten card, or draft an email. Your words of appreciation will go a long way with your mentor, and may even encourage them to mentor someone else. Let your mentor know how they’ve changed you for the better, inspired you, or helped you succeed. Share your wins and accomplishments, and explain how they’ve helped you get there. Your success is just as important to your mentor, and chances are, they want to celebrate with you.

Find a mentor today
If you don’t have a mentor, it’s not too late to find one. No matter what stage of life you’re in, or where you are at on your career path, you can always benefit from the knowledge and experience of others. You may find a mentor in a local industry organization, through networking events, or at your school. There are plenty of opportunities, so remember to keep your eyes open for those who can guide you and help you succeed.

Do you have a mentor? How do you recognize and appreciate their support? Share your tips in the comments section below!

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

Why You Need a Thank You Note

thank_mentor_webYou’ve just finished a job interview and you’re feeling great about your chances of landing the position. Walking out of the building confidently, you play through the interview in your mind, remembering the questions you answered well and a few areas where you think you could have done better.

But what’s next? What are you going to do over the next few days to help land the job and start this new path in your career? If sending a thank you note to the interviewer wasn’t at the top of your list, it’s time to make some adjustments.

The Science Behind “Thank You”
Hopefully, you’ve experienced the joy of being thanked for doing a good job or helping someone. As it turns out, that feeling isn’t just a passing emotion, it’s actually a drug produced by your brain.

A study conducted at the University of North Carolina found that when you have an interaction with someone else and gratitude is shown, an increased level of oxytocin is produced in your body. Known as the “love hormone”, oxytocin has an impact on social behaviors including relaxation, trust, and stability. This hormone is thought to be a major component in relationships, so taking the time to show gratitude toward a potential employer has an obvious benefit.

What to Include
As you sit down to write your thank you note, start by thanking the interviewer for their time and the chance to meet with them, but don’t stop there. Make sure to remind them about your strengths and highlight one of your stronger answers from the interview. If they had a question about the skills you can bring to the job and you had a great response, remind them of it and expand on why you’re interested in the company.

If there are qualities or areas you wish you’d had more time to speak about during the interview, the thank you note is the perfect time to bring those up.

Keep the note short, two to three paragraphs, and don’t forget to proofread it several times. This is another chance to make a good impression, so don’t let spelling or grammatical errors set you back.

The Next Step, Not The Last
There were likely multiple steps to take along the way to landing your job interview, followed by the time it took to prepare for your interview. Consider your thank you note the next step in the process of getting the job, but don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s your last.

Write down notes on the questions you were asked, including the ones you know you can do better on in the next interview. If there was anything the interviewer asked for you to send, like a sample of previous work or a list of references, make sure you include those with your thank you note.

This is also the time to be patient. Be sure to pay attention to the time frame the interviewer gives you for making their decision. If they say it will be two weeks, wait two weeks before checking back to see how the process is going.

Each interview process is different, but there’s a chance that you will be called in for a second interview that includes other leaders from the company. Take the notes you wrote down from your interview and find areas where you can strengthen your answers. Then, research more about the company and think about the questions you want to ask the interviewer. Great questions will help you make a great impression with leaders.

What other tips would you give to someone sending a thank you note? What have you included in your thank your notes after an interview? Let us know in the comments section.

How to Say Thank You to Your References

Thank You CardIf you’ve recently landed a new job, you probably didn’t get there by yourself. After all, your resume doesn’t impress without references willing to verify your experience, expertise, and talents.

So, it’s very important to say thank you to your references. However, the type of thank you depends on your relationship with the reference and the company culture they work in.

While email has become a very accepted form of communication, it also takes little or no effort. To really show your appreciation, you might want to go a step further.

Consider the Relationship

A Corporate Connection – If your reference is a former manager or mentor who works in a traditional environment, consider a typed, personal letter on your professional stationery.

Be sure to say “thank you” as opposed to the more casual “thanks.”

A Colleague and Friend – If your reference is a friend as well as former colleague—a part of your “work family”— consider sending a greeting card. Cards make the recipient feel special. Your message should be as warm and familiar as your friendship.

High Tech Connections – If your reference works for a very modern company that runs everything on the cloud, your thank you should reflect that culture. An app like Thank You Pro (App Store for iOS) or Thank You Messages (Google Play for Android) makes it easy to create a digital expression of your gratitude.

Finally, make sure your message includes the following:

  1. A genuine expression of appreciation
  2. Your new job title and business contact information
  3. A reminder that you would like to stay in touch

In an age when the average worker stays in a job for fewer than five years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, you can never have too many professional contacts or references.

It’s Time to Thank Your Mentor

thank_mentor_webIn America, Thank Your Mentor Day is Thursday, Jan. 21, and is an initiative of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. To celebrate this day, many people will reach out to their mentors and thank them for the encouragement, guidance, and wisdom they’ve given. It’s a day for mentees to recognize and give thanks for the positive impact their mentors have left on their lives.

Do you have a mentor? Consider thanking them for all they’ve done to help you grow in your personal or professional career by:

  • Sending a thank-you note or email
  • Expressing your gratitude on social media
  • Sending your mentor flowers or other gifts
  • Taking your mentor to lunch

You can also write a tribute to your mentor on the Who Mentored You? Facebook page. If you write about your mentor, consider sending them a link so they can see the impact they’ve left on your life.

If you want to send a thank-you card, you can download one by clicking here.

And remember, passing on what your mentor has helped you learn may be one of the best ways to say thanks. You can reach out to a young person in your community and make a positive impact on their life just as your mentor has done for you.

How do you show thanks to your mentor? Let us know in the comments section below!

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

What Does Your Job Search Competition Look Like?

12-28 Competition2When it comes to your job search, competition is inevitable. Job seekers are in a fierce battle for quality positions, and you may wonder how a recruiter chooses between two similar applicants.

Although no two cases are alike, there are ways to make sure you stand out from the crowd. Consider these tips:

Dress the Part
To get the job you want, you must look the part. The old saying “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have” is often-quoted for a reason. Hiring managers will evaluate you almost instantly based on how you dress. When you look your best and as professional as possible, you’ve already beat the first hurdle.

Ask Intelligent Questions
At the end of most interviews, you are asked if you have any questions. Take advantage of this opportunity to ask thought-provoking questions about the company and its culture. A good tip is to visit the “about us” section on the company website to find topics to ask about. Not having questions implies a lack of engagement or interest in the business.

Share Your Achievements
When interviewing, share stories that demonstrate your work abilities, your personality, and your successes. If you can “show, not tell” how you are a perfect candidate for the position, you’ll stand out from your competition. Don’t just rattle off a dry list of skills. Instead, tell a tale that shows how those skills helped your former employer.

Follow Up With Current and Former Interviewers
As soon as an interview is over, send a thank you letter that summarizes your abilities and skills. However, don’t forget about contacting businesses that you’ve interviewed with in the past, especially if you were shortlisted for a position that went to another candidate. Maybe the person they chose didn’t work out or maybe they have a new position open that is a good fit.

Make Sure You Stay Sharp
You can’t compare yourself with others, but you can compare yourself to your past. Are you learning new skills? Are you updating your resume and websites? Have you practiced your interview questions lately? It’s important to always keep improving.

In your job search, you can send in a cover letter and resume like everyone else, or you can take steps to stand out from the competition for all the right reasons. Do not beat yourself up by trying to compare yourself to other candidates, but be aware they too are looking for ways to stand out.

In what ways do you stand out from your job seeking competition? Share some tips with us in the comments section below!

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

The Power of the Interview Follow-Up

interview_followup_webWhen it comes to landing a job, never underestimate the power of the interview follow-up. In today’s world, the interview follow-up should be a powerful marketing tool designed to sell your skills and accomplishments while reminding an interviewer why you are perfect for the position.

A well-written and sincere thank-you letter can be one of the most powerful selling tools to convince recruiters that you’re the perfect fit for the job, even after the interview is over.

Because following up is so important, here are five tips to help you harness the power of the interview follow-up.

  1. Address specific problems or challenges in the organization.

After thanking the recruiter for his time, share how your experience and skills fill a need in the organization. For example, if a company has a problem with work flow, describe how your past experience included implementing a workflow solution that led to greater efficiency.

If lagging sales are the issue, remind the recruiter of your sales background and successes. Providing a solution to challenges discussed in the interview can be an effective way to stay remembered.

  1. Revisit key points from the interview.

If you were one of many candidates for the job, your interviewer may have trouble remembering the key details of your particular conversation. In your follow-up letter, emphasize the important points of your skills and background, and expand upon those skills as they relate to the business’ current needs.

  1. Give them something new to think about.

It never fails. Once you leave an interview, you beat yourself up about something important you forgot to share. A follow-up letter is the perfect time to bring up achievements, ideas, successful projects, or additional qualifications you may have forgotten about during the interview. In addition, this adds something new for the interviewer to consider when making a final decision.

  1. Offer solutions to any objections.

If the interviewer brought up any hesitation about hiring you, use the follow-up to address those issues. For instance, if you’ve never worked in media relations, but the position requires that, bring up previous experience that shows you can adapt. Talk about your public speaking skills and any media training that you’ve had. Express a desire and the ability to learn new tactics quickly and enthusiastically.

  1. Follow up the smart way.

If you haven’t heard back from the recruiter in the time they said they would make a decision, send a quick note asking if they need anything else from you. Don’t bug them, but asking this question shows that you’re still excited and interested in the position. You can even ask them questions like “What skills can I improve on for this position?” or “What does your ideal candidate look like?” This tactic implies that you picture yourself in the job and that you are thinking of the future.

A powerful follow-up to an interview can be as compelling as the interview itself. The valuable information you include in this process is important, so carefully read and edit all the material you send.

The power of a follow-up letter can tilt the scales in your favor, especially if the note contains substance that builds upon the interview.

What kind of thank-you notes or follow up actions have you done after an interview? Did it help? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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

The Results Are In: How Do You Wish Your Company Showed Appreciation to Employees?

results_show_appreciation_webThe holiday season is quickly approaching, and many companies are deciding how they’ll show appreciation to their employees this year. In a recent poll, we asked Movin’ On Up readers how they wish their employers, or future employers, showed appreciation this time of year.

According to the results, 29% of respondents would most appreciate a cash bonus, while 23% reported pay raises would be better incentives. Aside from monetary gifts like gift cards (6%), 16% of respondents picked days off or shortened holiday hours as their top choice.

Holiday parties received 6% of the vote, followed by non-monetary gift items at 1%. An additional 15% of respondents reported that a combination of items would be best received.

Participants also selected “Other” and respond with their own thoughts, including:

  • “Work-life balance”
  • “Incentive vacation time for employees with no sick days”
  • “Well-developed systems”
  • “Better benefits”
  • “Company profit sharing”
  • “A turkey or ham at Christmas to take home”

An overwhelming majority of people requested one thing in particular – appreciation. Responses included:

  • “Praise and acknowledgement”
  • “Just to hear someone from management say, ‘Thank you for doing a great job’”
  • “Respect”
  • “A thank you would go a long way”
  • “I’ve never heard a thank you”
  • “Saying thank you or I appreciate you”
  • “Email or verbal appreciation on a regular basis”
  • “Recognition”

These results are not far from last year’s, which revealed that 27% of respondents would most appreciate a cash bonus, followed by 13% who selected pay raises, and 9% who chose days off. Last year’s results also revealed that appreciation would go a long way with today’s workforce. In 2014, 31% of those who selected the “Other” option wrote that they wanted appreciation from their supervisors. This year, that number rose to 42%.

The results of the Movin’ On Up poll reveal some of the most powerful gifts are the easiest to give. From a turkey at Christmas to a thank-you email, sincerity is the gift that keeps on giving this holiday season.

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