Tag Archives: workplace

Interview: What is Your Greatest Weakness?

Interview_Weakness_April2014This is one of the most frequently asked and most dreaded questions in an interview. Although it’s nerve-racking, your answer can make or break your interview. When a hiring manager asks about your greatest weakness, it’s a time for them to learn about your character and a great opportunity for you to use the question to your advantage.

Jacquelyn Smith, a writer for Forbes shares, “It’s not a trick question and there’s no ‘right’ answer—but interviewers are looking for something specific in your response to this challenging question.” Here are some tips in conveying your greatest weakness while keeping your composure in a job interview.

Identify Your Weakness
First things first, what is your weakness? Be honest with yourself and identify what you’re not the best at ahead of time. If you’re not great with finances or if you’re not super organized, don’t be afraid to say it, but whatever you do, avoid mentioning a weakness that can crush your chances of landing the job. If you’re not exactly sure what the job entails, review the job description to see what the employer is looking for.

Be sure to formulate an answer that’s not generic. Hiring managers know that people aren’t perfect and they make mistakes. People have weaknesses; hiring managers just want to know how those weaknesses have been handled.

Turn a Negative into a Positive
While you’re sharing about your weakness in an interview, you can easily turn the attention to a great strength you have. A Forbes article shares, “Be prepared to give an example of a previous failure or weakness that you’ve successfully turned into a strength. Do not discuss areas of opportunity that you are still working on and have not yet fixed.” After talking about the way you’ve conquered a weakness in life, keep the focus of the conversation positive, so you can leave a lasting impression.

Strictly Business
Talking about your weaknesses and strengths allows you to open up and share about yourself, but be careful to not over share. Throughout your interview process, remember to keep your responses work-related. Do your best to stay centered on the topic and avoid personal drama. “Sure, everyone has got some, but companies want to ensure this won’t affect your job if you get hired. Besides, it’s considered completely inappropriate to bring personal drama into the business world,” says Smith.

What are some ways you’ve shared your greatest weakness in an interview? Share with us in the comments section below.

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

Be the Captain of Cool

Captn_OF_Cool_April2014We all have stress in our lives. Stress with relationships, finances, and work. According to the American Institute of Stress, job stress is far and away the major stress for American adults. 46% report that their workload causes stress while only 28% report relationship issues as a main source of stress.

Workplace-related stress has escalated progressively over the past few years and is the number one cause of stress for adults. The third annual Work Stress survey conducted by Harris Interactive found that 83% of Americans are stressed out by at least one thing about their jobs. A 10% increase over the previous study.

In order to grow in your career, it’s important to face and deal with stress the right way. Stress is inevitable and having an effective coping strategy could make a positive difference the next time you’re faced with stress.

Top Performers Know How to Manage Stress
Remaining calm under pressure has a direct link to performance according to Forbes magazine. Talentsmart study found that 90% of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress. Those top performers have well-planned strategies to use in stressful circumstances. Having a plan to help you “keep cool” under stress can lower your stress level regardless of what’s going on around you.

Why Managing Your Stress is Important to Productivity
Managing stress helps you stay focused on the task at hand, keeping you on track to meet deadlines and achieve goals.

New studies show that moderate stress can actually lead to cell growth in the brain’s learning center i.e. it can actually help you learn. To achieve this benefit from stress, it’s important to keep your stress levels manageable.

How You Can Manage Your Stress

Stay Positive. There are lots of ways to help manage stress from listening to music, to taking a break now and then, but one of the biggest ways you can control your stress levels is by finding things to be positive about. In a study from the University of California, people who worked daily to cultivate an attitude of gratitude for example experienced improved moods and energy. And that can have a big impact on reducing your stress hormone levels. Staying positive also means staying positive about stress.

Change Your Perception of Stress.
Instead of fearing stress, let it motivate you. The feelings that come with stress are often part of your body’s flight of fight response. Try to change your perception that stress is a bad thing and instead use it to push you forward. In one study where participants were asked to view videos that contained messages that stress could be helpful, had a better work performance than those that watched videos about stress being harmful.

As you continue to grow and develop in your career, you’ll take on more responsibilities, and as we all know, that can mean more stress too. So it’s important to learn how to manage that stress now to be successful in the future.

Did You Know?
Prolonged stress can cause serious physical harm. And can result in an increased risk of heart disease, depression, obesity, and decrease your cognitive performance.

There are many things that can cause stress at work, but there are just as many ways you can counter that stress. Maybe your desk is messy and that causes a trigger for stress. Perhaps scheduling your tasks or “to-do” list is causing stress. Whatever the culprit, there is a good chance your physical environment is affecting your stress level. Take time to organize your work space and schedule and see if that helps relieve some stress.

What are some successful ways you handle stress? Let us know in the comments section below. We’d also like to know what your biggest triggers of stress are at your workplace, so let your voice be heard by voting in our poll.

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

Cheer Up Your LinkedIn Profile

cheer_up_March2014We all spend time reading other peoples’ posts and updates on social media, but when is the last time you skimmed over your own profile and updated your information? Do you need to refresh your profile by adding new skills and work history, or do you need to delete some old things from your profile? Here are a few quick tips to cheer up your LinkedIn Profile.

What is Your LinkedIn Profile Saying About You?
Is your LinkedIn profile leaving an accurate and good impression on those who view it? A CareerBuilder study shows hiring managers are using social media to evaluate candidates’ character and personality traits outside the confines of the traditional interview process. When asked why they use social networks to conduct background research, hiring managers stated the following: 65% wanted to see if the candidate presents himself/herself professionally, 51% wanted to see if the candidate is a good fit for the company culture, 45% wanted to learn more about the candidate’s qualifications, 35% wanted to see if the candidate is well-rounded, and 12% wanted to look for reasons not to hire the candidate.

LinkedIn is a great social media tool for letting people in the professional arena learn more about you, your skills, and your work experience. So, where do you start?

Update Your Profile Picture
First things first, start with updating your profile picture. If your picture is more than five years old, it’s time for a new one. Make sure your photo is a head shot of you in business attire, not a picture of you with other people. Don’t forget to smile!

Freshen Up Your Summary
If you don’t have a professional summary, you need to write one. Don’t ever leave your summary blank. In fact, don’t leave any field blank on your profile. Your summary is one of the first things an employer sees when they look at your profile, which is a great way to introduce and present yourself. Take a quick look through your profile and professional summary to make sure you’re showcasing yourself and your abilities. Your summary doesn’t need to be long or in-depth, but it does need to point employers in the right direction. Keep in mind, your skills and information are searchable so you’ll want to use key words and descriptions that align with your industry.

Clean Up Your Group Lists
Joining groups on LinkedIn is a great way to grow your network. If your interests have changed since you first joined LinkedIn and you’d like to learn more about a different industry or company don’t hesitate to join their LinkedIn group. Cleaning up your old groups and add new ones can help you cheer up your LinkedIn profile.

Follow New People
Do you have professional role models that you look up to? See if those people have LinkedIn accounts and request to follow them. Following those you look up to and seeing their updates on your LinkedIn feed can help encourage you in your job search and keep you motivated during your career journey.

Cheering up your LinkedIn and other social media profiles might be just what you need to get noticed. These edits and updates can be done in a short amount of time, so cheer up your LinkedIn profile today. Have you landed a job by using LinkedIn? Let us know in the comments section below!

Resume Tips To Help You Get Lucky

Lucky_Resume_March2014When you’re trying to catch a potential employer’s eye, your resume has to stand out from the crowd. It has to have something extra, a little bit of magic that no other resume has. But, sometimes magic is hard to come by, and it can be difficult to find ways to make your resume distinct. So, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, here are seven tactics to add some luck to your job search.

Give Your Resume a Pinch
Less is more, so cut unnecessary content, eliminate meaningless phrases, and shape it to fit each job opening in order to get noticed.

Find the Pot o’ Gold with the Right Style
What you bring to the job is unique, which means you need to pick the resume style that best matches your work history, skills, and qualifications.

Show What You Have to Offer
Apply some eloquence to that meaningless objective statement and shift the focus to what you’ll bring to the job.

Make Your Competition Green With Envy
Your work history is the core of your resume, so make sure it’s strong and sculpted for the most attractive resume possible.

Treat Your References Like 4-Leaf Clovers
If you say “references available upon request” in your resume, make sure you have great references prepped and ready to vouch for you.

Follow the Rainbow to the Perfect Format
Do your research to ensure you know which electronic resume format – Word or PDF – works best for you and the job opening.

Check for Overlooked Shamrocks
Hiring managers expect a resume to contain certain elements, so give it one final look to ensure nothing’s missing.

Getting lucky in your job search starts with taking the time to fix up your resume so it can work it’s magic. After all, employers will never know what an amazing job candidate you are if your resume doesn’t grab their attention.

What have you done to make your resume stand out?  Share your own tips for building a golden resume in the comments section below.

4 Questions to Uncover If Your Workspace is Out of Control

out_of_control_desk_Feb2014When was the last time you paused and took a good look at your desk? Sure, you’re busy and work is crazy – we get that. But an out-of-control workspace is only going to make it worse. Your environment impacts your own productivity, efficiency, and attitude, as well those of your co-workers.

So how do you objectively determine if your workspace is just a little untidy or a complete mess? First, you have to stop running from one project to another and spend some time in your workspace. Take a good look around. Then ask yourself these four questions to uncover if it’s out of control.

How does your workspace make you feel?
As you gaze across your desk, how do you feel? If the state of your workspace leaves you feeling assured, confident, and in control, then you’re probably in good shape. But, if the sight of your workspace induces feelings of panic, uncertainty, or insecurity, then it’s probably out of control.

Does your space hinder your productivity?
Now think about how you work in your area. How often do you waste time searching for files, digging for a pen, or sifting through papers? In a Forbes article, Susan Kousek, a Certified Professional Organizer, said, “For many people, it’s difficult to focus when their desk is filled with papers, phone messages, business cards, magazines, and newsletters, especially when the layers are inches high.” A workspace that’s out of control can take a toll on your efficiency and productivity.

Are your visitors and co-workers comfortable?
Unless you work alone at home, your workspace impacts others. You need to consider if visitors and co-workers are at ease when they stop by your desk. Are they able to focus on you and the task at hand? Or are they too busy dodging stacks of folders and being distracted by the clutter? If you’re brave enough, you might even ask the next person who stops by if they think your area is out of control.

Does it come across as unprofessional?
Your workspace says a lot about you and your work ethic. And the number one thing you don’t want is for it to come across as unprofessional. According to the Huffington Post, a messy desk is “often associated with disorganization, thereby giving others around you the impression that you may not have your work (or life) under control.” Don’t let your co-workers, superiors, or customers get the wrong idea about you based on an out-of-control workspace.

Based on those questions, is your workspace out of control? If the answer is yes, don’t panic. Just take it a step at a time, and before long you’ll have a tidy workspace. Organizing your desk and work area might take a little effort and time, but the end result will be a workspace that inspires feelings of confidence, productivity, and professionalism for everyone who enters.

How out-of-control has your workspace gotten? What tips do you have for organizing and maintaining your desk and workspace? Share your experiences below.

5 Tips to Stay Healthy in a Sedentary Job

Stay_Healthy_Feb2014Sedentary jobs are jobs that involve sitting for most of the day. Since the dawn of the computer age, the rise in sedentary jobs and decline in more active occupations has been dramatic. This shift has contributed to new health concerns. Arising from many occupations not providing the amount of exercise people would have naturally gotten in the past from simply going to work. Other issues connected to sedentary work such as unhealthy snacking or decreased energy can lead to additional issues not directly related to simple lack of exercise during the day. Here are a few tips on staying healthy in a sedentary occupation.

  1. The simplest activity you can do is get up for a quick stretch every 30 minutes. This will keep blood flowing in the lower body and help keep you energized throughout the day.
  2. Although it’s very easy to sit and snack all day, it’s not healthy.  If you do feel like snacking, bring in fresh fruits and vegetables, or nuts like almonds and pistachios to snack on. They’re much healthier than candy or chips.
  3. Lay off the caffeine as much as possible. Caffeine can make you hyper-focused and energetic while at your desk, but too much of it can leave you sluggish and exhausted by the time the day ends. It can also impact your sleep cycle, which can lead to even less activity over time.
  4. Exercise when away from work. Your only choices aren’t fitness clubs, or classes, but you do need to make a commitment to exercise regularly. Consider free or inexpensive resources like fitness videos on YouTube or a running trail at a local park. You should consult your physician and choose something appropriate for your health, interests, and schedule.
  5. Lastly, consult your physician on a regular basis about your overall health. Being in tune with your needs by having a good relationship with your physician is not only good for preventing health problems that might arise from having a sedentary job, it also is a great motivator to keep you eating healthy and actively exercising between visits.

If your job does not keep you active, it is even more important that you eat right, exercise, and know about your own health. These choices will keep you healthy, allow you to be more productive at work, and even increase your energy at home.

What do you do to stay healthy despite a sedentary job? Let us know in the comments section below.

Poll: Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?

MOV_POLL-ICONWith the new year underway, many workers are resolving to get a new job, according to a CareerBuilder survey. In fact one in five people plan to change jobs in 2014. Whether you’re planning to leave your current job or if you’ve already made the move and are searching for a new position, let us know why you left your last job.

While You Wait

Patty Prosser, chair of consulting firm OI Partners, suggests being open to alternative employment opportunities in an improving economy. “There is increased demand for contract, freelance, and part-time work. Position yourself to take advantage of these employment options,” she says.

So since 20% of those with jobs plan to leave for other opportunities, we want to know why you plan to leave or have already left your last job. Let us know by voting in our poll.