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Four Tips to Be More Productive at Work

Being productive at work is something that almost everyone struggles with from time to time. For most people it’s only an occasional issue, but for others, it can be a challenge for most of every day. There are lots of little tricks that you can employ to increase your focus to get more done in each day. Here are five easy tips that would almost seem like the opposite.

1. Do Not Check Your Email Constantly

It’s much better to have two or three relatively set times to check your email each day than to stop what you are doing each time the email alert dings. You will actually spend less time overall in your day if you have set times to go in check your email, respond to the ones that need your attention, and file away the ones that do not.

2. Take Occasional Short Breaks

It might seem more efficient to sit at your desk all day, but that’s not actually the case. Getting up, stretching your legs and taking a quick walk to get some coffee, use the restroom, or grab a quick snack can completely refocus you back to the work at hand. They key word here is “short.” These breaks need to be no longer than 5 minutes. But just those few quick minutes can get your blood flowing and your brain pumped up to get back work to in a focused manner.

3. Set Goals for Each Day

Every job comes with a million little details that must be done. The phone needs to be answered. There are emails to be responded to. These little things can get in the way of the bigger jobs that need your attention. In order to stay productive, it’s good to make a list of the things you need to do that day. That way you have it right in front of you what is really important. Each time you cross off a job, there is a little feeling of satisfaction.

4. Take A Few Minutes To Surf The Web

Every couple of hours, it can be a nice gap in your work to stop and visit your favorite sites. Read a quick blog post or a gossip column and you can return to the important duties that you need to be focused on. Giving your brain a few minutes to relax and focus on something pleasant will make it easier to concentrate on the things that might be boring and hard to focus on.

5 Ways to Get a Personal Referral

A well-written resume made heavy by your qualifications can get your foot in the door, but it’s only with a personal referral that you also get someone to actually open the door and welcome you inside. Knowing exactly where you want to work or which company you wish to work for is already good news, but you shouldn’t stop there. You need to make a big impression to get the job you want next, and to do that you need to apply the following steps and get yourself a personal referral.

1. Personal referrals should come from the right people.

Forget about your contacts in the HR department or from the rank and file. Personal referrals only matter if they come from one of the company’s senior managers or top executives. These are the people others automatically listen to and would have followed as much as possible.

To find out whom you should approach for a personal referral, you can do the following:

  • Visit the Glassdoor and search for its review of the company you wish to work for. The website has reports on more than 74,000 firms and these include information you’ll find vital such as salary ranges, the interview process, and their organizational culture.
  • Login or create an account with LinkedIn and check out which individuals have listed your target company as their employer.

When visiting these sites, make a list of the names that show up as well as any other crucial details about them.

2. Choose whom to write to.

Aside from having one of the top positions in the company, the person you should be contacting must also have a personality, a situation, or any other factor that would make him or her in need of your services or be able to appreciate it.

You can know more about these professionals by searching for their LinkedIn profile.

3. Schedule a meeting.

How you get to schedule a meeting is all up to you. The ends justify the means in this case. You can call, visit in person, or email. Do whatever is necessary as long as it will give you a chance to establish contact with the other party.

4. Prove your worth.

But don’t boast about it. Take your time to listen to the other party. Figure out a way to make your contact talk until you find out how it is that you can be of help. And when you know what it is, then that’s when you start talking about your skills and services. Don’t be too bashful, either. It’s very important that your contact realize you’d be an asset to the company and, consequently, he’d be an asset, too, for being the one lucky or skillful enough to recruit you to their side.

5. Ask for a personal referral.

If you’re lucky, it would be offered to you on a platter but don’t wait too long for this to happen. Sometimes, you just have to make your own fate and in this case that’s by letting the other party know straight out that you want to bat for his team, too.

6 Habits of a Successful Job Seeker

Habit 1: Be Responsible for your own Job Search

 There are many things that can be learned when searching for a job, like what types of positions suit you best and what aspects are important when it comes to a job. This is why you being responsible for your own job search is so vital; if you let others take the reins when it comes to this step, you might miss out on some important information and overall, you will be more lost and confused when it comes to the actual interview process itself.

Habit 2: Set a Goal

Along the job search, there are many things that can happen that can stray you off the right path. This is why it is so important to set a goal when it comes to seeking a job. Make sure that you tell yourself that you want to complete the job searching task by a certain date or time period. By setting this goal, you are telling yourself that you respect your job search and that you take it seriously and as a priority. Without a goal in tow, you job search could lag on for longer than is necessary.

Habit 3: Stay Focused

There are several things that could happen when you are searching for a job, family troubles or someone getting married or wonderful vacations that you have not taken yet could be on the horizon. The point is to not deviate from the job search at all and stay focused as much as possible. Looking for a job can be very stressful and this is why focus needs to be your top priority. The only way to complete a successful job search is to stay focused until your job search goal has been met.

Habit 4: Be Organized

There are many things that have to be noted and remembered and taken into consideration when searching for a job that is why being organized is such an important aspect in successfully finding a job. Stay organized by writing down every interview that you go on, every job that you apply to and even every person that you talk to. Write down what was said and the name of the person who said it complete with a date. When you look back on your notes, you will notice that the organizational aspect of everything will make your job search that much easier.

Habit 5: Be Good to Yourself

When searching for a job, you might get so focused that you forget to be good to yourself. Remember when you search for a job that you are the most important instrument for the job, so you need to be in tip-top condition. That means that you must get plenty of sleep, eat healthy, maybe learn yoga/meditation, and spend your downtime in nature. When you take care of yourself, you will notice your stress level going down and your overall outlook becoming more positive, which is vital to the success of getting a great job.

Habit 6: Never Give Up

At the end of the day, it can be difficult to get job that you like, even if you follow all of these habits religiously. The secret is to never give up! There are always new jobs on the horizon and new and interesting people to meet that might be your ticket to getting your dream job. Don’t give up on your search and don’t give up on yourself. If you told yourself that you are going to get a wonderful job, then stick to your goal and follow the habits until you do. Sooner or later, you will find yourself with a great job and it will be because you did not give up.

5 Tips to Improve Your Networking Skills

Networking is one of the big ‘it’ words in business these days, but the fact is that the average person only has an idea about what it means but few really know what makes a good networker. In fact, the best networkers are more like rock stars than normal people, and they use their networking skills to get ahead and stay on top, even in a down economy like today.

With that in mind, here are 5 tips that will help you become a better networker and help your business or career. Read closely and use these tips and you’ll find that it’s not nearly as hard as you think to use networking to get ahead.

1- Never leave the house without your business cards. If you go out of the house and you don’t have your cards you may miss opportunities to network that pop up all over the place, like the grocery store, the mall, the post office or a restaurant. Plus, having your cards proves you are serious about what you do.

2- If you’re at an event, don’t spend all of your time talking with just one person (unless they are VERY successful, in which case hang on their every word). Instead walk around and introduce yourself to as many people as possible, strike up short, 5 minute conversations and then move on.

3- Listen.  Many people tend to talk more than they listen, but if you’re looking for people that can help your career you need to know that they can help your career, and you’ll find that out by listening to them.  Of course if they sound like gigantic blowhards then feel free to blab all you want, but don’t waste too much time with them.

4- Practice your 60 second spiel, or what some call an ‘elevator speech’. If you can explain with clarity what you do in 60 seconds you will leave someone with a good impression and your business card.

5- Follow up with new contacts.  If they have anything to offer make sure you follow up. Call, send an email or write a note.  Heck, if they’re important enough send up a smoke signal if you have to, just as long as they don’t forget who you are.

Follow these 5 tips and you’ll soon be the network king, reaping the benefits of the new kingdom you created. Good luck.

How to Win Friends and Influence People

In this day of self-help books for just about everything it’s easy to forget that there was once a time when ‘self-help’ wasn’t even in the dictionary.  Before self-help came along if you needed help with something you usually figured it out on your own or possibly asked your clergyman for help, as asking for help was seen as a sign of weakness.

That’s why, in 1936, the revolutionary new book How to Win Friends and Influence People was such an incredible success, because no one had ever seen a self-help book before and this one had some great ideas and tips for getting ahead in life.  In fact, the term self-help was coined due to this very book. The fact that the original sold 15 million copies during a time before computers, before TV, heck even before air-travel became routine is a testament to its author, Dale Carnegie.

In 1981 a revised edition was released that streamlined the book, eliminating sections on effective business letters and improving your marriage. I suppose that, by 1981, there were enough self-help books around that they felt they should concentrate on business answers and leave the marriage counseling to professionals like Jerry Springer.

Now, some may think that because the book was written almost 80 years ago that it would have little relevance today but the exact opposite is true.  Some of the lessons that can be learned from this excellent tome are still being taught today in business schools and boardrooms all over the world.

For example, in the section on handling people the book advises to never criticize or complain, to give honest and sincere appreciation for work well done, and to never show that you’re not interested in what someone else has to say. Wise words indeed if you want to get ahead in today’s business world.

Want to make people like you?  Smile more, remember people’s names (and use them often) and be a good listener. By talking in terms of the other person’s interest and making them feel important you will win them over every time. Sounds like good advice for a wide variety of careers.

The fact is, this book is so stuffed with great info for today’s businessperson that it should be required reading on college campuses and in organizations everywhere.  Mr. Carnegie was really onto something when he wrote the book, and that’s probably why they named a Hall after him. Get the book and read it. You’ll be glad you did.

Career Women – Beyond Financial Rewards

Women today face challenges that their mothers and grandmothers never even had to think about. With many women today balancing family life and a career, they find themselves overworked, spread thin and with a nagging feeling that there is something they have forgotten to do. Actually, there is something they have forgotten: to stop and think about whether their life is all that it should be.

When we say should be, what do we mean?  Well when I say should be I am encouraging women to reflect on why it is they want to have a career at all. The obvious answer to that is ‘I need to pay the bills’ or ‘my husband’s income isn’t sufficient to meet the mortgage as well as our other financial commitments’. Women who say this are basically saying: ‘I have a career because I need to earn money.’

Earning money from a career is a result. It may be the most important material result but that doesn’t mean that there is nothing more to a career than doing all we can to achieve the best financial earnings. After all, we spend a large percentage of our time in the workplace, dealing with the same repetitive tasks and familiar faces. Shouldn’t there be more than just a financial reward to the vast amount of time spent out of the home?

Of course there should be. There it is again. Should be. It’s an unfortunate turn of phrase as women have enough demands on them already. But believe me; this demand of mine is in your favour and strictly for your benefit.

Ask yourself the question. Go on. “Am I where I want to be?” Take the time to think about it. If you could change something about your career path, would you?

While the women of today are working harder and balancing more than previous generations they also have an amazing array of resources available to them to help them achieve the most out of their career in terms of job satisfaction. There is nothing as empowering as taking responsibility for your own personal and professional development. If this means a shift in how you approach your career or even a total career change, women should know that they have so many programs and courses available to them that are specifically catered to the needs of women in the workforce.

I urge you to take charge of your own growth. This might take the form of asking your boss for specific support or advice, but always remember that you have the freedom to achieve your own personally developed plan and goals. These can be developed in your own time and in your own space and driven with you at the helm.

Beyond Career Success is committed to helping people achieve career success. You will find classes that are bundled with powerful and practical career tips that you can apply right away after just one session. So don’t just tolerate the hum drum of your job. Make your career the most satisfying and rewarding aspect of your life – take control!

7 Powerful Ways to Land Your Next Job

1.    The Power of a Good Referral

In regards to a specific or general job search, it is vital to utilize all available resources. This includes people, as well as other tools that may help you in your job search. Use all available resources by contacting friends and family and telling them about your job search. The reality is that most jobs that people get are based on a referral from a friend or a family member. Don’t discount the power of a good referral and utilize them to the best way possible.

2.    Integrating Social Media

These days, it is easier now more than ever to find a job based solely on the internet. Many job boards and individuals are constantly posting available jobs all over the web, and social media is no exception. The most highly effective job seekers realize the true potential in social media and they use it to its best advantage. Post a photo along with specific skills that you possess to increase your chances of finding a job. And, keep alert to any job postings on social media networks that might fit your profile. The best jobs are sometimes the ones that pop up randomly, when you are least expecting it.

3.    Utilizing an Updated Resume

When searching for a job, the most important thing to have on hand is an updated resume. You never know when someone might ask about your job history or ask about your skills in general. It is always good to have an updated resume on hand that looks professional and is comprehensive with recent information listed. An updated resume shows that the individual in question is serious about getting a job and they are a person that takes their career and future seriously.

4.    Formulating a Specific Cover Letter

High effective job seekers always utilize an updated cover letter that is specific to the job and position they are applying for. Most job seekers these days forget the ever important cover letter, and this can damage their chances for securing the job of their choice. To be most effective, a job seeker should present an updated cover letter each time that they hand in a resume to an employer. Presenting a cover letter puts the job seeker in a class above the rest of the competition and shows the prospective employer dedication and attention to detail on the part of the job seeker.

5.    Readying for the Interview

The interview process is one of the most important aspects of securing a job. Highly effective job seekers know the importance of the interview, and that is why they prepare for the interview as soon as possible. Job seekers should research as much as they can about the company they are interviewing with, the position itself, and anything else that might come up in the interview; this ensures a strong focus and a commitment to excellence on the part of the job seeker. An employer recognizes this research done by the job seeker, as well as the preparation that is usually apparent to the employer right away.

6.    Stay Focused and Free of Stress

Although finding a job is very important and should be taken as such; it is not the end all and be all. Staying focused is very important, but so is staying free of stress. Highly effective job seekers know the balance between finding a job and keeping their life free of stress. Job seekers should not let bad experiences or rejection stress them out or worse yet, affect their focus. Job seekers need to recognize how much they can handle and if stress is becoming a problem. If stress seems to be a recurring theme, it is vital to take a breather and regain focus before starting again on the job search.

7.    Realizing True Potential

When searching for a job, it is very important to realize the true potential of all types of jobs. This includes applying for jobs that might not have been the first choice for the job seeker. Sometimes, a job that seems too good to be true is; and other times, a job that does not seem desirable, ends up being a job seekers dream job. It is always advisable to look at a job for what it really is and take an honest look at the qualifications it demands, and then readily determine what the best route to take might be.

How to Interview Like Steve Jobs – 5 Steps to a Perfect Interview

Though known more for his technical brilliance and his hugely popular company, Apple, Steve Jobs was a truly gifted communicator.  Steve Jobs was able to not only listen, but he heard the salient point of any message that someone was trying to convey – this rare skill can be broken down into 5 steps that can help you give the perfect interview and land that dream job.  Here’s how it works.

Step 1: Research.  Research the job, the company, and even if you are already familiar with it, research the industry.  What this will do is show how seriously you take the possibility of working for that company and will show that you respect the interviewers time and that you appreciate the opportunity they are giving you.

Step 2: Practice.  Practice the interview, from introduction to conclusion, have 3-5 questions in mind to ask you interviewer.  Make the questions semi-specific, but refrain from asking anything that would get into technical info or anything proprietary.  Keep the questions fact based and centered on the position you are interviewing for, as opposed to questions about the company in general.  You can and should ask about projected growth, but keep the question general and be prepared for a brief answer.

Step 3:  Show enthusiasm at the interview.  Be genuinely interested and excited at the interview, but at no point should you need to portray over-the-top excitement.  Be interested in what the interviewer(s) have to say, when you can, ask brief follow up questions, and let the interviewer lead the interview.

Step 4: Clearly explain why they should hire you.  Here is a moment when being direct can really benefit you.  Outline skills and accomplishments you have that make you a good fit for the job, mention any industry specific experience you have – from software you are familiar with to protocol that you know how to follow and anything relevant in between.  Keep it brief, you should be able to sum up why you are the best fit in less than 90 seconds.

Step 5: Call to action.  Follow up your brief sales pitch with an action statement like “Contact Me”, “Call Me”, or “Looking forward to hearing from you.”  Let the interviewer know that you are eager to hear back from them and that you are ready and available for the position.  Keep the call to action brief and follow up with the interview within 48 hours, preferably via email.  Thank them for their time and offer to answer any follow up questions they might have.  Always include your contact information at the bottom of the email.

7 Tips for Coping With a Job You Hate

Almost all of us have been there at one point in our lives or another; the job from hell. Whether it’s a boss that is more dim than a broken light bulb or co-workers who bug you like ants at a picnic, there are times in your life when you’ll be stuck with a job that you just abhor and you have no other choice but to sit there and take it.

Or do you?  I mean, a crummy job isn’t exactly the end of the world, and sometimes there are things to be learned even from the worst of them. So if you’re temporarily stuck with job that’s like a bad joke, read on and find out about 7 Tips for coping with it and keeping your sanity.

Tip 1 – Remember that this isn’t the last job you’ll ever have. You won’t be there forever, and even if you are there’s always the possibility that your boss will get hit by falling space debris.

Tip 2 – Primal scream therapy is good for the soul, and if you have a sock puppet that you can yell at while pretending it’s the boss all the better. Just don’t do it at work, especially if you need to take off your socks.

Tip 3 – When you get home at night do NOT talk about work. Ever. Work life and home life should never mix.

Tip 4 – Take a break during the day to do something stupid and wasteful, if only for 10 minutes. Watch a dumb video, or draw a picture of your cubicle mate being eaten by a T-Rex. Fun!

Tip 5 – Stay positive and work hard, even if you hate yourself for it.  You never know if what you do now will pay-off in the future and a glowing review from this job could land you a much better job down the road with a boss that doesn’t remind you of a feral pig.

Tip 6 – Have something to look forward to after work, so that you at least know that when your day is done something you enjoy awaits. Working out, getting together with friends, or drinking until you’re goofy all work just fine. (Just don’t drink and drive.)

Tip 7 – Keep your sense of humor. Studies suggest that having a sense of humor will help you cope with many situations in life.

If you can do these things you will definitely survive any job, no matter how boring, bland, or irksome your boss and co-workers may be.  Best of luck.

How to Write an Effective Cover Letter

When looking for employment, there are certain aspects that must be taken into consideration. First and foremost, it is vital to have a great resume along with an effective cover letter. A cover letter is the introduction that sets the stage for potential employment. The cover letter that you write needs to include certain things and have an overall tone that conveys responsibility, respect and ability.

There is a proper format for writing the perfect cover letter. The cover letter starts with addressing the employer properly, followed by an introduction paragraph, a body paragraph or paragraphs and finally, a closing paragraph. If you have been referred to the employer by another employee or from a mutual contact, make sure to mention this information in the introduction paragraph, as this is relevant information that needs to be showcased to the employer.

Within the body of the cover letter, it is good to mention how you heard about the employer or the company/business; including any information on the positive information that you know thus far about the company/business. Along with mentioning this information, express you interest in how you would be excited to work for the particular employer and company/business.

The next part of the cover letter body needs to include your experience. Include experience that is particularly revelant to the position you are applying for. Include any experience that is paid or not paid that relates to the company’s message in general. Keep everything in the scheme of the subject of the position you are applying for. For instance, do not include experience that has nothing to do with the position or company you are applying for.

Lastly, in the concluding paragraph, include your contact information and state that you will be following up with the employer to check on the status of your application along with stating that your references are available upon request.

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