Monthly Archives: May 2011

Body Language Can Speak Volumes

Often times when preparing for an interview, we get so caught up in finding the right words to say that we forget about what we don’t say actually can make a difference as well.  Your body can speak volumes about you without you even saying a word.  It is one of those things that can be overlooked, but it is just as important when trying to make a good impression.

Some of the given gestures include good eye contact, smiling, and good posture but many people don’t know why.  Having good eye contact….natural eye contact, can convey that you are self confident and sure about what it is that you are saying, smiling gives the impression that you are a happy, vibrant person, and good posture just shows that you’re interested, alert, and paying attention.  Careful not to sit too erect though or the confidence that you made sure to display will be diminished and you may be seen as nervous.

It’s all about balance.  Your words and gestures need to be on one accord.  Facial expressions should match your tone of voice; pleasant expressions should accompany pleasant words.  Here is an illustration of how it all comes together: It’s hard to appear as the best candidate for an early AM, customer facing position if your eyes have grocery bags beneath them or are blood shot red.  The first thing to come to mind would be, “This is not a morning person, and therefore not the one for the job”.   The remedy for this would be to get a good night’s rest beforehand and maybe invest in some Clear Eyes to get the red out.  You still may not be a morning person, but at least you would look the part.

Another important point to remember is to appear engaged and receptive.  This can be achieved by subtle acknowledgements during the conversation, such as a nod, or an “I see”, and by keeping your body open….cross nothing!  This is especially important for men.  Crossing your arms or legs gives the impression that you’re guarding something and are not receptive to what’s being said.  The same goes for women, but if it must be done, crossing your legs at the ankle is the only acceptable form.

Thirdly, be mindful of not just what you’re saying, but how you say it.  Don’t speak too fast or too slow, too loud or too soft.  Watch the inflection at the end of your sentences.    Lifting your voice at the end of a statement makes it sounds like a question or even worse, like you are unsure about what you’ve just said.  Lowering your voice too low can make it difficult to hear.   Practice eliminating excess words such as, “like”, “you know”, “um”, “stuff” and “whatever”.  Using these words in excess can cause you to be seen as immature rather than professional in the eyes of an employer.

Keeping these things in mind will help you in your pursuit of employment.  These tips may not get the job for you, but at least they won’t be the reason why you didn’t.

Christien C. Amour

Data and Reporting Specialist

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Filed under Attitude, Courtesy, Self-Improvement, Skill, Tool Box

Volunteer. It Makes a Difference.

What is a volunteer?  One definition is: one who does charitable or helpful work without receiving pay for it.

 Now, I’m not saying go empty your pockets for the sake of charity or spend every waking hour with the priority of volunteering. What I am saying is giving back feels great and looks good on paper. Volunteering can make difference in the lives of others and the return is immeasurable. How can you measure the smile on the elderly faces when someone comes to visit, or the look in a child’s eyes to know they are supported, what about when a family who is a little worse off than you receives something that will help them make it another day. The feeling is  wonderful and what you are doing is called human service.

From time to time I have the opportunity to review candidates for employment by perusing through a nice pile of resumes from eligible persons seeking employment. While doing so I consider what the organization stands for, our mission and vision. Overall, what we do in human services is make every attempt to help change the lives of those we serve. Imagine how it feels for me to see an eligible candidate who also has the passion to volunteer.   Now, I could be wrong but I think that Drive+Passion+Education is an awesome combination.

Volunteering can also help open doors, think about like this: as you give of yourself people see your hard work, dedication, and passion and those are the types of characteristics which make up great teams. So begin to seek out opportunities where you can volunteer, encourage others too as well, volunteer as a family or maybe take your next date to volunteer. Whatever you do just remember you are making a difference in the lives of others and you are growing a person.

Lakisha Grundy

eLink Youth Program Manager

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Filed under Network, Resume, Self-Improvement, Skill, Tool Box

Stress Free While Looking For A Job

Looking for a job in today’s economy is enough to stress anyone! If you’ve been laid off, and the bills keep coming, you are feeling like you want to pull your hair and disappear there are some things that you can do to stay mentally and physically healthy while you are looking.

Keep Breathing-
Looking for a job is stressful! When we are feeling stressed we tend to hold our breath subconsciously. A good first step to relieving stress is to take a deep breath and hold it for 3 seconds, and then release it slowly for 3 seconds. Do this three times. Soon you’ll feel more calm and ready for a productive job search.

Get Up-
It’s very easy to fall into the habit of sleeping in, staying home watching TV or playing games. Instead, get up at the same time you did when you were working. Shower, get ready, get a healthy breakfast and GO!!!. Do this every day because finding work is an every day job.

Exercise-
Something as simple as walking around the block can “clear your head,” and give you fresh start every day. It will also make you feel physically better, and it’s important that you keep your health up when you are searching for employment.

Set daily achievable goals-
Your ultimate goal is to get a job. But if you set small goals for yourself each day, you’ll have a better chance of reaching that final goal. For example, try sending at least 3 applications per day or sending out 5 resumes each day.

Stay involved-
Look for volunteer opportunities that are related to the jobs you are interested in. This helps in three ways. First, it gets you out of the house and interacting with other people. If you are used to working in an office atmosphere, being home alone all day can be incredibly stressful. Second, it is a great way to network and make contacts with people in the industry. And third, it gives you more experience — further strengthening your resume. This is important in today’s competitive economy.

Remember DO NOT STAY HOME, looking for work is can be a very difficult job so you need to keep yourself motivated. The unemployment benefits help alleviate the financial stress but do not last forever. The more applications you put out there, the better chance you have to find a job…and remember to visit our Career Centers we will help to make your life less stressful.

Mayra Rice

Career Connections Coordinator

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Filed under Attitude, Self-Improvement

The Power of Questions

At the end of almost any interview you will be asked if you have any questions. Not asking questions or asking the wrong questions can knock you out of the running for a job.

In preparation for any interview you should research the company. This research not only gives you a base from which to formulate questions, but also helps you to know if you and the company are a potential “good fit”.  Be sure to have four to five questions that you can ask. You’ll want to ask a minimum of three strong questions and the interviewer may answer some of your questions without being asked, so have extras at the ready.

Remember that you are trying to start a professional relationship, and companies, just like people, like it when someone is interested in them. So make your questions about the company and how you can be an asset to them, not about what the company can do for you. DON’T ask when you can expect a raise, how many days off you get a year, or if you are going to have to work any overtime. DO ask questions that show you know about the company and how you can be an asset to what they are trying to accomplish.

“The last time I was on your website, I noticed that you expanded your sales approach to include the online market. What led to this decision and how have you seen it impacting in-store sales?” This type of question shows that you’ve researched the company and are interested in how decisions are made and on the outcome of those decisions. “From what you’ve said about your expectations for this position, which of my strengths do you see as most valuable in accomplishing those goals?”  This interview question makes the employer verbalize what is most important to them – great for using in your follow-up thank you letter!

One word of caution, do your research thoroughly. A question based on partial knowledge can turn around and bite you- and no one likes to be bitten!

Reni Geiger

Director of Grants & Career Connections

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Filed under Interview, Skill, Tool Box, Unexpected