Category Archives: Initiative

16 effective time management tips

time-management-tips-tricks

 

In a bid to make the most of everyday, we all try and manage time effectively.

I have put 16 of my favorite time management tips together today to give you some ideas of how to be clever with your time so that you effectively create more of it to play with – basically its a gift of time, from me to you!

There is a word of warning here though – once you have made more time, what will you do with it? Don’t let it get sucked into the abyss of general “stuff” – why not really make it count….

Time management tips #1 – Do things in groups

There can be a considerable amount of time savings when you group like with like, for example:

Try saving all errands in town for one day each week rather than doing them ad hoc
When cleaning try and do one job like hoovering the entire house rather than doing all the cleaning for one room at a time – this saves the time as you only have to set up for each job once rather than once per room.
Save filing up and do at the end of the week rather than one document at a time

Time management tips #2 – When training, try HIIT

High Intensity Interval Training is on a lot of peoples lips at the moment – thanks in part to Dr Michael Mosleys BBC documentary on the subject last year.  The basic premise is to do short bursts of intense exercise with small rests in between, for a few minutes in total. It is meant to increase your fitness and have a whole heap of other health benefits.

Of course – please be careful and read up on this if you do decide to try it out – and consult a doctor if you have any medical conditions first – but in my own experience of trying this I have to say it really does help, and is worth doing especially if you are pushed for time – although I do still like a long run or walk to clear my mind as well…

Time management tips #3 – Put everything in your diary

Most people use their diary to write down appointments and scheduled activities – which in itself is a perfectly OK way to use your diary of course – but they may well be missing a trick that will help them to make better use of their time.  When writing down appointments, also block out travel and prep time in your diary – this means that you have a real indication o your available and unavailable time at any point.  The available time can then be utilized to get some of your TO DOs out of the way.  This means you are less likely to try and do too much, you are more realistic on what you can achieve in a day, and you are less likely to double book and/or forget something.

Another great way to make use of your diary is to try and group your appointments together. If you are trying to find a time to go to the dentists and you can see you will be in the area on a certain day, it makes sense to try and make your dental appointment fit around this – or what about if you plan to visit a friend in another city and you find that you have to go to that city for a meeting – try to see your friend while you’re there as well!

Time management tips #4 – Multitask when its easy

Multitasking is known to reduce your effectiveness rather than increase it – as you aren’t concentrating on one thing fully – so why is it in a list of things to improve your time management?  The answer is that there are very valid times throughout the day where multitasking makes perfect sense, for example –  Listen to an audiobook when driving rather than finding time to sit and read at home.  Talk to a friend on the phone when you are out for a walk or doing something around the house such as cooking.

Time management tips #5 – Keep busy

Try and not have too much dead time in your day – try and keep busy in these pockets of time to maximize them wherever possible.  The other stuff you manage to get done means that you don’t have to find extra time for them as well.  Unload of the dishwasher while the kettle boils.  When your bath is running – do some quick exercises.  Waiting at the doctors? Take some paperwork to get through, or a magazine article you have wanted to read.

Time management tips #6 – Get rid of your TV

If you want to gain more time, a very quick way of doing it is to take away the TV for a while – or at least minimizing what you watch.  Most of us watch at least an hour a day (some a lot more), and as such you can make considerable changes to your life by just taking away this one thing for a while, or limiting to just one program a day.  Make the TV work for you as well – and utilize recorded TV so that you don’t need to waste time watching ads, and you can watch it when you are ready and not the other way around.

Time management tips #7 – Be conscious of time

Time can all too easily slip away if we don’t keep an eye on it.  I’ve lost count of the number of times I have started something that was only meant to last 30 mins and the next thing I know – 2 hours have gone past.  The more conscious you are of the time things take you to do, and the time passing – the more you will become aware of when you are wasting time.  A great time management exercise to do is to keep a time diary for a day or so – write down everything you do in that time frame, minute by minute – you will very soon see exactly where your time goes – and you can then go about getting rid of things that you do for no real reason.

Time management tips #8 – Use the 80/20 rule

This rule states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your actions. The trick is to work out what 20% you should be concentrating on, and get rid of the rest as much as you can as they will make little difference to your results.  For example – you have a clean and tidy home. You clean everyday. Actually – cleaning it less frequently will still leave you with a clean and tidy home – but you will have gained more time as a result.  Its a win-win!

Time management tips #9 – Don’t get distracted

There are so many distractions in this world – the telephone, email, other people etc…. to name just a few.  To manage your time more effectively – try and block out your time and focus on the job in hand whatever that may be.  If the phone rings while you are doing something else, let it go to voicemail and get back to them when you have finished – don’t check your email until you have finished what you are doing etc….. – it takes much more time to get back into a job after getting distracted than it does to just get the job finished and move on to the next thing.

Time management tips #10 – Declutter your life

Take a look at your diary for the past month and see what you did on each day.  Are there things that you spent time on that you really didn’t need to? These sorts of things are clutter in your life and need to go.  Just as you would declutter a room – declutter your diary by taking away things that are not important.  (As a side note – if you actually declutter your home as well you will save loads of time – time spent cleaning your stuff, buying your stuff, maintaining your stuff etc…You can give the unneeded items to Goodwill!)
Time management tips #11 – Say NO more

Leading on from #10 – if you have decluttered your diary, then don’t let it get cluttered again.  When you start to look at how you spend your time alongside how you want to spend your time – you start to become more and more aware of where you are wasting time, and what you don’t want to be doing.  Saying “No” when you haven’t got the time to commit to something can actually be very uplifting – as you can start to feel you have more control over your time again.

Time management tips #12 – Be decisive

Theres nothing that wastes time more than procrastination.To manage your time better – don’t waste it.  When you have something to do, just get it done and move onto the next thing.

Time management tips #13 – Delegate and Automate when you can

Managing your time means being clever with the time you have – and if you are doing too much then ultimately you won’t have as much time as you could have.  Try and identify areas where you could get help – and delegate or automate things wherever you can.  For example – get the family to help more with chores around the house, or set up direct debits for paying bills rather than spending time each month online banking.

Time management tips #14 – Do what hurts most, first

The basic premise is that if you have to do something you are dreading – you usually put it off and waste time in the meantime – but if you just bite the bullet and get it done then you tend to feel happier and are more productive for the rest of the day – makes sense!

Time management tips #15 – Know your body clock

I am actually writing this post at midnight. I like working late at night and I tend to be more productive in the wee hours.  Conversely, in the morning my brain tends to wait a few hours before getting into gear.  As such, I do my errands/cleaning/fitness in the mornings, and work afternoons and evenings whenever possible.  If you get to know when you are most productive, you will end up making the most of your time a lot more.

Time management tips #16 – Look after yourself

This has been saved until last but its the most important one.  Its crucial to take care of yourself – eat healthily and keep fit. If you don’t look after yourself, you won’t be able to manage your time as effectively, and may well have less time as a result of illness or injury.  Whats that saying? When the oxygen masks come down – fix yours before helping others.

cross posted from organisemyhouse.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Initiative, Self-Improvement, Tool Box

How to Break Out of a Career Rut in a Month

shoeshop_1_hi

 

Think you might be stuck in a career rut?

The good news is, career ruts are easy to spot. There’s that telltale sick feeling in your stomach every Monday morning, jealousy when a friend gets a new job that she’s excited about, and a tendency to quickly change the subject when someone asks you what you do for a living.

The bad news? Career ruts are much harder to fix. You might not even know exactly why you’re so miserable, let alone how to solve the problem.

Although it can seem like you’re stuck in never-ending career limbo, your time is valuable, and there’s no need to waste it feeling unmotivated, unappreciated, or just plain unhappy. So we’ve created a simple, four-week plan to put you on the path to career improvement. Just think—one month from today, you could be well on your way to a job that you’re truly passionate about.

Before we delve into the week-by-week plan, here’s a quick tip to make your time as productive as possible: Schedule time for your career improvement, and stick to it. We’ll be focusing on one task per week, so be sure to set aside a few chunks of time to accomplish it (and commit to keeping these dates with yourself, even if your friends want to grab dinner or the treadmill is calling your name!). In just one month, you—and your career—will be really glad you did.

 

Week 1: Identify the Problem

Dedicate the first week to focusing on what’s behind your dissatisfaction. Sure, you don’t like your job, but what specifically is bothering you? Do you have too much time on your hands, or are you run ragged from 10-hour days? Maybe you’re stuck in a field that you’re not passionate about or you’re sick of making a long commute to your least-favorite part of the city. It’s important to be as specific and honest as possible.

In addition to identifying the big changes you’d like to make, spend time at the end of each day jotting down things that you don’t like about your current job, as well as things you do. This will help you narrow in on what to look for—and what to avoid—when you make your next move.

 

Week 2: Research, Research, Research

This will be the most time-intensive week, as you’ll figure out what potential jobs or career moves will be the right fit. You may event want to extend the process to two or three weeks, especially if you want to make a big change.

In any case, your goal is to look for positions and places that will capitalize on the things you like about your current role while avoiding the things you don’t like. Start browsing job openings and companies in your field. Does anything sound like it will meet your “great job” criteria? (Hey, you might even realize that you don’t need a new job, you just need to tweak a few aspects of your current position.)

Or, maybe you want to think about a complete career overhaul, like going back to school or changing careers. If this is the case, take some time to think about your interests, hobbies, and passions. Is there something that you love doing that you could look for in a job? Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and explore some ideas that might be a big departure from your current career. A friend of mine had a traditional office job, but realized that her favorite part of the day was when she left work and headed to the gym. She’s now a part-time personal trainer, and hopes to eventually leave the corporate world behind forever and train clients five days a week.

Career-savvy friends, former collegues, college professors, and professional mentors can also be great assets when you’re trying to revamp your career. Let them know what you’re looking for, and ask if they have any recommendations. Advice from someone who knows you (and your local job market) can be more beneficial than 50 Google searches.

 

Week 3: Create a Game Plan

This week is all about choosing a goal and creating a game plan to achieve it. First, hone in on what direction you really want to pursue: Look at all of your options and see which excites you the most or seems most feasible at this point in your life. You might have a couple of potential goals, and that’s OK—just follow this part of the process for each one.

Once you’ve chosen a goal, start mapping out what you’ll need to do to achieve it. Let’s say, for example, that you’re a PR professional currently working at a small agency, and your goal is to get a job with one of the top three firms in your city within six months. Your game plan might look something like this:

  1. Evaluate my skills. Do I have everything I need to qualify for Account Executive positions at big firms, or should I enroll in classes or take on some pro bono projects to get more experience?
  2. Update my resume, portfolio, and LinkedIn profile to reflect my latest and greatest work and accomplishments.
  3. Browse LinkedIn and send an email to my network to see if I have any contacts within the firms who might be willing to put in a good word for me. Set coffee dates with each of these contacts.
  4. Check out open positions at each firm. Draft targeted cover letters and applications for each firm, and apply.
  5. Attend at least one networking event per week to make new connections at these firms.

Obviously, everyone’s game plan will look different. The point is that you can achieve almost any task—even ones as big as landing a new gig—by breaking it up into small, manageable bites.

 

Week 4: Get Started

Now it’s time to get the ball rolling on your career plan. In week three, you listed all the tasks you’d need to finish to complete your goal. Now, it’s time to get out your calendar and actually schedule those steps. Depending on how much free time you have (and how desperate you are to get out of your current rut), you might want to try to complete part of your game plan every two or three days, every week, or every other week. It might seem silly or tedious to write out what you want to accomplish on your calendar, but it will keep you accountable to achieving your goal.

Of course, actually achieving all the parts of your “game plan” might take weeks or even months. The key is to make sure that you’re setting manageable goals and then committing yourself to accomplishing them. Don’t let yourself lose momentum during this part of the process, and continue to carve out time to achieve your weekly or daily goals. Keep a reminder of why you’re working so hard—maybe a picture of your dream office or a motivational note to yourself—nearby to keep you focused on what you’re trying to accomplish.

 

After you’ve completed this four-week program, give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back. In a single month, you’ve done what some people never accomplish—put yourself on the path to a career that is truly right for you.

cross-posted from The Daily Muse

Leave a comment

Filed under Attitude, Initiative, Self-Improvement

22 Things Happy People Do Differently

vintage-beach-engagement-session01

 

There are two types of people in the world: those who choose to be happy, and those who choose to be unhappy. Contrary to popular belief, happiness doesn’t come from fame, fortune, other people, or material possessions. Rather, it comes from within. The richest person in the world could be miserable while a person living in the slums of a third world country could be happy and content. I have spent plenty of time amongst both groups to have seen it first hand. Happy people are happy because they make themselves happy. They maintain a positive outlook on life and remain at peace with themselves.

The question is: how do they do that?

It’s quite simple. Happy people have good habits that enhance their lives. They do things differently. Ask any happy person, and they will tell you that they …

1. Don’t hold grudges.

Happy people understand that it’s better to forgive and forget than to let their negative feelings crowd out their positive feelings. Holding a grudge has a lot of detrimental effects on your wellbeing, including increased depression, anxiety, and stress. Why let anyone who has wronged you have power over you? If you let go of all your grudges, you’ll gain a clear conscience and enough energy to enjoy the good things in life.

2. Treat everyone with kindness.

Did you know that it has been scientifically proven that being kind makes you happier? Every time you perform a selfless act, your brain produces serotonin, a hormone that eases tension and lifts your spirits. Not only that, but treating people with love, dignity, and respect also allows you to build stronger relationships.

3. See problems as challenges.

The word “problem” is never part of a happy person’s vocabulary. A problem is viewed as a drawback, a struggle, or an unstable situation while a challenge is viewed as something positive like an opportunity, a task, or a dare. Whenever you face an obstacle, try looking at it as a challenge.

4. Express gratitude for what they already have.

There’s a popular saying that goes something like this: “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.” You will have a deeper sense of contentment if you count your blessings instead of yearning for what you don’t have.

5. Dream big.

People who get into the habit of dreaming big are more likely to accomplish their goals than those who don’t. If you dare to dream big, your mind will put itself in a focused and positive state.

6. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Happy people ask themselves, “Will this problem matter a year from now?” They understand that life’s too short to get worked up over trivial situations. Letting things roll off your back will definitely put you at ease to enjoy the more important things in life.

7. Speak well of others.

Being nice feels better than being mean. As fun as gossiping is, it usually leaves you feeling guilty and resentful. Saying nice things about other people encourages you to think positive, non-judgmental thoughts.

8. Never make excuses.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Happy people don’t make excuses or blame others for their own failures in life. Instead, they own up to their mistakes and, by doing so, they proactively try to change for the better.

9. Get absorbed into the present.

Happy people don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future. They savor the present. They let themselves get immersed in whatever they’re doing at the moment. Stop and smell the roses.

10. Wake up at the same time every morning.

Have you noticed that a lot of successful people tend to be early risers? Waking up at the same time every morning stabilizes your circadian rhythm, increases productivity, and puts you in a calm and centered state.

11. Avoid social comparison.

Everyone works at his own pace, so why compare yourself to others? If you think you’re better than someone else, you gain an unhealthy sense of superiority. If you think someone else is better than you, you end up feeling bad about yourself. You’ll be happier if you focus on your own progress and praise others on theirs.

12. Choose friends wisely.

Misery loves company. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with optimistic people who will encourage you to achieve your goals. The more positive energy you have around you, the better you will feel about yourself.

13. Never seek approval from others.

Happy people don’t care what others think of them. They follow their own hearts without letting naysayers discourage them. They understand that it’s impossible to please everyone. Listen to what people have to say, but never seek anyone’s approval but your own.

14. Take the time to listen.

Talk less; listen more. Listening keeps your mind open to others’ wisdoms and outlooks on the world. The more intensely you listen, the quieter your mind gets, and the more content you feel.

15. Nurture social relationships.

A lonely person is a miserable person. Happy people understand how important it is to have strong, healthy relationships. Always take the time to see and talk to your family, friends, or significant other.

16. Meditate.

Meditating silences your mind and helps you find inner peace. You don’t have to be a zen master to pull it off. Happy people know how to silence their minds anywhere and anytime they need to calm their nerves.

17. Eat well.

Junk food makes you sluggish, and it’s difficult to be happy when you’re in that kind of state. Everything you eat directly affects your body’s ability to produce hormones, which will dictate your moods, energy, and mental focus. Be sure to eat foods that will keep your mind and body in good shape.

18. Exercise.

Studies have shown that exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft does. Exercising also boosts your self-esteem and gives you a higher sense of self-accomplishment.

19. Live minimally.

Happy people rarely keep clutter around the house because they know that extra belongings weigh them down and make them feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Some studies have concluded that Europeans are a lot happier than Americans are, which is interesting because they live in smaller homes, drive simpler cars, and own fewer items.

20. Tell the truth.

Lying stresses you out, corrodes your self-esteem, and makes you unlikeable. The truth will set you free. Being honest improves your mental health and builds others’ trust in you. Always be truthful, and never apologize for it.

21. Establish personal control.

Happy people have the ability to choose their own destinies. They don’t let others tell them how they should live their lives. Being in complete control of one’s own life brings positive feelings and a great sense of self-worth.

22. Accept what cannot be changed.

Once you accept the fact that life is not fair, you’ll be more at peace with yourself. Instead of obsessing over how unfair life is, just focus on what you can control and change it for the better.

 

Cross posted from Successify

Leave a comment

Filed under Attitude, Health, Initiative

Letters To Potential Bosses — Make Them Sing

1208423_woman_using_computer

 

With email and regular mail perfectly suited for introducing yourself to a potential employer, job candidates will do well to get their letter game in gear.

First off, it’s true that you only get one chance to make a first impression, so make it a great one. Proof read, spell check, proof read, spell check, and proof read some more. Nothing ruins a job applicant’s letter faster than a glaring mistake. (Even if you’re handwriting your way through a written application form, be neat, take your time, and be accurate.)

Whatever you do, double and triple check that you’ve spelled the recipient’s name correctly.

Second, state your case quickly and with enthusiasm, but without going overboard. If you know there’s a specific job opening, mention it by name. If you are interested in any job a company might have, it still may be best to narrow the focus by calling attention to your skill sets.

Examples:

“I believe that my friendly, outgoing personality would make me an asset to your sales team or human resource department.”

“My experience with computers will help me learn your inventory management and bookkeeping software quickly.”

Like a good sales person, you are selling you! Your brand. Your style. Don’t be pushy or you’ll risk being unbelievable. But don’t undersell yourself, either.

Third, be yourself. Write the way you speak. A conversational tone usually works best. Be smart. Be engaging, direct, and to the point. Any employer worth working for will see right through those ponderous, Thesaurus-driven statements that may sound strong and dynamic, but are really hollow and lacking substance.

Avoid sentences like, “My primary, secondary, and tertiary professional quests involve using my interpersonal and economic acumen to develop innovative solutions that echo the dynamic vernacular of my commitment to corporate excellence.”  What?

Good luck in singing your own praises. And remember, it’s the hollow barrel that makes the most noise!

 

cross posted from Goodwill of Northern New England

Leave a comment

Filed under Initiative

How to Not Get Fooled in a Job Interview

Man reading newspaper

Have you ever walked out of an interview thinking, “Wow! This job almost sounds too good to be true!”

If so, there’s a reason for that.

Don’t forget: The interview is a two-way street. Yes, you’re selling yourself to them, but they’re also selling you on the job. This is especially true if you’re a high-quality candidate. Your interviewer may paint a beautiful picture of what the company has to offer, but sadly, it might not be a full or accurate picture.

It happens all the time: You start a new job only to find out that the position isn’t what you thought it would be, the travel required is far greater than you expected, the hours don’t match what was promised…

Interviewers aren’t necessarily trying to intentionally mislead you. In some cases, they might be ill-informed themselves. Fooling a candidate into taking a position doesn’t do the company any favors. Surveys show that employees who get the wrong information during the interview are much more likely to feel unsatisfied and start looking to work elsewhere quickly.

Still, a 2012 report from Development Dimensions International, Inc. reveals the most common complaint among new hires is getting an unrealistic, inaccurate picture of the job during the hiring process.

So, what’s a job candidate to do? In short, you have to investigate. Ask questions and do your own research.

Questions to Ask

There are two different “types” of questions to ask your interviewer. One type probes for real, factual information. The second gathers perception-based information, which is subjective and shouldn’t be taken as pure fact.

1. Factual

  • What is the turnover rate for this position?
  • Do you have any statistics regarding employee engagement? (Some companies do surveys.)
  • Can I see the full, official job description?
  • Who will I be working with most and can I meet them?

2. Perception-based

  • Can you tell me about the company culture?
  • Can you tell me about the dynamics of the team I’ll be working with?

Research Areas

Of course, there’s no guarantee that the above questions will elicit “truth” so it’s worthwhile doing a little research on your own as well.

1. Observation: While you’re there for the interview, look around. What does the environment feel like? Do people look happy and productive, or stressed and overworked?

2. Public Information: Look at the financials of the company (if it’s public); read press releases, customer reviews, and other information available online. All of this gives you a sense of the company’s overall standing and reputation.

3. Glassdoor.com: This website gives you an insider’s look at what it’s really like to work at a company. Current and former employees can post anonymously regarding anything—company culture, job duties, salaries, interviews, you name it.

Next time you head out for an interview, remember that it’s not just about proving you’re the right person for the job. It’s also about making sure the job is right for you.

It’s still pretty likely that, once you’re in the job, you’ll experience a few surprises—some good, some bad. Hopefully, following these tips will help ensure you start with realistic expectations and minimize the negative revelations.

Cross posted from US News and World Report.

Leave a comment

Filed under Initiative, Interview, Unexpected

20 Ways to Maintain a Positive Attitude during Job Search

Woo hoo!

 

 

Like many thousands of other people, you have been thrust into a situation that you probably didn’t want to be. For many, it can be a devastating experience. Do you find yourself struggling to cope with unwelcome emotions of fear and hopelessness? If yes, this article is for you.

 
Positive Mental Attitude
It introduces you to several key concepts which will help you to use your innate power to walk through this period in order to achieve incredible success and it illustrates unique ways to harness, focus on you, your personal inner calm and your power.

A major feature of unemployment is that it is one kind of cross-roads in your life and only you can choose which direction you take. There are very few opportunities like this in your life. Paradoxically, while you may not have chosen the redundancy or lay off situation, it has delivered the opportunity for you now to choose your future direction. However, realising this is crucial because you have to first maintain a positive mental attitude and use the same positive attitude to do a job search.

While maintaining a positive attitude is vital to a successful job search, there will be times when you get discouraged. It may seem impossible to revive that positive energy level. But there are many things you can do to bring your good outlook back to life and keep it in good shape.

Think of the following tips as a crash course in job search CPR – Cheerful, Positiveness, Resuscitation.

1. Remember to feel good about yourself.

This is the key to a positive attitude, and all the points that follow are ways of helping you feel good about yourself. No one can feel good for you. Reach out to that wonderful place inside you where no one else has control of and bring it to the surface and let it radiate through your being.

2. Talk positively about yourself and your abilities.

Don’t talk yourself down. Be very positive about yourself. Think about all your achievements in the past and be happy about them. Pe proud of yourself and let it show in your talk, walk and the way see life. You know the story about the little engine that could, right? What you believe about yourself is the foundation of all your future actions.

3. Take charge!

Only you can do it, roll up your sleeves and take charge. Be present, be accountable and be ready. Accept full responsibility for your life and your job search. It is not up to your partner, mother, father, girlfriend or boyfriend, or your aunt Tania in Godknowswhere to find you a job. Although it is important that you expand your circle of influence by networking like there is no tomorrow and your network will be a definite help, but YOU are responsible for the success of your job search so learn to be a superstar job seeker.

4. Let go of regrets about the past.

Instead of blaming yourself or anybody and constantly rehashing past mistakes, take the opportunity to learn from the past. Build on past experiences to improve yourself and your abilities. Waste no time on unproductive thoughts and things. Be pragmatic and live in the present with a focus on a new beginning.

5. Stop worrying about the future.

While you don’t want to live in the past, you also don’t want to live in the future. Worrying is a habit, and you can change the habit if you really try. If you find yourself stuck in a negativity rut, shovel yourself out by focusing on your hopes and dreams rather than on your fears.

6. Flatter yourself.

The job search is no time to be humble. Make a list of every positive feedback that you ever received and why. Read every complimentary thing about yourself that you can find. Letters of praise, past awards, performance appraisals, or any other positive recognitions you have are good ways to remind yourself of your worth and talents. Paste these things on a wall or a bulletin board in your work area at home to boost your spirits whenever you feel a little down.

7. Start each day on a positive, upbeat note.

The start of your day will set the tempo for everything that follows. So it is important that you do something every morning that will put you in a good mood, whether that is taking a walk, walking your dog, listening to some upbeat music, twittering, blogging, running, doing a crossword, or just relaxing with a good cup of coffee or tea.

8. Get physical!

Don’t vegitate on a sofa with a remote in one hand feeling sorry for your self. You’ve heard the saying, “healthy body, healthy mind.” Keeping yourself healthy and in good physical shape. This will boost your energy level and make it easier to maintain a positive mental attitude.

Exercise regularly.
Eat a well-balanced diet.
Get enough sleep.
Chill out with positive friends and not the ones that will talk your emotions down.
Turn the volume of your music up and dance but don’t disturb your neighbors.

9. Create a schedule and stick to it.

Knowing what you are supposed to do each day can prevent you from feeling lost or bored. Sticking to your schedule as closely as possible will provide focus to your job search.

10. Keep up appearances.

Turn your cool and professional swagger on. While nobody expects you to wear a suit and tie every day on your job search, try not to dress too casually. Keep your work space and living space neat and tidy. Set a positive framework for your job search.

11. Take a team approach to finding a job.

Even if the team is only two people, it is helpful to have somebody else to share ideas with and to review your progress on a regular basis. Talk to your former colleagues and share tips. Talk about what success will look like and how to get there. Go for a drink and discuss in a happy environment.

12. Accept your cycles.

While it is important to maintain a positive attitude, it’s unrealistic to think that you will be 100% positive forever. The trick is not to get down on yourself when you get down. Set a time limit on how long (15 minutes, for example) you will allow yourself to stay down when you feel a little depressed.

13. Join a professional group.

If you are looking for a job in a certain profession, join LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. ‘Follow’ the company, ‘friend’ them and ‘like’ their products. Comment on their recent developments and follow their news. However, be professional at all times. Joining an association can be an excellent way to keep up to date on developments and trends. It will help you develop your network and put you in contact with people that have interests similar to yours.

14. Keep growing.

Continue to develop your skills and knowledge while looking for work. Do this by:

  • Taking a class.
  • Attending free webinars
  • Taking part in Twitter (professional) chats
  • Attending conferences, workshops and seminars.
  • Reading pertinent articles on the web
  • Creating a blog of your own
  • Subscribing to RSS feeds
  • Subscribing to trade magazines.
  • Reading the newspaper and other current-affair magazines.
  • Doing volunteer work that uses the skills and knowledge you want to use in your next job.

If you are not immediately successful in finding work, you might start to question your skills and qualifications. Keeping on top of the skills, knowledge and trends in your field will make you feel positive about your ability to do the type of work you want to do.

15. Don’t take rejections personally.

Very few people land the very first job they apply to or are interviewed for. Your attitude really depends on how you look at things. You can see a job rejection as a personal attack on your abilities or character, or you can see it as an opportunity to grow and learn more about yourself.

16. Do it now, don’t delay.

Procrastination is a sure way to lower your self-esteem. Nobody actually considers putting things off as a positive trait, do they? The more you delay, the more depressed you will be when you realize all the things you have left to do. On the other hand, doing something every day will make you feel like you are putting in a real effort and you will feel good about yourself.

17. Attitude is contagious.

Surround yourself with supportive, positive people. Walk away from naysayers, or emotional vampires. Don’t let them drain you of your positive energy.

18. Reward yourself.

Make sure you take time out to relax after a day of job hunting:

  • Go to a movie with a friend or watch a movie at home.
  • Have your favorite snack at hand.
  • Read a book.
  • Take a walk.
  • Do anything else that you find enjoyable and relaxing and that will take your mind off job hunting.
  • Chat on your phone
  • Spend time with a loved one

19. Talk to someone.

You might feel really burned out, angry or frustrated after a long, unsuccessful job search. Or you might reach a stage where you want to give up looking for work altogether. At this point it might be a good idea to talk to a trained professional, such as a the Citizens Advice Bureau, a psychologist or a counselor that can help you sort out your feelings.

20. Keep a smile on your face.

You might feel like there is nothing to smile about at times but make an effort to keep a smile on your face. Life is good because you are still alive and kicking. You can walk about and look for jobs, you are not defined by your current situation. It is just a phase that will surely pass. No one can get you down except yourself. Cheer up and love life!

cross posted from Catherine’s career corner

Leave a comment

Filed under Attitude, Health, Initiative

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know. You Know?

Have you ever applied for a position and think to yourself “I don’t stand a chance. This job is way over my head but I might as well apply?” First off, good job, for being confident and ambitious enough to apply for the position. But what happens if you get a phone interview? I’ll get to that in a moment.

If you are trying desperately to find a job, just casually looking for that matter, you need to treat the process as though it is a job. Here are some tips on how to organize your search.

  1. Keep a book, note pad, Excel spread sheet, whatever is available to you and track ALL of the positions and companies you apply to.
  2. Beside each entry document the main job duties that are in the description. Then make note of the parts of your resume that you believe are most applicable to the position.
  3. If you are able to get contact information for any of the positions, make sure you document that as well.
  4. Continuously update the list and put the positions you are most interested in at the top. Date when you applied to them so you know when to follow up on your application.

Now, back to the position you have no chance at getting. You have a chance. In many cases job descriptions are carefully crafted by Human Resource departments and don’t always give an accurate depiction of the nuts and bolts of the position. Refer back to your organized list and see what information you already have on the job. Then, look over your resume and put yourself in the recruiters’ position. Ask yourself; “Why would this resume make me stand out?” Chances are there skill sets that have been identified in your resume that has gotten you to the opportunity to interview.  Take the items on your resume that align most with the job description and make not of them. You will need to refer back to this information during the interview.

At this point you still don’t have a good idea of the position and the phone is about to ring. It’s OK. Breathe. When the recruiter calls, it is absolutely OK to inquire further about the position. Here is an example of what you may say…”I want to make sure that I am able to provide the best answers possible. Could you tell me what the 3 most important responsibilities are?” This can help you tailor your answers to what they want to hear.  Without this information you will find yourself in a position where you don’t know what you don’t know.  You know?

 

 

The HR Recruiter

The HR Recruiter has over 3 years’ experience working in Employment Services and Human Resources. He is currently working on his Masters of Science in Human Resource Development at N.C. State University. He is also a member of SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management). 

Leave a comment

Filed under Attitude, Initiative, Tool Box

How Social Media Distracts You at Work

Leave a comment

Filed under Initiative, Unexpected

What Does “Overqualified” Mean, Anyway?

Of course rejection hurts, but to tell your friends and family (and yourself) that you were turned down because you were too skilled or too experienced is much less bruising on the ego than the alternative. For companies looking to eliminate candidates, using the word “overqualified” may take some of the sting and fear of retribution out of the rejection. But is it true?

Think about this scenario for a second. You are trying to hire a new employee and you estimate that someone with five years of experience should be able to handle the duties effectively. A candidate is presented with fifteen years of experience that has all the attributes you are seeking. This person should theoretically perform the tasks quicker and even take on some additional workload. Do you really think a company would not hire this person simply because he/she has those additional years of experience? I would argue that is rarely the case.

What can overqualified actually mean?

Overpaid

If your experience is greater than what is required, it generally becomes a problem when your salary requirements are above what is budgeted. It’s not that you are classified as overpaid in your current role, but that you would be overpaid for the level of responsibility at the new job. I list this as the most likely culprit because I often see companies initially reject a candidate as overqualified, then hire that same person because of a lack of less experienced quality talent.

Stagnant

Candidates who have worked for many years in a technically stagnant and regulated environment will often not thrive in less regulated, more technically diverse firms. The conventional wisdom, right or wrong, is that you can’t release the zoo lions back into the jungle once they’ve been tamed.

Overskilled

If your skills are greater than what is necessary for the job, an employer may fear that the lack of challenges provided will bore you into looking for more interesting work in the future. Hiring a tech lead to do bug fixes could lead to a short stint. There is emerging evidence that shows skilled workers do not exit less challenging jobs quickly or in high numbers, but hiring managers are not quite ready to abandon the traditional line of thinking.

Threatening

If your experience is greater than those conducting the interviews, there could be some fear that you could be a competitor for future opportunities for promotion. If a start-up is yet to hire a CTO, the highest geek on that firm’s food chain may be jockeying for the role. This may sound a bit like a paranoid conspiracy theory, but I genuinely believe it is prevalent enough to mention.

Age

Ageism is a real problem, but in my experience, ageism is also widely overdiagnosed by candidates who think the problem is their age when in actuality it is their work history. Most of the self-diagnosed claims of ageism that I hear are from candidates who spent perhaps 20+ years working for the same company and have not focused on keeping their skills up to date (see stagnant above). I can’t say that I’ve ever heard a claim of ageism from a candidate that has moved around in their career and stayed current with technology. The problem often isn’t age, it is relevance.

So if you are an active job seeker that is continuously hearing that you are overqualified, what can you do to improve your standing?

1. Rethink: Try to investigate which of the meanings of overqualified you are hearing most often. Is your compensation in line with what companies are paying for your set of qualifications? Do you present yourself in interviews as someone who may become easily bored when your work is less challenging? Are you making it clear in interviews that you want the job, and you explain why you want the job?

2. Retool: Make sure your skills are relevant and being sought by companies. Invest time to learn an emerging technology or developing some niche specialty that isn’t already flooded.

3. Remarket: Write down the top reasons you think a company should hire you, and then check to see if those reasons are represented in your job search materials (resume, email application, cover letters). Find out what was effective for your peers in their job search and try to implement new self-promotion tactics.

4. Reboot and refresh: Take a new look at your options beyond the traditional career paths. Have you considered consulting or contracting roles where your guidance and mentoring skills could be justified and valued for temporary periods? Are there emerging markets that interest you?

Terms like ‘overqualified’ and ‘not a fit’ are unfortunately the laziest, easiest, and safest ways that companies can reject you for a position, and they almost always mean something else. Discovering the real reason you were passed up is necessary to make the proper adjustments so you can get less rejections and more offers.

Dave Fecak is an independent recruiter and consultant that specializes in working with software firms primarily in the Philadelphia area. Dave is also the founder/JUGmaster of the Philadelphia Area Java Users’ Group. His blog isJobTipsForGeeks and he tweets at @jobtipsforgeeks.

Leave a comment

Filed under Attitude, Initiative, Tool Box

Job Search: Play the numbers game when job-hunting this summer

School’s out and we’re staring at a summer of warm weather, vacations and plenty of outdoor events. For many, job hunting takes a back seat to family fun, especially if you’re underemployed. Sure, you want and need a better job, but at least you have some money coming in. What can it hurt to take a month or two off to enjoy yourself?

Only you know your finances and how long you can afford to remain unemployed or underemployed. If you’ve recently lost your position, you’ll find this job market unlike most any other. Your search will probably take longer, and you’ll find the days of simply answering an ad are over.

Job hunting is all about networking. It’s about positioning yourself in the front of a prospective employer’s mind … and demonstrating real value to the organization. Job hunting also is a numbers game.

For companies that want a new person to start during the fourth quarter of 2012, now is the time for them to start the hiring process. If you wait until after Labor Day to restart your search, it’s likely a number of good jobs will have passed you by. So the number of available jobs won’t necessarily decrease during the summertime.

But many seekers do take time off during the summer, so the ratio of seekers to openings changes in your favor. Wouldn’t it make sense to compete for the publicly known openings against fewer people?

Networking is the central component of a successful job search. Networking is a process. It becomes a mindset and somewhat of a lifestyle. It’s not something you can easily turn on and off. Successful networkers stay with it.

If you sit out for a couple of months, you’ll no longer remain in the front of your contacts’ minds. Your network, like your summertime garden, requires attention if you expect it to bear fruit. Why not run through your list of networking contacts and contact them again, ideally leading with some online article of interest to them?

Another approach to your networking contacts is to ask for specific help in gaining access to a particular person. Use LinkedIn to look through your network contact’s connections. Find connections you’d like to be introduced to, and pick up the phone to make that request. Don’t rely on the LinkedIn website’s internal method for requesting an introduction.

Keep your momentum alive. Halting your search not only deprives you of seeing advertised openings with less competition, but also takes you away from the networking habit. Networking is difficult enough for many people without the strain of having to restart the process. Remember, it only takes that one company to say yes. Keep at it and good luck!

Article originally found in Winston-Salem Journal

 WIN Randy Wooten

Randy Wooden is a longtime Triad career consultant and director of Goodwill Industries of Northwest NC’s Professional Center. You may reach him at rwooden@goodwillnwnc.org.

Leave a comment

Filed under Initiative, Network, Skill, Tool Box