January 22, 2015

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Get Smarter and Work Better with this App

elevateApple named Elevate the best app of 2014. It’s addicting. It will make you smarter. It will help you in work and life. So what are you waiting for?

Elevate is one of those “personal brain trainer” apps but there’s something about this one that sticks. You’ll feel like you’re getting smarter and it’s pretty fun to play. You’ll find yourself playing math games and actually enjoying yourself.

Elevate lets you choose specific areas of improvement and they’re all commendable. Choose from articulating your thoughts more clearly, retaining more of what you read and hear, and processing information faster. From there, a quick test evaluates your proficiency in each area. Every day you’ll get a reminder to tackle your training session, which is composted of three challenges in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and math.

Read more of the best apps of the year at TIME.

Image via Facebook.com/ElevateLabs.

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January 20, 2015

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Job Seekers: Forget These 3 Excuses in 2015

198900518_fdd4191bbd_zExcuses, excuses, excuses. We’re calling you out. If you’re actively job seeking right now, we’ve got your back — but we’re also going to give you the kick you need. Here are the top excuses you need to stop making for yourself in 2015.

1. “I don’t have enough experience, so I’m not even going to apply.”
You’ve got nothing to lose when it comes to this job application. Leave it to someone else to decide your fate. As Wayne Gretzky says, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”

2. “I’ve sent a million applications, but I hear nothing.”
It’s great that you’ve sent out so many applications, but how much effort did you put into each one? Not enough. We’ve touted the importance of tailoring each resume and we’ve covered how to tell if your resume sucks. Apply to fewer jobs in a more thoughtful way and you might see your results change.

3. “I’ll apply but I’m never going to get this job.” 
Confidence, people! You need confidence. Your doubt will come through in your application and your interview. No one will take you seriously if you don’t take yourself seriously.

Image via vandys/Flickr.

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January 15, 2015

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5 Things That Must be Removed From Your Resume in 2015

13903354509_d6a32bed18_zNew year, new you, right? If you’re a job seeker, you might be focusing your efforts on a smaller mantra first: new year, new resume. It’s hard to write a resume. How can one outline their entire career path in one page? Here’s the good news — we’re going to tell you what you can take off your resume.

Go through our check list of the five things you must remove from your resume immediately. Strike these things out and you’ll have more room to write about those amazing career achievements you need to share with employers.

1. Third person voice
Don’t say “Mr. Thompson has a decade of experience…” Make it stronger — and shorter — by saying “I have a decade of experience…”

2. Too much business jargon
Sure keywords are important these days but your writing has to make sense. Limit the over-used business jargon to a few relevant phrases — and don’t use big words that require a dictionary definition.

3. Irrelevant jobs
Your resume isn’t the place to list EVERY job. Remove those unimportant positions that have nothing to do with your the position you’re hoping to land. Save that real estate for showing relevant experiences.

4. Irrelevant interests
It’s great that you volunteer or an expert knitter, but when we’re talking about limited space the interests will have to go. Unless the experience matches perfectly with the position, hit the delete key.

5. Exaggerations
It goes without saying that no one should lie on their resume — and that goes with exaggerations as well. Be truthful and find the best way to market yourself. Remember: your experiences and thoughts are unique and any company would be lucky to have you.

Image via Flazingo Photos.  

 

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January 13, 2015

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4 Quick and Easy Resume Hacks for 2015

13903383190_46eccf2592_kIt’s a new year and it’s time to brush up that resume. Whether you last sent it out in 2014 or years ago, there’s always room for improvement. Here are four quick tips that will make your resume shine in 2015.

1. Don’t list your daily duties.
For each position, don’t list what you did — list what you did great. That means talking about the particular skills you exceeded at and the achievements that followed.

2. Sprinkle numbers throughout.
From the size of your team, the dollar amount of your budget, to the number of stories you wrote, throw around concrete numbers whenever you can.

3. Don’t assume.
If needed, save a bullet point for putting your job into context — what does the company do, what was the department like, and what was your goal or mission?

4. Be picky.
Only list relevant positions with applicable experience. Short and sweet can be strong — get rid of that experience that doesn’t build upon why you’re the best person to hire for this position.

Image via Flazingo Photos.  

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January 9, 2015

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Career Advice for Graduates from LinkedIn’s Founder

2512994173_a987e82bf3_zIf 2015 is the year you’ll walk across the stage diploma in hand, you have to read this. And if you became a graduate years ago, you still have to read this.  Hey, even if you’re about to retire, you should read this and share it with others. That’s how good it is.

Business Insider recently published a slideshow of career advice from Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn’s billionaire founder. It’s called The 3 Secrets of Highly Successful Graduates and it’s all about feeling ready for the working world — because most soon-to-be graduates don’t feel like they can take on the real world. His advice is inspiring and dead on from, “That uncertainty you feel right now about your future — it won’t ever go away,” to “In an ever-changing world, managing your career is a LIFELONG PROCESS.”

Here are are just some of our favorite pieces of advice from the slideshow:

  • “Your best career has you pursuing worthy aspirations, using your assets, while navigating the market realities.”
  • “You’ll be surprised how valuable your existing skills and connections are to those who don’t have them.”
  • “If you’re looking for an opportunity, you’re really looking for a person.”

Read the rest of the Life-Changing Career Advice from LinkedIn’s Billionaire Founder Reid Hoffman at Business Insider.

Image via Danielle King/Flickr

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January 4, 2015

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3 Habits That Will Instantly Boost Your Productivity in 2015

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1. Learn to say ‘No.’
Being a “yes” person is good — up to a point. But saying ‘no’ is a skill we must all cultivate. While we might have good intentions, agreeing to everyone’s demands only wears us thin. That means more stress on our end and a lesser quality of work. Not good. Learn your limits, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and say no when you need to — and don’t feel sorry for it.

2. Take a break.
It’s okay to take multiple breaks. Find what works for you. Perhaps a one-hour lunch break is all you need to re-energize your mind and body. The Pomodoro technique might be better — working in sprints and rewarding yourself with frequent short breaks. Perhaps you need to take a 15-minute morning and afternoon walk to recharge. Or just 30 minutes of reading over your lunch break to clear your mind.

3. Stop multitasking.
See number one — because you’re likely multitasking because you didn’t say no. If you can’t find time to give your all to everything on your to-do list, something has got to give. You need to say no to something, ask for help from someone, or re-examine your process and find a more effective one. It might take time to get on the right track, but it’s time well spent.

Image via GDS Infographics/Flickr

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December 26, 2014

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“Good” Habits That are Actually Bad Ones in Disguise


We fill our resume with buzzwords that make us sound like the perfect employee: master multitasker! People pleaser! Extremely dedicated! But it turns out these “good” habits might actually give off a warning signal to a hiring manager. Why? We’ll break it down for you and reveal the double meaning behind some popular resume keywords.

The Juggler
“Multitasking” is one of those traits we used to think was great. But it turns out that it’s actually really bad for you. Just think about: how can you possibly give your full attention to more than one thing at a time? You can’t!

The ‘Yes’ Man
If you’re a people pleaser, you might never say no. And if you never say no, you might get in over your head — and drown. Successful employees know when to say no. They delegate when they need to. And they’re better workers for doing so.

The Dedicated Employee
Extreme dedication is great, but becoming a workaholics could lead to extreme burnout. Everyone needs to take a break to refuel their mind and their body. Sometimes all it takes is a lunch break and other times it requires a week-long vacation.

What other resume buzzwords have double meanings? Share your thoughts below!

 

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December 23, 2014

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Your Resume is a Story… and You’re the Hero

4309638815_7a297f3fa8_zYou’re starring in the story of your life. But did you know that you’re also starring in another story? It’s the story of your career. You’re the hero, your resume is the story, and it’s up to you to make it a good one. We loved this recent article called, “Your Resume Should Tell a ‘Hero’s Epic’ Story.” There’s a reason why your resume is an epic hero’s journey and not a drama or a comedy. Everyone loves a good hero’s tale — they want to see you accept responsibility, overcome obstacles, tackle the competition, and rise to the top.

Thinking of your resume as a story might help you to craft the most compelling pitch possible. For example, does the “story” flow smoothly from one position to another? Does the “story” illustrate how you’ve grown throughout your career? Does your “story” have an underlying theme that illustrates your career ambitions and successes? When you think about it this way, the resume and the story have a lot in common.

One of the biggest takeaways from storytelling that apply to resume writing is this: details. Every story — and every resume — needs details that engage the reader. If the reader is bored, they’ll stop reading — and move on to the next candidate. But if you can keep their attention and captivate a reader with explicit details about how interesting and wonderful you are, hiring managers will be clamoring to meet you.

Read the full piece on why your resume should tell a hero’s epic story then apply the tips to your resume. How will the story end? Hopefully with a happily ever after — and a new job!

Image via dixieroadrash on Flickr.

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December 18, 2014

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3 Things You Should Never Say to Your Boss

It’s easy to want to run to your boss anytime something goes wrong at work. But part of being a successful employee is being able to successfully handle your problems. Now — don’t get us wrong — there are definitely times when it’s appropriate and necessary to get your boss involved and we’re confident that you know which times are appropriate.

The following are examples of lighter-hearted issues that you can likely take a stab at solving yourself. If your efforts end up a failure then take the situation to your boss and show the steps you’ve taken to try to remedy the problem on your own. He or she will appreciate the steps you’ve taken. Here are the top three things you should never say out loud to your boss:

1. “I’m too busy.”
Delegating is a super important lesson every employee must learn as well as increasing productivity and staying focused. If you’ve delegated everything you could, found your productivity sweet spot, and pound away at work every minute of the day and you still can’t get all your work done, then it’s okay to bring this up to the head honcho.

2. “I don’t like my coworker.”
If there’s anything you learn in corporate America it’s that you have to get along with everyone. You’ll be working with people of all different backgrounds, communication styles, and work ethics. Part of your job is learning how to best work with each of these people. And you never know — projects come to completion and people take on new positions. This work situation might not be permanent.

3. “I’m not getting paid enough to do this.”
That thought might be crossing your mind, but keep it to yourself. It might seem like your boss has the power to raise your salary and give you a promotion, but it’s not always as easy as it sounds. Sometimes the work just needs to get done, and you are the one who’s been asked to go above and beyond. Do it with a smile and there’s a good chance your boss will remember that — and recommend you for a promotion.

 

 

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December 16, 2014

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How to Instantly Sound More Confident

We’ve already covered 3 Speaking Habits That Make You Sound Stupid, but unfortunately there’s a few more. While we would all prefer to sound smart, it’s also important to sound confident. And the following bad habits take away from that confidence. You may think you’re in the clear when it comes to these habits, but pay attention the next time you’re engaged in an important work conversation, giving a presentation, or even writing an email.

Stop saying, “I think” before every point you make.
We know you’re thinking it because you said it. Unless you’re attributing a fact to someone else, we’re going to assume that everything that comes out of your mouth is something you believe in. Emails and conversations can immediately sound more convincing when you remove this pesky phrase. Unless you truly want to express doubt, take “I think” out of your vocabulary.

Don’t speak like everything is a question.
This is another habit that might only appear when you’re under pressure. When we raise our voices at the end of a sentence, it expresses a question — and it can make us sound unsure. If you’re confident in what you’re saying, say it confidently. Declare it, don’t question it.

Remove “filler” words from your vocabulary.
Everyone depends on something different to fill the silence. It might be “like,” “um,” “you know,” or even “I think.” These words are unneeded. It’s okay to take a moment of silence while you gather your thoughts. Get comfortable with the silence and you’ll find yourself depending on these words less and less.

What are your tips for speaking more confidently? What speech habit is hardest for you to break? Comment below!

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