Archive | December, 2012

This or That: Job Edition

December 27, 2012

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This or That job EditionJob searching is a little like dating. Part of the process is discovering who you are and what you like and dislike. If you can really understand what makes you happy, you might be more successful at finding yourself a great career match. Here are some scenarios to consider when searching for that dream position:

Mostly Motivated or Needs Direction?
Some employees prefer a strict workday schedule otherwise they feel they’d never get anything done. Others would like a flexibly schedule and the opportunity to work from home on Fridays. What kind of person are you?

Legendary Leader or Faithful Follower?
Some employees want to work their way up to that corner office while others prefer to stay “in the field.” Think about your long-term career – are you working toward management? Or would you rather avoid the meetings and ownership that come with that path?

Go Solo or Part of the Team?
Certain teams may be smaller than others and some positions may require you to work mostly on your own. If you prefer a more collaborative environment, find a position or field that thrives with teamwork.

Huge Company or Local Business?
Working for a big brand means instant recognition (and clout) on your resume, but maybe you’d like to support a small family-owned business and the local economy. There are pros and cons to each – weigh them both.

Behind-the-Scenes or In the Spotlight?
Customer-facing roles act as spokespersons for your company’s brand. Would you rather be there in the spotlight or working at the back end making the magic happen behind the scenes?

Image by Lenna Young Andrews

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How To Find Focus in a Jumbled Resume

December 26, 2012

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How to find focus in a jumbled resumeNot everyone knows what they want to do when they grow up. That’s why a lot of resumes include varied experiences. Maybe you majored in marketing but ended up in finance. Or started your career as a teacher but ended up in HR. The good news is that there are certain soft skills that every company is looking for – and it’s likely that each of your jumbled experiences fits the bill for at least one of them.  That means that you might be qualified for more positions than you think. Follow these steps to find your focus:

Create a Master Resume
We’ve already taught you how to de-clutter your resume, but now we want you to do the opposite. List every position and experience you’ve ever had. Absolutely everything.

Find Your Story
There’s a story hiding in your resume, you just have to find it. Is there a common thread throughout your experiences? Are you always helping others? Are you always leading others? Are you always doing communications work? Highlight these things.

Reassess Your Qualifications
Based on the story you’ve found, a whole set of doors may have opened for you. Brainstorm a few positions you think you’re fit for. Maybe you have more leadership experience than you thought or more business experience than you knew.

Make an Edited Resume
For each “story” you find, create a resume highlighting the appropriate experiences. Make sure you follow our best resume tip ever as you really make your new focus shine. If you apply for a new job and land an interview, use your story during the “So tell me about yourself” portion of the interview.

Image by Tony Dowler.

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“So What Do You Know About Our Company?”

December 20, 2012

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So what do you know about our company?An interviewer says, “So what do you know about our company?” What do you do?

A. Spit mad knowledge about the industry.
B. Mention a recent news article featuring the company.
C. Ask intelligent questions.
D. All of the above.

The answer is “D. All of the above.” This question is a great chance to share you knowledge about not only the company itself but also the industry. If you’ve truly done your research, it might even lead to a few intelligent questions about a recent marketing campaign or a company reorganization. This is the time to show off and demonstrate how interested you are in this position.

Head to Google
Thanks to the Internet, you have no excuse not to become an expert on this company. A quick Google search will bring up websites and recent news articles both good and bad. Read up as much as you can about the company – that means more than just the headlines! This research should help you develop some questions.

Get Social
A quick scan of social media presences like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn will teach you about what’s important at the company right now. Explore all of their social sites and browse posts from the last six months. It’s likely you’ll find some great information here and a get a feel for the company’s culture.

Crowdsource Information
Reach out to your network on LinkedIn or Facebook. Can anyone fill you in on the company’s core values? Their work ethic? What the work environment is like in this specific department?  This is the kind of information you might not repeat exactly in your interview but it should help you shape your answers.

Read our previous post: “So Tell Me About Yourself.”

Image by Greg Smith.

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Saying Goodbye: The Right Way To Quit Your Job

December 19, 2012

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The Right Way To Say GoodbyeYou’ve landed an awesome new position at Spectrum Brands and now you have to put in your two weeks notice at your former company. It’s an exciting time but also an important time. There’s a right and a wrong way to say goodbye and you want to make sure you leave on the right terms.

Be Humble
Even if you’re excited to run out the door and take on a bigger and better position at a bigger and better company, don’t forget where you came from. It’s OK to show a bit of excitement about your new opportunity but don’t go overboard. Use generic phrases like, “It was a great opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.”

Give Thanks
Say thank you to everyone who’s helped further your career. Let them know how much you appreciate the advice they’ve shared and how it’s shaped you for the better.

Get Recommended
Ask coworkers and bosses if they’ll endorse you on LinkedIn or write a recommendation. Now is the time to do so while your time spent working together is still fresh in their minds.

Follow the Rules
Stick to the protocol as best you can whether it’s a two-week notice, finishing up a big project before you leave, or giving a professional but helpful exit interview.

Build Your Network
Networking is extremely important. Be sure to pass along your contact information and collect information from those who you’d like to keep in your professional circle – even if you didn’t work with them that closely.

Stay Connected
A month or two into your new position, reach back out to these people. A network needs to be nurtured like a plant. Keep “watering” so your connections stay connected and your network grows stronger. You never know when you might need someone’s help or advice.

Image by Alfons Hoogervorst.

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Spotlight on: United Industries in St. Louis, Missouri

December 13, 2012

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Spotlight on- United Industries in St. Louis, MissouriSpectrum Brands’ products can be found all over the world, but the United Industries Home and Garden division thrives in St. Louis, Missouri. At United Industries, they care more than ever about how your garden grows.

What You’ll Find
United Industries is the leading manufacturer of value-based consumer products for the home, lawn, and garden insect and weed control markets in the US. It’s made up of a host of well-known home and garden brands including Spectracide, Cutter Insect Repellent, and Repel — the insect repellent as tough as you are! 

Besides delivering exceptional value and trusted results, United Industries is committed to sustainability. The company monitors operations and identifies ways to improve the quality of business while minimizing waste and reducing their impact on the environment. The effort is led by a cross-functional sustainability team that represents all parts of the company.

About the Area
St. Louis is the second largest city in the state behind Kansas City (which is three-and-half hours away). It’s home to the famed stainless steel Gateway Arch, the St. Louis Cardinals, a lively brewery scene that includes Anheuser-Busch, and a plethora of entertainment from casinos to the St. Louis Space Center. Read about 25 things to do in St. Louis.

Jobs in St. Louis
In our St. Louis location, you’ll find positions in many areas including:

  • Operations
  • Sourcing
  • Researching and Development
  • Packaging
  • Engineering

Search Spectrum Brands job openings in St. Louis, Missouri, then find more great career advice and information on Facebook and Twitter.

Image by MoDOT Photos.

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The Best Resume Tip Ever

December 12, 2012

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The Best Resume Tip Ever

What is it? What is it? We can feel the anticipation… are you ready? Focus on results. It’s as simple as that. We mention it briefly in our resume tips section of our careers site, but we’re going to expand here. Remember this important fact: your resume is not a job description. It’s a place to list your achievements. Now let’s figure out how to do that.

Gather Numbers
Your resume should be constantly updated, even when you aren’t looking for a new position. It’s a great place to record important events in your career as they happen. Otherwise you might forget crucial details — like the numbers. From now on, pay more attention to your numbers: what was the budget for that project? How many dollars did you save the company when you altered that process? How many people did you lead during that event? This is the kind of information that will make your resume extra impressive.

BORING: Developed marketing campaigns for print magazines and newspapers.
BETTER: Managed a 5-person team during a $1 million print campaign that resulted in 100 million impressions, the company’s most successful campaign of 2012.

Focus on Achievements
Celebrate the little successes. Jot down any kind of work you’ve done that has received recognition or ended with positive results. Think of financial successes (the company is always focused on their bottom line!) or career successes such as being promoted with 1 year or receiving a special company award for your hard work. Use action words and adjectives to make your achievements pop off the paper.

BORING: Asked to work on a special project with upper management.
BETTER: Invited to exclusive upper management re-branding brainstorm after being the youngest person to get promoted to marketing manager.

Still looking for more resume advice? Read more tips on how to de-clutter your resume.

Image by Charlotte West.

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New Hire Etiquette: The First Month on the Job

December 6, 2012

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First Month Etiquette on the JobYou’ve made it past the interview, accepted the offer, and are now preparing for your first month as a new employee. It’s exiting and overwhelming. Besides meeting new people, you’ll be learning the ins and outs of a new company and a new position. To make the whole process run more smoothly, there are a few etiquette rules you should follow to make sure you start out on the right foot:

1. Don’t be late.
You’ll soon learn whether it’s OK to leave an hour early on Fridays or come in 15 minutes late when the traffic is bad, but for now, err on the safe side. Observe what other employees do but ask your boss for the run down on what’s expected of you.

2. Be professional.
You’ll be meeting a lot of people and they’ll have a lot of questions for you. Don’t feel obligated to divulge too much personal information or dish out your life story. If you’re not comfortable being put on the spot, repeat the same question back to your inquisitor after you give a short answer.

3. Keep it PG.
Swearing may be acceptable at your workplace or on your team, but don’t count on it. Again, stay professional and wait for cues from others before cracking jokes or using risky language. If your boss doesn’t use it, it’s a good sign that you shouldn’t.

4. Work hard.
Save the personal calls, lunchtime errands, and doctors appointments for down the road. Right now is the time to focus on learning the job and asking thoughtful questions. That means you should also unglue your smartphone from your hand and stay off Facebook and Twitter.

Image by Steven Meyer-Rassow

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Soft Skills Rock! What Employers Really Want.

December 4, 2012

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Soft Skills RockSure, it’s important to look great on paper. You need the right degree, the right positions, and even the right companies to create a head-turning resume that will get your foot in the door. But a candidate with outstanding experiences may not always get the job. Why? Because it’s just as important to be great in person as you are on paper. That’s where soft skills come in.

Are You a Great Communicator?
From the moment you walk in the door for an interview, you must be pleasant and positive. Have great eye contact and a sense of humor. Be friendly. If you project this personality, it’s clear that you’ll get along with anyone. And if you can roll with the punches in life, you can roll with the punches at work. No one wants a dramatic coworker!

Can You Make Decisions? 
If you give off an air of confidence, it will be clear that you’re not afraid to take a stand. You may have to give past examples to make this clear, but employers are looking for people who can take the lead when it’s needed. Sometimes there’s not a right or wrong decision. One just needs to be made with logical reasons to back it up.

Are You a Team Player?
If there’s one skill you’ll use for the rest of your life, it’s the ability to work with anyone. Different people have different work styles, communication styles, and humor. You can view it as a roadblock to getting work done or you can learn to adapt and work through your differences.

Can You Solve Problems?
Employers don’t want employees who will hide under their desks when bad news comes their way. They need people to take a storm head on, sort out the issues, and solve them. If you can do this without complaining, even better. Be sure to have an example ready for your interview.

Get more interview tips and advice at Spectrum Brand’s new careers site.

Image by Garfield Anderssen

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