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8 Inspiring Ted Talks That Will Help You During Your Job Search

July 29, 2015

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16223669794_4223d03698_zBy now, we’ve all seen at least one Ted Talk and we know their powerful effect. Regardless of the topic, I have yet to walk away from a Ted Talk without feeling inspired, motivated, or awestruck. If you’re in the middle of a long job search, you could be looking for those kinds of feelings — and maybe a little clarity too.

Luckily, Ted put together a playlist on 8 talks to help you find the right job. The talks range from 6 to 20 minutes and cover everything from why you will fail to have a great career to the career advice you didn’t get to why we should embrace the ‘near win.’

Step away from the job search, take a breather, and tune into one of these thought-provoking videos. They may help you discover the right path for yourself or at least inspire you to think about career success in a new way.

Tune in now.

Image via Got Credit/Flickr.

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Monday Motivation: Quotes about Career Success

July 27, 2015

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Feeling a little unmotivated on this Monday morning? Whether you’re stressing about your current position or your entire career path or a potential job interview, these quotes will inspire you get through it and maybe even provoke a little ambition… and some action.

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3 Easy Ways to Beef Up Your Resume

July 23, 2015

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4527639541_48df7fb222_zWhether you’re looking for a new job, improving your resume should always be a priority. It only helps your career — and your hiring potential — in the long run. In fact, sometimes the “down time” when you’re feeling comfortable and happy in your current role is the perfect time to work on improving yourself. Here are three easy ways to make your resume even better than it already is.

1. Take on a leadership role.
The workplace isn’t the only place you can take on a leadership role. Volunteer for an organization that you’re passionate about then ask to take on a larger role, to organize an event, or to be a part of the board. These opportunities may exist at work too — if there are any “extra curricular” organizations like a social team, or a “green” team, join now and show that you’re ready to be a leader, not a follower.

2. Improve your public speaking skills.
Hate speaking in public? You’re not alone. It’s a common fear, which means you can stand out from the pack by getting over that fear. There’s a Toastmasters chapter just about everywhere — maybe even in your own office. Improving your public speaking skills will help your career immensely, from expressing your ideas in a meeting to leading a workshop to motivating a team in the future. Plus, it’s a great networking opportunity.

3. Share your strengths and passions.
Volunteer to be a tutor or to teach a “fun” course at your local park district, college, or place of employment. It’s no secret that teachers are seen as experts, and experts are seen as leaders. See where we’re going with this? When you position yourself as an expert on something, you position yourself as a leader. Besides, it’s always fun to show off a little.

Image via markgranitz/Flickr.

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The Secret to Ensuring Success at Work

July 21, 2015

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1594706439_7a57d5cfa0_zHere’s one tip that can make you shine at any job now or in the future. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, how far along in your career you are, or how long you’ve been in your position. Ready for this tip? Here it is: get to know your boss.

That’s it? Yep. Your boss holds the keys to the castle. He or she decides on your workload, your future projects, and your future promotions. Understanding your boss is the first step in establishing a healthy professional relationship that can benefit both of you. Here’s how to do it.

1. Find out what’s important to your boss.
During a typical workday, what makes your boss happy? What frustrates your boss? If showing up at 8 AM on the dot every day is something your boss does, it’s likely you’ll make him or her happy by doing it too. If wasteful meetings are something that drive your boss crazy, be the person who shares an agenda at the beginning of a meeting, takes thoughtful notes, and assigns next steps at the end of each meeting.

2. Help your boss reach his or her goals.
Your boss has a boss that he or she is trying to make happy. So when your boss pushes your team hard on a certain project or a certain goal, it’s because he or she is being held accountable for it by someone higher up in the company — maybe even the CEO. Help your boss hit those numbers, achieve those benchmarks, or get those results. Be part of the solution, not the problem and word will get to the higher ups that your boss couldn’t have done it without you.

3. Understand your boss’s language.
Your boss has a preferred style when it comes to communication. Figure it out. Meetings or no meetings? Emails or phone calls? Formal weekly check-ins or laid back updates only when needed? Should you take the reigns or let them show you the way? This might not be your preferred style of communication. But if you want to make your boss happy and get promoted — and don’t we all? — then it’s worth making it your style.

Image via Luz/Flickr.

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Successful Job Seekers Share Their Best Secrets

July 16, 2015

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8214124711_a9f6738627_zA recent 2015 Successful Job Seekers study by DeVry University found some pretty surprising information about successful job seekers. The good news is that it validates all the advice we’ve been giving you on this blog. The bad news is that all that advice requires some — dun, dun, dun — work. Job seeking ain’t easy! Here are some of the most interesting bits of information pulled from the report, which involved interviewing more than 500 professionals across multiple career paths in March of 2015.

1. Applying to fewer, more targeted jobs is better.
Fifty percent of those involved in the study applied to five jobs or fewer. Two-thirds applied to 10 jobs or fewer. That means your time is better spend finding positions that are in line with your experience and your wishes than blasting out your resume to anything and everything online. The candidates in this study felt about 75% qualified for each position they applied for, and one-third went on to interview for more than half of the positions they applied for.

2. Networking will pay off.
In this study, almost 70 percent of job seekers reached out to a contact person to find out more information about the open position. Even if you understand everything about the position, establishing this personal connection can make you stand out from other job seekers.

3. Customization is key.
About the same number of job seekers included keywords pulled from the exact job listing as skills on their résumés. Those skills are listed their for a reason, and when you recognize that it will only help you. Tailor each résumé and cover letter to each position. It takes more time but it’s so worth it!

4. Be prepared for that interview.
Most of the respondents in this study prepared for an interview by researching the company online and half of them spent time brainstorming specific examples of how their experiences matches the job description and the company. Here’s another example of customization paying off!

5. Block off time every day — but not all day.
About half of the job seekers in this study spent less than one hour per day while the other half spent three hours per day. The younger seekers (aged 18-26) seemed to spend more time than those over age 41. But either way, the majority of the participants kept detailed reports on which jobs they had applied for and many wrote up weekly to-do lists.

Read the rest of the study here.

Image via kate hiscock/Flickr

 

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Why and When You Should Ask for Feedback

July 14, 2015

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14279306964_f661d8df0b_zIn the corporate world, a year-end and mid-year review might be the only time you get direct, honest feedback from your supervisor. And that’s not enough. By the time six months has rolled around, that’s six months wasted in which you could have improved — if only you had known.

We view feedback as a little scary, but constructive feedback is the ultimate way to improve yourself and your career. You can’t look at your own skills and your own work clearly. You need to see it through the lens of others. And let’s be honest — there’s always room for improvement. No need to feel bad about it!

So what’s a person to do if they want honest feedback? Ask for it! All the time. In fact, make it a habit. When asking for feedback is part of the process, it won’t feel as scary. And you’ll constantly improve at work week in and week out. By the time that six month review rolls around, you could be a rockstar.

Here are some ideas for questions you can ask your supervisors and peers:

After a meeting or presentation…
Ask the attendees what they thought. Did you clearly communicate your ideas? Did you keep their interest? Did they feel their time was wasted? Did everyone walk away with a sense of direction? Was it too long or too short? How was your body language and speaking skills?

After you turn in a project…
Was it as expected? Was it timely? Did you help solve the problem at hand? How could you have worked more efficiently? What could you do to improve upon for next time?

After you train someone…
Was your time spent together valuable? Were any questions left remaining? Did you give too much or too little information? Did you seem knowledgeable on the subject?

 Image via Alan Levine/Flickr

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3 Ways to Immediately Improve Your LinkedIn Profile

July 9, 2015

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7923280978_e06c9d5532_zIf you’re in the middle of a job search, LinkedIn is your friend. Not only is it a great place to network and search for jobs, but it’s also a great place to sell yourself. Your profile is like the digital storefront of your career. Don’t sell yourself short! Especially when companies like us allow you to apply for positions with your LinkedIn profile. These quick tips will help you shape up your profile fast.

1. Brand Yourself in Your Headline 
Under no circumstances write that you are unemployed in your headline. Recruiters aren’t searching for the term “unemployed” in the LinkedIn search engine so don’t waste that valuable real estate! Instead, use the headline to focus on keywords that recruiters will be searching for in your industry — you could even go so far as to write the title of the job you really want. The headline is different from your last or current job title. It’s a place where you can write almost an entire sentence about who you are and what you’re looking to do. Just don’t forget those keywords.

2. Upload a Quality Photo
A bio photo seems like such a simple thing, and yet so many people fail to upload one that’s appropriate. In your bio photo, you should be dressed appropriately — forgo the tank top, sunglasses on your head, and the beach in the background. Save the vacation photos for Facebook. The image should be crisp and clear. There is no excuse for a blurry, out of focus image here. And you should be the only person featured in the image. Don’t upload a family photo or a badly cropped photo where someone else’s face is clearly pressed against the side of your head.

3. Write with Personality
LinkedIn bios have the same problems that many resumes do. They have too many buzzwords and they are too stuffy. Inject some personality into your bio by writing in the first person (not the third person) and getting more creative with your copy. Tell the story of who you are why you came to be in this industry. Talk about what makes you different. As of now, LinkedIn is different from your resume. It’s a place to take a few more chances and be more open about what you’re looking for in a new job and to stand out from other candidates.

P.S. Before you tackle your profile, read 10 words you should remove from your LinkedIn profile immediately as well as the ultimate LinkedIn etiquette guide.

Image via Esther Vargas/Flickr.

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Networking Tips for Those Who Hate Networking the Most

July 7, 2015

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14154227507_8cb318a166_zWe’ve already told you why networking is good for your mental health, but even that might not be reason enough to put yourself out there. Let’s face it — some people hate networking. We get it.

Standing alone in a crowd of peers is nerve-racking. Starting small talk with strangers feels forced. Sometimes you get trapped in a conversation you don’t want to be a part of. It can feel weird to talk up yourself and your skills. And trying to balance an appetizer while holding a beverage and passing out a business card is a juggling act.

But networking is a crucial part of your career success — especially when you’re in the middle of a job search. The Brazen Careerist did a great post recently on Networking for Introverts: How to Overcome Networking Dread. Even if you’re the shyest person in the room, you can still survive an event. Here is a summary of some of their top tips:

  1. Only go to networking events at places you enjoy. If you don’t like bars, don’t go to a networking event at a bar.
  2. Prepare some conversation topics. Study up on the featured speakers, the event space, or the guests and you’ll have some great conversation starters.
  3. Spend your energy wisely. You’re going to burn out at an event like this so take time to breathe before, during, and after the event.
  4. Don’t stay past your welcome. It’s ok to cut a conversation short or leave early. As long as you got what you needed out of the event, you’re off the hook!

Read the full article over at Brazen Careerist.

Image via Flickr/Dell Inc.

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The Ultimate List of 400+ Job Interviewer Questions

July 2, 2015

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3359500357_eb94b5b973_bType “interview” in the search box on the upper right hand corner of this site and you’ll find post after post about interview preparation. There’s a common theme throughout all of them: interviewing is a skill that takes practice. So how serious are you about landing a job? Ready for some rapid fire drills? Ready to flex those interview muscles?

Your answer should be yes! You might dread interview practice as much as you dread going to the gym or studying for a test but you’re not going to get results without working out — whether it’s your body or your brain.

So here it is: the ultimate workout. Click through to see a list of the 444 most popular job interviewer questions. You have a few options for practice:

  1. Run through the list by yourself. Speak out loud as you answer each question.
  2. Write down the most difficult questions on flash cards, shuffle them up, and ask a friend to read them to you or read them yourself.
  3. Hand the list to a different friend each day and have them ask you random questions.

When practicing by yourself, jot down your best talking points on a piece of paper  — or the back of that notecard. That way you — or a friend — can cross check your responses and make sure you hit all the best talking points. While practicing by yourself is better than not practicing at all, a friend can give you helpful feedback, even if it’s as small as “you said umm too much and you didn’t make eye contact.”

Feedback can hurt. Practice can suck. But every minute you spend preparing gets you one minute closer to landing that job offer.

Image via Beanbag Amerika/Flickr

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3 Ways Interns Can Impress Their Internship Bosses

June 25, 2015

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4164251472_5850e06585_bHiring an intern is a unique process in the recruiting world because an intern is often hired based exclusively on potential. Sure, you might have the right major. And perhaps you’ve joined a club or signed up for a few relevant classes. But let’s face it — you don’t have a lot of experience. So what can an intern do to show they were the right hire? Here’s what new interns can do to impress their internship bosses:

1. Be motivated.
As an intern, you’re looking for a mentoring and learning opportunity but a lot of your time may be spent on your own. And that’s your chance to show what you’ve got. Creative freedom is never a bad thing! Companies are looking for self starters who can hit the ground running. Projects that are passed off to interns are often projects that no current employee had time to tackle. So if you can take on this project and not only follow the minimum directions but take it up a notch, you’ll be a step ahead of everyone else. And you’ll prove that you have the ability to work on your own without constant supervision.

2. Be reliable.
Show up on time all the time. I know that it’s summer break and all of your friends might be doing fun things without you. But if you can’t show up to a temporary gig when you’re expected to, what does that say about your work ethic? An internship is a two-way street. You get a learning opportunity while a company gets the chance to alleviate itself of some work. If you don’t hold up your end of the bargain, you’re creating even more work for the company. And that’s not good. You want to get a recommendation at the end of this internship — or even a job offer! Don’t let a simple thing like basic time management rule you out.

3. Be flexible.
Some internship programs are more structured than others. View your time at the company as a learning experience and be open and willing to work for whomever on whatever. You never know what you may end up liking or learning. Some days may be spent doing exactly what you dreamed of while others may be spent doing more administrative work. If you feel that you are more capable, suggest a few ways the company could use your skills. Or ask to set up some informational lunches or job shadowing opportunities with people outside of the department that you are in. People will respect your ambition.

How did you prove yourself during an internship? Comment below!

P.S. We hire interns at Spectrum Brands. Read what it’s like to be a Spectrum Brands Intern then view our internship openings.

Image via Michael Lokner/Flickr

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