June 14, 2018


How to Become Better at Saying “No!”

It may sound counterintuitive, but learning how to say “no” is a career skill that you need to learn how to master. Sure, being a “yes” person can open doors and keep you open to possibilities, but saying “no” will keep you sane. This round-up of posts is a good reminder about control, guilt, time management, and productivity and how they affect your career success.

Take Control Of Your Work Day: Block Off Your Calendar For Y-O-U
Not only will this strategy keep you on task, but it will keep you in control. And that’s the first step in being productive!

Need Help Saying No? First You Need “Me Time.”
Reverse-engineering your work day–that is, protecting a certain block of time each day without guilt or shame–allows you to say no more easily. You’ll be able to respond quickly and without a blink when you’re asked to spread yourself too thin.

3 Ways to Fit More Free Time Into Your Life
Just because you’re available doesn’t mean you have to say “yes,” just because you have an hour doesn’t mean you have to fill it with chores, and just because your to-do list isn’t done it doesn’t mean you should stay up late.

Image via duncan c/Flickr.

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June 12, 2018


10 Quotes That Will Inspire You to Succeed…and Fail

We all want success, but with success comes a great risk: failure. But maybe failure is exactly what we have to be willing to embrace if we want to succeed. These quotes dive into the relationship between success and failure. Which one is your favorite?

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
― Winston S. Churchill

“I can’t give you a sure-fire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time.”
― Herbert Bayard Swope

“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.”
― Herman Melville

“Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.”
― Truman Capote

“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”
― Salvador Dalí

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
― Winston S. Churchill

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
― Oliver Goldsmith

“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”
― Theodore Roosevelt

“Success is most often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.”
― Coco Chanel

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

Image via Kelly Nighan/Flickr.


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June 7, 2018


Do Something That Scares You!

Why would I do something that scares me? Because it’s good for your career! We’re not sure if there’s any scientific evidence behind this one, but it’s safe to say that when you step outside your comfort zone, you learn something about yourself. Agreed? It’s also a good practice in overlooking perfection–and you might inspire others along the way.

Here are some ways you can incorporate a little “danger” into your work day:

  • Apply for a promotion.
  • Set up a lunch with someone you admire at work.
  • Sign up to attend a conference.
  • Ask for a raise.
  • Apply to speak at a conference.
  • Give feedback you’ve been too afraid to give.
  • Join a club or committee.
  • Sign up for a creative class.
  • Ask for feedback from your boss and coworkers.
  • Give a speech.
  • Organize a new club or committee.
  • Read a book on leadership or self improvement.
  • Try a new look via a new wardrobe or hair style.
  • Raise your hand for a project that you’d never have considered previously.

Image via Timo Maas/Flickr. 

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June 5, 2018


How to Define Your Strengths

Have an upcoming job interview? You’ll undoubtedly be asked about your strengths. But even if you’re not going through the job search process, it’s important to know your super powers. Can you easily define them right now? It’s harder than you think.

In theory, these strengths should be highly desirable skills that make you stand out from others on a daily basis and in an interview setting. Whatever skills you pick, make sure you have some solid examples to back yourself up. Here are some ideas to get you started:

The ability to…

  • learn and grow from mistakes
  • prioritize and efficiently delegate large scale projects
  • meet deadlines and work effectively under pressure
  • communicate effectively and succinctly across teams
  • solve problems creatively by assessing all angles
  • stay calm and focused in a high-stress environment
  • lead and take on responsibility when others won’t

Do you see yourself in any of these examples?

Image via Emory Allen/Flickr.

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May 31, 2018


5 Things to Do For Your Career by Age 35

Regardless of where you are in your career, it’s easy to feel stuck, overwhelmed, or behind. But you probably know a lot more than you think. With a little refinement (and help from these tips below), you can take another leap forward in your career.

  1. Know how to say no.
    Until you take control of your own time, you won’t reach your full potential. The tips in this post can help you better protect your schedule and your productivity.
  2. Know your super strength.
    By this point in your career, you should be able to humble brag about that one thing (or two or three!) that makes you stand out from the crowd. And you shouldn’t be embarrassed by it!
  3. Know your weakness and dislikes.
    There’s no shame in having a weakness or a thing or two that you dread–something you know is not your strong suit. Not only will it help you delegate better, but it may help you refine your job search and your career path even more.
  4. Know what career success means to you. 
    There are many different ways to define success and happiness. Figure out what that criteria is for you. If you’re unsure, this post can help find your way.
  5. Know your elevator pitch.
    Having a refined elevator pitch means you have a refined understanding of yourself! Wrap all of the above tips into this summary of your professional self, and it will take you far.

Image via bztraining/Flickr.

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May 29, 2018


How to Prepare Yourself for New Job Overwhelm

First days are thrilling and terrifying at the same time! The excitement can quickly change to overwhelm once you begin looking at your impending workload and the things that need to get done with your (currently) limited knowledge. Here are some things to keep in mind when you start that new position.

You will eventually learn everyone’s name.
It’s day one and your inbox is already filled with 100 emails from people you don’t know. Just breathe. With time, you’ll be able to crack this code. For now, focus on a few key players and set up informational meetings with each of them to try to better understand what they do.

Three months from now, you’ll actually know what you’re doing.
Remind yourself that the transition takes time. By the end of the 90 day period, you’ll have a much better idea of your role and your place in the organization. Take baby steps to get there. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and ask for training.

Six months from now, you won’t be the new person anymore. 
At some point not too far from now, another newbie will join the club. It will help you realize how far you’ve come in a short amount of time! Each day, you’re learning more and more and integrating yourself and your skills into the fabric of the company. Keep at it!

Image via Bob Duran/Flickr.

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May 24, 2018


Why You Should Talk Less at Work

Some people are shy. And others are over confident. Somewhere, there’s a happy medium and it tends to breed success in the workplace. Why? Because talking less means you’re listening more. It also means you might be giving more thought to the things you say before they come out of your mouth. Here are some tricks to help you improve your restraint and come off as a smarter, more enlightened employee.

  1. Get comfortable with silence.
    In a meeting or conversation, you don’t need to respond immediately. Be okay with an awkward pause to think things through before speaking your mind.
  2. Don’t always be the first to speak up.
    Give others the chance to respond first–their answer might help you refine your response into a better one.
  3. Don’t make rash decisions.
    It’s okay to say, “Let me think about that for a few minutes and get back to you,” or even, “Let me think about that and get back to you by the end of the week.”
  4. You don’t need to get in the final word.
    If the subject is wrapped up, let it be. There’s no need to chime in on everything, especially if a decision has been made and the subject is over and done with. A simple nod of approval or “Sounds great” can be enough.
  5. Have a plan.
    Before a meeting, know what points you want to drive home and stick to them. When you’re focused, people are more likely to listen.

Image via Kate Dreyer/Flickr.

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May 23, 2018


Save the Date! Job Fair in Dixon, Illinois on 5/31.

On Thursday, May 31, we are hosting a job fair in Dixon, Illinois. Walk-ins are welcome, but feel free to apply online in advance. Hope to see you there!

Apply now!

Basic Duties*: Machine Operator Packaging Associate

Operate packaging equipment including basic line set ups, use a PC to order materials and perform quality checks.

Basic Duties*: Distribution Associate / Order Filler

Fill orders within Conveyor system via Voice pick Technology and Stand-up Forklifts

Physical Requirements:

  • Ability to repetitively lift 50 pounds
  • Constant walking, standing, bending, twisting, pulling, reaching and stooping
  • Basic computer skills preferred
  • Eye/hand coordination

*See the complete job description online

Pay Range: $12.25 to $14.80 based on the position and experience.

Quarterly Bonus, Vacation and Sick, Benefits

An Equal Opportunity / AA Employer

Successful completion of background check and drug screen is required. Spectrum Brands offers a full range of benefits to full-time employees and a quarterly bonus up to 10%.

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May 22, 2018


1, 2, 3… Interview Help!

Whether it’s been a while since you’ve slipped on an interview suit or you’re just especially nervous about landing a potentially great opportunity, brushing up on your interview skills is not time wasted. Interviewing is an art and a skill that you’ll be improving the rest of your life! These quick-hit tips can help you get back in the saddle.

3 Interview Red Flags and How to Respond to Them
Get a heads up on these situations so the interview doesn’t get awkward.

3 Things to Consider Before Dressing For Your Next Interview
These tips can help you be well-pressed and well-dressed but not overdone.

3 Simple Questions to Ask During Your Next Interview
Make sure you squeeze in these inquiries before your interview ends.

3 Reasons Why You’re Always the Runner Up
Here a few things the other candidate may be doing better than you.

3 Ways to Nail the Phone Interview
You’ll be hard pressed to nail a job offer without nailing the phone interview first.

3 Easy Ways to Beef Up Your Resume
You should always be working on improving yourself–and your resume.

3 Things To Do Before Your Interview
In that hour before the interview starts, these tips can help you prepare.

Image via cjelli/Flickr.

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May 17, 2018


How to Incorporate Exercise Into Your Work Day

Ask people what’s one thing they’ve done that drastically improved their lives and many of them will have the same answer: exercise. Beyond the obvious benefits like weight loss and increased strength, exercise can can increase your productivity, improve your sleep cycle, and make you happier. So what’s your excuse? Hopefully, you won’t have one after browsing this list of creative ways to incorporate exercise into your work day.

  • Go for a 15 minute walk in the afternoons. If the weather isn’t cooperating, walk laps around your office or hit up the treadmill in the office gym.
  • Sign up for a gym. Preferably one right next to work so you can take a class just before or just after work, or even make a dash to the gym during lunch.
  • Get a treadmill desk or a standing desk. They’re not cheap but the benefits are great. Your company may even be willing to invest in one for you or the office.
  • Sit on a yoga ball or backless chair. There are many creative office chairs out there than can improve your posture and give your abs a slight workout.
  • Organize a corporate kickball league, volleyball team, or running club. Meet just before or after work.
  • Bike to work. If it’s too far, attach your bike to the back of your car and go for a ride over lunch.
  • Take a fitness break every hour. Stand up, stretch, do 5 push ups or sit ups, or go for a five-minute walk. Set an alarm so you don’t forget to keep moving throughout the day.

Image via Alan Cleaver/Flickr.

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