Archive | May, 2013

3 Reasons Why You Should Quit Your Job

May 30, 2013


3 Reasons Why You Should Quit Your JobMaybe you stumbled upon our Spectrum Brands Careers blog because you’re unhappy in your current position. Maybe you started browsing our job descriptions and something caught your eye. Maybe you even began updating your resume… but then chickened out. Everyone has bad days at work, but how do you know when it’s time to put in your two weeks notice? Here are three reasons why you should pursue a new opportunity stat. (P.S. Our current job openings are right here.)

1. Your current position is making you physically ill.
It sounds extreme, but long bouts of unhappiness and stress — experienced day in and day out — will show signs on your body. If your work isn’t fulfilling and it doesn’t allow you the flexibility to live a healthy lifestyle physically and mentally, then it’s time to move on. You deserve better. Read how to look for a job when you have a job.

2. You have a career plan — and it doesn’t involve staying in this job.
Think about your long-term career goals including where you see yourself in five years. If you don’t see yourself at this company (because there are no opportunities or because you don’t want them), where do you see yourself? How will you get there? Start looking at job opportunities elsewhere and see if they set you on the right path. If you find something perfect, remember to follow these steps on how to leave your job on the right terms.

3. You don’t have a good enough reason to stay.
If you’re perfectly complacent in your job, maybe it’s time for a change. You won’t grow professionally unless you’re learning new skills and challenging yourself. Maybe now is the perfect time to accept that challenge. Are you up for it?

Image via 1time 4 your mind/Flickr.

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Should You Move For a Job Opportunity?

May 28, 2013


SHoudl you move for a jobIf you’re limiting your job search to your current hometown, it’s like putting a cap on your career success. Sure, moving is no small feat. It can be expensive, time consuming, and stressful. But it can have huge payoffs in your professional life and your personal life. So when do you know when it’s right to take the plunge, accept a job offer, and move someplace new? Ask yourself these questions:

1. Are there other career opportunities in this organization or in this city?
Because moving is such a big life change, it’s important to make the move worth it. Does this position offer long-term career growth? Are there lots of opportunities for promotion within this company? Are there other companies within your industry that are located in or near this city? If you are OK with moving in a couple years, do you feel this position boosted your career in a positive direction? Not every move has to be permanent. Just make sure it makes sense for your career.

2. Would I consider moving to this city even if I didn’t have a great job offer?
Don’t accept a job unless you know your personal life can flourish as well as your professional life. What are your interests? Can you satisfy those urges in this city? If you’re single, is there a “scene” where you can meet people? Is the weather acceptable to you? Is the city located near your family or near other great cities? Really analyze what makes you happy, and see if this city meets those criteria.

3. What are the costs associated with moving?
In a perfect world, every company would pay to move you upon signing a job contract. But it turns out, there’s more behind a move than simply the costs of moving. Check a cost-of-living calculator to see how your new salary will hold up in the new city. What is the average cost of renting or buying property? A big city may sound great, but if you can’t afford to enjoy it, it’s not worth the move. Small towns may not sound as exciting, but there may be opportunities for home ownership and an ever-growing savings account, which can be used to pursue interests like travel.

Image by Marie Coleman/Flickr.

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Decoding a Job Description

May 24, 2013


Decoding the Job DescriptionA job search is full of hope and promise and each job description brings new possibilities. But every job seeker has to admit that they applied to at least one job that wasn’t what they were looking for. And every employee has to admit that they accepted at least one position that didn’t live up to their expectations. How can you prevent this? We break it down here.

Don’t focus on the title.
Labels aren’t as important as the actual duties you’ll be performing on the job. The title of “sports marketing associate” sounds great but if you’re just making sales calls day in and day out, you’re not going to be marketing anything and you’re surely not going to be happy. Look beyond the title for the attributes that you want in a position.

Figure out what you want.
What are the top three characteristics that you want in a job? What’s important to you? Job searching is like dating. You need to figure out what makes you tick and what will make your career fulfilling and meaningful. These questions will help you figure out what’s best for you.

Analyze the requirements.
What skills are listed in the job description? Are they general or specialized? Are they entry-level or advanced? This can give you insight into whether or not the position is appropriate for your experience level. If you do make it to the interview round, really dig in and ask the difficult questions if you’re concerned. You might save yourself a lot of time — and save yourself from a big mistake.

Image by D. Sharon Pruitt

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3 Ways to Reenergize Your Job Search

May 22, 2013


3 Ways to Reenergize Your Job SearchAll that’s on your mind right now is summer: warm weather, vacation, relaxation. Time off to rejuvenate your mind and get your head back in the game. Unfortunately, your job search isn’t going to reap the same benefits from “time off.” Even if you’re suffering from job search burnout, you have to stay strong. Here are ways to refocus your mind while still working toward your ultimate goal: a job offer.

1. Take a career-relevant course.
You know that one skill you keep seeing listed in job descriptions that makes your stomach a little queasy? That one thing you know you’re not so great at, but hope you can talk your way through during the interview? Maybe it’s public speaking or Excel or leadership or Photoshop. Whatever the skill is, there’s a class — online or otherwise — that can help you perfect it.

2. Join a professional organization.
You never know who will help you get hired for your next position — or a position down the road. And that’s why networking is so important. A professional organization can put you in touch with leaders in your industry as well as keep you up to date with the current trends and news. Maybe it will even spark a newfound appreciation for your chosen career path.

3. Reach out to alumni.
Set up informational interviews with college alumni who are in your industry. Which company do they work for? What do they love about their job? Is there anyone else they can put you in touch with? You might find insight into a new career path or learn a new tip about breaking into the industry. The worst case scenario is that you’ve made a new connection. And that’s great!

Image by Tambako the Jaguar.

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Interview Pitfalls for New Graduates

May 17, 2013

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Even the most seasoned career veterans dread interviews. They’re stressful! It’s too easy to psyche yourself out and think you won’t get hired all while trying to stifle your bad habits like avoiding eye contact. If you’re a new graduate, the feelings are even more intense. We can’t tell you exactly what you can do to land the job, but we can tell you what not to do. Avoid these common new graduate pitfalls during your next interview and you’ll be a step ahead of the rest.

Stop with the “learning opportunity” nonsense.
What a company can do for you or your career is not what’s most important in an interview. It’s all about what you can do for them. So tell them.

Don’t act desperate.
Even if you’re obsessed with Company A and you’re dying for this job, don’t act desperate. Act knowledgeable. Show your passion for the company and the industry by talking about like an old pro.

Don’t hold back.
Avoid at all costs using the phrase, “If you could just give me a chance…” Show off your skills NOW, not after you are potentially hired. The interview is when you must sell yourself. Hard.

Stop being intimidated.
You’re talented, you’re fresh out of school, and you have unique skills that this company is looking for. Be proud of your hard work and know that it’s valuable.


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New Grads: Would You Pass Up a Job Offer?

May 15, 2013


Recent grads - would you pass on a job offer?It sounds like crazy talk. What recent graduate would say, “No thanks,” when handed a job offer on a silver platter? Well, maybe not a lot of them, especially around this time of the year. But we’re here to tell you that it’s okay to walk the other way sometimes. A job is a big commitment on both ends — your end and the employer’s end — and you have to make sure the agreement is mutually beneficial. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before signing on the dotted line.

1. “Does this position align with my career goals?”
You must have an idea of where you want to be career-wise in five years. If this position is not a path to get you there, don’t accept it. Otherwise you’ll find yourself unhappy, you’ll leave the position, and you’ll have to start a beginner’s job search all over again. Your first position out of school doesn’t have to define your entire career, but it can be a great step in the right direction.

2. “Does this position broaden or limit my skill set?” 
Branching out slightly from your major can pay off. A journalism major may take a job in social media that eventually leads to a blogging career. A marketing major who takes a finance position may see long-term career benefits, especially if one day they feel they’ll return to school to get their MBA. Decide whether or not this career position will add anything unique to your resume.

3. “How will this position impact my lifestyle?”
Think about the location, the commute, and the cost of living. The better job may be in a less-desirable smaller town, but the salary could be higher, the commute could be easier, and the cost of living could be lower. These are the kinds of things you will be dealing with on a daily basis so be realistic about your lifestyle and budget.

Image by Paul Goyette

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The Best Portfolio Advice You’ll Ever Get

May 10, 2013

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The BEst Portfolio Advice youll ever getWe don’t mean to brag, but we give some pretty good advice. (See: The Best Resume Tip Ever.) In that same vien — and with graduation fast approaching — we’re going to tackle a big topic: the dreaded portfolio.

Creative types are more likely to piece together an in-depth portfolio for an extensive job search or serious interview. This includes writers, graphic designers, web developers, and maybe even marketers. It’s a blessing and a curse. You can easily show off your experiences in a visual format. But what if you don’t have those experiences to show off? Here’s the big secret: you don’t have to.

What crazy talk is that? If you didn’t land all the awesome internships you wanted, or couldn’t afford to work for free while putting yourself through college, or if you’re trying to switch careers and build up your portfolio from scratch, we need to let you in on this trick. Your portfolio lies in your own hands.

You can create a website or write some advertising copy or design a logo for a company or business even if they didn’t ask you to. Put it in your portfolio and bam — instant fodder for an interview. This doesn’t mean that you should lie and say the company hired you to create said website/copy/logo. Just tell your interviewer that you worked on a few personal projects and show them off for all that they are. Show a before and an after: the problem, why it was a problem, and how you solved it with your amazing web skills/copywriting savviness/design expertise.

Have you given this off-beat strategy a try? Share your experience in the comments!

Image by Scott Kellum.

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Take Control of Your Career. Now.

May 8, 2013


A floor of graduation capsWith graduation season upon us, it’s impossible not to cover this topic. (But, really, this applies to everyone at any level of their career.) We’re talking about job offers. We’re talking about career success. And we’re talking about how you can take control of it all.

At this point in the year, it’s not uncommon to meet a college senior with big hopes, great experience, and empty hands — that is, no job offer. While it is true that some markets are still tough to break into, it’s also true that many seniors aren’t doing everything they can to find career success. Here are a few questions to ask yourself.

1. Are you letting your major — or past positions — define you?
Choosing a major is a big life decision. But don’t let it restrict or limit your career options. If there’s a job out there that you have in mind or a job listing that you think you’re qualified for, apply for it. Even if your experience and background are unconventional, you may be the perfect fit for the position. Even the most jumbled experiences can be focused into a stellar resume.

2. Do you know all of your options?
Based on your skill set, are you aware of all the opportunities you can follow? There might be a career path out there that you didn’t even know you were qualified for. Brainstorm a list of all the obvious career choices, then find a career mentor that can give you some further advice and direction.

3. Are you putting yourself out there?
We’ve said it before — applying online isn’t enough. You never know who can lead you to the perfect job offer. If you market yourself (see here and here for advice) and network (see here for our top tips), anything is possible. Truly. Nothing will happen until you take those first steps. What are you waiting for?

Read more tips for recent grads.

Image by Raja Sambasivan.

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5 Questions to Ask During an Informational Interview

May 3, 2013


Questions to Ask during an Informational InterviewNow that you understand why you need to network and you know how to do it — read this post on how to find a career mentor for tips — we’re going to dive into the minute-by-minute logistics. Let’s say you’ve reached out to someone on LinkedIn and they’ve agreed to have lunch with you. They work at a company you’re dying to work for in the department that you’d like to work in. What do you do next? Question away! Here are a few intelligent inquiries that will get the ball rolling:

1. Tell me about how you landed your job at this company.
Let your connection begin by talking about himself. Not only is it a great conversation starter, but it can lead to further questions. Pay attention during his story, and jot down any questions that arise.

2. What do you love about your job? About this company?
While you’re lucky enough to be sitting in this person’s company, get the inside scoop on what it’s really like to work there. It’s not always easy to get employee testimonials, and you have a great chance right now.

3. What advice do you have for someone who’d like to break into this company? Into this industry?
Be prepared for the worst. You might hear that it’s “impossible” to get hired at this company or that the industry is “really tough.” Don’t get depressed, but do step away with concrete knowledge. Maybe that company isn’t hiring anyone. At all. Anytime soon. Step away knowing that you’ve saved yourself some time. Now you won’t have to fill out an application for that company.

4. How can someone stand out from the crowd during the application process?
Ask about this specific company and about the industry in general. Ask if they’ll take a look at your resume and cover letter and give you pointers. Most likely, this person will be pretty in-tune with what the company is looking for during the interview process.

5. Would you be willing to pass along the name of someone else who might talk with me?
This is the most important question. Informational interviews can lead to a string of new connections. You never know who someone else knows — and that person might know of a job opening! Keep reaching out to new people and sparking conversations even if they feel repetitive. Your same questions will lead to different answers. And growing your network will never hurt your career.

Image by Chiceaux Lynch.

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The 4 Things You Need In Your Career Success Toolkit

May 2, 2013


What you Need in your career search toolkitWe’ve covered the four things you need in your job search toolkit, but what do you fill up that toolkit with once you land a job? There are more than a few paths to success. These are the skills that we’ve found are most imperative for a successful start in a new position.

1. Your best behavior.
Even if your work environment is “casual dress” and the office is small, it doesn’t mean that professional etiquette should be thrown out the window. Especially when it’s your first month on the job. Be respectful. Be polite. Be on time. These are the little things in your career that will make you stand out from the crowd.

2. Your dedication.
Accepting a job is a big commitment. It requires hard work on your end regardless of how you’re feeling. Not having a good day? Who cares! The business is not going to stop running. Feeling distracted? You better find focus fast, because there’s work that needs to be done. Once you’ve left the office, feel free to not think about work until 8 AM tomorrow morning. But while you’re there, be there fully.

3. Your full attention.
I know it sounds like kindergarten all over again. But you’d be surprised how easily “listening” can get overlooked at work, especially when smartphones and emails and tablets can distract us at all times. When you’re in a meeting, be present. When you’re coworker finds a problem, listen, and try to help him find a solution.

4. Your balance.
Part of a happy work life is having a happy home life — that means leaving work at work so you can enjoy your time at home. Don’t let your occupation consume your personal life. Everyone needs time to recharge for the next work day and the next work week. Find what relaxes and reenergizes you, and make it a non-negotiable part of your week. Also, use that vacation time — it’s there for a reason!

Image by OZinOH.

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