Archive | October, 2017

One Way to Definitely Stand Out In Your Next Interview

October 31, 2017


When it comes to the job interview you already know how to prepare: research, research, research, and practice, practice, practice. But no matter how much company research you do and how many times you rehearse the perfect answers to interview questions, there is one not-so-minor detail that could hurt or help you: are a customer?

Have you tried this company’s product? Have you walked through a few different store aisles and seen it on the shelf? Have you truly understood the benefits? When you’re a customer and a job candidate, a magical thing happens: you understand other customers. And that’s what many companies are looking for–a way to please their customers.

Besides familiarizing yourself with the product line, get familiar with the competition too. (The company’s competition, not yours!) This will help you gain insight into the challenges they’ve faced and the successes they’ve found. Your interview answers will come more naturally when you truly understand the product and the customer base. And that’s a sure-fire way to stand out in your next interview!

Image via Blondinrikard Fröberg/Flickr.

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3 Simple Questions to Ask During Your Next Interview

October 26, 2017


Interviews are all about getting bombarded with questions. Right? But interviews also offer you the unique opportunity to dig in to the company, the culture, and the job itself. Make sure that you have a list of questions prepared, and don’t be afraid to cut the interview short and ask if you can have five minutes to ask the interviewer your questions.

Here are three questions to add to your list:

  1. What is the on-boarding process like? Get an understanding as to what kind of training will be provided to you as a new employee and throughout the future. Ask about classes, conferences, and other learning opportunities.
  2. What are the immediate needs and challenges of this position? You may understand the job title and general job responsibilities but what will your day-to-day actually be like? Find out what projects will fall into your lap from day one, and it may help you understand whether or not this position is a good fit for you.
  3.  How will my performance be reviewed? It’s important to understand how your work will be rated and what expectations will be placed on you during the year. Also, you may want to get a better understanding of your performance can affect your bonus.

Image via Wee Sen Goh/Flickr.

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What Is Your Network Good For?

October 24, 2017


We’re constantly touting the importance of networking, but when it comes down to to it, what can your network really do for you? It takes a lot of time and effort to build up your connections. And that network doesn’t often get utilized until we’re in the middle of a job hunt, which isn’t very often.

Luckily, there are many ways you can take advantage of your network on a monthly or even weekly basis! Here are our favorite ways to reach out to our connections.

  • Gather LinkedIn endorsements or recommendations. You don’t have to wait until you’re looking for a new job to look for some feedback. Be sure to keep your profile constantly updated by having the newest members of your network a part of it.
  • Make new introductions. Each member of your network has their own network. That means thousands of new connections are at your fingertips. If you’re looking to make a connection at a certain company or in a certain industry, ask you network if they can put you in touch.
  • Get advice. Whether you’re unsure of a new job offer or are looking for some general career guidance, there is likely a member of your network who could give you a little inspiration.
  • Learn more about your industry. Ask your best connections what conferences they attend, what books they read, and who their favorite influencers are.

Image via Jurgen Appelo/Flickr.

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The Spectrum Brands Story

October 19, 2017


Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with our brands, it’s time to learn a little about our past and our future in this video. Here are some of the highlights:

  • We’re on track to become a large cap stock by 2020.
  • In the past decade, we’ve achieved major financial success.
  • We’re engaged in the communities we’re a part of across the country.
  • We have plans to double in size by 2020.
  • We love to promote from within and have many long-term career opportunities.
  • We’re adding new talent every day. Apply now!
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How to Ask For Help at Work

October 17, 2017


Feeling helpless isn’t fun. But let’s face it–sometimes you need help! And if you don’t ask for help, things could get even worse. More stress, more confusion, and not to mention the fact that you might be digging yourself into a deeper hole. It’s always better to fess up as soon as possible. Also, don’t apologize! There’s nothing to be sorry about. Your coworkers and your bosses are a resource for you, and you should all want to support each other on the path to success.

When you don’t understand something…

  • “I need a little more clarity. Can you repeat that one more time with a little more detail?”
  • “Would you be willing to meet with me one-on-one? I didn’t fully grasp all of the project’s details during the meeting.”
  •  “Can you walk me through this one more time from start to finish?”

When you know you’re going to miss an impossible deadline…

  • “This is a big ask and unfortunately we’ll need more time or more resources.”
  • “Realistically, I won’t be able to meet this deadline unless I have some assistance.”
  • “At this point, I can’t deliver those results to you at that time, but I can deliver X at Y.”

When you are stumped and don’t know what to do next…

  • “I’d really appreciate your help on prescribing the best way to move forward on this.”
  • “I’ve got a bit of a conundrum and was hoping you could help me decide if I should veer left or veer right. Here are my options…”
  • “Would you be willing to give me some guidance on this challenging situation I found myself in?”

Image via ohad gilor/Flickr.

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Reminder: Think Twice Before You Post

October 12, 2017


Social media is a challenging concept to grasp. At first, it seems like all fun and games. Wow, what a great way to connect with friends, keep in touch, and share photos! But then things get more complicated. Many people have lost their jobs or gotten into legal troubles for things they’ve posted on social networks. In a nutshell it becomes a question of, “Where do I draw the line?”

How much should you really be sharing online? Every post is etched on the history of the internet forever. Do you want your boss to see your college photos? Do you want your acquaintances to know when you’re on vacation? Do you want your every thought broadcast to strangers? Maybe not. These might help you answer those questions about where to draw the line. We’re only going to cover the two most common networks for job seekers: Facebook and LinkedIn.

This is a great network for close friends and family. Don’t feel obligated to accept every friend request you get. There are complex security settings you can change to prevent certain posts from being seen by certain people, but its easier to keep things simple and don’t connect with someone who you don’t feel comfortable sharing everything with. If you need to vent, save it for a phone call or email. Don’t blast it out to all of your friends.

Here’s a fantastic place to network, connect with coworkers, and stay up on industry trends. This is a network that should stay 100% professional. That means you should probably avoid political rants, complaints about work or life, or anything else that could put your professional opportunities in jeopardy. If you wouldn’t say it comfortably in a job interview, don’t say it here. You should keep your LinkedIn updated just as much as you would a Facebook page though! Being active on LinkedIn will only lead to more opportunities.

What’s your favorite social network? Do you have any advice for those who post online a lot?

Image via Erin Kohlenberg/Flickr.

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Madison, WI Wins More Awards

October 10, 2017


Our neighbor, Madison, keeps winning. (And Middleton has won its fair share of awards too!) It goes without saying that our little corner of Wisconsin is a great place to live. We don’t need any trophies to confirm that. But these rankings are a nice reminder of how lucky we are.

Our latest claim to fame is #6 on the 2017 Best State Capitals to Live In list from Smart Asset. (As well as the #2 spot for least-stressed cities in America.) Also in 2017, Madison landed as #19 on the Healthiest Cities in America from Wallet Hub. The Trust for Public Land also gave Madison a shout-out this year as the #9 spot on a list of park friendly cities.

Here are shout-outs Madison has recieved in the past:

As you can see, we’re a laid back capital city with lots of green space and a lot of young people who love to bike to work. And just the beginning. From our farmer’s markets to our world-class university to the two gorgeous lakes that surround the city, Madison is a fantastic place to live.

Image via Jordan Richmond/Flickr.

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5 Quick Resume Fixes

October 5, 2017


Resume writing is stressful. And once it’s completed, you may feel like it’s never good enough. That’s not a bad thing! Your resume should be a working document that you constantly update and improve. If you’re thinking of apply to a job today but you have a few minutes for improvements, give these 5 quick tips a try.

  1. Does your resume look too crowded? Remove your address, “references available upon request,” and your objective.
  2. Still need more space? You can change the margins to .5″ at the top and .75″ at the side. But no less than that.
  3. Move your education to the bottom of your resume. You can even remove the year you graduated if you graduated, well, quite a bit ago. The important bit of information is that you have a degree.
  4. Save it as a PDF. It will keep your formatting looking perfect.
  5. Read it s-l-o-w-l-y one more time out loud. Then ask someone else to read it again. It’s so easy to gloss over sneaky little spelling errors.

Image via Jenny Cestnik/Flickr.

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How to Survive a Video Interview

October 3, 2017


Technology is making it easier and easier to conduct meetings virtually. We see them more often in our daily work life, as well as during the interview process. There are hundreds of free apps and websites out there that make live streaming video accessible to everyone.

But why would a company do a video interview? Well, it saves the company money for one. If you’re an out-of-state candidate for which the company may need to pay to fly you out, the first round of interviews may be done virtually. It’s not only beneficial to the company but also to the potential employee. After all, if you currently have a job, you won’t have to take a day or two off work–maybe just an afternoon.

Another time you may find yourself in a video interview is while you’re at the company doing in-person interviews. Some of those may end up being virtual if a higher up is traveling or based out of another office. The moral of the story is: if you’re going through the interview process, be prepared for a virtual interview! Here are some of our top tips:

  • Download all necessary software in advance.
  • Use your laptop instead of a phone so you don’t have to hold anything in place.
  • Practice with a friend or family member a day before the interview.
  • Make sure the lighting is good. A light source should be direct at your face, not behind you.
  • Clear any clutter or embarrassing items from the background.
  • Pay special attention to your sound and wifi signal. Make sure it’s in working order.
  • Close the doors or windows to prevent any ambient noise.
  • If you’re using headphones, make sure they have a microphone feature. Regular headphones without the talking piece won’t work!
  • Don’t forget to silence your phone–this is still an interview!
  • Also, don’t forget to dress up. Again, this is still an interview even though it’s virtual.
  • Be sure to look at the camera lens and not at your screen if you want to make eye contact.
  • Write some notes in advance. You’ll be able to easily consult them during the interview.

Image via Image Catalog/Flickr.

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