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The Difference Between Networking and Demanding

February 16, 2017


2765083201_55a958db14_zDuring the job search, it’s easy to feel like you don’t have the upper hand. You may find yourself sending mass messages to your acquaintances like, “Please check out my LinkedIn profile! I need a job!” or “Can you help me find an ‘in’ with your company?” or “Will you recommend me?” There is one problem: these are all demands. This is the opposite of networking. And it’s lazy.

Quality relationships, internal recommendations, helpful advice, and shared knowledge must be earned. It takes time, effort, and strategy. In order to transition from “demanding” to true networking, you’ll have to sweeten the deal for the other person. There are a few ways to do this:

  • free lunch or coffee
  • praise and compliments
  • common interests or experiences
  • even trades (“an eye for an eye”)

Here are a few sample scripts that show these approaches in action.

  • “You really know how to write up a shining resume. If you have five minutes to spare, would you be willing to share some big picture feedback on mine? I’d so appreciate advice from an expert like you.”
  • “Your career is on fire! I’m so impressed by your recent promotion. I’d love to take you out for coffee and learn more about the company. I’m considering applying for a job there and I’d so appreciate your insight.”
  • “Would you be willing to swap recommendations on LinkedIn? I’m looking for past coworkers to vouch for my leadership skills. I’d be happy to talk about your top qualities like problem solving and team building.” 
  • “I admire your amazing career. You’re exactly where I’d like to be in five years. Would you be willing to have a 20 minute phone call with a fellow University of Wisconsin alumni? I’d love to learn more about how you found such success.” 

See the difference? Now it feels like you have the upper hand because you’re suggesting a proposal that will be hard for them to turn down. What a difference a little effort makes!

Image via Ben Smith/Flickr.

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The Only Way You’ll Get Hired

February 14, 2017


8214124711_a9f6738627_z“Check me out on LinkedIn!”

“Give me a call, here’s my number!”

“I’d be a perfect fit for any position in your company! Message me!” 

Recruiters and HR department team members see things like this all the time, especially on social media. Some job seekers believe that sending a “You should hire me!” message is as effective as actually applying for a position. It’s not.

Companies hire new employees for one reason: to fulfill a need within the company. Employees solve the problems that companies have. You need to be the best solution for a specific problem. You may be a great person and a great employee but unless a company has a specific need for your skills, they can’t hire you.

The first step is sending in a sparkling application for an available position. You want to make it as easy as possible for a company to hire you. Asking them to do the leg work by browsing your online profiles and then finding a job that would be a fit for you is not the best way to conduct your job search. It’s your responsibility to see if there’s a position at that company that’s appropriate for you, not the other way around.

If you can’t solve that first problem–how to find and apply for an open position–how will a company be able to trust that you can solve other problems that get thrown your way? You need to be the one that goes out of your way to sell yourself throughout the job search and interview process.

At Spectrum Brands, we list all of our available position on our careers website. You can set up job alerts for new openings. We also tweet new job listings on Twitter @WorkatSpectrum and share postings on LinkedIn.

Image via kate hiscock/Flickr. 

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3 Bad Habits You Need to Break Right Now

February 9, 2017



Small changes can make a big difference, and the following three examples prove this point. Sometimes we go through our day on autopilot. We don’t stop to pay attention to how and why we do it. Take a look at your day-to-day schedule. Which bad habit will you break first?

1. Bringing your phone to bed.
The last thing many people often see at night is a social media feed on their phones. Not only does the blue light emitted from electronic devices interfere with your sleeping patterns, but checking your phone means you’re not doing something that’s a better use of your time–reading. Instead, pick up a Kindle or a book.

2. Hanging out with people who don’t make you feel great.
It’s often said that you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. If you find that one of those people is a complainer, someone who makes you feel bad about yourself, or a Negative Nancy, stop spending time with them. Life hack: you don’t have to be friends with people you don’t like.

3. Saying yes to everything.
If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed and the lines on your forehead are becoming progressively deeper, it’s not time to get Botox–it’s time to start saying “No,” without feeling guilty. Your sleep, your happiness, and your priorities should always come first. Don’t let outside sources change that.

Image via Asja Boroš/Flickr.

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3 Classic Career Books to Add to Your List

February 7, 2017


23104898140_625af7a030_zWhat do Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Barack Obama have in common? They read. A lot. There are hundreds and hundreds of amazing nonfiction books out there that can expand your mind and increase your potential. So where do you start? We’ve picked just three that can make a big difference in your career right now.

1. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
This book was first published in 1937 and it’s still relevant today. It covers a lot of information that will help make you successful in business and in life like the six ways to make people like you and 12 ways to win people into your way of thinking.

2. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Duhigg is a Pulitzer Prize–winning business reporter who takes us through detailed research on habits on how we can change them. The key to success may be as simple as understanding how habits work. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, be more productive, or take your career to the next level, this book is worth a read.

3. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey 
First published in 1990, this book still manages to make ‘best business books’ lists. You’ll first learn the ‘paradigm shift’ that you likely need to make in how you view the world. Then you’ll cover the seven habits, which move from personal to interpersonal. It’s no quick read, but it’s an eye-opening one.

Image via Image Catalog/Flickr.

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Is that Networking Event Worth Your Time…or a Waste of It?

February 2, 2017


4464205726_662b4d3ce2_zNetworking events can be hit or miss. You know it’s good for your career, but sometimes you walk away from an event feeling uninspired and unimpressed. Other times, you make a really great connection, learn something new, or discover a fantastic opportunity. So how do you know whether this upcoming networking event is worth your time?

Forbes published a great article recently called, How to Decide if a Networking Opportunity is Worthwhile or a Waste of Time by Avery Blank. She outlines a 3-question process that will help you make a better choice as to whether or not you should attend. Here’s a brief summary:

  1. Who’s going?
  2. Will there actually be time to network?
  3. Does attending this event make you nervous?

When it comes to networking, the guests and speakers can be a great indicator as to how the event will go for you. If you’re not excited to meet these people, why would you attend? Secondly, if there’s not specific time to network, you’ll have to go out of your way to strike up a conversation before or after the event. Are you likely to do that?

Lastly, networking should make you nervous. Surprised, huh? It’s all about broadening your network with people who aren’t just like you — for example, people who have more advanced careers than you or who are come from different backgrounds. For more information about this process, read the full article over at Forbes.

Image via Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr.

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Our Top 10 Posts on Career Success

January 31, 2017


Career GoalsHow do you define “career success?” It’s different for everyone. But this roundup of our top posts should help inspire you to put your career first in the new year. Which tips will you take advantage of?

  1. 3 Habits of Successful Employees
  2. 10 Tips for New Hire Success
  3. The Secret to Ensuring Success at Work
  4. Don’t Let Excuses Hold You Back From Success
  5. Take this Quiz: 10 Simple Tricks for Career Success
  6. The Key to Career Success is…[Insert Anything Here]
  7. 4 Things You Need in Your Career Success Toolkit
  8. The 3 People Who Can Help Make Your Career a Success
  9. 50 Pieces of Career Advice
  10. Quotes About Career Success

Image via Kim Manley Ort/Flickr

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Our Top 10 Interview Posts

January 24, 2017


22981117562_7fa0553a56_zWhen you’re about to walk into a job interview, are you terrified or energized? Either way, the following posts can help you make your next interview even better. Seasoned job seekers and recent graduates can learn a lot from these 10 posts we’ve gathered about the job interview process. It never hurts to brush up on job search etiquette and learn a few hacks for making your interview great.

  1. 8 Signs the Interview Went Well
  2. Who’s Who in the Interview Process
  3. Things You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Talk About in the Interview Process
  4. The One Trick that Will Make Your Interview a Success
  5. 3 Interview Red Flags and How to Respond to Them
  6. 13 Things You Should Never Do in an Interview
  7. 3 Things to Consider Before Dressing for Your Next Interview
  8. How to Handle a Bad Interview/er
  9. 5 Starters for Interview Small Talk
  10. How to Handle the “Conflict” Interview Question

Image via Asher Isbrucker/Flickr.

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The Reality of Meeting (and Not Meeting) Your Goals

January 19, 2017


3166085824_d93fe8c5c5_zA new year means new resolutions. But before you go ahead and write down a list of new goals, you have to take a crucial step: look back at last year’s goals. There’s a chance you didn’t meet those goals. There’s also a chance you did. The important part is that you take inventory of what you met, what you didn’t meet, and why. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Which of my 2016 goals did I meet?
  2. Which of my 2016 goals did I not meet?
  3. Why did I not reach those goals?
  4. What roadblocks can I overcome in 2017?

Take time to reflect and think about why some of your ambitions fell flat and while others were a success. Were you falling victim to self sabotage? Were you making excuses? If you have a few outstanding goals that you didn’t meet last year, what will you do differently this year to make those things happen? Write down your responses and your plan of attack. Your success is in your hands! Make this year the best one yet.

Image via mt 23/Flickr.

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How to Work with Type A Personalities

January 17, 2017


62429852_0235b5dd0b_zKnowing your personality type can help you perform better at work, and it can help you identify how to best work with others. That means better relationships and communication with your boss and coworkers. One of the most well known theories of personality types is Andrew Goldsmith’s Theory on Type A and Type B Personality. According to Simply Psychology, Type A people tend to be:

  • competitive
  • self critical
  • highly involved in work
  • ‘wound up’
  • prone to overreact
  • under a constant sense of urgency
  • impatient with delays
  • overcommitted
  • multitaskers
  • easily angered

Does that sound like you or someone you know? Whether you fit under this personality type or you know someone who does, here are some things to keep in mind according to Psychology Today:

  1. They don’t like to waste time.
  2. They want you to get to the point.
  3. They don’t like to be late, or wait for someone who is running late.
  4. They love timelines and deadlines.

Still not sure if you’re Type A? Take this personality test at Psychology Today to determine if you are.

Image via Mike/Flickr.

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Our Top 10 Productivity Posts

January 12, 2017


8499752998_3cb54fe872_zProductivity. It’s one of those things that we keep writing about and keep reading about because — why else? — no one has perfectly cracked the code. But reading different productivity tips and strategies is the only way to find out what works for you. After all, maybe something that worked for you in the past has stopped being effective. And maybe there’s a new trick hidden in one of the following blog posts that will change you life. Hey, it’s worth looking!

  1. Top 5 Productivity Killers
  2. Why Doing Nothing is Good For Your Productivity
  3. How to Get Rid of Digital Clutter and Boost Your Productivity
  4. Take Note: The Simplest Productivity Hack Ever
  5. 7 Productivity Apps that Will Keep You Focused
  6. 3 Habits that Will Instantly Boost Your Productivity Level
  7. One-Minute Productivity Tips You Can’t Pass Up
  8. Productivity Hacks That Work
  9. How to Delegate Effectively at Work
  10. A Guide to Good Posture (It Boosts Your Productivity!)

Image via Flickr/Vic.


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