Making Your First Impression Count

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When you go for a job interview, you want to make your best impression. There are a number of things that needs to be done before going out to the interview. You have to think about your visual appearance, your posture during the interview and your speaking abilities.
When it comes to visual appearance, you need to look sharp. It is expected for you to dress in business attire when going to interviews. You need a dress shirt, nice pants and business shoes. Depending on what company you are interviewing at, you may need a full suit. So make sure to have your wardrobe ready the day before.
Your posture can tell the employer a lot about you. Never slouch or cross your arms. Slouching or crossing your arms show that you either don’t care about what’s going on or you just don’t want to listen. Sitting in a comfortable and upright position shows that you are attentive to the interviewer.
You may look and act sharp but you also need to know how to speak well. When speaking, you need to pace yourself. You might go too fast out of nervousness and not realize it. Pacing yourself lets you speak clearly and concisely. You also have to watch out for how you speak. You need to be articulate. Talking casually out in the world and speaking articulately in an interview are two different things. If you are not sure how to do this, you can practice before hand with someone. YouTube may even provide methods on speaking articulately. There is no need to rush. It helps to take a pause so that your thoughts can catch up to what you want to say.
Eye contact can make or break the interview. Making eye contact shows that you are paying attention but too much eye contact can make things feel a bit awkward. It’s fine to break eye contact every now and then in the same way you would take a breath after a sentence. Sometimes the interviewer will break contact, which is perfectly normal.
So these are the 4 major things to look out for when going on an interview. You need to look visually prepared and you also need to have a good body language. Do not let that betray you. You need to know how to speak and keep a good eye contact. It’s normal to take a split second break from either of these as the interviewer will do it too. Practicing these tips ahead of time will prepare your body for the real interview.
Good luck!

Go to college or get a job?

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In today’s job market, job requirements are becoming more demanding. They want someone with the experience and the education. The problem is that colleges are costing more than just a pretty penny. The economic recession has caused inflation across the board. College has gotten more expensive and job requirements have risen as a result of the recession. As the market struggles to improve, more students begin to question whether they should go to college or get a job.
We all know now that a college degree no longer guarantees a job. A college graduate would be lucky to be underemployed than to have no job at all. Due to the economy, college tuitions and loans are on the rise. Families incomes and net worths are dropping as a result of pay cuts or job layoffs. To pay for college, more students take out loans and since a job isn’t guaranteed, they may not be able to pay off that loan. It’s starting to become a dangerous loop for those who aren’t careful about college debt. Roughly half of the unemployment rate is college graduates who lack experience to get a job, which is ironic because 60% percent of all jobs require a college degree. With so many unemployed college graduates, having a degree no longer makes a resume unique.
As bleak as things may sound, it’s still better to have a college degree or at least some college in your background. Not having any college background can lead to a worse alternative. The reason to go for a college degree is because the benefits of an improving job market goes to those with a higher education. As a college student, you may need to take out loans but you will also be getting financial aid, grants and even some tax benefits if you come from a low income household. Most students don’t like loans but the thing about these student loans is that they have a very low interest rate. So if you can keep that under control, you can steadily pay it back even if you are underemployed.
There are alternatives to college. You can go to trade school or start you own business. There are people who go to college only to find out it’s not for them. Just because you’re a college dropout doesn’t mean you don’t have ambition. Instead of investing money for college, you can invest it into a trade you may want to learn or for a business you want to start. With a little research, you can find jobs that require no degree but does require training and the experience. There are also grants that are given to entrepreneurs who can prove the validity of their ideas.
There are many options out there; you just need to work at it. College may not guarantee success but for those who want to take that road, be careful you don’t take on debt that you can’t pay back. If you don’t graduate, it’s still better to have some college in your background.

Interviews A to Z, Part 1

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When going on an interview there are things you need to do and things that you should not do before or during an interview! Your actions can either get you the job or get you passed over so before you go out to meet an employer, just keep some of these tips in mind.
When you head out the door for that interview, make sure you are dressed properly. If you don’t know what to wear, put on a pair of slacks, button down shirt and a pair of black shoes. If it’s a corporate/Wall Street position, you may need a full suit for the interview. This includes a tie and jacket. Not sure what a suit looks like? Google “business attire”. You want to look professional and serious when you meet the employer. If you come in with a t-shirt, shorts and sandals, the employer may chuckle and ask you to leave.
So now you are dressed up and ready to go but there is something you need to check before leaving! You need to see how many copies of your resume, reference and cover letters you need to bring. If you don’t know how many to bring, then it would be safe to say you should bring 10 or more copies of each. The reason for this is because the employer may ask for more than one copy in case they want to forward it or keep a copy on file. It also shows that you are able to prepare ahead of time.
Try to show up about 10 to 15 minutes early for the interview. That way you have some time to think and prepare for the meeting with the employer. You could straighten yourself out, cool off, whatever you need to do to be ready. Don’t show up too early, however, or it may be seen as rude because you might be intruding on company time. The employer may not be ready to interview. Showing up too early would make the employer feel rushed.
Don’t smoke before an interview. If you are chewing gum, spit it out before going into an employer’s office. Don’t wear too much cologne or perfume, as some people may be allergic. and by all means, turn off anything with an on/off switch!
Once you are in the interview, only take a seat when the interviewer tells you to. If you are sitting, make sure that you are in a good posture. Sit with your back straight, don’t cross your legs, and rest your arms either on the arm rest of the chair or your lap. When you cross your arms and legs, it shows that you are blocking out the interviewer. Doing so implies that you don’t really want to be there or that you are not ready for it. This will be a waste of everyone’s time.
All of this is just the basic frame work of going on an interview. Anything else is either common sense or something that can be researched. Some employers may be very particular about the interview process. It’s these employers that really need thorough research before going to the actual interview. As long as you stick with the tips above, you can’t really go wrong in terms of physical presentation. Stay tuned for what to say or NOT say on an interview.

The most outdated pieces of career advice

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We’ve all been given career advice at one time or another. The chance of that advice being useful depends on the timing of it. Some no longer apply to our modern technological age. Others are considered “oldies, but goodies”. These can range from how to go about making and sending your resume to advice for interviews. Some pieces of advice apply regardless of time or age. Here are some examples of outdated advice below:

1) You must use a landline for a phone interview:
The first thing that’s outdated is using a landline for telephone interviews. Today, most people don’t even have landlines. This isn’t a useless piece of advice; it just doesn’t apply to our time. Everyone has a cell phone so to update this, simply go to a very quiet or private space where you get good reception and take your phone interview. Phone interviews are very common today. It’s just the method it’s conducted in that’s changed.

2) Resumes should only be one page:
Your resume should only be one page long. However, the only time it’s appropriate to go on to two pages is if you have been working for more than 10 years or you have some outstanding experiences that have to go on your resume. Going on to two pages is not an excuse to go on to a third. Two pages should be the maximum for a resume. Anything else can always be explained in a cover letter.

3) Every job should go on your resume:
Every job you have ever had should not necessarily go on your resume. You should only include the long-term and relevant positions you have held. If you were to put down every job you ever had, it would exceed the one page limit. It will also be filled with jobs that are not relevant to positions that you are looking for. There is no point in putting down individual assignments that you might have gotten from a temp agency. Simply put down that you are working through the agency itself.

4) You must include the phrase “references available upon request”:
When it comes to references, you do not need to put down on your resume “references available upon request” or any variation of it. It is just assumed that you have references and if they want them, they will ask for them.

5) You must have an objective on your resume:
Objectives are outdated. You end up pigeon holing yourself into a specific job title or industry. What is more beneficial is a summary paragraph. This sums up your experience and skills.

6) Invest in some good quality resume paper:
There is no point in buying expensive resume paper because everything is done electronically. You should have some good but affordable resume paper when you have an interview with an employer.

7) Using clichés for your weaknesses:
When you are asked about your weaknesses, don’t say something cliché like you’re a perfectionist. The reason for this question is for the employer to see if you are capable of evaluating yourself and to see if you have plans to strengthen those weaknesses. Here’s a tip to that question. Think about what your actual weaknesses are then show them that you are working these out to improve yourself. Another way you can go is to state what your weaknesses used to be, but how you have already improved them to a strength.

8) Calling an employer to set up an interview appointment:
Don’t call up an employer to set up an interview after you have submitted your resume either physically or electronically. The bottom line is if they want to meet you in person for an interview, they will give you a call. Everything that happens between you looking for a job and an employer only happens if they make it happen. Until you are offered the job, everything is up to them.

Happy Job Hunting!

Out in the Field

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People get lucky with their job seeking. Sometimes, instead of having to find a job on your own, an agency or company will find your resume online and offer YOU a position. Being a job seeker, you will most likely take these positions that can range from part-time, full-time, temporary, permanent, or temp to perm. Almost all of these positions are never guaranteed. I can tell you this from experience.
An agency found my resume on Careerbuilders.com and offered me a position. This would be a temp-perm position. I would be working at a company as a data entry associate. I got the information for the interview and ended up getting the job. Here is the upside of this: I got a job and I was getting paid for it. I was being trained for the first 65 days before going permanent with company. My hourly rate would go up after the probation period. I was pretty happy to actually have a paying job. The training involved learning their software and some formulas for their excel sheets. Then I found out that they wanted me to do some purchasing of inventories for their warehouse. This didn’t seem to be a problem since I already learned a part of their software by the end of my first week.
By the second week I started to create order sheets for the inventories. I didn’t want to look like a slow learner so I was doing what I could to keep up with what they were teaching me. This is where the downside comes in and the bad news comes out.
They had to let me go. Their reason was that the owners of the company did not know what they wanted me to do long term wise. Short term wise, I was being trained in the software they used. They had no plan for me long term. Now this is only the second week, which means I’m still considered a temp for them. All I could do was hand in my time-sheet and call it a day.
I didn’t want to sit around and do nothing so I contacted another agency I was working with just to see if they remembered me. You want an agency to remember your name and resume. Those are two important things to think about when working with them. After I confirmed that they do remember me, I came back to my internship to keep myself busy until I can find another job.
When you do find a job, always keep in mind that nothing is guaranteed. Most of the time, a temp-perm position would work out normally and you would complete the probation period. But occasionally a unique situation may happen that would interfere with that.
From my experience, I can tell you a few things you can do. First, try to get as much information as possible from the agency or employer, excluding confidential information. Second, keep in mind that nothing is guaranteed, so always have a contingency plan. Third, if you do get the job and you find yourself in an inconsistent work flow, ask for work and try to keep busy. If you are let go, at least it won’t be because you did nothing in the work place.
Keep all these things in mind and if you are let go, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a learning experience and move on in your job search. Maybe something better may come up.

Importance of staying on point

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In a previous blog, we spoke about how important it is to be able to multi-task. This blog will show you why it’s important to do the opposite, which is staying on point. This means that you are focused on only one project at a time. These two are important because both strategies of working have their strengths and weaknesses.
To review, multi-tasking allows a person to work on multiple projects simultaneously. The downside is the more projects you juggle, the easier it is to get confused.
Being on point means you have focus. It’s all about working on only one project and making sure you put everything into it. Focusing on a single piece of work allows you to be diligent, which means you work without letting anything distract you. This also lets you follow through on it better than multi-tasking. You will be spending all you time and energy on this work allowing you to put quality into it. To work only on one project means there is a higher chance of it being completed on time. Once you complete a project that you have been on point with, you will have a not only a finished product, but a product with such detail and information that it is better than what the employer expected.
Staying on point need s person who is detail oriented and able to follow through on a project. Employers love detailed projects. It’s their way of showing off their companies. This is not without its weaknesses. One of them may be the lack of experience in multi-tasking. Just because you do great work on one project does not mean you have the skill to juggle multiple ones. Another weakness is the type of environment you work in. In a smaller company, you may only be needed to work on one project at a time. In larger companies, juggling multiple tasks may be the norm and someone who only focuses on one piece of work may not be able to adjust to this setting. Lacking multi-tasking experience can create confusion in a company.
There is also the factor of prioritizing. If you only have experience working on a single project, you may not have the necessary skills to prioritize multiple projects properly. In the case of juggling a large workload, you need to deduct which project will be important based in the information on it. Sometimes you need to make this call based on little to no information. In this situation, it requires experience to find out what needs to be done first.
Being great at one work strategy does not mean that you are great at the other. In today’s market, it calls for a balance of both. Being able to multi-task is great. Staying on point is also great. What you need to do is to find a balance between the two. Employers may love multi-taskers but they also like someone who is detail oriented. Being able to do both will show your efficiency and your flexibility to the work given.

Temp Agencies, should you use them?

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By now, everyone knows someone who is looking for a job. Most people will try to search on their own. Others will utilize whatever connections they have, whether it is through a previous employer or a friend. However, one of the bigger resources everyone can use is a temp agency.
Temp agencies are a valuable resource because they already have connections to companies looking for staff. Temp agencies provide anything from part time, full time, temporary and permanent positions. If you are looking for a job of any kind, any of these positions will get your foot in the door at the very least.
Aside from having the already established connections with different companies, they will give you evaluations on you skills and experiences. An agency will place you based on your skill set and experience so the position won’t be too light or too heavy for you. It will be a position you can work comfortably with opportunities to move up. The only time you might be moved down is if you ask to be placed in a specific area.
The best part about an agency is that they do the searching for you. We’ve all attempted to look for a job on our own. We’ve been to interviews where we never received any response. The reason may be that we may not be the right fit for them or that the company is not the right fit for you. As part of the evaluation of your skills and experiences, what an agency does is that it looks for the right fit for you and sets up an interview. An agency will help you look for a job by doing most of the searching for you.
Besides the fact that an agency can help you find a job, it also depends on which agency you go to. It’s just like looking for a job. You need to find an agency that’s right for you. Some agencies only specialize in certain fields. You can go to agencies that provide the positions that you are looking for or you can go to agencies that specialize in the skills and experiences that you have.
The difference between these two is that going to an agency knowing that they specialize in what you want may not work out for you. Wanting to work in a new and different position does not mean you have the experience or skills. This is often times associated with a career change. The only skills you can really use are your transferable skills.
Going to an agency that specializes in you skills and experiences is staying in your comfort zone. There is nothing wrong with it. You are working with an agency that has jobs that you can work with. A possible downside is that you are limiting yourself to what you know in terms of skills and experiences. There may not be room for growth if you only stay in your comfort zone.
Whatever choices you make, there are Temp Agencies for you. It’s the best way to get your resume out and to get your foot in the door.

Busy time vs. down time

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When you work in the office, workflow can sometimes become inconsistent. You will have busy times and you will have down times. This is a work influx in the office. Being busy is the easy part of working because you are active and you know what needs to be done. Down time is a little tricky to deal with in a work environment.
Down time is when there really isn’t anything to do, at least not immediately. Employers and managers will expect employees to be working or at least busy with something and what makes down time tricky is that there isn’t anything to do or keep busy with.
This is where you, as an employee, need to be proactive. Down time may be tricky to deal with but the solution is simple. If there is no immediate business to work on, then find something to do. Part of being a good employee is to make everything easier for the employer or manager. Employers and managers normally have employees under them take on small to medium sized projects while managers and supervisors take on larger project that keep the company going. Part of making the manager/supervisor’s job easier is to find something to do while they tackle the larger projects. They don’t want to waste time away from the project to tell you what to do during downtime otherwise they won’t need you.
There are a few examples of what an employee can do. There are cold calling that can be made during downtime. Cold calling is basically attempting to acquire new clients and generate business for the company through phone calls. Employees can also just double check files to make sure that they are filed properly. They can even pitch ideas around that may benefit the company. Sure, this can get tedious, but at least you are keeping busy and keeping your skills sharp.
Prioritizing should always be kept in mind, even during downtime. Even during downtime, there may be some important work to be done but it may not need to be done immediately. What an employee can do is at least prepare for that work. They can research what it is, ask what needs to be done with it or they can actually start working on it. This should be done with priority and maybe even some common sense in mind because there may be more than one piece of important work that needs to be done, only not immediately. Lacking any prioritizing will only cause an employee to fall behind on work in the long term.
While interning at Millennium Personnel, I have encountered many busy times and downtimes. Busy times are easy to deal with. It’s where I’m most active. Downtimes aren’t as fantastic. What I do during downtime is to find something to do. I do cold calling and warm calling to companies and try to generate new clients and business. I also double-check files to make sure they are filed alphabetically down to the last letter for both applicants and clients. I also remove any files that are either to old to keep, went out of business or the contact information is out of date. Aside from doing those during downtime, I also write blogs to help and inform job seekers about looking for work and how to go about it through various topics.
Remember; always try to be proactive even during downtime. Don’t be afraid to ask a manager or supervisor if there is anything to do during downtime because they love a proactive employee.

Branding Yourself

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Branding yourself allows you to specify your chosen work field, interests and professional personality. It will open doors for you and create a lasting impression on employers. By developing your own brand, you’ll have control over an employer’s initial perception. A successful brand self-promotes, stimulates a unique experience, and offers consistency in the quality of the service you will provide. You will be recognized for who you are and most importantly, how you perform. Not everyone knows who you are, and since that means they probably have no idea what you do and how good you do it, it’s imperative to give your skills a bit of recognition.
Branding yourself during a job hunt is similar to branding a product. Your brand can successfully reach out and influence potential employers when you line up interviews for a specific job(s). Your brand is the first thing that pops into their minds. Creating a brand that stands out requires you to paint a portrait that is consistent with what your brand has to offer. What ever you choose to represent, your brand should be simple, straightforward, and convey what you do.
Branding yourself empowers you to proactively manage your potential for career success. Even after you get hired, you still need to work on your brand. You never know if you’ll be laid off or want to resign. By maintaining your brand, you always stay marketable and known. You become an asset to that company. Branding yourself isn’t entirely about who you are as an individual, but mostly about what kind of services and skills you can bring to the table for your employer, so this consider carefully for your next job opportunity.

Building Confidence with an Internship

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Today was my first day of my internship for Millennium Personnel Corp and I was super nervous but they made me feel very comfortable. They gave me an intern packet, which was filled with helpful information and I sat in for a couple of courtesy interviews, just observing. When interning here you have to be a team player. My biggest challenge has been answering the phones. With this internship I will overcome my challenge. I also hope to learn Quick Books because it is a requirement for most jobs now.

What I will get out of this internship? I will be able to do normal secretarial work and find out what is my brand is. Don’t know what that is? Well, I will explain: It’s what type of person you are and what skill you bring to the company. For example, my aunt is a go-getter and a people person. She has been work for the Queens D.A office over forty years .She tells me that to work in an office is a wonderful job and you can meet a lot of people. And colleges only want you to take classes, but with no experience it is a challenge, since most jobs want you to have a least two years of experience, which I lack . This internship is great because it gives me a chance to learn skills. This is the greatest thing that has happened to me. What I also want to get out of this internship is confidence .And I have to develop a 30 second commercial, which will explain my skills so that way I will be able to get a good job at companies. It takes a lot of practice, but I am up for the challenge.

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