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How to know you'll enjoy a job - 6 focuses to consider

Woo! Look at all the options on this job board! But there is a lot there, so how do you confirm a new job will be one that you will actually enjoy? Let's go through the six focuses to consider!

  1. It all starts with the job description.
    Read your job description carefully. It often tells you what type of company you'll find yourself doing. If it describes the new company or department as lively, energetic, with a big focus on teamwork, but you're shy, prefer working alone if possible, and want quiet, it may not be a good fit. If it appears too calm and you like intermingling with co-workers, it may not be the job for you.
  2. Take a look at where the job is located and consider your commute.
    Know the company's name, so you know exactly where the job is: is the position at headquarters or in a satellite/branch location.
    If your commute is 30-40 minutes or more, consider all issues before choosing this position, especially if the commute will be an hour or more. 
    Reconsider if you think a higher salary will compensate for that long commute.
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Topics: Establishing a Career, Re-Entering the Workforce, Preparing for an Interview, Gaining Experience, Changing Jobs, Being a Great Employee, Managing Stress, Work-Life Balance

Digital Literacy Skills

We recently released a blog about the skills to focus on in 2021; there are also additional skills you can train to supplement and further improve your core skills. These additional skills are known as ‘Digital Literacy Skills’ and focus on being able to properly consume and understand information received from a digital medium. Digital literacy skills can be broken down into three specific skills. Let's go through them now!

Information Literacy

Information literacy as defined by the American Library Association, "is a set of abilities requiring individuals to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.” The first key takeaway from this and the first step in information literacy is that you must be able to recognize when you require more information than what you currently have. Second, once you have identified the need for more information you need to be able to obtain that information. This is something you can improve by learning good resources for obtaining information, and how to pick out good keywords to make effective online searches.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Computer Skills, Gaining Experience, Being a Great Employee, Office Tips

Skills to Focus on in the New Year

As time goes on, the world always continues to change, but as long as people exist, we'll be interacting with each other. Whether you are looking for a new career path or achieving a new year’s resolution, there are several core concepts that build the foundation of how we manage these interactions. These are the skills we use every day; from ordering pizza to attending an interview.

Self-improvement is a never-ending journey that everyone goes through. The choice is yours to grow and flourish or become stale.

These key skills are all connected to your continued deeper learning. The focus is on flexibility and adaptability. You will need to be able to focus on ways to get along with others through your understanding of skills such as the following:

1. Critical thinking

This skill involves analyzing facts to reach a conclusion. It is based on a rational, logical, objective evaluation of evidence.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Re-Entering the Workforce, Gaining Experience, Resume, Being a Great Employee, Office Tips

Providing Professional References

We looked at how to request a reference for a job here, so now let’s look at what to do when you are asked to be a professional reference.

First and foremost – Do you want to say ‘yes’?

Keep in mind some companies have policies that only the HR Department can provide information to prospective employers. If the person was a great employee or co-worker, the answer may be obvious. If they were not so stellar and does not perform well in the job, you could look bad for giving a recommendation. 

If you do not want to give a reference, be honest. There are a number of ways to politely decline to give a reference. One way is to say you cannot give a strong recommendation and suggest they look for someone who can praise them properly. Alternatively, you could recommend them on one skill (customer service, for example), but avoid another (timeliness with completing projects).

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Topics: Gaining Experience, Resume, Hiring, References

Making the most of your LinkedIn profile

When applying for a job, your potential employer will check references. What if they want to know more about who you are? It is likely they will check social media; which is why having a profile on LinkedIn can be a great tool to promote yourself.

LinkedIn bills itself as “the world’s largest professional network.” It is a platform that seeks to “connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.” It was launched in 2003 and has been used by more than 706 million individuals for everything from finding a job to finding a provider of services.

Your LinkedIn profile is a wonderful place where you can tout your successes and show recommendations from colleagues, customers, or employers. Think of it as your online resume – plus it's interactive!

Just like your resume, there are tricks and tips to help you stand out among those 706 million users.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Re-Entering the Workforce, Preparing for an Interview, Social Media, Gaining Experience, Resume, Changing Jobs, Interviewing, References

Top 8 Characteristics of Good Leadership

Last week we asked if you should want to be a leader.

This week, we’ll look at how to be a good leader, regardless of your actual leadership role or title. 

Anyone can be a leader. The best, work at developing their skills and adopt the characteristics of other quality leaders. The easiest way to do this is to observe several leaders you admireObservation may include following them on social media, reading their books, and attending or downloading any speeches they have given. Watch what they do and how they do it, then incorporate the traits you admire into your own leadership style. 

Next, realize that leadership isn’t just a “top of the ranks” role. The greatest leaders can – and will – work alongside those they are tasked with leading. Leadership is about setting an example. No task is beneath you. You shouldn’t ask others to do anything you wouldn’t be willing to do yourself. 

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Re-Entering the Workforce, Gaining Experience, Changing Jobs, Being a Great Employee, Managing Stress, Leaving a Job, Work-Life Balance

Should you want to be a leader?

The answer to that question is yes, but… and there’s always a “but.”

You may be thinking:

  • I’ve never been a leader so how do I know if I’ll like it or be good at it?
  • Does it mean more responsibility and am I ready for that?
  • Does it mean more money and is the money appropriate for the level of responsibility?
  • Does it mean I’ll have people who report to me and will I have to evaluate and discipline them, if necessary?
  • Does being a leader always mean I’m in charge – or could I lead in other ways?

Some people never actually consider these questions, so they are unprepared when thrusted into a leadership position.

That leadership position could be as a mentor, team leader, project leader, supervisor, manager, and the list goes on. There are many ways, and some of them don’t require the designation as a “leader.”

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Re-Entering the Workforce, Gaining Experience, Changing Jobs, Being a Great Employee, Managing Stress, Leaving a Job, Work-Life Balance

How to deal with a gap in employment?

It happens for any number of reasons and many people have it, but how exactly should you deal with a gap in employment? The first thing to remember is: be honest. Do not try to disguise the gap or lie about what you were doing when you were not working. Companies are scrupulous about checking references. The last thing you want to do is risk a potential job or start a new job with a lie. Lying on your resume, application, or as part of the hiring process is often a reason for dismissal at many companies.

You do not have to identify on your resume what you were doing during a gap in employment. Caring for a family member, relocating and trying to find a job in new city, taking time off to travel, or attempting to start your own business are all legitimate personal reasons to have a gap. Even though they do not need to be identified on your resume, you should be prepared to address them during an interview. You do not need to provide a bunch of personal details. Explain the situation, but do not include more than the basic facts. Then you need to explain how the situation is no longer a factor. Finally, you should reassure them of your interest and that you are ready to return to the workforce. Use the explanation as an opportunity to move the conversation to why you are particularly interested in the position and what you have to offer.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Volunteering, Re-Entering the Workforce, Gaining Experience, Changing Jobs, Interviewing

Warning signs you are unhappy with your job

This is the first of a two-part series on job happiness. This week, we will look at some of the warning signs that indicate you may be unhappy with your current position. Next week, we will look at what to do about it if you find you are unhappy with your job. Sometimes, you know right away when you are ready for a change. But for others, their satisfaction with their position has slowly declined and they do not immediately realize how unhappy their position is making them. This post is meant to allow employees to recognize they may be unhappy, and maybe even help change their role on the job so that they can become a happier employee! Sometimes, people do not realize just how unhappy they are until someone points it out to them. In case you are one of those individuals, or you are just curious about how to tell when it is time for a change, or you are a supervisor who should be aware of your employees’ issues, here are some warning signs you can watch for.

Apathy

Apathy, not caring, lacking passion, unmotivated these are all ways to express a loss of interest in the daily job tasks. It could be that you see upcoming assignments as too simple, or you just do not care anymore about the tasks you have been assigned. Perhaps you look at your daily job to-do list and think it is like trudging along a rut you just cannot get out of. Or perhaps, you are present but not participating. You are doing just the minimum amount of work necessary, but no longer pitching in with conversations, other tasks, or helping co-workers. If you are numb to projects or tasks that used to excite you, you are probably in the apathy category.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Gaining Experience, Changing Jobs, Being a Great Employee, Managing Stress, Leaving a Job

Soft Skills Can Make or Break You

Soft skills are defined as personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people. So how are these skills going to help you land a job or even a promotion? Let's find out!

Creativity.  Collaboration.  Adaptability.

These are just three of the soft skills employers are looking for and showing you have them could be the difference between whether get the job or not. LinkedIn Learning created a list of the top soft skills employers find most valuable. Rounding out the top five are persuasion and time management.

Creativity 

When you think of ‘creative’ people usually artists, musicians or authors come to mind. But you can be creative in business as well. Think about how most people can be taught how to do a job. A creative person, however, looks at how to do the job better, perhaps in a way that has not been tried yet. A good example is the number of apps that are available to do so many things. For example, it took a creative person to say, what if we made an app so it would be easier for people to track what they eat? Seeing a need and figuring out a better way to meet the need is creativity at its best. Stefan Mumaw, author of six books on creativity, says creativity can be learned, just like any other skill. So if you are looking for ways to increase your creativity, you can try Mumaw’s Creativity Bootcamp training session.  Or you can just begin to think about innovative and better ways to do the same things you have been doing, challenging your mind to find a more “creative” solution.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Re-Entering the Workforce, Preparing for an Interview, Gaining Experience, Resume, Changing Jobs, Being a Great Employee, Training, Interviewing