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Stress in this Time of Uncertainty

There are many recent events that have upset our world, along with the social distancing recommendations and many who have lost their jobs because of businesses closing. Others are working from home and families are trying to establish routines for children and distance learning. There is a lot of uncertainty, in our own lives and in society. And then there is the isolation. Humans are social; we like being with others and having freedom of movement. We are averse to change, finding comfort in our routines and our normal lives. As a result, this isolation and changes are overwhelming and stressful.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Re-Entering the Workforce, Preparing for an Interview, Changing Jobs, Managing Stress, Work-Life Balance, High-Stress

Choosing and asking for a reference

You have got a good cover letter and resume and you now have an interview, but what are you going to do if they ask for a reference? You need to have your references ready, and aware that you are using them as references. Selecting the right people to provide a reference for you, and then asking them to be a reference, can be a daunting task. These individuals can make or break your job prospects, so you need to put as much thought into finding and asking them as you do the rest of your job-hunting process.

The first thing is to make a list of potential references who can speak about your work skills, past performance or character. Family members might give you a glowing reference, but potential employers are looking for professional references. Your list of potential references should include prior supervisors, co-workers or even clients. Next, you should think about your relationship with each of the people on your list. How long have you known them, how familiar are they with the work you have done in the past, how long has it been since you worked with them? What specific skill or character trait can they speak about if you ask them to be a reference? Also, you will want to think about what exactly the reference will say. You will want someone articulate enough to be able to explain what work you did for/with them and how well you did it. A note to remember, you do not have to select your prior boss. You can ask anyone you worked with who had the opportunity to see how you worked. After answering these questions, narrow down your reference list to three or four names.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Re-Entering the Workforce, Preparing for an Interview, Resume, Hiring, Interviewing, References

Making productive to-do lists

Everyone makes lists – though not everyone does so in the same way. Whether you are the one who makes a list in their head of things to get at the grocery store, or the one who has to-do lists for every aspect of your life, these tips will help you be more productive and efficient in accomplishing the tasks on your list.

Use the right app or medium.

There are a many list apps you can get for your smart phone, and there is also a simple pen and paper.  The first thing you should do is decide which method of keeping track of your list(s) works best for you. Many apps allow you to add due dates, collaborate or share lists, and sort tasks. PC Magazine has list of the best to-do apps, or you can ask friends and relatives for suggestions. If you are a pen and paper type of person, the key to finding the best medium is to make sure it is a list you can easily see and refer to, and something you will not ignore. There are numerous options that include lined pages, calendars, and tabs for sorting lists. The best way to find the right one for you is to make a list (see what we did there?) of the key things you want and then do a google search for those items. Or just use a plain notebook and design your own.  The two most important things to remember are that it must work for you and be one you will actually use.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Re-Entering the Workforce, Preparing for an Interview, Changing Jobs, Being a Great Employee, Managing Stress

Which bad habits do not belong in the workplace

Everyone has a tendency to pick up some bad habits, after all we are only human. But while a few bad habits may only be mildly annoying to your family and friends, they can carry far worse consequences in the work place. Here is a list of the worst bad habits you should watch out for, to make sure they do not ruin your career.

Tardiness:

Constantly being late to work, especially when you are part of a line or process that requires someone in your position, is definitely a bad habit that can ruin your career. But being late with assignments, to meetings, or returning phone calls can be just as bad. Being timely with attendance and assignments shows you respect your company, your job and your co-workers.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Preparing for an Interview, Changing Jobs, Being a Great Employee

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

The Do’s and Don’ts of Salary Negotiation

Many people are uncomfortable with negotiating for a salary. Regardless of the reason, there will come a time when you feel the need to negotiate a salary and these tips should help you navigate the process and come to an agreement with an employer.

First, you need to do your research.

There are numerous websites, like Salary.com, Payscale, Glassdoor, which can give you the high, median and low wages for the position you’re considering. They will also narrow down the wage scale to your geographic area. You can then compare your skills and experience and see where your salary ought to be in order to be competitive in your market.

You can also check the Bureau of Labor Statistics for industry-specific wage information.

Next, you should calculate the minimum amount you’re willing to accept.

Remember, this is just a guideline to help you narrow down your options, as salary is not the only consideration when deciding whether or not to accept a position.  Knowing your bottom line will allow you to remove yourself from consideration if you can reasonably calculate that the job offer will not be close to meeting your needs.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Preparing for an Interview, Changing Jobs, Being a Great Employee, Interviewing

What to talk about at your next networking event

Networking events are great ways to learn about new opportunities, make important connections and grow professionally.

But for many people, they’re intimidating – primarily because you don’t know what to say, or how to start a conversation, especially if you don’t know anyone else in the room.

Remember, the goal is for both of you to talk about yourselves and get to know each other. And if you ask the standard “what do you do” question, you’ll get a canned response. So here are some ideas from ProStaff, Top Resume and Business Insider that can help you creatively break the ice.

General

There are some general questions that will serve you well at a networking – or any – event, and they’re easy to remember:

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Topics: Preparing for an Interview, Interviewing, Networking

OhioMeansJobs – Both online and locally

Did you know that the State of Ohio has a comprehensive job portal called OhioMeansJobs? It is a great place for resources that you should be taking advantage of! Each county in the state also has a local physical center where individuals can use various services. Whether online or in the local offices, you can search for jobs, find information about in-demand careers, partake in training and career planning and even search for schools and scholarships for your training. In Wood County, the OhioMeansJobs Center is part of Job and Family Services in Bowling Green.  In Lucas County, it’s called Work Ready Lucas County (formerly The Source) and it’s in downtown Toledo. If you need to find a specific center, you can use this map. Two of the best services that the centers provide are job training assistance, and resume and interview assistance. Let's discuss how these can help!

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Preparing for an Interview, Resume, Training, Interviewing

Top 4 Reasons To Keep A Clean Work Space

It finally feels like spring when the birds begin chirping, flowers blooming and the sun is out so our temperatures climb to appropriate levels.

It’s been pretty dreary with all the rain and wind, but now our thoughts are turning to that annual ritual known as Spring Cleaning. Did you know that spring cleaning isn’t just for the home? Your work space can benefit from it too!

There are a ton of reasons why it’s important to keep your work space clean and tidy, but here are the top four:

  1. Health:

    According to research, the average desk contains 400 times more germs than a toilet seat. That’s why cleaning your desk on a regular basis, not just in the spring, is a good idea if you and your co-workers want to stay healthy.

    Don’t have a desk? Non-office work-spaces can harbor germs as well, whether on the tools, the work space or in common eating areas. Even door handles or push plates can host a colony of germs just waiting to infect the next person who touches them.

    Regular daily cleaning and periodic deep cleaning will keep those germs at bay.

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Topics: Preparing for an Interview, Safety, Managing Stress

Is the grass really greener? Things to consider before changing jobs

Everyone, at some point, will wonder if they should change jobs. It’s a normal feeling, whether you’re thinking about pay, opportunity or just doing something new.

If you’re a younger worker, you’re more like to actually change jobs than if you are an older worker well-established in your career.

Regardless of age, here are seven key things to consider before making that leap:
  1. Why do you want a change?

    Knowing why you’re not finding fulfillment in your current position and what things you’re looking for in a new one will help you get started in the process of switching jobs. Is it because you’re not being challenged? Are you seeking more money? Is it a bad work environment? Are there changes in the company, like mergers or financial issues, that you want to avoid?

    Whatever your reason, knowing why you’re looking to leave will help you avoid the same thing in a new position.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Preparing for an Interview, Changing Jobs, Managing Stress

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