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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

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

Top 4 reasons to work in the trades

There are some very good reasons these days to work in the trades, but before you know the top reasons, you should consider what careers make up “the trades.” Basically, skilled trades are those jobs or occupations that require a special skill or ability. Training for skilled trades can be from a technical school or college, or on-the-job. But the job does not require a four-year college degree.

Skilled trades can be in one of three areas:

  • Industrial trades, like mechanics or machinists, welders, or tool and dye makers
  • Construction trades, like carpenters, plumbers, electricians, bricklayers or insulators
  • Service trades, like some nursing positions, aides, orderlies and some therapists

Mike Rowe, famous for his TV show “Dirty Jobs,” started his Mike Rowe Works Foundation to promote skilled labor.  He says “skilled workers make civilized life possible.” From his website:

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Re-Entering the Workforce, Gaining Experience, Changing Jobs, Skilled Trades

What Skilled Trades Jobs Are in Demand

Which skills are in high demand?

One of the best ways to find a job is to have a skill that is in high demand, but finding out which skills are in high demand now, and are likely to be in high demand in the future, can be difficult. After all, no one can accurately predict the future, no matter how many crystal balls they might have. But you can use information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in the Department of Labor to get a good overview, and an estimate of industry trends to help you know what skills are needed now and how much the demand is expected to be in the next several years. The BLS has a page on their website called “Occupational Outlook Handbook.You can use this page to search various occupations by wage, required education level, type of training required, number of new jobs projected and the projected growth rate. You can even browse various occupations by the highest paying, fastest growing and most new jobs. Right now, the fastest growing occupations are solar photovoltaic installers, wind turbine service technicians and four categories in the medical field: home health aides, personal care aides, physician assistants and nurse practitioners.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Re-Entering the Workforce, Gaining Experience, Changing Jobs, Leaving a Job, Skilled Trades

Tips For Being The New Employee

Most people are a “new” employee when they start a new job or make a career change. Temporary workers are the “new” employee each time they take a new assignment. In fact, as a temporary employee you could experience that new employee feeling several times in a month, depending on the types of assignments you take. Whether you are a new employee just once – or quite often – here are some tips to help you along the way.

Be Dependable

Being dependable means you show up on time, ready to work. Having the right tools and attire is important, but so is having the right attitude of enthusiasm for the tasks you are going to be performing.

Be Friendly

A smile goes a long way towards making a good impression, so remember to smile when seeing or meeting your co-workers. Introduce yourself to others during your breaks or lunches. Repeat their names when you meet to help you remember.

Show interest in others – which applies to life as well as a new job. Ask questions like ‘how long have you worked here?’ and ‘what do you like most about what you do?’ as a way to learn about others, as well as the company.

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Topics: Re-Entering the Workforce, Changing Jobs, Being a Great Employee, Managing Stress

How to leave a temp job (Professionally)

You’ve been working at temporary jobs for the last six months and now you’ve been offered the job of your dreams. Fantastic! Or, let's say that your family situation has changed and you’re no longer going to be able to work the temporary assignments you’ve been taking – including the one where you’re currently assigned. So, you now need to quit. No matter what the reason, there is a right way and a wrong way to leave a temporary assignment. The wrong way would be to just announce “I quit” and walk out the door. Quitting without notice will result in your immediate termination from Supplemental Staffing – and most other employment firms as well. After all, quitting like that will burn all bridges and you never know when you might need a good word on your behalf from a former supervisor.

Your goal for leaving should be to do so professionally and with as little negative impact on your place of assignment as well as your employer, the temporary agency. The first thing to do when you know you need to leave is to notify your Staffing Manager. Remember that

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Re-Entering the Workforce, Changing Jobs, Leaving a Job

Do Staffing Companies work for the client or the candidate?

Staffing Scrabble by Amtec CC BY-SA 2.0

Finding a job isn’t always easy, even in today’s economy. What makes it even more difficult is navigating the various types of placement and staffing companies and their fees.

If you’re unemployed, you don’t necessarily have the funds to pay someone to find you a job, so do you have to pay the staffing company that’s advertising for warehouse workers? And just who is that staffing agency working for – you or the company that needs the worker?

As in most things, the answers to those questions are: it depends.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Re-Entering the Workforce, Employment Agency, Gaining Experience

Will getting a certification help land a job?

If you’ve been out of the job market for a while, or if you’re looking to advance in your career, getting a certification relevant to your field might be just the ticket.

Earning certifications or accreditation shows that you are serious about your field and competent enough to do the job. Some jobs require a certification, while for others it may just be preferred. Additionally, certifications may be accepted by the employer in place of a degree, depending on the position.

Usually, a certification consists of classroom or online training, and then passing a test to show that you have acquired specific knowledge about a particular field of work or technology. Most certification programs require a fee to take the test, along with a fee for the course to prepare you for the test. Certifications can be good for up to three years, and you are often required to have continuing training during those three years in order to maintain your certification.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Re-Entering the Workforce

Can Volunteering Help You Establish a Career?

You can gain a wealth of experience outside the workforce.

When I was younger, volunteering meant walking dogs or helping kindergartners learn how to read. It was a no-brainer at the time. I would check in, get my name badge, do my thing, check out and go home. Sure, it felt good to help others but this was so easy, anyone could do it. At the Humane Society, my job description consisted of cleaning dog and cat cages, giving them fresh food and water, taking dogs out for walks or petting cats. Not exactly the skills you promote on your resume. At the schools, my job consisted of helping 6-year old children read “See Spot Run”. Seriously, how could this be of any benefit to my future career.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Volunteering, Re-Entering the Workforce

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