Five Tips to Choose the Best Job Reference

4References serve as a powerful tool during the hiring process. Hiring managers often contact references to find out what a candidate can truly accomplish and what they’re like to work with. Having a great reference to back up your skills is imperative, but not everyone knows how they should go about getting one. Here are five tips to choose the best job reference.

1. Create a list of people who you believe will say positive things about you.
Former supervisors, coworkers, managers and even clients are typically the best choices. If you do not have any work experience, expand your list to include volunteer assignments, college professors, and internship supervisors.

2. Narrow down your reference list to 4 or 5 people.
The most effective references are those who’ve had the opportunity to experience your personality and witness your accomplishments first-hand. Senior positions will require 5 to 7 references. Choose work references that will speak highly of you, and will attest to all that you were able to accomplish. Omit potential references who might sound unprofessional, or those with whom you did not have a great working relationship.

3. Ask for his or her permission.
Never use a reference without asking for his or her permission. Regardless of how you perceive your relationship with the reference, not every person is comfortable giving recommendations for employment opportunities. While in most cases your colleagues will be flattered to serve as references, it’s always respectful to ask for their permission first.

4. Make sure your reference’s information is thorough and correct.
Once you’ve secured a job reference, collect their contact information. Record their full name, current title, phone number, email, and work address. These details will be required by most employers during the interview process. In the case of work-only references, stay away from listing things like home numbers, personal emails, and cell phones. Privacy is an issue, and the hiring manager may not be aware they are reaching out to a personal account. This looks bad for everyone, and is unprofessional on your part.

5.Coach your select references, and keep them updated throughout the process.
Give your reference a current resume and update and/or remind them of your achievements, skills, important projects, etc. Preparing your references will ensure they provide a more relevant reference and recommendation.

Always be willing to use your references, and remember to say thank you. Saying thank you

Five Job Search Tips for College Graduates

1Graduating from college and beginning a job search in your desired field can be a big adjustment for any student. There are certain steps a new graduate and job seeker must take to stay ahead when looking for employment. Here are five simple tips to help job search for recent college graduates.

1. Know how to market yourself
Make a list of acquired skills and traits and demonstrated through school, volunteer work, previous employment, clubs and schools projects. Employers always look for candidates who have shown they are trainable, adaptable, problem solvers and can take initiative to compliment their team.

2. Network in person
The more people you meet and impress in person, the more likely someone is to refer you for a position. Join professional organizations, attend networking events, and stay connected to your academic professors and colleagues.

3. Create an online presence
89 percent of companies are and will use social networks as a part of their hiring process. It is advantageous to not only have an appropriate presence on major social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, but to also create a professional profile on LinkedIn.

4. Do your research
Learn all you can about your target organizations. You can use sites like LinkedIn to find suitable companies that are looking for people who have your skill set.

5. Keep at it
Getting to the next step can often times take time, and a lot of effort. Celebrate your small successes, surround yourself with encouraging and supporting people, and fight through the urge to give up at times.

Don’t be afraid to jump in and try new things, and remember to stay patient. The persistence and tenacity you exhibited throughout your academic career will come in handy now

4 Good Reasons to Job Search in the Summertime

Summer_Job_SearchThere is a false perception that companies cut back or stop hiring during the summertime months. In truth, companies are filling positions at the same pace during the warmest months of the year. Conducting a job search during the summer can be difficult. The biggest hazards for job seekers during the summertime is timing and schedules. Vacations have been, and are being planned right now, so patience and persistence is the key in landing an interview.

1. Jobs Do Exist
Even though it may be sweltering hot out, companies do need to continue to hire employees. Slowing or stopping your job search could cause you to miss out on wonderful opportunities. Plus, you could face less competition if other job seekers are buying into the summer slowdown myth. So, take advantage of the season.

2. Summer can be slower for some industries
Employees of many companies may actually have more time to interview candidates in the summer because it is not a busy time for their organization. Vacations aside, it’s a free period for some key employers.

3. Contract-to-Hire Positions are Abundant
Many organizations will hire contract employees during the summer months to fill long leaves of absence, such as extended vacations and sabbaticals. These positions could turn into permanent employment if the timing is right.

4. Summer time equals High Energy
The days are longer, flowers are in bloom , and summer is a buzzing season with a lot of vivacity. Serious job hunters should capitalize on both the energy of the season and myth of the summer slowdown by beginning or continuing their search. Jobs are certainly there, waiting for tenacious job hunters to beat the heat and find them.

Summertime is an opportune time to start or continue a job search. As the weather outside heats up, so should your efforts to land the job you have been dreaming all winter about.

Three Tips For A Successful Phone Interview

3-tips-phone-interviewIn today’s job market, more companies are investing time in to a preliminary gauge on whether a prospect should be invited to a face-to face interview. Phone interviews are in fact a REAL interview, so here are three tips to help you be prepared.

1.Treat the phone interview the same way you would an in-person job interview.
Focus and be prepared with knowledge of both the company and the job. One benefit of having a phone interview is that you can have company materials in front of you for handy reference. A suggestion is to have the company’s website on a computer in front of you along with the job description you are applying for. Have your materials ready to go a few minutes before your scheduled time so that you are not typing or distracted during your phone interview.

2. Be prepared to take the call in a place that is quiet environment and has good reception if you are using your mobile device.
You want to make sure that the interviewer knows you are taking the interview seriously and background distractions are a sure turnoff. Plan to be in a space where you are able to control the ambiance and the noise around you. Having a phone interview in public places such as coffee shops and restaurants are absolutely not recommended.If you do not have a quiet space available in your home, check with your local library to see if they have a meeting space you can reserve for free.

3. Eliminate any distractions while on the phone.
For example, turn off your computers’speakers, find a babysitter for your children, put your dog outside, etc. You only focus should be on what the interviewer is saying. Do not split your attention!

Once you have closed the phone interview, send an email to the interviewer thanking them for their time, and remember to follow up with them to ensure a second interview.

Five Characteristics To Make You A Better Team Player

team-work-5-best-traitsSimply put, teamwork is an essential part of success. Being a vital part of the team requires us to contribute something valuable to the team. 75% of all employers describe teamwork and collaboration as crucial and need to the success of their companies. Here are five characteristics to make you a better team player, and raise your stock in your workplace.

1.Become Self-Motivated
The great thing about being self-motivated is that your fellow employees recognize that you are reliable and accountable for not only doing your part but doing it well. Aspire to grow with little prompting or encouragement, which will help the people around you to grow as well.

2.Be Sharp
Wanting to succeed and having the wits and skills to do so are two different animals. If you are able to adapt to your companies’changing needs easily you will be especially well-prepared to apply your skills to any given situation. Thinking ahead of time and being prepared will eliminate you needing someone to keep you on your toes because you will have already taken the necessary steps before they are needed. These people are great team players because they set the bar high and know how to keep pushing it higher.

3. Be Flexible
The ability to flexible, yet not be a complete pushover, implies you are willing and able to accommodate the teams’needs. Flexibility allows you to grow as a professional and as a team. Flexibility in your interactions ensures that you can focus on fostering the right relationships on your team. Flexibility allows you to grow as a professional and as a team.

4. Accessible
Being accessible to the team ensures success by providing accountability. Make it a point to communicate clearly (and often!) with your team members. Part of working together efficiently means mastering the art of concise emails and meetings.Accessibility is kind of like respect; if you want it, you should show it, too.

5. Passionate
The greatest achievements are accomplished because someone truly cared about the work. Bringing passion for the team encourages your teammates to join in on the fun. In all jobs it is important to believe in the mission of your work. Not every day will be perfect, but finding a job with purpose and passion is worthwhile. This impacts the kind of effort and commitment you show your team, and as a result, affects the company progress.

Above all else, team players are proud of their teams. Your success, and your sanity, will greatly improve by picking up these simple characteristics.

Five Tips to Help Stay Motivated While Job Hunting

job-search-stay-motivatedKeeping your focus and maintaining a positive attitude is crucial to landing a new opportunity. Yet the average time it takes to find a job has increased to approximately eight months. Maintaining motivation is one of the biggest struggles people face when looking for a job. The rejection, silence, and monotony can take a toll on just about anyone. Do not get discouraged, and down on yourself if you have begun to feel less motivated and more apathetic then when you stated your job search. Here are five simple tips to help you stay motivated while job hunting.

1. Pick a direction that you want to go with your search.
What type of job do you desire? How will you find available opportunities? What groups will you get involved in? Knowing where you want to end up will help you determine how you will get there and cause less stress along the way.

2.Look up Career Role Models
Search for people who have your dream jobs or who work at companies you are interested in. Looking at the various ways people have gotten to where they are now will likely remind you that there is no straight path to success. Now take it one step further, and reach out to a few of these people. Ask them how they got to their desired destination, and any advice they would give.

3.Put your career goals on paper.
Take some time to make a list of all of your dreams. Putting them on paper will entice you to think about what you want to achieve and motivate you to see at least one goal through. Think of it kind of like a to-do list for your career. Seeing things on paper will get you excited to check things off.

4. Know and remember your purpose.
Give your job search a purpose aside from just landing an interview. Give yourself goals to meet to land the interview, such as applying for a specific number of jobs each week, participating in a minimal number of Twitter chats and adding a specific amount of people to your network each week.

5. Believe in yourself.
Like a successful salesperson, you must believe that what you are selling has value. When looking for a job, you’re essentially selling yourself and your experience. Convince yourself that you are selling a quality product — and that by selling the real deal you’re saving a potential employer from buying something substandard. Imagine acting that way in your next interview … and you will.

Remember to stay focused and go easy on yourself. Searching for a job is hard work, and can be physically, mentally, and emotionally draining but will be well-worth all of the hard work and the wait! Hang in there!

Six Superfoods for Spring That Increase Focus

super-foods-for-focusStaying on task and maximizing the level of efficiency can be difficult year round, but as Spring and Summer quickly approach, some of us struggle to maintain that laser-like focus either while job searching, or at our current place of employment. When it comes time to hone in and focus on a project at work, most guys reach for another shot of black coffee to stay sharp throughout the day. As effective as this can be, a better long-term approach is reaching for super foods to keep you at your best. Here is a list of 6 Spring Time superfoods.

1 .Avocado- The monounsaturated fats in avocado help support information-carrying nerves in the brain.

2 .Salmon- With a full load of omega-3 fatty acids, salmon provides the fuel to sustain concentration during long periods of work. The omega-3 fatty acids are the building blocks for increasing brain networking and sharpening cognitive function.

3. Leafy Greens- Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, and collard greens are not only high in antioxidants, but also full of the B vitamin folate. Folate may keep your brain sharp.

4. Blueberries- One cup delivers 14% of your daily fiber, and fiber satiates you. Keeping your hunger level steady is key to maintaining focus.

5. Fruit and Nut Trail Mix- Combining your favorite nuts and fruit creates an ideal combination of nutrients to stabilize energy levels that support quality focus. The fat provides long-term sustainable energy while the fruit offers quick energy. Together, they keep you in the zone.

6. Peanuts- Peanuts offer a one-two punch to fuel focus by providing both fiber and more than 30 essential vitamins and minerals. Among these is vitamin E, considered an antioxidant-containing nutrient to prevent diseases of the brain and central nervous system

Spring is in the air, and staying focused and healthy has never been quite so delicious!