Keppie Careers http://www.keppiecareers.com Social media speaker, social media consultant, job search coach Fri, 10 Apr 2015 10:30:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.7 How your personality can help you land or lose a job http://www.keppiecareers.com/personality-can-help-land-lose-job/ http://www.keppiecareers.com/personality-can-help-land-lose-job/#comments Fri, 10 Apr 2015 10:30:38 +0000 http://www.keppiecareers.com/?p=12227 It’s difficult to find a job if you don’t know what you want to do. Sounds obvious? Have you really focused on your skills and accomplishments and whether they help qualify you for the jobs you seek? One pet peeve of...

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ManWomanShakingHands-6It’s difficult to find a job if you don’t know what you want to do. Sounds obvious? Have you really focused on your skills and accomplishments and whether they help qualify you for the jobs you seek? One pet peeve of recruiters and hiring managers is that job seekers often apply for positions ill-suited to their requirements. Don’t be one of those job seekers. Before applying, take some time to figure out what you want to do – and what you’re good at – and it will be easier to get hiring managers to notice you.

Kerry Schofield, chief psychometrics officer at Good.Co., a self-discovery platform and network serving professionals who are looking for more meaning in their careers, suggests the following reasons why knowing yourself better will improve your job prospects:

1. You’ll narrow down your options. Don’t focus on the most general factors about the job, such as whether it has the right pay grade, prospects and location. These are all important variables to consider, but many positions fit these basic, practical criteria.

Schofield notes: “Self-assessment can help us move beyond these questions to make more informed selections from the possibilities available, based on our individual personality and how it fits with the culture of the organizations we’re considering.” For example, do you prefer a more structured environment with hands-on guidance, or a flexible one where initiative is rewarded? Is it more important to have a supportive, friendly team of co-workers, or the opportunity to work as independently as possible?

Your personality will dictate your answers to these questions. “When you narrow down the options, it allows you to focus on quality over quantity – a smaller number of more tailored applications with a higher probability of success,” Schofield explains.

2. You’ll know yourself better. You may prepare to discuss your strengths and weaknesses at an interview, but how well do you really understand them? “You’ll want to assess any gaps in your skills, but when you look at these from the perspective of your personality and values, you can gain a realistic, genuinely insightful understanding of your true pattern of strengths and weaknesses,” Schofield says. The result? You will appear more sincere, mature and self-aware in applications and interviews. “Everybody has weaknesses; if we can demonstrate that we already recognize ours, and know how to ameliorate or channel them in a positive way, this will come across much better than a half-hearted stock-phrase.”

You will be better prepared for interviews, and when you’re honest about whether you’re a good fit for the job, you’ll have a better chance of landing the interview.

3. You’ll avoid applying for unsuitable jobs. You can be more confident when job searching if you understand what has gone wrong in the past. If you keep missing out on positions that appear to be perfect matches, you’ll want to put your finger on what went wrong.

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“Self-assessment and an understanding of organizational culture and cultural fit can help us recognize the reasons why previous applications or positions may not have worked out,” Schofield says. “This knowledge gives us the tools we need to make changes next time around – we can learn more about the organization’s culture and our fit with it before applying for a job, for example, identify any potential mismatches in personality, goals or values, and plan for how to deal with this at the outset.”

4. You’ll avoid surprises. Companies know the cost of making a poor hiring choice, and they are increasingly trying to identify and parse individual differences and match for cultural fit. While not all companies include a personality assessment as part of the application, it is not unusual for potential and existing employers to expect applicants and current to complete some kind of psychometric test, Schofield says.

If you understand the information and processes involved in psychometric assessments, you’ll have a head start on answering difficult questions and assuage concerns employers might have about your fit. The best way to do this is to take self-assessment tests yourself so you’ll be well-informed and prepared.

5. You’ll improve your communication skills, and be a better candidate. Communication skills are key to qualifying for most jobs, and they’re important when job seeking, too. “From reading between the lines of a job advertisement to presenting oneself effectively in an interview, self-assessment brings awareness of the way in which we naturally prefer to communicate,” Schofield says. “Are you bubbly, energetic and accommodating, or serious, thoughtful and straightforward?”

Understanding others’ communication styles and how they interact with you is just as important as knowing about your own. When you have a firm handle on your own skills, personality and interests as they relate to your job search, you’ll be a better candidate and more likely to land the job when interviewed.

Originally appeared on U.S. News & World Report

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How to get respect at work http://www.keppiecareers.com/get-respect-work/ http://www.keppiecareers.com/get-respect-work/#comments Wed, 08 Apr 2015 05:17:22 +0000 http://www.keppiecareers.com/?p=12239 Ever go to a restaurant and get seated in the very back? The minute you sit down, you realize you’re going to be in for a long night because the waiter always seems to forget you’re there? What if the...

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http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-business-office-workplace-flat-design-style-infographic-computer-monitor-vector-illustration-presentation-booklet-image40921442Ever go to a restaurant and get seated in the very back? The minute you sit down, you realize you’re going to be in for a long night because the waiter always seems to forget you’re there? What if the same thing happens at work and you get seated in the equivalent of “kids’ table.” In that case, you wind up with a lot worse than cold soup and an empty drinking glass: you could be passed over for opportunities that could improve your career.

There are a lot of reasons why people seem to be “out of sight, out of mind” at work. While a poor cubicle or office location can be an obvious way to marginalize someone, other situations also contribute to many talented people being left out in the cold. For example, if you telecommute, or if you absent yourself from staff social and networking events, it is easy for others to forget you when the time comes to pass out the plum projects.

How can you keep the spotlight on your accomplishments and potential if you drew a poor seat or aren’t in the office regularly?

Keep these tips in mind for various situations if you want to take charge of your career:

You telecommute

If you never see your colleagues in person, don’t be surprised when they forget about you! Use technology to keep in touch. Between email, IM, texting, phone calls and even video or Skype meetings, you can make it seem like you’re right next door, instead of two or three states away. When you don’t have true “face time” with the boss or your team, the onus is even more on you to stay engaged via FaceTime or another technology tool. No matter how busy you are, schedule regular opportunities to touch base to update your boss on your projects and to discuss plans for the future. If you fly under the radar, it’s your own fault.

You’re an introvert

Not everyone likes to attend in-person networking events or happy hours. Regardless of your preference, in some office environments, it’s clear that being engaged personally with colleagues and supervisors is key to success. Do your best to participate in staff get-togethers as often as possible, and consider offering to arrange opportunities to socialize that are more conducive to your preferences. For example, if every staff networking event is at the corner tavern and you don’t drink, think of more palatable alternatives.

Set up a co-ed staff soccer or softball league, a viewing party for a television program everyone enjoys or a book club. While these may still take you out of your comfort zone, at least you’ll have some say about the event if you are planning it, so it should be a little easier to manage. If the result is a great, casual conversation with your boss (or the boss’s boss) that lands you a great gig, it will have been worth it.

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No one knows you outside the office

Maybe you got stuck in a cubicle in the back corner because no one likes you at work. It’s time to expand your network and start impressing people outside of your office with your accomplishments and savvy. Turn to social media to meet people who don’t work with you. Find like-minded colleagues around the city, state, country and globe and exchange messages, insights and ideas. Post links to demonstrate you have your finger on the pulse of your industry. If you play your cards well, you could have some new job offers or invitations to apply for new opportunities without even officially seeking a new job.

Another way to get some respect if you don’t have it at work is to join your professional organization and begin to volunteer. Every organization needs and values its volunteers and leaders, so this is a great way to grow the number of people who know and like you and may be willing to refer you to a better opportunity than the one you have.

It’s up to you

Don’t take a poor situation at work sitting down. Be the squeaky wheel and let superiors know how you’re contributing, even if it is from around the globe or from the back cubicle.

Originally appeared on AOlJobs.com.

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How to handle nightmare interviews http://www.keppiecareers.com/handle-nightmare-interviews/ http://www.keppiecareers.com/handle-nightmare-interviews/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 10:30:59 +0000 http://www.keppiecareers.com/?p=12314 Are you afraid of nightmare interviews? These come in all shapes and sizes. Maybe your interviewer grills you for hours and hours or expects you to sit through five or six rounds of interviews with team after team. Or maybe your interviewer...

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treesAre you afraid of nightmare interviews? These come in all shapes and sizes. Maybe your interviewer grills you for hours and hours or expects you to sit through five or six rounds of interviews with team after team. Or maybe your interviewer doesn’t crack a smile or provide any nonverbal feedback the entire time. Some job seekers have gone to interviews only to be kept waiting for hours to meet the potential employer.

A common (and perhaps not unfounded) fear among job seekers is the seemingly bizarre interview question that comes out of nowhere like an apparition.

For example, what if the interviewer asked: “What would you do in the event of a zombie apocalypse?” Instead of stiffening like a zombie and bemoaning all the “normal” interview questions you prepared to answer, think about the reason for the question. Ashley Morris, CEO of Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop explains why interviewers may ask this question and what they’re looking for when they ask it:

“This question is great, because it tends to reveal a lot about the candidate without them even knowing what they are revealing. Based on their response, we can infer whether they perform well under pressure and think quickly on their feet, whether they are a planner, what their priorities are and, most importantly, whether or not they had fun with the question. The last point is invaluable. The way they respond, not necessarily their verbatim response, is what indicates a fit (or not) with our own company culture – something we value highly.”

Norwegian Cruise Line is known to ask those applying for marketing coordinator positions: “Do you believe in Bigfoot?” And what if the interviewer asked you: “Would you rather fight one giant monster or 100 small monsters?” Consider CEO of Konnect Public Relations, Sabina Gault’s, reasoning behind this scary question:

“We use this question to gauge how candidates tackle obstacles and tasks. If they say they would rather fight one giant monster, we figure they are better suited to take on bigger projects. If they choose 100 small monsters, this usually means the candidate is good at multitasking and taking on many tasks at the same time. More than anything, we really are looking to see if the candidate has the ability to think outside of the box and on their toes. There really isn’t a right or wrong answer; we are really looking more at the candidate’s reaction to the question.”

Keep these key facts in mind when formulating answers to interview questions that seem off the wall. Interviewers want to know:

Are you comfortable asking questions, and can you think critically? Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification regarding the question. For example, Joe DeProspero, vice president of finance at Dave & Buster’s, explains that the company values a candidate who understands how to probe critically and get at the root of the specifics of such a question.

He notes how these questions help the company, “see if someone can think critically, whether they are comfortable enough to ask probing questions and if they can think on their feet. During the hiring process, I am looking for candidates who ask important follow-up questions to my question, such as ‘Why would you want to know this?’”

DeProspero also explains: “Often times, in finance, what someone asks for is not necessarily what they need. by asking questions, we can help them to better understand if we recognize the underlying issue. Above all, I look for a candidate’s eagerness to answer the question, as this is the way they will approach every task given to them on the job.”

If you need to reply to a brain teaser: It’s OK to stop and think before you answer. It’s also fine to ask for clarification if there are any details you don’t understand. The interviewer is trying to learn how you would act as an employee. Try to answer the question in a way that showcases the skills you have for the job. If the position is mathematical, use math skills. If demonstrating your creative side is more important, go that route.

When you’re prepared and know what to expect, your interview doesn’t have to be as scary as a scene from “The Shining.”

Originally appeared on U.S. News & World Report.

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How to learn new career skills http://www.keppiecareers.com/learn-new-career-skills/ http://www.keppiecareers.com/learn-new-career-skills/#comments Fri, 03 Apr 2015 10:30:03 +0000 http://www.keppiecareers.com/?p=12412 Is it time to think about your next career move? Perhaps you’ll want to add to your arsenal of skills before you seek your next job. Lucky for you, resolving to add some professional development to your schedule doesn’t mean you need...

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http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-skills-word-sphere-ball-required-experience-job-career-to-illustrate-many-different-skillsets-knowledge-training-image35557201Is it time to think about your next career move? Perhaps you’ll want to add to your arsenal of skills before you seek your next job. Lucky for you, resolving to add some professional development to your schedule doesn’t mean you need to factor in extra commuting time to take a class, adjust your schedule or add a new line item in your budget. There are many free educational content providers out there, from Duolingo to Coursera to Codecademy. If you’re motivated, you can download content to your phone, and learn for 20 minutes during your commute, on the treadmill or before you go to bed at night.

Choose one of these four career-driven goals:

1. Learn a new language. In 2010, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said only 18 percent of Americans claim to speak a language other than English. When you can add a new language to your résumé, you demonstrate initiative and cultural competence, and you distinguish yourself from other candidates.

  • Duolingo (Duolingo.com): Choose one of nine European languages, and learn for free from this crowdsourced platform.
  •  Chinese for Beginners (Coursera.org): Want to learn a non-European language? Try this on-demand course from Peking University. The instructor teaches the language phonetically, so users can easily master daily expressions and basic conversations.

2. Brush up on your business and marketing skills. In a 2014 joint study by Duke University and RTI International, 73 percent of employers said they would appreciate job candidates who completed an applicable Massive Open Online Course, otherwise known as MOOC. Impress your future employer by taking initiative to learn the basics of business finance, content marketing or even entrepreneurship.

  •  Introduction to Finance (Coursera.org): This course from University of Michigan will teach the frameworks and tools to measure value. It will help you be a better decision maker in both your personal life and in your business.
  •  Content Strategy for Professionals (Coursera.org): Want to learn to develop better content to engage audiences? Or do you want to brush up on your current skill set and virtually meet other content professionals? This free course from Northwestern University will help you improve the written, graphic and video content you produce.

3. Learn to code. Here’s a New Year’s resolution for the aspiring techies out there. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects more than 200,000 job openings for software developers between 2012 and 2022. The median salary for these professionals? $96,660. If you were ever considering becoming a developer, now is the time to act.

  •  Codecademy (Codecademy.com): This free site teaches coding classes in six programming languages, including Python, PHP, jQuery, Javascript and Ruby. Learn the basics of coding, or brush up on your skills before an interview.
  •  Programming for Everybody (Coursera.org): If you prefer to take courses from official universities, try this offering from the University of Michigan. It has no prerequisites and “avoids all but the simplest mathematics,” meaning it should be easy for anyone with basic computer skills.

4. Become a Data Scientist. Data science is quickly becoming a high-demand field. A 2011 McKinsey Global Institute report estimates that by 2018, “the United States alone could face a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts with the know-how to use the analysis of big data to make effective decisions.” This is the perfect time to start building data science skills.

  •  Data Science (Coursera.org): This “specialization,” or group of courses from Johns Hopkins University, offers users the chance to learn the basics of data science, including R Programming, data analysis, research, regression models and even machine learning. Take all these courses to get a solid foundation, or try out just one to learn a specific skill. The courses are offered for free, or you can get a certificate verifying your identity starting at $29 per course.

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  •  Intro to Data Science (Udacity.com): This series of lectures and instructional material, taught by a data scientist at Airbnb, also teaches the basics of the field. You can watch instructor videos for free or enroll in the course for $199 per month to get coaching and project experience.

Appeared on U.S. News & World Report.

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How to deal with 5 types of bosses http://www.keppiecareers.com/deal-5-types-bosses/ http://www.keppiecareers.com/deal-5-types-bosses/#comments Wed, 01 Apr 2015 10:30:12 +0000 http://www.keppiecareers.com/?p=12312 Most people would agree that a boss could help make or break a job. A great boss can make even the most mundane job seem more worthwhile, and a terrible boss can create a toxic work environment and ruin an otherwise perfect...

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Screen Shot 2014-07-03 at 10.19.37 PMMost people would agree that a boss could help make or break a job. A great boss can make even the most mundane job seem more worthwhile, and a terrible boss can create a toxic work environment and ruin an otherwise perfect career opportunity. In fact, it’s often said people don’t leave jobs; they leave bosses.

Tom Gimbel, founder and CEO of LaSalle Network, a Chicago-based staffing and recruiting firm, notes that there are many different types of supervisors. He categorizes them as: “the narcissist, the friend, the buzzword boss, the cheapskate and the uncaring.”  Perhaps you think your boss is a clown! No matter what you think of your boss, consider the following advice to help manage it.

The narcissistic boss. “This manager makes everything about them. Everything is about their schedule and about how senior leadership views them,” Gimbel says. How can you adjust if you have a self-centered boss? Gimbel suggests you try to focus on what you are passionate about at work and see where there is overlap between that passion and what appeals to your boss. “If the boss wants to be the star, then do the work and execute, because when that boss is promoted, the employee will be brought along for the ride,” he explains.

If you can keep your own ego in check, you may be able to access new opportunities. Another typical scenario with the narcissist: He or she will delegate work but won’t get into the trenches to understand all the intricacies. This could provide opportunities for you to be invited to speak to an executive team if you’re the subject matter expert on a topic. Instead of being frustrated, take advantage of the opportunity to shine whenever possible.

The “I’m your friend” boss. This is common in workplaces where people are promoted from within and wind up supervising their previous colleagues. These bosses still want to be included in lunches out and happy hours and may even already be your Facebook friend. Gimbel suggests that these managers may worry more about being liked than about getting results. Be careful when this happens, as this scenario could negatively affect your career.

Speak up if you’re concerned. If you don’t, you may find your career stagnating as your new boss tries to be your friend and not your mentor. Explain that you want to be held accountable for your results and understand what’s necessary to do in order to succeed.

The buzzword boss. We’ve all had managers who seem to spout nothing but cliches. For example, they consistently use terms, such as “synergies,” “symbiosis of relationships,” ” win-win situation” and others. This language seems to replace real action or activity on the boss’s part. If your assignment or goal is lost in translation, Gimbel suggests you ask for clarification. “Come to each meeting with questions requiring direct answers,” he says. “Don’t be offensive and cut the boss short, but be sure you walk out of each meeting understanding exactly what is expected.”

The cost-conscious boss. This overly frugal boss looks at every penny people spend. This can go as far as asking employees why they’re using new notepads when they can use scrap paper. “This type of boss is the easiest to manage. It’s easy to identify the issue,” Gimbel says. “Play within their rules. Don’t purchase new stationary or extra staples. Skimp. With all the lunacy out there, a cheap boss isn’t all that bad.” Plus, with a cost-conscious boss, you know the way to his or her heart. Save money, however small the amount, and you could be a big winner.

The uncaring boss. Even in a time when work culture and caring about employees seems in vogue, you still hear stories about insensitive bosses. These are the bosses who don’t seem to care whether or not an employee’s family member is having surgery or passes away and who don’t understand pressures from outside work.

“The key here is to kill this type of boss with kindness. Be compassionate and show you care about what’s going on in his or her life,” Gimbel says. Perhaps “killing with kindness” will help. If not, it may be time to look for a new job with a different organizational culture.

If you’re dealing with a difficult boss, at least you’re learning how not to manage people when you have the opportunity. Use these tips to turn the situation to your advantage, and you won’t miss a single career step.

Originally appeared on U.S. News & World Reports.

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How to succeed with your career http://www.keppiecareers.com/succeed-career/ http://www.keppiecareers.com/succeed-career/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 10:30:04 +0000 http://www.keppiecareers.com/?p=12414 Do you have specific career goals? The beginning of a new year is a good time to evaluate your plans to set targets so you’re more likely to accomplish them. However, even if you have ambitious goals and plans, you should...

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http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-future-action-thinking-actions-regarding-life-career-image39521718Do you have specific career goals? The beginning of a new year is a good time to evaluate your plans to set targets so you’re more likely to accomplish them. However, even if you have ambitious goals and plans, you should view your career as a marathon and not a sprint.

Business is constantly changing, as are the requirements to succeed in any given field. Sesha Dhanyamraju, CEO and managing partner of Digital Risk LLC, suggests the following tips to help you succeed with your career for the long run.

Identify your personal assets. Dhanyamraju notes, “Highly effective leaders and employees spend a lot of time and energy understanding themselves, their own strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes.” He suggests asking yourself simple questions such as:

  • What do I like to do and why?
  • What are my strengths and weaknesses as they relate to work?
  • What opportunities and challenges have gotten the best and worst of me in the past?
  • What goals do I have for the next five years, three years, next quarter and next month, and how does what I am doing today help me realize those goals?

Once you assess your challenges, strengths and weaknesses, you’ll be able to play to your strengths. Consider these tips to help you succeed.

Assess what you need to learn to achieve your goals. Again, change is the most reliable constant. If you’ve been in your field for many years, you’re likely missing some key competencies that less-experienced professionals in your industry take for granted. Don’t let this hold you back. Dhanyamraju suggests you ask yourself, “What new skills did I learn in the past year, past quarter, yesterday and today that I can immediately apply for the betterment of self, family, organization and community?”

Determine how you can match your success to your company’s plans. It will be easiest for you to accomplish your goals if they are in line with those of your boss and the organization at large. Dhanyamraju recommends that you “align yourself to helping make the organization’s stakeholders, including investors, customers, employees [and] community, successful.” When you do, you have a better chance of getting rewarded, and people are less likely to be concerned that you are pushing your own agenda. For example, push yourself to take several problems off your boss’s plate. You’ll be a hero, and hopefully move your career forward when you are successful.

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Learn to say “no” while you keep your career moving forward. In most cases, it is best to be upfront about the priorities on your plate and let your boss know if you don’t have the bandwidth for a new project. “It enhances your credibility and, in many cases, your boss may be able to take conflicting priorities from your to-do list. Being honest about your capacity could help remove the constraint and free you to take on new tasks or learn new skills,” Dhanyamraju explains.

Take steps to be happy in, and outside of, work. When you take a long view on your career, you don’t want to burn out on the way to accomplishing your goal because you failed to keep a perspective on what you really want from your career. Dhanyamraju suggests you choose a hobby and spend quality time outside of work on something relaxing. He notes, “Some people find yoga, meditation, reading, gardening, spending time with pets, painting, cooking, music, community service and sports and exercise to be excellent avenues for them to recharge.” You also want to build your support system of people you can count on for mentorship and just for listening to you at the end of a long day. Don’t neglect your personal and professional friendships.

Even though you’re in a hurry to move on to the next thing, when you take a long view on your career – when you look at the big picture – you give yourself the time to focus on what you can gain from your current opportunity, and you’re more likely to be successful in the long run.

Appeared on U.S. News & World Reports.

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5 tips to achieve work-life balance http://www.keppiecareers.com/5-tips-achieve-work-life-balance/ http://www.keppiecareers.com/5-tips-achieve-work-life-balance/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 10:30:59 +0000 http://www.keppiecareers.com/?p=12418 Work-life balance is a topic on the minds of many professionals and job seekers. WorkplaceTrends.com, a research and advisory membership service for forward-thinking human resources professionals, and CareerArc, a global recruitment and outplacement firm, recently announced the results of the...

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Resolution - better time managementWork-life balance is a topic on the minds of many professionals and job seekers. WorkplaceTrends.com, a research and advisory membership service for forward-thinking human resources professionals, and CareerArc, a global recruitment and outplacement firm, recently announced the results of the 2015 Workplace Flexibility Study. They surveyed 1,087 professionals nationally, both employed and unemployed, and 116 HR professionals.

Interestingly, 67 percent of human resources professionals think their employees have a balanced work life, yet 45 percent of employees believe they don’t have enough time each week to handle their personal business. Plus, 20 percent of employees surveyed spend more than 20 hours per week working during their own time.

Yair Riemer, chief marketing officer of CareerArc, suggests the following tips to help employees achieve work-life balance while reducing stress and increasing productivity.

1. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize. “Prioritization is the key to success and is a lesson that can be applied across a wide variety of industries – not just startups where product and engineering teams often prioritize tasks weekly,” Riemer says. When you identify the most important items on your to-do list, it’s easier to know where to start and when you can finish for the day or week. Prioritization helps you focus on what is really important and decreases unnecessary stress that comes with an urgent focus on less timely or unimportant tasks.

It’s a good idea to touch base with your supervisor if you have multiple projects and need help deciding which one is most important.

2. Be proactive – not reactive. “When you’re reactive, you lose touch with what’s really important,” Riemer says. “And thus, you fail to operate at peak capacity, causing stress.” When you take the time and effort to plan ahead and anticipate what your colleagues or managers may request, you’ll be better prepared to juggle multiple tasks and schedule your time. “With your schedule planned, you can attack those tasks proactively, rather than waiting for external inputs to land on your desk, increasing your stress levels and leaving you overwhelmed,” he says. Hopefully, this will prevent you from bringing a lot of work home on a regular basis.

3. Use your vacation. The average American takes only about half their paid time off per year. “That’s not enough time to recharge,” Riemer says.

Plus, studies show that many workers don’t disconnect from work, even when they’re on vacation. They are still glued to their devices and screens to check work email and keep up with colleagues. Riemer believes taking a vacation and truly disconnecting is key to recharging and getting re-energized once back at the office.

4. Trust in your peers. “The best managers trust their employees, and the best employees have trust in their company’s leadership,” Riemer says. “If you believe in your colleagues – in their intellect, in their work ethic, in their skill set – then share the load.” Even if you believe you have to do everything yourself, it’s unlikely you’re expected to carry the entire burden at the expense of all of your personal time.

If you work with a team, be sure to collaborate on projects, and don’t own tasks for the sake of ownership. “You may be a Type A perfectionist or love control, but winning organizations are made up of teammates, not individuals,” he says. “Your work-life balance will improve significantly with a little bit of help from your friends.”

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5. Exercise. Don’t put off taking care of yourself. You don’t need a gym membership or fancy equipment to exercise. Even a brisk walk in the morning or at lunchtime can be invigorating and help clear your mind. “Research shows regular exercise helps keep you clear-headed, which improves control of work-life balance, reduces stress and increases self-efficacy,” Riemer says.

The 2015 Workplace Flexibility Study found that 75 percent of employees ranked workplace flexibility as their top desired benefit. Whether or not your employer is actively seeking ways to enhance your flexibility, use these steps to protect your personal time and to make an effort to tip the balance in your work-life hours.

Appeared on U.S. News & World Report.

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April Fool’s pranks for work http://www.keppiecareers.com/april-fools-pranks-work/ http://www.keppiecareers.com/april-fools-pranks-work/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 10:30:55 +0000 http://www.keppiecareers.com/?p=11964 Are you already plotting and planning your workplace April Fool’s Day pranks? Or, are you the butt of the jokes – the one always on the receiving end of every prankster with an idea? If you’re considering pulling a big...

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file7811297827424Are you already plotting and planning your workplace April Fool’s Day pranks? Or, are you the butt of the jokes – the one always on the receiving end of every prankster with an idea?

If you’re considering pulling a big prank at work, you may want to think twice. A national survey by a recruitment firm found 68% of advertising and marketing executives think April Fools’ pranks are inappropriate for the workplace. While under the guise of “team building,” certain pranks cause more harm than good. Even if your corporate or office culture embraces jokes, be aware that a misstep, even if intended all in fun, can mean you’re looking for a new job if someone takes it the wrong way, or if things go too far.

How can you evaluate a workplace prank?

Don’t be a bully. 

Every office has a few known misfits – people who don’t seem to mesh with the rest of the crowd. Choosing these teammates to be on the receiving end of your prank isn’t funny, it’s mean spirited and potentially cruel. Picking on someone known to be an outsider puts you on the same level of the grade-school bully who takes lunches from weaker kids on the bus.

Resist the urge to do anything that could cause permanent harm.

While changing a meeting time on someone’s calendar to cause them to miss an appointment may seem casual or harmless, if the event was important, the prank may escalate from mirthful to consequential very quickly.

Avoid gags that could be considered offensive. 

Stay away from anything that could be interpreted as targeted at any group or could be considered harassment. Making fun of people based on their race, religion or sexual orientation is never appropriate. Anything sexual in nature at all (a stripper, for example) is crossing the line in the office and could result in harassment charges.

Know your audience. 

If your target is the one who normally plans office pranks, and gags are common in your workplace, you’re less likely to be met with resistance, and your prank may be well received. If you work in a place where fun comes first, a well-played practical joke may be a welcome distraction. On the other hand, if it’s a buttoned-up work environment or clients frequent the office, you may want to think twice (or three times) before breaking the company’s culture with an April Fool’s joke.

Consider social media’s potential to extend – or ruin – your harmless prank. 

Maybe making your boss look a little silly won’t get you fired (if you’re lucky). However, making your boss look silly, filming it and posting it on the company’s YouTube channel or Twitter feed may very well result in termination. Be aware of the ramifications of what you do and how a single photo posted on Facebook can affect someone’s career.

“Safer” work gags.

There’s no dearth of ideas online for practical jokes at work. If you must break the monotony at work and have considered your plans in the context of advice to evaluate a workplace prank, choose something that won’t hurt anyone’s feelings and that leaves everyone involved thinking, “That was funny.”

Here are a few April Fool’s Day pranks unlikely to hurt anyone, but proceed at your own risk. 

  • Mashable suggested arranging for co-workers to each bring in several changes of clothing, and to update their outfits throughout the day. While it could make a very tired co-worker think he is going crazy, it’s unlikely to cause any real harm.
  • Put “Out of Order” signs on bathroom doors or on other “important” devices, such as the coffee pot or microwave.
  • Foil” or “wrap” someone’s office. Before you start, be sure he or she doesn’t have an important meeting first thing in the morning, and then cover everything in the office.
  • The old “fill the drawers” trick. Ping pong balls in every drawer will be inconvenient, but is unlikely to cause any real damage.
  • Balloon an office. It can be a challenge to fill an office with balloons, and clean up may be a pain, but it can be a fun –- and colorful –- prank to spice up the day.

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If you do choose to proceed with a prank, make sure to be careful and keep the end goal in mind. You want everyone remembering the prank as being fun and clever, not nasty and mean spirited.

Originally appeared on AOLJobs.com.

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Never say these things in interviews http://www.keppiecareers.com/never-say-things-interviews/ http://www.keppiecareers.com/never-say-things-interviews/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 10:30:05 +0000 http://www.keppiecareers.com/?p=12431 Interviews are probably the most challenging part of the job search process. You need to be ready for anything, including weird interview questions. You don’t want to blurt out something inappropriate and send all of your hard work down the toilet....

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http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-job-interview-sticky-notes-image28983875Interviews are probably the most challenging part of the job search process. You need to be ready for anything, including weird interview questions. You don’t want to blurt out something inappropriate and send all of your hard work down the toilet. Avoid these inappropriate comments during your interview:

1. I’m really nervous. There’s nothing wrong with feeling nervous. It’s natural to be a little uneasy at an important interview. Don’t tell the interviewer if you have butterflies in your stomach, though. Your job in the interview is to portray a confident and professional demeanor. You won’t win any points by admitting your nerves or blaming them for any failures in your performance.

2. I don’t really know much about the job; I thought you’d tell me all about it. This is a big job seeker mistake, and it can cost you the opportunity. Employers spend a lot of time interviewing, and they expect candidates to have researched the jobs enough to be able to explain why they want the positions. Otherwise, you could be wasting everyone’s time by interviewing for a job you may not even really want. Asking questions is important, but don’t ask anything you should know from the job description or from reading about the company online.

3. My last boss/colleague/client was a real jerk. It’s possible (even likely) that your interviewer could prod you into telling tales about your previous or current supervisor or work environment. Resist the urge to badmouth anyone, even if you have a bad boss. It is unprofessional and the employer will worry what you may say to someone about him or her down the road. Instead, think about ways to describe past work environments in terms of what you learned or accomplishments you’re proud to discuss.

4. My biggest weakness is (something directly related to the job). ”What’s your weakness?” is one of the most dreaded interview questions. There’s no perfect reply, but there is a reply you should never say: Never admit to a weakness that will affect your ability to get the job done. If the job description requires a lot of creativity, and you say your creativity has waned lately, assume that you’ve taken yourself out of the running. Choose a weakness not related to the position and explain how you’re working to improve it.

5. @#$%! Granted, profanity seems to be much more accepted in many workplaces today. However, an interview is not the time to demonstrate that you can talk like a pirate.

6. Just a minute; I really need to get this call. It’s amazing how many hiring managers and recruiters report that interviewees answer their phones and respond to text messages during in-person interviews. Turn off your phone during interviews and you will not be tempted to reach to answer it.

7. How much vacation time would I get? Never, ever ask questions in an interview that may make it appear that you’ll be overly focused on anything other than work.

8. Can I work from home? Even if you’re pretty sure the company has a lenient work-from-home policy, the interview isn’t the best time to ask about it.

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9. Family is the most important thing to me. This is true for many people. However, you do not need to explain how devoted you are to your family during your job interview. It is unlikely to win favor, even in organizations with a well-known family-friendly environment. You want your potential employer to envision you being totally devoted to his or her needs.

When in doubt, pause before you say what’s on your mind. If you wonder if it’s okay to ask, assume it’s better to avoid the topic altogether.

Appeared on AOLjobs.com.

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How social media can help you get a job http://www.keppiecareers.com/social-media-can-help-get-job/ http://www.keppiecareers.com/social-media-can-help-get-job/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 10:30:31 +0000 http://www.keppiecareers.com/?p=12424 In light of research released from Jobvite regarding how employers are using social media tools to source and hire candidates, I thought it would be helpful to provide ideas and insight about how to use the data from the survey directly from...

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http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-people-social-networking-computer-network-concepts-image41603635In light of research released from Jobvite regarding how employers are using social media tools to source and hire candidates, I thought it would be helpful to provide ideas and insight about how to use the data from the survey directly from a recruiter.

Jackie Hydock is Director, Global Recruiting at App Annie. The organization taps social media tools to recruit, and she made the following suggestions regarding how job seekers can use social media effectively:

Survey data say recruiters appreciate when candidates post content on their own social media sites, but what about what they should post on employer sites? Do candidates ever post on App Annie’s social media pages? If so, what are some things you appreciate seeing or take as a positive sign?

Jackie: Yes. We have created our own recruitment social media pages outside of our corporate social media sites. The corporate sites serve to share our mobile insights reports, corporate news and showcase how we are revolutionizing the mobile analytics space. Our recruitment social media sites focus on the App Annie culture to give followers an inside view of what it’s like to be a part of the team and offer tips on how to become an “App Annier.” We also use our recruitment social sites to highlight open job positions.

We love gaining new candidate followers and appreciate it when followers like, comment, retweet or favorite our #lifeatappannie and App Annie Instagram posts. A couple of candidates have tweeted that they sent in their application to App Annie and couldn’t wait to hear from us! It’s also exciting when followers retweet or favorite specific job openings. Engaging with us through our social media channels is a great way to stand out among the applicant pool. It shows us that candidates have taken the time to learn more about our company’s cultures, values and beliefs, which is an integral part of our recruiting process. If a candidate is already a user of our App Annie products and broadcasts that on social media — that’s another major plus in our eyes.

What kinds of social media engagement do you appreciate seeing? For example, do you appreciate if a candidate follows you, likes a post, makes a comment, etc.

Jackie: Any attention a candidate gives to our corporate or recruiting social sites makes us feel like they are eager to stay connected and that they want to engage with us. We appreciate the candidates who take time to follow us, whether they are interested in working with us today or just hoping to keep us in mind for the future. If a candidate goes the extra mile to share a job opening with their network, it is a great sign that they would be a positive addition to our growing team. It is our commitment to our followers to keep our feeds interesting and filled with fun and unique App Annie content.

What do you like to see on candidates’ social media profiles? When you look on a candidate’s LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook page, what are some things that impress you or make you think favorably of a candidate?

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Jackie: We like to see responsible photos and content from people who take their personal brand image and work seriously. Our recruiting team uses LinkedIn heavily and we believe that it is the best place to judge candidates on who they are and what they’ve done in a public forum. We understand that Facebook and Instagram profiles are typically more personal profiles and we are less likely to take those posts and pictures under consideration.

What we are looking for is good judgment. As we recruit, we keep in mind that every App Annie employee is also an App Annie brand ambassador, and we want to make sure our team is made up of those who will reflect our company in the most positive light everywhere – whether they’re on the conference show floor or in the gym. We don’t invest a lot of time in doing heavy social checks on the more personal social media channels, but rely on more formal background checks to assess a candidate’s ultimate eligibility.

Appeared on AOLJobs.com.

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