Workplace Presence

With the economy in turmoil and many people scrambling to find adequate work, it is important to make a good impression at work. If you are lucky enough to have a good job, you must maintain this persona.

If you are new on the job figure out the work etiquette. Is it ok to use your cell phone? If so, when and where can you use it? Know the dress code and when it is acceptable to deviate from it. Abiding by these said, and often unsaid, rules will help you find your niche within the job.

Personality is goes a long way and if you are easy to get along with, then it is just that much harder to fire you. Make sure your boss likes you. You don’t have to change your personality, but if you know that your boss really doesn’t like some personality trait you possess adjust that one thing just for the workplace. Start off slow and gradually incorporate your personality as you get to know your boss and co-workers. You don’t want your boss to make up a legitimate legal reason to fire you simply because your personalities clash.

Once you know you are on your boss’ good side, make sure you are actually listening to him/her. When he/she gives you directions, suggestions etc., acknowledge this. Do so by being enthusiastic about your job. While coming on too strong, or flaunting all your knowledge right from the beginning might not be a good idea, you should show that you understand the work you do and provide ideas and suggestions when appropriate.

Instead of simply agreeing with everything told to you, let your boss know if you have a better plan or idea that you feel would be an improvement. This is the perfect way to showcase your knowledge about your work. While you might not want to admit it, initially you are there to make your boss look good. Know how your boss operates and fill in where he/she doesn’t quite cover it.

Don’t be a suck up, but do be involved. When you first start a job, ask many questions. Provide extra information when asked until you are sure of the level of communication that your boss desires. Make sure you promptly follow up all correspondence and be detail-oriented in doing so.

You want to stand out at work, but in a good way. Developing a reputation for being a good, productive and diligent worker is much better than being recalled as a whiny and demanding employee. Consider helping co-workers out or taking on additional tasks. Be nice and develop good, constructive relationships with colleagues. This way you become the go-to person and then your name is associated with positive attributes.

First impressions are everything. If you get off on the right foot, then you can very well be off to a great career.


Mend Your Giant Job Ego

Most of us identify ourselves with our job title right? People ask “what do you do?” and you can mark your place on the social scale and corporate ladder by telling people how important you are. And how big your ego is. Today many people rarely identify themselves with their other qualities and roles they play in life other than their job title. You can be a mom, dad, sister, friend, or mentor but people only seem to think highly of your glorified job title.

So what happens if you lose your job? Your position went down the drain and so did your worth. Not true. Even if you lost your job and the title of Senior Vice President you still have the same qualities, capabilities, humor, talents, and compassion that you had before. You can still have power and a sense of accomplishment even if you aren’t linked up to a pompous job title. You need to start looking at who you are as a person and not how your ego and status at work define you.

You have to understand that your self worth is more than the money you make. Your ego isn’t linked hand in hand with your position in the working world. You have to look at the qualities that contribute to who you are; the qualities that make you a good friend, a partner, a parent, or a caregiver. The point is that there are underlying qualities to boost your ego that don’t have to relate to your job title and the money you make. Identify who you are as a person, how you are unique, why people like you, and how you make people laugh. Those characteristics will outlast your career. A title is just a title; it doesn’t define you as a person.

The Four Resume No-No’s

You know your resume better be brilliant because that flimsy sheet of paper is going to decide your employment fate. People have so many errors on their resumes nowadays that it is blinding. Most employers aren’t going to waste their time looking at a piece of paper with such elementary mistakes. There are four glaring resume errors that we need to discuss to save you the humiliation and job rejection that happens to hopeful job seekers on a daily basis.

Take out the irrelevant information. Seriously. No offense, but no one cares that you had the best smile on your dance team or that you baked the best brownies in home economics. Employers want to see information about your skills and how you can be an asset to their company. If you happen to come along with some great baking skills then they lucked out. Show employers that you are good at communicating and delivering what they want to see.

If you are going to take the time to rack your brain remembering years worth of experience, then take the time to make your resume presentable. I don’t mean putting it on pink paper and spraying it with perfume in a Legally Blonde Elle Woods manner, but take some time to format it. Make sure the font is the same throughout the page, the spacing is appropriate, and everything is legible without smushing all the content together. Bottom line – don’t be lazy!

This next no-no should be obvious: don’t be boring. If you were a secretary don’t say “I did administrative work”. Wow, really? We all know what secretaries do. But how did you stand out? How are you different? Have vibrant explanations that an employer will remember. Next you need to remember your focus. Center in on the job you are applying for and shine the spotlight on your accomplishments that relate to the job.

Finally, don’t have large chunks of text cluttering the paper. It is much easier for an employer to quickly scan your accomplishments then try and read large paragraphs of text. Keep your resume clean, simple and employer friendly. Just remember that you are writing a resume, not a novel.

Going Out With a Bang

Quitting Your Job the Way You Want…and What it Might Cost You

You hate your job – the pay, coworkers, the hours and especially your boss. Every day, as the boss piles more busy work on your desk and asks you to stay late, quitting is on your mind. A letter of resignation seems so inadequate, though, in light of the miserable years you’ve spent at the company. In a perfect world, you think, there would be a better way. Your fantasy, my friend, is shared by many but carried out by few.

Standing up from the rock-hard office chair you’ve had for five years (because they are too cheap to get you a new one) you walk calmly to the boss’ office. Carrying that pointless report you were commissioned to do – the one that will never see the light of day – you enter his office to find him on an important phone call. His expression turns to confusion and then shock, as you grab a pair of scissors from his desk and cut the line. Just for effect, you may want to cut his expensive tie, too.

The thousand-page report lands with a thwack! on his desk. You say something to the effect of “I quit!” Elaborate on exactly why you’ve decided to leave. Do this loudly so the whole office can hear. Then, you turn your attention to the precious golf clubs he uses to perfect his game each afternoon while everyone else is working. You grab a nine iron, or maybe a driver, and destroy each expensive crystal, gold or glass item in the room. He will get more useless clutter next Christmas from anyone desperate to keep their job.

Running out of the office and between the desks of your coworkers, you gather your personal things and sweep every paper from your desk. Hopefully, security is here by now – that always makes things more interesting. You take one final bow before the elevator doors close, and you might even squeeze in one more audible profanity.

Stop right there! Before this gets out of hand, snap out of it and get back to reality. Almost no one gets to turn this fantasy into a reality. Why?

For one thing, you need a new job. Hating your job, unfortunately, is not an excuse to quit without having something else lined up. The satisfaction from the scene you made earlier, while it feels good, will not pay bills.

So, once you’ve gotten a new job, is it safe to have an outburst? Well, that all depends. You may need that reference in the future and it is always best to stay on good terms. The issues at your old job aren’t your problem anymore, so it may be best to just let it go.

If you absolutely must live out your fantasy, then go for it. Just tone it down a bit. Yelling at your soon-to-be-former boss is one thing — leave the golf clubs out of it. You can prove a point without getting arrested for vandalism and assault.

The bottom line is that no quitting fantasy is practical. Few people ever get to experience what it’s like to say exactly what they think at exactly the right moment. Many people simply believe that living well is the best revenge. Try just being happy at your new job and take solace in remembering how much worse it was.

The Attack of the Mid-Life Crisis

Are you in your 40’s and tired, bored and sick of the daily grind? Is it that time in your life when you have the frightening thought of staying with your job or doing something totally daring and spontaneous in your life? Well we are all going to get to that point eventually. Let me tell you something – change isn’t a bad thing! After sitting in the same cubicle for twenty plus years we think of change as a monster in the workforce. But this isn’t the Boogieman lurking in the dark waiting to whisk you off to some new and foreign cubicle. This is a look at reality, your life and what you decide to make of it.

First you need to make a critical self-assessment. What are you good at? What do you have a degree in? Find your strengths and see how they can help you in the job force. Also, take the time to assess yourself and your skills in today’s world. Are your technology skills outdated? Do you have up to date computer and Internet proficiencies? See where you would stand in the current job force if you became an applicant.

After you make this self-assessment you can see if you need to go back to school or not. Did you leave school for some extra cash to waitress and never made it back to earn a degree? Maybe now is the time to get that degree or take a few computer classes. Going back to school can lead you down a completely new and interesting job path.

Make sure you study the job market. See what jobs are hot right now and do your research on the careers you are interested in. What if you have a passion for real estate but the market is sluggish right now? Think of all of the different paths you can take and the different career choices. Maybe even think of relocating to spice things up a bit. Whatever you decide you have to take the time to research the job market and the specific industries that interest you. If you have always wanted to own your own boutique then by all means go for it. Just make sure you understand how a business works and how much it costs before you quit your job now.

Everyone is going to go through a mid-life crisis. Just don’t get rash and quit your job without a plan of action! Evaluate the situation and see if you are really ready for that change in your life. It’s not as scary as you think.

Making that Great Impression – Part Two

Now that I have covered the basics on making your first impression at your new job, it is time to dive into more ways in which you can dazzle your coworkers. So what do employers eat up? Taking initiative! Being a self-starter shows that you want to work for the company and produce the best results. Don’t sit around waiting for a new task to be assigned to you. Be proactive and volunteer to do assignments even if you need a little guidance. People will appreciate your efforts and learn to trust you more with bigger assignments.

Another great tip which you should always abide by is avoiding office gossip. This is a big don’t! Any office you work in is going to be full of gossip and office politics. Your job is to avoid getting involved at all costs. Even if you don’t start a rumor it doesn’t matter; don’t repeat anything you hear. Whether the gossip is true or false it can jeopardize your job and make you look like either a liar or a gossip queen. Trash talking your coworkers is a sure way to land you in trouble or get yourself fired. So steer clear of office politics!

One of the best tips that I have taken to heart is participating in after-hours activities. Whether it involves company parties, happy hours, going out to dinner with coworkers or a company sports league, these activities can show that you care about the people you work with and that you want to get to know them outside of the office. Having this extra time to learn about their family, their hobbies and their goals in life helps you to bond with them. Not only can you find out that you have more in common with some coworkers than you thought, but making an appearance at parties shows that you have dedication to the company. Making that extra effort outside of work will be an excellent reflection on you as an employee. Believe me, your boss will remember the faces he or she sees at an after-hours gathering.

Finally, one of the most basic tips is probably the most important one – work full days and maintain a good attendance. Because you are new at a company you need to show your hard work and dedication by working longer hours than you normally would. Try to keep your sick days to a minimum and leave your personal time for the weekend. Be flexible with the needs of the company for the first few weeks you are there. After you have made an impression and feel comfortable then you can take longer lunch breaks and come in late after a doctor’s appointment.

Making a great impression takes some hard work on your part, but if you follow these steps it will all pay off in the end.

Making that Great Impression – Part One

You landed the new job. Time to celebrate! The first couple of weeks can be tough though. First impressions about you are going to shape your coworkers minds and leave a lasting idea on the type of person you are. These impressions can make an impact on your future potential and success with the company. So let’s make these impressions positive! Here are some tips on how to make a great first impression and fit in with your coworkers.

This will always be rule #1: Have a positive attitude. Be a team player, be willing to jump into any situation or problem to help solve it, show enthusiasm and leave non-work related problems at home. Your optimism will radiate through the entire office and leave your coworkers in a positive state as well.

Now for a silly yet significant step: Learn your coworkers names! It might sound dumb and trivial but it will make people respect you more and treat you as a member of the team. If you forget someone’s name then simply apologize and ask them for it again. Identifying your coworkers will help you bond with them and separate them from just another face in the crowd.

Finally, it is imperative that you ask for help from the veterans when you need it. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! You were just thrown into a new role and you aren’t expected to know everything. Ask your coworkers for help and LISTEN to what they have to say. Be open minded, cooperative and take advice from the dinosaurs of the company. Those experienced guys could actually teach you something.

These are just the basics on making that great impression at a new company. You need to be eager, reflect a positive attitude and be willing to listen to your coworkers. Remember that you’re the rookie and that impressing these people has become part of your new full time job.