The Flip Side to Video Resumes

Why should the job seekers have all the fun making videos? Recently the tables have turned and it has become the employees pointing the camera on themselves. Employers see this as a way to attract the coveted Generation Y workers who are familiar with doing everything online.

Many tech savvy companies have made videos of their employees talking about a day in their shoes or the biggest misconceptions about their job. By providing these video diaries to online viewers, applicants can get a better understanding of the jobs and see if they would be a good fit in the company. By seeing the offices and the dress code it becomes easier for the candidate to see if applying is worthwhile or a waste of time.

These testimonials can give prospective employees an inside look at what the job is really like and can reduce preconceived notions about certain jobs and industries. The videos let employees show their passion and portray the spectrum of diverse individuals that can work for a company.

As companies turn to employee videos for recruiting, individuals are beginning to get a better feel for a company without blindly applying. Obviously no job seeker should rely 100% on these video testimonials. You can never really judge a company or a position until you are actually working in the office among others. Use these videos as a learning tool to help you focus your job search and better understand a job that might not be right for you.

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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.

Treadmill Desks?

At last, a way to stay fit while you work! The treadmill desk, which is basically a treadmill with a large tray on top that holds a computer, phone etc. While this idea may be a bit too extreme for your office, there are other actual, beneficial exercises that can be performed right at your desk, or at least discretely within your workspace.

Now, more than ever, it is important to watch your health if you are confined to a desk all day. People are working longer hours with more stress. Not only is it harder to hit the gym, but your nerves tend to be completely fried after a full day’s work.

Here are a few simple exercises to try out while you work:

* Wrists: To avoid the effects of carpal tunnel syndrome, do a wrist stretch by extending the arm with palm up while grabbing fingers with the other hand. Gently pull the hand downwards. Repeat on other wrist.

* Back:

Stretching revitalizes both the body and mind. Simply grab the back of a chair, and then slowly  turn around so that you are looking over your shoulders. Repeat to stretch out both sides of the back.

To avoid compression of the spinal vertebrae, make sure to get up out of your chair and stretch after a long phone call. Consider investing in a headset for frequent phone use.

Also, to spare extra stain on your back, try to wear comfortable shoes. If your dress shoes bother you, bring an extra pair of casual, comfortable shoes to slide on while at your desk.

*Quadriceps: Easy leg lifts target the front of the thighs. These lifts can be done while sitting straight in your desk chair with your back pressed straight and firmly again the chair back.

* Back, abs and legs: Consider replacing your traditional desk chair with an exercise ball. The balancing act will strengthen many muscle groups.

Rejuvenate you mind and body everyday without sacrificing any work time. Even constructively use your lunch hour by walking a few laps around the building or simply taking the stairs when possible. You will then be able to return home after a long work day feeling refreshed.

Putting All Your Eggs in One Basket

If you put all your eggs in one basket you will experience one of two things: tragedy or joy. The outcome will be exactly how you wanted it to be or you will be absolutely crushed if it didn’t go your way. There really is no middle ground. My best friend recently put all of her eggs into one basket when applying for a job. Caution to the wise: do not do what she did!

My friend has a good head on her shoulders. She had good grades and recently graduated with a bachelor of fine arts degree. She has wanted to work in an art museum for quite some time now but she never found any job position that would be a perfect match. Unfortunately, she was severely limited in her job search because the only city she wanted to live in was Dallas. She went to college in Dallas and absolutely fell in love with the city. So she applied for her perfect job a few months ago at an art museum in Dallas. I’m not just saying this because she is my best friend, but the girl is qualified. Internships at art museums, a fine art degree, studying art abroad in France, oh the list can go on and on. She decided not to apply to any other jobs because this was her dream job and she was positive she would get it. The director at the art museum had reviewed her resume and was deciding between a few candidates. He would contact her in a few days.

A month later she still had not heard anything. She e-mailed, she called, and she moped around for two months. Finally someone from the museum returned her e-mail and said they were sorry but they had picked another candidate. Yup, it happens. She was so sure she was going to get the job that she started searching for apartments in Dallas and even told the restaurant she worked at that she was moving. She had no backup plan and is still stuck waiting tables.

Moral of the story: don’t put all your eggs in one basket! If you are a job seeker you should know to apply to as many jobs as possible because you never know what is going to happen. Applying to your dream job is wonderful, but you need to be realistic and have backup plans in case your first choice doesn’t work out. Don’t be dumb about your job search. Prepare yourself for every possible outcome.

Bonjour! Privyet! Ciao!

When I lived in Russia it was customary to see people buying beer from local street vendors and drinking on their lunch break at work (or in the morning on their way to work!). Can you imagine drinking at work in the United States? Or being able to grab a beer on the side of the street like a hot dog stand? Traveling abroad is one of the most eye opening experiences and will enrich your life in numerous ways. If you have ever been hesitant about leaving your comfort zone and entering a daunting and foreign place then this article is for you.

You only live once. So might as well take some risks, meet new people, and experience new cultures that you never knew existed outside of your little town in Kansas. Working abroad can bring you adventure. From viewing Peter the Great’s chamber of oddities in Russia to eating live eel in Japan you never know what uncertainties lay ahead. After a long day at work you can visit the Eiffel tower or stroll past the Parthenon; activities that are not as common to the American who jumps into his or her car after work. Not only do you get adventure but you can absorb the culture of the country you are working in. Every day you will be faced with differences and learn how people in that country live life in a way you are unfamiliar with. You will gain a greater global perspective and get to see the US through the eyes of another culture.

Working abroad will help your career grow and will challenge you every day. You will be able to step outside of the typical career paths that the United States has to offer and will be forced to work with people of diverse backgrounds and cultures. From a career standpoint, international experience looks outstanding on a resume and shows that you can conduct business on a global scale.

The experience of working abroad can provide you with fluency in a country’s language. Sure you probably won’t master the entire language, but you can learn more than you already know and become bi-lingual (which always looks great on your resume!). If you already know bits and pieces of a language then working abroad is a great way to keep practicing.

You will definitely gain valuable knowledge and life experience by working abroad. If you have the chance it is a great opportunity if you are a recent graduate and don’t have a family to support yet. Find out which country sparks your interest and start applying for that visa!

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.

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.