Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Exploring Attractiveness and Your Job Search

Everyone says that first impressions are a huge factor when meeting new people, is this true in the interview process?

Well, yes! ... and no. 

Most people think about first impressions as solely your level of attractiveness. But this is definitely more than the stereotype of 'the attractive one gets the job'. Which may or may not be true.

Why you ask? Well, I’ll list a few examples.

A handsome man or pretty woman will get attention in a meeting, just as a not so attractive person would. High attractiveness can affect a candidate in a good and bad way. 

Is this 'pretty' woman able to be really firm during a negotiation?
This lady is 'pretty', but can she really do the job?
This lady is too 'pretty', she does not come across as serious. 

Is this handsome man a bit too flirty? Will this handsome guy be a distraction to the woman in our office? This guy is handsome - he’s probably accustomed to getting by with his looks.

These are some not so positive thoughts a hiring manager could possibly think of that might affect the decision making process. 

But here's the more typical examples that we think of. 

This lady is pretty, I want to talk with her and I can see others getting along well with her. 

Wow this handsome guy has a great presence; he'd be great in front of our clients. 

There is no real way to control what others think of about your looks during an interview, but hopefully this shows how attractive people can also have issues based on appearance during an interview.

So what can we generally do to make a great first impression, just from our appearance? Well, I’ve got three things for you!  

1.  Do Your Research on the Firm 

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/findyoursearch/

I am sure we will all do the typical research, right? The research I am referring to goes beyond the company background and job duties. 
·       Ask what the company dress is like. 
·       Look at LinkedIn, the Company page, Company social outlets to get an idea of the overall look of the employees. 
Are the women wearing heavy makeup or little to no makeup? For a company where women where less makeup and are not as glamorous, someone that comes in looking like Beyonce or JLo in an interview may have some difficulty with the hiring manager picturing them on their team. 
·       Are the men dressed really trendy or is it the typically suit ‘n tie deal. Think about this in your next interview. 

 2. Put on Your Best Look 
Look your best during the interview. This means something that is both comfortable and looks really nice to others. For this, don't just ask your sister or girlfriend or go with a look you like. It helps to get different insights; your interviewer will most likely come from a different background than you. Once you've found the look that works for you, you'll feel more confident and more likely to ace that job interview! 

3. Smile and Make Eye Contact 

Smiles and eye contact are very reassuring. I am not saying stare the interviewer down or to smile like a Ken or Barbie doll, but make sure you are smiling. Interviews are nerve racking and stressful, but keeping this going will help you and the interviewer. 

I hope this helps someone out there! 

Happy Hunting!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Work Culture - Do you know what you prefer?

Knowing the work environment that you thrive in can really help guide your career in the right direction. 

I've been thinking about this a lot lately as I talk with potential candidates. I typically ask in interviews, what type of work environment a candidates prefers. When I think about my company's environment in considering what a candidate prefers this helps me to assess whether the employee would really be happy. 

There are so many differences between how companies operate. Some companies are very corporate, others are very casual while others are somewhere in between the two extremes. Then we have the universities, nonprofits, public accounting firms, law firms, tech hubs, start ups and ALL operate differently and will give certain people very different vibes. 

Knowing the type of environment you enjoy can really help you build your career. 

Do you not enjoy your job? Do you want to pursue another industry because of it? 

Maybe that's not the answer... Consider if you like a fast-paced type of environment, but you work in a slow functioning environment. Maybe you enjoy a company that is very structured and organized and you are working in a start-up environment where things are constantly changing and feels too unorganized for you. 

This is something very important to understand and actually easy to figure out!  Identify the things you like most and the least about the environment you work in. Please note that we are talking about the environment only. It is not that you don't like Susie because she smells heavily of cigarette smoke. :)

What are some areas to look out for? 

  • Flexibility - is the company open to telecommuting or not? 
  • Work Pace - Fast paced or slow paced? Is there a strong sense of urgency around projects? Do feel you have a hard time keeping up? Do you not have enough to do? 
  • Structure - Is it a heavily structured place with many policies and processes in place? Do you feel the environment does not have enough order?
  • Atmosphere (Casual or corporate) - Is a suit and tie needed everyday? Is there a lot of managerial hierarchy?  Are you afraid to show your own personality at work?
  • Openness - Do people collaborate, visit other offices, chit chat often? Do folks just keep their heads down and remain in his or her offices?

Once you figure out what you like and do not like, you'll be able to make a better determination, in most cases, of whether a job is the right fit for you. 


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Adult Life and Braces!

I recently decided to be brave and get clear braces. At 25 years old, the clear 
braces and the new incognito braces (the kind that are actually behind the 
teeth) were the only options for me. The incognito braces were a few grand more expensive than the clear with both having great results, so I decided to go with the clear set.

Well it has been over a year with braces and I have seen some great changes to my teeth! It is very exciting; however braces can be uncomfortable to say the least. In my first few months of wearing braces, I learned quite a few things and would like to share some tips!

Let's start off talking about food. I mean I know you're thinking about, right? 

1.      Eat The Foods You Normally Crave Before Your First Appointment

This was the number 1 lesson that I learned. Before I went to my appointment I went to a restaurant to get some hot wings (regular on the bone). They were soo good! I am glad I did that because for the first few weeks I was eating baby food… You know... Applesauce, mashed potatoes, mac n cheese…
You can imagine how much I would have been craving hot wings had I not eaten it beforehand! Eat your favorite foods before your first appointment, you'll thank me. 

Photo Credit:https://www.flickr.com/photos/themarmot/

2.      Do Not Get Braces During The Holiday Season

Since we are on the subject of food… Here is one mistake I made. I got my braces put on during the holiday season. What was I thinking! – Oh yeah... that I wanted straight pearly white teeth... Well, my advice is to get braces well in advance of or right after the holiday season. This really helps because you won’t feel bad that you can’t eat all of the foods you love on Thanksgiving and you will be less likely to be tempted to eat something that may risk you losing a bracket. (losing brackets can mean extended treatment). Not good!

Now let's discuss dental hygiene tools. 

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wwarby/

3.      Use Oral B Gentle Glide Floss

Once you have your braces on, you will thank me for this one.  Especially if you are at the beginning of your treatment. Once you get your braces put on flossing really hurts in those tight spaces. Oral B Gentle Glide was the first thing I bought. Please do yourself a favorite and ditch the floss that the orthodontist gives you and buy the Oral B Gentle Glide floss if you have tightly spaced teeth.

4.      Floss Threaders Are Your Friend!

Now that you have the right floss, you will need to use flosser threaders to get the floss under your wire easily. Your orthodontist should give you a few packets upon your first visit. You will need a lot of these throughout your treatment. If you can, I’d ask for them every time you visit the orthodontist.

5.      Stock Up On Brushes

Along with the floss threaders you will want to change your toothbrush every 3 months and also get some inter-dental brushes. The orthodontist will have some of these to give you as well. You will need this kind of brush to get in between your teeth in those spaces that your regular toothbrush cannot reach.

6.      Always Keep a Travel Size Tooth Brush

The orthodontist will tell you that you need to brush after each meal and floss at night. Get a travel size tooth brush and travel size toothpaste and you’ll be all set to handle brushing 3-4 times a day.

7.      Grab A Bottle Of Water

What does water have to do with your braces? Well… after meals food is everywhere… but with a couple of swish-swish with water after a meal really helps, especially if you are at a restaurant or at work and have difficulty brushing right away. Plus, water is so good for you, but I’ll get to that in another post…

8.    Consider A WaterFlosser

For those times right after you've visited the ortho, and your gum are a little tender, it's nice to have a water flosser. The waterflosser will be gentle on your gums and ensure that you continue to keep your good dental hygiene routine. You kind of get the option to skip traditional floss once or twice during week which is really nice. 

9.      Carry Lip Balm More Than You Ever Did Before

Please carry multiple lip balms! Seriously. I have lip balm everywhere. One at my desk at work, one in my purse, one in my jacket pocket, one at home… and let’s not talk about lip gloss… You need lip moisturizer of some kind, especially before going to appointments. You just wait and see! You can thank me later.

10.      Smile As Normal

When I first got my braces put on. I was self-conscious about them. So much so that I would make sure to cover my teeth when I talked and give those closed-mouthed smiles. Needless to say, people noticed more and paid closer attention to my mouth. I had one person ask me if was I okay, and I told her about the braces. Once I showed her, she told me that she would have never noticed had I not have been hiding my mouth. I no longer hide. To this day a lot of people don’t notice or forget they are even there. Clear braces are awesome! You really can let your smile shine through. So smile easy!

Get to love your braces and the time in them will go buy really fast!


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Referrals? Are they useful and if so, how do you get them?

I can say first hand that referrals can be very useful during a job search. Many times when a person is not a perfect match for a role per the resume a strong referral from a recognized colleague in the firm can get that person into the door for interviews. If you know of someone in the company you want to apply to, please reach out to them.  Have them send in your resume in addition to your online application.

Now, that we know referrals should be used, how do we find them?

Online Sites: Check out your Facebook page and find out where people work. You just might find out someone you knew from high school or college or any past groups/organizations, might work at the place you are applying to. If you know them well, they might just pass your resume onto HR or be open to them listing them as a referral.

LinkedIn: Similar to other social sites, you can search connections and find out if people you know have worked or currently work at the place you are applying. They could also provide good insight into the company culture (the good and bad).

College: Have any professors that you stay in touch with? You should reach out to them to stay in contact of course, but also keep them in mind when job searching. Just think about the huge network that professors have inside and outside of academia! Many still work or have worked in the corporate world and have connections in various firms.

Family and Friends: Think of the folks closest to you. Now think about the people that they might have in their own networks. Now you're getting it! These folks will know of others who might be able to at least pass along your resume.


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Real love? (My thoughts)

Love is an amazing thing. It can totally blind you or it can open your eyes to see more than you ever have.

Love is a strange thing. We all start our lives giving and receiving love, which normally comes from a mother.To have a mother's love is something great and beautiful. Throughout our lives we each want to give and receive love.

But is there a price to love? How do you find love? And is there a difference between love and true or what we sometimes will call unconditional love?

Unconditional love.

That is such a strong statement.

Who can give and receive unconditional love?

Is this the love of a mother? The love of a wife? The love of an innocent child?

I propose, that this kind of love can only be given by the divine. God.
And if this type of love is given by God, can a man ever return it?


Is the love of man fool's love because it is conditional?

Is the love of the divine the only way to have this idea of true love?

True love is what we search for our entire lives. Those that find this kind of love, find God.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Why Didn't You Get The Job?

That's a good question. Is it OK to ask the company why? Well before taking that step it may be a good idea to take a look at a recent article posted by the job site Monster.com. The article poses the idea that your negative ideas could potentially be ruining your chances of landing a job interview and also give a few great ideas on how to evervone negative thoughts and use them to your advantage. 

Here is the link: 

Check it out! 


Monday, May 25, 2015

Developers Need Soft Skills Too!

HTML5... CSS3...JavaScript.... C#.... SQL.... Having a good knowledge and experience with these tools is great, but the thing that I have realized in my years of IT recruitment is that companies want more than those candidates with strong technical knowledge. Companies look for soft skills too!

Successful developers that will work at large corporations (and even smaller, boutique firms) and also have a lot of growth and advancement opportunities in their careers will need to be able to communicate well with others and work well within teams.

So many times I speak with IT talent (not just developers) who are very technical and have great skills yet have trouble describing what they actually do to the non-technical person. Think about senior managers, sales managers, and essentially end users or clients. Those with the soft skills and solid technical skills are what companies will seek out and often times present with great offers.

Here are my tips to those preparing to be or currently working in the IT industry.

1. Communication
Learn how to explain technical topics to people that are not technical. Describe what you are learning in school or a project you are working on to a friend or family members. These folks will tell you whether you are explaining things well or whether you need to work on this. Sometimes you just need to slow down the pace that you are talking to let some things sink in while other times you need simply the terms you are using, and yet other times you may need to use a relevant examples that most will people can relate to. It may even be a combination of the three, however this is an area that anyone should focus on with IT professionals are no exception to this.

2. Teamwork
Don't just be "that guy" (or girl) to sit behind your computer screen all day, without even speaking to your neighbor or any of the folks on your team. Have the ability to get along well with others and build relationships with your team. Take the initiative to chat with teammates. Maybe share an idea or a new tool or ask for help with some things. These are actually key to being a great team player! Know how to ask questions and also provide helpful tips to your team and offer to help others. For developers, please also document your code! This goes right along with good teamwork. This is helpful when others take on your projects and need to know why or how you did something. This shows you are thinking about your team. The team dynamic is a big thing that companies consider when hiring talent.

3. Presentation
This goes two ways! First, learn how to speak in front of a group. Most colleges will build presentations as a part of the curriculum so really take the opportunity to make the best of any opportunity to present information to a group. Developers that can present ideas to a team (whether the IT group or non IT) will go far! Most IT managers spend a lot of time presenting new ideas and also working with other teams. Tech skills + presentation skills equals an infinite amount of career opportunities. (Project Management..., Senior IT Manager.... Business Analyst... Architect...and much more.)

I hope this helps someone working in the IT field!


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Paying Off Debt with Dave Ramsey

I have really been thinking about money lately. And more specifically about student debt and the ability to pay it off. I don't want to be the person that is 40 years old with the student debt created in their teens and early twenties still lingering around. The thought of having any debt is pretty depressing and I just want to get rid of it ASAP!

Well to accomplish this goal, I have been researching and have come across the Dave Ramsey method for financial management: http://www.daveramsey.com/. He recommends using a specific plan to financial freedom. He first specifies getting all of your debts into current status (if you have any late payments then we just want to pay anything past due). Then setting up a $1,000 emergency fund and attacking debt using the debt snowball. 

The debt snowball plan is to line up all debts in order of size and begin making minimum payments on all but the smallest debt. Then you will put any extra income towards that small debt until it is paid off. Then you begin the same process with the next smallest debt. And it continues until you are debt free! 

The idea behind paying off the smallest debt first is that you begin seeing the traction and get even more passionate about getting rid of it.

I am working on this now and I am so excited to begin working getting rid of debt under this plan. 

Here's a video highlighting the plan: 

Wish me luck! 


WaterPik Flosser Review

The WaterPik Flosser... Definitely a good choice for anyone with braces.

I can't believe I waited so long to get one of these tools. Now this tool will not take the place of regular dental flossing (normally using a floss threader which helps navigate between the braces), but it can sure help. I definitely recommend the purchase. 

Below are a few quick tips for using a Waterpik flosser.

1. Start at zero. On the first time using your teeth will need to get used to pressure of the water, so I using the lowest setting possible is a good idea. Most instructions will advise this. I learned a lesson on my first try because I set on my Waterpik flosser on a slightly higher setting (just on 2 or 3, from an option of 0 to 10) and quickly changed the setting to 1!

2. Use lukewarm water. This is especially needed for those that have sensitive teeth like I do! 

3. Continue your regular flossing. The water pik flosser is not completely a substitute for regular flossing, but it definitely helps. 

I hope these are helpful tips! 


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

In College But Not Sure What to Study? Fear Not!

A recent article posted by BestDegreePrograms.org provides some really good options for students that are unsure of exactly which career field to pursue after graduating college. The author provides many general, yet valuable degree program options including Business Administration, Health Science and Computer Science. All degrees mentioned could be used in a number of settings and seen as a good asset to many employers. The article also gives suggestions on the type of person that may be interested in each degree program! It's like having a career or academic adviser in a blog post. I really wish I had read this article while I was in school, not that feel I made a bad career choice, though this would have shown more options than what I knew of at the time. 

Check out the link below, you won't be disappointed. 

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/aigle_dore/

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Interested in earning an extra few bucks without even leaving your house?

Get paid to search the internet, read emails, complete surveys and more at InboxDollars.com. Click the link here to check out the site: http://www.inboxdollars.com/?r=ref17396914 

Do you already check emails?

Do you search the internet?

Do you like giving your opinion?

Do you like extra cash?

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jakerust/

Then why not get paid to spend 15-20 minutes out of your day to do the same things you would do anyway?

I recently received my check for $30 bucks and have earned another $16 dollars in just a few days by completing 1-2 surveys every other day and using the Inbox Dollars tool for searching online. Now you do have to earn at least $30 dollars before requesting your check for payout - which is understandable because anything less is probably not worth the processing fees. I typically search for things online and I also do things like paid surveys, downloading apps to my phone and watching short videos. All of those activities pay a few cents and add up up to cash pretty quickly. There are also opportunities for bonus cash and earning through sweepstakes.

Now, Inbox Dollars will not make you rich (or I would be on a beach somewhere sipping margaritas!), but you can get some nice payouts by doing very simple tasks online without spending much time. I was a little apprehensive about it at first, but I stuck with it and recently cashed in my check - now I'm hooked. I spend very little time with the site and even forgot about it for some time.

So trust me, if I can do it - ANYONE can.

Check it out today!


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Are You Interviewing Potential Employers?... Well, You Should Be!

When you are a job seeker, it is very important to understand the company and the actual position the company is currently looking to fill. Throughout the process you, the candidate, should be researching. This research should be a combination of online research and first-hand research through asking direct questions when you have the opportunity. 
Here are a few things to keep in mind. 

1. Research the Company Online Before Applying. 
  • Job Description - Read this more than once to get an idea of the company, the duties of the role and the needed and preferred qualifications. (Please keep in mind that you do not need to have ALL of the qualifications to apply in most cases, however the more qualifications you do hold, the better.)
  • Know the Business - Understand what the company actually does to make profits. At the end of the day, employers want employees that will be able to see the big picture. This means understanding and helping the company reach business goals. 
  • Get the Scoop on What Current Employees Think - Research sites like Glassdoor.com or Indeed.com to find reviews on the company. When looking at these reviews, search for trends and please keep in mind that not all reviews can be taken seriously. If see trends mentioned about the company good/bad there is a greater chance the information being provided should be noted. Also, you will want to find reviews from those working in the department you'd potentially work in. Doing this research will give you a better idea of the company culture. You will see things like the environment, dress, training opportunities, management, etc. 
  • Network - Search a site like LinkedIn.com or even research the background/bio of your pass professors/colleagues. The idea is to find out if you know someone that has worked or currently works at the company  you're interested in. This can help in two ways: 
    • It will give you a better idea of what the company is like and what they look for in candidates and possibly the types of people that excel there. 
    • Second, this may give you another way of getting your resume in front of a hiring manager. At this point you should know whether you will want to pursue the job so if you know someone who can refer you, your chances of an snagging interview are going to increase. I cannot emphasize enough how great referrals are to getting a candidate in the door at a company. 
2. Ask Questions During the Interview
Okay, now that you know this is a good opportunity to pursue and you have applied, you should get a response if you are a good fit for the role. Once you get the interview, do not stop researching!
  • Show You've Done Research - Ask questions about the company/job that you weren't able to find in your research. And when you ask these questions, be sure to show you have done research. Example: "During my research I learned that your company prides itself on maintaining a very open environment, can you tell me more about the company culture?"
  • Ask Follow Up Questions - There is no way that an employer has completely answered ALL of your questions and you have absolutely no follow up questions. Do not hold in those lingering questions. It is your job to leave an interview with a good understanding of the role/company so you can decide whether the move will be a good fit for you. 
3. Recognize the Interviewers Time
  • Say Thank You - Remember to thanks the person(s) answering your questions. It shows that you really appreciate gaining the insights the interviewer is providing. 
Well there you have it! I hope this helps someone who is job searching. Remember, if this is a job that you are wanting to hold for a while, you want to be sure that it will be the right step for you and your future career. It is easy to think that an interview is just time for us to get the third-degree from an employer, but please know that you should also be interviewing the company!


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Interviewing tips.

Here are my Do’s and Don’ts  that I hope will help those looking for a job.
Here are my Do’s:
·        Ask what the dress code is and dress adequately.
As I will state in the don’ts section – you need to know what the dress code is before interviewing as different companies want casual, business casual or a suit! You need to know and prepare ahead of time.
·        Dress comfortably.
When you are comfortable, you interview better.   
·        Do your homework on the company.
Please research the company. A simple Google search will show you when the company started, CEO and other key leaders and what the company is about. How do you know if you want to work at a place if you don’t know the basics of it? Seems simple, but so many have gotten to the in person interview stage and ask interviewers to tell them about what the company does… not a good look.
·        Arrive to the Interview 10-15 minutes early.
Sometimes being on time is being late. During an interview it looks good to most interviewers to be a few minutes early. Candidates should give themselves about 15 minutes extra time to get to the interview location, park and find the interview room, etc.
·        Shake every interviewer’s hand.
Do not ignore any of the interviewers. Make sure to shake everyone’s hand no matter the level or if you work with them directly or not. Give each interview the same amount of attention, each will be weighing in on the decision to hire.
·        Look at each interviewer ad maintain eye contact.
Eye contact is important. Most people do not trust people that do not look them in the eye. Looking someone in the eye (note: not starring) show them that you are alert and really paying attention.
·        Relax and smile.
Being relaxed and smiling makes you appear likable.
·        Give clear and concise answers to questions.
Giving full answers is simple enough, take a few moments to think through the question and your answer so that you answer questions fully and clearly. It will make you come across a good communicator – important in any job.
·        If you do not understand a question, ask for it to be repeated.
Attempting to answer a question that you do not understand is setting yourself up for disaster.
·        Ask relevant questions.
Do not ask questions that can be easily found on the employer’s website… think about it.
·        Bring copies of your resume and any other important items.
Always have extra copies for interviewers – I don’t really need to explain this one, right?
·        Be energetic and attentive.
Again, I shouldn’t have to explain here.
·        Ask about the next steps in the process.
Know the next steps so that you are prepared for them.
·        Send a thank you note.
Please don’t forget to spellcheck and check for grammar. A hand written note versus an email – I don’t think it matters.  
And Don’ts:
·        Do not arrive over 30 minutes early to an interview.
Yes, we like when a candidate is a few minutes early, however to be 30 + early to an interview can possibly make the interviews uncomfortable as they will be finishing up meetings and other projects. Plus, it normally leaves you there to wait for a long period of time in the lobby.
·        Do not attempt to answer a question that you do not completely understand.
I get it. You want to answer questions right away. However, if you do not understand the question given to you, you will not be able to answer correctly and may even stumble on your words. Simply ask the interviewer to repeat the question, or restate the question yourself to be sure you have it correctly. Restating the question also buys you a bit more time to answer. J
·        Do not show how nervous you are.
Yes, everyone will be nervous during an interview, however the interviewer should not see this. Shaking, crying, sweating profusely – I have seen it all and it never looks good!
·        Do not ask questions that the interviewers have already answered.
This happens so often! Pay attention during the interview. Asking questions that have already been answered will catch the interviewers attention and not in a good way.
·        Do not exaggerate your skills or lie.
Never ever lie during an interview. Normally your interviewers will know if you are exaggerating your skills and often there will be some kind of skills test during recruiting process (think writing test, computer/excel test, etc.) Even if you do get the job… If you don’t have the skills you won’t have the job long. Trust me this has happened before…
·        Do not slouch, frown or make any other negative or uninterested body language.  
Posture, posture, posture – is very important. When you show signs of disinterest, your interviewers will see you as a negative person and will not want to hire you. Most interviewers are looking for someone that they will like to work with – negative employees are not likable!
·        Do not overdress.
Don’t overdo it. Look back at my Do’s list and see that you should know what the dress code is before an interview. Most employers want to see interviewers dress business casual others you need to wear a suit and there are even some places where you should dress more casually. In any case – wear something that you are comfortable in. The more comfortable you are, the more relaxed and the better you will do in any meeting.