Hurricane Season is Upon Us….Be Prepared

Hurricane season is here!  The time to prepare for a hurricane is well before one shows up on the radar and is moving closer to your home. Taking some time now to prep will save you a lot of trouble down the road.  Now is the time to prepare.

Hurricane Season is here. Be prepared.

I Lived Through A Hurricane Harvey

When Hurricane Harvey came to town, I was told that my home was not in an evacuation zone.  At 1am on the 3rd night of the storm, I was notified that we needed to evacuate within the next 6-8 hours and to expect 4 feet of water in our home.  Many of the homes in my neighborhood were damaged. Fortunately, my home was spared, but I still had to evacuate with two small children and multiple pets.  The lessons I learned can help you be prepared for this hurricane season and other disasters that might occur.

Hurricane and Other Disaster Tips

These tips will save you time, money, and countless headaches should a disaster strike in your area.

1) Discuss evacuation plans and routes with your family NOW.

Everyone needs a game plan that works best for their family.  Having everyone on the same page prior to evacuating helps things go much smoother.

2) Make a checklist 

Make a checklist of what you need to do before you leave town in the event of an evacuation. If you can make this list now with a clear head, you will be able to trust it when you are in a hurry.  Have more than one copy of the list.  Make sure all family members know where the list is kept.

3) Create a Hurricane Supply Kit

Make a Hurricane or Disaster Supply Kit that includes:

  • Battery operated radio and a NOAA Weather Radio
  • Flashlight & Extra batteries
  • Cell phone, laptop/computer (external hard drive) and  wall/car chargers
  • Extra eye glasses/contacts
  • Bottled water (1 gallon of water/daily/per person for 3-7 days)
  • Non-perishable food and snacks
  • Non-electric can opener
  • Dry clothes & Bedding
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Games to pass the time
  • Insurance information & Important documents
  • First Aid kit
  • Medications & copies of prescriptions
  • Special products for babies, elderly and medically fragile family members
  • Pet care items: food & water, crate, leashes, doggie waste bags, toys
  • A roll of toilet paper & A roll of paper towels

4) Resume copies

Back up your resume and other important documents on a portable flash drive and keep one sealed in a ziplock bag inside the Hurricane Supply Kit.  This way, reconstructing a resume from scratch in a time of hardship is totally avoided.  You may also desire to keep one in another safe place, such as a safety deposit box.

5) Learn evacuation routes   

Knowing what route will be used in advance is calming.   Drive the route from your home when things are normal to familiarize yourself.  Expect and prepare for traffic delays.  

6) Gas in your car

Try to keep a full tank of gas in vehicles.  The last thing you want to do is go to the station to fill up when disaster strikes.  You want to be able to jump in your car and go.

7) Know Where to Find Information

One such site that gives all kinds of alerts is Emergency Alerts

Time Invested Now Will Save You Headaches

Spending a small investment of your time pulling things together now, before they are needed, will save you headaches, frustrations, money, time, and potential heartache down the road.

 Hurricane season is here and we just never know when another big one might hit or some other disaster could occur.  Don’t roll the dice with this one. 

Make a Hurricane Supply Kit with your resume included in it this weekend.

Another Post of Interest

This post provides more information about what to do after the storm and who to contact for help.

Be Prepared When Disaster Strikes

For Pinterest:

Be Prepared for Hurricane Season and Other Disasters

 

By |2019-07-16T11:05:44-05:00July 16th, 2019|Hurricane Prep|Comments Off on Hurricane Season is Upon Us….Be Prepared

Is a Thank You Note Important?

Is sending a Thank You note old school?  Does it make a difference?    The Thank You note never goes out of style and is an important follow-up after an interview.  It needs to be a part of your job search strategy and it needs to be completed in a timely manner.  Let’s examine why it is so important.

Thank you note

Is the Thank You Note Necessary?

The answer is a big YES!  CareerBuilder recently reported that 22% of employers are less likely to hire a candidate if they skip sending a thank-you letter.  Everyone enjoys being thanked, including hiring managers and human resource officers.  Sending a thank you puts you in a positive light with them and that “top of mind” edge can make a big difference.

Digital or Handwritten Note?

While handwritten notes are often kept and sometimes placed on a desk as a nice reminder, time is often of the essence in the hiring process. An advantage of electronic mail is it will be received immediately.

If you are excited about this opportunity, it is important to send both an email and a handwritten thank you note sent via U.S. mail.  As soon as you get to the car after the interview is over, from your phone, send an email thank you note individually to each person that you met with. If you interviewed with two people, and a recruiter coordinated everything, then you will email the two people that interviewed you, and then send an email to the recruiter thanking for the opportunity to interview, as well as providing your feedback about the interview.

You can take a bit more time writing the handwritten note but send it as soon as possible.  Be sure to write legibly and check your spelling.  A handwritten note will make a big impression and help people remember you.

If you really did not like the opportunity, and are sure you do not want to move forward with them, then only an emailed thank you note is necessary.

Again, the email thank you note is sent before you leave the parking lot, and from your car.

What to Include

It should be a personal note, not a stock response or an online template.   A personal note helps your submission stand out.

Be sure to include the following:

  • Keep it short and sweet.
  • Use a professional subject line  –  Job Title, Firstname Lastname–Thank You
  • Thank them for their time and the interview.
  • Include a sentence about your qualities of why you would be good for the job.
  • Reflect back on the conversation/interview and mention at least one point that showcases your qualifications.
  • If you told them you would provide something or send links, be sure to include them.  Even if you didn’t promise them you can always send a link to an online portfolio or another item of interest that lends credibility to your application.
  • Point out anything of importance that your interviewer neglected to ask.
  • Sign with both your first and last name and your contact info. (There could be a dozen people with the same first name applying.)

Things to Remember

Prior to clicking send, remember to do the following:

  • Proofread and spellcheck – Your document should be error free.
  • Remove anything in your signature that might make you look bad. (A quote or photos that do not show you at your best. This includes personal social media profiles that contain unprofessional pictures or behavior.)
  • Don’t be too casual.  No Slang. Be respectful.
  • Send the Thank You.

Send That Thank You Note

Get the Thank You note sent as soon as possible and keep your candidacy “top of mind”  and demonstrate that you have the good manners and proactive communications skills that employers desire.

Need Help In the Job Search Process?

Call your Career Coach, Rachel Schneider at Career Find and schedule a meeting to create a resume that will differentiate you from other job seekers and develop a  job search strategy to help you feel confident as you begin your job search.

By |2019-06-15T12:35:30-05:00June 18th, 2019|Job Interview|Comments Off on Is a Thank You Note Important?

11 Tips for Work and Life Balance To Avoid Burnout

While it’s completely normal to experience stress in your job from time to time, feeling that way every day is not normal. If you feel stressed out in your work environment, even on the good days, you may be experiencing burnout or working in a toxic environment.  Even if you love your job there are steps you can take to make sure you maintain a work and life balance.

Work and Life Balance

Tips for Work and Life Balance

There are a few ways you can make your work atmosphere a little easier on yourself. Here are some ideas for getting through the day when you can’t wait for the day to be over:

Understand Balance

“Balance” doesn’t mean “equal.” There are times when either work or your personal life takes more weight, depending on what’s going on at the moment.  It is an ebb and flow situation and goes back and forth. You are still balancing things.   When you have to worry is when one side takes over your life for a long, extended period and pushes you to a breaking point.

Take Breaks

Allow yourself a 10-minute break about every 90 minutes and get out of the environment for a bit.   Even if it is just doing something different, going to the restroom,  or walking to the water cooler for a drink.   Even better, go for a walk outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. Take your lunch break away from your desk. Listen to an audiobook, it will allow you to escape your environment for a bit and get your mindset back on track.

Create a Soothing Environment

If you have a desk, cubicle, or office that is all yours, make it a soothing environment. Listen to soothing background music as you work, keep your favorite mug nearby, add photos of your family and pets, add colors that bring you joy. Plants add life to an office.  Making your space more comforting will help reduce your stress.

Schedule Important Personal Activities.

Put them on your calendar just like a big meeting.  Things such as doctor appointments, dentist visits, school activities for your children, date nights with a spouse and more can quickly fall by the wayside if they aren’t purposefully scheduled. Block out your calendar for important personal events, and you’ll find they happen as they should. It can be tough to remember in the middle of a stressful day, but they’re just as important as any meeting.

Set Boundaries

If customers or colleagues think it’s OK to call you at 10 p.m. if they need something, they will. Set boundaries around when you are, and aren’t, available. Doing so will help you relax when you’re off the clock and avoid burnout.  It also helps others to know what to expect.

Take Up a Hobby

Having something you enjoy to do when you’re not in the office will help you keep your mind off work when you’re not there and will put you in a stronger frame of mind when you have to go back.  Pick something fun that you enjoy.

Turn off Technology

We now live in an “always on” culture with smartphones and other technology. However, you have power over your devices. Be intentional about turning them off and taking technology breaks. It will help you tremendously by keeping you more focused during your productive periods.

Create Balance

So often we hold on to work stress even when we’re not at the office. Or we work longer hours than we really need to, creating more stress. Find a balance in your life, not only in the time you spend at the office but in your mindset. Find a way to “turn off” the office when you’re not there. When you leave the office at the end of the day, signal your brain that it’s time to stop thinking about work by turning on the radio, calling a friend, or planning a great meal for dinner.

I have a friend that had a commute to and from work.   She identified a certain location on her commute to be where she changed what she thought about.  When she hit that spot going home, she shifted her thoughts from work to family, fun, future plans, etc.   As she was going to work, when she came to that spot she began thinking about what she would do first when she got to the office.  After a week or so of consciously doing this, it became a habit and it happened without thinking about it.

Get Exercise

Physical activity helps reduce stress, relieve tension, and makes you happier. Getting a little activity into each day will make the stressful part of your day easier to manage. Go for a walk, take a yoga class, do stretches at your desk, or simply go into the stairwell of your office building and walk up and down the stairs.

The exercise doesn’t have to happen at work.  Plan time at home to work in some exercise.  The more you exercise the better you will feel about your life in general.

Know Your Own Energy Cycle

Everyone has a natural energy cycle throughout the day. You can probably pinpoint times when you usually feel more focused and productive, as well as times where you want to take a nap instead of spending another minute at the computer.

If possible, schedule your tasks according to your energy. Do lower-energy administrative tasks when you’re in a lull, and more important work when you’re energized.

Schedule Vacation Time

It is important to take extended breaks from work.   Did you know that over 55% of Americans did not use all their vacation time last year?  Remember, vacation time doesn’t have to involve a week-long tropical getaway (although that’s a great way to recharge). Even a day away from the office can be enough to leave you feeling re-focused and refreshed.  Research shows that employees who plan to use all their time off are significantly more likely to actually use that time off.   It is important to your mental and physical health to take vacations from work.

Stressful job environments are all too common, but you don’t have to burn out or leave the job.  There are ways to take care of your physical and mental health and have a better work and life balance.

Do You Need Help?

If you need help planning an exit strategy and getting ready for the job search so your next job will be a place you truly enjoy working, your Career Coach, Rachel Schneider at Career Find and schedule a consultation.
By |2019-05-21T07:35:01-05:00May 21st, 2019|Work/Life Balance|Comments Off on 11 Tips for Work and Life Balance To Avoid Burnout

Is a Toxic Job Adding Too Much Stress?

Toxic workplaces are bad for your mental and physical health.  In a recent survey, an astonishing 53 percent of workers said their place of employment brings no happiness to their lives.  Too many Americans are trapped in toxic jobs. Are you one of those people?  Perhaps it is time to do something about it.

Toxic Job

What Is a Toxic Job or Workplace

toxic workplace can be defined as any job where the work, the atmosphere, the people, or any combination of those things cause serious disruptions in the rest of your life.

The interruptions can include “sleepless nights, feeling constantly vigilant, sweaty palms, and a racing heartbeat.”

A toxic workplace also has negative health impacts that can affect your personal life by damaging everything from your self-esteem to your friendships.

Signs of a Toxic Workplace

Below are some solid indicators of a toxic work environment:

  • Employee Sickness

    Toxic workplaces lead to employee burnout, fatigue, and illness due to high levels of stress that wreak havoc on our bodies. If people are calling in sick or worse, are working sick, that’s a good sign of a toxic work environment.

  • Employees Are Not Using Their Vacation Days

It is estimated that 54 percent of employees only take half of their vacation days for fear they will fall too far behind and a whopping 66 percent do work-related activities when they do use vacation days.   So employees never truly relax.

  • High Turnover

When the work environment has nothing good to offer except dysfunction, poor morale, and sickness, people will start heading for the door to find a better situation. If you notice a high turnover rate in your company or department, take that as a sign of a toxic workplace.

  • Narcissistic Leadership

Your higher-ups demand that you always agree with them, tell them they’re right, and feel they’re above the rules. They expect everyone else to be perfect while they can meet lower standards.

  • Employees Stuck Behind a Desk All Day

The average worker spends 9 hours a day sitting down.  Sitting that much increases the risk of premature death and the worker’s chances of developing diabetes by 25 percent.  Productivity and efficiency could be increased by standing and movement

  • Little to No Enthusiasm

Look around the office. Is anyone happy to be working there? Is anyone smiling? Are conversations positive and upbeat? Is anyone talking at all? A ”no” to these questions equals toxicity.  If employers discourage conversation between employees, that is even more toxic.

  • Lack of Communication or Negative Communication

You and others don’t get the necessary information to do your job. You work hard with no positive feedback and no recognition, and you might even be told to be glad you have a job at all.

  • Cliques, Gossip, and Rumors

Everyone seems to be out for themselves, and there are no genuine friendships among employees. There’s lots of infighting and paranoia as well as gossip and rumors.  Gossip tends to trickle through poor communication channels, and it starts at the top.  Did you know gossip is actually a form of workplace violence?

Signs You are Affected by a Toxic Job

Your body may know before your brain that your job is to blame for your stress symptoms, sending you red alerts that you are not okay.

Muscle Aches

When your job is toxic, it can feel like you’re fighting off a wild tiger at your desk. Under a perceived threat, your brains flood your system with adrenaline and other stress hormones.

Insomnia

Not being able to sleep because your mind is racing or not being able to stay asleep. You wake up in the middle of the night thinking about your to-do list.

A few restless nights is not a huge deal, but if it becomes a pattern, that may be a sign your job stress has become toxic.

Headaches

Your muscles tense up to guard your body against injury. When you see the workplace as a danger zone, it keeps your muscles wound tight, according to the American Psychological Association. Chronic tension in the neck, shoulders, and head can be associated with migraines and tension headaches.

Increased Sickness

If you are catching colds constantly, consider how you are feeling about your job.  Research shows that chronic stress can compromise the immune system, making you more susceptible to illness.

Mental Health Issues

Increased stress can exacerbate existing mental health issues.

Tiredness

This is fatigue, a bone-deep weariness that no nap or weekend catchup seems to cure.

Appetite Changes

Your appetite is closely linked to your brain. Under acute stress, your fight-or-flight response releases adrenaline, telling your body to suppress digestion to focus on saving us from a perceived danger.  When your job is causing long-term emotional distress, you may turn to food for comfort.

Less Interest in Sex

The American Psychological Association notes that when women have to juggle professional stress on top of their ongoing personal and financial obligations, it can reduce sexual desire. For men, this chronic stress can result in lower testosterone production, which in turn leads to lower libido.

Relaxation and time are imperative and many people report not having enough time to have sex.

In addition to the list above, trust your gut if it tells you something is wrong. Once you know what you’re dealing with, it’s time to develop strategies that can help you stay sane and deal with the toxic environment you are working in.

What Can You Do?

  • Start your exit strategy.

Start making the plans to look for a new job.  Since it takes time to find a new job,  begin your search and then take steps to improve the current situation.  This will help you stay positive when things get tough. If you needed to leave yesterday, consider a bridge job that will keep you active while you find something in line with your career.

  • Create lists to keep yourself busy.

A list can help you stay focused on your tasks instead of the toxic atmosphere and gives you a reason to keep going every day.

  • Try to develop friendships.

Even if it is just one person, it is a bright spot in your day.

  • Document everything you do.

Save emails and write down comments and decisions from meetings, phone calls, and every person who interacts with you. If you need to file a complaint, you will need the evidence to back your claim.

  • Do something after work that can help relieve stress.

Go to the gym, do home repairs, or learn a new skill. The key is to make sure you’re living a fulfilling life outside of work to combat the drama of your 9 to 5.

  • Take breaks. 

As you go through the day, take breaks to talk with co-workers, walk around the building, eat a healthy snack, do some exercises at your desk.  Whatever it takes to give your mind an escape for a few minutes.

  • Use your vacation time. 

Find a way to use it.  Even if it means taking one day per week or extended weekends off.  You need time away from your job to relax and rest.   Do something fun when off.  You don’t need to go to an exotic location to get the benefits of a vacation.  Consider reading the book you have had on your nightstand for a while.  Or spending time working in your yard or sleeping in each day.   Whatever makes you feel relaxed and rested.

Knowing the signs of a toxic job or work environment and how to handle it will allow you to take your next step if and when you feel the time is right.

Other Posts of Interest

11 Tips for Work and Life Balance To Avoid Burnout

Rate Your Workplace Happiness

Top 10 Things to Do When Leaving a Job

Do You Need Help?

 If you need help planning an exit strategy and getting ready for the job search so your next job will be a place you truly enjoy working, your Career Coach, Rachel Schneider at Career Find and schedule a consultation.
By |2019-06-15T11:36:47-05:00April 16th, 2019|Job Stress|Comments Off on Is a Toxic Job Adding Too Much Stress?

Using Text Messaging In Your Job Search

Do you text often?  Are your texting skills lacking or do you “rock” it?

According to Jobvite’s 2018 Recruiter Nation Survey, 43 percent of hiring managers have communicated with job candidates via text.  This trend will continue to increase.  So it is in your best interest to brush up on the texting skills and be prepared to respond should a hiring manager contact you.

Text Messaging

Text Messaging Tips

How do you ensure that you can present yourself as positively as possible when you have to be short and succinct?  These tips might help:

Don’t Initiate Text

Let the interviewer or recruiter be the first to use text between you.  Send your initial job application and resume through traditional channels, and communicate afterwards via email or phone.

If the interviewer reaches out to you via text, they will be expecting a response.  At that time it is fine to return a message via text.

Don’t Ignore Messages

If an interviewer texts you, they can usually see when it was read.  So be prompt in responding.  If it will be a while, let them know you are currently working and will respond in an hour or whenever.

Keep It Professional

It can be tempting to just give them a one or two-word answer, use abbreviation, emoticons, etc.  Don’t do it.  Use complete sentences, full words, and a professional tone. You are not texting family in a relaxed tone.  Keep a degree of formality and professionalism in job search texts.

Check your Text “Signature”

If you have a text “signature” that is sent at the bottom of every text message, make sure it’s appropriate for use in professional communications.

Spelling and Punctuation Matter

Check and re-check your spelling, grammar, and punctuation, and watch out for auto-correct errors.

Stay Within Business Hours

Because texting, like phone conversations, is “real time” communications, only send your text to a recruiter during normal business hours.

Double Check Who You are Sending to

Before you hit send, check that you’re sending the text to the right person.  We have all heard the horror stories of messages being sent to the wrong person.

You want to keep your text message as short as possible, but don’t be afraid to convey information that will showcase your abilities and heighten the interviewer or recruiter’s interest in you.  You want to appear professional regardless of what tool is used in the job search process.

If you would like to learn more, I found this article about what it is like to apply for a job via text to be very interesting.

Do You Need Help

If you need help preparing for the job-hunt, contact your Career Coach, Rachel Schneider, at Career Find for an Introduction Call.  I can help you create a resume that will differentiate you from the competition, develop a unique job search strategy, and help you to feel confident as you begin the job search process.

 

 

 

By |2019-03-12T07:22:06-05:00March 12th, 2019|Job Search|Comments Off on Using Text Messaging In Your Job Search

Top 10 Tips to Ace Virtual Interviews

You have applied for your dream job and they have contacted you for an interview.  Surprise…it is a virtual interview.  You’ve never done one of them before and now you are getting nervous.
Virtual Interviews
Virtual interviews are becoming commonplace now to cut down on travel costs.  Usually, they are used for your first round and employers use them to get to know you and determine if they wish to move you to the next round of interviews.  But some companies are using them for second and third round interviews as well.  So it is important you are prepared for this type of interview and know how to use the technology.

Tips

So how do you make a good impression and ace the interview?  Here are a few tips to help”

1. Look at the Camera

By looking at the camera, the person on the receiving end thinks you are looking at them.   If you are watching the computer screen it appears you are looking at the keyboard and not paying attention.  If you want to watch yourself onscreen, move the box closer to the top near your camera lens.  This also cuts down on drastic eye movements.

2. Lighting

Make sure you have sufficient light in the room where you will be interviewing.  The interviewer will want to see you, not shadows.

3. Dress Professional

Dress for an interview from head to toe.  If they ask for something and you need to get up to get it, you will look ridiculous if you are only dressed professionally from the waist up.

4. Grooming is Essential

The interviewer will probably see you up-close on the screen.  Most likely closer than they would during a regular interview, it is important to make sure you have taken some time to groom yourself.  Comb your hair, brush your teeth, floss, remove unwanted facial hair, and use some light make-up if female.

5. Background is Important

Set your computer or phone up in front of a calm area without distracting things in the background.   Everything they see will shape what they think of you.  Don’t skip this step.  I have heard of candidates who did not get jobs because of all the clutter in the room.

6. Colors to Wear

While you want to be professional, you also want to wear colors that complement your complexion and are not too busy on the screen.
  • Refrain from polka dots or busy prints.
  • Stick with solid colors if possible.
  • Avoid white, bright red and all-black outfits. All three of these colors pose technical problems.
  • Jewel colors show up best.
  • Keep jewelry simple.

7. Sounds

We talked about distracting visual backgrounds, quiet the noise.  Sounds can be distracting to you and the interviewer.

8. Speak Clearly

Now is not the time to mumble.  Make sure you practice speaking clearly and loud enough so the interviewer can hear you.

9. Important Documents

Have a copy of your resume next to you, as well as paper and pen to take notes, and some pre-written interview questions (At least two) that you want to ask them.  Treat this the same as an in-person interview.

10. Practice

Do a few trial-runs with someone to see how you look, sound, and how comfortable this interviewing format is.   It helps to use the technology in advance so you feel confident.  It IS unnerving, so to rock out, you need to try to practice to feel comfortable and shine.
Follow these tips and you should have a great virtual interview.

Do You Need More Help?

If you would like more help preparing for a virtual interview, consider working with me, your Career Coach, Rachel Schneider, at Career Find.  We can schedule a meeting to create a resume that will differentiate you from other candidates and practice virtual interviewing.

By |2019-05-06T10:07:59-05:00February 12th, 2019|Job Interview|Comments Off on Top 10 Tips to Ace Virtual Interviews
Load More Posts