Tips from Career Contacts!

Becoming a master at anything requires laser focus, awareness, and positive action daily. Mastering your mindset is no different. Interviewing takes practice!

If you don’t quite know where to start, check out some tips from us for ultimate success! Tip

Andrea:

  1. Spend ten minutes practicing for an interview the night before
  2. At the interview, focus on the interviewer and listen closely to the conversations. Be in the moment.
  3. Smile and enjoy yourself. Your smile will show confidence and willingness.

Melissa:

  1. Show passion for your work. If your work is meaningful to you, your work life will be a joy.
  2. Practice is the only true way to master a new skill. Be patient with yourself while you learn something new.
  3. Surround yourself with positive people and you’ll have a positive outcome. Supporting your team members and their ideas!

Azy:

  1. Be confident and trust the process: We are here to help you!
  2. Challenge yourself because nothing exciting will happen if you stay in your comfort zone
  3. Keep learning! A multi-skilled candidate has higher chances to get placed J

Everyone is on their life’s mission to help people and the planet for future generations.

They choose to actively make this world a significantly better place by taking courageous action and inspiring those around them to follow in their footsteps. They are the true leaders in this beautiful world.

Happy Sunday!

 

Habits and Happiness

When I was in 7th grade, my soccer coach always told my team, “First you make your habits, then your habits make you.” As I’ve gotten older, this makes more and more sense. It takes time and effort to form a new habit, but once you get there, it really can start to shape who you are.

For example, I recently started running before work. It required a lot of positive self-talk—“You’ll feel like crap if you don’t do this”—and a commitment to crawling into bed earlier. But now that it’s part of my routine, I crave it (this shocks me, too). Those early miles set me up for a successful day, increase my self-confidence, and make both my body and mind stronger.

When we change our habits, we change our lives. We can use decision-making to choose the habits we want to form, use willpower to get the habit started, then—and this is the best part—we can allow the extraordinary power of habit to take over.”

Reading this resonated with me so much that I started to wonder: What if you take it one step further and utilize Rubin’s behaviors to increase your happiness at your job? After all, your profession is a large part of your life. If you can improve your experience in that area, perhaps it will positively impact other parts of your life as well.

I took my wondering one step further (I know, I’m a nerd) and broke down how all of Rubin’s seven habits could translate to the workplace:

1. “Eat and Drink More Healthfully”

Eating well at work can be hard—sometimes, our days are so packed we can hardly spare a second to take a bite. Other times, stress or boredom leads to mindless snacking. Or, a colleague brings in leftover birthday cupcakes to share with everyone, and you obviously can’t refuse (because cupcakes!). But if you follow these general guidelines, you’ll be better off.

  • Block off time on your calendar for lunch, then do what you can to protect that time.
  • Pack your lunch & snacks as often as possible.
  • Steer clear of office treats—ask a co-worker or two to hold you accountable to this. Or, if that feels impossible, limit yourself to one slice, one cupcake, one cookie—just because they’re all there for the taking doesn’t mean you have to eat them all.
  • Choose water or tea instead of coffee (after your first cup—or two).

2. “Exercise Regularly”

As you’re constantly told by scary article headlines on Facebook,  sitting all day is detrimental to your health. But did you also know it affects your productivity? In fact, without consistent bursts of activity, your brain goes into slow motion. When you can, hold walking meetings, set “movement reminders” on your calendar (even if only a quick lap around the office or a few stretches), or start a lunchtime exercise group. You could also speak with your manager to ask about the possibility of getting a standing desk. While these activities aren’t what you might consider traditional forms of exercise, they’re all working more movement into your day.

3. “Save, Spend, and Earn Wisely”

You obviously know that buying lunch less, making coffee at home, and walking or biking to work will help keep costs down. But I wasn’t born yesterday, and I know those kinds of tips are easier said than done.

But what you can be better at is taking of advantage of any financial benefits, your company offers, ASAP. If you need to, put some time on your HR person’s calendar to learn what’s available. Ask about your 401K and stock options, as well as FSA and HSA accounts. None of those available to you? Talk to an accountant to see if there’s a solution that you can set up on your own.

While forcing yourself to put aside savings each month can be difficult, options like a 401K that automatically deduct from your paycheck can make it much easier.

4. “Rest, Relax, and Enjoy”

Rest is a crucial part of being as productive as possible. Tony Schwartz, CEO and Founder of The Energy Project, says, “As every great athlete understands, the highest performance occurs when we balance work and effort with rest and renewal. The human body is hard-wired to pulse, and requires renewal at regular intervals not just physically, but also mentally and emotionally.”

Some use the rule of 52 and 17—get down to business for 52 minutes, relax for 17, repeat. But what you really need to do, Schwartz says, is listen to your body. Itching for more caffeine because you’re falling asleep at your desk? You probably need a break to recharge instead. If taking a power nap’s not an option, make sure you listen to your body and take it easy after you leave the office.

5. “Accomplish More—Stop Procrastinating”

According to Heidi Grant Halvorson, a social psychologist and Associate Director of the Motivation Science Center at Columbia Business School, you procasinate for one of three reasons: You’re scared of messing up, you don’t feel like doing it, or you don’t like it for some reason (e.g., it’s hard or boring).

But while you may be able to delay doing laundry until you’re out of clean clothes, you can’t prolong your professional responsibilities forever. As Halvorson says, “Can you imagine how much less guilt, stress, and frustration you would feel if you could somehow just make yourself do the things you don’t want to do when you are actually supposed to do them?” It’s true—every time I push a due date back for no good reason, I feel pretty crummy.

Figure out what your reason is, then face your to-do list head on. You’ll feel a lot better when you go home for the night.

6. “Simplify, Clean, Clear, and Organize”

Look around your desk right now. What’s on it? On mine, I have a coffee mug, a calculator, a pink highlighter, a plastic hippo holding paper, two types of chocolate—I could go on. Nothing good can come of this mess. Clutter’s not only a distraction, but also an enabler of procrastination (among other things).

You’ll be much more efficient if you clear away unnecessary items and then organize the rest of your space. And, while you’re at it, consider working on your computer, too. File away documents and delete anything you no longer need. (And if you’re wondering, yes—I do need the hippo. He’s staying.)

7. “Engage More Deeply in Relationships—With Other People, With the World”

The point is to spend more time on the relationships you value, which could include your family, friends, significant others, yourself, and so on. I’m a big believer that engaging more deeply in anything you believe in—whether it’s spiritual or otherwise, is extremely beneficial. Interacting with your colleagues, for example, is really good for you—they can help you get through the tough times, solve problems, and celebrate wins.

Lately, I’ve dedicated more time to me, and it’s made a world of difference. In addition to running, I began taking yoga again. While my motive was to prevent those chronic injuries I’m so prone to (hi, plantar fasciitis), I’ve realized how soothing it is for my mind. And now I cherish that time I have to set my intention and focus on only my breathing and movement. And, bonus: It’s made me a lot less stressed at work, too.

At the end of the day, you play a large role in how happy you are (it’s not all chance and circumstance!), especially when it comes to your career. You should make as much of an effort as you can in enjoying your current position, and you can try using on—or all!—of Rubin’s seven habits to do so.

Feeling burnt out?

At least once every year, I develop an unforgiving cough and congestion so bad I have trouble hearing. Each time, as I burrow under my favorite blanket and clutch onto Sudafed and Mucinex for dear life, I wonder: Why again? And why always when I have fun weekend plans? It doesn’t take me long to realize—I’m burnt out. True to form, I’ve agreed to too many responsibilities and side gigs on top of my fulltime job, and my body is not happy.

I know I’m not alone. As a reporting and evaluation manager for an employee wellness company, one of my responsibilities is to identify and analyze top health risks for the thousands of individuals our programs serve. And usually, stress ends up in the top three (out of 15).

While it’s true that a little can be good for you, the consistent presence of it is not. “Chronic stress, of course, has been shown over and over to be a bad thing for body and brain,” says Alice G. Walton, a Forbes science and health writer. “It actually seems to suppress the generation of new nerve cells and inhibit memory, not to mention increase one’s risk for being overweight; developing heart disease and possibly cancer; developing addictions; and experiencing depression, anxiety, and sleep problems.”

Well, that sounds exciting (read: horrifying). But minimizing levels of it is easier said than done, as it can be difficult to notice when you’re overdoing it—most likely because you’re so busy you can’t keep tabs on how you’re feeling.

But if you identify with any of the following five signs, it may be time to take a step back.

1. You’re Snapping at Everyone (for No Good Reason)

When your co-worker poses a simple question—“Hey, can you proofread this memo for me?”—and you act like she asked you to read the employee handbook to her. You huff and puff and silently wonder why she’s so very stupid. Instead of calmly responding with a “Sure” or “Give me a few seconds to wrap this up,” you answer with venom-laced words: “Um, I’m kinda busy right now, but sure, whatever.”

Later on, you realize you severely overreacted, and the embarrassment sets in. Christine Porath, a professor at Georgetown University’s business school, explains that a lot of people have no idea they’re being rude to others. And it’s probably “because they’re so stressed and overwhelmed that they don’t have the mental bandwidth to consider other people’s hurt feelings.” (But just because you’re not the only drama queen doesn’t give you the excuse to be Cruella.)

2. You’re Thinking About Work All the Time

Your hours may be nine to five, but your mind is occupied with work 24/7. During your commute, while eating dinner, when you’re trying to fall asleep, in your dreams—you know the drill. It’s the sole topic of conversation when talking with friends and family, and the only thing you can think about when you’re pretending to listen to them (smile, nod, smile, nod).

I’m not saying you should limit every thought about it to specific days and times—you’re not a robot (if you are, though, no judgment here). But as Adrian Granzella Larrsen, Editor-in Chief of The Daily Muse says, “bringing too much work home—even if that work is just rolling around in your head—can quickly make you an anxious, sleep-deprived, pretty boring dinner guest.” And no one wants that!

3. You Can’t Focus Enough to Actually Be Productive

It’s time to get down to it, but you just can’t seem to make any progress (or even get started). Countless thoughts are bouncing around inside your head at lightning speed, and you have no idea how to control them. And so begins the vicious cycle—you’re overwhelmed because you’ve got a lot to do, but you’re fretting about it so much that you can’t accomplish anything.

You can blame this frustrating situation on your body’s response to regular anxiety, which is really helpful when you need survival mode to kick in, but not so helpful when it’s impairing your concentrations.

4. You Aren’t Sleeping Well (or at All)

You’re exhausted at the end of the day, but when you finally retire for the night, you spend hours staring at the ceiling. At last, you drift off (hopefully), but you toss and turn all night. When you wake up the next morning, you’re just as tired as you were before.

“When we’re stressed,” says Lindsay Holmes, Deputy Healthy Living Editor for The Huffington Post, “our minds race with thoughts instead of shutting down at night, inhibiting important functions involved in memory, muscle repair, and mood (yikes).”

It gets worse, says Holmes. It can also lead to persistent insomnia and a malfunctioning immune system (which explains that nagging cold I get each year). Weird dreams are also a common symptom—such as that time my subconscious explored the ins and outs of PowerPoint, which was super riveting and enlightening.

5. Your Entire Body Feels Sore

When there’s too much tension in your mind, it’ll manifest itself in your body in several ways, as well—pain and stiffness in your back, neck, hips, and shoulders; headaches; a clenched jaw; and more.

“When the brain senses a threat, it activates the sympathetic nervous system and signals the adrenal glands to pump out adrenaline, cortisol, and other hormones that prime the body for action,” shares Melinda Beck, a health contributor for The Wall Street Journal. “Together, they make the muscles tense up, the digestive tract slow down, blood vessels constrict, and the heart beats faster.”

And when your body has this reaction unnecessarily—like to an overflowing inbox rather than to a saber tooth tiger—your muscles will remain contracted for a prolonged period of time (hence all those knots in your upper back).

Listen—you can’t avoid feeling this way all the time. It’s part of life, and sometimes very important. But when it’s long-term, the effects can be harmful. So, while you can’t eliminate it completely, you can prevent it from spinning out of control and taking over your life. The first step? Being aware of your behavior and how you feel.

And then, figure out the best way to manage your to-do list, remember to take (frequent) breaks, disconnect fully on a regular basis, and when you need to—ask for help. Learning how to successfully manage stress is key to a happy and healthy life. So, go on, conquer it! It’ll pay off big time.

I changed my mind

I changed my mind.

Those sound like dirty little words, don’t they? That sentence is short. But, it holds a lot of meaning—and, if you’re like most of us, likely a lot of shame and regret as well.

Yes, there’s a healthy dose of guilt that comes along with suddenly shifting course—this undeniable feeling that had you just been smarter, better-informed, or more prepared, you’d never be in this mess to begin with. You’re a flip-flopper, a flake, and an undependable person who can’t follow through on even your very best intentions.

We all do it. Whether it’s something as simple as backing out on plans or something as major as completely switching careers, we tend to beat ourselves up over the fact that we’ve had a total change of heart. After all, you laid all of that groundwork only to decide to go in a completely different direction—and that’s worthy of all of the self-loathing you can muster.

But, I’m here to challenge the idea that simply changing your mind is some sort of sin or mistake—that it’s an undesirable behavior or characteristic that immediately qualifies you as unreliable, careless, and indeterminate.

When it comes to describing people who have the guts to change course, I’d actually use different adjectives altogether. What ones, exactly? Well, words like self-aware, brave, and constantly evolving seem to fit the bill.

Allow me to explain. I think there’s this immense pressure on all of us to always have everything all figured out—to have this systematic approach to our lives that leads us to exactly where we want to be (or, at least, where we’re supposed to want to be).

By the time we’re old enough to talk, everyone around us is asking us what we want to be when we grow up. And, while few people likely hold you to the answer you spit out right then and there (thank goodness, considering I wanted to be a bird for most of my childhood), it sets the tone and sends the message that we’re supposed to always be working toward something specific. We’re expected to set the end goal, and then it’s up to us to forge our path and follow the necessary steps to finally reach that objective.

But, what happens when you get your hands on new information and new experiences that tempt you to stray from that path that’s been laid out ahead of you? Well, needless to say, that’s where the guilt comes into play.

However, changing your mind and adjusting your approach isn’t something worthy of shame or remorse. Instead, it’s a natural part of growing. It’s totally understandable (and even recommended) to find out what you like, what you don’t like, and keep making changes from there.

Just think: What if Walt Disney had decided to stick it out as a newspaper editor? What if Albert Einstein convinced himself he needed to remain focused on his career as a patents clerk? What if Buddha had chosen to stay with his cushy life as an Indian prince, rather than venturing out to find his own values and ideas? What if doctors were so stuck in their ways that they refused to tweak their methods with new technologies and tools?

Yes, making big changes can be scary—I won’t even try to deny that. But, I think it’s important to recognize that sticking with something (particularly if you’re craving something totally different) doesn’t make you dedicated, loyal, or committed. No, it really just makes you stuck.

If you ask me, changing your mind is really the mark of someone who’s brave and self-aware—someone who’s willing to try new things and has the courage to admit when they aren’t exactly working out.

So, the next time you feel the least bit tempted to launch into a spell of self-loathing when you have a change of heart? I hope you remember this message—and I hope that I’ve changed your mind about changing your mind.

What interview questions actually mean

As recruiters, we try our best to help our candidates prepare for every interview. We explain the importance of researching before an interview. Research the company but research why you believe your skill sets would be beneficial for the company! Read below the obvious questions of an interview and what they really mean.

Who inspires you and why?

The job candidate’s answer often gives the interviewer a peek into who the interviewee models him or herself after. The response can also highlight the sorts of behavioral patterns the interviewee respects.

If you were starting a company tomorrow, what would be its top three values?

Every good relationship starts with trust and aligned values. Insight into a person’s priorities — as well as honesty and integrity — can emerge in the candidate’s  answers.

If business priorities change, describe how you would help your team understand and carry out the shifted goals?

Shifting priorities happen in every company, and every job, so look for candidates who are flexible and possess the skills to help carry out change. Hire employees who are self-aware, motivated and display empathy. These skills will help employees better work in teams.

Did you build lasting friendships while working at another job?  

It takes a while for people to build relationships — and being able to do so is a sign of solid emotional intelligence. A lasting friendship tells you that relationships and caring about people are important to the person.

What skill or expertise do you feel like you’re still missing?

Curiosity and the desire to learn are vital signs that a prospective employee wants to get better at something. People who struggle with this question are the people who think they already know it all. These are the people you want to steer away from.

Can you teach me something, as if I’ve never heard of it before? (It can be anything: A skill, a lesson or a puzzle.)

A job candidate’s answer to this question can reveal several qualities:

  • Whether the person is willing to take the time to think before speaking.
  • If the candidate has the technical ability to explain something to a person who is less knowledgeable in the subject.

Every interview is going to be a bit nerve racking. Be confident and be excited. The interview is not only for the interviewer but for you as well. You spend 80% of your life at work – it is important you be yourself and are happy.

Thanks for reading!

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