You Have The Power To Influence Change at Your Workplace

The good news is that you don’t have to get bit by a radioactive spider and turn into Spider-Man to have great power. We know you may not feel like you have a lot of sway at your current job, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have the power to influence and change things at your workplace. The question is, will you take the famous advice of Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben and use your power for good, or will you just try to serve yourself?

It all starts with the right choices

From the moment you step into the workforce you’ll have a million choices to make. Everything from what your career path looks like, to how you choose to get there. Will you help others and give them credit, or will you take credit for yourself? It seems like the choice would be easy, but the options won’t always be so clear cut. 

And don’t worry, Spider-Man didn’t find the choice easy all the time either. Sometimes the right thing to do isn’t obvious, and often the right thing to do is the harder of the options. Responsibility doesn’t mean always getting it right, but it does mean trying your best. 

You may feel powerless at times, but even with a small amount of control, how you hold yourself and operate when you’re at the start of your career will often carry through and be how you operate when you’re the boss. 

Using Twitter for Your Job Search

If you’re on the job search, you’ve probably already tried the usual routes. You’ve checked the job boards online and looked through specific company websites. You have checked LinkedIn as well. You’ve talked with friends and family to see if they know of any openings where they work. One place you may not have looked in your job search is Twitter

An increasing number of people are finding jobs through Twitter

Twitter is quickly becoming an important resource for your job search. According to an annual survey done by Jobvite, “last year 26% of job seekers said they were using Twitter to find work. This year, the number jumped to 34%.” As more and more job seekers move their search to Twitter, more and more companies will be looking there for great employees. 

If you want to use Twitter to help in your job search, the first thing you should do is start following people and companies that work in the field you want to work. Find people who are tweeting out jobs in your field. Don’t be afraid to interact with companies and individuals and start conversations with them on Twitter about the things they’re tweeting.

One habit to avoid is following people just to tweet at them about wanting a job. You’ll find yourself tuned out very quickly. 

Stay mindful of your profile

Another important thing to be mindful of is what your Twitter profile and timeline look like. If you’re using Twitter for your job search, you don’t want past tweets to come back and bite you. Make sure what you’re tweeting, re-tweeting and sharing is interesting and professional. Even better, are you writing blog posts or attending seminars and conventions relevant to your field? Make sure you’re tweeting about those as well. 

You’ll also want to make use of hashtags. Hashtags make your tweets more searchable, and they’ll allow you to refine your own search. If you search #jobposting, #hiring, #jobs and the name of your city, you’ll find a whole host of opportunities. You can even narrow down these details by including your industry in your search. 

You can also get involved in specific “chats”. Search for #jobhuntchat, #careerchat and #hirefriday to see when these chats happen. They’re filled with helpful advice and offer a great opportunity to ask questions. Mashable has a whole host of hashtags you can use.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Everyone knows all about IQ. Intelligence Quotient is the standard score that marks one’s intelligence. But what about EQ, Emotional Intelligence? Do you know what that’s all about? You should because EQ is equally, if not even more important than having a strong IQ. 

Recognizing emotions in yourself and others

Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize your own emotions, and the emotions of others. It’s the ability to recognize how others are feeling, then use that emotional information to inform your thoughts, decisions and actions. When you can tell a friend is feeling low and you ask them how they’re doing, that’s emotional intelligence guiding your actions. When you steer clear of a co-worker because you realize they’re in a terrible mood, that too is emotional intelligence. 

Emotional intelligence is an essential skill for building relationships and networking. However it’s also an important quality for leading others. An article on Forbes states, “Decades of research now point to emotional intelligence as the critical factor that sets star performers apart from the rest of the pack.”

You can have all the necessary skills for a job, but if you lack emotional intelligence, you may find yourself falling behind. Likewise, if you’re able to build your emotional intelligence, you’ll find yourself ahead of the competition.

EQ is a strong predictor of success

In that same Forbes article, they point out that among 33 other important workplace skills, emotional intelligence was the strongest predictor of success. This makes sense when you think about all the areas emotional intelligence affects. Communication, teamwork, trust, and more all benefit from a strong understanding of your own emotions, and the emotions of others. 

If you’re looking to test your emotional intelligence you can head here or here to see how you do. Given how important emotional intelligence is to growing your career, we recommend looking into it. 

One Small Action to Make Everyday A Better Day

If you drive to work, you’ve no doubt experienced a little bit of road rage. Or maybe if you take the bus or walk, you’ve heard the horns blaring as people cut one another off and become furious at other drivers. If you’ve ever felt that particular rage, you know how quickly it can torpedo your day. In the midst of your commute to work, you might not think of Mother Teresa, but she has some wisdom for times like this.

Mother Teresa spoke about love and peace often. With this quote, she offers instruction on how we can find peace within ourselves, and offer it to others as well. It’s as easy as smiling. Smiling can make you feel better just by doing it. Seeing a smile on your face will also help others feel more positive. 

Smiling is something Mother Teresa spoke about regularly. She has another quote about the affect a smile can have. She said “Peace begins with a smile.” Whether you’re facing friction with a coworker or getting a growing feeling of road rage, remember that showing your smile can help you find peace.

It’s not always that easy though. When someone cuts you off in traffic, the last thing you’re thinking of doing is smiling at the person. While it may not be your first reaction, finding a way to smile at these things will being you peace. After all there’s no telling how much good a simple smile can do.

The Rules of LinkedIn

You’ve got LinkedIn. Your profile look great and  you stand out. You’ve connected to friends, family and colleges. Now what?  To get the most out of LinkedIn there are some rules you should follow. As with all rules though, consider these more like guidelines than absolute dos and don’ts.

Join Groups and Share!

Once you’ve set up your LinkedIn profile, you’ll want to join some groups. LinkedIn has groups for everything from specific industries, to employment help and finding jobs. If you join a group, take some time to see what others are posting there. Once you’ve got a feel for the group, start sharing yourself. 

Connecting with a Personal Message

If you see someone you know on LinkedIn, go to their profile and connect with them. The default message LinkedIn gives you is impersonal, and you risk the person not accepting your request, especially if you don’t know them well. Make the invitation personal so that the person knows it’s a purposeful connection. Connect through their profile, not through the “people you may know” list. If you connect through the “People You May Know” list, it will send an impersonal invitation automatically.

Asking for an information interview

Informational interviews are a great way of  learning from people in industries you’re interested in. You can use LinkedIn to reach out to people you may not know for those interviews. The Muse offers a great example of how you can do this. 

Connecting with Recruiters

You may find that people you’ve never met try to connect with you on LinkedIn. Sometimes these are people who are just trying to expand their networks, and it might be best to ignore their requests. Sometimes these are recruiters who are searching for people who work in the industry they recruit for. Even if you’re happy with the job you have, feel free to connect with these recruiters. You never know when an opportunity will present itself.

Endorsements and Recommendations

Both endorsements and recommendations are key for your LinkedIn profile to stand out. Endorsements are given to you by your connections for specific skills and abilities. These endorsements will be seen on your profile under the Skills & Expertise heading.

Recommendations are write ups from people you’ve worked with. They’re like references in advance. Recommendations are specific to the jobs you’ve held in the past. Coworkers write about you and recommend your work. These recommendations will appear on your profile next to the job they relate to.

You should feel free to ask any of your LinkedIn connections for endorsements, while you should only ask people you’ve worked with for recommendations.

How to Work with a Bad Boss

How to Work with a Bad Boss

If you’ve ever had the misfortune of working for someone that makes your work day 100% worse, you know how much a bad boss can affect not only your work day, but your home life and your overall health. A sucky superior doesn’t mean they’re a bad person, but that doesn’t make working under them any easier. A miserable manager isn’t the end of everything though. There are a number of things you can do to make your relationship with your boss better, and perhaps in turn help them become a better boss.

Find Their Motivation

Tops on Forbes list of strategies for dealing with a bad boss is to find out their motivations. Ask yourself what does your boss want? What is their ultimate goal? And what are they afraid of? If you can find answers to these questions, you’ll start to see that some of your boss’ poor behavior directly relates to these issues.

Work Around Their Weaknesses

No one is perfect and bosses are no exception. For many managers, worrying about their weaknesses can make them lash out and get defensive. Identifying your boss’ weaknesses and working diligently to help them in those areas will do wonders for your relationship with your boss. If you can help compensate for one of their weaknesses, your own job situation may improve. Even though they’re your boss, they need support too.

Watch out for Triggers

Some bosses have things that just set them off. Identifying what those things are might be a bit of a trial and error process, but once you’ve done it, ensure you stay on top of them. Does your boss lose it if you Cc. them on too many emails? Do they blow up if you leave even a moment before 5pm? Make sure you are able to navigate these triggers.

Say Something

This one might be the most difficult of all. If you think that your boss isn’t great, the chances of you wanting to have a sit down with them will be pretty small. But some bosses are just used to being in charge and may not know what it is they are doing that isn’t working. It could be that single conversation with your boss will enlighten them to some of the issues they never knew were there.

When it comes to bad bosses, sometimes you can be proactive in learning what you can do help, and sometimes you have to watch where you step. Either way, do what you can to make the best of the situation.

“Don’t listen to what anybody says except the people who encourage you.” – Jake Gyllenhaal

A positive environment is the best thing you can give yourself to ensure success. Actor Jake Gyllenhaal knows this well. His advice to shut out the noise and focus on those who encourage you is smart. Just be careful you don’t take it too far. 

Beware of tunnel vision

When we aim to listen only to those with positive things to say, it can end up that we only listen to those who agree with us. We want everyone to tell us how right we are, and how well we’re doing. This can lead to tunnel vision and a disregard for helpful thoughts. It can lead to us shutting out helpful and constructive advice because we disagree with it. 

Encouragement comes in many forms, and from many people. Friends, family and colleagues can all offer a pat on the back, an encouraging word or a point in the right direction. What it really comes down to, and Gyllenhaal points this out, is what you let yourself listen to. 

The negative stuff can be hard to shut out, because often we worry it’s true. It rarely is. Get rid of those who only have negative things to say, keep those who are filled with encouragement. Figuring out what is helpful and what is harmful can be tricky, but it’ll get easier the more you do it. Negativity has no place in your life, just make sure you don’t throw out constructive criticism at the same time. 

5 Skills Every Graduate Must Have

You’ve left school behind. Now that you’re looking to make it into the work force, present yourself in the best light possible.  That starts with ensuring you have the skills all employers look for.

Decisiveness and Problem Solving

Employers want workers who solve problems on their own and can make decisions that help the company. Lifehack offers a couple ways to develop this skill. Being able to solve problems creatively is an essential skill every graduate should work on.

Team Work

You can be amazing at your job, but if you can’t work with anyone else, and you can’t communicate with them, most of your talents will go to waste. If you want to up your team work abilities, consider working with others in different environments. Recreational sports teams, volunteering and other activities will help you grow this skill. For graduates, focusing on group work you did in school in your cover letter and job interview is a great way to show off this skill.

Organization and Prioritization

When you apply for a job, you’re likely to see something about a fast-paced environment. That they are looking for someone who is organized. Being able to do your job is important. Knowing what to work on and what to put aside is essential. If organization isn’t your strong suit, Wikihow has some tips on developing this skill.

Computer Programs

As a graduate, you’ll probably have this skill taken care of. Knowing your way around a computer is an essential skill for anyone. Make sure you note on your resume the computer programs you’re proficient in. Microsoft Office, Apple iWork and other programs are used constantly in the work place. Don’t stop there, if you know some Adobe Photoshop or iMovie, make sure you mention those as well. 

Technical Knowledge

Do you know your industry inside and out? Do you know what trends are showing up? Do you know about just the job you’re applying for, or are you well versed in the technical aspects of things surrounding the job? The more you know about your job–specifically the nitty gritty stuff–and the work that surrounds it, the better off you’ll be.

The great news for graduates is that you have many of these skills already. Your goal is to grow these skills and make sure you point them out on your cover letter, resume and in your job interview!

What Will You Stop Trying to Do?

In Star Wars Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back, Luke Skywalker is stuck. His ship, an X-Wing, is sunk in the mud and he’s trying to get it out. Yoda is instructing him in the ways of the Force. It’s when Luke says he’ll try to use the Force to get the X-Wing unstuck that Yoda shares this wisdom with Luke. 

The message is kind of harsh. “Give it a try” is common turn of phrase. But Yoda rebukes Luke for not having more confidence. To try is to see how it goes, to test the waters and see what’s possible. Yoda wants Luke to do away with the thought of trying, and to do something.

Trying, failing and giving up is not doing

When you think about it, there’s a deeper truth to what Yoda is saying. In all things, you either do them, or your don’t. Compare setting out to just try with setting out to do and do again until something is done.  In trying, there is a suggestion that if you don’t attain your goal, oh well, you tried. When Yoda tells Luke that this is only do, or do not, he’s telling him that you either accomplish something or you don’t. Trying, failing and giving up is not doing. Trying, failing and trying again until you succeed, that’s doing something.

Yoda’s message is don’t be satisfied with an attempt. Keep on going until you have done what to set out to do.

Commonly Misspelled Words

You worked too hard on your resume and cover letter to have spelling become the deciding point.  Even having a little typo can sink your chances of getting the job, but misspelled words nearly guarantee it. Spell check will pick up most of your typos, but sometimes the ones that sneak in aren’t even misspellings. They’re the correct spelling of a different word. 

When you’re writing your resume and cover letter, make sure you’re spelling the word you intend, correctly. We’ve put together a collection of commonly misspelled words to help you out.

Lose vs. Loose

Lose, with a single ‘o’ is the opposite of win. Loose with the double ‘oo’ is the opposite of tight. One way you can remember this is that with if the word was a belt, having two ‘o’s would make it looser.

Their, There and They’re

This one is so common, and you’ve probably run into it before but we thought we’d go over it one more time. Their is possessive, meaning it owns something. You could say it’s their house, or their idea. There is a direction. You could say his house is over there, or there he goes. There can also be used in a more abstract way, like “There is something I want to talk to you about.” Finally, They’re is a contraction of ‘they are’, as in ‘they’re going to the house’.

Advise vs. Advice

The best way to figure these two out is to say them out loud. Advise rhymes with ‘size’ while Advice rhymes with ‘ice’. Another way to sound this out in your head is to remember that there are plenty of advisors, but there’s no such thing as an ‘adviceor’. 

Then vs. Than

When it comes to these two, they can sound the same. Remember, Then refers to a moment in time, as you can see here: “First we’ll grab a coffee, then we’ll go for a walk.” Than is used in comparisons, “James is taller than Dan.”

A lot vs. Alot

This is one of the most common misspellings we see on resumes and cover letters. A lot refers to many, while Alot isn’t a word at all. Always have a space between the two words and you won’t go wrong. 

For a more visual guide to commonly misspelled words, visit The Oatmeal.