How to Handle Workplace Conflict Like A Pro

Every office has a culture that is very specific to the organization. This culture is made up several variables including the sum of its values, traditions, interactions, etc. One of the biggest contributors to a workplace culture is the people who work there. The thing about people is, they have varying personality types. While this often can cultivate an office space that benefits from the different perspectives, conflict may also arise. It is difficult to distinguish your coworkers from your friends as you spend close to 40 hours a week with them, and attachments are bound to be made. However, when a conflict happens within the office it can be a delicate issue to address as it affects friendships and work relationships, but also could lead to a decrease in office performance. With that being said, you may can see why it is important to deflate any tension. Below are a few simple but effective communications tips to ensure you navigate the negativity like a pro.

Be Objective, B-E Objective

Everyone in the office is working towards a higher company goal, but as mentioned previously, it is hard not to have your “work friends” merge into your personal life. Due to this fact it can often be hard to take off those subjective lenses and be objective. However, it is vital that you do. Don’t get caught up in the subjectivity of the conflict, look at the hard facts of what has happened and focus on those when deciding how to approach your coworker. This is an effective way to make sure the problems are work-related and the lines of work and personal are not being blurred due to a relationship that you may have outside of the office.

Say It Out Loud

You do spend every day with these individuals, when a conflict arises you need to be able to put out the fire quickly. Approach them immediately and privately about the matter at hand. This is an easy way to ensure that those little grievances don’t fester causing everyone a very awkward workday.

Don’t Gossip

Simple and straightforward enough, yes? However, it still needed to be said. When you don’t deal with your coworker directly you risk entering the dangerous snowball effect. When you allow conflict to build over time, it no longer is a quiet problem that you can deal with effectively and quickly. Instead, it becomes a much larger problem for not only you, but also the other coworkers you have chosen to involve.

Know When to Phone a Manager

Typically, you want to try and resolve the matter between yourselves, however there are situations where it becomes vital to notify HR or your superior if the offense takes a more aggressive tone. Be smart with your problem-solving skills, and use this only as a last resort when you feel like you and the opposing party still aren’t seeing eye-to-eye and it’s affecting your daily productivity.

Learning how to be better communicator in the workplace can benefit you regardless of the time you have put in at any job. Learning how to effectively deal with conflict in the workplace can go a long way not only with the other coworker, but for the entire office. Dealing with the situation appropriately encourages a higher employee morale as well as increased productivity. As much no one wants conflict, sometimes it does happen, and being prepared for it can make you a much better team player and overall employee.


Adjusting To Office Culture

In many of our articles we have discussed how to go about applying for a job, building on networking skills and manifesting a great interview. However, what happens when you land the job? Walking into the office for the first time can be both inevitably nerve racking, while also incredibly exciting. Whether it is your first position in an office or you simply made a career change, we are here to offer a few helpful tips to help you navigate a new office culture.

Observation is Key

In your first few days in a new job, you will essentially be showed the general ropes of the office. Make a point to be extra aware of not only the facilities your office has to offer (AKA where the coffee machine is located), but also make sure you are observing the people around the office as well. What are they wearing? Do they bring headphones to work? What is lunch hour like? These are all things that can help you be more prepared in the days to come. Also, in your first few weeks of work your coworkers are bound to notice you as well. Make sure they are observing you for the right reasons, as this will make your transition to the office one of ease.

Smile and Wave Boys, Smile and Wave

I, along with many people I have spoken to, make the huge mistake of forgoing interaction with coworkers. Even if the office culture is a very quiet one, simply saying hello to the people around you can go along way in building office relations. Believe me when I say that while zero human contact may appeal to all of us some days, you are not immune to feeling disconnected from your job. Building even the subtlest relations with your coworkers is a vital part of boosting employee moral.

Do as the Romans Do

While you are walking around the office making your observations, it is important to implement what you observe. For example if everyone in the office is wearing a very professional and conservative outfits, you too should follow suit. Making these small adjustments will help you acclimate to your new surroundings much faster and much easier.

Anytime you start a new position you will have a period of transition, but transition does not have to mean awkward and uncomfortable. Each office will have a completely different vibe that is often built on the foundation of what industry they are in, but these small tips can make a huge difference no matter the office culture.

Mastering Your Follow Up Game

Just like in your personal life, building a new professional relationship takes time and effort. When you feel like your interview has gone well it is important to follow up. Like creating a great resume, the perfect cover letter or learning how to nail questions in an interview, there are few tips and tricks you can follow to make sure you are winning with follow up etiquette.

Make Sure You Follow Up

While this step may seem like it goes without saying, many professionals either completely ignore the follow up process or they wait far to long. It is really important for you to make sure you are being prompt in shooting your interviewer an email or a phone call thanking them for meeting with you. A general rule of the thumb is to follow-up one to two days following your interview. This increases the chances of you making a really lasting impact on your new contact.

Connect on LinkedIn

This is important whether you get the job or not. By simply sending an invitation to connect on LinkedIn, you are working on expanding your professional network. You never know who’s connected to whom, and they may be able to direct you to a new contact that could lead you to a new opportunity, and thus your networking skills grow. In addition, if you have not received word back on the position you want, your interviewer could have an opportunity to browse through more information related to your skills and interests. This is where our LinkedIn series could come in handy for you.

Mention a Memorable Moment

Just like your cover letter and resume, your follow up note should be job specific. In addition to thanking your interviewer it is always an excellent idea to mention something from your conversation, whether it is something you learned about the company or reiterating how you fit into the company mold, make your email or call specific to the employer.

Nailing your follow up can solidify in an employers mind that you take the position seriously and are passionate about working with their team. Following at least one of these tips is sure to increase the level of you follow up game and hopefully help land you a job, or a new connection! Happy job hunting!

4 Tips for Crafting a Resume that Shines

In our last article we discussed the biggest do’s for writing a cover letter that allows you, the job seeker, to lead with your best foot forward. As a follow-up, we’ll share the various ways you can craft a resume that shines. Your resume is often times a one-page document that is supposed to convey to your future employer that you are the perfect fit for the job that they are needing to fill. Talk about pressure! However, crafting a great resume is not as daunting as it seems. Hopefully the following tips help facilitate a little more confidence for you to pitch your skills and objectives to your future employer.

Use Action Words

Always use strong action words, such as created, drove, facilitated, etc­­., at the beginning of a bullet. These strong words allow you to seem like a stronger candidate by showing action and involvement. For example, if you worked in a retail setting for several years, instead of saying, “I helped sell products,” try saying, “Drove sales to meet the store’s goals by xxx%.” You see how that simple leading word conveys an overall more confident and active tone?

Tailor Your Past Work Experiences to Match Your Future Employment Goals

While it is great that you may have had a lot of work experience, it is always better to look at what your employer is listing in the job requirements. Look at your most recent job history and decide what experiences might help sell you as a better candidate. Is your company looking for someone with strong communication skills? Find a way to convey that your past employment has equipped you with the tools needed to excel in this new position. Taking time to do this also allows you as the applicant to feel a stronger sense of confidence in applying for the position. It allows you to have a sense of certainty that you really do possess the skills that this employer needs and is looking for. Automatically your mind set will shift and you will be writing your resume in a better state of mind.

Step Outside of the Usual Format

When thinking in terms of the actual formatting for your resume, do not be afraid to shake it up a little bit. Depending on what field you are trying to get into will ultimately determine how outside of the box you can get with your resume. While sometimes formatting guidelines can be helpful in showing us what to put on an actual resume, it is not always beneficial for us to copy and paste our information into these formats. This creates little interest for the eye when an employer is flipping through stacks of resumes. As long as your resume does appear to be cluttered, sometimes switching up shades of paper and ink can allow your employer to make a mental note of your resume much more effortlessly.

Keep it Snappy

While it is important to accurately convey your awesome talents, it is important to be wise in your word choice so you do not overwhelm the reviewer of your resume. You can say a lot in a few words that have been intentionally selected. Another word of advice is to make sure you are using select terms correctly as improper word usage can create an entirely different meaning to what you are sharing.

A resume is just another piece to the puzzle that needs to be put in place before sending it out unfinished to potential employers. Your cover letter is your first impression; but your resume acts as your selling point. Take one or two of these tips and keep them in mind before you send off your resume. Happy resume building to you!

Three Do’s For Crafting A Great Cover Letter

Perhaps the most daunting task in the job search process, besides the actual interview, is making your skills come together on paper and translate to your future employer what an awesome asset you could be for their team. Making sure that you are able to share your skills with an employer will be a big bonus for you in the hiring process, as a polished cover letter will ultimately make you a more appealing candidate. The cover letter is more often than not the first point of contact that your future employer may have with you. It is important to demonstrate your interest in the specific position, and draw an employer into looking further into you as a candidate. Below are three major do’s that you should take into consideration when thinking about crafting a polished cover letter.

Do Tie in Specific Skills That You Possess from the Open Job Description

While you may not possess every skill that was listed in the job description, chances are you do have several different skills that fit the job description. Focus on explaining how the skills you do possess would allow you to be a great asset to the employer’s current team. One thing to keep aware of is making sure you don’t draw attention to the skills you don’t feel that you possess. You should think of your cover letter as a first impression, it is important that you hone in on what you can do and not what you don’t know how to do yet.

Do Highlight What You Can Do for the Company

Of course any job is a great opportunity for resume building, but in your cover letter you should focus your efforts on honing in on what an awesome asset you could be for this new team. While it is important to express your interest in gaining the experience, but make sure you are crafting your words around what you can do for them.

Do Keep it Short and to the Point

While a blank page is sometimes intimidating, it can be difficult to not fill up a page with fluff. The truth is that a hiring manager will most likely read no more than one page cover letter. The typical rule of thumb is to try and keep your cover letter brief and under one page long. Choose your words carefully and purposefully.

Writing your cover is your first impression, incorporating these tips can make for a really powerful cover letter that is sure to make you stand out amongst the crowd and do you justice as a potential employee.

4 Best Practices of an Effective Networker

Whether this is your first go around searching for a full-time job or you simply wish to add “effective networker” to your arsenal of skills, a few simple tips can never hurt. Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s all about who you know”? Today’s job market is completely saturated with individuals looking for their perfect position. To set yourself apart, you may find it beneficial to have some meaningful connections in the workforce. Even if you don’t plan on working for your specific connection, they may know someone elsewhere who can better assist you. That is what its all about. Networking is an effective web of people who can help you get to where you need to go, and vice versa. I have made it my personal mission to discover and learn the basics of effective networking that can be easily implemented into your arsenal, and they include:

Go Where the People Are

This seems like a no-brainer, right? The only way to meet people is to go where they are. While this seems simple, it can be quite intimidating for most people. Comfort zones are where a lot of individuals like to stay, however it’s the people who dare to be uncomfortable, even for a minute, that end up making those meaningful connections. Next time you are at a work conference attempt to say hello to someone new. Engage them. Fresh out of college? No problem! Think about whom you do know–a professor, an advisor, maybe someone from your internship or your part-time job. Work on these relationships and you will be surprised how much they can help. After all, you never know what connections these individuals have.

Know What you Want

I have spoken to the power of an “elevator pitch” in previous articles, however in the realm of networking, it is especially important. When you introduce yourself to someone, it is important to be able to tell the individual who you are and where you would like to go. Even if this person is a previous connection, being able to explain what you want can help them perhaps connect you with someone that can better assist you.

Work the Room

Ok, you have done it; you are trying something new or you maybe you’re at your very first work conference. The biggest mistake you can make when trying to put yourself out there, is to huddle at a table with the group of people you came with. While these people can be incredibly helpful in introducing you to new people, it is important that you find ways to meet people. Introduce yourself, make a conscious effort to have a conversation and most importantly remember their name so you can connect with them later after the event. Better yet, ask them for a business card!

The Follow Up

After making the initial connection, it is important that within the next few days you follow up. This is where knowing the ins and outs of using LinkedIn can be used to your advantage. Send them a connection invite, and thank them for talking to you. Mention something memorable from the conversation, so they can remember who you are. This will be the step that finalizes the connection you have made.

You’ll repeat each of these steps over and over as you gain new connections and branch out of your comfort zone. Whether you’re attending an event for work or heading to your first career fair, it’s important to remember to not only bring your most professional side to the table, but also be yourself. Authenticity lends to your credibility and can help you network more efficiently than you ever thought possible.

What Does Your Online Reputation Say to Your Future Employer?

In today’s world we share everything at the click of a mouse. We want our friends and family to understand what’s important to us, look at our life experiences and enjoy our latest vacation. We are all constantly connected thanks to smart watches, cell phones, tablets and more. This same sentiment holds true for any employer. Take a minute to search for your name on any search engine. Are you happy or horrified by the results? It is that easy for someone to access a plethora of information that you have willingly or unwillingly shared on the internet. While our intended audience is our family and friends, it is no longer acceptable to ignore the unintended audience, which often times includes future employers. Listed below are some tips for cleaning up your online reputation and help you take ownership of your personal brand.

Who Are You on a Google Search?

Start this process by searching for yourself using any search engine. You may find a large online presence or nothing at all depending upon how active you’ve been. While seeing nothing may appear to be a great thing, this may not be the case. Having zero online presence can be equally as damaging in today’s world. This is when referring back to our article about how to create an effective LinkedIn profile can come in handy. As an active job seeker, you need to be thinking about how your online presence is interpreted by someone that might want to employ you.

How to Increase a Positive Online Presence

Maybe you followed our advice and created a polished LinkedIn profile, but what you want your search results to say about you is not even showing up on the first three pages–let alone the top of the first page. One little secret that can make a huge difference is becoming more active on LinkedIn. Update your profile frequently, reach out to old connections and make an effort to make new ones. This all counts as activity. Another thing you can do is create a website. Whether it is a blog, or a portfolio site, this will increase your chances of ranking higher in the search results, as well as giving you unlimited control in building your own personal brand.

How to Delete a Bad Reputation

It is possible, and often times likely, that you will stumble upon personal information or find an incriminating photo from spring break circa 2010. Are you doomed? No. Luckily search engines, like Google, offer you some relief. Contrary to popular belief, you can petition the Google Webmaster to remove information. Based upon their removal standards, and what you are asking to have removed, Google will be able to remove unwanted information from the search.

While there are many tips and tricks out there, these are the three are a great place to start. Building a positive online presence can seem like a daunting task at first as you wade through past posts, photos and information, but can also be an incredibly powerful method to build your personal brand and have some control of what a future employer sees when they inevitably search for you.

5 Steps To Building An Effective LinkedIn Profile

In my last article I spoke to the importance of why as a job seeker you should be actively using LinkedIn to further excel your hunt for the perfect career. This prompted the important question of, how? How do you go about creating a great professional profile that recruiters find compelling? Below are five tips that are effective in building your LinkedIn profile.

Professional Headshot

It is true what they say; a picture is worth 1000 words. LinkedIn is a website comprised of professionals. This is not a time for your latest selfie of you and your friends. You should aim to have a clean and clear headshot of yourself taken in modest clothing with minimal background distraction. While not every job will be strict with appearance and dress codes, it is best to be marketable to as many recruiters as possible. Your profile picture is the first photo a recruiter will see. Make sure you are well groomed and your headshot says, “Hello, I am your next perfect hire.”

Detailed Work Experience

Think of your LinkedIn profile as your virtual resume. If it’s not something you would be proud to bring to an interview, work at it until it is. The aspect that makes LinkedIn different than a resume is you don’t get to choose what professional might see it. There is a section to fill out your relevant work experience, and provide details of your achievements in each position. A good rule of thumb is to only list information that would aid in showing the goals you achieved and/or responsibilities, and then you can discuss additional information during your interview. Think about the relevance of your experience and try and tailor your information to match the career you are aiming for. In addition to showing your work experience, it’s equally as important to show volunteer work you may have completed. The more information you provide, the more a recruiter can learn about you and determine if you’re a good candidate for an interview.

Completing Your Profile

If you search for articles about making your LinkedIn profile stand out in the crowd, you will see this tip in each article. This speaks to the importance of fully completing your LinkedIn profile. A helpful feature that LinkedIn includes at the top of your profile is your percentage of completion. Take time to follow each prompt and purposefully fill in your content. Think about it this way: if you were a recruiter looking for a potential hire, would you choose the person who has an incomplete, vague profile, or the polished profile that is filled out in detail?

Reaching Out to Current & Prospective Connections

LinkedIn is all about building your network and connecting with professionals, and it’s important to establish new relationships and engage your connections. Send out connection requests to the individuals you have in your professional arsenal. You never know who might endorse one of your skills or write you a raving recommendation that can be displayed on your newly completed profile. Another important thought to keep in mind is, you never know where your connections may lead you. That is the beauty of LinkedIn–the site magnifies what a small world we live in. Use that to your advantage!

Your Elevator Pitch

If you are unfamiliar with an elevator pitch–it’s essentially when you have a short amount of time to tell someone who you are, what you want and why they should have a meeting with you. Underneath your profile picture on LinkedIn you will find a bio section. This is where you should put your pitch into full affect. The benefit of this section is, it increases your potential memorability to a recruiter. Make sure you are clear and concise in this statement–you only have 120 wordsas well as making it unique to your skills.

LinkedIn can easily be a job seeker’s best friend. The tips above are a nice place to begin in building a tool than can make you more attractive to the recruiters in your desired field. Implement them, and watch your professional life flourish!

Is LinkedIn Really That Important?

I first heard about LinkedIn while I was sitting in a classroom listening to my Professor discuss the importance of networking, and he briefly covered LinkedIn. Just as briefly as he touched on the subject of LinkedIn as a networking tool, I forgot about it. Knowing what I do about the tool now, I now know that was a mistake.

It is no secret that Social Media platforms are increasingly becoming the way we connect with one another. We share birthdays, vacations and thoughts with the click of a mouse on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. So if the Internet really is the place we are connecting, why are more people not using LinkedIn? According to a study shared on, the top recruiters for business are “60% more engaged with LinkedIn recruiting tools than the average recruiter”.1 If this is where employers are looking to hire, we should all run, not walk, to either fill out a profile, or improve upon that neglected profile that may be out of date

You’re probably thinking, “I have a profile. This does not apply to me.” While it is true that having a LinkedIn profile is half the battle, using the profile effectively will win the war. In a Forbes article I recently read, the importance of actively using your profile is discussed with the simple explanation that it’s not uncommon for a recruiter to look at your LinkedIn profile to determine whether or not to reach out to you.2

This behavior isn’t a unique scenario, as many recruiters will often review your LinkedIn profile to discover additional work-related information. Whether it is in our personal lives, or a job search, we turn to the internet as a reliable source of information and to seek out everything from restaurant reviews to career information.

Ultimately, networking tools like LinkedIn can help you connect with friends, colleagues and more. Not only can you track connections and stay in touch with professionals in your field, you can consistently form new ones and expand your network. In today’s hyper connected world, you never know who could help you land your dream job.

1. “The Ultimate List of Hiring Statistics”;

2. “Recruiters Say: Avoid LinkedIn at Your Peril”;

Adapting Your Military Skills to Fit Corporate America

After 21 years of service in the military, Mike Bazinet of Grifols knows the struggles veterans face when entering corporate America. Watch the video below as he share his advice on how to adapt to a new environment using skills you learned during military training.

For additional resources and job seeker advice, visit the Social Jobs Partnership on Facebook!

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