Tag: jobipedia.org

What To Do With a Toxic Work Environment

The following post originally appeared on the Jobipedia blog and is being shared with permission from the HR Policy Foundation.

picture of board room

“I hope this meeting goes well. If not, at least I know I tried.”

Even in the most promising jobs or careers, the potential for a negative work environment unfortunately exists. Sometimes it’s disagreements with a coworker, pressure from a boss, or just general awkwardness that leads to an environment feeling uncomfortable and stressful.

If you find yourself in a toxic environment, don’t assume that your only option is to leave your job to find a new one. Here are some tips for what to do with a less-than-ideal working world.

Use your words well and wisely

Many negative situations can be resolved with good communication. Set up a meeting with the person you are having an issue or conflict with, and resolve to clearly communicate how you are feeling and how you think the situation can be resolved. Be sure not to attack or criticize, but instead come from a positive perspective geared toward resolution.

Sue, a hiring expert from Gap, Inc. adds this insight: “If you can articulate the different points of view on an issue, acknowledge the conflict, and decide together how to handle it, you can build trust and avoid future conflict.”

Keep your emotions in check

It can be so easy to get worked up over things that feel stressful and uneasy, but bringing emotions into the picture will only complicate things further.

Susan, a hiring expert from Praxair gives her advice for how to handle a meeting with someone who is causing tension: “Smile and be at ease during the meeting.  Don’t raise your voice, and don’t cry.” (View Susan’s full response)

Be humble and willing to admit your own faults or weaknesses

In having conversation with coworkers or supervisors who you feel are creating a stressful environment, you may find that you too are partially responsible. If this happens, don’t get instantly defensive or aggressive, but instead listen respectfully to the feedback you are given and be gracious toward them in response. Take time privately to internalize the feedback and create a personal plan of action for how you can take ownership and work toward a better environment as well.

Act in a timely manner

It is so much better to resolve issues quickly after they arise than to let things go unresolved while frustration builds. As soon as it is possible, find a time to privately meet with any coworker or boss who has been involved in a negative situation or conversation.

Find ways to connect or collaborate

Sometimes, the reason issues arise in the workplace is simply because of miscommunications or unintentional disconnects. There are many factors that play into working relationships, so finding ways to connect with your coworkers and supervisors will be helpful to making them the best they can be. Compliment a coworker, ask about their weekend, share a favorite lunch recipe, or find other ways to build a safe and neutral common ground. Doing so will hopefully help to ease any work-related tension that might arise and create a friendly foundation between you and the people you work with.

Realize that compromise is crucial

Neil, a recruiter for Schwan’s, shares this advice: “Remember that not all solutions will go in your favor and that compromise is the key.” (View Neil’s full response)

Again, remember that humility and graciousness will go a long way in resolving conflict in your workplace.

It will take serious effort to build a better work environment after it has been soured, but it is possible. If you can rise above what is negative or toxic and approach things with an unemotional and humble attitude, you will be well on your way to resolving issues. Not to mention it will make your workplace happier and healthier overall.

Jobipedia.org is a free career advice website that was developed specifically for entry-level job seekers. The website offers unparalleled access to hiring and recruiting managers from Fortune 500 companies. The contributing hiring experts personally write every answer to user-submitted questions. Their advice is invaluable because they interact with prospective hires on a daily basis, review resumes, conduct interviews and are involved in the process of deciding which candidates to hire.

How to Change Careers

The following post originally appeared on the Jobipedia blog and is being shared with permission from the site.

young man gazing to his right

“Why did I major in finance?? I realize now that my passion is advertising.”

 

Changing careers is common for many people. Whether you’ve simply discovered you actually hate your current career path or your industry has made it impossible for you to continue being employed. It doesn’t matter if you’re in your twenties or fifties, when you change careers it often means starting over.

How do you transition careers successfully?

Changing jobs is difficult, but changing careers can be an overwhelming undertaking. We wanted to know what our hiring experts believed about switching careers—namely how to transition careers well.

Sara, a hiring expert from American Express, gave this very insightful take on career change, “First, focus on building your knowledge of your areas of interest by networking with individuals in your company to learn more about the work that they do. If Marketing [for example] is a focus for you, then seek out people in that area to learn about their projects, the day to day, core skill sets and talent attributes.

Once you have determined this is where you want to focus, analyze your current and previous work and role to see where the alignment of skills and experience are with Marketing or your chosen focus area. Be sure to recognize gaps and either be prepared to address them in an interview or find ways to build these skills and experience.”

(View Sara’s full response)

Following Sara’s advice is important to understanding some on the job realities that no classroom or book will accurately communicate. The point is to gather as much information as possible and learn at an accelerated rate so you can put yourself in line with other individuals in that field.

How do you put a resume together for your newly desired career, when most of your experience is in a completely unrelated field?

Steve, an expert from Caterpillar, gave this advice when it comes to tailoring your resume for a career change, “Any time that you are applying for a position for which you do not possess a great deal of on-the-job experience, it is critical for you to structure your resume in a way that emphasizes the other aspects of your background. Next, you should focus on your leadership experience and other types of activities in which you participate on campus, in the community, at church, etc. In particular, focus on any leadership roles that you have assumed in these activities.  These activities are important to list, in my opinion, as they speak to your character and the type of person that you are. This is what could differentiate you from other candidates.”

(View Steve’s full response)

Changing careers can be challenging, and it can cause a great amount of anxiety. However, it can also be exhilarating and life changing. The keys to making the change will be allowing yourself enough time to gather the kind of knowledge necessary to make the jump, and utilizing your existing network to get where you want to go. And if you feel like making a career change is impossible, just remember what Walt Disney once said, “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”

 

Jobipedia.org is a free career advice website that was developed specifically for entry-level job seekers. The website offers unparalleled access to hiring and recruiting managers from Fortune 500 companies. The contributing hiring experts personally write every answer to user-submitted questions. Their advice is invaluable because they interact with prospective hires on a daily basis, review resumes, conduct interviews and are involved in the process of deciding which candidates to hire.

How To Work With People You Genuinely Dislike

The following post originally appeared on the Jobipedia blog and is being shared with permission from the site.

two girls on bench reviewing offensive email

“Can you believe she sent me that email!?!?”

The workspace can be a place of inspiration and joy, filled with people who you deeply appreciate. Your office can also be a drudgery littered with various individuals who you’d rather not see twice let alone every day. The harsh reality of working with someone you don’t like on a regular basis can be difficult to navigate.

We wanted to get advice from our experts on how to handle these types of situations. Here are a few bits of advice to help you discern how to alleviate any kind of unpleasant workspace union.

Chris from The Schwan Food Company said, “Conflicts with co-workers are not uncommon. The best way to handle these is between you and that person. If you feel that you are unable or do not feel comfortable confronting that person then you should bring your supervisor into the situation. It is in their best interest to resolve the problem as quickly as possible and find a solution.

(Read Chris’s full response here >>)

Chris gives great advice. Nell at Pitney Bowes offered additional insight, “The good news is you are not alone. Many people face this same struggle at their work. With so many different personality types, deadlines and overtime, it is inevitable that personalities will clash. My advice to you is to avoid the “grass is greener” mentality. There is no guarantee that you will like everyone at another job. I have some thoughts for you on this topic:

  • Surround yourself with the people that you do like. This will help you enjoy your time better at work.
  • Try to find a common ground with the person that you dislike, maybe you have different views professionally but you may have a common love for a sports team or hobby. This could help build a foundation to help the working relationship.
  • Avoid ever talking bad or gossiping about this person. This will create an even more toxic environment.
  • Do occasional acts of kindness for this person. This can also be a bridge to a relationship that can go a long way professionally.”

(Read Nell’s full response here>>)

At some point in time you will inevitably work with someone who you don’t get along with. The key is to work through your disagreements, communicate and find common ground. You both probably want to keep your jobs, so at the very least try to find some sense of unity in the workplace. Overcoming your dislike won’t be easy, but you’ll earn the respect of your coworkers and learn how to engage someone who’s difficult. And while confrontation is never easy, it’s better to deal with it professionally than let it linger.

Jobipedia.org is a free career advice website that was developed specifically for entry-level job seekers. The website offers unparalleled access to hiring and recruiting managers from Fortune 500 companies. Our contributing hiring experts personally write every answer to user-submitted questions. Their advice is invaluable because they interact with prospective hires on a daily basis, review resumes, conduct interviews and are involved in the process of deciding which candidates to hire.

Does Your Job Interview Really Hinge On The First Impression?

The following post originally appeared on the Jobipedia blog and is being shared with permission from the site.
man with face against glass

If you only had seconds to convince a hiring manager to hire you, what would you say? What would you do? Depending upon what study you read you’ll get differing time frames of how quickly a hiring manager makes a decision to hire you or not, but it seems the general consensus is under 15 seconds. We wanted to know if that same highly publicized time table was accurate for our experts.

Stephanie from AT&T said, “An interviewer can’t know that you’re the right candidate in 15 seconds, however he or she could feel like they know you’re *not* the right candidate in that amount of time. Meaning, it’s easy to blow it early on by dressing inappropriately, being late, not being prepared with copies of your resume, failing to exude energy and interest, and overall portraying mannerisms that are not a match for the job. Assuming you’ve mastered all of those points, it should take the entire interview length (plus several more interviews in some cases) to evaluate your qualifications against other good candidates.”

(Read the full response  and more on Jobipedia.org)

Here are some general rules that will help you master the first impression and set you up for a successful interview:

  • Smile. When you meet the individual who is going to be hiring you smile. Smiling communicates that you are warm and personable.
  • Firm Handshake. It’s cliché, but a firm handshake lets the hiring manager know you are confident.
  • Eye Contact. Keeping good eye contact is also a great indicator that you are sure of yourself.
  • Dress professionally. Be sure and dress the part. It’s better to show up over dressed than under dressed.
  • Shower. Make sure you’ve showered recently, there’s nothing worse than smelling bad when you’re initially meeting someone.
  • Speak Clearly. Articulate your greeting and don’t address the interviewer with slang. Really, avoid using any slang throughout your entire interview unless it’s somehow related to the position you’re interviewing for.

Your first impression is vital because you can ruin your chances of getting hired in the first few seconds, but you’re not going to win the job in that limited timeframe. As always, prepare thoroughly and the initial greeting will be a footnote of the interview.

Jobipedia.org is a free career advice website that was developed specifically for entry-level job seekers. The website offers unparalleled access to hiring and recruiting managers from Fortune 500 companies. Our contributing hiring experts personally write every answer to user-submitted questions. Their advice is invaluable because they interact with prospective hires on a daily basis, review resumes, conduct interviews and are involved in the process of deciding which candidates to hire.

What advice would you share for making a good first impression?

The Balancing Act Of Vacation Time

The following post originally appeared on the Jobipedia blog and is being shared with permission from the site. vacation time image

“No calls. No emails. No meetings. Just me and the horizon. I’m so glad I took the day off.”

 

 

Vacation time can be a difficult subject to deal with in the workplace. Most companies have a set amount of paid time off based on various elements that designate a person’s ‘right’ to more or less vacation. Other organizations famously have no limit on vacation time. No matter what your corporate culture is like, navigating time off can be difficult. While vacation can be refreshing and life giving, it also takes you out of the office and makes you unavailable. We wanted to know based on our expert’s experience and expertise how best to utilize your allotted time each year.

Can you take a vacation within the first 6 months on the job?

Megan from ADM said in response, “If you already had a vacation booked or know that you will need a particular day off, it is usually negotiable with your manager but it also depends on the company policy. It is valuable for you to be in the office especially if you are learning a new position, but most managers understand that things do come up or a vacation may have been scheduled before you took the position.”
View full response.

Is using vacation time valuable to my career or should I work more and take less time off?

An expert from Mutual of Omaha, Kacie, said, “Taking time off is not a negative thing and can increase an employees productivity upon their return. Each company is different, so I would be sure to have open communication with your manager and ask what is expected as far as time off, especially in the starting months.”

Dana from ManpowerGroup answered with this very insightful response, “I would take all of the PTO you are given. If you get three weeks a year, take all three weeks. It’s important for you to have that balance, and establish this as a priority for your wellbeing. The only cautionary note would be to make sure you are not taking it all at once (unless they’ve told you this is OK), or during a “high season” when a lot of senior employees are off. You may need to be strategic about when you use your vacation time, to ensure adequate coverage for your team.”
View full response.

Jobipedia.org is a free career advice website that was developed specifically for entry-level job seekers. The website offers unparalleled access to hiring and recruiting managers from Fortune 500 companies. Our contributing hiring experts personally write every answer to user-submitted questions. Their advice is invaluable because they interact with prospective hires on a daily basis, review resumes, conduct interviews and are involved in the process of deciding which candidates to hire.

We want to hear from you! What do you think? Do you take all of your PTO days? How to you make the most out of your vacation time?

Should You Change Your Cover Letter for Every Job You Apply For?

Cover letters commonly supplement resumes as a way to reflect your interest in a particular organization and further elaborate on relevant skills and experience. If you’re applying for several jobs, modifying your cover letter can become very time consuming. Is it really worth changing your cover letter for every job you apply for?

In response to a job seeker looking for feedback on this issue, experts from companies like Gap Inc., Textron, Merck and Praxair agree that customizing your cover letter is definitely the way to go.

A hiring expert from Textron shared the following advice:

I definitely think it is a good idea to tailor your cover letter for the jobs you apply for. Doing so gives the employer the impression that you are specifically interested in their company and not just mass-marketing your resume. It shows that you are investing time and effort into your career and into the opportunity. A good cover letter will include the following paragraphs:

  • Where you heard about the job and what interested / inspired you to apply  – this helps the employer see a connection between you and the job that they will want to explore further on your resume.
  • Specific details about your knowledge, skills, abilities and accomplishments – while this content can be used for different employers, you will want to make sure you are highlighting those directly related to this job and company.
  • Summary/conclusion of how your background will benefit the position and the company – again, this will intrigue the employer to find out more.

This and hundreds of job seeker questions have been addressed on the website jobipedia.org by individuals who actually recruit and make hiring decisions. One of the unique aspects of the website is that all questions have a minimum of three answers to reflect different perspectives and industries. Please visit jobipedia.org for the full post with all of the employer responses.

Jobipedia.org is a public service provided by the HR Policy Association to bring together career service professionals and top tier recruiters to help first-time job seekers and recent graduates get hired and succeed in the first steps of their professional careers. The site was developed to be a highly credible resource where candidates can safely ask questions and quickly receive the most honest, useful and timely information from hiring experts at some of America’s largest companies.

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