To be a great champion you must believe you are the best. If you’re not, pretend you are.
A new month, a new playlist on the Career Center YouTube channel! This month, we’ve started covering how to create accounts in various job search websites, and how to use them to supercharge your career. We’ve also uploaded a video on when it can be a good idea to include infographics in your resumé, and another tip for when you get the interview.
Job search websites can be a very useful tool to help jobseekers find openings. In this video, Lynnette Lee takes an in-depth look at the ins, outs, pros, and cons of Indeed, one of the largest and most popular job search engines.
Glassdoor is a unique website – in addition to posting job openings, Glassdoor can provide jobseekers with information about companies, salaries, and interviews. In this video, Anne Nowak take an in-depth look at how you can use this website in your job search.
Customer service is a key part of many jobs, so employers will want to know your approach for dealing with difficult customers. In this video, Anne Nowak and Lynnette Lee demonstrate some of the common pitfalls for answering this question, as well as what you might say instead.
Most people tend to think of resumes in terms of words – but it’s useful to pay attention to design as well. In some situations, an image-based resume can be more eye-catching and effective than a traditional text-based resume. In this video, Anne Nowak takes a close look at infographic resumes – what they are, how you can format them, and when they would (and would not) be appropriate.
Written by Case Duckworth
“i do my job, so why don’t they like me?”
Sometimes in the Career Center, we see patrons who aren’t sure why they’re having such a rough time in the working world. Often, they have difficulty keeping a job, or they seem to constantly be in trouble at work. Sometimes, they complain about their bosses not liking them, their co-workers excluding them, or generally not fitting in.
There are many reasons that could be happening, but the most common one, we’ve found, is that these patrons don’t know the “unwritten rules” of the workplace. These unwritten rules discuss behaviors which, while you’ll never find them listed in a job description, are always a good idea on the job. Following these rules can help you start a job on the right foot, get along with co-workers, make a good impression on boss, and generally succeed in your career.
The 6 unwritten rules of the workplace
This information was adapted from the seminar “Preparing At-Risk Youth for Workplace Success”
by Dr. Steve Parese of Workin’ It Out Training. Please visit their website for more information about their soft skills training classes.
- Work comes first. Personal issues shouldn’t get in the way. This can be difficult, because you do have a life outside of work, and that’s perfectly normal. But make sure that life doesn’t interfere with your job. Ask yourself – are you constantly talking about your personal life at work? Do you have issues in your personal life that are affecting your attendance, reliability, productivity, or attitude? If so, your personal life is getting in the way of your job.
- Don’t get involved in other people’s problems. As an extension of the previous rule – in addition to keeping your personal issues out of the way, make sure you don’t let other people’s personal issues get in the way of work either. Avoid gossip and rumormongering. If you have co-workers who bring drama to the job, stay out of it. Their business is none of your business. Work is not a social club or a high-school clique, and behaving as if it were can backfire and make enemies for you.
- Try to fit in. Don’t act or dress TOO different from everyone else. Observe what everyone else is doing – does everyone in the department dress a certain way? What are the popular topics of conversation among your co-workers? What sorts of personalities, attitudes, and work styles are most common? The more you align yourself with the group, the more you’ll fit in with your co-workers. Of course, you’re a unique individual, and you’re not going to be exactly like anyone else at the company. But if your personal culture is vastly different from the company culture, you’re going to have trouble making a good impression.
- Stay busy (or at least LOOK busy) the whole time you’re at work. If you finish your work ahead of time, that’s great! But sitting around doing nothing for the rest of your shift. . .that’s a bad look. Your boss is not likely to think, “How efficient of that employee to finish their work early!” No, probably, your boss is going to think, “How lazy of that employee to do nothing. Why am I paying them for this?” Now it’s only human to occasionally need some downtime, but if you’re going to goof off at work, do so in such a way that no one can tell you’re goofing off. Perception is key.
- Do what they ask, even if you don’t want to. No boss ever wants to hear, “I’m not doing that. That’s not in my job description.” If you’re not willing to go above and beyond occasionally, that suggests an uncooperative, do-the-bare-minimum attitude. Please note, however, that we are NOT suggesting that you let a boss bully you into doing something dangerous, inappropriate, or illegal. In that case, you can absolutely stand up for your rights as a worker. However, it’s probably a good idea to agree to perform any task that could reasonably be expected of an employee in your position or department.
- Work is not always fun. That’s why they pay you. This reinforces every previous rule. Staying busy, fitting in, doing unpleasant tasks, and avoiding personal issues – none of that sounds fun. But that’s the point – work isn’t a fun recreational activity; otherwise you’d do it for free. Even the best, most fulfilling job in the world will occasionally include things you don’t want to do. A true professional accepts this.
- Jasmine works as a cashier at Winn Dixie. At a slow point, her boss asks her to clean up a spill in the soda aisle. She ignores him.
- What she’s thinking: “I’m a cashier, not a janitor. He shouldn’t tell me to do stuff that’s not my job. I hate the way he bosses me around.”
- What her boss is thinking: “If she’s just standing there doing nothing, I’m going to ask her to help out. She thinks the rules don’t apply to her, but we all have to do the work that needs doing.”
- What unwritten workplace rules apply to this situation?
- What would you advise Jasmine to do?
- Carlos works on the lawn care crew at Radisson Hotel. His boss tells him to take out his piercings and cover up his tattoos. Carlos is angry.
- What he’s thinking: “It’s my body; I should be able to look how I want. What does my nose ring have to do with my ability to cut grass?”
- What his boss is thinking: “Our company must maintain a certain image. Our guests expect the staff to look professional. All those piercings and tattoos may scare or offend people.”
- What unwritten workplace rules apply to this situation?
- What would you advise Carlos to do?
If you would like further assistance with these soft skills, please call us at 225-231-3733, email our Career Coach at email@example.com, or visit our YouTube channel.
Written by Lynnette Lee
The secret of joy in work is contained in one word—excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.
When you need to update your resume and search online for resume templates, you will come across plenty of colorful templates with snazzy graphics. They look much more interesting than those black-and-white Word documents, and they are easy to fill out. So what can go wrong? Actually, a good bit. It turns out that each resume format has its time and place.
These are examples of infographic style resume templates:
(MS Word template)
They use graphic design elements throughout the document and sometimes, as in the canva.com template, they even substitute whole resume sections with design elements. They are attractive to look at and draw a reader in quickly. But there are some definite drawbacks to this resume format. Let’s look at the pros and cons:
Pros of an infographic resume:
- It’s eye catching
- It packs a lot of information onto one page
- It showcases creativity
Cons of an Infographic Resume:
- A number of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) cannot read infographic resumes! This is by far the biggest and most important drawback of this format. There are dozens of different kinds of applicant tracking software out there. Some can read information contained in graphic elements and many cannot. Since you, as the applicant, usually don’t know which kind of software you are applying with, it is better to be safe than sorry and not use an infographic resume when applying online!
- These kinds of templates can be hard to manipulate. If your specific situation doesn’t quite fit the template and you want to change out or substitute certain sections, that might prove to be hard to do.
Text based resumes
These are examples of text based resumes. Both are entirely fictional persons and the templates can be found on our website.
Text based resumes are usually created in MS Word or Google Docs. They are more traditional, although it is perfectly ok to use colors to spice it up a bit. They look more boring at first, but they also have definite advantages:
Pros of a Text-Based Resume:
- It is ATS-friendly. All applicant tracking software can read Word resumes (however, do beware of headers/footers, textboxes and complicated tables; those can sometimes not be read).
- It is easier to adapt to individual situations. It is very easy in a Word document to switch the “Education” and “Professional Experience” sections around for example, or to add and subtract whole sections.
Cons of a Text-Based Resume:
- Can look boring
- Can be text heavy
Use an infographic style resume if:
- You are in a creative career/field
- For networking events where you can pass on hardcopies to other people
- You use it as an email attachment
Use a text-based resume if:
- You are uploading it to an online application
- You are in a more traditional field/company
If you’d like any help with writing your resume, your job search or career development, the Career Center is here to help. Contact us at 225-231-3733 or at www.careercenterbr.com or check out our YouTube channel at careercenterbr.com/youtube.
Written by Anne Nowak
If you genuinely want something, don’t wait for it–teach yourself to be impatient.
It’s been a rainy April, but as they say, those showers bring May flowers. Hopefully, your search for a new career will start to bloom this spring, too! Of course, we here at the Career Center are ready to serve as a little job-search fertilizer too. Here’s the videos we’ve made this month to help you out.
In this video, Richard Wright walks you through the process of applying to the fast-food giant, Taco Bell.
If you’re interested in getting valuable IT training which is quick and cheap, you’ll want to check out this video by Richard Wright. Google Career Certificates provide low-cost training in high-demand technical skills which can qualify you for entry-level jobs in information technology.
IBM and Baton Rouge Community College have teamed up to offer a series of online courses and trainings, for free, to Baton Rouge residents. In this video, Anne Nowak shows you how to sign up for SkillsBuild and some of the resources it offers.
Social media is more than just a way to stay connected – it is a crucial part of the job search. Clever jobseekers can use social media to open doors find job openings. But if left unchecked, your social media image could harm your chances. In this video, Anne Nowak discuss the best ways to manage and leverage your social media accounts while job searching.
Written by Case Duckworth
It’s better to move forward at a snail’s pace, than backward at any pace.
Ahh, technology. It can make communication so much faster, easier, and more convenient. But if used improperly, it can also give the wrong impression. It’s important for all professionals, especially those currently on the job hunt, to make sure they’re using technology to present a positive image of themselves. Recently, we posted an article about Social Media Etiquette for Jobseekers. Today, we follow that up with the dos and don’ts of email and telephone etiquette.
be easy to get in touch with
If you make it too difficult for hiring managers to get ahold of you, they’re going to move to the next name on their list. Follow these tips:
- Ensure that your email and voicemail are both in working order, and that your mailboxes are not full. You would hate for a hiring manager’s message to bounce back and be unable to reach you.
- Make sure that your name is featured in both your email address and your voicemail message. That way, the hiring manager will be assured that they’re reached the right person.
- Check your email and voicemails at least 3 times a week while you’re job hunting. Respond to messages promptly. Otherwise, you may miss opportunities for interviews.
Choose your email address carefully
Your email address is one of the first pieces of information a hiring manager will see about you. Make sure it gives a good first impression. If your email address does not meet the qualifications below, you can create a new email account which you use only for job searching.
- The best email addresses for the job search are simple – they include your name and not much else. Examples: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Do not use an email address that could be seen as suggestive or offensive, such as email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Avoid using an email address that highlights your personal interests, unless those interests are relevant to the job. For example, email@example.com might work if applying to a cat shelter, but not really for anything else.
- Make things easy on the hiring manager – avoid email addresses that are difficult to type (such as firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Don’t confuse the hiring manager by giving an email address with someone else’s name on it.
- Beware of age discrimination: it can be dangerous to use the year of your birth in your email address (such as email@example.com). Also, be aware that certain older email domains, including aol.com, hotmail.com, and bellsouth.net, are seen as old-fashioned by some hiring managers.
write like a professional
- Treat every email you send to a hiring manager as if it’s being graded by your strictest English teacher. Use perfect spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and grammar. If this is not your strength, you may want to get someone to proofread your message before you send it.
- Use language which is more formal than casual. Steer clear of abbreviations such as “u r” for “you are.” Do not use slang, emojis, multiple exclamation points, etc.
- Start with a formal greeting – such as “Dear Mr. Jefferson” – and end with a closing and signature – for example, “Thank you for your time, James Madison”.
- The first email you send to a hiring manager counts as your cover letter. It needs to include all the information a cover letter normally contains, such as what job you’re applying for, details of why you’d be a great fit for the job and why you’re excited about it, and where you are in the application process.
- Double-check before you hit “send” – did you remember to attach your resume?
sound like a professional
- Make sure your outgoing voicemail message is appropriate. If your message is more funny than serious – or if you have an impersonal, machine-generated message – change it.
- Tone of voice is crucial when you’re having a phone conversation with a hiring manager. Smile and sound enthusiastic. Also, they won’t hire you if they can’t understand you, so make sure that you speak slowly and clearly.
- Be careful to use proper grammar, avoiding slang or casual expressions.
- If they call at a bad time – when you’re someplace noisy or distracting – let it go to voicemail and call them back later.
- If you have a phone interview scheduled, set aside a quiet place with good reception. (You can call 225-231-3733 to book our conference room for a phone interview.) Have your resume and notes in front of you – a phone interview is like an open-book test.
If you have any more questions about email or telephone etiquette for jobseekers, don’t hesitate to call us at 225-231-3733.
Written by Lynnette Lee
When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.