When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.
Spring has sprung, and so have some more videos from your local library’s Career
Center. Some highlights for March include a Spanish version of our popular
Walmart application video, a how-to for your first resumé, and how to get
organized with Google Sheets. Take a look at our YouTube channel and see all of
our videos, available ad-free.
Your telephone skills could give a hiring manager a good impression – or a bad
one – before you even have a chance to meet in person. In this video, Certified Resumé Writer Lynnette Lee discusses the do’s and don’t’s of professional communication through voicemails, telephone calls, and phone interviews.
The job search process requires keeping track of lots of information, including
usernames, passwords, websites, dates applied, application status, and
more. Thankfully, there are tools that can help. In this video, Career
Specialist Richard Wright demonstrates how you can use Google Sheets to keep
your job search information organized.
Students and new graduates may find it challenging to create a resumé,
especially if they don’t have much work experience. In this video, Lynnette Lee
takes you step-by-step through the process of creating your first resumé.
If you like slinging hash, frying eggs, or pouring coffee, this is the video for
you. Career Specialist Cynthia Payton shows the step-by-step process of
applying to work for Waffle House.
In this video, Richard Wright demonstrates the online application process for
retail chain Family Dollar, where you can begin a career in the booming retail
Employers ask hypothetical questions to see how you cope with work challenges.
In the Job Interview Questions playlist, we look at different questions and show
you the good – and bad! – ways to answer them. In this video, Anne Nowak and
Lynnette Lee demonstrate how to answer “How would you deal with an impossible
deadline?” in a way that showcases your problem-solving, critical thinking, and
crisis management skills.
En este video, el especialista en carreras André de la Fuente lo guía a través
de una solicitud de empleo para el gigante minorista Walmart.
Written by Case Duckworth
It’s a common, and very frustrating, situation. You scored the new job, it fits your skills and experience perfectly, and you are excited to start. But then, after a few weeks or months, total frustration. What happened? You and your new company have no cultural fit.
Let’s look into the concept of company culture, what it is, why it is important, and how you can research it before you start a new job.
What is Company culture?
Company culture is made up of the values, norms, beliefs, habits, language, and underlying assumptions of an organization. Every organization has a company culture. Sometimes it is carefully crafted and curated, and sometimes it developed more organically. These building blocks have immediate influence on atmosphere and work environment and on work practices. Work practices include:
- Dress code
- Decision making style
- Performance management and promotions
- Flexible hours/home office
- Time off for community service or company-sponsored volunteering
why does it matter so much?
Now it is easily apparent why it is so important that there is a good cultural fit between the employee and their organization. If you like flat hierarchies but your company operates with a top down approach, you will not be productive. If you believe in pay for performance but you work for an employer that gives the same percentage raise to everybody regardless of performance, you will be frustrated. If you hate suit-and-tie but have to wear it every day, you will not feel at ease. The good news is, it is absolutely possible to research some of these determinants of company culture before you accept a new job.
Start with yourself
Before you start researching companies you are interested in, take a step back and start with yourself. In order to assess fit, you first need to be aware of your own priorities. You need to figure out which of the components of company culture listed above are most important to you. Is pay for performance more important than flexible hours or home office? Do dress code and community service trump pay and job content? These values will change over time and depend on the stage of life you are in. But you have to be aware of what is most important or non-negotiable for you.
Researching company culture
Now that you know what is important to you, you can start your research.
- Start with the company website. Check out the “our team” or “who we are” sections. Take a look at how the team is presented. Just picture and title? Or picture, title and some more background information? How are people dressed? Does the site only feature matter-of-fact content? Or do you see pictures from company parties or company volunteer days? What kind of information is displayed on the recruiting site?
- Check and follow the organization’s social media feeds.
- Check the LinkedIn profiles of people who work at your desired organization.
- Search online reviews, for example on www.glassdoor.com.
- Look for articles in professional, business, and industry publications.
- Listen to business podcasts where company leaders and/or founders are interviewed.
- Finally, talk to people who work at your desired employer and ask them about company culture.
All, or even just some, of the steps above will give you some insight into the company culture of a potential employer. And if you previously established your own list of priorities, you will be able to easily compare and contrast to see if an organization might be a fit.
We wish you much success in your job search! If you’d like any help with 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
Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.
Most of us regularly use social media of some sort, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, or LinkedIn. We use these platforms to maintain our connections with friends, keep up with news and local events, and express our ideas and emotions. Yet there’s a hidden danger for jobseekers – your social media image could be making you look unprofessional and sabotaging your employment chances.
employers check social media. . .
Employers want to get as much information as possible before hiring someone, so that they can feel confident they’re making the right choice. Thus, many employers make it a practice to look up candidates online. If they don’t like what they see, they may reject the candidate.
. . .so you should too.
Google yourself, and look yourself up on every social media platform that you use. Use a computer that is not logged into your profile (such as a computer at the library), so that you see what an outsider will see when they look you up online. Make note of what is visible, in terms of your accounts, photos, posts, and comments. Approach it as if you were reading about a stranger – what kind of image do you project? Do you seem like a good potential employee (hard-working, reliable, caring, etc.)? Or do you seem unprofessional, bitter, or high-maintenance?
avoid these common mistakes:
- Inappropriate or risqué pictures, such as images that include alcohol, drugs, people under the influence, scantily-clad people, or high-risk behavior. Anything that makes you look like the life of the party is probably a bad idea – hiring managers don’t want to hire the life of the party; they want to hire responsible professionals.
- Unprofessional or negative posts. Social media is so public that it’s not a safe place to vent about your struggles. For examples, see these real tweets that have cost people job opportunities: “I hate my boss. Take this job and shove it.” “Unemployment isn’t so bad. It will be hard going back to work.” “Sexual harassment rules are so dumb.” “Oh please, everybody lies on their resume.”
- Controversial topics, such as politics or religion, can be risky. Keep in mind, hiring managers may have different beliefs from you. If that’s true – and you’re very vocal online about your beliefs – the hiring manager may decide they don’t want to work with someone they won’t get along with. We are not saying you CAN’T express your beliefs – if it’s very important to you, you may decide that it’s worth the risk. But be aware that your self-expression may be negatively impacting your job search.
how do i fix my online image?
- Un-tag yourself from unflattering photos.
- Delete irresponsible tweets/posts.
- Tighten your privacy settings so that strangers cannot see most of your information.
- Some people even use a false name for personal accounts, so that no one except their contacts can see any of their information.
- Caveat: Even with those precautions, be careful what you post. If someone takes a screenshot of something you post, that can be public and permanent.
what if i have no social media presence at all?
You may decide that the best way to keep a clean image is to avoid the temptation of social media entirely. That may or may not be a good idea, depending on your situation.
- For a job in which you will never need to know how to use social media (such as nurse, truck driver, or prep cook), it’s probably fine to have no online presence.
- For a job that requires you to be tech-savvy (such as IT professional, graphic designer, or librarian), it will look weird to employers if you don’t seem to have any knowledge of or experience with social media technology.
- For a job that involves sales, promotion, or community outreach (such as marketing specialist or fundraising director), you need to showcase your comfort with using social media to reach people.
- If you’re in the corporate world, you need to have a LinkedIn account, or you will not be taken seriously. Your LinkedIn account should focus entirely on your professional life, not your personal life.
- When used correctly, social media can help your job search. Both LinkedIn and Facebook have job search functions built in. Additionally, all social media platforms can be used for networking, which can lead you to job openings you’d never know about otherwise. Also, social media can be a great place to build your personal brand and make yourself look attractive to employers.
If you have further questions about this topic, or if you’d like our help improving your social media image, give us a call at 225-231-3733.
Written by Lynnette Lee
There are many things in life that will catch your eye, but only a few will catch your heart. Pursue these.
If you’re interested in starting your own business and working for yourself, check out this new series we’ve started, in partnership with EBRPL’s Small Business Services office. Case Duckworth will walk you through the free services available to patrons there.
Are you an entrepreneur, or do you want to start your own business? East Baton Rouge Parish Library has a ton of resources for you! This video, narrated by Small Business Services member Case Duckworth, gives an overview of all the resources we have to offer. This video walks through the resources provided in this Info Guide.
Creating a business plan is an important first step in becoming a successful entrepreneur. In this video, Case Duckworth demonstrates how to create a business plan using the Gale Business Plan Builder, available for free to East Baton Rouge Parish Library cardholders.
Amazon is one of the most profitable companies in the world, and they’ve recently moved their fulfillment center in Baton Rouge, as they gear up to open new facilities in Cortana Mall and Port Allen. In this video, Cynthia Payton shows the process for applying for a job with Amazon warehouse facilities.
In this video, Richard Wright discuss how to use Google’s new Jobs feature to find, save, and apply for local job openings.
Landing a job is not the end of your career journey – just the beginning of the next stage. In this video, Anne Nowak discusses how to start a new job on the right foot, to ensure that you succeed in your new environment.
The resumé is a crucial step in your application process – when done well, it opens the door for interviews. When done poorly, however, it is a Deadly Sin of Job Searching. In this video, Anne Nowak discusses the most common resumé mistakes and how to avoid them.
This question can feel like a trap, because it seems to focus on failures and weaknesses. However, as Anne Nowak and Lynnette Lee demonstrate in this video, you can use this question to focus on the skills and wisdom you’ve learned through your experiences.
Written by Case Duckworth
I was once afraid of people saying, ‘Who does she think she is?’ Now I have the courage to stand and say ‘This is who I am.’
Congratulations, you made it through the application process and scored the new job! Now you want to make sure to start the new role off right.
Before your actual start date
Before your first day, you want to research the organization again. Check out if there is any recent big news such as leadership changes, acquisitions, new patents, new products, etc. You also want to read up on your new colleagues. Search them out on LinkedIn to see if you can establish any commonalities with some of them (for example, having attended the same college or having a previous employer in common). Sharing these experiences will make an easy segue to get to know your new colleagues.
Another easy way to make a good first impression is to talk to your new supervisor and ask them if there is anything specific you can do to prepare for your first day. Maybe they have an important deadline coming up where it could make a real difference if you hit the ground running.
The first days
You want to have a beginner’s mind; be open and eager to learn. Even though you might be an expert in your role, don’t barge in and let them know that you know everything better and will show them how it’s done. It’s important to first observe and learn how things are done in the new organization.
Good communication is always of utmost importance but especially early in a new job. Early on you want to discuss and establish the following with your supervisor and/or team:
- Priorities and upcoming deadlines
- Gauge the preferred communication style, e.g. regular structured feedback vs. ongoing feedback
- Expectations and objectives
- Metrics to measure achievement of objectives
The first weeks and months
Spend some time networking within your company. Go to lunch with people, mingle at the water cooler, speak up in meetings and be proactive and display a can-do-attitude. The more colleagues you have good relationships with and the more coworkers know about you and what you do, the better for your career. Relationships with the right people are the key ingredient to promotions and career success (of course you also want to be known for your stellar work product).
We wish you much success in your new job! If you’d like any help with 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.
Written by Anne Nowak
If you want to achieve greatness, stop asking for permission.