Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Is Your Dream Job Seeming More Like a Nightmare

via sites.google.com
Have you ever felt like your career wasn’t satisfying? You studied so hard in school, and you felt sure you made the right decision. Or, you’ve been in your career for years, but you feel like there could be something better.

I had a very outgoing and people-oriented friend that wanted to pursue his career in accounting. After 5 years in school, he found that first job in his field. But something was missing. He enjoyed working one on one with people. Cubicle life wasn’t for him. He felt like he wasted so many years in school and even in his career.

There isn’t a definite way to avoid going into the wrong career. However, there are preventative ways such as online career aptitude tests. My co-worker, Haley Hoskins, worked in the Counseling and Careers services at Stephen F Austin State University. They used TypeFocus and Strong Interests as their aptitude test. There are also free online tests like Visit sixwise.com or livecareer.com.

Whether you are in college trying to figure out your future, or have been working for many years, it’s not too late. Taking a career aptitude test could be a good way to get you that much closer to finding your dream job and keeping your dreams from being a nightmare.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Professional Affirmations

When should you use a letter of recommendation? Should job seekers even use them at all? The answer is… Yes! Use them!

The power of a written or typed personal recommendation from a previous supervisor, boss or professor is a strong tool in the interviewing process. Letters of recommendation say that a professional in your past thought highly enough of you to take the time out of their schedule to write some meaningful words, recommending you for your new position. The entire interview process is basically a chance to try and get to know you in a few short sittings. Unfortunately, your honest personality, work ethic and your overall reputation do not always come off the way you would want it to during those interviews, so why not have your colleagues put in a good word for you? After all, the hard work and dedication put into your path that led you to this point should be recognized and spoken of by others who you previously worked with. On a side note, using letters of recommendation is another resource for the employer to use during the hiring decision, which may give you that extra leg up on the competition!


Friday, June 15, 2012

Social Media – Is it hurting your job search?


Social media seems to be the cure all remedy these days. Searching for your soul mate – use social media. Looking to strike it big with that new hit song you just recorded – use social media. Trying to get cast in that new hit reality show – use social media. Looking to obtain a new career opportunity – you guessed it… social media.

So is social media all it’s cracked up to be?

In many cases it can be an extremely useful tool but when it comes to job searches you may not want to rely so heavily on it. There is something powerful about a face to face interaction that can never be achieved through social media. The chance to look someone in the eye and shake their hand often creates a lasting impression and a stronger bond than an informal introduction through, say, LinkedIn.

With the vastness of the Internet and increasing popularity in social media I sometimes ponder the long term affects that technology will have on communication and ultimately human behavior. We see it every day, the young couple out on a nice dinner date that are both glued to their cell phones. The girl at Starbucks that is without fail always there, laptop glowing in her face and you wonder - does she live here? But before I get too high on my soap box let me clarify my point.

I’m not proposing that you boycott the internet or cancel all of your social media accounts by any means. I’m simply reminding you not to forget about the power that face to face interactions can have. If you find yourself in a rut in your job search, I would recommend to turn off that computer and get out of the house. Network the old fashion way by meeting up with friends or colleagues where you can make real human connections. At the end of the day, the world is still full of people who make decisions… not computers.

Friday, June 8, 2012

How To End Your Interview On A High Note

How you end your interview is just as important as how you’ve answered the questions throughout the interview. It is important to leave the interviewer with the best impression of yourself that you can possibly provide. It is a huge relief to have answered that final question, but don’t bolt out of the room just yet! Below you will find some tips on what you need to do to make a lasting impression.

Have questions for the interviewer ready.
Remember that an interview is an opportunity for both parties to get to know each other. Questions provide the interviewer with insight that you are genuinely interested in the position and the company. Ideally you want to have 3 to 4 questions to ask the interviewer. Some topics that you can ask about are the company’s five year plan, industry growth and career path opportunities.

Ask when you can expect to hear back from them.
If it gets to be the end of the interview and you are unsure on when you will hear back from your prospective employer, it is perfectly okay to ask. This will prevent any unnecessary panic while you wait to hear back.

Ask for contact information.
Follow up is key! In order to ensure that you can reach the people that interviewed you, ask for their business cards or simply write it down in the event that they did not bring any.

Be Excited!
The best impression that you can leave when ending an interview is simply to smile, have a firm handshake and let your prospective employer know that you are excited about this opportunity. If you can transfer your enthusiasm then you can rest assured that you’ve left them with a lasting impression.

Happy Interviewing!

Can I get your contact information? edith.botello@mattressfirm.com


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

90 Day Guarantee (Or your money back!)

90 days seems to be a popular amount of time to accomplish just about anything. Turn on the TV and you’ll see countless ads that boast claims such as “Lose Weight Fast in 90 days” or “Learn to speak Spanish in just 90 Days” or the ever popular “Grow Hair Fast in 90 Days” (or your money back)!

As a job seeker, have you thought about what you can bring in your first 90 days at a new job? If you haven’t, you should. And you should think about it prior to even interviewing with a company. While employers will want to know about your past experiences, they will also want to know what your plan will be if you are selected for their position. Knowing your plan will not only demonstrate your ability to jump right in and take on a new role, but will also demonstrate that you have put thought into the role and how you will be successful.

Not sure what you should do in your first 90 days in a new role? There are many resources you can find online that will help you identify and outline your plan in your first 90 days. Here are a few to check out:



While it may be tempting to commit to a big ole’ plan during your interview, know that the potential employer isn’t looking for your answer in how to solve world-peace in your first 90 days (unless you are applying to the World Peace Organization, then disregard and make sure you have your world-peace-solving plan ready). As many of the resources above will tell you, you want to make sure your plan is realistic, non-offensive (remember that you don’t know nor should you pretend to know what their problems are and what you need to “fix”), and specific enough to demonstrate your understanding of the role. If you can incorporate some company or industry facts into your plan (i.e. research before the interview!), even better. Knowing your 90-day plan will get you that much closer to landing your dream job and starting off on the right foot.

So… Know your 90 day plan. Get the job. Execute the plan. (and hope they don’t ask for their money back).

You can work on your 90 day plan with abby.ludens@mattressfirm.com