How We Help

Express works with you to help you find that next career. We offer access to our extensive client network, third-party salary negotiation, complete confidentiality, one-on-one consultations, résumé review and assistance, as well as interview enhancement tips.

Learn more. 

Entries in boss (9)

Tuesday
Mar102015

BE A LEADER IN ANY ROLE

You don’t need a big corner office or a fancy title to be a leader. You just need the qualities that all leaders possess. Whether you’re a young intern or a top manager, you can hone your leadership skills now and make an impact on your company and your career.

Good leadership is not only vital to a company’s success, but to every individual employee as well. Explaining and understanding what leadership is can be easier said than done, but the good news is that everyone–from the youngest intern to the veteran manager–can learn the essential skills.

How to Develop Your Inner Leader
You don’t have to wait until you’re in the modern workforce to become an effective leader. In fact, the best time to start learning those modern management techniques is before you even go to your first job interview.

Don Betz is president of the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO), and its Leadership Central initiative is designed to provide, deliver, and support leadership enterprises on UCO’s campus. The leadership initiative enhances education through communication training, ethics, collaboration, and more. According to Don, there are some major factors that play into a new hire’s ability to sink or swim when it comes to leadership.

“The most important reason that new hires fail is that they do not listen, they don’t communicate, they aren’t ‘coachable,’ they can’t critically analyze, and they don’t ask the important questions,” said Betz. “Those are basic leadership qualities, and that’s what employers look for.”

Start Early
To learn how to lead even if you don’t hold an executive position at work, volunteer for a nonprofit organization or join a club. These groups, like churches and school organizations, are full of opportunities to lead on committees, projects, or events. They are great starting places for future leaders.

“There are hundreds of organizations on school campuses that can help hone those skills,” said Betz. “In an organization, especially if that organization has a large event, you have to learn to communicate, collaborate, and take on leadership roles. You will be absolutely astounded at what you can learn to do.”

Look for Opportunities
Train your brain to identify every opportunity to demonstrate your potential as a leader in both your professional and personal life.

“Lead by example. Be the first person in and last person out, and hustle harder than everyone else,” said Kyle Golding, CEO and chief strategic idealist for The Golding Group, a strategic planning and business development firm.

Remember not to get ahead of yourself. Don’t give up on big ambitions, but also focus on excelling in your current position, giving as much effort to the present as to the future.

Study Other Leaders
Find people in your office that you admire and study them. Ask them how they developed their leadership style, how they reached their current position, and any tips they can share.

If you are too shy to approach your co-workers or leaders, study the way they interact with others. Or, pick up one of the many books about leadership and give it a read.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re employed or not, you can find examples of great leaders,” Golding said. “Study the way they act, the way they think, and start implementing their ideas. It doesn’t matter if they are in your field or not. All leaders have a style that makes others want to follow them.”

Know Your Stuff
As an intern or a new hire, you can make an immediate impact as a leader by supporting your bosses and the company in reaching goals. The simplest way an intern or a new hire can flex the leadership muscle is by knowing as much about the company as possible.

“Never go in unprepared,” Betz said. “Know your skills, but also study the company and their ideals, values, and goals. Be approachable, be warm, ask the good questions, and demonstrate a good work ethic.”

Keep Learning
Leaders also take the initiative to grow and learn. A good leader has a curious and open mind, and so should you. Leaders think outside of the box, are open to new and exciting ideas, and listen to what others suggest.

You can share those qualities no matter what position you are in. If you want to move up, volunteer to learn something out of your current job description.

“Ask questions, but ask solid questions,” Golding said. “This shows you have an understanding of your role – no matter how small – in the big picture of the company.”

Offer to Help
Needless to say, offering your help is the quickest way to be noticed and appreciated. If your company is facing a challenge, ask how you can help. No matter your role in the company, you can make a real difference.

“Companies look for that special enthusiasm and spark that goes well beyond the resume,” Betz said.

Practicing important qualities of a leader like taking initiative, offering to help, or learning from your superiors will add value to your career and your company. So, take the time to learn these skills and you’ll shine when opportunities for advancement arise.

How do you display leadership skills in your life? Let us know in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Thursday
Nov132014

HOW TO ANSWER “WHY DID YOU LEAVE YOUR LAST JOB?”

how_to_answer_web

One common interview question that tends to catch even the most prepared interviewee off guard is, “Why did you leave your last job?”

Although you may not be sure how to answer this question without hurting your chances of landing the job, it’s important to remain confident when telling interviewers what you can bring to their company. So, here are some tips on how to answer this critical question without working up a sweat.

Keep it simple.
As a general rule, interviews aren’t the place to air your dirty laundry. While honesty and open communication are necessary and respected elements of any interview, there are a number of creative responses to answering this age-old question without disclosing too much.

If the reason you left your previous job would take 30 minutes to explain, don’t go that route. Your interviewer has a busy schedule and doesn’t need a lengthy explanation. Instead of ranting, raving, or adopting a style of full disclosure, try to hone your reason down into a shorter, truthful answer.

Don’t badmouth your previous boss.
You won’t get along with every boss you’ll ever have, and interviewers know that. But, telling them how awful your boss was will only make them concerned that you’ll talk the same way about their company if you left. Instead, try something like:

“After speaking in length with my manager, we decided that my vision for my role wasn’t the same as their overall goals. I decided it was best to part ways so they could find someone better suited to their vision.”

You don’t have to say, “I was fired.”
There are a number of reasons why employees are terminated from their jobs, and if you’ve experienced one of them, you aren’t obligated to simply say so. Instead, dig deeper into why you were let go. Did you lack the skills necessary for the job? Were you desperate for work that wasn’t right for you? If so, try some of these phrases:

“I really needed to find a job, and I made the mistake of accepting one that wasn’t the right match for me. It was a mistake I’ve learned from and won’t make again.”

“Under new leadership, my company let some employees go. This cleared the way for me to have the opportunity to apply with your company.”

Or, if you weren’t a good fit for your old job, go a step further and research the company culture of the place where you’re interviewing. List some of their well-known traits, like corporate giving or community involvement, when using this response:

“I’d prefer to work in an environment whose company’s culture is more suited to my own.”

If you were let go because of downsizing, make that clear.
Interviewers understand that businesses go through ups and downs. If you were let go due to downsizing or economic turmoil, be honest about it. Try using one of the following answers:

“Unfortunately, my position was eliminated when the company decided to scale back.”

“I knew the company was downsizing, so I decided to seek another job before my position was eliminated.”

Show your strengths.
Though talking about previous jobs can be a tough subject, it can also show the interviewer the skills you can bring to their position. If your old job was wearing you down or wasn’t right for you, try some of these answers to show that you’re focused on your career:

“When I decided to take my career down a different path, my previous employer didn’t have the opportunities I needed.”

“I believed I’d learned everything I could in that position, and I wanted to find a new challenge that would help me better utilize my skills on a daily basis.”

“I was ready for a change, but it didn’t seem ethical to take company time to go on interviews. I left so they could find someone more suited for the position while I looked to better my career path.”

“I didn’t believe there was any room to grow with my former company.”

Be honest.
If your reasons for leaving your previous job were unavoidable, like moving, personal issues, or illness, explain those reasons and be honest. Your interviewer will understand, and you’ll show that you’re personally committed to your life as well as your career.

Try not to dwell on this question for long. Your interview shouldn’t be about past jobs, but rather about the job you’re trying to get. Always use any opportunity you can to remind the interviewer what a great asset you’d be to their company.

How have you answered this question during an interview? Let us know in the comments section below!

Monday
Nov102014

FIVE THINGS YOU SHOULD NEVER SAY TO YOUR BOSS

never_say_to_boss_web

Saying the wrong things to your boss can damage your career in ways that are hard to recover from. It’s important to think before you speak, even when you are upset or passionate about an issue. It’s the first step in keeping a positive relationship with your boss, and while it might sound easy, you’d be surprised how many struggle with this idea. Throwing away certain phrases that most bosses hate is the second step.

So to save you from sticking your foot in your mouth, here’s a quick list of five things you should never say to your boss.

1. “I can’t” or “That’s impossible.”
Never tell your boss that something cannot be done. Choose to speak about what can be done instead, and always think of how you can solve problems instead of falling victim to them.

“It can’t be done by Friday” can be turned into, “This may be difficult to complete by Friday, but I know it can be completed by Monday,” or, “We could meet this Friday deadline, but we may need to bring in extra help to do so.”

If you can create solutions for what seems like an impossible situation, your boss is more likely to help you achieve it.

2. “But, we’ve always done it this way.”
Don’t get stuck in the past. If you have a new boss who wants to do things a new way or an old boss who wants to try something different, meet the challenge straight away. If you say, ”But, we’ve always done it this way,” you run the risk of looking stale and combative.

Be a part of the brainstorming process and be open to new ways of doing things. If you are gravely concerned about a new process, present it as a challenge by saying, “In order for this to work, we may have to…”

Don’t kill your boss’ idea with a stubborn or negative attitude. Show you are open to growing as an employee and willing to work with your boss, for better or worse. Who knows? You may just learn a valuable new skill or find a better way of doing something.

3. “That’s not my job” or “That’s not my department”
If your boss comes to you with an assignment or a request, don’t shut him or her down with, “That’s not part of my job description.” Your boss needs your help and has come to you, because he or she has faith you can do that task. If you’re concerned a new assignment is out of your regular responsibilities, ask who you can turn to for help.

By taking on an outside responsibility, you have the chance to not only shine in your boss’ eyes, but also learn a new skill set. It’s the perfect opportunity to show those in charge that you are a team player and a bold employee who rises to the challenge.

4. “It’s not my fault” or “It’s so and so’s fault, not mine.”
If you make a mistake, own up to it. If you didn’t make a mistake, explain that fact without pointing fingers or sounding petulant.

Never point fingers at another coworker or someone else. This is not only in poor taste, but makes you look unprofessional. If you believe someone else could clarify the situation, refer your manager to them directly.

Bosses know that mistakes happen. The sign of a confident and professional employee is one who can honestly admit to a mistake – and offer solutions to fix it.

5. “I don’t know…”
No one expects you to know everything, but saying “I don’t know” and leaving it at that can be a career-killer. If you don’t know the answer to something your boss asks, say instead, “I’m not sure, but I can find out.”

By offering to discover the answer to whatever question your leaders have, you show them you are eager, curious, a problem-solver, and committed. You’ll learn something new too, and by volunteering to find the information, you’ll end up as a vital resource to your company.

Saying the right things at the right time
No employee is perfect all the time. Everyone sticks their foot in their mouth in front of their boss now and again, but avoiding the career-killer phrases above will help minimize any damage.

Do you have phrases to add? Did we miss anything on this list? Let us know in the comments section below!

Thursday
Jul102014

5 reasons to start a side gig

Are you a crafty person, a talented photographer, or someone who loves pets? If you have a professional skill or passion, you may want to consider launching a side gig. Side gigs, or side jobs, are commonplace for many of today’s workers. In fact, according to The Millennial Survey 2014 by Deloitte, 70% of Millennials – those ages 18-34 – want to start their own business. Whether it’s hosting a show at a local comedy club, operating a lawn mowing business, or selling handmade products, second jobs can be beneficial in many ways. So, here are five reasons why starting a side gig might be right for you.

Supplement Your Income
It can sometimes be difficult, especially if you’re unemployed and looking for a job, to make ends meet every month. Starting a side job can bring in extra income and offer new ways to make money. If you have a knack for knitting, painting, or crafting, for example, opening an Etsy site may help you earn additional income selling products you already enjoy making. Or, if you like pets, offering your services as a dog walker or pet sitter can also bring in additional income.

Good for Your Resume
Any time you can add experience to your resume, you should. And, when you add phrases like “Owned and operated a childcare business,” or “Tutored students in English,” potential employers will notice your drive, independence, and entrepreneurial spirit. It’s not always easy to run your own side job, and hiring managers will likely recognize the effort you put into your business as well as your flexibility.

Impress Your Boss
A side job can also impress your current employer. According to Kimberly Palmer, author ofThe Economy of You, “What I found is that increasingly, employers welcome and even encourage their employees’ side-gigs … they see their employees learning new skills, including valuable entrepreneurial, e-commerce, marketing, and social media skills, on their own time, and then bringing those abilities back to their main employer.”

But, if you’re currently employed, don’t let a side job get in the way of work. While your side job might be exciting, don’t ignore your primary job. And, don’t use your employer’s time or resources to work on your side gig. Follow your company’s guidelines for outside activities and remain respectful to your employer.

Creative Expression and Gratification
The initial motivation for starting a side job is often money. But, it may become something more as you realize the things you’re making or doing are allowing you the freedom of creative expression. If you’re a talented photographer, consider opening your own business. Start by offering your friends free or discounted photography sessions to build your portfolio, and soon you’ll enjoy the personal and financial rewards your new side business brings.

And, when your services or products help improve the lives of others, your side job may become a very gratifying part of your life. If you love teaching, find a subject you’re particularly knowledgeable in and help others learn it. For example, if you’re really good at a foreign language, you might look for tutoring opportunities at local schools. Tutoring students can bring in extra income, and you’ll also feel gratification for helping others succeed.

Learn New Skills
You don’t need to have a talent or skill in mind before starting your side gig. In fact, launching a side job may help you learn new skills. You may not be a great blogger, but if you start your own blog and research, educate yourself, and gain knowledge on the topic, your writing may grow stronger. If you like to design websites, but don’t know everything about the business, learn all that you can and gain hands-on experience. Study successful people in the industry, join community forums or groups, and watch what others are doing to be successful. Learning new skills can make you more employable. So, be willing to try new things. According to Palmer, “It’s so easy to launch a side gig today. If you have an inkling for something you might want to do, just get started.”

Don’t Give Up
Remember, not every side job will be the next big thing. But, don’t give up if setbacks occur. With every new business venture, there will be speed bumps along the way. The key to success is not letting those speed bumps stop you on your journey.

Have you started your own side gig? Do you have any tips for running a successful side business? Share with us in the comments section below!

Friday
May162014

REINVENT YOUR ONLINE IDENTITY

online _identity_May2014Whether you’re looking for a job and want to expand your network or just wanting to freshen up your social media presence, it’s important to frequently revamp your online identity. A revamp doesn’t mean you have to overhaul your social media presence, but it’s a good way to put your best foot forward. Here are some ways you can get started on revamping your online identity today.

First Impression

Some people say first impressions last a lifetime. If that’s the case, your profile needs to be the best representation of yourself it can possibly be. Do you have pictures or posts that aren’t great representations of you? Do yourself a favor and delete things off your page that could potentially hinder or cause a hiring manager to change their mind about you. Also, be mindful that if you’ve applied for jobs, hiring managers are probably already checking out your online identity.

A new survey by CareerBuilder, nearly two in five companies use social networking sites to research job candidates and according to Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder, “Employers are using all the tools available to them to assure they make the correct hiring decision,” and that includes social media.

Stay Active

Do you actively search for job opportunities through social media networks? If not, becoming active through social media groups is a great way to start. You can learn about companies and gain knowledge of different industries just by being part of a group on LinkedIn. You never know if a LinkedIn connection you made through a group can be helpful in getting a job in the future. A recent Jobvite survey shows that more people get hired from online referrals and company career pages than from job boards. So it’s important to stay active online, never stop networking, and keep everything professional.

Keep it Current

Is the information on your profile accurate and up-to-date? Sometimes we get busy and forget to update our information – especially after a move or change in job. Be sure to take a good look at your social media profiles and make sure all your information is current. Not only does your information need to be consistently updated, but it’s also important to keep an up-to-date profile picture.

It’s never too late to reinvent your online identity. You can start today by using these quick tips we’ve shared. Have you recently updated your social media profiles and got a job as a result? Let us know in the comments section below!