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 learning (2)

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.

Wednesday
Oct222014

INTERVIEW SHOWDOWN: YOU VS. THE COMPETITION

interview_showdown_web

After a while, all the different interview tips can begin to run together and even feel stale. Dress to impress– done. Do your research – check. Be prepared – got it. It can seem like every job seeker out there is following the exact same advice, and you begin to question if it’s even possible to stand out from your competition during job interviews.

The truth is, though, many candidates don’t follow commonsense advice, and actually doing what is recommended will put you at the top of the group. But, how can you go from the top 10 to the number one choice? The answer is to give potential employers what they’re seeking. An article from Forbes specifically pinpointed five things every employer wants to hear, so check out these statements and how you can incorporate them into an interview.

“I am a loyal employee.”
Talented employees don’t present much value to employers if they lack loyalty, so hiring managers look for candidates who have a history of allegiance and appear to want to stick with a job for a long period of time. That means you should never be negative about past employers in an interview or in your resume. Instead, focus on the opportunities they provided to you and what you learned. Also, make sure you express excitement about this new job opportunity and how you would like to stay with the company long term.

“I will complete the job/assignment you give me with excellence.”
Hiring managers usually don’t have any problem narrowing down candidates to the top few that could adequately complete the responsibilities of the position. What they really want to find though, is the candidate who will go beyond adequate and actually excel at the job. To show you’re willing and able to complete assignments with excellence, communicate in detail some examples of how you’ve done this in previous positions. And, if you really have prepared for the interview and done your research, you should be familiar enough with the new job’s responsibilities to give an example of how you could apply a new idea to one of the tasks to improve the process or results.

“I am open to learning, adapting, adjusting, and to receiving feedback on how I can improve.”
The ability to adapt is a top commodity in today’s workplace, and employers want to hire people who are able to adjust to the company’s, customers’, and industry’s changing needs. During the interview, highlight the wide variety of your experiences, skills, and interests, and how you could apply them to this new position. Also, give examples of how you’ve sought to learn a new skill on your own, used feedback constructively to change how you approached a project, and adapted your plan when a project didn’t go as expected.

“You will never have to tell me what to do twice.”
The workplace is a busy place, and managers normally don’t have time to continually tell employees what they need to do. They need workers who can listen the first time they have tasks explained to them and then can go do their jobs with confidence and dependability. And, while this is a little more difficult to show during an interview, it is still something that you should at least mention. One good way to get this idea across is to discuss a situation where you took on responsibility and completed a task with minimal supervision. Carefully listening to the interviewer and not making them repeat themselves is another way to prove that you’re up for the job.

“I am easy to correct and instruct.”
While this one really goes along with the previous two statements, the fact that three of the things employers want to hear have to do with listening, following instructions, and receiving feedback is a major sign that you need to incorporate these issues into what you share during your interview. Employers understand that workers, especially new hires, won’t know exactly what to do and will make mistakes – they are most concerned with how you’ll handle the learning process. So, again, highlighting how you’ve learned new skills and the process that was involved is very important for setting you apart.

At the end of the day, an employer wants to find the best candidate for the job. Use this to your advantage by giving the hiring manager a full picture of what you have to offer. By communicating to the employer that you have what they’re looking for, you’ll shoot ahead of your competition and to the top of the hiring list.

Are there other things you’ve discovered potential employers really want to hear? Share an example of how you’ve communicated your value during an interview in the comments section below.