Land a Job with Style

If you’re on the prowl for a job, you know just how important it is to nail that first interview. For one, there’s the substance — you need to know about the background of the company, the technical skills for the job, and your personal qualifications. But perhaps more importantly, you hAlan Rasof Land a Job with Styleave one split second to make a good first impression with the way you look. From your hair to your outfit to your shoes, making sure you look the part is crucial to setting the tone for the rest of the interview.

Firstly, as the old saying goes, cleanliness is next to godliness. If you show up with wrinkled, stained, or otherwise unkempt clothing, the interviewer will make assumptions about your work ethic and your ability to prepare for important meetings. Ensure that your clothing smells fresh and is properly ironed. Completely avoid clothing with stains, runs, or frays on the edges. You may also want to take your shoes to a shoe shine or shine them up yourself. Attention to details is key here.

Make sure your clothing fits your comfortably. If you haven’t been on a job interview in a while, you may break out an old outfits that may be a little to snug, gap at the buttons, and simply don’t fit the way they once did. Interviewers will be able to zero in on people who haven’t given the interview 100% of their effort, so it’s important to make sure your clothes fit your body the way it is now. Oversized blazers or tough-to-button pants demonstrate that you haven’t properly prepared for this appointment.

You’ll also not want to overwhelm with your wardrobe palette. As important as it is to have fun and be yourself, consider the context of your interviews. It’s usually a safe bet to choose greys, navys, blacks, and creams. Naturally, if you’re applying to be a graphic designer, you could opt for something a little more creative with a pop of color or some fashionable statement pieces of jewelry, but for the vast majority of jobs, opt for something sleek and subtle.

Make sure you feel good. If you’re in tight shoes or your blazer is scratchy, you’ll be distracted during the interview and fail to put your best foot forward. As important as aesthetics are, your personal comfort goes a long way in making you feel your best.

The overall goal of all these tips and tricks is to demonstrate engagement and interest. A recent CNBC article noted that of all the things that can derail and ruin an interview, the number one way to sabotage an interview is to display low energy. Interviewers sift through hundreds of resumes and chose you as one of the finalists, and for them not to see you excited about learning about the job can turn them off quickly. In addition to practicing good posture and manners, your outfit needs to demonstrate that you’re eager to engage with the interviewer and take this appointment seriously.  

Beat the Heat in the Office

The weather’s warming up again, but unlike summer time when you were in high school, we still have to report to the office everyday for our regularly scheduled jobs. It’s important to stay cool while  you’re at the office during the summer months, but shorts and flip flops usually aren’t valid options. Below are some ways you can beat the heat within the boundaries of work appropriate behavior.

 

Dress in layers: Even when it’s hot out, your office may have varying temperatures depending on the room. To make sure you’re prepared for whatever the temperature holds throughout the day, dress in layers like light blazers and cardigans so you can easily read and react to the appropriate attire and climate.

 

Opt for lighter fabrics and a little extra skin: Whereas winter calls for wool, heavy knits, and fleece-lined everything, go for lighter fabrics in the summer when you can’t wear shorts. Cotton and linen are very breathable and light and will help reduce how much you sweat during the day. Also, within the bounds of your job’s culture, opt for sleeveless dresses, boatneck shirts, and all-around less fabric on your body.    

 

Drink plenty of water: Water is one of the main ways your body stays cool in multiple ways. Firstly, cool water will instantly quench your thirst, so always make sure you have a full glass with fresh ice at your desk. Your body also uses water to get rid of excess heat via sweat, which will help you stay cool. Lastly, water is one of the main ways your body gets rid of waste, so staying hydrated will help your body flush toxins from your body with ease.

 

Cold Snacks: You can also opt for snacks that will keep you nice and cool throughout the day. Cold or frozen fruits, for example, are perfect summer snacks because they’re full of nutrients, pure sugars, and water. You can also freeze yogurt or fruit juice to make your regular snacks more suitable to the heat.
Small Fans or Mists: As your desk space allows, plug in a small desk fan next to your computer for a small steady breeze throughout the day. You can also purchase a small mister from the Dollar Store or Target and spritz yourself throughout the day. You could also infuse the water with rose petals for a fragrant misty experience.

Desk for Success: Keeping Yourself Organized at Work

 

Desk for Success Alan Rasoff

 

For many professionals, their desk is a comfort zone in their home away from home. Significant items usually linger on a desk such as family photos, favorite coffee mugs, and of course important work materials. However, when a workspace becomes overcrowded and messy, a disruption in overall productivity is likely possible.

 

Keep it Simple

Certain individuals argue that clutter equals a creative mind, but knowing exactly where vital pieces of information reside, poses more important than innovation. The best way to ensure a workspace remains organized it to keep the arrangement of the space simple. Although folders and tabs for everything can seem proactive, too many possible options can get overwhelming. Limiting the number of locations of a specific item creates a more user-friendly experience when time is a factor. Creating limitations on what is necessary on the desk and keeping that list short, will set an organizational standard to follow in the future.

 

Give Everything a Home

Lucky for those who tend to be messy and aren’t sure where to begin, Quartz Media shares tips on desk organization. One of the most important points made in their article references not allowing piles to even find a temporary home on the desk. Immediately finding a permanent location for papers or non-essential resources off of the workspace gives a great advantage in the organizational process. Everyone has certain items that they use on a daily basis, so having them easily accessible is important. Creating a space for everything else is vital because if there is no a permanent resting spot, it will most likely find that spot on the desk.

 

Utilize Technology

Though everyone has a unique style, CNN Money suggest there is a “right” way to organize a desk. Giving pointers on the position of essentials, the experts express just how important desk organization is to productivity. The transition to more technology in the workplace actually benefits the organization of a desk. Whereas in the past, sticky notes and calendars were the reminder tools of choice, these days almost all email and computer systems create reminders virtually. Most programs additionally have the ability to link all information and send it to cell phones. Having access to thousands of apps and online resources is guaranteed to assist during professional organization. The small task of scanning documents and storing them in a digital file alleviates any hassle of scrounging for a specific piece of paper, especially when needed in a timely manner.

Distractions

A desk full of items unnecessary to a current project causes small distractions, most of the time not recognized by humans, but the brain still processes even a glance at such items. Consequently, CNN recommends no more than 3 personal items (photos, memorabilia, etc.) positioned on the workspace. Music, though necessary for many working professionals to ensure a productive day, should be monitored. Listening to music during the workday can distract a professional more than they realize and should be turned off for portions of the day. Another common distraction includes consuming food directly at the workspace. Experts discourage professionals from eating at the desk as it allows for clutter and interruption. If provided, employees are encouraged to take advantage of a kitchen, or eating space, should they decide to take meal breaks on-site. Stepping away from the desk allows the brain time to regroup and dismiss itself from work, a healthy break is always highly encouraged.

For a large portion of the population, a majority of their time is spent in their place of work. Whether a large office or small desk to work from, staying on top of organizing the space is crucial to productivity levels. Simple tasks, including limiting the number of personal items creates optimization of output for job-related responsibilities. There are endless amounts of purchasable and DIY items to help enhance organizing, rather making the task more enjoyable than tedious.

 

How To Become A Master of Networking

Be Open And Genuine
You want people to like you and connect with you because you’re being genuine. Develop a curiosity for others and be open to new relationships where value can be found without letting your ego get in the way. Let people know the impact they’ve had on you.

Forget The Elevator Pitch
Don’t try to impress someone with your title or expertise. Instead, enter into conversation, ask questions and listen. The things you might have in common help to establish a connection that could blossom over time. Elevator pitches are easy to forget but making a genuine connection with someone sticks.

Organize A Happy Hour
Hosting your own small event is a great way to meet new people as well as to be helpful to the people you already know. You never know what opportunities could come from meeting new people and discussing your career in a casual setting. Always important to remember — the more open doors the better!

Network Up, Down, Sideways
Don’t just create a network at your level or industry – diversify! Be intentional about bringing in those above and below you and from a variety of sectors. Every new contact opens up a whole new network to you.

Swap Cards Later
Your business card is only as powerful as the impression you leave behind. By handing someone your card right off the bat, you are providing them with more room to forget about it. So get to know the person first and gauge if there’s a connection, and then end the conversation by offering your card, or even reach out days later via email with your information.

Remember – It’s Not All About You
Don’t ask about job opportunities and favors without offering anything valuable in return. Networking is a two way street.

Be Memorable
You should strive to be memorable when you’re meeting new people, and the best way to do so is through good storytelling. When you tell a story, make sure it has a clear point and a punch line, where a takeaway or a joke.

Quality, Not Quantity
Meeting the right people is most important. The right people are those that can help reach your career goal and speak up for you. You need to focus on people with whom you can build strong mutually beneficial relationships.

Leave Your Comfort Zone
Even if you’re shy, you just have to engage with people. Try to emulate someone you admire in these situations until it becomes more natural for you. After all, everyone was a stranger before you met them.

Keep In Touch
The more you invest in your network, the more valuable your network is. Taking calls, responding to emails, offering to help people creates a strong bond. It’s important to network proactively so you have these relationships when you need help.

Ways To Improve Company Culture

Company Culture Word Cloud

No matter the size of your company, its industry or your budget, certain environmental and behavioral changes are almost guaranteed to improve your team’s creative output, attract the right talent and ultimately move your company beyond what you can even imagine today.

Build an inspired workspace.

It all starts with the workspace. In today’s design-centric, user-focused world, companies have to move quickly and innovate constantly and that certainly won’t happen from behind a bland cubicle wall and dull office light.

Large open spaces, cozy living room setups, big windows, inviting kitchens and convenient facilities like showers and bicycle parking are what’s in. But even if you aren’t building an office from scratch, adding a lot of whiteboards and markers as well as providing your team with beautiful computers and other technology products will help give space to the outpouring of their creative juices.

Grant flexible work hours.

While stable work hours make for organizational order, the creative muse cannot be simply willed into being exactly from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. People have different rhythms that make them more or less productive during certain hours.

For some people, the best ideas come in the middle of the night or during a long lunch when the mind is relaxed. In the technology world, for example, it’s commonplace for developers to be more productive during the quieter “after-hours.” They might choose to sleep in later and work well into the wee hours of the night.

If you want to encourage productivity and inspiration, allow flexible work hours for members of your team. Let them do their work when they will do it best. Flexibility also attracts a creative talent pool of people with a variety of interests and commitments in life.

Remember the fun factor.  

Encourage employees to spend time together outside of the office. Plan events and social gatherings for employees. You can even incentivize your employees to reach a goal and reward them with a company happy hour. The more employees get to know and like each other, the happier they will be to come in to the office and work, in turn producing better results for your company!

Build a diverse team.

Many creative business owners often complain that they have trouble finding good staff people. Perhaps what they’re trying to find is a replica of themselves. They wrongly assume that having a professional twin would double their business overnight.

Carbon copies aren’t the key to creating an innovative company. Instead, build a diverse team whose strength lies in its members’ range of work experience, education and cultural backgrounds that play off of one another.

Put the team first.

To have a truly creative company culture, your staff has to be your biggest priority. While you may think that your customers should always come first, take a cue from powerful CEOs like Virgin Group’s Richard Branson and Zappos’ Tony Hsieh, who have proved that putting the team first makes customers and even shareholders happy.

5 Ways to Improve Your Resume

Alan Rasof

1. CUSTOMIZE FOR THE APPLICATION.

Employers who are screening resumes will eliminate any of the generalized resumes submitted. Offer only specific qualifications you have to best perform the job advertised. State your desired job title, for example, physical trainer, and then make all content relevant to performing that job. You should use a customized resume for different job titles even if you are qualified for several (i.e., one resumé for Physical Trainer, and another separate resume for Office Administrator) stressing only the information relevant to doing that specific job.

2. USE KEYWORDS!

Employers who sort resumés electronically look for keywords. Be sure to include potential keywords for job duties in your resume. Example: state purchased, bought or procured inventory (instead of bought inventory). That way, if the employer searches using the keyword “procured” your resume will not be overlooked.

3. SHOW BUSINESS SAVVY.

Only submit resumes created in the Microsoft WORD software, which is the business world’s standard. Many home computers use other word processing software that can’t always be read by many employer computers. You want to avoid this possible mishap and stick to the reliable Microsoft WORD. Whenever possible, also mail a hard copy of your resume after you have submitted one electronically since you would never be informed if the electronic version wasn’t readable.

4. ONE PAGE IS BEST.

Employers have stated that resumes get less than a 15-second glance, so concise and to the point worked best no matter what level position the candidate applied for. Be a skillful editor, deleting old portions or anything not relevant or helpful to your securing a particular position. No vague generalities. Say exactly what you mean, using the smallest number of words to make the point.

5. BE PERFECT.

The resumé must be flawless. No spelling errors, mistakes or typos. Many HR managers have insisted that they would not hire offenders. PROOFREAD CAREFULLY. Don’t trust computer spell checkers since a correctly spelled word like sea, would go unnoticed by your computer but would be incorrectly used if you meant to say “see.”

The Correlation Between Kindness & Success For Your Business

All businesses can benefit from giving back to their community in a number of ways. Supporting a local charity, hosting philanthropy events, and even partnering up with various nonprofit organizations prove to be beneficial for a company’s success. Being kind goes a long way in all aspects of the world. Charitable acts should not be carried out with expectations for financial gain. But, they certainly have many rewards that can help businesses grow. Here are just a few ways businesses can benefit from giving back:

community, alan rasof

First, companies should recognize that it is important to build a good reputation within their community. According to an article published by Entrepreneur.com, “ The relationships formed between customers and prominent community member can be of great value to the company in the future,” (Boitnott, 4 Ways Your Company Benefits From Giving Back). When businesses help out around the community, the community will want to help out those businesses in return. Think of this as a form of good karma – you get what you give. Being recognized as a business that has foundations of compassion towards the local community will help establish the business as a leader in the community, and you will most likely gain a few customers who trust the company and like what the company represents.

Giving back to your community will also help the community grow and become a better place to live. By helping to fix local parks, donating money to school systems, and keeping the streets safe and clean, employees will work in a safer environment, and if they live in the area their children will have a safer place to learn and play. Plus, everyone can benefit from an enjoyable park to relax at and soak up some sun on the weekends.

community service, alan rasof

Furthermore, employees will respect the company they work for if it is involved with some kind of community service, and they will look up to strong leaders who make these impactful initiatives. According to Entrepreneur.com, “If you make your company a positive force in the community it can improve employees’ regard for their corporate leaders, which can only help you. It’s also simply a nice feeling and can make you more motivated to work there,” (Boitnott, 4 Ways Your Company Benefits From Giving Back). Always remember, good morale is essential for growing a successful business.

In conclusion, there are many ways a company can benefit by being kind and helping out around the community. The main point of community service is to help the people around you, and there’s no greater feeling than knowing you’ve done so. So be kind in all aspects of life, it’s the best thing you can do.

Online Networking Tips

Alan Rasof There’s no doubt that networking is one of the most beneficial things you can do to become successful in your career. And now that we are entering a digital age, online networking will play a key role in companies’ recruiting efforts, and for individuals searching for job opportunities.

According to Monster.com, chairman and CEO of RHI (Robert Half International) notes, “Networking sites can be used to identify new career opportunities, create online profiles that highlight one’s skills and experience, and build a roster of business contracts over time,” (5 Steps for Online Networking Success). That being said, there are many ways you can make sure you are prepared to network online. Here are some helpful tips:

First, create an online website that will give insight of who you are and what you care about. RHI advises to “pay as much attention to the content of your online profile as you would the information in your resume,”(5 Steps for Online Networking Success). This means you should be highlighting many of your professional skills, writing well-written blog posts and information that showcases your dedication as a professional.

Alan Rasof

Next, find quality contacts. Your online network should focus on professionals in your industry that are willing to help you out and connect you with higher level individuals that may be able to help you find a job or build your skills. You might have to start by adding a few of your close friends that could connect you with one or two people in your career-path, and go from there. Don’t ever be afraid to reach out to somebody you think could offer you advice, just be diligent and aware that you are online and there could be impersonations of people.

Finally, always be professional and polite online. Networking to advance your career online must be done with care. You should not have images or content that you wouldn’t want somebody giving you an interview to look at.  According to RHI experts, “Make sure that any public messages or images you post don’t detract from your professional image,”(5 Steps for Online Networking Success). Of course, privacy settings are there for a reason, but it’s best to stay on the safe side and not post anything you think is questionable.

Always remember that the internet is a tool that our society should utilize purposefully, and to not step over the line and make a careless mistake that could be detrimental to your career. Use online networking to your advantage, but always be cautious.

Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills

Being able to communicate effectively – inside or outside of the office – is a critical life skill to learn. But, unfortunately, many people do not put an adequate amount of effort into improving their communication skills due to various reasons ranging from busy schedules to being comfortable with the way they communicate and allocating their time learning different professional skills. However, communication is one of the most important skills to learn continuously throughout your own life and should be prioritized over most other skills. Here are some ways you can learn to communicate more effectively:

Alan Rasof effective-communication-clip-art-20367

First, body language is crucial when it comes to communicating well with others. Whether you’re having a personal conversation with your significant other about your relationship, or you’re giving a presentation in front of your entire office, the way you position your body can play a large role in how well others interpret what you’re saying. For example, if you tell your partner that you are willing to hear what he or she has to say, but your arms are crossed and you are avoiding making eye contact, he or she will probably assume that you really aren’t willing to listen. In addition, if you are in a work environment, standing up straight and using appropriate hand gestures every so often will help you seem confident and will give the audience the perception that you are able to persuade your audience and know exactly what you are speaking towards.

Alan Rasof communicating

On the other hand, if you are slouching and positioning your body away from the audience, your work peers and advisors will probably get the impression that you do not want to intellectually involve your audience, and could even put your career in a sticky situation. That being said, body language is key for effectively communicating. In order to improve it, work on a “power pose” that you are comfortable with that will help boost your confidence before a presentation at work. In addition, develop strong eye contact with whoever you are speaking to so they know you are engaged and serious.

Another way to improve your communication skills is to ask questions and repeat information that was given to you. Many times, we zone out during conversations, which is perfectly normal. But, in order to stay focused on what other people are saying, make an effort to ask questions pertaining to what they are talking about – and better yet, repeating the last few words of a sentence will further indicate that you are listening effectively and actually care about what they are saying.

Alan Rasof leader

According to an article published by Lifehacker.com, asking questions and repeating phrases has many benefits to help improve your communication skills:

“It also helps for small talk and to fill in awkward silences. Instead of trying to stir up conversation on mundane topics like the weather, ask the other person questions (eg.g., ‘Got any plans for the summer?’ or ‘What are you reading lately?’) and engage in their answers. It’s more important to be interested than to be interesting,” (Pinola, Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills).

Lastly, living in this technologically advanced world, we are often distracted by our cell phones, ipads, fitbits, beepers, buzzers, and what have you – so please, when you’re having a conversation – put them away. There’s nothing worse than going out to a restaurant and watching dozens of adolescents and adults fixated to their phones and not having any conversation at all. Let’s face it – it’s just rude. So put away your distractions and look up at the person you’re talking to, this could help our communication skills vastly as a larger population.

 

Tips for Owning a Successful Business

Alan Rasof business tipsOwning, and growing, a successful business is not as easy as you may think. Many people have great business ideas but don’t know the correct ways to go about running a business so that it can reach successful expectations. From product placement to employee satisfaction, there are many things that contribute to owning a successful business. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

First, never underestimate the power of organization. Organization helps everyone in your business to stay focused and complete tasks so that the company can grow. According to an article published by Investopedia.com: “A good way to do this is to create a to-do list each day – as you complete each item, check it off your list. This will ensure that you’re not forgetting anything and you’re completing all the tasks that are essential to the survival of your business,” (9 Tips for Growing a Successful Business).

Alan Rasof communicationAnother great business tip, that goes along with staying organized, is to keep detailed records of important information, especially finances. This will help you recognize if your business is meeting expectations, growing, or falling behind financially. Keeping track of expenses is vital when it comes to maintaining a strong business.

In addition to staying organized and recording vital expenses, providing great service is one of the best ways to run a successful business, and this starts with effective client communication. Though you’ll find that many employees will be more apt to focus on their own work and tasks for any given day, make sure that as part of their training process your stress the importance of maintaining great relationships with clients. This is one of the most important factors to become a growing, successful business. If you are a company that is known for its excellent services, your clients will not only choose you in comparison to other companies, but they’ll recommend you to friends and family. Always go above and beyond to meet client expectations and surprise them with generosity.

Lastly, make sure to be consistent. According to Investopedia.com, “Consistency is a key component to making money in business. You have to consistently keep doing the things necessary to be successful day in and day out,” (9 Tips for Growing a Successful Business). Consistency will help you create positive habits that will ensure money growth over a longer period of time. Though most people who are starting their own businesses want to make money right away from the start, it’s more important to think of the long-term goals and what it takes to grow a successful business.

For more business tips, please check out Investopedia.com’s article here.