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December 2012 (6)
November 2012 (7)
October 2012 (6)
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August 10, 2012

Quality vs. Quantity?

​To-Do lists seem to keep getting longer and with the large amount of tasks we try to tackle in a day, it can be easier to focus on the quantity of work we produce, rather than the quality.

Does quality or quantity appear more valuable to a company?  On the surface, it may appear to be the employee who hits all of their goals.  If we dig a little deeper, we may find that clients are unhappy with the service, emails have spelling errors, or the value is lacking.  If an employee makes the quality of their work a priority, and then the speed and efficiency in which they get it done, everyone benefits.

Below are tips from You Tern on how we can stay focused on the quality of our work:

Manners Count

Return phone calls and emails because someday you may be on the other end of the ask.  With the intensity of messaging bombarding us during the workweek via emails, calls, personal conversations, social media, and many other snippets of communication, it's challenging to remember who said what to whom and when.  We may struggle to stay organized amidst the chaotic conversations surrounding us, but there is a difference between simply missing an email, and purposely ignoring it.  Remember, karma is legit.  Circumstances may lead us to the same situation, where one day, we are the ones making calls that we dread, and hoping that someone is willing to connect.

Don't Rush

Sometimes a little reflection time is needed.  When faced with a challenge at work, take a breather.  Reflect on similar situations you've faced.  Strategize.  Receive feedback.  Then, decide how to proceed.  Technology creates an expectation for rapid-fire responses, and allows for the assumption that we are readily available to think, work, and act quickly.  Taking time means stepping away from work to fuel those things that drive your creativity: walk, paint, read, listen to music.  Disconnect, and then revisit your work.

Focus on Ease

Success and growth through ease is a confusing phenomenon in a culture that is focused on 'no pain, no gain' approach.  We have come to expect discomfort and sacrifice on the road to career success (long hours, time away from our families and passions, and the trading of our authentic selves, for a corporate identity.)  Despite that mentality, certain talents and skills come easy to us, and only a small amount of tweaking and practice is necessary to make them quality.  

Keep Your Eyes on the task, Not on the Prize

Our society tends to be obsessed with career growth and development.  As workers, a regular high-level view of our work can cause us to miss the details, or to focus too much on the future, rather than on the task at hand.  Sometimes, it's just about showing up and getting it done.  No 5-year plan, no idea of where it's all going lead, and no clear-cut direction to drive your career.  Just showing up and working your hardest, and then sitting back and waiting for the path to unfold itself.

Published: 8/10/2012  5:25 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

August 03, 2012

What to Write When You Don't Get the Job

​It's time we broach the subject that no interviewee likes to think about - the possibility that you may not get the job for which you're interviewing.  Unfortunately it is a possibility, even if you've followed all of our resume and interview tips and you bring your A-game to the interview.  There are plenty of reasons you may have gotten passed over for a job - under qualified, over qualified, bad timing, not a good fit with the company - but bowing out with dignity will keep you in the hiring manager's good graces.

If you can muster up the professionalism to thank the people who interviewed you, you could turn that rejection into a future opportunity.  Hiring managers rarely receive a follow-up letter after rejecting candidates and those who send the letters always leave a good impression.  Continue reading for input from hiring managers on why you should write such a letter and what it might contain from The Ladders.

What to Write

Whom to send it to - Normal thank-you letters are addressed to everyone who interviewed you but a rejection thank-you only goes to the decision maker and/or the HR representative you dealt with.

What to say - Thank them for considering you for the opportunity and tell them what impressed you about the company or the department you were being considered for.  Let them know you would like to stay in touch and considered for future openings.

Sample Letter

Dear [decision maker],

I would be lying if I said I'm anything but disappointed that I wasn't your final choice for the position of [job title].  Knowing how professionally and thoroughly each candidate was interviewed, and having made it to the "final [number of candidates on the short list]," I'm also honored to have been on that short list.  I appreciate that your job of selection was very difficult.

It was a pleasure getting to meet you and seeing how well your team works together.  [Customize the following: You are a rare and skilled manager.  I particularly like your style of relating to your team, and sincerely hope that sometime in the future we get an opportunity to work together. (I agree that my skills are a great fit for your team.)]

I wish you and your team great success.  Thank you again for all of your efforts on my behalf.  I will look forward to seeing you at one of the area association meetings.

Best Regards,


Calling may be a good alternative to writing a letter.  If you get a phone call with the dreaded "We've decided to offer the position to someone else" line, express how much you appreciated the opportunity for the interview and ask if you can set up a time to discuss what you can do to make yourself a better candidate for that company.

Published: 8/3/2012  12:29 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

June 29, 2012

QUIZ Is Your Summer Work Wardrobe Too Hot For The Office?


Summer is in full effect and that means vacations, holidays, and enjoying the sunshine.  It's easy to feel laid back when summer fun is on your mind, but don't let your daydreaming affect your work habits (yes, we're talking to you in the Hawaiian shirt.)  Take this summer work wardrobe quiz to see if your work wardrobe passes for appropriate or if you need a style intervention.

1. The weather report says it's going to be a high of 104 degrees.  What do you wear to the office?

A. What I always wear... a three-piece suit.

B. Whatever is comfortable, man.  Bare feet and my favorite band t-shirt.

C. My go-to summer staples: flip flops and a sundress.

D. Something light... Probably khakis and a polo shirt.

2. Whoops, you just dropped a pen.  Leaning down to pick it up, how far is your hemline from the ground?

A. The hem of my pant leg touched my shoes.

B. Well, the frayed threads of my shorts touch the ground.

C. Umm...  don't ask.

D. My skirt is about two to four inches - I do the hands-at-the-sides test to make sure my fingertips go past the hemline.

3. It's hot outside but the air conditioning in the office is frigid.  What can you do?

A. What I always do... wear a three-piece suit.

B. Bring in my alpaca sweater that I knitted myself.

C. Wear a spaghetti-strap tank top with a cardigan.

D. I usually dress in layers and always try to have an extra sweater at my desk.

4. Your office allows denim.  How would you incorporate it into a summer look?

A. I wouldn't.

B. Jorts (jean shorts).

C. With a denim skirt.

D. Dark denim pants/jeans.


Mostly A's: What clothing is considered "appropriate" for a job will vary in each profession, so first and foremost check to see what your co-workers and boss wear to work.  That being said, there's still plenty of room in a work wardrobe for personal style and individuality.  Maybe wearing a three-piece suit is a personal expression of your style, but there are also options for more formal work settings that don't seem too stuffy (or suffocating in the summer heat.)

Mostly B's: Unless your company has OK'd your free-spirit style, it's time to swap out the tie-dye socks for more professional attire.  The main problem with wearing such casual clothing is that it can distract your boss, co-workers, and clients from your work, making you get noticed for the wrong reasons.  Find a balance of appropriate work style and your own tastes in clothes.

Mostly C's: It's clear you're a fashionista, but your work wardrobe could use some editing.  Clothes that are appropriate for an office setting don't have to be boring, so stop trying to bring the beach to your cubicle.  Instead of shedding clothes when the mercury rises, look for chic separates like pencil skirts, linen blazers, or sheath dresses.  You want your style to convey a sense of professionalism and compliment your overall look, not take away from it.

Mostly D's: Congrats, you've found a hot way to keep cool at work, and staying professional shows just how chic you are.  Whether your office is a corporate or laid back setting, you always hit the right note with season-appropriate looks that are attractive and well put together.  No matter the temperature, you always balance professionalism and personal style to create a look that's your own and promotes your career.

Published: 6/29/2012  1:53 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

June 19, 2012

Don't Dissmiss Your Interview Body Language

​In addition to your resume and what you have to say, your body language can play a big part in an interview.  Think about the first step in an interview - the handshake.  In just a few seconds, the interviewer has already developed an impression of you based on just your handshake.

Even if you feel ridden with anxiety on the inside, play it cool with these tips on body language for your big interview. MP900316787.jpg

  • Pay attention to posture.  When you sit down, don't slouch or lean back, which implies a lack of confidence.  Sit up straight to show respect and attentiveness to the interviewer.
  • Don't be a bobble head.  Agreeing with the interviewer is great, but don't overdo it.  Nod occasionally to show that you are engaged.  Making too much movement can be distracting and you may come off as nervous.
  • Maintain eye contact.  Good eye contact establishes a rapport and conveys mutual attention.  Whether you are listening or speaking, maintain eye contact for a few seconds at a time and then glance away.  You don't want your attempt at eye contact to turn into a weird stare.
  • Just breath.  Deep breaths can help you relax and put you at ease.  If you're struggling to answer a question or unsure of what to say next, take a breath to get your thoughts together.
  • End on a high note.  Smile and shake hands after the interview, thanking the interviewer for their time.  Hold your chin high on the way out to leave a good last impression.

Published: 6/19/2012  9:29 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

June 01, 2012

Career Tips for College Grads from A-to-Z

If you're a recent college graduate, you've probably been given plenty of advice on starting your life in the "real world."  From professors to the commencement speaker to your family, there's no shortage of free advice when you hit the graduation milestone.

This year, CareerBuilder decided to ask regular Americans what one piece of wisdom they'd pass on to someone starting a career today.  More than 14,000 people offered their insights and below is an A-to-Z sample of the best career advice America has to offer its young generation of workers.

Aim higher than what you give yourself credit for.

Be on time.

Change jobs early in your career - as many times as necessary to find the best fit.  It's much harder to change when you're older.

Dig in, work hard, listen more than you speak, and soak up information like a sponge.

Everything happens for a reason.  Hang in there.

Follow the rules and follow the money.

Give 110 percent.  Show up early and be willing to stay late.

Hold your cards close with co-workers, they can't always be trusted.

If you don't respect your boss, leave.

Just do your job.  Stay out of office politics.  Don't imagine that anyone else at work cares about your personal life.  They don't.  Be professional and friendly, but never personal.

Know the difference between a job and a career.  Pursue your career always, but take a job only when you have to.

Laziness is the worst thing you can possess on the job.

Money doesn't really matter, and actually neither does happiness.  Your goal should always be self-respect.

Network like crazy.

Office romance can be poison.  Be very careful.

Pick something you enjoy, working a job you hate will kill your soul.

Quit texting, quit checking your phone, and look your co-workers in the eye when they talk to you.

Remember: It's just a job.

See the big picture.  Being a buggy whip salesperson may be your life-long dream, but being realistic is the key.

Take the job you are offered, then work toward the job you love.  It's much easier to find the ideal position when you are already paying the bills.

Understand that you are being paid to do the work you were hired to do.  This is the minimum that is expected of you.  Your employer is not there to make your life interesting.

Value your family and friends!  No career is worth it if you're alone in the end.

Xbox? Throw it out the window.

You will have many careers during your lifetime, so don't be pressured into thinking you have to decide what you want to do for the rest of your life.  Just decide what you want to do first.

Zero in on your real talents, don't waste time on your weaknesses.  Always plays your strongest hand.

What advice would you add to this list?  Tell us what advice you'd give to recent grads in the comment box below.

Published: 6/1/2012  9:24 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

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