BOSS blog 11.8.13

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Twitter is one of our FAVORITE social media uses- what better way to express your thoughts than by having them limited to 140 characters? Currently, 49 million people are active on Twitter… are you one of them? What do YOU tweet about?

For anyone new to the social media game, think of Twitter as a way to give updates, activities and opinions in 140 characters or less. What’s the phone number symbol thrown in there? It’s a #hashtag, used to categorize keywords so that other users can search the keyword and your tweet will appear (if your account is public!).

Now, who should you follow? Depends on your interests, but we recommend following friends, favorite celebrities, news hubs like CNN, and of course @blackoakboss. While it is fun to see what your favorite people are doing, we are finding that it is a great place to job hunt! Using that convenient #hashtag, do a search!! @blackoakboss uses hastags like #boston and #jobs to make it easy for jobseekers in the boston area to find us. We have also gotten more specific, using #sales or #pr, for those who know what field they are seeking.

Social Media IS all fun and games, but use it to your advantage!! If you are using Twitter for job seeking, make sure to keep your profile appropriate. Use a professional photo, put a link to your resume in your “description” section, and monitor your tweets! Have fun and #goodluck!

11.8.13

BOSS blog 11.5.13

ladies & gentlemen, election day is upon us!!! PLEASE find just a few minutes to stop by and vote. Our tips for voting:

-Know where to go: http://www.wheredoivotema.com/bal/MyElectionInfo.aspx

-Know when to go: While you are legally allowed to vote if you are in line before 8pm, we suggest doing it first thing in the morning or during lunch!

-Know who to vote for: Every vote counts, but make your vote matter to YOU by being informed on all of the candidates and current issues

-Know what to bring: your driver’s license and voter registration card. You don’t want to wait in a long line just to find out you don’t have the necessary documents!!

-Know to just VOTE: No matter what, just get out there and do it. This country worked hard to make sure everyone can vote. It’s your right! Do it!

11.2.13

BOSS blog 11.2.13

 

Let it be known, as job seekers, employers and employees: we firmly believe that the thank you note is NOT dead. We are quick to write thank you notes, be it for received gifts, wonderful parties and yes, interviews. Even if you nailed the interview, it’s not over as soon as you walk out of their office. Employers took time out of their busy day to speak to you and let you pitch yourself. They deserve something for that. But what is appropriate?

While it has never been done or seen by us, we have heard crazy tales of huge gift baskets being sent, or a single shoe arriving to a manager’s office (you know, so they can get their foot in the door?), we don’t think humor is the best way to stand out. Stay as classic and true as a genuine thank you. Living in the world that we live in today, where literally everything can be found and done online, 87% of managers find a thank you email to be appropriate. But we put our foot down on the phone call. We understand that you want them to know you’re taking time out of your day to call them, but this also means you are taking time out of THEIR day.

A classic thank you note is a sure-fire way to bring a smile to a manager’s face, or at least put to you in their heads again. Whether by email or snail mail, here are a few tips and things we consider MUSTS:

  • First and foremost, their name. Please, please, PLEASE make sure it is spelled correctly, even if you have to look it up on the website.
  • Open with something clever so that they don’t feel like they are reading a thank you note they have already seen a trillion times.
  • Remind them of the day you interviewed and the position you are being considered for, just to jog their memory. Some managers will see 50 people in a week.
  • Thank them for taking the time to speak to you and mention something specific from the interview that they may have said that you enjoyed. **HINT: a good closing question can trigger this**
  • Close it quickly and professionally. Make sure you leave first AND last name.
  • Double check one last time to make sure it is legible and there are no typos!!
  • Send within 48 hours of your interview to stay prompt and fresh in their minds

11.2.13

BOSS blog 10.29.13

Happy Halloween week!! We love excuses to throw a party and get dressed up. What plans do you have for the spookiest day of the year? Whether it be a trip to the pumpkin patch, trick or treating through the neighborhood or attending a costume party, we hope you have something planned! Not all offices allow you to get festive for the holiday, but we have found a few easy ways to incorporate Halloween into your work life.

If you are lucky enough to work in an office that encourages costumes or is throwing a soiree, don’t wait until the last minute to plan!! Decorate your door or cubicle, plan a costume with your coworkers, and bring a fun treat to share at the party!! As far as costumes go, remember to keep things professional… avoid sensitive topics, politics, or anything too crude. Imagine losing your job over dressing up as Miley from the VMA’s.

For the more subtle celebrators: If your office is strict about holidays, try to have a little fun with treats for visitors or have a decoration here and there. If you are brave enough to dress up but don’t want to be the only one in your office in costume, dig deep and come up with a costume that could pass as a normal outfit… or steal one of our ideas. We love Betty/Don Draper from Mad Men, a secret spy, Dwight Shrute from The Office, or Sheldon/Amy from The Big Bang Theory. Check out our Pinterest board for more recipe ideas and costume inspiration (http://www.pinterest.com/dparlon/halloween-at-work/)!!

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BOSS blog 10.24.13

You found the perfect job, wrote out an awesome cover letter, updated your resume, and sent it in WITH a follow up email….but never heard back. Wonder why?? What if you found that it was something as elementary as simple grammatical and spelling errors?

Breaking news: Word doesn’t always catch every mistake and put that very helpful red or green zigzag line under it. Because they’re/their/there are still words, they may have just been used incorrectly and cost you a job or two. Some people (hand is raised) who spend a decent amount of time reading articles and typing out our own, take personal offense to typos and will immediately reject something that sticks out like a sore thumb. Job seeking is no easy task, so don’t make things harder for yourself: double, no TRIPLE check your resume and cover letter. Have a friend look it over just so we can all rest a little easier at night knowing it is flawless and doesn’t have errors like these:

  • They’re/Their/There:

-Apostrophes tend to confuse people… think of that little apostrophe as the shortening of the words. They’re=They are. There=a place. Their=possession.

-They’re going to look at your resume. Resumes are collected by their assistant. From there, they will contact you.

  • PowerPoint/Excel:

-Know the difference, but know that PowerPoint is two words, each capitalized but put together. Excel has that little c in there, sound it out! Make sure the words are both capitalized, as they are brands!

  • Verses vs. Versus:

-Musical verses

-Red Sox versus Cardinals

  • Affect/Effect:

-Use affect as a verb and effect as a noun. Affect is an influence, while effect is a result.

-A good resume affects an employer’s opinion of you. The effect that the typo free resume has on an employer is second to none.

10.24.13

BOSS blog 10.16.13

We have decided to tackle one of the business world’s greatest debates: Working from home- Awesome or Awful?? Personally, some of the hardest working people we know do business from the comfort of their own home – ourselves occasionally included. But is it beneficial to the company or just one huge distraction?

For those who spend 8-10 hours a day under fluorescent lights in a tiny cubicle, we understand your bitterness. But we want to settle a few rumors. Thanks to programs like Skype and WebEx, meetings can be held virtually, so onesie pajamas don’t exactly fit that dress code. And while music can be played at maximum volume, screencasting makes it impossible to surf YouTube or BuzzFeed all day long.

But there are some true benefits, especially for those who spend an extra 2 hours a day sitting in the parking lot that is I-95. The ability to go for a run or hit the grocery store mid-day is wonderful, as is full access to the kitchen. Those who are given an hour lunch break in the office tend to take the full 59 minutes and 59 seconds. When working from home, it is more common to grab something from the pantry and snack while working. We are finding that those working from home are more productive and also lead healthier lives because of that extra time not spent commuting or waiting in line at the fast food joint next door to the office. So if you have the option to work from home, we suggest it but not without a little guidance:

-Be knowledgeable of social media and networking tools.

Because you no longer have cubicle neighbors, you need to make time to stay connected with coworkers and clients. Start conversations, spark each other’s creativity, and keep people motivated. It is a good outlet for you to prevent from going stir-crazy.

-Set a where and when.

While you do have the entire house/café as your office, that doesn’t mean you should stretch out your work all day to the point that you are fitting in meetings after dinner and between soccer games. Set a time frame and work during those hours so you have time to run errands and be with family. This means when your allotted work hours are over, be able to shut down, step away from emails and focus on life outside of work.

Get out of the house!

Instead of creating an office space on the couch and trying to work while watching Real Housewives (we know which will get more attention), sit at the kitchen table, or better yet get out of the house a few days a week! Research shows that light background chatter increases productivity, so head to your favorite café and set up camp. Another brand new idea- Work Bar. We have seen a few popping up in Boston and find them to be GENIUS. Pay a monthly fee and get access to a kitchen, office supplies, a full bar and other entrepreneurs looking to strike conversations.

-Don’t become invisible

One of the greatest fears of becoming a virtual worker is that you become invisible to the company and to your superiors. That doesn’t have to be the case. Chime in, speak up and don’t be afraid to show your face at meetings or company events. Be the extrovert we know you can be!

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BOSS blog 10.11.13

Thanks to Columbus sailing the ocean blue, we have one last warm (-ish) long weekend ahead of us. What do you have planned? Well, if you find some down time in between running the kids to their various sports, cooking up a storm, and bringing down the winter clothes from the attic, we have a few ideas in mind.

Job hunting is certainly exhausting and can be frustrating, especially when you find that employers never get back to you to say that they simply aren’t interested. So, take a step back and let’s look at things from their angle, maybe there is a reason you aren’t hearing back? In this day and age, over 89% of job seekers use social media AND about 65% of employers use social media to gauge their prospective employees.

Keeping that in mind, we suggest spending a few hours this weekend screening your social media pages as an employer might. Are your pictures appropriate? Are you constantly posting whiny tweets with multiple curse words and typos? Are you making an effort to network and start engaging conversations? These are all things that can sway an employer one way or the other. Social media pages can show your personality that otherwise wouldn’t be shown to employers from your resume or cover letter.

• Facebook: Make sure all of your pictures are appropriate. If you are confused, think “would Grandma like this?” before posting. We also strongly encourage the highest level of privacy. You don’t really need likes from strangers, do you? Another note- if you tell your boss you have come down with the flu, but then update a status about how CRAZY Vegas is…. What does that say about you?

• Twitter: If you choose to go with a public account, then you have lost your right to use Twitter as a diary. ANYONE can see it, including the boss you mentioned as an incompetent idiot in that last tweet. Use twitter as a source, a place to keep up with your favorite celebrities, news hubs and hot, new companies.

• Instagram: Yes, the filters can make a landscape gorgeous or make you look slightly less pale. But they do not make a party photo any more appropriate or the constant PDA pics with your boyfriend any cuter.

• LinkedIn: This is the ultimate job networking site and the LAST place to gossip with friends. Keep your photo and job title current. Almost everyone has a LinkedIn account, so if you post your job description, make sure it is insanely accurate. You can’t get away with saying you “played an integral role project managing with 3 supervisors” if you actually were taking Starbucks orders.

While you’re cleaning out your social media, keep in mind that staffing firms like Black Oak Staffing often post the positions they are looking to fill. Or they post clever, adorable and super helpful blog posts (wink, wink). Use social media to your advantage and not just as an outlet to brag about the latest party or post the 879th picture of your pet (although my pet is really, really cute!!!!).

Have a wonderful long weekend, make time for family and enjoy the weather!!

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