How to Avoid Becoming the Office Doormat

It's OK not to take on every assignment.

It happens to the most well-intentioned among us. You're asked to do something at work outside of your normal duties and you willingly agree. You do a good job and the following week you are asked by the same person to do something else. This continues for a long time and you eventually begin to feel overburdened and as if you're being taken advantage of. 

You're probably asking how you got yourself in this position and how to get out of it. The first step is recognition. If you feel you've fallen into this role, you can take action to remove yourself from it. No one wants to feel that they've lost control of their work balance, and this can quickly happen when you are being walked over.

Focus on you. If you've landed in this position, it may be due to insecurity. Are you afraid to disappoint others? That may be why you are taking on every new task given to you. You need to learn to value your contributions and time, which will allow you to do what you need to do to be successful without compromising your priorities, utmost of which should be caring for yourself.

Ask for help. When you are constantly giving to others, you're probably not asking for much help. That can be damaging to your well-being as well as from a time perspective. Asking for help does not exhibit weakness; rather, it shows that you acknowledge you don't know the answer to everything and it's okay to ask for assistance. You're not supposed to know all the answers! This also sends the signal to your colleagues that you are not afraid to ask for help, and you will not be the one doing all the grunt work.

Learn to say no. This is a tough one, but it's an essential skill in the workplace. Those who set up boundaries tend to have a more positive experience on the job. Contrary to what you may think, saying "yes" to every request can give your co-workers a negative impression. They may see that as an inability on your part to prioritize overall and maintain a balance. It's much better to be honest up front when you do not have time for something. If you wait until a day or two before a deadline to tell someone you won't have time to complete something instead of saying "no" at the outset, you will also damage your reputation. If this is hard for you to do, start by offering to do smaller tasks that take very little time, say five to ten minutes, and go from there.

Evaluate your to-do list. Learn to think critically about your to-do list. What is absolutely essential and must be done today? What can wait until tomorrow? With constant access to email, we automatically think that every message warrants a response as soon as possible. However, continuously asking yourself the question "Does this really need to be done right now?" may yield surprising results and give you back a lot of your free time.

Cut back on your hours. If you're always working overtime and feel that you need to be the first one in the office and last one out, ditch that mentality. In most cases, you'll gain more respect for completing your work within your workday (with some exceptions of course), and if you don't, there's likely something wrong with your boss, management or company culture. If there are obstacles stopping you from getting your work done within normal work hours, think about how to slash them. Is there a barrage of meetings each day or people who are constantly coming to gossip with you and interrupt your work? These are two things you can skip or cut out by making the decision and sticking with it.

In order to avoid the office doormat label, you first need to recognize your self-worth. Once you accept that your time is valuable and you deserve respect, you can begin to take back your time and energy and put it into your core work tasks and personal time in order to do things that matter to you. Don't let people take advantage of your kindness and willingness to give of your knowledge and time. It's not worth the long-term risk to your health or your professional reputation.


5 Clever Ways to Get a Job

Over the last few years, the job market has been pretty brutal. With so many job seekers vying over the same openings, competition has reached sky-high limits. In response, some candidates are going to crazy lengths to get noticed. Whether candidates submit their resume on a chocolate bar, perform a guitar solo about why they're the perfect fit for the job, film over-the-top YouTube videos that have gone viral, employers have seen just about everything.

As crazy as some of these situations sound, they have one common denominator: they worked. The candidates captured their target employers' attention and sometimes even landed the job.

While filming a video and making it go viral might be a bit impractical for you, there are some more realistic ways to get noticed. Here are five clever ways that, when implemented, are sure to make you stand out from your competition and help you land that coveted job offer.

1. Impress with Your Resume & Cover Letter

Both your resume and cover letter need to be perfect. This tip sounds like a no-brainer, but you'd be amazed at how many people—qualified, competent people—lose job offers simply because of one lazy typo. Have a friend or trusted colleague take a look at what you've written. An extra 5 to 10 minutes can make the difference between securing an interview and being sent a “thanks, but no thanks” message from HR.
Better yet, use LiveCareer's Resume Builder to create an error-free, professional resume. Whether you're simply updating your resume or creating your first-ever resume, LiveCareer makes the writing process easy and fast.

2. Create an Online Profile

Hiring managers will likely Google you, so you need an online profile that accurately represents you as a professional—like LinkedIn. Your profile should match your resume, be full of job-specific keywords, and be 100 percent professional. Remember: you're not on Facebook. It's probably a good idea to delete that picture from your drunken weekend in Cancun—especially if it's your profile picture.

3. Get to Know the Right People
Getting your foot in the door can be as simple as knowing the right person. You'd be amazed at how many of your friends and acquaintances will know someone who's looking to hire a candidate with the same skills you have. Plus, they can also put in a good word for you with the hiring manager, which is icing on the cake.
Send out emails to former coworkers, ask around on Facebook, set up lunch meetings with social connections—do whatever it takes to keep your name on other peoples' minds.

4. Research the Company Website Beforehand

Once you secure an interview, take a moment to let out a sigh of relief and pat yourself on the back. But keep in mind: the hardest part of your job search awaits you.
Answering questions about your previous experience just isn't enough anymore. Before your interview, spend at least one hour researching the company you're hoping to work for. Spend some time on their website, and do a little sleuthing about the industry. Having a few really good questions to ask about the position and company is only going make you shine even brighter than the candidate who's just relying on his or her previous experience.

5. Show Your Appreciation

Take a few minutes to write a thank-you note. As simple as it sounds, you'd be amazed at how many people pass up this last chance to sell themselves. It's also a great time to ask that really good question that you thought of after the interview was over.
While these tips may seem obvious, you'd be surprised how many of them are overlooked or just simply ignored. Apply them to your routine and are you're sure to get that awesome job you've been dreaming about in no time. And if you need some help, remember that LiveCareer has your back. Whether you need to write a resume, cover letter, or a simple thank-you note, LiveCareer has award-winning tools that streamline the process.

Physical and Emotional Changes Associated With Pain

As a fitness professional, you are highly likely to work with clients who have chronic and/or recurring pain. These clients need to be cleared for exercise by their physician. When they come to you, they will probably have completed or be currently involved with treatment from a licensed medical provider such as a physical therapist or chiropractor. You must remain within your scope of practice at all times and avoid any attempts to treat or diagnose pathological conditions or to provide medical advice.
To best assist clients who are experiencing chronic pain, you need to understand the bio-psycho-social paradigm and what that means in relation to program design, communication and expectations.
Chronic pain can have a global effect, creating stress in many of the body’s systems. The following list from Exercise is Medicine® Australia offers insight into what clients with chronic pain deal with on a daily basis.
  • increased attention to the painful area over other areas of the body
  • decreased activity levels and decreased tolerance for physical activity
  • “glitches” in the nervous system and brain that worsen sensations of pain in other areas of the body
  • depressed mood, increased anxiety and more feelings of helplessness
  • depressed immune system
  • guarded, compensatory and poorly coordinated movement
  • heightened stress response
  • an inability to relax, poor concentration and memory, and disturbed sleep
Source: Exercise is Medicine Australia 2014.
To read more about understanding the biological, psychological and social ramifications of pain, please see "The Many Dimensions of Pain" in the online IDEA Library or in the February 2016 print issue of IDEA Fitness Journal. If you cannot access the full article and would like to, please contact the IDEA Inspired Service Team at (800) 999-4332, ext. 7.

International Employment Tips - What You Must Know

Getting a hold of the proper documents to work overseas may seem like an overwhelming, frightening idea. In actuality, it's pretty easy. Here is our guide to preparing for your overseas employment opportunity.
  1. Know Your Local Consulate
    If you're looking to work overseas, the consular should be your new best friend. A consular is by definition "An official appointed by a government to reside in a foreign country and represent his or her government's commercial interests and assist its citizens there (" More importantly, a consular is your ticket to obtaining all the entry/residency requirements you'll need to work in that country. This is where you apply for your visa or permit. Most countries position several consulate offices in each foreign country, so you shouldn't have any trouble finding one. For instance, if you're traveling to France from Australia, you'll look up the French Embassy in Australia who can in turn point you to your local consulate office. They can be referred to as a consulate, consular, or consulate general. No matter the title, it all means the same thing to you: easily processing your international employment status.
  2. Meet the Embassy
    A country's main presence in a foreign country is often an embassy. This is an important source of information for anyone who would like to travel or work overseas. They can also assist you in finding the nearest consulate office. An Embassy is also sometimes called a "High Commission."
  3. Working Overseas vs. Playing Overseas
    To travel overseas as a tourist and to travel overseas as an employee are two very different situations. Be aware that the entry procedures and requirements are usually not the same. For instance, in many cases, tourists do not need a visa, permitted their stay does not last longer than a certain time. When entering the country as an employee, not only does the visit often last longer, requiring a different visa, but the government might have a say in the activities you can engage in while in the country.
  4. Be in Touch With Your Employer
    Your employer overseas will most likely be responsible for obtaining your work permit. And without a work permit, you will not be able to process your visa application. Your employer will also have to produce a contract of employment that determines your length of stay in the country and other documents concerning their business validity and your employment.
  5. Allow Yourself Extra Time
    This process can be very time consuming, so allow yourself plenty of time to complete the visa/work permit process. Processing time can take anywhere from 2 days in some countries to 6 months in others. Your employer will have to arrange for certain documents (and their approval) as well before you can even begin applying for your visa. If you rush through the procedures you could miss an important step and have to start from scratch.
  6. Documents to Have Available
    Every country requires different documentation for the visa/work permit application. Some items/documents to have on hand include:
    1. a valid passport
    2. 2 or more passport size photos
    3. documentation from your employer
    4. a statewide criminal history record check
    5. a medical certificate

  7. Some European Work Related Vocabulary
    • The Schengen Visa: allows you to move freely within the Schengen Area, comprised of 15 European countries.
    • EEA: European Economic Area: comprised of the 15 members of the EU plus Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein. The EEA agreement includes a provision for the "free movement of persons." This allows nationals to live, work, study, and establish businesses in any other member countries with little to no obstacles. Additional information can be found at :

  8. A Country-by-Country Guide
    Here is some basic, general information on what you'll need to work overseas. However, information varies on a case-by-case, country-by-country basis. It depends on what country you're coming from, what country you're going to, your job description, and your length of stay. Information also changes quite often, especially as security issues are becoming increasingly important. Therefore, it is always best to contact your local consulate or embassy, which you'll need to do anyway when applying for your visa.

Skills gap between younger and older Singapore workers

Singapore's younger adults rank highly in numeracy, literacy and problem-solving skills, a major international study has found, but the older generation lags considerably behind. While this reflects the progress in education and training over the decades here, this "skills gap" also highlights that more needs to be done to upgrade the skills of older workers, said experts.
The study of 34 economies by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, which included Singapore for the first time, also linked higher skill levels to better wages here, another reason for older workers to keep improving themselves.
Still, employers place more premium on qualifications, and a better balance should be found, believes OECD director for education and skills Andreas Schleicher.
The results of OECD's Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (Piaac), which also involved countries such as Australia, Japan and South Korea, were released yesterday. Those aged between 16 and 34 in Singapore ranked second behind the Finns in problem-solving using digital tools, fifth in numeracy, which was also topped by Finland, and ninth in literacy, which was led by Japan.
But older adults here aged 45 to 65 performed lower than the OECD average. They were ranked 31st in literacy and numeracy skills and 18th for problem-solving.
The difference in scores between the younger and older generation here is also among the widest when compared with other countries. One reason for the gap, OECD said, could be the survey being conducted in English here. Almost eight in 10 respondents aged above 35 here said they were not native speakers.
Mr Ng Cher Pong, chief executive of the Singapore Workforce Development Agency, believes the difference reflects the marked improvement in Singapore's education and training systems over the last 50 years - including the ramp-up in schools and programmes.
But it is "hugely important" that Singapore finds ways to upgrade the skills of older workers, such as through schemes like SkillsFuture, said Dr Schleicher.
SkillsFuture is a national initiative to equip workers with skills.Doing so could "dramatically raise" Singapore's productivity and keep them employable, he said.
He highlighted how the survey, which involved 5,468 citizens and permanent residents, found that wage levels here were strongly linked to skill and education levels.
An increase of about 48 points in literacy proficiency scores is linked to a 12 per cent increase in hourly wages, almost double the OECD average. About 3.2 extra years in education bring a more than 30 per cent rise in wages - more than double the OECD average.
"Singapore employers pay quite a lot of attention to formal qualifications," said Dr Schleicher. But this might not be a good indicator of one's proficiency.
"It's the use of skills that drives productivity, not years of education," he added.

Are 10 Million Americans About To Be Screwed Out Of Their Pensions? (KR)

Earlier this spring, I presented my short call on Kroger (KR), arguing that America’s largest supermarket chain was feeling the increased pressure of an intensely competitive food retail environment. That’s the plain vanilla rationale behind my bear case. But there’s more.
One of the more distressing risks lurking beneath the surface—one that represents a threat not only to shareholders, but to pensioners as well—is Kroger’s exposure to a large number of multi-employer pension plans (MPPs). The company intentionally keeps these plans in an underfunded status and this has the potential to backfire on the company. In addition to increasing annual costs, the company’s total exposure to these plans, in another downturn, is potentially debilitating.
Kroger’s woes are emblematic of an affliction plaguing pension funds across the country. It’s the same old story – chronic underfunding, as the swelling ranks of retirees overtake a smaller base of currently contributing employees.
To underscore the issue at hand, MPPs are the primary source of retirement income for over ten million active, inactive and retired workers and their survivors. A number of these pension plans, much like their state-run brethren, are severely underfunded. In a report to Congress in 2013, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) estimated that MPPs have $757 billion in pension benefit liabilities, $391 billion of which are unfunded obligations. No small potatoes.
Kroger is one of the largest unionized employers in the United States. About 375,000 of their employees are covered by roughly 300 collective bargaining agreements. Kroger employees participate in 36 multi-employer pension plans (MPP), with a combined $70 billion in assets and $100 billion in associated liabilities.
Therein lays the problem.
A survey conducted by Segal Consulting found that 53% of the retail food MPPs in the survey were in the “red zone.” This means the plans either had “immediate and significant funding problems” or would be unable “to pay benefits within 15 to 20 years.” Underscoring the severity of the issue, in testimony before Congress in 2014, Kroger’s Vice President of Pension Investments and Strategy, Scott Henderson, called “the uncertain fate of the multiemployer system” a “huge concern.”
Here’s what’s even more disconcerting. Projected MPP shortfalls don’t account for what could happen to the plans in a protracted financial market downturn. Get this: Milliman data shows that every 4% decline in asset returns pushes MPP funding status down by 15% to 20%. That’s an enormous amount of sensitivity. And it’s significant cause for concern.
The story gets worse as a protracted stock market downturn may be imminent. Consider a comprehensive study of historical equity returns conducted by hedge fund founder Cliff Asness of AQR. Asness shows that over the next 10 years, stock returns will likely only average around 0.5% plus inflation. So call it 2% per year. In this scenario, these pension plans would see their funding ratios precipitously drop by 20% to 30%. In other words, an 80% funded plan today, will drop to 50% to 60% funding within a few years, just as the number of inactive retirees begins to go parabolic.
A perfect storm.
Making matters worse, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that if a major MPP becomes insolvent the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation’s insurance fund would exhaust within two or three years. This means that if (and when) MPP-participating employers fail to pay for the full withdrawal liabilities, due to reasons such as a bankruptcy or going out of business, the responsibility for the unfunded liabilities shifts to the employers that remain active in the plan. As a result, the remaining employers in the multi-employer pension plan are forced to pick up the tab of many people who never even worked for the company and may have worked for a competitor or in a different industry.
In Kroger’s case, the company’s rising healthcare and pension costs can’t be swept under the rug. Just last month, the Treasury Department denied an application put forth by a critically-impaired MPP, the Central States Plan, in which Kroger employees participate, to reduce benefits for covered employees arguing that the plan did not “satisfy the statutory criteria.” Investment return assumptions of 7.5% were deemed “not reasonable” and the benefit cuts not “equitably distributed.”
This is not an issue that can be kicked down the road. Unless something drastic is done, millions of Americans counting on their pensions will be left outside in the cold.
Kroger’s investors haven’t yet grasped the gravity of the situation. In 2015, Kroger’s pension liability ballooned 61% to $2.9 billion. That number will go even higher this year, hindering the company’s ability to grow and likely leading to lower equity value.
Little is being done right now to solve Kroger’s many issues. Investors would do well to get out before it’s too late. We see 20%-40% downside for shares of Kroger from current levels. Not to mention the massive potential pain ahead for pensioners.

Howard Penney is a managing director and restaurants analyst for Hedgeye, an independent investment research and online financial media firm based in Stamford, Connecticut.

8 smart phrases that will make you better at networking

A simple hello can lead to a million things. Know the right phrases to be successful.
Networking events are a great opportunity to make valuable contacts, professionally and personally. But many people stress over the pressure of trying to connect quickly and impressively with complete strangers. Some even stay away because they can't get comfortable with the idea.
It's definitely a situation that can prey on any insecurities you have, but if you prepare well, you can know that you won't be caught in a long weird silence or trying to think of something to say that doesn't sound awkward. Then you'll be ready not just for networking events but for company picnics, conferences, cocktail parties, and any other social events that take you outside your circle of family and friends.
Here are eight perfect icebreakers to learn and practice.

1. Hi, my name is . . .

Start with the basics. Put out your hand, flash a genuine smile, make eye contact, and introduce yourself. From there the person you're talking with will almost certainly share their name, and you're already off to a good start.

2. What do you do?

People love to talk about themselves. If you're inquisitive and curious, most people will pick it up from there and carry the talking. Again, it's a question of starting with the basics.

3. What business are you in?

A slightly different version of "What do you do?" Either can be appropriate, depending on the event and the person. You may even want to use both. If you learn that you're talking with an accountant, you can ask, "Are you with an accounting firm, or do you work for a business in a different industry?"

4. What do you like about your job?

Open-ended questions like this are a great follow-up, because they probably can't be answered in a couple of words. It reinforces positivity and communicates interest in their work.

5. How did you get started in this kind of work?

You can learn so much about someone if you hear even a bit about their journey instead of focusing exclusively on the here and now. And when people start telling their story, things can really get interesting.

6. What are you hoping to get out of this event?

Obviously this isn't a question to ask at, say, a birthday party for a board member, but if the focus is professional, it's worth a try. It gives the other person a chance to communicate something about themselves indirectly--is their answer funny, sarcastic, sincere, dismissive?

7. I love your work.

If you're talking with someone well-known, expressing admiration for their work can be a good starting place. From there, you can pivot into something more open-ended, like "I heard you speak about your new project at last year's conference--how is that going?" or "One of the ideas in your book really helped me through a rough patch . . . "

8. What advice would you give someone just starting out in your industry?

With an industry veteran or older person, an open-ended hypothetical like this can lead you to valuable insights. You may also want to ask how the industry has changed during the course of their career.
The bottom line is this: Be interested in learning more about others, and you'll always have something to ask. Be willing to engage in give and take and give something of yourself as well, and you'll soon wonder what it is you were so intimidated by.

The 5 telltale symptoms of career stagnation

Figure out if it’s just a lull or if your career has really hit a rut.

The 5 telltale symptoms of career stagnation

If you feel like you’re doing your job on autopilot, you’re not alone. In 2015, only 32% of U.S. employees said they were actively engaged in their jobs, according to a Gallup Poll. For many people, that disengagement is tied closely to a sense that their career development is stagnating.
Please note, however, stagnation isn’t the same as disliking your job. When you truly hate your gig, you likely feel compelled to do something about it, says Anna S.E. Lundberg, a London-based career coach. “On the other hand, it’s those of us who are just plodding along, not hating our careers but also lacking any real engagement with our work who are likely to feel stuck and remain in a role or even a career that has no real future,” she adds. Stagnation, therefore, is far worse for one’s career since it doesn’t lead to any action.
Whitney Johnson, career coach at Harvard’s Executive Education program and author of Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work, uses an S-curve to illustrate how the various stages of a career might look: “At the base of the curve there is slow growth,” she says. “It takes time to master new information or skills. At this stage, what may feel like stagnation could in reality be growth, requiring patience and effort until things get more lively.”
If you can slog through that slow period, she says, you will rapidly grow and move up until you reach the top of the slope.  And that’s when actual stagnation becomes a real risk to your career. But how do you know if you’re in the good part of the S or the bad—or, whether what you’re experiencing is a natural slowdown or an actual career rut? If you answer “no” to three or more of these five questions, you’re stuck in the mud.

Are you motivated at work?

Everyone gets bored with work sometimes, but boredom shouldn’t be your everyday. If it is, your motivation will start to erode. Cue the career rut. Whether you know it or not, you need motivation to work hard. Without drive, your career growth is DOA.
If your performance has plateaued, you have no desire to learn anything new, and you don’t feel compelled to go beyond what’s strictly necessary to do your job, it’s time to do a little soul-searching to figure out why, says Marilyn Santiesteban, assistant director of career services at The Bush School at Texas A&M.
Maybe you’ve been doing the same tasks for too long; maybe you need to be challenged more. It’s important to figure out why you’re bored before you can tell truthfully whether you’re in a temporary lull or a not-so-temporary rut.

Has it been 4+ years since your last promotion?

If you’ve been in your position for that long with no promotion, then it’s probably not going to come, Johnson says. Management likes you right where you are.
Of course, it’s frustrating to be repeatedly passed over for steps up you feel you’ve earned, so you need to figure out why it’s happening. Perhaps your boss doesn’t know you’re interested in moving ahead, or maybe you need to learn a new skill or two to climb to the next step on the ladder. This calls for a frank conversation with the person above you to find out exactly what it would take to get ahead.
Maybe you’ve reached a ceiling in your organization, or if there’s no space for you to move up, Johnson says. And if so, hearing it may just be the call to action you need to move on.

Are you meeting new people at work?

If your company isn’t bringing in any new people and workplace events are always the “same old, same old,” then it might not just be you that’s stagnating.
Organizations can also plateau, but when they do, the careers of the company’s employees usually do also. So, while you can learn quickly in the right role with such a company, you’ll eventually stall out, as well, Johnson adds.
Check your organization as a whole for signs of stagnation, Santiesteban says. Look for flat sales, retooling of existing products or services rather than creating new ones, executive team members and senior management that have been around forever, or static or slightly shrinking market share.

Are your performance reviews exceptional?

If you’re consistently “meeting expectations,” you’re not “growing in your career.”
“Maybe things are not terrible, they’re just OK; fine,” Lundberg says. “Is that how you want to live your life? Sort of average, things plodding along but with no passion, no excitement, no real feeling of fulfillment?”
When everything you do at work is only average, it may be time to shake things up. Easier said than done: But you’re going to have to go a little above and beyond if you want to break free from the shackles of stagnation. Take on a new project, or at least give your next project your all.

Are you sure you want to stick around?

If you spend your days fantasizing about doing something else, whether it’s a childhood dream or simply changing companies or fields, it’s likely a sign that your career isn’t meeting fundamental needs for you, Lundberg says.
“If you dig into the underlying values behind these fantasies and plans, you may find what’s missing from your current career,” she says. “Is it a sense of freedom and independence, the ability to make your own decisions, an opportunity to learn something new, or is it a question of earning more or working less?”
If you can answer those questions, you might be able to re-inject some of those missing elements into your current career, she adds. On the other hand, if you have a passion you’ve been dreaming of following for years, then now may be the time to make it a reality.

9 things that make you look really unprofessional in meetings

In a survey, 47 percent of people said that the meetings they attend are not productive. Don't be the reason for an unproductive meeting.

Do you occasionally feel like your boss or other colleagues are displeased with your behavior in meetings? The impatient questions directed your way, the sharp glances with eyebrows raised, the attempts to shut you out of the conversation?

If the answer is "yes," chances are, there are things you are doing--or not doing--in meetings that make you seem unprofessional, perhaps without your even knowing it. Here are 9 of the most common behaviors that can make us look unprofessional in meetings.

1. Being late
Routine tardiness shows an inability to respect other people's time, no matter how well intentioned you may be. Even if you're just five minutes late, people notice if it happens often. Get in the habit of arriving at meetings a few minutes early so your team isn't always waiting for you.

2. Boasting
It's no secret that conceited people often talk the most and do the least. Employers and employees alike know that. Don't boast in meetings about accomplishing things before you have actually accomplished them. In fact, get out of the habit of boasting at all--you'll be more likable, and more professional.

3. Complaining
While it's all right to let the occasional complaint slip out every now and then, nobody likes the person who constantly complains about every assignment they are given. We are get tired and hungry and frustrated, however, we don't have to always vocalize it.

4. Showing off
Asking questions is definitely a good way to get attention. Asking too many questions--just to show off your knowledge--looks really unprofessional. Tone down the questions, and you'll give off the impression that you have it much more together.

5. Looking sloppy
Although meetings can be informal, showing up to one looking like you just rolled out of bed is not appealing. In fact, showing up to work looking sloppy every day is not appealing, period.

6. Playing hooky
We all take a day or two off work when we need it--whether it be for emotional, illness, or personal reasons. Doing this often--and on days when you know there will be meetings at which you should be present--reflects poorly on you.

The biggest mistake you're making when introducing yourself

Want to make your introductions more impactful? Stop skipping this one crucial element.

Introductions can be inherently high-pressure and awkward, can't they? No matter how outgoing and vivacious you consider yourself to be, it can be tough to condense who you are and what you do into a few crisp, concise, and impactful sentences.

So, when it comes to shaking hands and introducing yourself to someone new, you likely default to something simple and standard like, "I'm Joe, and I'm the Sales Manager at Company XYZ."
At first glance, it seems effective. It's short, sweet, and it serves the intended purpose--sharing your name and your job title.
But, look closer and you'll notice that it's missing something important. While it may seem complete and polished, it's really lacking one crucial element that helps to take your introductions to the next level.
What's that? Quite simply, the value that you bring to the table.

Why is sharing value important?

Sure, spitting out your job title is a key part of an introduction, but it's really only a slice (and, often a somewhat ambiguous slice) of the whole pie. So, you want to make sure you emphasize not only what you do, but why you do it.
This is important for everyone, but particularly for those of us with job titles or occupations that don't immediately provide an adequate picture of what we do day in and day out. For example, when I used to introduce myself as only a "writer", most people would respond with something along the lines of, "Oh, so you're writing a book?"
I can understand their assumption. But, this is actually pretty far from the truth--I've never written a book, and I don't plan to in the near future.
So, instead of sticking with the tried and true introduction of, "I'm Kat, and I'm a writer," I've expanded things just a touch to say something like, "I'm Kat, and I'm a writer who helps businesses and brands engage their audiences through thoughtful blog posts and articles."
See the difference? Instead of just firing off a job title, I'm giving my conversational partner a more specific look at not only what I do, but also why it's important.

Watch Video :  The biggest mistake you're making when introducing yourself

From cell phones to noisy coworkers: Top 10 productivity killers

Take a look at some of the biggest productivity killers in today's workplace, according to a new CareerBuilder survey.
Let's be honest - it's impossible not easy to maintain a laser-like focus in the office for hours at a stretch, especially when we have to deal with distractions such as cell phones, social media and noisy co-workers.
More than 8 in 10 workers in the U.S. (83 percent) have smartphones, and the vast majority of them (82 percent) keep their cell phones nearby while they're working, according to a new CareerBuilder survey. In fact, 2 in 3 (66 percent) admit to checking their smartphones a number of times throughout the work day.
They are spending their time on activities such as personal messaging (65 percent), the weather (51 percent), news (44 percent) while some admit to using it for shopping (24 percent) and even dating (3 percent).
According to Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder:
While we need to be connected to devices for work, we're also a click away from alluring distractions from our personal lives like social media and various other apps. The connectivity conundrum isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it needs to be managed.
Take a look at some of the biggest culprits in this handy infographic.

Tweet at @CareerBuilder: Looking around your workplace, what are the biggest productivity killers you are noticing? Does your manager do anything to mitigate the lack of productivity by these distractions?

The rules of online networking for your job search

Much like in-person networking, online networking has its own rules of etiquette. Consider the following tips when building your network online.
As you've probably heard by now, professional networking is an essential skill — some might call it a "necessary evil" — that can help you further your career. The people you meet through networking can point you to your next career move, act as references for jobs you're applying for and mentor you in ways you never thought possible.
But networking itself tends to get a bad rap. It takes effort to introduce yourself to new people and the interactions can feel awkward or forced. They're the blind dates of the working world.
Fortunately, with the ubiquity of social networking and mobile technology, networking has changed significantly in recent years. Thanks to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and countless other social networking sites, it's easier than ever to connect with like-minded professionals and industry experts — many of whom you may have never met otherwise.
But much like in-person networking, online networking has its own rules of etiquette. Consider the following tips when building your network online.
Put the "pro" in profile. When you extend an invitation to connect, the person will inevitably check out your various social media profiles. Do the necessary prep work to make your social media profiles as polished and professional-looking as possible. This doesn't mean you should scrape your social media profiles of any personality whatsoever. Just make sure there's nothing on there you wouldn't want a potential boss to see.
Don't be a weirdo. Perhaps you met at a networking event and want to stay in touch. Maybe you have a connection in common or work in the same industry. Perhaps you simply admire this person's work. Whatever the reason you want to connect, be sure to introduce yourself — or re-introduce yourself, if the case may be — and include a quick sentence or two explaining why you want to connect. This may seem obvious, but you would be surprised how many people send invitations to connect without so much as a simple "Hi, my name is…" Not only is it lazy to not introduce yourself and your reason for wanting to connect, it can be borderline creepy.
Don't be generic. Copying and pasting the same tired, impersonal message into your emails or invitations to connect? You might as well not even bother. Generic messages are easy to spot and hard to forgive. They give the impression you're just mass-messaging anyone and everyone to build your network and are only looking out for yourself.
Be patient. U.S. Money writer Ritika Trikha sums up networking perfectly when she says, "Networking isn't about immediate results. It's about building mutually beneficial relationships." Be willing and able to put the time into building your relationships and building trust. What does that mean? Keep reading...
Nurture your network. Show your online connections some social media love and participate in the conversation. Start by sharing, liking or commenting on something they posted online, endorsing them for skills on LinkedIn or mentioning them in a #FollowFriday tweet, just to name a few tactics. The more you interact with them online, the more likely they are to reciprocate. Not only will this increase your visibility — not to mention up your social media street cred — but it will also help build a rapport and develop relationships with others outside of social media.
Try to connect IRL. Connecting online is great, but nothing beats meeting face to face when it comes to growing your relationship. If there's someone you've connected with online whom you want to get to know better, suggest going to coffee, lunch or meeting up for happy hour — and be sure to cover the bill.
Know when to move on. If someone is unresponsive, it's okay to follow up once or twice, but don't hassle the person. No one owes you anything, and trying to pester someone into connecting with you will only get you blocked. Move on to the next person who might be more responsive.
Pay it forward. Take advantage of opportunities to help others, unprompted. Is there a job at your company you know someone would be perfect for? Reach out to them and offer to be a reference. Helping others isn't just good karma, it can also pay off later if you ever need a favor of them.

18 annoying buzzwords you need to stop using at work

We all know business jargon is obnoxious. Yet, so many of us continue to use (and abuse) annoying buzzwords and clichés.
Darlene Price, president of Well Said, Inc., previously told Business Insider that most business language clichés were once a fresh, creative way of expressing a popular thought or common idea. "But because of long, excessive use, each phrase has lost its originality, impact, and even meaning," she said.
Thankfully, "buzzword backlash is growing," says Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of "Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job."
Here are some of the most common — and annoying — jargony phrases you're using at work, along with commentary from Taylor:

'Break a leg'

It's well-meaning, but trite and needs a reboot. "It's like saying, 'Good luck ... oh, and end up in ER!' How about something more heartfelt, like, 'Go for it, and hey ... no broken bones,'" says Taylor.

'Open up the kimono'

"The open kimono phrase should be put away once and for all; stored in a distant space capsule, for everyone's sake," she says.

'Boil the ocean'

"An interesting metaphor suggesting impossibility, but with climate change, it cannot be ruled out," Taylor jokes. "Sadly, this expression can make your blood boil, though."

'Hit the ground running'

"This must have come from the same sadist who created, 'Break a leg,'" she says.

'At the end of the day'

"I've witnessed this phrase in corporate America for many years, but now I fear it could outlive the cockroach," she says.

'Lots of moving parts'

"Precisely describes the 'soul' of the business droids who use such vexing language."


"This sign-off just tells me the user still has a weakness for pizza."

'Robust and scalable'

"If you don't push back, this is the very future of 'Repeated Buzzword Fury,' and it's not pretty," she warns.

'The enterprise'

This jargon has been around forever — and it's one of the most annoying phrases.

'Run it up the flagpole'

"Can humans successfully run anything up a flagpole other than a flag?" Taylor asks. "Exactly."


Eliminate it from your workplace vocabulary right now ... please!

Article Source: AOL

7 job search memes that are just too real

The job search process can be frustrating — we get it. But we like to find a little humor in the situation, so we compiled this list of seven memes that perfectly describe how you feel during the job search.
The job search process can be frustrating — we get it. But we like to find a little humor in the situation, so we compiled this list of seven memes that perfectly describe how you feel during the job search.
CareerBuilder surveyed 4,505 U.S. job seekers and 505 Canadian job seekers, as well as 1,505 hiring managers and recruiters, about virtually every aspect of the recruitment process — and we found out a LOT of interesting information about candidate behavior. Here, in random order, are some key findings.
Nearly 5 in 10 job seekers feel resumes are impersonal. Only half feel that resumes accurately portray them as a candidate.

The biggest frustration job seekers face is employers not responding (45 percent). Job seekers say that 4 out of 10 of their applications never receive a response or any type of communication.

On average, job seekers say they spend about 11 hours a week searching for jobs.

The majority of employers (62 percent) feel candidates are well-prepared for job interviews...

…but that doesn't mean it's always smooth sailing during the interview.

As you can probably relate, a constant job-seeker struggle is waiting (seemingly) endlessly to hear back after an interview. While 81 percent of employers say it takes them less than a week to notify other candidates that weren't selected once an offer has been accepted, 9 percent claim they don't ever notify the other candidates for various reasons — they want to keep their options open, they don't have enough time, etc.

More than half of employers (56 percent) say they give extra attention to candidates who call to follow up after applying. However, 27 percent of employers feel candidates are persistent and annoying.

Make sure to follow CareerBuilder on Instagram and Twitter for more job search memes.

What to know about a company before you interview

Know these 5 things before you arrive for the interview.
As a job seeker, you're often told how essential it is that you research the company before a job interview. But what exactly should you be looking for? Here are five things you should know about a company before you arrive for the interview.

1. The quick facts
Nothing's more embarrassing – or a surer deal breaker – than simply not knowing the basic facts about a company and the position by the time you reach the interview.
It may be hard to believe, but many hiring managers will tell you that sometimes candidates come in and aren't even sure of the name of the company. Basic facts like the industry and scope of their business, how the position you're interviewing for fits into the corporate structure and, of course, the name of the company are all crucial to your success in the interview.
2. The skills they want
Your main ultimate goal in a job interview is to convince the interviewer that you are the best candidate for the position. To do this, you need to have a good idea of what they would consider an ideal candidate and highlight the ways you fit that bill.
Sometimes you'll get lucky and the employer will literally include a "qualities of an ideal candidate" section in the job posting, but even if that's not the case, you can still piece it together. Carefully read and reread the posting, particularly the typical duties and responsibilities. Ask yourself which of your skills and experiences match up with these, and how you can articulate that connection to the interviewer.
3. The company culture
Being the best fit goes beyond just having the necessary skills and experience. In fact, one of the biggest benefits of a face-to-face interview is the interviewer can get a better feel for your personality and how well you'd fit in with the company culture.
Employers know that culture can be a huge selling point for potential job candidates, so finding info on a company's culture shouldn't be difficult. You can often find an overview in the "About Us" section of a company's website. Their mission statement and core values are often available there as well. Corporate social media accounts can be a good indicator of the culture as well.
Of course, the messages on these channels are often controlled by the company itself. If you want a less filtered point of view, check out employer-rating sites like Glassdoor, or find current employees on social media.
4. Recent news
Employers like candidates who are eager to hit the ground running, so coming in with an understanding of industry conditions, recent moves or changes made by the company and other relevant events is a great way to show the interviewer that you're serious about the position.
A simple web news search for the company is a good place to start, although for some companies this may not turn up much. You should also look on the company's website for a "Press Room" or "News" section, where you can often find press releases put out by the company.
5. Competitors
What sets this company apart from its competitors? Companies are often eager to showcase what makes them unique or superior, so again, finding this information shouldn't be difficult. But rather than simply parroting their own messaging back to them, a committed job seeker will take it one step further.
Identify some of the company's chief competitors and research them in much the same way you've research the company you're interviewing with. Weigh the claims the company makes against the claims of their competitors, and come to your own conclusions. What differences do you notice?
A genuine interest in the position is one of the most important things employers are looking for in job candidates. Coming to the interview with a solid working knowledge of the company, it's industry and the requirements of the position is a great way to set yourself apart and up your chances of getting hired.

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