Office Distractions that Drive our Coworkers Crazy

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There’s no end to the things that annoy us about other people. The list of our coworkers’ frustrating habits could put our Sams Club shopping list to shame!  Of course this is all in good fun, but it is important to bear some of this stuff in mind so that your work environment isn’t something you or others dread.

Here are a few things to consider for the sake of your coworkers (and your reputation):

1. Your Health

While some people take every chance they can get to skip out on work, there are those who refuse to stay home, no matter what.  The bottom line is, if you’re truly sick…. stay home!  No one is focusing on how big a trooper you are for coming in or how devoted you are for peeling yourself out of bed when you have a horrendous cold.  They’re probably focused on staying away from you so that they don’t get sick and pass it on to others.  Sick days are there for a reason.  Don’t abuse them, but don’t go over the top and come to work when you should be resting up and getting out only to see your doctor.  Worst case scenario is that you come to work and get everyone else sick, and then it really puts a damper on progress.

2. Your Smell

This seems a little blunt, and that’s because the way you smell can really drive your coworkers up the wall if it’s bad.  If you’re all sitting together in a small, cramped space, this is even more of an issue.  If you’re a smoker, try to get the smell of smoke off of you before you return to the office, as this can be very irritating to peoples’ senses.  Also bear in mind how much perfume or cologne you put on.  What smells lovely to you might make someone else turn green in the face.  Finally, think twice before bringing really odorous foods into the office, or, try to enjoy them in a break room or outside.

3. Your Noise Level

Being noisy can really grate on your peers, so it’s important to be aware of this, in all of its different forms.  When you are on the phone, try to keep your voice down.  Sometimes turning down the volume on your receiver helps, as it will cause you to speak softer – just make sure you can still hear!  Also be aware of the way you move about the office.  It’s really obnoxious when someone stomps around noisily, without any regard for the people who are trying to concentrate.

Pay mind to the noise level of your various electronic devices as well – loud cell phones with one set ringtone (can you imagine listening to the same song over and over again?) and non-muted computers can set people’s teeth on edge.

4. Knuckle cracking

For the love of all things…please STOP this awful habit. Seriously, how many times can you crack your knuckles in the span of fifteen minutes? And no, don’t test it. It’s incredible and incredibly irritating.

Sometimes it’s hard to be on our best behavior at work – there are a myriad of other things to worry about, and it’s easy to slip into tunnel-vision mode where you aren’t really aware of the people around you.  Just try to pause a few times a day and keep yourself in check, and soon your bad habits will turn into good ones!

It’s time for you to sound off. Tell us your worst office/coworker pet-peeves that drive you or your colleagues up the wall!

How to Address a Criminal Record in an Interview

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While there’s no easy way to bring up the fact that you were convicted of a crime, there are ways to explain what happened that will do less damage to you in an interview.  It’s important to bear in mind that there are a multitude of people out there searching for jobs, or who already have great jobs, who have a blip on their record – people who have found success regardless of past infractions.  So if you are someone who has to answer to the affirmative when this topic comes up, just remember that you are not alone and that there are viable ways to advance in your career.

1. Address the Matter at the Outset

As with all issues that come up in an interview, the best policy is honesty.  While it may be easier to fudge other parts of your application or interview, here is a place where you cannot lie.  The HR department at a company has the ability to conduct quick, thorough background checks on candidates, and if it finds something that you failed to disclose, they’ll likely disqualify you.

It’s also wise to be honest on your initial application, even before the interview.  Some individuals find it tempting to hide a past crime until the interview, hoping that they will have a fairer shot if they are given the chance to explain the incident in person.  While this may be true, you cannot discount the power of a background check, and should therefore write something to the effect of “Yes; will explain further in the interview”.  And when “explaining further” in your interview, be brief. Don’t tell the whole story, just the offense and move on. Remember: less is more.

2. Take Responsibility

Owning up to your mistakes shows an employer that you know you did wrong and you’re not making excuses for yourself and your previous behavior. When asked about whether you’ve been convicted of a crime, saying something of the sort: “Yes, I have been convicted of a crime but since then, I’ve been dedicated to turning my life around.” (Explain what you’ve been doing like taking college courses, volunteering, interning, etc.) Emphasize that you are moving on with your life and will never make those same bad choices again.

3. Distance Yourself from the Incident

When inquiring into any past violations, an employer wants to make sure that you have come a long way since the incident, and that this is something that won’t happen again.  Explain to the interviewer that you made a mistake, but that you have learned from it and become a stronger individual, and perhaps a stronger candidate for the job because of this.  This is an error that remains in the past, but what carries over to the present is the lesson and life experience that you took away from it.  You won’t let anything of the sort happen again and it will not affect your performance on the job.

4. Gain Experience and Credibility

Depending on the crime, it may turn out that you just cannot land your dream job as of yet.  Try not to lose hope, but rather, take what job you can, and use this time to gain experience and credibility.  Spend your time adding further distance between yourself and the infraction, and on building a solid, flawless track record.  Doing so will convey how you’ve managed to get back on track, and you may gain some great references from your experience.

5. Reach Out to Personal Contacts

A great approach to finding a job after a crime is placed on your record is to look to personal contacts who can vouch for you, or, better yet, are more willing to take a chance on you.  Here, again, you can spend time building experience, reliability, and a sound record in preparation for your next career move.

Side Note: Depending on the state you live in, you have rights to how much information an employer can ask you in an interview. Before any interview, look up your rights according to your state and know just how much information you are required to disclose. It’s also helpful to get advice from a lawyer, parole officer, department of labor, or a counselor. These are people and offices who are more familiar with the process.

Having a less than perfect record can make it considerably more challenging when applying to jobs, especially in the current environment.  Just remember to stay positive, put your best foot forward, explore your options, and the past will become more of a distant memory and less of an obstacle.

 

8 Tips to Make Business Travel Easier

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The airport can be difficult enough to put up with when you’re traveling for pleasure.  But if you’re headed off on a business trip, the last thing you want to deal with is any of the annoying, unnecessary aspects of travel. And if you travel for business a lot, it’s important to get a good system in place, in order to make the process as smooth as possible.

Here are a few travel tips for the frequent business traveler:

1. Only Travel with Carry-On Luggage

Traveling with carry-on luggage is easier in so many ways:  you don’t have to stand around at the baggage claim waiting for your luggage on the other end; you don’t have to pay big bucks to check your bag in the first place; and you don’t risk a fiasco on the slight chance the airline might lose your bag.  Carrying your luggage on board saves you a lot of time on a trip where you have many other things to be worrying about.

2. Stop the Germs

Airports are breeding grounds for bacteria. Can you imagine how many people touch the same seats, rails, and that overpriced packet of gum you’re thinking about picking up? Thousands of people walk through airports everyday so take precautions. Always carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer and don’t skimp on hand washing. Also consider things like Airborne to help support your immune system. Don’t forget to sanitize that food tray!

3. Eat Smart

My grandfather, a savvy business traveler of over 30 years, always recommended looking at where airline personnel are sitting and go there. These are the people who spend just as much time in airports as they probably do in the air so you can trust they know the best places for a decent meal. And stick to water. Soda can cause stomach upset and you also don’t want to risk spilling it on the plane and ruining your clothes.

4. Save Travel-Sized Toiletries

Wherever you go, save small toiletries you collect at hotels.  If you keep these items with your suitcase even when you’re at home, you don’t have to go through the hassle of packing and unpacking what you normally use each time.  Additionally, travel sized toiletries can be a pain to track down, and you often forget to do so before a trip.  Having them ready saves a headache, and allows you to carry on your bag without going over your liquid allotment.

5. Breeze Through the Security Line

Make sure to wear comfortable shoes that you can slip on and off easily, and consider wearing pants that don’t require a belt.  Keep unnecessary items like keys and change in a section of your suitcase, so that you don’t have to turn out your pockets when you get to the front of the line.

6. Avoid Wrinkles

If you have a meeting within a few hours of getting off the plane, pay close attention to this one.  Try to pack clothes that aren’t as prone to wrinkles, and make sure to fold them nicely or place them in dry cleaning bags if necessary.  Unpack right when you get to the hotel and make sure to hang everything up.  Shower steam can help get rid of some wrinkles if you aren’t too keen on ironing.

7. Join a Frequent Flier Program

If you’re going to be doing a lot of traveling, it’s nice to see some rewards every once in awhile.  Sticking with a specific airline or rewards program at a hotel will also allow you to establish a better routine, as you’ll be familiar with the brands you choose to fly and stay with.

8. Battle Jet Lag

This can be one of the most difficult parts of traveling when flying to different time zones. First thing to do once you get on the plane is set your watch to the time of your destination. This is a good way to trick your body. Next, if it’s still light out and you’re traveling overnight, consider a mild sleeping pill. This will ensure you sleep well and will wake up refreshed and ready for the day ahead. Speaking of sleep, once you land at your destination, don’t sleep unless it’s dark out. No matter how tired you might be, you won’t be doing yourself any favors by taking a quick nap that will surely turn into a full on 8 hour sleep session.

Business travel isn’t necessarily fun, but it doesn’t have to be a headache.  Just take the proper steps to become a smart traveler, and your trip should go off without a hitch.

What travel tips can you recommend to the new business traveler? Let us know in the comments.

8 Tips to Master The Art of a Winning Handshake

 

Ah, the handshake. A simple social grace toward which thousands of articles and seminars have devoted countless efforts deconstructing, analyzing, and perfecting. And yet, the notion of the “ideal” greeting seems to vary across the board. Some advocate a tight grip, a slight squeeze of the elbow, a flick of the wrist…alas, you may feel as though you are mastering sleight of hand in the end. Bear in mind, however, that all tricky, crafted handshakes aim only to appear simple, personable, and to the point.

So it is with this in mind that we distill for you a few basic tips to ensure you will confront your interviewer with a winning handshake to match your winning self.

1. Make a Strong First Impression

A handshake is part of a first impression. You get one shot. No do over’s on this one – if you creepily go in for the other guy’s hand again, you may inspire alarm. The handshake is a chance for you to connect with someone the moment of your very first encounter. Use this to your advantage. A handshake can at once be warm and friendly, which sets a great tone for the rest of your meeting.

2. Find a Happy Medium

What if someone asked you to stick your hand in a vice? Would you do it? Unless you’re being surly, the answer is likely “No”. So please, avoid extending the death grip toward your unsuspecting interviewer. A handshake shouldn’t be a show of bravado. Likewise, don’t be a wet noodle. Weak, floaty handshakes are awkward, and leave the person on the other end of them hesitant to make the next move for fear that they might break you. A good handshake is one that is firm without causing pain. Relaxed and snug. You get the idea.

3. Don’t Sweat It

Offering up a clammy hand may ruin an otherwise masterful handshake. A handshake should be over when it ends, not stick around with your sweat. Make sure your hand is clean and dry when you are introducing yourself to someone. If you tend to perspire when you’re nervous, keep a tissue or a handkerchief in your pocket.

4. Calm with the Palm

A solid handshake should last for about two to three shakes. After that, it can feel like manhandling. Don’t let your companion imagine that they’re holding onto an old school generator.

5. Eye Contact

Another simple rule: eyes meet with the eyes, and hand meets with the hand. Looking a person in the eye exudes confidence and is much more respectful. Avoid looking down at the other person’s hand while you go in for the shake – it comes off as insecure. This may seem like a tricky dance, but if you practice with a friend, you’ll have the steps and coordination down in no time.

6. Say Hello

There’s nothing worse than dead silence when you go in for a handshake. A handshake is a greeting, so greet the person with a friendly, “Hi, it’s nice to meet you.” Top off the routine by showing off your pearly whites.

7. Show Initiative

When you walk up to meet with an interviewer, extend your hand first. This shows that you are poised and ready to take action. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t make the overture, but never show hesitation when shaking hands. The gesture should be friendly and comfortable.

8. Seal the Deal

You walked in, made eye contact, smiled, said “Hello”, and executed an all-around wicked handshake. Now you get to do it all over again! (And you thought it was all over…) When you excuse yourself from another’s company, make sure to shake hands one more time. The great thing about handshakes is that they’re so versatile. Perfect for many a situation, and just as appropriate for a farewell as a greeting. A departing handshake reaffirms the kinship that you established with the other person, and serves as a final signing off.

And, once your hand is free from the clutches of another, don’t forget to wave goodbye!

The Top 5 Traits Employers Look for in Job Candidates

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Great cover letter? Check. Perfect resume? Professionally approved! That’s all well and good and while it may have landed you an interview, it’s not going to get you the job.That’s where your personality comes into play.

Research shows that a majority of employers are looking for a “cultural fit” over hard skills in today’s economy. Universum, the employer branding firm that surveys over 400,000 students and professionals worldwide on career-related issues, pulled their data and came up with the top five personality traits employers are looking for in job candidates.

1. Professionalism

Every interview should begin with a firm handshake. If you’re already sitting down when your interviewer comes into the room, stand and introduce yourself. First impressions are incredibly important and don’t think for a second that employers aren’t sizing you up the moment you walk through the door. (Aren’t you doing the same to them?) They notice your clothes, your body language, your voice, and so much more, all to conclude whether you’d fit in with the company.

2. High Energy

The biggest complaint I hear among interviewers about job candidates is their lack of enthusiasm for the job. Even if this isn’t your dream job, you still need to show excitement and enthusiasm during the interview if you want any shot at getting an offer. If you’re not a morning person and by some unlucky chance you’ve landed yourself a 9 am interview time, prepare both physically and mentally the night before. Get a good amount of sleep, wake up extra early, and absolutely eat breakfast. I’m not going to give a boring lecture about how it’s the most important meal of the day, but lets be honest, at 9am how flat on your feet are you going to feel without something to tide you over? Your interviewer will notice if you accidentally nod off mid-sentence due to tiredness or starvation, so drink some coffee or munch on an energy bar, but just make sure you eat something.

3.  Confidence

Something in your resume or cover letter probably got you this interview so right off the bat you should feel confident going in. Be careful that your confidence is not mistaken for conceitedness. It’s important to remember that you are your biggest advocate and the only person who can truly speak to your strengths, skills, and accomplishments. While you may get a good reference here and there, you need to relay your confidence in your skills directly to your interviewer. Show them you are the best candidate by telling stories of your success and explaining how you can do the same (or better) for them. By doing so, you’re not just simply blowing hot air, you’re proving to them you’re the best person for the job.

4.  Self Monitoring

While there’s nothing wrong with working under a manager or working in a group, employers also want to see you have experience working independently. Your resume should communicate that you have direct leadership experience or have succeeded independently and without guidance. Being your own boss has the ability to show employers a multitude of traits they’d love to have in an employee. It shows you are able to handle difficult situations, that you are able to set goals and track your own progress, and that you are able to manage priorities and time.

5.  Intellectual Curiosity

If you’re someone who has put down hobbies and interests on your resume, this is where the conversation can get dicey. You don’t want to overwhelm your interviewer with dozens of interests. That would come off as fake. Instead, talk about one or two things you’re passionate about and work in your curiosity to explore further into that interest or issue. Employers want to know your willingness to learn doesn’t stop at the first sign of hardship. Employers will often ask about your interests outside of work during an interview, and as long as you stick with something you’re passionate about and express genuine curiosity, you’ll pass this test.

6 Mistakes that Could Get You Fired

No one wants to even imagine getting fired from their job, so most people assume that as long as they remain cautious while on the clock, losing their job is outside of the realm of possibilities.  After all, if you’re not embezzling money or getting drunk at work every day, it’s safe to say you’ll be around for a while, right?  Not necessarily… there are a few seemingly lesser mistakes that might land you in the doghouse.  Read on for some blunders to avoid:

1.  Yakking on the Phone

It’s okay to take a few personal calls during the workday (although it’s important to abide by proper office phone etiquette).  But when your personal life starts to conflict with what you should be doing at work, you may be asked to take a hike.

2.  Internet Browsing

We’re all guilty of checking our personal email from time to time or even of taking pause to read a funny article.  However, spending excessive time surfing around on websites that are irrelevant to your job will likely get you into trouble.  Try to save Facebook or online shopping for after work, and never visit adult sites during working hours.

3. Lying During the Hiring Process

This goes back to when you were originally brought on – even if you’re now a stellar employee and a perfect fit for the job overall, if a company finds out you lied in order to get the job, they may still terminate your employment.

4. Gossiping

Gossip can hurt company morale, and you never want to get caught up in spreading rumors.  Stay away from idle chatter that could potentially endanger your paycheck.

5. Searching for Another Job

Never get caught searching for another job while you are on your current one.  Being terminated may seem less drastic if you plan on leaving anyway, but imagine how much more difficult it will be to have to address this new issue during interviews.

6. Dating a Coworker

Companies have different policies regarding dating coworkers, so make sure you know what your company rules are.  You don’t want to get involved in a fling that will cost you your date money.

These are just a few pitfalls that may cost you your employment, so whether you believe it’s justified or not, steer clear of these transgressions during your workday.  A general rule to abide by is that if you have to think twice about something before doing it, make sure to proceed with caution!

Until next time,

The Doostang Team

The Top 10 Ways to Keep Your Conference Calls Professional and Effective

Private Equity Analyst Intern – New York, NY

Pre-MBA Investment Banking Analyst – Boston, MA

Investment Associate – New York, NY

Analyst – Los Angeles, CA

Financial Analyst – New York, NY

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1. Plan the Call

The most effective way to run a great conference call is to be prepared.  At a minimum, you should have the names, phone numbers, email addresses and job titles of the people who will be on the call. This way if anything goes wrong, you can reestablish communications quickly.

2. Plan Your Location

Background noise is a conference call killer.  Don’t try having a conference call from a shared cubicle area.  If you don’t have a private office, try reserving a conference room.  If none are available, ask someone who does have an office if you can borrow it.  If all else fails, sneak into an empty office at your organization.

3. Send Email Alerts

Email alerts are great way of making sure that no one forgets the call, or is missing the call in information.  Send an email out the day before the call, to everyone involved, stating the time of the call, the participants, the subject matter, the length and most importantly, don’t forget to include the call in phone number and password.  Send this email again 1 hour before the call.

4. Start Early

Don’t wait till a minute before the call to dial in.  Log into the call 10-15 minutes early so you have time to fix any problems like bad passwords, wrong numbers, bad sound, or any other problems that might arise.

5. Bring the Right People

Think about what the call is for, and make sure the right people are invited.  If the subject matter is likely to cross into one of your cooworkers responsibilities, ask them to sit in on the call.  Its better to include people than not include them, since they can always leave or decline if they aren’t needed.

6. Start the Call Professionally

Mute the phone.  When waiting on participants to enter the conference call, leave your phone on mute, so the other callers don’t hear any confidential information that you may discuss while waiting for their arrival.  When everyone has arrived, introduce everyone, with their full name and title, and why they are on the call.  Thank everyone for coming, let them know the agenda and length of the call, and begin.

7. Leave Time for Questions

If you expect the call to last 30 minutes, schedule it for 60 minutes.  At best you’ve wisely left time for the call to run long, or to include a question and answer session.  At worst you let everyone out early, so its a win-win for everyone.

8. Send a Follow-up Email

Send an email to the people on the call, summarizing what was discussed, and about any action items.  This way you can be sure that everyone on the call understands what they are expected to do next.  If there is a followup call, this is when you should tell everyone when it is.

9. Buy a Headset

Headsets with a microphone and earpiece are easy to find, but they won’t connect to your workplace phone if you have the standard Cisco VOIP phones, like most companies do.  You need to order a special headset from a maker like Plantronics.  Make sure you get both pieces, the dialer and the headset itself.  It can be expensive, anywhere from $200 to $400, but if you are a salesperson who lives and dies on the phone, this may be a great investment for you.  Your contacts will hear you much clearer, and you will hear them much better too.

10. Use New Technologies

Remember, a conference call doesn’t need to be a phone call.  Don’t forget about new technologies like Skype and video-conferencing.

Conference calls are a great way to stay connected and to convey information efficiently.  Just try to make sure you stay on track so that they remain sessions that people look forward to in order to touch base, rather than time wasters that everyone dreads.

Until next time,

Team Doostang

5 Ways to Cut Your Commuting Costs

Development and Investment Analyst – New York, NY

Strategic Planning Analyst – New York, NY

Junior-Level Private Equity Professional – New York, NY

Institutional Equity Sales – Philadelphia, PA

Financial Analyst, Technology – San Francisco, CA

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Not everyone has the luxury of working from home, which has as one advantage: the fact that you don’t have to brave rush hour traffic to or from the office.  Perhaps more of a headache than long hours on the road, however, is the amount of money it costs to shuttle yourself to and from work.  Here are a few suggestions for cutting costs on your daily commute.

Be More Fuel-Efficient

There are many ways to be more fuel-efficient that don’t just include purchasing a fuel-efficient car – which is a great solution.  Make sure to keep your car in good shape, as a vehicle that runs properly and has good tires will use less gas.  Check the air pressure in your tires, because the difference between right and wrong can cost you a few miles per gallon in fuel. Also consider taking unnecessary items out of the trunk or back seat of the car, since your car uses more gas the heavier it is.

Carpool

A simple solution to reducing commuting costs is to carpool.  Figure out whom from your office lives near you, and take turns driving to work.  If you can’t do this, search the myriad of websites that coordinate carpools for people in your area.  Not only will the drive be less expensive – it will also be less lonely!

Public Transportation

Not every city has great public transportation like New York City.  But if you have the option, consider using it.  You’ll save a lot of money over time, and sometimes your employer will offer to cover the price of a monthly or annual pass.  If you’re worried about having to leave earlier or the commute taking more time, remember that it’s much easier to read or work on other projects while on the train, bus, or subway.

Lower Your Car Insurance

When you commute less, your insurer will often lower your rate with a special low-mileage discount.  Do some research and determine what kinds of savings you can reap, and make sure to inform your insurance company of any commuting changes you make.

Bring Coffee From Home

If you buy coffee or breakfast during your commute, it could be a significant part of your daily spend. Instead of spending $2 to $7 dollars everyday on a coffee purchased during your trip, make your coffee at home and bring it along in a reusable travel mug. Bringing breakfast from home instead of purchasing it during your commute will save you even more money.

When you start looking at the bigger picture when costs add up, it’s frustrating to see how much you have to pay to go to work.  But there are multiple simple solutions you can take that will save you money.

Until next time,

Team Doostang

Development and Investment Analyst – New York, NY

Strategic Planning Analyst – New York, NY

Junior-Level Private Equity Professional – New York, NY

Institutional Equity Sales – Philadelphia, PA

Financial Analyst, Technology – San Francisco, CA

More Great Jobs on Doostang

5 Ways to Control Time Management in the Workplace

Big projects and small tasks have a way of piling up at work.  Your boss throws something new at you while you’re in the midst of another assignment, and soon you find yourself juggling a multitude of jobs, making your one job seem unmanageable at times.  The key is time management, folks!  It’s a skill that was introduced to us back in our schooldays, but one that many of us just can’t quite seem to master.  If this sounds like a familiar setback, read on for some tips to staying on top of your workload.

 

1. Track Your Schedule Online

 

Time management in the workplace is all about what to do, when to start, and when to stop.  Keeping an online schedule with tools like a gmail or outlook’s online calendar will keep you organized and alert you to meetings and project deadlines.   An online schedule is always with you, as it can connect to your phone, laptop, work and home computers.

 

2. Make a List

 

A lot of the time it helps you stay focused on your work if you just write it all down.  If you have a piece of paper or a computer document right in front of you that details everything you have to do, you’re less likely to forget something important.  Another great part about lists is the ability to cross stuff off.  A lot of people derive great satisfaction from checking things off as they complete them, after which they can seamlessly move on to the next item on their agenda.

 

3. Prioritize

 

Something you can do right on your list is prioritize your tasks.  What needs to be done now and what can wait?  People are often tempted to complete projects based on the order they receive them.  This is helpful in that it prevents the break in concentration it takes to switch from one task to another; however, some jobs are more important than others, and should be handled accordingly.  Being able to discern what needs to get done and the ability to multi-task are highly important in the workplace.  Use you list to help you keep track of due dates, levels of importance, and long-term projects.

 

4. Communicate

 

The dark, scary vortex of numerous projects and deadlines is a lonely place – so that’s why you should keep an open communication with your boss and coworkers in order to avoid the chaos!  If you’re feeling overwhelmed, talk to your boss about ways you can better complete your work or the possibility of extending deadlines.  If you’ve got a lot on your plate, it’s probably a good idea to check in with him or her anyway, as staying on track is difficult when you have a lot going on.  When things get busy, talk to your coworkers as well.  Aside from moral support, they can also lend a helping hand if you’re particularly pressed for time.

 

5. Take a Break

 

Taking a break is often the last thing a busy person will do, but it’s extremely important.  It’s imperative to take a step back from your work from time to time, in order that you can remain your most productive self.

Time management doesn’t come naturally to everyone, and so those of us graced with a more scattered approach to our work must enact tangible strategies in order to stay on top of it all.  Get in the habit of creating lists, talking with others, and taking breathers, and things will start to fall into place more easily!

 

Until next time,

The Doostang Team

Up Close and Too Personal – What to Leave OFF Your Resume

A resume serves as a reflection of who you are:  it contains your education, your illustrious work experience, various ways to contact you…  But then, a resume should never really reflect who you are.  We’re talking about the personal details – the little things that make you the fabulous person you are today, but that should really have no bearing on landing a job.

So whether you’re just starting to apply to jobs for the first time, or are a seasoned job search veteran, here’s a refresher course on things that you should never include on your resume:

Religion

If you’re not applying to a job at a religious institution, keep your views off the page.  It’s irrelevant to the job, and hiring managers are not allowed to take it under consideration anyway, so there’s really no place for it.  If you volunteer at a religious organization and you consider this experience especially relevant to the job you’re applying to, you can mention it briefly.  However, if you must include it, keep the organization anonymous and focus on your role instead.  For example:

Volunteer Instructor – once a week, taught a classroom of thirty children, ages 10-12.

Also, keep in mind that anything you mention in the resume is likely to come up during the interview, so include this information at your own risk.

Politics

Again, if you’re not going into politics, leave it off.  These sorts of matters are controversial in the first place, are irrelevant, and if anything, just take up valuable space.  Like with religion, if you consider your political experience extra valuable and relevant to a particular job – and just can’t bear to take it off the resume – avoid mentioning the organization name, and be prepared to discuss further during an interview.

Sexual Orientation

Sexual preference may be a key component to who you are, but it has nothing to do with how well you can perform on the job.  More than this, even though discrimination in the workplace is illegal, it still exists in some places, so don’t take your chances.

Age

Though you may be the perfect fit for the position, ageism in the workplace certainly exists, and you may be eliminated from the pool prematurely if you are perceived as being too old or too young.  If age is an issue, be cautious with including specific dates on your resume as well (most hiring managers can do the math).  So if your 30-year college reunion is around the corner, you might want to keep that graduation date to yourself and also leave off some of your early, less relevant experience.

Health and Disabilities

The law protects persons with health issues or disabilities, but again, you should leave this information off of your resume.  It’s irrelevant and opportunity for discrimination exists.

Criminal Record

The general rule with a criminal record is to be upfront and honest with a hiring manager, but the resume is not the place for this.  Wait until the interview to bring this up.

While you want to give the hiring manager a good idea of who you are, there’s definitely a point where you can become too personal in what you decide to disclose.  Always aim to flaunt how great you are on your resume – just be a bit discerning while you do it.