4 Tips on Managing Stress at Work

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Everybody feels stress from time to time at work, but it’s important not to let stress control our lives.

Unmanaged stress can lead to short-term problems like headaches, stomach pains, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system. Long-term stress can lead to serious health conditions like depression, obesity, and heart disease.

Here are our four tips on managing stress:

  1. Keep a journal
    Track your stressors; over a week or two, note what’s setting you off and how you’re responding to those situations. Note your thoughts, feelings, who was involved, where it happened, and what you did in reaction – did you eat an unhealthy sugary lunch, did you have an extra glass of wine at night? Taking notes can help you identify patterns and help you break your stress cycle.
  2. Break unhealthy responses to stress
    If you notice from your journal that you are delving into unhealthy activities to manage your stress – junk food, alcohol, avoidance, too much TV – try replacing those unhealthy responses with healthy ones. Exercise is a fantastic way to manage stress. Join a yoga class, sign up to a gym, or go for regular jogs before work. Exercise releases endorphins and makes you happier; it can also take your mind off your stresses and make you feel productive.

Other good responses include: taking time out to read, playing games with your family, or doing activities with your friends. Set aside time to do activities that bring you pleasure.

  1. Create boundaries for work
    In the smartphone age, it can be easy to feel pressured into being available 24/7 for work. Establish some boundaries: Don’t answer emails at dinner, switch off your phone after 7pm, take time out to not think about your assignments. It’s critical to disconnect from work and let yourself recharge.
  2. Meditate
    It’s crucial that you learn how to relax and center yourself. Try meditating and mindfulness activities. If you can’t go to a class, there are hundreds of quality apps you can download to teach yourself. Start with just a few minutes a day to focus, do deep breathing exercises, and let go. It may seem small, but by simply doing this every day, you can apply this same focus to other parts of your life.

The American Psychological Association has great resources for dealing with stress: apa.org/index.aspx

Source: mygwork.com

How Executives Can Stay Calm Under Pressure

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As an executive, you might find it difficult to stay calm during stressful times. “One of the toughest things a CEO or executive can do today is stay focused and steady when the business is under stress,” says Stephen Miles of TMG, which advises Fortune 500 C-suites on leadership. “Something like a stock price dip can send the company into overreaction mode—trying to fix things that aren’t even broken.”

Uncertainty can cause even the strongest executives to react in negative ways. “2018 has brought enormous uncertainty around everything from trade policy to interest rates to energy prices,” says TMG’s Courtney Hamilton. “This causes wild fluctuations not only in markets, but in companies themselves, as they try to jump ahead of changes and second-guess strategy, usually with bad results.” Leading in a “wartime” full of uncertainty is very different from leading during a time of growth, says Hamilton. “As one CEO that we worked with said, ‘My very best peace-time advisor was my worst team member in a crisis.'”

During these times of stress and uncertainty, three common toxic behaviors among executives can derail a company. These emotional impulses not only are ineffective but also magnify problems and affect all members of the management team.

1 Focusing on “process” vs. opportunism. One of the most common stress responses is to get bogged down in the small details, slowing things down so that they move at a bureaucratic pace. “Getting bogged down in these less mission-critical process items just deflates the team and misses the opportunity to think creatively about solutions,” says TMG’s Matt Bedwell. “The executive may think that stomping on or calling out someone on, say, breaking the travel policy is being helpful and additive to the quest for a good outcome—when it’s just demoralizing to everyone.”
2 Being egocentric and deflecting blame. Executives displaying this behavior during stressful times maneuver to ensure that one of their peers gets all of the scrutiny—effectively taking the heat off from themselves. They can become highly emotional and personalize every discussion, making the team totally ineffective in its pursuit of developing plans that will lead it out of the mess. “For CEOs, you must re-assess all members of your team to understand their capabilities in this new reality,” says Bedwell. “Unfortunately, you need to be ready for some of your highest performers to disappoint you.”
3 Going into panic mode and wanting to change everything. When a high-performing business starts to underperform, the natural reaction is to panic and begin to examine and change everything. “People generally have good intent and want to be part of the solution, but in their quest to solve problems, they often start to change things that are perfectly good and do not need to be changed,” says Bedwell. “You cannot panic or get caught up in the flurry to ‘activate’ and start doing something.”

To combat these derailers, CEOs need to take on these leadership behaviors.

“Go slow to go fast.” The “go slow” component means to step back and diagnose before activating on those things that require intervention – and not everything requires intervention. Ruthless focus and prioritization is equally important in a stress event; you cannot be overcome by your organization’s quest to “do things.”

Be the absorber. Underperformance requires the CEO as a leader to be calm, cool, and collected, and “absorb” the stress and panic on the team. The CEO must then be the focuser, redirecting the energy to help everyone focus on the problem, the facts, the supporting data, and the proposed solutions. The moment a CEO panics, there is a 100X amplification into the company, and then people start to worry about the implications for them and are not focused on leading through the issues.

Remain fact-based and data-driven. CEOs must ensure that someone is collecting the data and validating or refuting “gut instinct” and anecdotal information. CEOs should be careful not to be overly influenced by the best communicator or presenter on the team – or by the person he or she last spoke with. Being fact-based and data-driven will require CEOs to be consistently Socratic and seeking to understand with context.

“Moving from good times into much more difficult times challenges every executive, making it critically important for CEOs to adopt a different leadership style,” says Miles. “And as difficult becomes the norm, there will be greater need to adjust to how your talent is behaving in real time, and prioritize what’s needed to dig in rather than overreact.”

Source: The Miles Group

Latina music exec behind Maluma, CNCO has new, personal mission: breast cancer awareness

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“We just don’t think it could happen to us, or that it only happens to older women,” said Pablo, who’s 37 and recently battled breast cancer.

Clara Pablo is a music executive who has been “living the dream” when it comes to working with top Latino talent, from Ricky Martin and Shakira to Carlos Vives, CNCO and Maluma.

Yet Pablo, 37, a marketing executive for Walter Kolm Entertainmentand a former Univision director of talent relations, has been involved in her most personal and important campaign to date — spreading the word about the importance of breast self-exams and routine checkups after she was diagnosed and was treated for breast cancer.

Pablo used the power of social media to launch her own campaign, “Te Toca Tocarte,” meaning “it’s time to touch yourself,” inspired by her blogger friend Nalie Augustin’s breast self-examination video “Feel it On the 1st.”

“I wanted to replicate Nalie’s campaign to the Spanish market, and tell women that early detection is key,” Pablo said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cancer is the number one cause of death in Latina women, particularly women under 40.

For Pablo, Latino communities don’t have enough conversation about cancer despite of how much it affects them.

“There’s so much shame, not enough awareness in the Hispanic community. We just don’t think it could happen to us, or that it only happens to older women,” she said. “We have to change the stigma because, yes, it can happen to anyone.”

With positive spirits and over 101K Instagram followers, Pablo has helped raise awareness among Latinos.

The campaign encourages women to put their hand on their breast to do a self-exam, and take and post a photo using the hashtag #TeTocaTocarte on the first of every month and tag others to do the same — hoping to show that self examinations can be simple. The campaign also seeks to encourage women of all ages to get a mammogram, get tested for the hereditary BRCA gene and communicate with others.

Spanish on-air talents such as Evelyn Sicaros, Carolina Sandoval and Clarissa Molina posted selfies in solidarity with the cause. Even Puerto Rican-pop singer Luis Fonsi (“Despacito”) and his wife, supermodel Águeda López, showed support for their good friend during her appointments, even after she finished her radiation.

It was in August of 2017 that Pablo felt a lump on her right breast while watching television.

“I was immediately alarmed,” Pablo said. “I texted my gynecologist, went in to see him the next morning, and within the week I was getting a mammogram and ultrasound,” she told NBC News. “I remember the lady doing the ultrasound, just seeing her face change.”

After a biopsy at the Miami Cancer Institute at Baptist Health South Florida, the doctor told Pablo they had found a stage 1 tumor in her breast. She was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), a common type of breast cancer last summer.

“It felt like somebody had just punched me in the gut, really hard,” Pablo recalled.

Although she has two aunts who are cancer survivors, the thought of having breast cancer had not really crossed Pablo’s mind.

Pablo traveled regularly for work and was in the middle of planning a trip to visit her boyfriend’s family in Europe.

“One week, I was planning this trip, and the next, planning how my entire life had suddenly changed,” Pablo said. “The timing of it all was poetic — it showed me your life could change in any second.”

On Oct. 1, 2017, Pablo commemorated the start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month by posting a a photo on Instagram to announce her cancer diagnosis. Within 48 hours, the post went viral.

Continue onto NBC News to read the complete articles.

3 Career Lessons Anyone Can Learn From the 2018 Boston Red Sox

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Red Sox Stadium

Most people don’t get a chance to play professional sports for a living, but many truths we see on the field apply to the average workplace.

Just because you’re not working in front of sold-out World Series crowds does not mean that some of the things athletes have to deal with aren’t similar to situations you may find yourself in.

The 2018 Boston Red Sox offer a number of lessons that someone working a more traditional job can learn from. You may not be competing for (and winning) a world championship, but you can act like a champion and propel your own career forward.

1. Make the most of your opportunities
Steve Pearce has been what’s politely called a “journeyman.” That means he has bounced around the league, playing for multiple teams and never making much of a mark. He was good enough to stay in the Major Leagues, but for reasons that are hard to pinpoint, he never became an essential member of any of the organizations he played for.

That changed with this World Series. Pearce, who was traded from Toronto to Boston in June, changed the course of his career and baseball history with one home run and a bases-clearing double in game four of the series and two home runs in the series clincher.

Those hits earned Pearce the World Series Most Valuable Player Award and forever cemented his place in Red Sox lore. His actions showed that just because success and recognition do not come easily does not mean they won’t come. Pearce kept at it — long after many players might have called it a career — and when the opportunity came, he seized it.

2. Keep at it
Entering the 2018 playoffs, David Price had lost the first 10 postseason starts of his career. That put a cloud over the pitcher who had been a regular-season force, and it’s the kind of demon that sometimes becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Price did not allow his past failures to define his future. He pitched well in the early rounds but struggled to earn a win. He got his first postseason victory in the American League Championship Series and earned two wins in the World Series, including the series-clinching victory.

This changes how people will perceive Price going forward. He changed his narrative, and that’s something you can do as well if you keep getting up after being knocked down.

3. Do whatever is asked

Baseball generally has well-defined roles for its players. Starting pitchers start games and relievers finish them. In the playoffs, however, that’s not always the case. With so much on the line, Red Sox manager Alex Cora asked members of his team to operate outside their comfort zones.

Position players played in unfamiliar spots due to the rule that pitchers have to bat in National League ballparks. Others who’d earned the right to start sat on the bench, ready for the moment they were needed. And, most notably, starting pitchers came on in relief, shoring up a weak bullpen, perhaps the team’s only weakness.

It’s about attitude
Cora kept the Red Sox on an even keel throughout the season by having a relentlessly positive attitude. He created a supportive culture in which players were defined by their actions, not their pasts. That allowed Price to find playoff success and created the environment where Pearce could be a hero. You can accomplish the same things if you remain positive and keep working toward your goals even when dealt a setback.

Continue on to The Motley Fool to read the complete article

4 Things Hiring Managers Don’t Want to See on Your Resume

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Though the job market is pretty healthy these days, there’s a lot of competition out there. One way to get a leg up, is to present an outstanding resume, and knowing what mistakes to avoid will help in this regard.

Below are four things that are almost guaranteed to turn hiring managers off, so keep them in mind when crafting your resume.

1. A boring personal summary

The first thing hiring managers will see on your resume is your opening summary, and getting that snippet wrong could cause that document to get rejected in the blink of an eye. When composing your personal summary, be sure to steer clear of boring clichés and buzzwords like “go-getter” and “team player.” Instead, get creative. While calling yourself a “copywriting ninja” is a bit bold, it’ll also grab hiring managers’ attention more than “detail-oriented copywriter who strives for results.”

2. Grammatical errors

When hiring managers get a ton of qualified candidates for a given role, they often have no choice but to look for reasons to weed out applicants. And if your resume contains even one or two grammatical errors, there’s a good chance it’ll wind up in one rejection pile or another. That’s why you must make sure to present a grammatically clean document, even if you’re applying for a role that in no way hinges on your linguistic prowess or lack thereof.
Unfortunately, computerized spell- and grammar-check programs don’t always do the trick in spotting errors, so your best bet might be to enlist the help of a friend or associate who’s better at grammar than you are. Even if you don’t know a so-called grammar wiz, remember that an outsider is far more likely to pick up on mistakes than you are as the author.

3. Hard-to-read fonts

Most hiring managers scan resumes rather than read them. Therefore, using a tiny font to cram as much information onto a single page as possible isn’t going to serve you well. You’re better off making sure your resume is easy on the eyes, and that means choosing a more readable font, even if it causes your content to spill over to a second page.

4. A rundown of every responsibility you’ve ever been tasked with

The purpose of a resume is to help you prove that you’re qualified for whatever role you’re applying to. As such, it’s natural to want to include as much experience as possible. But there is such a thing as going overboard in this regard, especially if that document winds up rehashing every single task you’ve accomplished in your career. So rather than focus on quantity of responsibilities, focus on quality and relevance. Maybe you did field customer service calls in your early days as an account manager, but if you spent the past two years onboarding major clients and implementing a training program that increased sales, it pays to focus on those items instead.

A solid resume is your ticket to a job interview and eventual offer. Avoid these mistakes, and there’s a better chance your application won’t wind up in the trash.

Continue on to The Motley Fool read the complete article.

New Construction Craft Scholarship Unveiled

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NCCER

NCCER and its Build Your Future (BYF) initiative have recently partnered with the National Technical Honor Society (NTHS) to create a unique scholarship opportunity for individuals pursuing a career in construction through craft and technical programs.

This new scholarship program will annually award five scholarships in the amount of $2,000 each. These funds are available exclusively for NTHS student members who are currently studying a construction-related discipline. Scholarship winners will be chosen based on their academic merit, and students will have the chance to apply for this financial assistance beginning October 1st. Students can submit their scholarship application at nths.org/scholarships.

Recognizing their shared interest in supporting students who have chosen a career and technical education pathway, NCCER and BYF are proud to partner with NTHS. The NCCER & BYF/NTHS Scholarship can help bridge the skills gap in the construction industry by providing financial help to those seeking craft training. For more information, please visit byf.org/scholarships.

About NCCER — NCCER is a not-for-profit 501 (c)(3) education foundation created by the construction industry to develop standardized curriculum with portable credentials and to help address the skilled construction workforce shortage. NCCER is recognized by the industry as the training, assessment, certification and career development standard for the construction and maintenance craft professional. For more information, visit nccer.org or contact NCCER customer service at 888.622.3720.

About Build Your Future – Build Your Future (BYF) is NCCER’s national image enhancement and recruitment initiative for the construction industry. Its mission is to recruit the next generation of craft professionals by making career and technical education a priority in secondary schools, shifting negative public perception about careers in the construction industry and providing a path from ambition, to training, to job placement as a craft professional. BYF provides a number of resources to assist industry, education and military organizations in achieving these goals. For more information, visit byf.org.

About the National Technical Honor Society — NTHS was established in 1984 with the purpose of honoring student achievement and leadership in Career and Technical Education. They have awarded over $2 million in scholarships, and endeavor to enhance and enrich the career opportunities of their members. With chapters in both secondary and post-secondary schools across the country, the National Technical Honor Society is the national leader in providing recognition for excellence in Career and Technical Education. NTHS serves over 80,000 student members throughout the U.S. and U.S. territories, and is based in Flat Rock, NC. For more information, visit nths.org.

It’s Cool to be Kind: 5 Cyberbullying Prevention Tips

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Here are 5 cyberbullying prevention tips. Number one is The Golden Rule.

1. The Golden Rule. It’s important to remind ourselves that behind every username and avatar there’s a real person with real feelings. The “golden rule” is just as important online as it is in real life. Kids can take the high road by applying the concept of “treat others as you would like to be treated” to their actions online, creating positive impact for others and disempowering bullying behavior.

2. Promote Kindness. It’s important to teach kindness. But it’s just as important to model the lessons of kindness that we teach. How you and your friends treat each other online can model behavior for younger generations. Respect others’ differences and use the power of the Internet to spread positivity.

3. Move from bystander to upstander. Often kids want to help out a target of bullying but don’t know what to do. According to StopBullying.gov, only 20-30 percent of students notify adults about bullying. Encourage kids to speak up against and report online bullying. If they find themselves a bystander when harassment or bullying happens, they have the power to intervene and report cruel behavior. Kids can choose to be an upstander by deciding not to support mean behavior and standing up for kindness and positivity.

4. Turn negative to positive. Kids are exposed to all kinds of online content, some of it with negative messages that promote bad behavior. Teach your kids that they can respond to negative emotions in constructive ways by rephrasing or reframing unfriendly comments and becoming more aware of tone in our online communication. Reacting to something negative with something positive can lead to a more fun and interesting conversation – which is a lot better than working to clean up a mess created by an unkind comment.

5. Mind Your Tone. Messages sent via chat and text can be interpreted differently than they would in person or over the phone. Encourage kids to think about a time that they were misunderstood in text. For example, have they ever texted a joke and their friend thought they were being serious – or even mean? It can be hard to understand how someone is really feeling when you’re reading a text. Be sure you choose the right tool for your next communication – and that you don’t read too much into things that people say to you online. If you are unsure what the other person meant, find out by talking with them in person or on the phone

Supporting teachers and their classrooms:
Google has teamed up with DonorsChoose.org, a nonprofit with a web platform that is part matchmaker, part Scholastic Fairy Godmother. Teachers post their school project wishes on the platform and people like you—or companies like us—find projects we’d love to sponsor. With DonorsChoose.org, Google has built a $1 million Classroom Rewards program to encourage and celebrate classroom achievement with Be Internet Awesome. Upon completion of the program, K-6 teachers can unlock a $100 credit towards their DonorsChoose.org project. Teachers can kick off the Be Internet Awesome lessons with one called #ItsCoolToBeKind. 💚 Check out the details on DonorsChoose.

Be Internet Awesome is Google’s free, digital citizenship and online safety program that teaches kids the skills they need to be safe and smart online. Parents can find additional resources in English, Spanish and Portuguese, such as downloadable materials for the home at g.co/BeInternetAwesome.

Which Coding Language Should You Learn?

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It’s a great time to learn how to code. Whether you’re looking to reinvent your career and become a developer, leverage a new skill in your current job, or just better understand what the developers on your team are up to, there has never been a better time to get into programming.

There’s been an explosion of coding boot camps and online resources to help you get started. But it’s a double-edged sword: with near-unlimited resources, countless different languages—and a rabbit hole of passionate voices debating which are the easiest to learn, best to help you get a job, and so on—where do you start?

The best way to learn to code is to stop endlessly analyzing what to learn and just start. So, with a giant disclaimer that these aren’t all of the languages you could consider learning to start your coding journey, here are a few languages you can learn.

JavaScript

Great for: beginners, aspiring software engineers

Think of the difference between dynamic, automatically updating Gmail account and your old static Hotmail, which needed to be reloaded to see new messages. That fundamental change was thanks to JavaScript. And, as one of the most popular languages out there, it’s still bringing websites to life in new, exciting ways. It has a ton of resources and tools available to help you use it effectively, and it opens you up to a ton of software engineering jobs. It can basically do everything, and if you’re going to be a full stack developer, you simply can’t avoid it.

Ruby

Great for: beginners, aspiring software engineers

Ruby was specifically designed by its inventor Yukihiro Matsumoto to make programmers happy, and it’s delivered upon that objective: Ruby is accessible and reads like English, allowing new programmers to focus right away on the fundamental concepts and logic, rather than basic syntax. Even beginners can start building right away. The teachers at the Flatiron School find Ruby to be extremely effective at helping students learn how to think like programmers, break problems down, express themselves technically, abstract ideas, and work together with other programmers. (The Flatiron Co-founder Avi is a little obsessed with it, too.)

Python

Great for: budding data scientists

There’s a massive amount of data out there. Companies that harness it can create better products and understand their businesses better; companies that don’t lose their competitive edge and get left behind. But while at its core, data science may be similar to your high school stats class, with so much data (hundreds of millions of records), your old spreadsheet is the wrong tool for the job. That’s where code comes in. The R language is super specific to statistics, whereas Python is a general-purpose language that happens to have great tooling available to make it a perfect language for data science. It’s actually similar to Ruby in a lot of ways: easy to read, forgiving for beginners, and there’s a passionate community around it, devoted to creating and improving the tooling to make Python even more powerful.

Swift

Great for: mobile developers, developers breaking out of their comfort zone

For beginners hoping to get into mobile app development, now is the perfect time to dive into Swift. It’s new enough that there is a lot of energy and excitement around it. Each year, Apple holds their Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) where Apple engineers discuss the intricacies of Swift along with all the new and exciting features (don’t be surprised if it inspires you to try implementing all the new concepts into your own apps). But it’s also been around long enough that the early kinks have been worked out, and the open source community has grown significantly. If you’re already a programmer, learning Swift is a way to get out of your comfort zone—the constraints iOS puts on your code forces you to, as Apple would say, “think different.”

Still not sure where to start? That’s OK! There’s really no correct first language to learn. The important thing is to consider what you’re excited to build, what language will help you do that, and then to just start learning!

In the end, this is why schools like Flatiron School doesn’t focus on teaching one specific technology. It wants you to learn how to learn—the only coding skill that will be never become obsolete. You don’t see Fortran or ColdFusion developers anymore. Similarly, you probably won’t be a Ruby or JavaScript developer in 10 years. Eventually, you will need to know more than one language if you want to have an awesome career and build amazing things. If you become skilled at learning languages, you’ll be ready to keep pace with technology as it changes.

Source: This piece was originally published by WeWork, which provides companies with the space, technology, and services they need to success.

Here’s How This Latina Navigated Her Transition From Finance To Tech

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Marlene Arroyo may have started her career in finance, but it was the human aspect of any job that always drew her in. From Dell to her current role as Vice President of People Operations at Liftoff Mobile Inc., a high growth tech company in Silicon Valley, she has made it her career mission to champion employees and embrace how their humanity impacts their jobs. It was knowing what her career mission was at its core that made it possible for her to transition from one career path to the next.

“Philosophically, it became apparent to me that human resources was my calling when, as a finance professional, I’d enjoy spending most of my time dissecting costs associated to SG&A, training, hiring and coaching,” shares Arroyo. “Mechanically, the way I was able to make this transition was by having informational meetings with HR executives, taking evening courses, asking for help and being open about my aspirations to my sponsors. While the art of Human Resources came naturally to me, to differentiate myself, I needed to supercharge the impact I delivered by drawing from my finance experience and ensuring that my strategic recommendation were backed by data.”

Now, she uses her skill-set to help others achieve the kind of growth that she’s constantly challenged herself to work towards.

“My biggest motivation [through this journey] has been my family,” says Arroyo. “I feel incredibly blessed to be the daughter of immigrant parents who instilled in me work ethic and resilience. While my parents still do not completely understand what I do, they know I work hard and they are my biggest fans. Each education milestone and career progression has been theirs as well. Their American Dream lives in me and owning that, keeps me motivated .”

Growing up in the Latinx culture and within her own family unit can explain in part why Arroyo has felt the desire to pay it forward to other generations by way of her career.

Below she shares advice for Latinxs who are searching for advice on how to land their dream job, how to self-care if you’re in the position of constantly pouring into others, and how to make sure you’re learning the most from your current job.

Vivian Nunez: How has your Latinidad influenced your career?

Marlene Arroyo: Passion, humility, honor, perseverance – are all a part of my core values that I hold because of my Latinidad. Knowing that there is a lot more work to be done to help young Latinas see that they, too, can achieve their goals, keeps me in the arena.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

The Power of First Impressions

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You only get one shot at a first impression—and that shot may count for more than you think. Why do so many job search posts deal with perfecting your handshake, making strong eye contact, and dressing properly? The reality is that those small factors comprise the first impression you make on a person. That impression frames your entire interaction, fairly or not.

Blink – a book by bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell – investigates thin-slicing, a concept in psychology describing a person’s ability to make accurate assessments of people and situations based on brief observations and limited information.

The implications of thin-slicing on first impressions have been explored in great detail. The conclusion: First impressions are formed quickly and accurately.

During networking events and job interviews – environments where people are short on time and hypersensitive to perceived “red flags” – making your best impression during the “thin slice” of interactions takes on even greater importance.

Unfortunately, simply knowing the importance of first impressions doesn’t necessarily follow that you’ll make a better one. Understand the elements that make up a first impression (what they are, what they communicate), however, and you can begin to improve how you are perceived in the opening moments of meeting someone new.

Before diving too deep, it is important to caution against missing the forest for the trees. Impressions matter. But the substance of who you are and the value you have matters considerably more.

Consider perfecting your first impression as the equivalent of a chef plating their dish; you want to present yourself in an appealing way, but the meal (and you) has to be satisfying beginning to end.

What influences a first impression?

Appearance
What you wear is up to you. We choose clothes based on their utility, their comfort, their style. We also choose clothes to express who we are and how we would like to be viewed.

But often, we can’t control how others view us based on those choices. Clothing and appearance matter when making a first impression. Snap judgements can be – and are – made based on the fit of your suit, the length of your skirt, or the color of your shoes.

A study published by psychologists in the UK compared snap judgements made about the same model wearing two slightly different suits. In one photo, he’s shown wearing a tailored suit and in another he’s wearing a suit of similar color and style, but off-the-rack. In a 3-second snap judgement, participants rated the model in a tailored suit as more successful and confident.

Not everyone can go out and get a tailored suit. However, you can make a concerted effort to dress the part for job interviews and networking events. If the event/interview is formal, match or exceed the formality of the interviewer. But if you’re networking at a Meetup.com gathering for web developers, you can probably lose the tie and wear something more relaxed.

Body language
Our bodies provide constant clues about how we feel, what we’re thinking, and who we are, often without us realizing.

Your body can reveal anxiety and nervousness often manifested in the tapping of your feet/hands, touching of your face, and biting of your nails.

Clearly, the best solution is to not be nervous. For most of us, including myself, this simply isn’t an option during a job interview or when meeting someone you admire.

Adequate preparation for a job interview or a networking event should limit your nervousness which, in turn, will lessen negative body language signals. You can also take steps to reduce jittery hands and face touching by holding something, like a coffee, pen or bag.

You can also make a conscious effort promote positive signals – like confidence and comfortability – through your body language. Maintain an open and upright posture. Limit the crossing of your arms or legs and avoid hunching your shoulders.

The introduction
You’ve already walked into the room dressed for success and with a posture that screams confidence. Next up is the introduction and obligatory handshake. Nothing has been pored over more by career, business and job search blogs than the handshake. And with good reason: the handshake matters.

A firm handshake is a strong indicator of extroversion and openness to new experiences. People with firm handshakes are also seen as less neurotic and shy. So if you have to, practice your handshake until you can deliver a firm, confident introduction.

The second part of a strong introduction is eye contact. Making consistent eye contact shows that you are confident and engaged. Avoiding eye contact shows anxiety and, potentially, deceptiveness.

You are looking to build trust and project confidence with your first impression, so make consistent eye contact. Avoid staring too long, however, as that can be intimidating.

Body temperature
Warm beverages may be the key to warm thoughts.

Researchers at Yale University conducted a study to show that physical warmth promoted interpersonal warmth. The study revealed that participants were more likely to view a person in a positive light if they were holding a warm object (like a cup of coffee), than if they were holding a cold object (like an iced coffee).

Physical warmth promotes positive feelings, so when setting up a first meeting or an interview try sitting down over a cup of coffee.

Of course, if your interviewer has an iced coffee habit, it doesn’t mean that you’re chances of making a good first impression are ruined. It just means your chances may be slightly improved if that interviewer is also wearing a sweater.

What is the takeaway
Understand that first impressions matter, but that they aren’t the whole story of who you are and what you can accomplish.

You can study the factors that go into making a positive first impression. You can buy the perfect outfit, master the handshake, use all the right body language and calculate an exact equation for appropriate eye contact. But at the end of the day you need to back up your first impression with actual substance, otherwise it’s all a show.

The best way to project confidence, aptitude and personality is to possess confidence, aptitude and personality.

You have to recognize what you can control. You can control your preparation. You can control your own abilities. You can control how you communicate your value.

You can’t, however, fully control how another person will view you. You just have to put the best version of yourself forward and hope for the best.

Author – Jeff Ayers
Source: silvermanmcgovern.com

What the Number of Years You’ve Spent at a Company Says About You, According to a Recruiter

LinkedIn

Here’s some insider info: One thing recruiters go back and forth on all the time is what the number of years you’ve spent at a company says about you professionally.

And while I can’t speak for all hiring managers, I can tell you all the questions I used to ask myself when reviewing dates listed on a resume, why they made me hesitate, and how you can address any issues right off the bat in your cover letter.

6 Months (or Less): Was This His Choice or His Employer’s Choice?

A common rule of thumb is that you should stay with a company for at least a year, even if you’re not totally pumped about your job. The reality is that, for a number of reasons, some people just don’t end up doing that. Sometimes that means people were part of a big layoff, they discovered the job wasn’t what they expected, or they got an amazing offer that they couldn’t turn down.

How to Address It

There is one surefire way of answering questions about the shorter stops on your resume. And that’s to be as honest as possible on your cover letter, even if you were let go. However, don’t harp on the fact that you were only there for a few months. Instead, use this space to highlight what you were able to accomplish in that short amount of time.

Exactly 1 Year: Why Has This Person Bounced Around So Many Times?

Going back to that common “one-year” rule of thumb, some candidates I reviewed really took that to heart. And by that, I mean their resumes were littered with jobs they spent exactly a year doing. While it was up to me to look past this if it was clear someone might be a good fit for a job I was hiring for, it was absolutely something I’d think about. Is he or she actually interested in working for our company, or just a job-hopper looking to continue his or her climb up the ladder?

How to Address It

Here’s the thing—it’s great to be motivated to keep moving up. But if you have a number of one-year stints on your resume, take some time to think about your career story before you apply. Your cover letter is the first (and only, in some cases) chance you’ll get to tell the hiring manager that you don’t consider his company just another step along the way. Emphasize why all of those experiences have led you to apply for this job.

1-3 Years: Has This Person Been Promoted?

This is a really solid amount of time to spend with one company. However, one thing I always looked for was upward mobility, at least in the amount of responsibilities a candidate with this much tenure at a company was given. While that didn’t necessarily mean I was only looking at people whose titles changed over their time with the company, I wasn’t exactly excited about someone who made it clear he or she was comfortable doing the same type and amount of work for three years in a row.

How to Address It

Odds are that even if you didn’t get an official promotion, you were given additional responsibilities over time. So, use your cover letter to walk recruiters through these additions. Titles rarely tell the full story, and most people understand that. Take this opportunity to make that clear—rather than breezing past it in hopes the person won’t notice.

Author-Richard Moy

Continue on to The Muse to read the complete article and also check out amazing companies hiring now!