Media

Balancing Work and Personal Life

February 10, 2016

By: Rahwa Frezgi

 

Why is it important for us to have a balance between our careers and personal lives? Can’t we just focus on our career in order to become successful?

Many people believe that focusing on their professional career solely is the path to success. Unfortunately, most of us fail to see the side effects of such a decision.

For instance, many employers have noticed that employees who do not participate in extracurricular activities (sports, volunteering, hobbies, etc.) often suffer from stress and burnout at work. This leads to absenteeism, health problems and less efficient performance.

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be difficult. There are common actions individuals can take to ensure a healthy and balanced life.

We all tend to schedule important appointments such as doctor visits. Have you considered scheduling some down time to recharge and catch up with friends and family? How about a movie night with your significant other? Scheduling something to look forward to will assist in feeling less overwhelmed and ready to work with a fresh mind.

Developing healthy habits such as avoiding procrastination and exercising is a good start. Prioritize what you have to do, whether it’s at work or running to the grocery store. Organize your to-do list so that you only perform each task once. Performing the same task multiple times can be distracting and time consuming.

“There is no perfect, one-size fits all, balance you should be striving for” says Jim Bird, owner of the domain worklifebalance.com. It is different for each person, since we all have varied priorities. The important thing is to find the right balance between your career and personal life that ensure you stay healthy, happy and productive.

Helen Jowett becomes Chair of the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA)

January 25, 2016

Congratulations to our CEO Helen Jowett for becoming the new Chair of the Grand River Conservation Authority!

 

 

click the link below to read the news

GRCA – Grand River Conservation Authority

Interview Attitude and Manners

January 22, 2016

Interview Attitude and Manners

Natalia A. Bulkowska

 

Interviews can be very stressful and nerve-wracking, regardless for which position you are interviewing and with whom in the company you’re meeting. It can be an intense experience. Maintaining your composure while highlighting your talents is a skill of its own. The following are some guidelines on how to present yourself positively during an interview.

Teachability: Notwithstanding your education and previous experience, you will still have to learn a lot when you are developing your career. A ‘know-it-all’ attitude at a job interview can turn potential employers off. Accepting constructive criticism and expressing a willingness to do your job the way your employer needs you to do will help you achieve success.

Motivation: Employers know employees perform best when they are interested and inspired by what they are doing. A lazy attitude at a job interview will raise a red flag to a potential employer that you are not passionate and motivated in your chosen career.

Temperament: Different jobs require different character traits. The same goes for interviews. Take your personal characteristics into account when choosing the type of job you are trying to obtain. Speak to those specific traits that are relevant to the position for which you are interviewing.

Skills: Even if you are not the most qualified candidate, you can usually learn the skills you need to be a high performer if you have the motivation and willingness to learn. Since the best indicator of your future success may be your attitude rather than your skill level, interview questions are often designed to reveal your character and behaviour. Focus on putting your best attitude forward along with discussing your relevant skills.

You are nervous during an interview but the person sitting across the table has a lot riding hiring the best candidate. Don’t forget you are there for a reason; you were selected from countless other applicants.

Consider Zig Zigler’s words, “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” Good luck!

Are you aware of your social media presence?

January 7, 2016

Are you aware of your social media presence?

Meredith Bird, BComm

Do you remember what you last posted on social media? Could it have been an inappropriate tweet? A vulgar article you shared on Facebook? Or a personal LinkedIn blog post about how horrible your last employer was? Make sure this is not you!

Social media can assist you when interviewing for a role and can also hurt you at the same time. Are you aware of your social media presence? As privacy settings are increasing on social media you are able to keep employers away from viewing your personal life, although even with blocked privacy settings employers may still be able to see some of your posts or photos. Be social media aware:

  1. Be careful of what you say: It is 2016. When you put something out there you cannot take it back. Do not be someone who bashes their employer on social media. A future employer will be hesitant to bring someone on to their team who displays such behaviour.
  2. Think twice before sharing: Sharing articles and photos between friends on social media can be empowering and fun. Ensure that you aren’t sharing things that might be interpreted as racist, bullying or rude.
  3. Photos are forever: Personal and family photos are great, it shows an employer that you are a team player. That being said, did you have too much to drink at the last party you attended? Avoid posting the photo to social media, as it can lead a future employer to get the wrong impression of you. As a recruiter, I use social media as a tool to connect with potential candidates for a role. If you are on LinkedIn there is a chance that a future employer would like to connect to speak to you about your potential. On LinkedIn, you are able to see recommendations from past colleagues, post photos of your recent projects and outline your work experience and skills that would be an asset to a company. Having a strong LinkedIn profile may even give you that extra leg up when interviewing for a role.

Now that you are aware of some of the social media do’s and don’ts a future employer is looking for, are your social media pages hire ready?

Happy posting!

New Graduates Entering the Workforce

December 9, 2015

 

 

By Rahwa Fregzi

 

Congratulations! You graduated! Umm, now what???

Let’s be honest. A lot of us focus on graduating and assume that we will find the right job when its time. Many of us weren’t told that there are things we could do before graduation that would help increase our chances in getting our first job once out of school.

For example, have you considered extra-curricular activities? Employers rank individuals higher with resumes that show they are team players. Extracurricular activities such as participating in clubs and/or acting as a team leader are great examples.

What about Networking? Connecting with your classmates and professors is an important step. Growing your connections will help get your resume in front of a number of employers in the area. Some might even lead you to connect with someone working in your desired field.

Develop your communication skills. Does this sound familiar? It’s important for you to be able to sell yourself during an interview. This shows employers that you can communicate well, which is important in everyday work no matter the field or industry.

Securing employment may not be easy but it if you consider the items mentioned above and start working on them, you will increase your chances of becoming employed shortly after graduation.

What your body language is telling me during an interview

December 2, 2015

What Your Body Language Is Telling Me During An Interview

By: Meredith Bird, BComm

From the first moment of stepping into my office your body language can determine the direction of your interview. As an interviewer, my job is to not only judge your experience for the role, but to determine if you are a good fit for the organization. Here are some of the top red flags that may affect your ranking for a position.

  1. Bad posture: When an applicant leans forward, almost as they are about to jump across my desk (like a lion hunting a gazelle), it tells me you may have an aggressive or forward personality. Aiming for a natural position during the interview is key. Many experts suggest a posture technique is to sit up straight in your chair as if there is a string pulling your head towards the ceiling.
  2. Arm and hand gestures: Many people have arm and hand movements that are natural to them. When you are interviewing for a position the interviewer may get overly distracted if you are flapping your arms around like you are at a dance party. Try to place your hands in your lap or on the desk, using them only occasionally to talk. Crossing your arms throughout the whole interview is a big no-no. A simple movement such as having your arms crossed can lead the interviewer to think you are not excited to be there or interested in the position.
  3. Breathing: Nerves in any situation can determine how you react. I have seen many applicants come through my office who are very nervous. Shallow breathing or holding your breath throughout the interview can lead to your body language looking tense and nervous. Practice answering questions by taking a breath at the beginning of your sentence; this will help present a calm, cool and collected you.

The biggest tip I can pass along as an Employment Professional is to always be aware of your body language. Non-verbal communication plays a larger role in your presentation than you may think. Some habits can portray you as a rude, disrespectful or even aggressive. Try to practice answering standard interview questions in front of a mirror, because practice makes perfect!

Tips for a Good Hand Shake

November 25, 2015

Tips for a good hand shake

By: Natalia Bulkowska

 

 

Handshakes are the universally accepted business greeting. As a recruiter, I meet and interview many people throughout my week. First impressions are very important and can result in your success with a potential employer; the same can be said for handshakes. There is nothing more irritating to me than being greeted by a limp handshake. Here are some tips on how to ensure your handshake reflects you positively and leaves a good impression.

 

Be aware that you are judged by the quality of your handshake. A good hand shake must be firm, but not bone-crushing, and last about 3 seconds. Be sure to always look into the eyes of each person you shake hands with, so they know you are accepting their invitation.

 

Knowing when to shake a hand is crucial. If you see someone coming towards you with their hand extended, get up right away and meet them in the shake. Do not sit and wait for it to come to you. Extend your hand when you are meeting someone for the first time, acknowledging someone you haven’t seen in a while, greeting your host, receiving a guest or saying goodbye at a gathering.

 

Nerves tend to play a big factor in how we express ourselves, including our handshake. If your hands tend to get clammy, consider spraying your hands with antiperspirant or do a casual wipe and dry of your hands prior to meeting guests.

 

What if you don’t want to shake hands? The simple words “Excuse me for not shaking your hand” should suffice.

 

The most important aspect of a good handshake is confidence! Own it and good luck!

Helen Jowett talks economic development!

November 10, 2015

Helen Jowett is named chair of waterloo Region Economic Development and Promotion Committee, providing council liaison with the newly developed WREDC.

Read the story below.

Helen Jowett is Chair of the regional economic development committee

Helen Jowett is Chair of the regional economic development committee

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