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Starting a New Job? 9 Ways Entry-Level Employees Can Make the Most of Their First Week

9 Tips for Your First Week on the Job

The academic year is almost over, and that means hundreds of thousands of high school and college students are saying goodbye to their school books and getting ready to enter the workforce. If you’re among this group of new professionals, you’ll want to make a good impression and an even better start.

Here are our top tips for making the most of the first week in your new job.

Prepare properly. Whether you suffer from first-week jitters or not, being prepared will undoubtedly make things easier. Select your outfits for the entire week so you’re not rummaging through your closet at the last minute. Make sure you have reliable transport to and from work—and know where you’re going! If you’re bringing your own device, check that it’s ready for the IT department to add to the network and set up your email.

Dress appropriately. You probably gained an impression of the dress code during the interview process, but if you didn’t, try to find out what’s expected. You can simply contact the hiring manager and ask, but if you’re not comfortable doing this, err on the side of convention. Avoid shorts, mini-skirts, crop tops, and flip-flops, and opt instead for business casual.

Get to work early, and don’t be the first to leave. As Hannah Morgan points out in her U.S. News Money article “5 Things to Do When Starting a New Job,” everyone will be observing you. Get to work before most of your co-workers, and at the end of the day, ask your supervisor if he or she has anything else for you before you head home.

Write down your colleagues’ names and functions. You’ll probably be meeting a lot of new people—and if you manage to remember everyone’s name and job function, you’ll definitely score points. When you have a quiet moment, make a note of the people you’ve met and what they do. Then refer to that list as needed.

Ask for a list of your responsibilities. Though the job listing probably mentioned the most important of your duties, it’s a good idea to ask your supervisor to give you a detailed list of what you’re expected to do and when. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification or assistance if something’s entirely new to you.

Ask for a tour of the premises. You need to know the layout of your workplace, so if your supervisor doesn’t volunteer a tour, ask for one. Make sure you know where the most important departments are, including HR and IT.

Be social. Even if you have responsibilities at home, it’s wise to think ahead and keep your early evenings and Friday night free. Your co-workers may want to socialize with you, so take every opportunity you get to establish rapport. Join others for lunch, a quick post-work coffee, or “TGIF” drinks.

Avoid gossip. Being social doesn’t mean you have to engage in gossip. In fact, you should avoid it as much as possible – and stick to that practice throughout your career.

Take time for yourself. You’ll have a lot to digest in your first week, so make sure to reserve some “you time,” whether that’s a long walk with your dog, yoga or simply reading a book.
Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll greatly enhance your chances of rocking your first week in your new job! Soon you’ll see—each of your successes holds the door open for the next.

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Asking for Job References in Seattle,

When you ask for a reference, both whom and how you ask for this employment reference is really important. You need to be sure that the person who is recommending you for employment is willing and able to give you a good reference. This is critical because your references can be what makes the difference in getting – or not getting – a job offer.

In addition, you shouldn’t give out anyone’s name as a reference without their permission. The individual who is giving you a reference needs to know ahead of time that they may be contacted regarding a reference for you.

How To Ask For an Employment Reference

If you are in fact asked to submit employment references, you can ask for a reference by phone or by email. Email can be a good way to request a reference, because if the person isn’t comfortable recommending you it can be easier to decline by sending an email message than by telling you in person.

When you ask for reference, don’t just say “Could you give me a reference?” or “Could you write a reference letter for me?” Instead, ask “Do you think you know my work well enough to provide me with a reference?” or “Do you feel comfortable giving me a reference?” or “Do you feel you could give me a positive reference?” This way, your reference giver has an out if they don’t believe they can provide a strong endorsement or if they don’t have the time to write a letter or take phone calls from employers on your behalf.

When the person you are asking for a reference replies positively, offer to provide them with an updated copy of your resume, to share your LinkedIn profile, if you have one, and to provide information on your skills and experiences so your reference has current and relevant information on your employment history and skills.

How to Ask for a LinkedIn Reference

It’s easy to request a recommendation via LinkedIn’s messaging system. When you request a recommendation, ask the person to recommend you if they can and if they have the time. This way they have an out if they aren’t interested in giving you a reference, are precluded by company policy from giving references, or don’t feel they know you well enough to recommend your work.

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Low energy on a job in Bellevue, these tips will help…

Low energy or fatigue a problem on the job? let’s discuss some possible solutions.

First, address reasons for your fatigue. Any job can have physical demands. For example, if you have a sedentary job, the constant sitting can be wearing.

In that case, take the time during the day to stand up, take a short walk and stretch a little. Take a few deep breaths. Even a brief break will help you shake the tiredness.

If you have a more physical job or travel a lot, figure out the actions that will help you stay strong.

And by all means, if you think there may be illness at play, get to a doctor to have it checked out.

Then consider preventive steps on the physical side. Regular activity, even something mild like walking, can help build and maintain energy. More strenuous options, like a sport of some kind, may also suit you and give you a physical and emotional boost.

A moderate and balanced diet also helps a lot. Pay attention to how different foods make you feel, then form a habit of eating things that are energizing and cutting back on those that make you drag (even if you like them). Also cultivate a healthy sleep routine.

On to the emotional fatigue. While physical well-being will help your state of mind, there are many other steps to consider.

Take a 360-degree view of your life, reflecting on your spiritual, social, intellectual, relational and physical health.

Compare where you’d like to be with your current state, and use that to find a few changes you could make that would perk you up.

Also dig a little into how you’re feeling to see what’s under the fatigue. Powerlessness, anger, frustration or boredom will all have different solutions; identifying your emotion more precisely will help you match your actions to your need.

Turn to other people for support. If you need a pick-me-up during the workday, invite a congenial colleague for a walk. Increase the amount of family and friend fun time outside of work.

Balance this with reflective time to go inward and find some stillness.

As you build your portfolio of energy boosters, you’ll likely find that the fatigue becomes more manageable and your work life will be even more vibrant.

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Thinking of a career change in Seattle?

Many times career change happens to us. Our industry starts to fade, our employer goes bankrupt, or we personally are downsized, fired, laid off, demoted or otherwise find ourselves at a crossroads.

But occasionally we choose to change careers of our own free will. It’s exciting, a little scary, and getting more common. If you can, take the opportunity to think it through.

First, know why you want to change careers. If it’s because you simply hate your current job, make a list of those things you don’t like so you don’t inadvertently land on a career that’s too similar. (It happens.) If money is the reason, figure out how much more money you’re looking for. You should also list what you liked about your old job, so you can try to replicate those good things in your new one.

Identify the areas of overlap between your old and new careers. If nothing else, important job skills such as organization, thoroughness and communication are easily transferable. Leverage everything that be leveraged.

Recognize that it may take time. You probably won’t end your old career on a Friday and start the new one on the following Monday. Chances are you’ll need to acquire new skills or certifications, build up your savings and/or reduce your debt and create a new network. You may even need to work at an interim job while easing into — or working up to — the job you really want.

Get clear on what you want to keep and what you’re willing to give up. It can help tremendously to make a list of what you must have (a flexible schedule, a certain salary, etc.) and what you’re willing to compromise on (Are you willing to relocate? Would you be happy with a lesser level of power and authority?).

Finally, you need to believe in the possibility of change. After we’ve done the same kind of work for a few years, we start to think of ourselves in a certain way — as a tech worker, say, or a teacher or an attorney. It becomes part of who we are. Changing careers means changing identities, and that can be a challenge, even threatening. So be prepared for setbacks and always keep working toward your goal.

 

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Insurance Sales Top Interview Questions

Background, Strengths, and Experience

Your prospective employer will want to know a lot about your background and experience. Given this, the interviewer may even ask if you’ve ever been fired. Be honest, especially if it was in the recent past, and they’ll likely find out.

Be prepared to share your side of the story without dwelling on the past. Disclose how you’ve learned from the experience and grown into a better employee.

The interviewer will want to know what to expect out of you as a worker by hearing what you’ve done in the past. For example, how would you meet your quotas or bring in sales? Also, how long would you expect to stay in sales if hired, and how do you organize, plan, and prioritize your work as a salesman?

They’ll probably want to know why you personally are suited for a sales environment and how much time you would ideally spend in an office. You may also be asked to rate how trainable you are and what you think you’re worth. Be prepared to discuss the contributions to profits that you’ve made to justify your salary request.

Industry Knowledge

Knowing your industry will make you a much better salesperson than if you’re clueless about the insurance field.

With this in mind, expect your interviewer to ask you questions such as which drivers will influence the market in the next 18 months?

The interviewer might also expect you to know information specifically about the company in question. For example, what do you think is a typical day in the life of an insurance salesman at the company.

Be sure to study up on the company and say why you want to work there. You might also be asked to critique the company. But don’t go overboard here. You want your criticism to be as constructive as possible. Maybe mention some areas in which the company could improve and how you’re the right person to do so.

Communication and Interpersonal Skills

Working in insurance sales means that you have to be an effective communicator. That means interviewers will want to know if you can distinguish communication skills from listening skills. They’ll also be likely to ask how you build relationships with clients and handle rejection. Be ready to share an experience you had dealing with a difficult customer and how you handled the situation.

And if you’re a good communicator, you’re likely to enjoy cold calling, so be prepared to discuss that. Your prospective employer might also want you to share an effective method you have used to sell insurance.

Lastly, don’t be startled if your interviewer asks you to sell him something in 60 seconds or less.

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5 pieces of advice to ignore while searching for jobs in Seattle

Ask for a promotion. 
It’s common to hear that you won’t get a raise or a promotion if you don’t ask for one. But you shouldn’t ask; “not even at your annual review.” Instead, use your actions to show you’re a better leader.
Learn the business inside and out, generate team results that your boss can’t ignore and create the most positive, supportive, entrepreneurial spirit in the company.  Then, when there is a need for a new leader, you will be asked. If you want to be promoted into a leadership role this is the best route.
Keep your resume brief. 

You’ve probably been told to keep your resume to one page.  Your resume reflects why you are best qualified for and deserving of the proposed position. If you’ve had extensive work experience, don’t sacrifice highlighting your skills, talents, and expertise just to cram everything onto one sheet of paper. Your resume should be tailored for the specific job you are applying for, and each job description should emphasize the talents that you have developed and will bring to the proposed role.

A great resume will get you hired. 

It’s vital to focus on using your resume to get an interview. “Your resume doesn’t need to be in chronological order or even include every job you’ve had. Your resume is a marketing tool, use it — along with your phone — to get an interview. A great attitude and interview gets you the job, not the resume. Recognizing the different stages of the hiring process is critical to creating a tool that works well for its intended purpose.”

Send a post-interview thank-you note. 

Instead, send a strategic follow-up letter indicating why you are an excellent candidate,  it should be a response to the asked or un-asked question: why should we hire you?

Follow your passion.

This tip is the most erroneous, many people have multiple passions or might not discover their true passions until later in life, and sometimes these passions are just not viable as a source of income.  The right question would be ‘What kind of life do I want to set up for myself?’”
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Always Keep Improving

Never Stop Learning:

Once you know the skills you need to achieve your job search goals, and are continuing to improve and update them, it can be useful to learn new skills or seek out new experiences that you have never had before. Volunteer work can provide you with opportunities to expand beyond the scope of that to which you are accustomed, and allow you to interact with people you may not otherwise have gotten the chance to meet.

There are countless resources for seminars, webinars, and online education that are either free or modestly priced, and allow you to learn at your own pace and whenever you can find time. In addition, thanks to the advent of the internet, nearly anything you want to learn is practically at your fingertips, merely a clicked link or a Google search away.

Improve Your Resume: Your resume should reflect the best you have to offer, and it should clearly and concisely communicate who you are and what you can provide to a potential employer, as it will need to get past a variety of filters and screeners before finding its way in front of the person in charge of hiring new employees. Keywords are an important aspect of a successful resume, as an overwhelming number of them are being electronically reviewed first. Search online for examples of other resumes, or ask to see ones being used by people you know, so you can compare and contrast them with yours. If your resume is getting you to an interview, then you know it is working, but it can always be improved. Don’t be afraid to ask potential employers what it was in your resume that made them pick you over all the other candidates, and what parts they ignored or did not like. Just remember that in the end, a resume is a tool to get your foot in the door, not land the job.

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Simple Formula to great cover letters for jobs in Seattle

1. Identify the Problem

55% of hiring managers don’t read cover letters. Why should they, when we write like modern-day Oliver Twists, begging them to please, sir, give us the job?

News flash: The hiring manager isn’t here to make your dreams come true. They’re in it for themselves. OK, that’s harsh, but the truth is that they’re looking for an awesome candidate to come in and do a kick-ass job that’ll help them run their department (or company) more efficiently and successfully.

When you’re writing your own cover letter, start with the list of responsibilities and ask yourself, Why? Why is this task important to this company? Keep digging until you can’t go any further. The true need is usually the one at the end of a chain of whys.

2. Agitate the Problem

Now that you’ve identified the problem, here comes the fun part.

Because no hiring manager has ever said, “I just love paying employees thousands of dollars every year!” your challenge now is to remind him or her how painful the problem is, and by default, how valuable a solution could be. Don’t be afraid to twist the knife a bit, like I did in my second paragraph:

If you’re looking for someone who can not only keep up, but also deliver that SEO-friendly, 75-page street style slideshow five minutes ago…

Notice I didn’t say, “If you’re looking for someone who can turn around projects quickly…” I was specific, and I made sure to use an example I knew would resonate with a stressed-out web editor.

And if you’re new to the industry or the role? Just ask. This is exactly what informational interviews are for. Find someone on the team you’re applying to, let your interviewer do most of the talking, and pay close attention to how he or she discusses the company’s challenges.

In conversation, we instinctively trust people who mirror our body language. On your application, you won’t get the chance—but you can do the next best thing: Pick up on your interviewer’s subtle cues and phrases and then mirror their speaking language in your cover letter.

3. Offer the Solution

By this point, you’ve got the hiring manager squirming at the table. Now, deliver the solution. Hint: It’s you.

Think about what makes you incredibly qualified to solve the problem. In my case, I knew I wanted the hiring manager to think of me and say, “Lisa? Oh, she’s the one who knows our backend systems and seems like a real go-getter.”

4. Close With Confidence

After all that work, you aren’t going to dash off a breathless “Hope to hear from you soon!” right? Instead, seal the deal with a sentence that displays confidence, competence, and a genuine interest in the company:

“I’d love to learn more about your production needs and how I can help!”

Boom. That’s it.

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How to Answer the Salary Question

Why it’s Important… and Tricky

You may be wondering what the big deal about the money question is; yet it’s one question that often stumps job candidates. Not only that, but it can change the climate of an interview from red hot to ice cold as a result of a few digits of difference in thinking.

Why do companies ask job candidates the salary question? Ultimately, company leaders and HR professionals want to know if they can afford you before they invest time and resources courting you to come to work for them.

Some employers are bargain hunting. Despite a general market value for certain positions, some companies place a bigger premium on certain positions than other companies. This means that the salary they expect to pay for a certain position may be lower or higher than the going rate.

Another possible reason is that they’re trying to see how you value your work. Are you confident enough to ask for what you deserve or will you meekly accept whatever they offer?

► Your mission: Sell them on you, and convince them of your worth to their organization before you reach the point of salary negotiations.

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Common Job Application Mistakes to Avoid….

Here are some of the biggest application mistakes candidates make (and how to avoid them):

Spelling/Grammatical Errors

These types of errors, although they seem small in nature, can be a major red flag to employers. It shows you lack attention to detail, and many hiring managers or recruiters will think you rushed through your application.

How to avoid this mistake: Take your time filling out applications and have someone else look it over if possible. Print out your answers and read them aloud to catch anything you may miss while scanning through on the computer.

Not Following Directions

This is something everyone learns in grade school, but it’s amazing how many people STILL don’t read directions! Every application you fill out will be slightly different or require a different response—so it’s important to read through each step.

How to avoid this mistake: Pay attention and slow down during the application process. If you’re feeling rushed, it’s probably because you’re applying to too many openings that you may not be qualified for, so you may want to re-think your strategy.

Turning In A Resume You Haven’t Tailored To The Position

This is a big no-no. It shows you don’t really understand what the employer is looking for and are just hoping your resume fits some of the criteria.

How to avoid this mistake: Carefully read through the job description, qualifications, and education requirements. Show the employer through your resume how you fit into those through your previous experience, skills, and expertise.

Writing A Generic Cover Letter

Your cover letter should tell a compelling story and make the hiring manager interested in moving on to your resume. It should also address the hiring manager by name and describe exactly why you are the best candidate for the position.

How to avoid this mistake: Write a new cover letter for each position you’re applying for. Although there may be similarities, always tailor your cover letter to the opening.

Not Going Beyond The Job Description

It’s imperative that you research the organization at which you’re applying. You need to know what it does, how it’s structured, and its mission, values, and goals in order to determine how you fit in. Should you move on in the hiring process, these things will be vital to a successful interview—and you’ll be one step ahead.

How to avoid this mistake: Perform a simple Google search on the organization. Look through their company website, LinkedIn/Twitter/Facebook profiles, read reviews of the organization and its products, and browse recent news articles that mention the company.

What are some other major application mistakes you’ve made and/or witnessed?

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