Let’s Commit to Get Better in September!

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September is International Self Improvement Month, so it’s time to start on the road to a better you. Throughout the month we’ll be sharing tips on how to make real progress on your personal development goals, but we’re getting you started with some general tips for easy and successful self-improvement.

Awareness

What’s holding you back? What do you want to improve? You won’t make progress without a plan, so make a list of areas that you would like to improve, and then rank them in order of importance and desire to change. This will give you a list of items you work on in September and beyond.

Reflection

Generally people know what they want to change, but they may struggle with actually changing. It’s important to understand what has held you back in the past so you can develop a plan to ensure success this time. For example, if you feel that you chronically overanalyze things, consider why you are doing this. Is there a root issue that may be worth exploring? Are you overanalyzing because you are afraid of taking action? By getting past service goals to root issues, you’ll begin to understand what you really need to change to improve.

Goal-Setting

Once you have a better understanding of what you want to improve, it’s time to plot out how you are going to go about working on it. Instead of looking at your path to self-improvement as one long road, split it up into specific goals that will help you measure your progress. Saying that you are going to learn a new language might seem daunting, but setting goals along the way to say certain phrases will allow you to make it more manageable. This planning will help you better structure your journey and give you little benchmarks to celebrate along the way.

Action

You can identify, reflect, and plan all you want, but unless you put it all into action you aren’t going to reach your goals. One of the biggest keys to self-improvement is to be realistic about what type of action you are looking to take and when you are going to take it. Don’t try and fit three months’ worth of work into a one month, as burnout is one of the main reasons why people don’t reach their goals. Have fun with your improvement and relish in what you are learning along the way!

Can you juggle work and school without completely abandoning sleep or a social life?

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We all get 24 hours in a day, so how can you balance everything you want and need to accomplish? It starts with being smart about how you spend your time and ends with creating a schedule that you can live and work to.

Put Together a Class Schedule with Work in Mind

It’s tempting to avoid those early morning classes. After all, that’s when the best- and-maybe only– sleep happens, but if you know you’re working evenings, it’s great to get all your classes done early so you have time to study and clean up before heading off to work. Conversely if you can load all of your classes into Monday-Wednesday-Friday or Tuesday-Thursday, that can leave days where you’ll be available to work. While your needs as a student should trump your work schedule, if you can find a class schedule that is beneficial to both aspects of your life, wonderful!

Be Upfront with Your Work Management: Let Them Know What Your Semester Will Entail

Many managers will be sympathetic to the needs of a working college student, or at least be willing to work with you on a mutually beneficial schedule for the upcoming semester. Sit down with your manager and talk to them about what your upcoming semester will entail and what you can envision being a logical schedule. The key is to be realistic and don’t promise that you’ll be able to keep a 40-hour week while taking a full slate of classes. It’s better to be upfront about your needs so that you can put together something that management can be happy with.

Look for Jobs that Allow Multitasking

Some jobs require you to be active from the moment you clock in to the moment you clock out, but other jobs are more like caretaker jobs and may offer large periods of downtime when you could be working on papers or studying. Look for things like graveyard shift at a motel front desk, security guard, being a resident advisor or babysitting.

Plan Ahead and Calendar Everything

Even with your classes and your job, you’ll find that you’ll have some free time during the week to focus on studying. The key to making the most of this time is to calendar it specifically as study time or nap time or whichever of our core needs are likely to be suffering most at that moment. Look through your schedule and block out an hour or two, and then don’t let anything distract you from your schedule. Whether it’s in the morning, at night, or on the weekend, scheduling this time will help you use it wisely.

If You Find That Your Grades Are Suffering, Don’t Be Afraid To Reassess Your Situation 

Keeping your grades up is your most important concern throughout the school year, so if you find that anything is eating into your attempt to keep up with your classes you need to reassess things and take the appropriate action. If you find that your work schedule is making it hard for you to find time to study, or is leaving you a walking zombie because of a lack of sleep, do something about it before it gets worse.  Talk to your manager about reassessing your work availability. Helping you find the proper balance will be beneficial to them as the more focused, and rested, you can be at work, the better work you’ll do.

Busy Life? How to Gain Job Skills When You Don’t Have a Lot of Free Time

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Thanks to technology and changing market demands, job requirements are evolving at a breakneck pace. The skills that got you a job three years ago may not be enough to get an interview today, so you need to adapt and learn new skills to stay competitive. However, between jobs and family and other commitments, who has the time? Here are three expert tips that will help even the busiest person learn the new skills you need.

Find Online Courses That Can Fit Into Your Schedule

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of websites and online programs that are dedicated to teaching you skills specific for your field. While you may not have four hours at a time to complete a program, you may be able to do it in 20-minute increments. Also, be on the lookout for online colleges that offer classes with downloadable lectures and online testing, as they can not only teach you skills, but also give you written documentation of your achievements.

Make It a Part of Your Current Job

Many companies and bosses encourage learning and personal development because they recognize it makes employees happier as well as more effective and productive. Identify the skills you need, find a class that will help you gain those skills, and determine the time required to complete the class. Then present a plan to your boss for how you can fit that time into your current workload. Chances are, your boss will be thrilled to see you taking the initiative, and if it’s a paid course, they may even pick up the cost.

Prioritize and Calendar Your Key Commitments

There’s a saying that if you want to get something done, ask a busy person to do it. Very busy people have very detailed calendars that help them get everything done. A quick look at your personal calendar will show that you do have pockets here and there where you can fit in segments of training. You may find that you have an hour before bed to dedicate to learning, or a few hours on the weekend. Block off these times and find a program that you can fit into it. Don’t try and multitask your training with other items, plan to take that scheduled time to focus on learning.

Going For Gold: How Thinking Like A Superstar Athlete Will Get You The Job

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A world-class athlete will tell you that, when they think of big moments, they visualize winning. Whether it’s inching out the competition for a Gold Medal, or sinking the game-winning shot with one second left on the clock, successful athletes don’t have times for “what ifs” in their outcomes. When it comes to a job search, having the same positive outlook will help you towards success. Don’t worry about “if” you’ll get a job, visualize yourself getting it. This way, you won’t need to worry about the outcome, but rather how you are going to get there. Here are three things to remember when it comes to conducting a job search without worrying about the outcome (because you know you’ll succeed):

Work Backwards: Know Your Goal and Identify Steps That Will Take You There                              

A successful sprinter doesn’t worry about the outcome of a race; they instead focus on the steps that they will take to the top step of the podium. When you are applying for a job, don’t worry about the outcome. Instead identify what you have to do to get there. Working backwards from your goal allows you to work out the steps logically. Start from the last part of the process, accepting a job offer, and look at what goals you have to hit to get there. For example, a job offer comes from a great interview, which you will get by submitting a resume that matches the position, which will be seen if you can work your network to get it to the right people. By the time you lead all the way back to the beginning of your search, you’ll know how to move forwards towards a successful outcome.

Turn a Perceived Weakness Into a Strength

When Kobe Bryant missed a game-winning shot, he would stay long after the rest of the team left the arena to work on that shot.  After losing a race in 2012 by less than .1 second, Michael Phelps changed his training to include high-altitude workouts to help his closing speed.  All athletes have weaknesses, but world-class athletes work to turn their weaknesses into strengths. There are going to be parts of your resume that you may perceive as a weakness. Instead of just hoping you get a job despite them, do something about it. If you don’t have certain skills you see in ads, take an online class to learn them. If you don’t have a lot of experience, take temp jobs to learn on the job. If you feel like something is holding you back, don’t shy away from it, do something about it.

As Long as You Keep It Up, You’ll Succeed

Dan Jansen was considered one of the best speed skaters in the world and was a lock at the 1988 winter games for a medal. He fell in both events. In 1992 he was a gold medal favorite again in his two events. He again failed. In 1994, he finally won gold in his last-ever event. It may have taken him longer than he would have liked, but he achieved his goal. Job searches don’t always go as planned. They have setbacks. They have rough patches. But if you stay positive and keep moving forward, you’ll get there. If you fall down, you’ll come back the next time. If you didn’t get a job, you’ll get the next one. The outcome should never change in your mind, even if you have to adjust the path a little bit.

 

The #1 Key To Ensuring Happiness in a New Job

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The joy you feel when offered a new job can quickly turn to dread when you have to spend another day at a workplace you can’t stand. It can happen to the best of us, but there is something you can do to avoid a bad match.

Most people realize that finding a company that is a good match to their preferred workstyle is important. Roughly 2/3 of all workers (and 80% of millennials) state that company culture is one of the biggest considerations they weigh before accepting a job offer. But, how can you really know if a company is fast paced and energetic or a place where you can feel comfortable working at your own pace? Review sites like Glassdoor can help, but they can’t possibly tell the whole story. You need to dig deeper.

Before You Start, Rank What Is Actually Important To You

Make a list of everything that you are looking for in terms of company culture, and then rank them from most important to least important. Finding a place that has flexible work schedules so that you can pick your children up from school may be very important to you, so much so that you may be able to live without extra vacation or work-from-home opportunities. Making this list will help you weigh different opportunities to see which one best matches your specific cultural needs.

Seek Out the Voices Of Current Employees

One of the best ways to get an idea of company culture is to seek out the voices of current employees who work at a company you are targeting. If you already identified connections to this company to help you when applying, they may also be able to give you a good idea of what the workplace is like or was like when they worked there. During your interview you can also ask for a tour or to meet a few people in the department. That can give you a good idea of things like dress code and you may even be able to get some cards to follow-up to see if you can drill deeper into what working there is like. As a final resort, you can also check for connections or reach out to current employees on LinkedIn.

Let The Company’s Online Presence Paint A Picture

One social post may not give you a clear view of a company’s culture, but looking at a company’s online presence as a whole will. This starts at the official company website, where you can gain valuable information from the “About Us” section, and expands towards social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Ask Questions During Your Initial Phone Screen Or Interview

Take advantage of opportunities to ask questions directly to hiring managers. Whether you are having an initial phone screening or an in person interview, have several pre-determined company culture questions ready to ask. Companies want to hire good cultural fits, so asking questions will show hiring managers that you are interested in making sure that you will thrive in your new job. Make sure the questions are job-specific, and that they reflect well on your drive and potential.

 

 

 

Don’t Let That Internship Go to Waste – How to Wrap Things Up and Finish with Style

You’ve been working hard and your internship is drawing to a close. While your managers and co-workers may have marveled at your work ethic and potential, it is important that you stick the landing. You want to leave on a high note and make a lasting impression on your managers and co-workers so they will be happy to help you if you need advice or a strong reference in the future.  Here are four things you need to do in order to bring your internship to a successful close:

Share What You Have Learned With Your Manager and the Impact the Opportunity Has Had on You

Part of bringing on an intern is a genuine desire to help somebody prepare their career. Make your boss feel great by confirming that they really did help and teach you a lot. Go into detail about what you learned and accomplished under their tutelage and describe the impact they will have on your career and future.

Establish LinkedIn Connections with Everyone You Met

While you may have individuals in your office that you plan to keep in touch with, it is important that you establish LinkedIn connections with everyone you met during your internship. Networking is vital to your future job prospects. One of the things many young people say is that they can’t network because they don’t have any connections. Now you do, so it’s important to get them down in a system that is designed to help you keep track of them as they and you move from job to job. Your former co-workers may move into power positions in companies that you are targeting when you graduate. Simply knowing someone who can recommend you during the application process can significantly increase your chances of being hired.

Keep Your Energy Up and Finish Your Assignments Before You Leave

The last several weeks of your internship can be extremely busy. While your schedule may be populated with wrap-up meetings and “farewell” lunches, it is important that you stay focused and show your commitment until your assignment is officially over. Make sure all projects are finished, and tie up all loose ends. Aim to make your last week on the job your best week!

Hand-Deliver a ‘Thank You’ Card for the Office

While you may have said a big ‘thank you’ to everyone that you worked with during your internship, it is important that you hand deliver a card thanking the entire office on your last day. You don’t need to write an essay on what you learned, just a simple, heartfelt thank you would do. You should also consider writing an individual note to people you worked with closely during your internship such as managers and team members.

ACT•1 Group Ranked Among 2016’s Largest Staffing Firms in the U.S.

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We are proud to announce that AppleOne parent company, ACT•1 Group, was recognized recently as one of the leading staffing firms in 2016 by Staffing Industry Analysts.  In fact, we were named the 16th largest staffing firm in the United States and are one of the largest privately-held firms.

This recognition demonstrates to the marketplace that the ACT•1 Group’s staffing affiliates (AppleOne, ACT•1 Personnel ServicesALL’S WELL Health Care StaffingAT-Tech Technical Staffing) are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to providing high quality staffing solutions throughout the United States.

To qualify for the list, which highlights 134 companies, a firm must have generated at least $100 million in U.S. staffing revenue in 2015. Altogether, the companies on this list generated $75.7 billion in revenue, making up nearly 57% of the market by SIA’s estimates.

In addition, so far this year, the ACT•1 Group was also recognized with the following SIA rankings:

  • #6 on the list of Largest US Office/Clerical Staffing Firms
  • #32 on the list of Largest US IT Staffing Firms

We would like to congratulate the entire ACT•1 Group family on this honor and thank them for their continuing hard work.